I really enjoyed this race!
I nearly wasn't going to go (shhhh!) due to the body and soul pain inflicted by the Columbia tri, combined with crappy work weeks and the daunting logistics sans sherpa. Someone in my tri club has suggested they'll start renting themselves out in this capacity, and I would totally pay. Anyway, NYC wouldn't refund my money - only offer me the chance to pay again to do it next year. So I bit the bullet, cowgirled the eff up, what have you, gathered together a pile of gear and headed out from DC, minor head cold be damned, by 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Not the best plan because Delaware, home of tax-free shopping, had other plans. After a few hours exercising my left calf muscle and listening to an entire book on tape, I finally made it to the turnpike. Everything was gravy from then on. I providentially missed the Lincoln tunnel exit and proceeded directly via the GW bridge and Henry Hudson to a garage two blocks from transition. One major fear - that I'd have to leave my hatchback, with a shiny bike inside, on the street - nixed.
Hiked to midtown and made it to the Hilton in time to freak out that I'd left my car keys with the valet parker - USAT cardtag attached. They were nice enough to save me a spot in the line for the last race briefing while I discovered that they'd let me bribe them $9 to race the next day.
Texted my crew to say I'd miss dinner, bummer. Sat through a really weird briefing, tummy growling:
race director: "who's got the best story about how far they came to get here today?"
kid in front row: "ooh, ooh, me, see, when i was ten there was this girl and she didn't think i was cool so i got a bike and riding fast made me feel way better than that girl so the rest is history"
everyone else in room: stares at him.
race director: "oook, um, come and tell me more about that later, SO here's the course map..."
Beat the heck outta there and called my friend's roommate on the upper east easterly east side. she was still home, so i grabbed a tourist map and wrassled the subway into submission to get to 92nd street. Tried to explain to her why I had to take keys and go back across town at 6.30 p.m., so she quickly gave me the lowdown on the cross-town buses and disappeared into the night.
Racked my bike, set up a bit of my transition, saw DCTriers, enjoyed the evening sunlight (note to self: must go back to drink at boat basin), took another xtown bus, and trudged home via a CTown for breakfast supplies and a ramen noodle for dinner. Where oh Where is my sherpa?
Sooo the race:
I was a lucky early wave, 6.28 a.m. This turned out to be all sorts of awesome and probably inspired me to even greater feats of speed and prowess. Sometimes it really is a headgame: after a 23-minute swim (wow! will try it with a wetsuit sometime!) I was so stoked I ran the entire way to T1, wiping my algae-beard off en route.
Bike out was definitely a headwind, and I took it easy, losing my cool only when a guy cut me off only to pass the girl in front of me on the right. Learn the rules kids, don't be That Guy! I smoked him in retaliation, I think the only person I passed who stayed behind me . The views from the Henry Hudson bridge were second to none, however, and zooming through a tollbooth all aero was a kick! I kept a 15 mph average since I'm still out of shape and not quite the rock star on the bike. It went by really quickly, though, and the shock of the headwind again on the second turnaround was a good reminder to spin it out for transition.
At T2 I realized I hadn't bodyglided enough for my wetsuitless swim, so greased up my arms something good, and even remembered to spend a quick moment with my new love, SPF 50 in spray-on! Not a lot of bikes were back, and people were still coming in from the swim!... so I felt pretty zen. Hoorah for many waves.
The run start is another nice sharp hill. Yow. The reward is a cool run across midtown, NYPD holding traffic for you on Broadway for heaven's sake! That was amazing! I happily thanked them, hopefully the trillionth person to do so. I told myself some of the people on 76th cheering must have been from the neighborhood. I'd like to BE a PART of it....New york...new....
yaa-oorrk...so, into Central Park and I was taking baby steps towards mile 2. The first half was average, and shady, and quiet except for my panting. After mile 3 more and more of the regular Sunday morning joggers were like a resident cheer crew. If New Yorkers think you're doing a good job, enough to yell nice things at you in the middle of the park, you must be doing something right. Everything was sunshine and light - literally, since the east side was facing the onslaught of a not-quite-hot July day. Water and accelerade every mile - what great support! Easily visible mile markers had most of my surrounding runners egging each other on, so I joined in by mile 5, as much for my own good as for the dude who tried to cop out on me and walk.
My one complaint: this has one of those endlessly-switchbacky-invisible-finish-line ends. You can't tell how far. You can't tell if you're going to die first. All the spectators lie, "just around the corner"..."ok, around this corner"..."just kidding it's another half-mile ha ha keep running!" Finally it made me so mad I just poured it on and stumbled into the finish. They had icy towels. I love these people. I head-butted the girl who was trying to give me a medal. They call me Grace.
Bag pickup was still staffed then, too, at 10 a.m. An exciting pedi-cab ride later (the two Russian guys like to race - in traffic - yeah.), I collected everything into a heap, threw it into my car, jumped back on the just-opened Henry Hudson, and drove off into the noontime beauty of a Sunday. I saw a rainbow on the way home. Delaware was backed up again, but I heart NY.
170th in age group (F 25-29)
swim 145 23:02
bike 162 1:41:37
run 213 69:06
overall 170 3:22:47
In summary - give yourself a little time for setup. This is a big race and it's a big city.