I headed to the Big Apple this past weekend for the NYC Tri. I competed in the race last season and performed very poorly, so I was very motivated to have a great performance. I was also coming off of a second place finish just three weeks ago at the Philly Tri. Everything was feeling great, and I felt I had another podium performance in me.
The swim at NYC is in the Hudson with a very strong current. This usually results in a swim with relatively no gaps forming, but that scenario did not play out this year. My start position wasn't great as it was right in the middle of the pack. The only good spot to be was all the way on the right. The dock we were on seemed to block a lot of the current, but if you could get near the edge, you could get into the current right away. At the start, I was unable to get ahead of the mess, so had a bit of a pack to my right. The guys who started on the side got into that current and were gone. I really wanted to get over there, but the pack beside me didn't seem to have the same idea. Whenever swimming in a river, the current is always strongest towards the middle, so that is the place to be. Somehow, we ended up losing about a minute even with the fast swim.
Once I got on the bike things really started to go wrong. First, it was just a plain lack of power. My legs felt like they really couldn't push anything. I tried to stay positive since usually you can work yourself out of a low spot if you stay on it, but things just got worse. I started to get really nasty side stitches in my shoulders and at some points felt I could barely breathe. I was holding power that I normally do on just some tempo riding, but I was struggling hard. Guys that I can normally either stay with or put time into were outriding me minutes. When the bike came to an end, finally, I hopped off and had an extremely tight hamstring. I had never had that feeling in my leg getting off the bike before. Everything seemed to be going wrong for me.
I headed out on the run and just did what I could. I was having more stomach cramps during the run, and I knew it wasn't going to be even close to how I am capable of running, but some days you need to just keep moving forward. You always give it everything you have, even if that means it isn't much that day. This can be really hard to do when you know you should be near the front of the race battling it out with those guys, but not every day is going to be a great one. For me, this day was a complete explosion.
After the race, I was really just happy the day was over. It's a long day when you are feeling like that for the entire race just about. I think the best thing that could have happened to me at that moment is to know that I have to prepare for another race just 6 days away. I knew I would get to go home and start preparing to get after it again. Had I not had another race right away, I would have been dwelling on this performance for a while. My next race forced me to put it in the rear view mirror and move on. I have ITU Magog coming up in a few days, and I have been very happy spending some time at home preparing. My preparations in the last couple of days have felt very good, and I know that I can showcase my fitness this weekend. I've also had the benefit of being back at home the last few days, and there sure isn't anything quite like Mom's cooking.