My First Olympic at the New York City Triathlon

My First Olympic at the New York City Triathlon

by Tanya L.

I’ve always been fascinated with the city of New York.  “New York, New York, a town so nice, they named it twice,” as David Letterman says.  So when I started in triathlons in 2009, #1 on my bucket list became the New York City Triathlon.

My journey to race in New York this year started in 2010.  I learned through research that the race sells out quickly each year.  But if you volunteer at the race, you receive a guaranteed entry slot the next year.  You still pay, but no lottery!

I volunteered at the race in August of 2011.  I was in the red transition medical tent.  We had no emergencies in our area, other than a needed Band-Aid or two.  My weekend was a fun success and I was looking forward to racing the next year.

In October of 2011 my early entry email arrived and I was registered and ready to race!  I spent my time training and getting ready to race with Coach Suzy’s guidance and training plans.  Before I knew it, July 8th 2012 was here and my race weekend had arrived!  I was ready!

I arrived in New York Friday morning.  I was staying in the athlete host hotel, so everything for the tri was happening right there, which was great!  I attended the athlete briefing and picked up my packet early, because first I wanted to get ready for the “Celebrate America Underwear Run” in Central Park.  The underwear run is a 1.7 mile run held the Friday night before the tri that brings out all sorts of interesting characters in their undies.  The theme was Celebrate America.  The prize for best costume is airline tickets from JetBlue.  The winning costume this year was two young ladies dressed as Mt Rushmore, with the president heads strategically placed.

Saturday was transition set-up.  I used Tri Bike Transport to send my bike from Chicago to New York and it was ready and waiting for me when I arrived at the transition area.  I decided to ride my bike down to swim start to get a glimpse of where my day would start on Sunday and to test my bike and make sure everything was ok.  Swim start was over a mile from transition, so it was a nice ride and it was good to see the barge we would be using to begin our race.  It was also good to see the swim exit.  After getting my transition space set-up and meeting a few of my neighbors, I went through a transition talk and received some beneficial information.  Then it was time to rest, rest, and rest.

RACE DAY!!  My day started early.  I was on one of the first shuttles to transition.  There had been storms overnight.  The thunder rattling the windows and reverberating through downtown definitely had my heart thumping at 1 am!  After removing the garbage bag I had used to wrap my bike, I began the mile long walk to swim start.  When I got to swim start, I “Body Glided” up and began the process of putting on my wetsuit.  Then the waiting began.  The pros started at 5:50 am.  The first age grouper went in at 6 am.  I was in Wave 10.  They were putting 20 swimmers in the water every 15 seconds.  This moved fast and before I knew it I was at the edge of the barge, preparing to jump.  Then we were off!  The Hudson River is muddy brown in color and very salty.  My only thought during the swim was, “If I see a body, I’m done.”  I know, too many mobster movies!  The swim was really fast.  The current did most of the work.  I was able to get my swim done in a little over 21 minutes.

I came out of the water and began the long run to T1.  During my run I started to take off my wetsuit.  Got to my spot and off on the bike I went.  I had two glitches on the bike.  The first came on the climb out of T1.  My shoe came unclipped; don’t know how or why.  Made on attempt to clip back in.  Had no success and did not want to fall, so I unclipped and ran my bike up the hill!  The second glitch happened during a hill climb.  Dropped my chain.  That was a first for me!  Once I resolved that, I was good to go and the rest of my ride on the Henry Hudson Parkway was uneventful and hilly.

Made it back to T2 and off on the run I went.  For me this was my favorite part.  I got to see more of Central Park, as our run went into and around it.  It was a great run and a great place to finish!!  That park is so beautiful and is still one of my all time favorite places.

So my first Olympic distance was a success!  My awesome coach, Coach Suzy, who helped me get physically and mentally ready to race, made my success possible.  I also feel that my winter of CompuTrainer workouts and the bike clinics I was able to attend with Coach Sarah really paid off.  Put it all together and you have a great race day.

I had a great time racing in New York.  But, nothing there could match our Cheer Crew.  I missed them a lot!  Don’t get me wrong, the people of New York were great and cheered and encouraged the racers along.  For me though, there is nothing like seeing the smiling faces of our world famous Experience Triathlon Cheer Crew, who know me and through their cheers give that extra boost, that extra push to power us to the finish!

I came home from New York the evening of the race.  It was a great trip and I am looking forward to going back to New York to race, real soon!

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  • Alyse

    What a great story, Tanya! Thanks for sharing so many details – made me feel as though I was watching you every step of the way!  It’s big enough to compete in your first Olympic tri, and to add in all the layers of traveling, shipping your bike, not having your team there etc…so much more to deal with! Reading this makes me consider traveling somewhere at some point to compete. Congrats on all that you have accomplished in your journey. You are an inspiration:)

  • Congrats on slaying the olympic dragon, T!!!  Like Alyse, I felt like I was there with you after reading your story…and in a way, I was! 😉  Great job!!

  • Amy H

    GO T GO!!!, you are so amazing and such an inspiration for me.  Your attitute and enthusiasm is contagious.  I am so happy to have met you and am looking forward to getting to know you betterand hearing about more of your accomplishments.

  • Jeff P

    Congrats on a great race. Sounds like it was a lot of fun even with the potential for seeing a body in the Hudson! I would have raced in this race just to do the underwear race! Have to keep this one in mind for the future :). Now with the Olympic race under the belt, what’s next?…..
    Again, great job!!!!

  • Sarah Farsalas

    Wow Tanya–what a cool race/story….I’m trying to imagine what it would be like to start a race on a barge!! Major kudos to you on having such a calm and level-headed disposition, especially with it being a race in a destination-location where the comforts of home weren’t just an easy drive away!! Your determination and drive make you one heck of a fine athlete–this was always apparent in CT, too!! Congrats!! 🙂

  • Drew Repoza

    Congratulations, Tanya!  You have come so far, and accomplished so much already in your triathlon career.  It has been a great pleasure to cheer you on from the sidelines – your positive attitude and hard work are contagious, and I’m glad you got to accomplish your bucket list item of doing this race.  Like Jeff said, what’s next?  The ET Cheer Crew wants to be there!

  • Laura C

    Tanya, congratulations on your awesome race–how fun to cross this one off your bucket list!!! It’s been great to see and hear about all of your accomplishments since 2009. Keep it up–i can’t wait to see what’s next for you along this journey! You are a great teammate and have become a champion in every way.

  • Touch, Move and Inspire!  A true champion in every way!!  The T machine is unstoppable!!! 🙂

  • Jim R

    Congrats “T” on a great accomplishment in New York and all the others you’ve faced in the last few years. You’re an awesome competitor and a real inspiration. 

  • Wendy

    Tanya – thanks for sharing your story with us – i hope you did the triathon “your way!”

  • Kelli Z

    Way to go, Tanya!! I am inspired by you over and over. You are so dedicated and hardworking, I am certain that you can and will do anything you put your mind to. You make me want to do more! I am grateful for your friendship. Look forward to seeing you every Thursday at Run to Become!

  • Steve S.

    Congratulations, Tanya.  Your journey and your story just keep getting better and better!