To avoid oversleeping or stressing ourselves out too much, my fellow Brooklyn teammates Sarah and Sharon and I planned a sleepover at my place the night before the big event. After a delicious pasta dinner (yay for carbo-loading!) sponsored by Team in Training, we headed to my apartment to write our names on our jerseys with Wite-Out and go over our packing lists one final time.
Setting up for transition
Our official transition area, a giant fenced-in lawn in Riverside Park that now held about 2,000 bikes in neat (but very crowded) rows, was bustling. Beyonce was blaring through a loudspeaker and a race announcer was counting down the minutes until start time. Luckily the rain seemed to be letting up, and before long it had stopped completely. Whew!
Then, before I knew it, we were being called out onto the start barge, jumping into the water and holding onto a rope (and each other) while waiting for the starting horn. As soon as we heard it, limbs started flailing and chaos erupted. About half of us hung back, though, letting the first group of more aggressive swimmers go ahead.
Bike: My way or the West Side Highway
We headed out of the park and up a ramp onto the highway, which we rode up into the hilly Bronx, through tollbooths, around steep curves, and back down into Manhattan. I passed a lot of people changing flat tires along the side of the road, but I did my best to avoid potholes and thankfully did not have to join them.
After reracking my bike and retying my shoes, I headed out of the park at a nice, easy jogging pace. Running 6.2 miles is still challenging for me by itself, let alone after a 26-mile bike ride, so I knew I would have to conserve my energy.
Even though the last mile was absolute hell, I felt instantly better as soon as I crossed the finish lineinvigorated by a mix of pride, excitement, amazement, and relief. I finished so much stronger and faster than I'd ever thought possible, and my training buddies all did equally well.