Begging for Moore: Give a Yard, Take a Foot

Mike Tyson motivates me (I watch his videos before races. I’m not joking!) but Terry Moore inspires me. My teammate and 4-time champion of the NYRR embodies calm and fierce. And he has this uncanny way of letting me believe that I, too, can achieve this balance.

My boy Terry is fast, impressively fast. But what’s even speedier than his SBR splits are his transition times. Sick, just plain ole sick. Knowing that time goes backwards when Terry is between disciplines, I have attended his transition clinic every year hoping that I too can be speedy. (First step: put down the blow dryer and nail polish, NSQ. The transition area is not a dressing room.) And every year, I come away planning to do the rubber band trick with my shoes and the flying dismount off my bike. He makes it all look so possible.

Fast forward to the Thursday morning before the NYRR sprint. I always get nervous before a race, any race. What got me fired up that morning was executing my transition. I put on my sports bra, Speedo bottoms, sunglasses, hat, and fancy new bike shoes. I was getting my head ready. At one point Jonathan asked, “Why do you look so angry?” I responded, “I am executing in the race.” (Not quite sure what that meant other than visualizing the race. It’s about attitude and execution.) I had an easy morning session, about a 30 minute ride with the last bit of it just practicing taking the shoe off while riding and then dismounting. This would save me transition time, the segment of the triathlon where I get a big fat F.

I was able to successfully remove the shoe on the right foot, but had trouble doing the same with the left. On my second try, I got the foot out and was about to place it on top of the shoe while continuing to pedal. That was the problem. I wasn’t supposed to continue pedaling. What happened is the pedal went a revolution, the shoe flipped and hit the floor, and with this disturbance, it sent my foot flying into the spokes of the back wheel. It happened so quickly and slowly. I was able to get the foot out of the spoke and saw the foot instantly blow up. That’s what got me screaming. Look away, look away. The cuts were superficial, and I was incredibly lucky not to need stitches. I went to the E.R. at Harlem Hospital and the x-rays showed that nothing was broken. Again, I counted my blessings. They gave me a set of crutches, anti-inflammatory meds, as well as penicillin; I was to follow up with my doctor the following day, Friday. So I did, and he told me that  I was lucky, and I could play it be ear and see how it felt to return to training the following week. So I asked, “Can I race Saturday?” “Definitely not,” he responded. It was good that I had the decision made for me. I wasn’t going to take chances.

Following the appointment, I ended up picking up my number from NYRR mostly to collect my $95 t-shirt. Here’s how much I wasn’t going to race: I didn’t buy a pair of goggles that I would certainly need for the swim, and I lent out my race wheels. Why? Because I didn’t need them for a race I wasn’t going to do. My foot was just too swollen.

That night at 9:30, I put on my bike clothes to do an easy 30 minute ride on the trainer. After eating chocolate covered raisins from Sahadi’s (yum!) all day, I was tired of just sitting and wanted to move, even for a second. The foot didn’t fit in the new shoes, but did in my old ones with the insoles taken out. Two minutes on the bike, I realized that the foot wasn’t that bad. I got off the bike, put on my running shoes to see what weight bearing felt like. Again, it wasn’t that bad—a little tough getting the club foot into the shoe, but I was able to make it fit. By 10p.m., I decided that I wanted to race. Jonathan suggested I prepare for the race by getting my gear together just in case, but to make the decision in the morning.

To be continued.....