It's the final countdown

Courtesy Jennie Finch

Jennie Finch is encouraged by her second-place finish in her final warm-up for the Aquaphor New York City Triathlon.

I did one last T-Gator sprint tri over the weekend -- a last-ditch effort to iron out my transitions and essentially have a final dress rehearsal before New York this weekend. I can't believe it's here already!

The race was sold out, so there were more competitors than at the first two I did. I hopped into the water and my swim was awesome! It was the first time I didn't have to stop or sidestroke to catch my breath. I just pushed through straight and kept my rhythm for the whole distance. Then I had a quick transition, hopped onto my bike and felt strong all the way through. Another quick transition, and even the run felt good with a pace of 7:41 per mile. The whole thing was faster than my first race even though it was a longer distance, so it was very reassuring. One more big step to race day!

Today I'm getting ready for a final bike ride before Coach Grampy comes over and helps me figure out how to pack up my bike to check it on the flight to New York. That will be the start of my packing. Hope it all gets there in one piece!

The whole family heads out midday Thursday for NYC, and we have a full itinerary. I'm doing some media events and an autograph signing at Modell's and then the "Diaper Derby" on Friday, which is bound to be adorable. Essentially, I think they put a bunch of babies in the middle of an arena and see which one wanders to the finish line first. Paisley isn't very mobile yet, so I'm pretty sure she's going to be right there at the start line when the whole thing is over. My boys are refereeing, too, so it will be a family affair.

And after the race I'll be playing in the Legends & Celebrities Softball Game at Citi Field on Sunday afternoon. It's going to be a killer day, but it's one of my most fun events of the year, so I was psyched to be able to do it. My fast pitch might be a little slower than normal and I may not have the legs for running bases, but I'll do my best!

Race-wise, I am looking forward to putting my head together with my coach, Gale, to talk about strategy, as well as to driving the course so I can see how it all fits together. It'll be interesting because where I bike here at home it's all pretty straight, and I know there will be a lot more turns in NYC. My bike time may be a little slower for it, so we'll see. I also need to practice some more transitions in my wetsuit. It's too hot to swim in a wetsuit much where I live, so that's on the to-do list as well.

I kind of get overwhelmed when I think of the entire race, but then I remind myself to take one thing at a time: one stroke in the water at a time, one revolution on the bike at a time, one stride at a time. I try not to get too nervous, but the nerves do flare up. You're always second-guessing your training, wondering whether you should have worked out more or run more, but at some point you have to realize there's not much more to build on. You have to trust in your training. So I try to take a deep breath and remember that just being out there and being able to swim and bike and run is a gift. Not too many people get to swim in the Hudson, race on their bike and run through Central Park. Life is good!

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