Friday, August 10, 2007

Blog the Twenty-Seventh

(Pre-Apology: Sorry that the photos and text in this post are all over the place! The New Blogger isn't very photo friendly and I just get too frustrated trying to format XML. Hope you like it anyway, and there's a video at the end! Promise my next photo blog will be more reader friendly!)

There are times, Motherless Daughter, when life will take over and steer you towards happiness, even if you don't want to go, and are dragged kicking and screaming. Good things will happen. Let them. And enjoy.

Here's a bit of what's been happening in my world.

First Time Father-Daughter Team Makes Debut At
Nautica NYC Triathlon

"The CaliYorkers"

Growing up in New York City you hear a lot about the Hudson River, and none of it good. You wouldn’t want to touch that river with the tip of your toe, let alone go swimming in it. But that’s exactly what mixed relay team “The CaliYorkers” did on Sunday July 22nd for the 7th rendition of the Nautica NYC Triathlon.

My Father (Nelson Molina) and I had never done any Father - Daughter events together, so we were both very excited about participating in the NYC Tri as teammates. For months we trained together, Dad on the east coast and me on the west, by calling regularly to check up on progress and set new challenges for each other. My Father is a great runner, so I had a whole lot of catching up to do!

We opted to check-in early (good idea!), so Friday evening was spent at the 53rd street Hilton Hotel listening to briefings, picking up race packets and browsing all the race merchandise that was for sale. Saturday was bike drop off day. Team CaliYorkers was in Yellow Transition.

Lucky us, we got a great spot right near the runner’s exit, under a shady tree and by the fence! It was very easy to find my bike after the near 1/4 mile run back to the transition.
As you can see from the pictures, the weather was sure with us last weekend. Rain was in the forecast, yet from the day I arrived in New York, till the day after the race, skies were blue and the sun was brilliantly shining. It was the perfect day for a triathlon!

A Swim in the Mighty Hudson

There were a lot of other firsts to note surrounding this event. Besides being our first Father -Daughter event, Nautica NYC was also our first Olympic Distance race. It was the first time I was doing two parts of a tri – swim/bike. And it was the first time anyone in my family (and probably so for many participants!) had taken a dip in the Hudson River.

I really didn’t know what to expect of the Hudson. All the news on the Nautica site professed that the river was as clean as it’s been

in 100 years. Yet I couldn’t help get a bit queasy at the thought of swimming in the infamous river. And I wasn’t the only one. Many family members and friends wished me luck, particularly on the swim – noting that I should be careful not to swallow anything, and might want to consider covering myself entirely in plastic!

All worries were for nothing as it turned out. I’ve not had a more beautiful, clean, fun and fast swim in my two seasons in triathlon! The Hudson was MUCH cleaner than I expected. The 1500 meter straightaway (with the current) was lined by the seawall and spectators on the left, and by a host of very expensive looking yachts on the right. Kayakers provided further line sighting and safety. I did see a few people needing to be pulled out of the water just before the 900m mark. You may be able to see the finish from the start, but once you’re in the water, 1500 meters is really a long way!

I finished the swim in 30 minutes, and that was with some sightseeing along the way. Since I’d never been in the Hudson, I didn’t want to miss the view by speeding along. I took some time to wave to the people and appreciate the view - which included a lovely Jersey riverside and a majestic George Washington Bridge.

The one bit of advice that everyone got was not to stand up before the finish. Swim all the way to the ramp and then stand.

Reason – you’ll get stuck in the Hudson River muck and freeing yourself will take forever! As you can see, most folks took that advice!

Up the Westside Highway

I wore those Mickey Ears for 25 miles! I got only compliments, big smiles and dozens of renditions of the Mickey Mouse Club theme song. One rider even shouted, “Good to see someone with a sense of humor!” as he flew past me heading back down.

While the hills were killer (who knew!), the view was once again spectacular. The West side of Manhattan is much more scenic than the East. The bike course started on 79th street and proceeded north to Gun Hill Road in The Bronx before it looped back again.

This route takes you along the Hudson River, past lines of lush green trees, below the Cloister’s Museum at Fort Tryon Park, past the George Washington Bridge, through toll ways and byways until finally it’s time to come back and see it all over again.

I lived in NYC for 18 years before I left to college. I was born and raised in Manhattan and The Bronx, and it wasn’t till this ride that I realized I had missed so much of what makes the city so stunning. I would be the first to tell anyone there’s nothing but trash, big buildings and bad smells in New York. But after this race, I find I am sorely, and happily, mistaken.

Treading the outskirts of the city, sticking by the handsome Hudson, reveals a side of the city I imagine mostly only tourists get to see. It was quite an experience to catch a new side of my hometown. I finished my first 40K in 2:34:35.

Runners get all the Glory



That’s my Dad! Runner extraordinaire! This was his first triathlon experience and to get ready, he had returned home to prepare for his leg of the race. Who goes back home?! Well he did, and arrived just minutes before it was time to transition. We couldn’t have asked for better timing, or I would have been quite worried as to where my Father was!

Dad has been a runner all his life. He completed the Yonkers Marathon and made it all the way to mile 20 of the NYC Marathon before bonking (this was years ago of course). In 1981, he was on the front page of the sport’s section of the NY Times for participating and completing the Pepsi Challenge - a run from Jersey, across the GW and down into Manhattan. This race started Dad’s racing career. 26 years later, he’s still going strong!

My Father crossed the finish line in 51:19 – his best time yet for a 10k.

The Family that Tris Together

At the end of it all, my Father and I, Team CaliYorkers, finished 22nd among 25 mixed relay teams. Our total time was 4:08:54 (this includes transition times). We had 21 friends and family members cheering us on, a few had even seen the entire race from swim start to the finish line.

Our guests were New York City natives, or from parts such as Ithaca, New York and as far away as Fayetteville, North Carolina!

The Nautica NYC Triathlon was a great challenge, a great experience, and a great way to bring the family together. My Father and I are planning to do it again next year but this time as individual competitors! I have no doubt I’ll get my Father on the swim, but once he’s out of the water, I’ll be in big trouble!

Thanks to you, friends, family, and co-workers for all the awesome training help and wonderful moral support! Till next year!

Swim – Bike – Run!






Check out video of my swim!

6 comments:

Kelley said...

AWESOME-I love the pics!!!

Yvonne said...

The photos are AWESOME. You and your dad kicked some booty that day! I have to warn you, though...expect more fun to be thrust upon you during our LV road trip!!!

Krys said...

That is amazing. :) What an incredible thing to be able to do with your dad!

Invite the Party said...

That is awesome. Although I must say, living in New Jersey, the whole Hudson River thing made me very uneasy. Thanks for sharing.

Davenholl said...

hi chocolate. i have been away but today I had a chance to catch up on your blog and mine! Good to see you doing something with your dad. I love the Mickey Mouse ears on the bike helmet!! Ive missed being on and so I apologize... :)

Joared said...

Congrats on your Triathlon accomplishment.

I just read your loving tribute to your Mother. The loss experience is never easy, especially that of a young parent and mother. Even when a person is my age and the ones we lose are older, whatever the medical reasons, the adaptation continues to be challenging.

I didn't spot an email address for you, so I'm here on your blog. Thank you for adding the link for Nick's video to my piece at "Along The Way." He certainly demonstrates an indomitable spirit, much as another blogger, Pam, with ALS who blogs at "Mind Trips" http://capeandtights.blogspot.com/