July 13, 2008

Attack of the Killer Jellyfish

I'm going to lead today's post with my second workout because while it was short, it was far more interesting. I made the journey out to Brighton Beach again to get in one more open water swim before the NYC Tri. Sure enough, Hurricane Bertha continues to churn up the Atlantic making the water actually harder to swim in today. The waves didn't look as high, but they were more frequent and I thought I felt a rip current at one point. I used my handy new Garmin to confirm the distance between jetties is .44 miles. I swam this with a bit of a struggle in 14:50, including several inefficient pauses for sighting since a slight glance up only led to a wave in the face. Every other breath was a mouthful of water today and I felt like I was being thrown around even more. Yet when I made it to the jetty, I figured I'd turn around and go back. Why not? I wanted to make the most of my time there.

As usual, the return was into the current so it was a bit more challenging. I was just getting comfortable when it happened. The attack of the killer jellyfish. I saw tons of jellies right off the beach but didn't encounter any on the first stretch. Like yesterday, I felt the stinging on my arms and ankle simultaneously so it was a definitely a group assault. But unlike yesterday, I came face to face with my attacker. Just after I felt the first sting, there it was. A big, ugly pink gelatinous thing about two inches below my face. If it were possible to scream under water I would have. I didn't want to stop for fear of forcing it to sting me more, but I didn't want to keep going for fear of running into his group of friends up ahead. So I stopped. Most of my left arm was hit and was already red and blotchy. A good length along the inside of my right arm was also burning and red as well as the top of my right ankle. I wasted tons of energy treading while inspecting the damage and since I was alone, I felt panicky. Since the jellies were likely still lurking nearby, waiting for my naked arm to pass by again, I decided it was time to head in.

I hated to cut the swim short, but in reality, swimming in swirling, choppy water isn't really necessary to prepare for most races so I felt like I achieved what I went for. It was hours before the sting marks faded, but the image of my pink nemesis lasted much longer.

Taking a step back to my first workout of the day... Today wrapped up week 2 of NYC Marathon training. I've pretty much just continued triathlon training with an extra day of running each week. On the fairly lazy schedule I'm following, my long run this week was supposed to be 8 miles. Because of the NYC Tri next week and the NYC Half Marathon the following week, I had to step it up and go a bit longer this week so I can rest a little next week, but still be ready for the half. So I modified the plan and did a 10-miler. I signed up for the Naples-New York Park to Park 10K so I could practice racing the tri distance and make some of the time go by faster. After finishing the race, I did the remaining miles on my own.

I had a pretty great race. I was conservative on the front half, which worked well since it was the hilliest part, and picked up the pace in the back half. Even though it was only about 72 degrees, it was 81% humidity so they issued a heat advisory. Last year's Chicago Marathon has stricken fear into race directors. They sent out an email a few days ago, there were a few ambulances trolling the course and they had 3 or 4 misting stations. Despite all this, I saw a runner down about 500 yards from the finish, lying flat on her back while medics tended to her. This is not uncommon since so many people overdue it in the end. There were people at the finish in oxygen masks looking pretty miserable. And I still had 3.8 miles to go. Luckily I felt great aside from a lack of fuel. My last remaining gel mysteriously disappeared so I had to do the 10 miles with nothing but water and two tiny cups of Gatorade I grabbed at the finish. I felt fatigued as a result, but pushed through. It's my own fault. I need to start buying my gels in massive bulk considering how many I'm consuming these days.

I hit 10 miles and headed back to the finish area for water and food. They had the usual assortment of bagels and some apples. I held a water in one hand and the bagel and apple in the other hand, and managed to eat both pretty much simultaneously in a very un-ladylike fashion. I'm lucky I didn't accidentally eat a finger.

I'm doing an insanely early run tomorrow morning with some JackRabbit training mates. I really shouldn't be running, but we've agreed to do a nice, easy, slow pace. We just want to experience the run course so there are fewer surprises next Sunday. Wow. Next Sunday. I think my freak out may have just begun.

Running (10K race)
Distance - 6.2 miles
Time - 52:17

Running (extra miles)
Distance - 3.8 miles
Time - 34:08

Swimming (open water)
Distance - 1100 yards (.62 miles)
Time - 21:50

1 comment:

  1. Wow that's jellyfish experience sounds disturbing:( I did my first OWS with Jack Rabbit a few weeks ago. It was wonderful. I didn't have my wetsuit- just the tri suit. How are you feeling with less than a week to go? I'm having pre-race anxiety about the bike portion...afraid of hills- do you know anything about the course? See you at the start! Good luck & enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!!



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