I made my first ever trip to the big apple over the weekend. Before I say anything I have to give a big thanks to my buddy Neil for giving me a bed to sleep in at his place in Jersey City on Saturday night. Just a huge thanks to him. As for training, I had a couple of easy weeks of training after a long grind to recharge so I was interested to see where my fitness was. It takes a long time to build fitness, and also a long time to lose it, so I was pretty optimistic that I didn't lose anything.
Sunday was the most interesting race morning I ever had. The alarm went off at 2:45, however I was already awake after having a nightmare that my alarm didn't go off. Irony I guess. I had my normal breakfast--oatmeal, a banana, and a nut bar. I hopped on my bike and road to the PATH train by 3:15. I sat and waited for the train to leave as I could see most people were on the returning train just finishing their night. So there I am, in my tights a midst lots of people who were wondering what this weird guy was doing on the train with this crazy looking bike. Anyway, I got off the train after it sat at some stops for what felt like ages at about 4:15. Hopped back on my bike and road about 40 blocks to transition by 4:30. It is wild to me how many people are out and about at 4am in New York City-- the city that never sleeps. It was actually really nice because it gave me a bit of a bike warm-up which I never really get. I got transition set up and started my warm-up jog to the swim start up river at 5:15. Despite the early start time, I was feeling really loose and positive. A strong current meant no getting in for swim warm-up, so I warmed up with surgical tubing and was ready to go.
They did athlete presentation and we were all set to go. The gun went off and the day was begun. I got a really good start and positioned myself pretty well. A gap formed on the right side led out by Cam Dye. I was too slow to react and the field was split a little bit. I just kept swimming strong and came out only 30 sec down on the leaders with a super fast swim with the current. Then we started what felt like run #1 of the race. It was a 700m run from swim exit to transition. Running near 5:00 pace bare foot on asphalt made it feel pretty long, but there's nothing you can do, just suck it up and run as fast as you can.
Onto the bike and I could see the leaders up ahead. At this point the rain was coming down pretty steady. I was feeling pretty solid. I hit a really big pot hole and my pads shifted down quite a bit and my seat actually leaned forward a bit. The second half of the ride I was dealing with a lot of back pain which made it hard to concentrate on the things I needed to. The lead pack got away from me pretty early and once that elastic snaps, big gaps form. Regardless of the problems I had, I make no excuses. I simply didn't perform like I needed to on the bike and it cost me. It is a weakness that I am determined to make a strength, and I will do the work I need to in order to make that happen.
I got off for the run wondering if I would have trouble keeping posture for the run, but I felt great. It was still raining, but I think I do really well in poor conditions. It almost makes it more fun for me. The first mile of the run was an incredible experience. Running a 5-min mile mostly uphill is tough, but the crowds were so loud I didn't even feel it. All the noise gave me such an adrenaline rush and I couldn't believe how cool it was. The crowds continued into central park as we began our loop through there. I was surprised how hilly it was. It was definitely a very challenging run. I ran down as many guys as I could and got into 7th. I was happy because I ran extremely well- a 30:48 10k (although I think it was short so probably in the 31:20-31:30 range). Doing that on a hilly course in the rain is very encouraging. I was just disappointed because I really under performed on the bike that cost me a chance to battle for a podium spot. But as always, it is always important to look at both positives and negatives. I swam strong, ran really well, kept my mind in it, and really enjoyed racing against some of the best in the world. I know some more things I can improve on and am excited to keep making those improvements.
My first trip to NYC was also an incredible experience. I've never really like cities and I know I could never live in one, but NYC is a spectacle. So diverse and so massive. So much is always going on and I had never seen anything like it before.
I always have to thank my sponsors SCOTT running shoes, The Sport Factory, Zone3, Bottle Rocket, and Kiwami. Each plays such an important role in helping me do what I do to succeed and pursue my dreams. I wouldn't be able to do it without them. Again, a huge thanks to Neil for letting me stay at his place for the weekend. I'm really excited to continue working and I think I will be ready for a great performance in three weeks at Lifetime Chicago. Until then, happy training!