I can happily report that I finished in one piece, in 3 hours and 41 seconds! I was shooting for a sub-3 hour time, and at first was really hard on myself. Then I remembered my thoughts during the swim ("just let me get to the finish line, the wetsuit is tight around my neck and I can't breath"). This is a shot of the swim exit on the day before the race.
I had my best swim, run and transition times. I just came up a little short on the bike, which had been my focus. But looking back, I didn't get a flat, and that would have been disastrous. I can't change a flat tire, and it would have taken me out completely. I can't continue on like this and will be learning starting next month.
A few key moments, takeaways and memories from the race:
1. The Para Athletes are simply AMAZING. While we all waited for the swim (it was delayed 20 minutes for thunderstorms), they interviewed athletes over a PA system. One girl says could really use a knee. And I take that for granted! Above the knee, above the elbow, you see it all, and they all are going by me!
2. Not applying sunscreen and combing hair post swim definitely saves time.
3. A crash 5 minutes into the race climbing a steep hill would have been bad. It was narrowly avoided and I have to thank the police officer for keeping me upright!
4. That feeling of jumping in the water and knowing you can't really get out until you reach the end is terrifying and exhilarating.
5. When can you bike over the Henry Hudson Bridge? In the morning, with a great view?
6. I brought my bike up Saturday and they were blasting Madonna's "Holiday" in the transition area. Can't help but get pumped up.
7. Fellow competitors are super nice. I asked a girl if she thought my tire needed more air that morning.
8. Everyone is body-marked with their age on their calf. I love passing the 28 year olds (because they also had a 10 min head start in the swim). Honestly, the older women are hard core. The 40 year olds pass me.
9. There is no feeling like going downhill at 33 mph.
10. Even when I don't make my goal, I'm still astonished I actually do this, and finish. I love the challenge. I kind of like the unpredictability and lack of control. For a run, I can just go out there and run. Here I have to deal with a river and people kicking, a bike and all that comes with it, other bikers...
I'm hoping to complete triathlon #4 next year at the 10th annual NYC Tri (that is if I can get a spot, it fills up in 20 minutes). And if possible, add another.
A few more pics:
Everything is well marked:
Where the bikes sleep overnight: