My first Triathlon
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Ironman Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman
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Lake Placid, New York
World Triathlon Corporation
= 15h 29m 46s
Age Group Rank
Warning, this will be long.
Well this started 1 year ago when James, Pat, and I traveled to Lake Placid to volunteer, watch Jared Milam and Eric Glow race, and sign up for 2014. Seemed like a good idea at the time. We stumbled into a rental condo and completed the sign up process. All of us had the AFND
(All Focus No Drama
) goal in mind for training. Mine did not turn out quite so.
Training for this IM for me was sporadic at best. This was the least confident I have ever been at the start line. We won't even talk about nutrition...I did do some training, just nothing with any structure, plan, or consistency. I did swim and run over the winter, but neglected my bike for the second cold season in a row along with only riding twice during the summer of 2013.
Anyway, we arrived on Monday and got settled into the beautiful condo. Tuesday we swam a full loop in beautiful Mirror Lake. Then we decided to ride the last 12 miles of the bike course. So we went down backwards, with a detour to check out some of the run course. On the way down, I got a flat. I changed it and CO2'd it back up only to find a hole in my tire. So I did it again, patching the hole with a dollar bill. No worries, as I was renting wheels for the race and could pick them up Thursday. continued down, down, down. Got to the A&W and went back up. Grueling, but we felt better knowing what the last 12 miles of each lap held in store for us.
Wednesday we did a quick swim with Robert Jones, whose smile lifted our spirits. He kept saying "I just can't believe I'm here." I can understand that feeling. We did a short jog around the lake after the swim. Then we drove out to see what the bike course from Jay to Wilmington looked like. WOW!! It was much much more uphill that we thought. Our moods soured. At this point I was dreading Sunday instead of looking forward to it. It took a couple of days to wrap my head around what I had seen.
Thursday we got checked-in and it started getting really real. For the record, I weighed in at 206. oops. I got my wheels changed out and we went for a spin. The brakes were very loud and vibrated a bit.
Friday we did no training. I took my bike back to racedaywheels.com and had them put carbon brake pads on. The families arrived and we went from 3 people in the condo to 11. This was actually nice as we were getting a little bored of each other and the lack of activity, lol.
Saturday we did a quick dip in the lake to check the water temp, which was perfect. Eric Glow joined us for that. We then took the family to the free pancake breakfast at the oval. Checked the bikes and bags in and tried to rest the rest of the day/night. Some more family came in and we went to 14 in the condo. There was plenty of room, so it was nice. Tried to go to bed early and got some decent sleep.
Sunday morning: We knew there was a strong chance of rain, both overnight and during the day. It did rain overnight, but we were able to set up the bikes and prepare for the race without any drops from the sky. The possibility for rain had been haunting us all week. I drove up the 8 miles of descents on the way to Lake Placid and knew it would be scary if it was dry. I had zero desire to try it if it was wet. I had a serving of UCAN with protein for breakfast along with some coffee and a bagel with peanut butter.
Up early to walk to the event with Pat and James. We were walking down the big hill
) a black cat runs completely across the road in front of us. "Oh, Hell No" I said. James said, "I think it was a raccoon." There was nothing to do but continue on. Set up the bike. I had the techs put 115psi of air in the tires. Just a little less than usual to compensate for the rain and wet roads. Then I talked to the rest of the fellas and they all put the usual 118, so I went back and pumped them up myself to 118. Dropped off the special needs bags, put the wetsuit on, and went to get in line. After telling the family "I'll see ya later."
Stood in line at the 1:20 sign. National Anthem, Men's Pro Start, Women's Pro Start, then we were off...
1h 16m 24s
01m 49s / 100 yards
I lined up with Pat and James at about the 1:20 sign. I planned to grab Pat's feet as he has been swimming faster than me lately
). I lined up behind him and kinda had to fight for his feet before we even got to the water, lol. Waded in and got going. The clock said 6:40:30 as we crossed the mat. Headed to the first buoy and stayed on Pat's hip instead of his feet. He was easy to spot since he "lost" his swim cap at the start. I stayed on Pat's hip for about the first 1/3 of the way out. I had to cut to the outside then to get around some traffic. I enjoy swims like this. Not the all out mass of bodies like in Madison, but enough swimmers around that there is contact and you have to make decisions. It keeps me engaged and keeps me from having the lulls of "just swimming." Swam and counted the buoys as they went by.
I knew there were 7 buoys plus a turn buoy on each of the 2 long legs
). I somehow missed #5, so #6 surprised me. Went around both turn buoys and decided to head back to the inside and see if I could swim close to the underwater line. I angled in and ran back into Pat. So I swam on his hip for awhile again. My goggles started leaking and I stopped to remove "lose" my swim cap and fix the goggles, so I lost Pat. I noticed it had started raining. Found some open water and tried to glide.Saw a lot of different swims strokes. One guy had a karate chop kick. Another guy's hand entry looked like he was doing kata. Some people get very defensive with any kind of contact and start kicking and thrashing like crazy. I swam aggressive without being mean. I never want to ruin anyone's day. I will swim strong to hold my line and I will push a little on legs to make a hole, but will not swim over anyone or push anyone down. But, as I made the last turn buoy to head to the beach, I clocked some poor girl in the back of the head. Didn't mean to, but I bet that didn't feel good.
Walked up the beach, waved to the crowd, saw 7:17 on the clock, thought "COOL", looked around to see if I could see Pat, didn't, and waded back in to start swimming again.
Headed out for lap two and found more of the same. Nothing really note worthy here until I was headed back in on the back stretch. I noticed the rain got harder, the water was more choppy, and then I saw lightening. Ummm....OK, now what? I figured I'd just keep swimming and hope I didn't get zapped. It was a weird feeling to be swimming in a big lake with lightening overhead.
Hit the beach, looked at but couldn't make sense of the clock, got my wetsuit stripped, and WALKED to transition.
What would you do differently?:
Swim more? This was an IM PR swim for me. I swam alot over the winter. Thanks Gina, Mike, and Ed. I had a goal of sub 1:30, so 1:16:24 was ahead of schedule.
At IMLP it's a ways from the lake to T1. I walked the entire way. I prolly got passed by a hundred people who were in a bigger hurry than me. I got my bike bag and headed into the tent when Pat came up behind me. We found some chairs together and started getting stuff ready for a long, wet bike ride. He got done sooner than me and took off. Somewhere in here, James passed me as well. I was hoping that the longer I took, the less I'd have to bike in the rain. LOL, nice thought. Opted to leave the arm warmers in the bag as I wore short sleeves that morning and was fine. I carried my shoes and socks to the bike racks. I realized that socks were going to be no good so I put them in my pocket. Got my bike and walked it to bike out. A couple of spectators held my bike up while I put my shoes on. I hit the mount line and started the bike ride.
What would you do differently?:
I "could" be a little quicker but knew this wasn't going to make or break my day.
6h 57m 12s
So, as you roll out of transition it is a major downhill, then another big downhill. It was raining a lot. I grab my brakes to try to scrub speed and realize they don't really do a good job of that in the rain. Oh, boy. I made it down the initial part with both wheels under me and headed through and out of town. This was a tough section. I kept it in the small ring and tried to just spin. I hit the first aid station and stopped to get water to mix my nutrition which I had forgot to do in transition
(even though I was there long enough
). Got going and spun and spun and spun while getting to the descents. I really thought the first 30 mile section was going to be easy and a chance to build up a nice cushion on the mph. I made it to the start of the descents and my average mph were around 14.
Headed down the first big hill, grabbed the brakes, and away I went. This was the most scared I've ever been on my bike. It was terrifying. I pulled the brake handles for all I was worth, hoping the wheels wouldn't lock up. I tried to alternate some to let the heat dissipate. If I grabbed really hard, they would eventually slow me down a little, but I could smell them burning. I've never been so ready for downhill riding to be over in all my life. That's not to mention the handlebar grabbing cross winds, lightening, and LOUD thunder bouncing off the mountains. Crazy
I knew from Keene to Jay was suppose to be the flattest part of the course so I got some big ring time in here. I'm an admitted masher and sometimes the big ring is more comfy for me. I also got pretty cold here and wished I had my arm warmers. I knew this was a good place to eat, so I grabbed some shot blocks, but couldn't get them opened. I ate a granola bar instead. Headed out the first out and back and saw James. I spent about 2 seconds trying to figure out how far ahead of me he was before telling myself "It doesn't matter." Saw Pat and he looked good. Spent about 4 seconds with the same thoughts and trying to do math in my head. I made the turnaround and saw Robert Jones on my way back. He smiled and looked good.
Rode back to Jay and saw the turn. Shifted back to the little ring as I knew there was a hill looming immediately after the turn. Spun, Spun, Spun up the hill. I was doing about 8mph and passing folks. All day I was thinking "I've never seen so many high dollar bikes and wheelsets going to slow, including mine." I was a bit worried about passing people, but was in my lowest gear and spinning, so what else could I do? Got to Wilmington and headed out on the short out and back, which was a nice break. Somewhere in here it stopped raining and the sun came out and it was a bit warm, not hot, but warm.
Next comes the climb back to town. I knew once I hit the A&W place, it was about 12 miles of climbing with the first 3 being the toughest. I took the advice that Eric Glow gave to Pat and turned the mph display off of my Garmin. I geared down and headed up. I'm too heavy to be a great climber on steep hills, but I seem to be able to handle longer hills that require me to settle in and grind. That's what I did all the way to the bears. First comes Mama Bear. That's a pretty good climb. Baby Bear was next and really isn't much. Papa Bear was lined with spectators and that was awesome. I stayed in control and spun up it knowing from our scouting ride there is another hill after Papa that we named "Sneaky Bear." After you make the turn at the top of Papa you climb again right away. Actually, there is another one after that before you get to town too. Made it up those and was ready to get to town and special needs.
It seemed like everyone sped up and zoomed into and through town. It was only 1/2 way on the bike so I took it easy. I stopped at special needs and grabbed what I needed out of my bag. There was not water or parta potties available here that I saw. Rode through town, gave my family a thumbs up, waved at the other T3 spectators, and completed my first lap.
Headed back down the hills out of transition and was happy it was dry and the brakes worked better.
Spun my way out of town, stopping at the first aid station for water for nutrition again. I also hit the porta potty on this section. Again this section was much slower than I thought it would be, but now worries, I was ahead of schedule.
Hit the descents, which were now mostly dry, and took off. I had an idea of what to expect this time and let the bike go a bit. I'll have to check the Garmin to see what my top speed was, but I was moving pretty good. Garmin says max speed 46.4mph.
Finished the downhills feeling good and carried it over to the flats. I finally got the shot blocks open and ate some. They were wonderful. I'll have to check and see if they have caffeine because I definitely felt a little bump in energy after eating them. Saw Pat on the out and back again.
Hit the hills and settled in for the climbs. Again I was passing people, but didn't worry about it. I wasn't planning or expecting to run much of the marathon anyway. I was figuring on walking the majority. It rained on us a bit on the uphills then the sun came out and you could see steam on the roads ahead. Seemed to take forever to get back to the Bears, but finally did. Climbed them, along with the others into town. Saw the family again and headed to transition.
What would you do differently?:
Not much. I was much better than I thought I'd be on the bike. Wasn't sure I'd get to this point so completing it in sub 7 hours was fine with me.
Gave the volunteers my bike, got my bag, and walked into the tent. There was lots of open space, so I took 2 chairs and sat down with my bag. Riding in the rain for so long without sock caused my feet to wrinkle and I knew I would probably get some blisters. I pulled out an old trick and put on my thin cycling socks under my running socks. I also put on my compression calf sleeves. Got everything else done
) and headed out. Stepped outside and the sun was shining bright and it was warm, again not hot, but warm. I hit the suntan lotion booth and then headed out.
What would you do differently?:
Nada. Maybe stay longer so I could stay out of the sun longer
6h 41m 32s
15m 20s min/mile
While on the bike, I was thinking that I probably wouldn't run much of this, but I actually felt pretty good coming out of transition. I stopped and talked to the family and posed for a photo. Drank my serving of UCAN, which made me feel sloshy and headed out for a marathon.
The beginning is all downhill, so I jogged the downhills. Got to the bottom and started a jog/walk strategy. I mixed up the ratio as I went. I saw Shannon and he looked strong. Saw James at the turn on River Road. He looked great. I headed out on River road and switched to jogging the flats and downhills and walking the uphills. Saw Pat and Eric. Gave them both high fives. Made it to the turn around and didn't feel terrible. Did a little more jogging and a little more walking. Saw Robert. His spirits seemed good. It was a little humid, so I knew I needed to take it easy. I could feel my heart rate jump any time I jogged. I settled into a strong walk. As usual, but later than usual, my stomach started giving me some trouble. I tried some shot blocks, tums, and water. It didn't like that. Oh well, continue on. I think it's mile 22 and mile 9 that are right together when you make the right to head off of River Road and back to town. It's great to get there but you also know the uphills are coming.
I tried to walk strong up the hills, but was kinda feeling a bit bonky. I tried to push some water and even some coke. Made it up the hills and back to the start chute place. Saw and told James's family that he was coming, but not going to lap me. Saw the family again, gave them a wave, and told them I'd be back in a few.
Headed up Mirror Lake Dr. The energy in town was great. I made it to special needs which surprised me by being before mile 12. Got some stuff out of there and put some stuff in there. Tucked the blue wrist band into my fuel belt for later thinking "I've got to make it there first." Continued up MLD way farther than I thought to hit the turnaround.
Headed back towards the oval and I was feeling bonky again. I was having trouble focusing. Stopped to talk to the family. I told them I was feeling good, but was done jogging. The first lap took me about 3 hours, I told them to expect 4 or maybe 4.5 hours for the second. While talking to them, my eyes didn't focus right and I saw Bob notice. Uh Oh! I made my eyes focus quick, told them "I gotta go," and took off. Nope, this race isn't over for me yet. Walking back down the hill, I just focused ahead and tried to clear my head. I thought maybe I should stop at medical and just let them check me out. Umm...No. I wasn't about to put that control in someone else's hands. I thought about the terrifying descent from earlier on the bike and knew I didn't do that for nothing.
Lot's of things keep me going out there. Thoughts of my family traveling so far to support me, my father still wanting to continue on his tough medical battle, my wife at camp wanting to be in LP but not able to be, the example I want to set for my daughters to never quit, guys like my buddy Jeff Lane and Todd Weiland who would love to be out there running but not currently able to because of medical ailments, and my T3 family who I knew was watching at home. Nope, I'd have to pass out before stopping on this journey and even then, I had a plan to just ask for a rest for a bit. I was ahead of schedule and had plenty of time before midnight
). I just put one foot in front of the other and marched on.
HIt River road again and headed towards the turnaround. I was taking small sips of Coke and water at the aid stations. The sun started to go down and I started to feel better. My feet were blistered and hurting but I wasn't feeling so bonky anymore. I made the turnaround and headed back towards town. With about 7 miles to go I felt like jogging so I did. That lasted all of about 20 seconds. Then I was reminded of some chafing from my bike ride that put a stop to the jogging. I saw Robert Jones who said he was having a little stomach issue. I gave him some Tums and told him I'd see him at the finish. Found a walking buddy and had a nice conversation until the turn to the hills. I walked up the hills enjoying the spectators who were still out in force.
My legs were a little crampy, but not terrible. Had a couple of twinges and let out a couple of audible "uh oh"s." Made it to the top of a hill and saw Eric and Kim who gave me a great cheer. Continued up the next hill and saw the families again. Saw James, who was done. Just had the 2.2 mile out and back on Mirror Lake Dr to go. This seemed LONG. I was just keeping everything together so I could make it to the finish. Seemed to take forever to make it to the turnaround, but I did. I headed back in wondering if the chafing was going to allow me to jog around the oval to the finish line.
With a mile to go, I figured I had this in the bag. I broke out the Todd Weiland blue wrist band and put it on.
Walked to the oval and made sure I had plenty of space in front and behind me. Hit the oval and was able to jog. Cool. Made the curve and heard Mike call out my name. Pointed to the wrist band as I crossed the line and made sure the T3 was visible on my jersey.
Got escorted through the finisher chute, found the family and friends, etc.
I went into this race, honestly not knowing if I could finish it. My training was lacking and I was scared. I really didn't know how this day would turn out. Hell, I'm not sure I expected to finish this one. I sure didn't feel deserving when standing at the start line. BUT, I decided
(was forced by James and Pat
) to give it a go and once I got set in motion, I wasn't going to stop until I could move forward any longer. I tried to keep any goal times and/or expectations as conservative as I could. I wanted to fall back on my base miles, experience, and just go stupid slow all day and see how far I could get by midnight.
I'm not proud of not doing the training, but am very proud of this finish. What a crazy day this was. Swimming in lightening, crazy fast descents in a thunderstorm, and long, brutal climbs at the end of each lap
(both bike and run
). I feel like I answered the bell. Got and kept my mind right throughout the day. I controlled my attitude and didn't let too much outside of myself affect my race. I've heard
) "You are capable of more than you think" and today I proved that to myself. It was incredible to have family and friends at the race. It means so much and is so motivational to have them there.
I have many thanks to give. First to my family. Monica, Becca, and Megan for continueing to support me in this crazy hobby. It was tough not having you at the race, but I felt you with me all day. Mom, Bob, Heather, and Andrew for making a long East coast trip. It was great having y'all there. James's and Pat's families for coming to support and helping with some of the cooking. And to my T3 family who were following along at home. We knew you were out there watching and cheering.
I have to say a big CONGRATS to James Nissen who did the training and had the nutritional discipline to be where he needed to be come race time. He executed a year long plan and KILLED the race!! I do apologise and feel guilty for not being where I should have been to give you a better training and racing partner.
Another Congrats to Pat O'Donohue. You want to talk about consistent, this is the guy. This was IM #6 for him. AWESOME!!
Robert Jones "You Are An Ironman!!" What a crazy day and race for your first IM. You earned every bit of it my friend. You put in the training and executed a solid plan. Huge Congrats to you buddy. Your smile was infectious all day, thank you for that.
Thank you to Eric Glow for his calm and confident attitude. It certainly helped to calm me down during Saturday's swim. Your experience here and little tidbits of info were important and appreciated. And thank to Kim Glow for the hospitality for offering our families shelter from the rain. I haven't asked if they made it that far down the course yet, but the offer was much appreciated either way.
Thanks to Shannon Pritchard for the kind words of support out on the run course, they were welcomed, needed, and appreciated.
What a day...
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Lack of consistent training.
Love the venue and the race. Glad to have done it.
Last updated: 2013-08-01 12:00 AM
01:16:24 | 4224 yards | 01m 49s / 100yards
Lap 1 - 36:58 Lap 2 - 39:26
2 laps of the long rectangle (almost an out and back)
71F / 22C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:57:12 | 112 miles | 16.11 mile/hr
First Lap: 3:24:56 (16.4mph) Second Lap: 3:32:16 (15.83mph) 10 mile splits: 14.9 22.2 18.9 15.7 14.1 12 22.4 18.9 18 13.8 13.2
8 miles of "rollers" slow uphills 8 miles of crazy descents 20 miles of "flats" 20 miles of climbing TWICE
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:41:32 | 26.2 miles | 15m 20s min/mile
Mile splits: 11:24 11:28 12:10 12:30 12:36 13:23 13:49 15:19 15:26 15:25 15:49 18:08 special needs 16:12 16:40 16:31 16:40 17:07 17:02 16:25 16:28 16:15 16:27 16:09 16:47 16:36 16:26
Downhill through and out of town. Rolling along River Rd and back Uphill back into town Out & Back on Mirror Lake Dr TWICE
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]
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