My first Triathlon
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Ironman 70.3 Lake Placid - Triathlon1/2 Ironman
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Lake Placid, New York
32F / 0C
= 7h 12m 11s
Age Group Rank
Warning - it's wordy! Go get some popcorn and a drink, I'll wait. ;
Just a little background info - two weeks before the race I began having knee pain while running that didn't improve with rest. I normally have some degree of pain thanks to osteoarthritis and missing cartilage, but this was different - sharper and more painful but still inside the joint. I skipped all runs and replaced one of them with aquajogging, went easier on my bike rides. Until 2 days before the race I wasn't even sure I was going to be able to do the entire race. I tossed around just doing the swim and bike; doing the swim and bike then walking the half; eventually I settled on taking a whole lot of OTC painkillers and seeing what the day brings and hope to be able to run the run. OK, on to the story!
My husband, I and the dogs arrived in LP later Thursday afternoon, got in a short bike ride in the evening. Had supper at Big Slide, soooo good! Friday we swam in the beautiful, clean, Mirror Lake, then hit packet pickup
) and the expo for some goodies and met up with LT and her family, plus ran into other friends who were racing. Later we went to the top of Whiteface with LT & her dad. They and my husband hiked to the very top while I waited below
(mainly because of my knee
), chatting to folks and enjoying the wonderful view and smell of pines. :
After that, my husband and I got the dogs and took them for a drive for me to see the new Haselton section as well as check out the new out-and-back at Whiteface so I'd be familiar with what to expect.
Saturday I went to fill my bike tires with air to do the short ride prescribed by my coach. As I attempted to spin the wheel around to better access the valve stem, the wheel wouldn't move. At some point the tube had spontaneously blown and blown the tire off the rim. I was none too happy since I just spent good money for my local bike shop to do a thorough check as well as replace the rear tire because it had a cut in it. I put it on the truck and drove it and my husband into town; he wanted to do a loop of the course and I wanted to be sure that nothing more than in improperly installed tube was the cause of the flat. Yeah, I became That Person, the person who needs bike service/help the day before a race.
I'll leave shop names out of it; I went to bike shop A since it was at the end of town closest to where we were staying. They were crazy busy, of course. I told them what was going on and he told me to wait while he fixed it. Cool. Maybe 20-30 minutes or so later, he said it was done. I paid, put the bike back on the truck to ride closer to the house where I planned. Well, it was not shifting cleanly and at times not shifting at all. Come on! Now I'm getting frustrated and my restful, peaceful day-before-the-race is not going as I imagined it would. I put the bike back on the truck and went to bike shop B where I should've gone in the first place as I had done business with them numerous times in the past without issue.
Bike shop B is crazy busy as well, no surprise. Shop guy writes up my ticket and tells me he'll call when they are done, shouldn't take more than an hour or so. OK, fine. I drove back to the house to rest and to wait. My husband came back from his ride, still no phone call about my bike; this is about 2.5 hours later. He suggested we go to the shop to check on it since we were going into town anyway, plus I had to drop my bike off for bike check-in. Turns out they finished it about an hour after I dropped it off and never called. Grrr!!
I had brought my helmet and shoes for a test ride and all was good, thank heavens!! Time to drop the finally working correctly Rico off at transition! I was also able to exchange my race shirt for a different size since it was near the end of packet pickup, yay! The rest of the night I got the restful time I wanted and we had a good supper at the rental house - grilled chicken, Italian green beans from my garden at home, and mashed potatoes.
Friends made me feel so loved and ready by sending texts and messages of luck and encouragement. Little did they know how much of a positive impact this would have on me the next day. So much love, so much good juju. :
We got up in plenty of time to take care of the dogs and ourselves and to arrive at body marking around 5:15-5:30. For breakfast I ate Siggi's yogurt with chopped up apple and granola. Air temp: 32 F.
Got body marked
(it was not pleasant taking clothing off, exposing bare skin to the chilly air to get 'drawn on'! Went in to pump up my tires and set up transition. I looked at my tire - something looked weird about it...ice...there is frost/ice on my tire from sitting in transition in the cold all night! Crazy! I and the girl near me were excited that the racers on either side of both of us hadn't shown up and we had a nice amount of extra space.
Clothing choices for the day: tri team 2 piece tri kit, RunPA wool blend socks
(for bike and run
), arm warmers, bike gloves, Halo head thingie, HTC wind vest, toe covers for my shoes as well as toe warmers activated and placed under the insoles of my bike tri shoes.
Got everything in place, grabbed my wetsuit, goggles and swim cap and headed out to find my husband. As I stood in line for the porta-john, I took in the scene: fog over Mirror Lake and distant, bigger fog over Lake Placid rising up through the trees as the sun started peeking over the mountains. It was magical, made even more special by the calls of some loons nearby. I smiled. I love this place and everything about it!
Ate a Stinger PB cracker, did my inhaler, stayed dressed as long as possible before putting my wetsuit on and even then putting clothes back on over top. It was getting close to race time so I bid him farewell
(with a few tears from jitteriness
) and headed to the start area.
I learned my lesson from last year and had flip flops on my feet to save them from standing on the cold ground and I had a fleece jacket that I didn't care if I didn't get back on over top of my wetsuit. My coach had recommended I start myself at the front of the pace group that I fit into, so I wove my way through the athletes to seed myself appropriately. People were standing in lake to stay warm, seriously. Water temp was 71 and the air temp 32. In the hubbub, I heard a loon call again. So cool, so special. I smiled.
As the race kicked off, the people who were standing in the water gradually blended with the people standing in their pace groups and things got a little jostled. I think I ended up getting pushed forward into a faster group, mainly men around me. I took off the fleece and draped it over the fence and at the very last opportunity to dispose of items, I threw away my flip flops.
We kept advancing, small group by small group and next thing I knew it was go time!
01m 53s / 100 yards
Swim started 10 minutes late because of the mist/steam/fog, whatever you want to call it. As our small group hit the water, I put on my 'assertive face', charging into the water
(rather than just walking
) then doing a dive to hit the water 'running', so to speak. I was right there in the thick of things but seemingly not out of my league. A few people were passing but for the most part I hung with the group, jostling, running into and over each other.
I found some feet and was determined to stay there. In the melee of furiously swimming bodies, I had my first experience of 'the washing machine' effect - being pulled along by the wakes of countless athletes. It was an odd, interesting, good feeling, at times almost surreal. I can still picture the swirling water and mass of arms, legs, bodies.
I stayed on the feet of the person in front of me for most of the first section, then some chick was making my life difficult and I lost him. Oh well, sally forth. I kept up a good pace, making the turn, doing the short end of the rectangle without too much congestion at the turns. On the return section, I eventually found feet again, maybe halfway and I was determined to stick with him and did.
Swam until my hand hit sand, then stood to run in. I was so stoked to see the time on my watch!
Took close to 3 minutes off my time from last year
What would you do differently?:
It's a fairly long run from the lake to transition, so I jogged, not wanting to aggravate my knee and uncertain how it would behave. I got passed by a lot of people but that's OK, I needed to stick to what was right for me. Cap off, goggles off, wetsuit halfway down. I don't like using the strippers.
Trotted to my spot, finished peeling off my wetsuit, started donning clothes, helmet, bike shoes, fingerless gloves, sunglasses. Grabbed Rico and headed to bike out.
I saw EFP somewhere and told him, "I killed my swim, man!"
Took about 4 minutes off my time from last year
What would you do differently?:
3h 44m 14s
Carefully made my way out of town, then started climbing. People were passing me but that was OK, I kept telling myself that I swam better than them! ;
) I passed a handful of people, too. Played leapfrog with a few. So far I was a little chilly but not terribly so. The efforts in the hills got my blood moving and heat rising! My problem knee started hurting a bit on the hills.
I freaking love the beauty of the area and this course. I loved
) looking at the lakes and the steep rock faces as we went past. Got to the Keene descent and went as fast as I dared, keeping in mind my cold, semi-functional fingers which were getting colder by the minute. Passed a guy with a terrible wobble going on, not sure if he had a flat or what was wrong but everyone got around him safely and he made it to the shoulder safely. Scary!
I was SO COLD after Keene descent. I actually briefly considered stopping at the warming van/tent/whatever it was but didn't - I knew it would be just a short bit of time I'd put out some effort and heat up again. I'm certain my lips were blue. My face and hands were so cold. I was shivering just a bit. I said aloud to no one, "I. AM. SO. COLD!!"
Sure enough, the rolling hills leading out of Keene warmed me to a more comfortable temperature but still not hot by any means. Heading into Upper Jay I suddenly heard, "Go [melbo55]!! Go [melbo55 full name]!" Who the heck?! Was my initial thought, then it registered who it was - a group of friends from home who came up specially to surprise LT and I and cheer for us! What a HUGE boost seeing that gang! I yelled something back at them and was all smiles for at least the next mile. What an excellent surprise!
I love this next section of the course, too, along the Ausable river on 9N. So, so, so beautiful. I kept up a steady pace but reminded myself not to burn matches because there was plenty of climbing in the latter part of the race. Made the turn at Jay to head up the hill toward Wilmington and bam, I dropped my chain. I said aloud
(again, to no one, LOL
), "Did I just drop my chain?" then answered myself, "Yup, well sh*t". Got off, quickly got the chain back on and got restarted on the uphill.
By now my knee discomfort/pain was increasing with every pedal stroke, especially when I'd make a stronger effort while passing or climbing. I kept thinking of the kind, supportive words of my friends: "This is your day"; "You've worked hard for this"; "Enjoy and smile"; "Ignore your knee". I continued to soak in the scenery with my senses - gazing at the mountains, smelling the wonderfully fragrant pine trees.
I saw multiple wrecks, some which didn't look so good. The one on the Hazleton out and back was especially bad but the good news was the ambulance was already there helping out the injured athletes.
I kept leap frogging this guy in a sweatshirt over the duration of the course and also a young woman in a Yale kit. On the Hazleton section I saw a creepy angel shrine
(like 20+ angels along the side of the road in the trees and leaves
) which took me off guard, freaky and a bit unnerving. I think it was for a young girl who was killed, I briefly saw a faded picture. Somehow I didn't see it the other day when we drove the course. It creeped me out because it was so unexpected and so vast for a roadside memorial.
I stayed on a schedule of BASE salt and gel every half hour but spaced 15 minutes apart from each other
(ie salt at :15 and :45, gel at :00 and :30
), drank double-dosed Nuun and water. Grabbed a gel from volunteer while moving and didn't crash, yay! At the next stop, a great volunteer helped me with my water and I thanked him profusely. Somewhere just after the out and back at Whiteface I ate an Uncrustable. While it's not pretty trying to eat solid food while breathing hard through my mouth, climbing, I've learned from practice rides that I feel a lot better with some 'real' food in my stomach before heading out on a run. Give it a little time to digest before running.
I handled the 3 bears with no issue and was feeling very strong at the end, even passed a couple people in the waning miles. I was excited and feeling very good, very happy.
Sadly, coming back around the lake I saw a collapsed runner who people were tending to and the ambulance was just arriving as I passed. I later learned the person had a heart attack but survived. Early CPR from spectators and quick EMS attention saved him.
Carefully completed the last mile or so of the course and I was done!
Corrected issue from last year: too tight toe covers. Ordered a bigger pair, no problems this year.
Took about 5 minutes off my bike time from last year
What would you do differently?:
Maybe work just a bit harder in a few places? Overall I'm happy but we always wonder if we could get away with pushing harder, don't we?
Arrived at my spot and 1051 was already there doing her thing. We chatted as I stripped off bike stuff and grabbed run stuff and I was outta there before her.
(Naturally she'd pass me later on the run because EVERYBODY passes me on the run, LOL
Spent a little time getting slathered with sunblock by a volunteer. Started to leave, then ran back to have her put some on my neck and ears.
Took about 4 minutes off my time from last year
What would you do differently?:
2h 37m 44s
12m 02s min/mile
VERY FRICKING PROUD! Ran or 'ran'
(move in a running motion and not walk
) all of it except the last big hill coming in to town on 73 just before Main St., I even ran the hill by the ski slopes AND Main St! First mini goal: run all of River Road. Next mini goal: see if I can run or at least 'run' the hill by the ski jumps. Run all of Mirror Lake out + back. All objectives met, yeah!
Corrected issue from last year: took a hit from my inhaler as I was running down Main St. Yup, somehow inhaled and held while running, don't ask me how but it wasn't the easiest thing!
I was wearing my RunPA hat and had numerous people comment on it, fellow Pennsylvanians, some also wearing RunPA garb. Initially I ran with the bill down but later flipped it up - for speed, I told myself. ;
Ran with my hydration vest instead of a belt. It was more comfortable but didn't hide my fat roll as well, LOL. I won't be purchasing the photo package this year, needless to say!
Again, I was in a zone throughout the run. My legs kept running and were OK with it. Color me shocked but happy! River Road went very well except I almost got nailed by a person exiting a porta-john. Lesson learned: don't run that closely to porta-johns! Chatted to a few people along the way, offering encouragement, thanking volunteers.
I stayed on my feeding/salting/drinking regimen pretty well but not to a tee. Occasionally took some water from the aid stations because I knew mine wouldn't last the entire race.
Made a friend around mile 8 or so. A guy asked me what mile we were at and I replied with whatever my watch reported
(I forget exactly what mile
). He kept doing some walk/run cycles so we'd see each other fairly frequently. Eventually we began chatting and sort of running together. Well, together until he would walk or turn on the run. Toward the end, coming into the more populated section of town, we stayed together. At the steep hill going up to Main St. I saw my husband waiting for me which surprised me and gave me a little boost. I walked up the hill with him
(and my new pal Cole
) as he asked how my knees were doing
("Knees? What knees? I'm ignoring them"
) and how I was feeling
). As I made the turn onto Main Street I started running again. Cole had gotten a little bit ahead of me but that was fine.
Not much later I saw LT and her parents, what another huge boost! I collected some high fives and big smiles, I was having a great day. I made the turn onto Mirror Lake Drive knowing it wouldn't be too much farther! I caught back up to Cole and we ran mostly together. I gave him inspiration to walk less and run more, or so he said. After the turnaround on our home stretch toward the finish, we passed a group of people who were cheering for him like mad and taking pictures, and prompting him to do some silly poses, so I dropped back so he could be in the photos alone. After we passed the group, I caught back up and said, "Were they friends of yours?" "No", he replied, "I just met them yesterday!" I could've fallen over laughing.
I sensed he had more in the tank than I so I told him to go ahead and give it what he had and finish strong. He agreed, said he felt good, and took off. I was glad for him.
As I came down the hill and turned back onto Main Street, I heard a bunch of people cheering for me by name, really yelling and screaming but in my exercised-induced mental fog I couldn't quite figure out who was yelling and I didn't want to take the time to look around and try to find them in the crowd. Later I would realize it was some of my fast friends who had already finished but I sort of forgot about, or rather didn't figure they'd stick around so long after they finished.
I turned into the oval. Don't trip, don't trip! I was so excited and happy, running with a huge smile as I passed the Olympic signs and took in the magic of the finish chute. Crossed the line with some fist pumping, got my medal and hat after double high-fiving the volunteer who helped me walk through and get my chip removed. Found Cole again and exchanged a few words and maybe a high 5 or a hug or something, IDK. Again, I was in a bit of a fog.
Took around 12 minutes off my time from last year
What would you do differently?:
Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy with my run but had I known my knee would hold up, I would've run a bit faster. Otherwise, I'd change nothing.
Eventually found EFP, then LT and her parents. Hugs all around! Chilled down pretty quickly, needed to put on warmer clothes. Thankfully EFP learned his lesson from last year and had my bag for me.
The whole day seemed like it went quickly, even the run. I was in a zone, a good zone. This will sound odd/corny, but it was almost like a dream.
Attitude and outlook mean so much. I kept telling people
(and it's truly how I feel
) that I don't feel like I HAVE to race here but rather I GET to race here; it's not a chore or torturous, it's a privilege. I simply love this area and this course. The beauty of the lake and mountains and trees and all the nature around me brings me such joy and energy. The kind words of encouragement and luck from my friends helped keep my positive outlook strong as well, not that it wavered much.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Overall took around 26 minutes off my time from last year
Volunteers at LP are top notch! I love this race. Many would complain about the cold but I race much better in cold than I do heat, so personally it suits me.
Last updated: 2017-12-12 12:00 AM
00:39:41 | 2112 yards | 01m 53s / 100yards
rectangular, clockwise, one loop
71F / 22C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:44:14 | 56 miles | 14.98 mile/hr
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:37:44 | 13.1 miles | 12m 02s min/mile
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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