July 12, 2008

No Sleep Till Brooklyn

I spent the majority of my day training in Brooklyn. I spent the rest of my day on the subway going to and from Brooklyn. It started with an 8 a.m. ride with the JackRabbit group in Prospect Park. I usually ride in Manhattan on Sundays, but there is a New York Road Runners race tomorrow so they encouraged us to join in Brooklyn today instead. It sounded like a great change of pace after riding so much in Central Park this past week. Of course the trains weren't running so it took a short bike ride, a transfer and a lot of waiting to get there, but it was worthwhile.

Prospect Park is significantly smaller than Central Park, about 3.4 miles around. We did a 1-loop warm-up, 3 X 2-loops at race pace with short rests in between, and a 1-loop cool down. My first two sets were at a consistent pace, a little under 22 minutes for each. But on the last set, I rode with a girl from the Manhattan group and we chatted the entire way. It slowed us down, but who cares. It broke up the monotony of looping around and around a small park.

I went back to Manhattan, dropped off my bike, got into my swimsuit and raced back out the door to Brighton Beach to meet up with Roberto again from last week. The Brighton Beach stop is on the elevated line and when I stepped out of the train, the wind nearly knocked me over. Even though I couldn't see the beach, I knew we were in for a challenge. The waves were about 2-3 feet or more at times. There was a light current so we swam with it on the first leg, although it didn't make it much easier. If this were just two weeks ago, I would have turned around and gotten back on the train. There is no way I could have handled these conditions. We were getting tossed around the entire time. I got flipped over a few times when rolling to breathe and at least every 2nd or 3rd breath ended up being a mouthful of water. The waves were going over us at times and lifting us out of the water at others. We had to stop about every hundred meters to get our bearings since sighting was nearly impossible. We were laughing the entire time over just how ridiculous it was. But we figured if we could swim in those conditions, we could swim just about anywhere.

We swam from jetty to jetty and back to cover about .88 miles. It was slow going with the quick stops and we needed a moment to catch our breath after reaching the turnaround. We considered walking back to the start and swimming with the current again, but decided to give it a go against the current. It was definitely more difficult and took longer, but totally doable. It was on the return trip that I was stung simultaneously by two jellyfish. It was as though they got together under water, saw me coming and hit the only exposed flesh on my body. I got it on my left ankle and the front of my right shoulder. At least this time they weren't stinging my back since I was actually swimming!

I hit a new level of tired today. I felt relatively good for the ride, but my legs have definitely been fresher. After riding 153 miles this week, I couldn't expect more. When I left Prospect Park and had to carry my bike up and down long flights of subway stairs, I got so exhausted that the thought of riding it down the stairs seemed appealing. Climbing stairs even without the bike made my legs burn. I was moving like one of those slow people I am usually cursing under my breath as I try to get by. By the time we finished the swim, I was toast. I spent what little time was left in the day trying to stay awake and take care of a few odds and ends.

I have two more days of early starts ahead. I'm running a 10k race at 8 tomorrow followed by 4 extra miles to make it my long run this week. Then on Monday morning at 6, I'll be meeting up with some of the JackRabbit group to run the NYC tri course. Since we can't swim or bike the course, we figured it would be good to at least be familiar with the run. I'm thankful I have the luxury of being able to go back to bed afterward. That is definitely something to look forward to.

Distance - 26.84 miles
Time - 1:34:39

Swimming (open water)
Distance - 1550 yards (.88 miles)
Time - 45:00

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