Monday, July 17, 2006

New York City Triathlon Race Report

It isn't much fun getting up at 4 am to do a tri, but I managed. I met up with tri-teammates Shelley, Ariff, and Robert, The World's Greatest Triathlete, and we took the shuttle bus to the transition area. I only had about 20 minutes to set up my stuff before we had to clear the area. That should be plenty of time for normal people, but considering that in my last tri I had to go back to T1 twice, I would have liked a little more time to make sure everything was in order. Oh well.

Everybody wants to know what it's like swimming in the Hudson River. Yes, it really was pretty disgusting. Swimmers started from a small dock, and most of the shoreline along the course had been cleaned up pretty well. But just behind the dock was your typical NYC river garbage dump. Every now and then a boat would come up and its wake would pick up a random piece of trash and send it down along the swim course. I did not see it myself, but I heard a tire went down at one point.

My personal favorite item that made it to the other side of the dock was this piece of driftwood; note the rusty nails jabbing out of it.

The current was pretty strong so we could move quickly with very little effort. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a cross-current which pulled you into shore so I often felt like I swimming diagonally. At one point I looked up and saw a white swim cap ahead of me; I was in an orange cap, and the group after me was green, so I was very excited that I had managed to catch up to one of the slower swimmers in the wave before mine. Of course, that excitement quickly disappeared when I finally caught up to that person and realized he was just a tiny white buoy that the current knocked me into. Oops.

The finish was, by far, the most disgusting swim I have ever done. The water was so shallow that your hands scraped a thick layer of muck. But the muck was so deep that you couldn't stand up in it. The water was pitch black from all the dirt / oil / decomposing bodies, and you just sort of had to plow your face through it. People who did not run through the hose at the exit arrived in the transition area with black grimy faces. Gross.

The bike ride was pretty cool. We passed under the George Washington Bridge and over the Henry Hudson Bridge- we even rode through a toll booth! It was a great way to see a small part of The City. Over the past couple of months, I have mostly been focusing on improving my bike riding and I went out pretty hard for that leg. My "fantasy time" for the ride was ninety minutes; I did it in 1:27 so I was pretty happy about that.

I made one stupid mistake. New York is having a heat wave, it was pretty hot during the race, and when I got back from the bike ride I chugged a bottle of water. You're supposed to sip a little water very often rather than take it all at once, but the way I did it I felt bloated and a bit crampy for the run. It was in the 90s when I started running, but thankfully the course through Central Park was mostly shaded. However, I never realized how hilly Central Park was. At every turn I would hope that I would finally be at the top of the next hill, only to see yet another short hill to climb.

Up through mile 3, I was on track to finish the entire triathlon in 3 hours, which would have been spectacular for me. But with the heat and the extra effort I put out on the bike, I wasn't feeling too well so I dropped out a bit and walked for probably a half mile. You got a problem with that? Final time, 3:07:28.


Blogger Habeela said...

3:07 in this heat is really awesome! And you had the worst of anybody because you were in the last wave. I know Central Park is a bit hilly but they did have mercy on you and sent you the "easy" way around the park. The one major downhill you ran - that's called Harlem Hill and is otherwise affectionately referred to as "the Beast" by the regulars.

3:17 AM  
Blogger Iron Pol said...

First, keep things in perspective. You DID pass the bouy. Had you been passed by the bouy, the cause for "embarrassment" would have been greater.

I think you deserve major kudos just for swimming in that mess. Lake swimming still bugs me, and that's just because of the water being murky from sand and dirt. I can't imagine swimming in that river.

Where did you carry your money for the toll?

Great job on the solid finish. I ran in the same kind of heat on Sunday, so know how challenging the run must have been.

5:48 AM  
Anonymous neil said...

grgreat job mister, but as a resident of this city be sure to get yourself checked after
swimming in that muck. time sounds awesome in that humidity. maybe it would have went
quicker if you hadn't stopped for photos. congrats! i did central park for my first race i hate those job mister, but as a resident of this city be sure to get yourself checked after swimming in that muck. time sounds awesome in that humidity. maybe it would have went quicker if you congrats!

8:11 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Mister P,

That water is horrible. More like an obstacle course than a swim.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Steven said...

That swim must have sucked. Sounds pretty nasty.
Nice job on the bike and beating your goal.
And there is nothing wrong with walking a bit of the run under those heated conditions.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

Good job on your finish! Make sure you are current on your hepatitus shots...

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude! On the same day, I did Pendleton Oly with some of our fellow team mates (I got a 3:25). Same temp, hot/humid, no shade. Your time is awesome and congrats on that bike split.

Sorry to hear about the Fear Factor swim though (BLECH).

A sincere congrats as we've swam in the same jellyfish laden waters, riden up Mr. Griffith, and pounded the same pavement--well, a lot more pavement on your part Marathon guy :-)

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Danielle said...

Yay! Go Mike go!

I knew the swim would be nasty but faces blackened with grime...sheesh!

5:53 PM  
Blogger Geek Girl said...

Ugh. Sounds truly disgusting. Good job, though. I agree with Iron Pol about the buoy. Great post!

7:10 AM  
Blogger Sean. said...

yeah, the final hundred yards of the swim were so gross.

I was in the neon green cap heat, so maybe we were in the water together!

10:28 AM  
Blogger friendsofbrookpark said...

Hard as it may seem to folks form outside of the NYC area, the rivers round here are hgetting cleaner every year thanks to the efforts of activists and people whomake use of the waters regularly, even for swimming!

2:29 PM  

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