This past weekend I competed in my first ever Triathlon, the Olympic-length NYC Triathlon. It was a 1500 Meter Swim, 40 Kilometer bike, and 10 Kilometer run. The swim was in the Hudson River, bike on the West Side Highway, and run across Manhattan into Central park.Overall, the race was great! Going into it, I felt a little bit underprepared, but as soon as I got in the water, I was felt great about it.
My official stats were:
participant: Jeffrey Donenfeld
bib number: 5187
location: New York, NY
overall place: 1175 out of 3484
division place: 139 out of 365
gender place: 997 out of 2314
Swimming in the Hudson River was a daunting, but quick task. The water was salty and dirty, however we were really only in it for.. 20 minutes! As soon as I jumped in the water before the start, I was swept downstream a bit by a swift current. Luckily there’s a rope to hold on to for the start, so I didn’t go too far. With the current, the swim really only took me 20 minutes or so – a quick one. I felt fine in my arm-less wetsuit, and the biggest issue was swimming in a straight line! I guess not being able to see the line on the bottom of the pool threw me a bit – every time I would look up, I’d be swimming just a little bit off to the side. For the next race, I think I’ll need to practice much more “open water” swims, to get comfortable swimming straight unassisted.
Transition 1 – Swim => Bike
When I got out of the water from the swim, I felt pretty good. There was about a 3 minute run from the swim exit to the transition area, and during that run I got the top part of my wetsuit off and pulled down around my waist. I also managed to run under a few freshwater showers they had setup, to get a little of the Hudson water off of me. Also, I remember running along and actually passing people on my way to transition – not sure if you’re supposed to run fast to the transition, but I did, and it felt fine, even in bare feet on asphalt. The transition took me about 7 minutes, and I felt well organized. I had gotten there the night before, and had all of my stuff laid out in two piles, ready to go. The only thing I was nervous about was being in the right gear to get up the hill out of transition.
The bike was great! Flying up the West Side Highway with a ton of other people was thrilling, and it felt good to dry off after the swim. The course was much more hilly than I expected, but overall wasn’t too bad. Despite the fact I was on my uncle’s Cannondale roadbike from the 80’s (which he has done many triathlons on already), I actually ended up passing lots of people on much nicer bikes – kind of a nice feeling. The downhills at the end were the most fun, and I believe I hit around 35 mph at one point. I had two bottles of water with me, but only drank my way through one. I also had two packets of Power Gel – I ate the chocolate one at the mid point of the bike, and the strawberry one near the end – to give me a little boost for the run.
Transition 2 – Bike => Run
This transition was easy and straightforward – just slipped on my running shoes and ran off. The first few steps of the run hurt! My ass was a bit sore from the bike seat, so it took a bit to get into it.
The run was by far my favorite part – it was extremely hot out, and running through Manhattan in the blazing heat and direct sun was thrilling – In the first few miles of the run I was having a bit of trouble feeling my legs, and couldn’t get a really good sense of how fast I was running based on my leg speed. Since I was wearing a heart rate monitor, I based a lot of my run speed and performance on my HR, trying to keep myself in in the 90% of max zone. Around mile 4, once I was in the park, things started to feel much better, and I got the true running feel back in my legs. The end 400 meters or so were a bit confusing, and since I didn’t check the details on the finish area ahead of time, I was a bit caught off guard by the sudden sharp turns at the end. Finishing I felt great and energized.
My first triathlon was a great experience, and I’m excited for the next one. I’ve head that it’s easy to get addicted to triathlons, and now I’m beginning to understand what those people meant.