Training was like what I imagined being pregnant would be like. I was constantly exhausted and craving foods like hot dogs and peanut butter.
There’s truth to that. When the big day finally came around, I couldn’t get over my surprise that I was actually prepared. Sure, I had my moments. My dip in the river left behind the dreaded “Hudson mustache” of grime around my mouth, and even though I had slathered myself with Bodyglide, I almost couldn’t get my wetsuit off. On the cycling leg of the race, I was so distracted that I didn’t notice my front brake was unlatched—though I suspect that may account for my incredibly fast pace coming downhill. When I finally started the crosstown run toward Central Park, my legs were so numb that I had only one despairing thought: I’ll never make it.
But then I realized that the whole street was filled with people clapping and cheering—for me. “Go Elisa!” hollered total strangers, reading my name off my jersey. I felt my leg muscles coming back to life. And—most unbelievably—I realized that I could even call myself an athlete. As one father said to his two little girls, “Look at the lady running so fast.”