Jennie Finch: An incredible, cool time

AP Photo/Matt Peyton

Jennie Finch says her heart filled with gratitude when she saw veterans competing alongside her at the Aquaphor New York City Triathlon.

I did it! I can't even describe the whirlwind of emotion the last few days have been. It was just so cool to be a part of something so big, standing there at the start of the Aquaphor New York City Triathlon with the national anthem playing and then watching the pros dive in.

There were a lot of nerves right up until the second I jumped in the water, just wondering what it was going to be like. They had 15 athletes jump in every 20 seconds, which made it more spread out and less crowded than I'd expected in the water. The swim was awesome. I saw the 900-meter sign -- halfway -- and then all of a sudden I ran into the dock! It was incredible.

The transition was a quarter-mile long from where we got out of the water to where we actually hopped on our bikes. Let me tell you, the hills were rough on the bike. At one point I looked down and saw I was going 32 mph downhill -- and at another I saw I was going 6 mph uphill! I didn't do much hill training at all, and I was sure my time was going to be awful, but I didn't have a watch on so I had no idea.

After the bike, I had another smooth transition to the run. It was so cool running through the city streets. Then we went into Central Park and … more hills! I definitely didn't train for NYC's hills. Thankfully there was great energy all along the course and there were groups of people cheering at the top of every hill.

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

How's that for a leisurely Sunday? After finishing the triathlon Jennie Finch pitched in the Taco Bell Legends & Celebrity Softball Game at Citi Field.

I loved seeing so many shapes and sizes and ages and walks of life, all out there doing this awesome thing together. I saw a lot of veterans who had come back from the war and were wounded or missing a limb and still doing it. Man, it was very cool and my heart was filled with gratitude for them and all they've done.

When I turned the corner and saw there was just a quarter-mile to go, I was so excited to see my kids at the finish. I was sprinting the last stretch when I saw the time -- 3:47. Ugh, my heart sank and I was just thinking I had totally tanked. I was so disappointed, but also relieved that I'd finished.

I saw my husband, Casey, with our daughter, Paisley, and two boys, Ace and Diesel. I said to Casey, "I did so bad, my legs were so heavy." And he's like, "No, you didn't, you killed it!" And he showed me my time -- 2:51! I hadn't seen my time along the entire course so I didn't have any idea.

We'd all been up since 3:45 in the morning, so we were exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. But having the whole family there at the finish was incredible. It isn't easy to get three kids anywhere, but they got to watch me sprint in.

Ace, who's 6, said, "Mom, don't ever do one of these again!" I think he was a little nervous about Mom swimming in the Hudson, not to mention watching me every day coming home from my workouts sweating profusely. Like it or not, Ace, I think I will do another one -- but not before I take a few weeks to relax!

Now it's off to Los Angeles for the ESPYS. I'll sleep eventually!

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