With my focus this year being on getting FAST over the Olympic-distance, NYC was the next stop in my racing season. Training since Philadelphia did not go as planned, as I am at that time of year when I inevitably start having lower-leg issues with the running. Fortunately I have gained enough wisdom to realize that my one and only option is to stop running completely if I want to finish out the season, so I spent the three weeks with all my run training transferred over to the elliptical. While I don’t think it makes you faster, I do believe that for short periods of time the elliptical can maintain run fitness, so I was not actually too worried heading into the race.
Race morning started at 3am, as the women were due to jump off the pontoon at 5:50am. This is one of the only races left that is done in the ‘chase’ format- the men start at a pre-determined amount of time behind the women, with whoever crossing the finish line first getting an extra bonus amount of money (time difference was 11:30).
With my race number being somewhat in the middle of the start list, I was at a slight disadvantage diving into the Hudson, as the current is the strongest on the right (towards the center of the river). Knowing this, I immediately started working my way to the right and trying to get on the feet of some of the faster swimmers. I remained in contact with a couple of others and could see that upon exiting, I had probably had one of the best swims of my life, only 40 seconds or so down on the lead pack (although this swim is massively current-aided). 4th out of the water I began the long painful-barefoot run on asphalt to T1.
New York has one of the toughest bike courses I have ever done, as there is not a moment of flat road- only hill after hill after hill. I focused on settling into a strong rhythm and maintaining the most even power output that I could. At the turn- around I could see that all the women were fairly close together- I was still sitting in 4th but seemed to be slowly gaining on two up the road, however there were some very fast cyclists behind me. About 30km into the ride Amy Bevilacqua passed me and I could not match her pace- not a face we see often in triathlon as she is a Cat 1 pro cyclist. I focused on keeping her in sight as long as possible and entered T2 still in 4th, about 60 seconds down on both Amy and Erin Storie (nee Jones). This ended up being my best ride ever in a triathlon with an average power of 222W for 65min (NP=227). In contrast I went 62min at St. Anthony’s in April off of 205W.
Usually when I get to the run I think about pacing myself as evenly as possible to achieve the fastest possible run split. On this day though my only thought was to catch the two ahead of me. Surprisingly my legs felt great and I kept a quick turnover. I thought for sure I would catch them. After 3 miles of running it seemed I had gained very little and I started having a mental battle, wavering between “I’m not going to catch them” to “no, for sure they are slowing down, I’ll catch them.” No matter the result, I just committed to giving it everything I had until the finish line. At 5 miles I managed to get by Erin and didn’t dare look back, just praying she didn’t come with me.
With 300m left to go I had gotten the gap to Amy down to 15 seconds, but alas just ran out space to catch her. I slowed down in the finish chute with a sizable gap back to Erin, but was happy knowing that I gave everything I had on the day. And I ended up with the fastest run split!!!!! I was also a full 12 minutes faster than I was on this course 2 years ago, so it is great to see that everything is coming together.
I have decided to forgo racing in August to ensure that my shins are okay, but will back at things with the Escape Series in September.
Thanks to all my sponsors for their ongoing support!
Skechers Performance Canada
Rudy Project North America
Caledon Hills Cycling