Monday, July 9, 2012

5150 Aquaphor NYC Triathlon

Well, I ended up doing a swim/bike yesterday as opposed to a full Olympic distance triathlon. I have to say that I spent most of yesterday afternoon and all of yesterday night feeling pretty bummed and disappointed that I didn't get to finish the race and do the run leg in Central Park. I was looking foward to the run portion of the race the most, heading into this race. I have very fond memories of running in Central Park from the NYC Half Marathon and was very excited to experience that run in a triathlon race. Ah well, I guess I'll have to come back in 2013! After sleeping on things though (very restless and short sleep), I've regained perspective and don't feel so disappointed today as I get ready to come home to Toronto.

Even though I can't say that I finished the race, I can say that I swam in the HUDSON RIVER!!! The Pro women were the 2nd wave to go off, behind the Pro Men at 5:52 yesterday morning, which is INSANELY early for a race...the earliest start time I've ever had that's for sure. It was so much fun to be corraled before the swim start with so many awesome Pro women who inspire me to race! I definitely was a bit star struck when I realized I was racked just a couple of bikes from Liz Blatchford in Transition. Anyway, even though I'm a new Pro on the circuit, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an athlete introduction as I ran to find my spot on the uber high pontoon that we  had to dive off of at the swim start! I was apparently the "pride and joy of the home of the Blue Jays"! I think they were just happy to have a Canadian girl in the mix!

After getting positioned on the swim pontoon, there wasn't too much time before the gun went off! I didn't have the same explosive start as in New Orleans off the blocks, only because I paused for a second to make sure I executed a dive such that my googles would stay on. As soon as I dove in, it was like diving into absolute darkness...you couldn't see anything in the water....gross, right?! I had a difficult time navigating the swim current, because there really weren't buoys to help you sight. You just had to stay to the left of the kayakers, and there was a ton of space between the break wall and the kayakers. I found myself weaving and zig-zagging to find the fastest current, and had a difficult time just staying as far as possible from the break wall (where the current is supposed to be fastest). I think the more experienced women knew exactly how to navigate this course, so I definitely came out of the swim with a lesson learned. I also swam into tons of debris and swallowed water, which was probably the worst part of the swim! I was about a minute back from that front pack with Liz Blatchford in it, so that's not too terrible, and I swam sub 15 minutes for 1500m, which is just the ego boost that I needed, haha:)

There was another long run from the water to Transition, which is inevitable in massive races like this one. In fact, there were 2 Transition areas to acccommodate all of the athletes.

The bike course was mostly on the West Side Highway, which has lots of undulations to keep it interesting. The course had about 5 technical turns, as the race directors called them, and guess which one I got tripped up on? Yup, #5, the very last sharp, 90 degree, left-hand turn that you make which leads to a very narrow path that takes you into T2. I was taking my feet out of my shoes approaching this final turn, and maybe I carried too much speed into the turn, because I was told that my back tire slid out, but the worse part was that I somehow managed to go over the handle bars AGAIN! Obviously, I fell at a much slower speed than last summer, but I was totally shocked that the fall even happened in the first place. My left knee slammed into the pavement first and took the brunt of the force, but I tried to get up right away, and had an official hand me my bike shoe (which flew off) and my bike, and I was going to just try and run the last couple of hundred meters or so into transition. I ran about 50m before realizing that it probably wasn't a great idea to keep running, because my left knee was not feeling stellar at this point. When I looked down, I saw that I was bleeding all down my leg, and already had some volunteers and medical come out onto the course to escort me to the medical area. I so wanted to keep going and run in Central Park, but I knew that wasn't a smart decision. I was REALLY disappointed to have travelled to NYC and not had the day that I wanted, but that is all a part of sport! Soon after I got to medical, (Gosh, I seem to spend a lot of time there at races these days!!) my knee started to swell up like crazy. I had a very strange goose egg forming on my patella, and the medical staff were insistent that I get x-rays immediately. I explained to them that I was Canadian and DID NOT want to pay for medical fees, and because I could bear weight on my knee, that I would be just fine! After much back and forth debate, and me finally signing a waiver saying that I was going against medical advice to not go to the hospital and get x-rays, they escorted me in a golf cart to catch a cab. A very anti-climatic way to end my race!

Anyway, onwards and upwards...I'm thrilled to be flying home in a few hours and really looking forward to figuring out this bike situation and why I keep becoming air borne, whether it's getting different break pads, adjusting body position, or perhaps getting a different tri bike altogether so it doesn't play with my mental game anymore, I will figure it out!

My knee is pretty sore at the moment, but I am thinking that I will race either the PATCO Pan American Cup Championships on July 21st (1st draft legal race of the year) or 5150 Muskoka on July 22nd!

Thanks for reading!

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