Ironman Lake Placid - Triathlon

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
73F / 23C
Total Time = 11h 59m 32s
Overall Rank = 447/2772
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 10/93
Pre-race routine:

We drove up to New York City on Sunday and I was able to do some sightseeing at the Statue of Liberty, 9/11 Memorial, a trip to Obscura and dinner at Serendipity 3. I was also able to get a 45min run in at Central Park Tuesday morning. About half a mile into my run I got a sharp pain in my knee so I walked around for a few minutes until it went away and ran mostly on the soft trails the remainder of the time with no issues. On my way back to the hotel I got a text from one of my friends also doing IM Lake Placid that Craig Alexander just posted a photo on Facebook of him running in Central Park that morning – I was half tempted to sprint back and search him out but thought better of it :)

Wednesday afternoon we arrived in Lake Placid and my husband came along for a 45min easy bike ride – I planned to just ride the run course since it was relatively flat other than the hills leading directly out of town… unfortunately we missed a turn and ended up riding the first part of the bike course and rode the long climb out of town… oh well at least it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Thursday I checked in, picked up my swag, signed away my life, weighed in, and spend some $$ in the IRONMAN store, then in the afternoon I met up with my coach and fellow IM LP training friends for a short swim in Mirror Lake. You can’t beat swimming there! Clean, clear, wetsuit legal temps and a yellow cable to follow around the 2 loop course, although I was expecting a thick bright yellow cable (like telephone line size), it’s more like a thin rope or thick string… so you can’t be more than a few feet off of it to see it well. Still it’s better than nothing. Friday morning I woke up with a severe cramp in my left calf, which took a while to relax… I met my coach/training friends in the late morning and we rode from the Lake Placid Brew Pub to the end of the Keene decent. The decent was intimidating to me as I’d heard all the talk of hitting 50+mph but the fact that it had been paved recently eased some of those fears and as I proceeded down the decent I was able to let loose and didn’t ride my brakes too much. We then drove the rest of the course, and then finished riding back into town after the bears. I went to the athlete briefing (no new info if you’ve read the athlete guide) and the welcome ceremony, which was a good experience to get everyone into the IRONMAN spirit! Saturday was pretty low key, I did a short run of the out and back on Mirror Lake Drive and then ran the hills coming into town, then packed my gear bags and took them as well as my bike to transition. In the afternoon I did some easy sightseeing with my family and had my typical pizza pre-race dinner and went to bed just after 9pm.
Event warmup:

I slept pretty well and woke up at 3:50am, had breakfast (oatmeal, small glass of orange juice, and ½ bottle of Ironman Perform), and walked to transition around 4:40 (transition was only 0.5mi from the house we rented). After body marking, double checking my gear bags and putting nutrition on my bike as well as pumping up my tires I headed to my coaches tent set up on Mirror Lake Drive. Four of us that had trained together tried to calm our race nerves and then did a quick warm up in the lake before heading down to get in line for the swim. The swim area was very crowded and it took some maneuvering to get into the 1:10-1:20 swim corral where my friend Erin and I wanted to start but we made it. After the corral ahead of us went they held us for a few minutes to let the water clear and then we were off!
  • 1h 14m 38s
  • 3862 meters
  • 01m 56s / 100 meters

The first loop of the swim went well, I swam 6-8ft off the yellow cable and had mostly open water and I took the turns wide and had a couple of crazy swimmers trying to run me over on the way back in but nothing different from any other race. I finished the first loop and got out of the water to run about 10 yards to start my second loop and I look over and there’s my friend Erin – we had the exact same time for the first loop so that made me feel good. About a ¼ of the way through my second loop I realized it had started raining – we knew there was a good chance of it happening so I mentally thought to myself maybe it’ll be through the area by the time I’m done with the swim. As I rounded the turn buoy I saw some lighting – again I thought to myself good thing I’m almost done and they can’t pull me out of the water now (turns out shortly after I finished my 2nd lap they did start pulling people out of the water, which I didn’t find out until later that night a few hours after I’d finished). I get out of the water – hit up the awesome wetsuit strippers and tried to stay relaxed and easy run to transition.
What would you do differently?:

I would have swam further off the yellow cable on the way back of the second lap but wouldn't change anything other than that.
Transition 1
  • 08m 54s

I grabbed my bag and headed into the women’s changing tent, which was crowded and I didn’t get a volunteer to assist so it took me a bit longer. I skipped applying sunscreen, it was pouring down rain, and debated whether or not to wear my sunglasses but decided to go with them (don’t try anything new on race day) if they fogged up or I couldn’t see I could always take them off. I wore my Coast Guard bike jersey and triathlon shorts with Zoot arm cooler sleeves for the bike portion. Once dressed I wasn’t sure what to do with my gear bag so I shoved everything back in and tossed it near the tent exit on my way out. It was still a bit hectic in the bike racks so I got my own bike and headed out sticking to the right side of the road to mount after the line and I was off!
  • 6h 17m 16s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.81 mile/hr

At this point the rain was really coming down and I was thinking the Keene decent should be interesting. I focused on maintaining my 130W average power and did an easy spin up the climbs. Once I got to the decent to road felt good despite the rain so I felt like I had good control of the bike although the other cyclists on the road were all over the place riding down the center of the road or on the left side (certainly some rule violations going on there). For most of the decent I kept yelling “on your left” followed by their jersey color so they knew I was talking to them and for the most part people moved over so I could pass on the left – I knew they just didn’t feel comfortable going fast in the rain so that’s why they were taking up so much road but I didn’t want to be held back when I felt good and comfortable in the conditions. I managed to hit 46.5mph down the decent in the rain – much faster than I thought I would do at only 112lbs and in bad weather to boot! I’ve never peed on the bike before and was still undecided what I was going to do when I got the urge during the race… at the first out and back after Keene I saw a guy pull over into the shoulder, slow down, and pee. It was pouring down rain so I figured what better time to give it a try, on the next downhill I let it go and with the pouring rain it washed right away, after it stopped raining I just washed off with some squirts from my waterbottle… I ended up peeing a total of 7 times on the bike so I now consider myself an expert and thank goodness I mastered it otherwise there’s no way I would have met my goal race time of under 12 hours. Yes, I am quite proud of this accomplishment – although I’m pretty sure my shoes won’t recover from the ordeal. During the out and back I also met back up with my training friend Erin and we pretty much stayed together the rest of the race, it was pretty nice having someone you trained with all year alongside for the race :) The rest of the first lap was pretty uneventful – the three bears weren't nearly as bad as everyone talks about, in fact the hills leading up to them were worse in my opinion. I made a quick stop at special needs to pick up more bottles of Ironman Perform, another Bonk Breaker, and add more chamois crème. On the second lap the rain finally stopped and I got to the Keene decent on dry road although I didn’t go too much faster than the first time, I hit 47.2mph – still very fast! Shortly after the Keene decent the strap on my right shoe came a little loose and was hitting my crank on the rotations – it took a while to get the Velcro to re-adhere but I got it fixed, then within 10 miles from the end I started hearing a weird noise from my front wheel – it didn’t sound like a flat and my speed was staying the same but something didn’t sound right so I stopped briefly – I had gotten some black electrical tape stuck on my tire and it was hitting my brake pads as the wheel rotated making the sound I heard – I pulled it off and kept going – I didn’t get it all off as I still heard the noise but not as bad, since I was so close to the finish I just pushed on. I maintained my nutrition of a bottle of Ironman Perform for hours 1, 2, 4, 5 and water for hours 3 and 6, with a Bonk Breaker each lap, and salt tabs every hour with GU Chomps if I felt I needed some extra energy. Shortly after I made the last turn onto Mirror Lake Drive and was heading down the final stretch to transition – I happened to glance to my right and saw two large brown/black spotted hogs on leashes – I did a double take, no I was not hallucinating… I even got confirmation from other athletes afterwards that confirmed my unusual sighting.
What would you do differently?:

I perhaps should have taken a few more calories early on in the 2nd lap as I started to fade partway through. With more calories I was able to pick it back up and felt good.
Transition 2
  • 03m 54s

I made it to the dismount line, handed off my bike to the volunteers, grabbed my run gear bag, and headed into the change tent – this time I had two volunteers to help me – awesome! They were great – unpacked my stuff from the ziplock bags I’d put everything in since I knew it was going to rain and then turned my GPS on and bagged up the rest of my stuff. I ran out then forgot to take off my bike gloves so I ran back to hand it to them then headed out for the run!
What would you do differently?:

I wasn't sure what to tell my volunteers to help me with - I'll think this through next time. I told them I didn't know what I wanted help with so they made suggestions (spraying on some trislide - yes good idea, helping me put my socks on - no I could do that, turnning my garmin on - yes please). They were awesome!
  • 4h 14m 41s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 43s  min/mile

The run starts with an almost immediate downhill out of town so I concentrated on trying to stay at my planned 4hr marathon pace of 9:10/mi… at mile 6 I made a quick 48 second porta-potty stop. I was doing fairly well with my pace until mile 9 and slowed down to around 10min miles. The sun came out so it was getting warm, I was putting ice in my arm coolers, down my sports bra, and pouring water on my arm coolers and over my head. I took water with GU Roctane gel every 4 miles and a salt tab every 30min. My chest started feeling a little tight so I tried to stay relaxed and my left bicep was also starting to get really sore due to my Garmin watch. Heading back towards town I saw two of my other training friends, Kevin and Keith so that was a nice pick me up. I saw my family and coach on the turn around and told my coach about my chest tightness so he said to stretch it out and try to stay relaxed. The rest of the run was fairly uneventful other than seeing my other training friend Bob. My husband surprised me by cheering for me at the bottom of the hills before climbing back into town – I was hurting here so it was nice to see him :) I picked up the pace a bit and made it into town, and after the final out and back on Mirror Lake drive and heading towards the Olympic Oval I heard Mike Reilly announce that my friend Erin was an IRONMAN – almost there! I made the final turn into the oval and the crowd was quiet so I pumped my arms in the air to get them to make some noise (it worked) and then I concentrated on the final stretch in – I was just focused on the finish line – heard Mike Reilly say “Elisha Cook from Chesapeake Virginia is an active duty Coast Guard Officer and you are an IRONMAN!” I crossed the line with my fists in the air – followed by a very brief ugly cry (happy tears)… I finished under my goal time (barely) with a time of 11:59:32!
What would you do differently?:

Not sure what happened with my run pace - all of my long bricks and training runs I'd had no issue running a sub 9min mile. I think perhaps this was just an experience thing. I've done one marathon before and I was hurting bad after mile 19 so I took it fairly easy and was waiting to hit the wall but I never did. Knowing this now I think next time I'll do better. Also it started warming up with the sun coming out so I was getting hot.
Post race
Warm down:

I saw my coach’s wife Denise on the sidelines and went over to see her. Then the volunteers walked me over to get my photo taken and then my friend Erin saw me and I went to hang out with her for a bit but didn’t feel like eating much and went to find my family – I found them but then started feeling nauseous and sent over to sit down near the medical tent for a bit and started feeling worse. The volunteers spotted me and had me lay down on the ground with my feet in the air to get my blood circulation back up to my head but then I started getting really cold so they took me in a wheel chair to the medical tent to warm me up – I got weighed, drank 4 cups of Gatorade, and a cup of pretzels… I was in the tent for about an hour before I left. Then I wandered around to try and find my family and saw my husband in transition picking up my bike and gear. He suggested I go get a massage and that they would meet me at the exit when I was done. After the massage I was feeling pretty good, headed back to the house and showered, took an Epsom salt bath, and then when to see my family who had put up balloons, banners, signs, and my mom got me a celebration gift :) I really wasn’t too sore afterwards and in the days following I felt pretty good – just had a little trouble going down hills/stairs. Feeling great a few days later with no lasting soreness or issues.

What limited your ability to perform faster:


Event comments:

The race itself ended up being an interesting day weather wise and surprisingly not as difficult as I had expected, although I guess that’s what happens with proper training, race planning, and nutrition in place :) Overall it was a great first Ironman experience and I loved the race even with the rainy weather… now it’s time to decide what to do next – I think I may have caught the Ironman bug and plan to do Lake Placid again in 2016 (my mom and little sister have agreed to join me!) Who knows I may do another next year in 2015… just have to figure out which one since Lake Placid is now sold out.

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Last updated: 2014-07-31 12:00 AM
01:14:38 | 3862 meters | 01m 56s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/93
Overall: 0/2772
Performance: Average
Suit: Aquasphere Phantom Wetsuit
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 73F / 23C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 08:54
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
06:17:16 | 112 miles | 17.81 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/93
Overall: 0/2772
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence: 85
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:54
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:14:41 | 26.2 miles | 09m 43s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/93
Overall: 0/2772
Performance: Average
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %2.5%
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5