Ironman USA Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
70F / 21C
Total Time = 12h 30m 48s
Overall Rank = 927/2183
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 248/523
Pre-race routine:

I had spent the week with my whole family at my parent's place between Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake. When I say the whole family, I mean it: parents, brother, sister-in-law, sister, brother-in-law, other sister, other brother-in-law, 6 nieces and nephews, my 2 kids, my wife's parents, and her sister. It was the first time we'd all been togehter in almost 2 years, so it was great. What wasn't great was the rain ALL day on Saturday. Sunday wasn't really looking all that hot, either.

On race day, I got up at 4 along with my wife and parents. My parents volunteered to handle dry clothes bags, and my wife had volunteered as a kayaker out in the water, so they needed to be there at 5 the same as me. I had 2 PB&J sandwiches, some water, and some Gatorade Endurance. I brought along about 1/2 liter of GE to sip on up until race start.

My in-laws picked my wife up and I rode into town with my parents. It was raining lightly on the way in. I went and filled up my tires and put my bike shoes, running shoes, and socks back in my gear bags. I had taken them out due to the rain on Saturday. I hung out with my dad for a bit, met up with my coach and a couple of other folks from our training group, then got my wetsuit on and finally headed down to the water at about 6:20.

My brother, two sisters, and daughter were down at the fence and I said good morning and they wished me luck just before I got in the water.
Event warmup:

I got in the water about waist deep for a while. I'm actually in the picture of the people hanging out in the shallow section on the photos page of the IMLP site. With about 15 minutes to go, I warmed up by swimming over to the far side of the start line. My plan was to start on the far right and take basically a straight line to the far buoy.

I got some good strokes in, got used to being in the water, and then stood around shivering until the start. The water was a good 10 degrees warmer than the air at that point. Strangely, I never really got nervous. I had some thoughts of "What the hell am I doing?" and concern that I wasn't really ready for the swim, but no real panic.
  • 1h 11m 58s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 42s / 100 yards

I had put myself far out to the right of the start line, but not very far back from the front, simply because it didn't seem like anyone wanted to be there. When the cannon went off, I headed out. Pretty quickly, I caught a decent shot in the head with a foot that dislodged my goggles just enough to let a bit of water in. I didn't dare stop to clear them at that point. I decided to hold off until things had calmed a bit.

I had fixed my sight line to the far buoy and worked off that while trying to maintain some space around me and get on some feet. All in all, it worked out well. About 700 meters in, I noticed I was in kind of a no-man's land. I was still heading straight to the turn buoy, but there weren't very many people close to me. There were plenty along the cable to my left, and plenty staying wide to my right, but where I was, it was pretty calm. Strange.

I managed to stay on one guy's feet for most of that first stretch. I lost him in the madness at the turn and then got on the cable for the return stretch. Things got a little hairy at times coming back due basically to traffic jams. I chuckled as I watched one guy who was so intent on following the cable underwater that he bumped into the buoy that was attached to it. I didn't chuckle when I did the same damn thing several minutes later! Fortunately, the thing just bobs out of the way.

I felt relaxed and solid the whole lap and came out of the water in a very pleasing 34 minutes and change. I was thrilled with that, since I had major concerns about my severe shortage of swim training in the prior month.

Getting back in the water for the second lap was quite a trip. You go straight out from the shore for about 30 feet along a dock and then make a left turn to go down the lake. With nearly 2200 people swimming one lap and 900 people already starting there second, there was a wild current that just pulls you along. I felt like when I was a kid and we'd get 4 or 5 of us going around at the edge of the pool to create a current. Once I got waist deep, I could feel it tugging on me.

Anyway, the second lap was uneventful. My arms started getting pretty fatigued during the last 1/2 lap, but I had settled into my stroke really well and was breathing every third stroke instead of every other stroke as I had been up until that point.

My second lap was slower, but I still came out in 1:11:58, which was several minutes faster than I had anticipated.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. I think I started in a very good spot and the lack of swim training may have affected my speed a little, but I didn't need it from an endurance standpoint.
Transition 1
  • 07m 4s

T1 at IMLP is a pretty long run from the beach. Apparently, none of my family saw me come out of the water between the first and second lap, so there was a bit of concern about where I was. As I came into transition, my dad was right along the fence (inside T1 since he had full access) and I tapped him on the shoulder as I went by, since he hadn't been looking my way. He called out to my mom who had my T1 bag in hand, so I didn't have to traverse the racks. It's definitely handy having your family volunteer!

I was far slower in the change tent than I normally am in transitions. It was a zoo in there and I wasn't used to it. I had to find a place to sit, try to get my bag open, get my socks on, my shoes on, etc. I also pulled on a jacket that I had purchased at the IM shop the day before. I'm glad I did, because I'm pretty wimpy in the cold.

A volunteer grabbed my bag, I headed out to my bike, and I was off.
What would you do differently?:

Display my normal hustle in T1.
  • 6h 20m 25s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.66 mile/hr

Wow. What a bike course. And that sentence applies in so many ways: scenery, crowd support, toughness. It's fantastic.

I jumped on my bike with no bottles on it. This was intentional. There's an aid station at mile 4 of the bike, I was planning on using nothing but Gatorade Endurance, and I wasn't going to start drinking until 20 minutes into the ride. So loading up with anything on the way out of T1 was completely unncessary. Once I hit that aid station, I started 8 ounces of GE every 10 minutes for the rest of the bike.

It was still raining and cool as I headed out, so I was a bit concerned about the big descents into Keene. You descend heading to the edge of town and even at that time of the morning, there was pretty good crowd support on the way out. Then you've got a several hundred foot climb that takes you out of town that most people don't really pay attention to until it bites them on the ass on the second lap.

My coach had told me to keep under 200 watts on the first lap and try to maintain a floor of 170 watts on the second lap. I was completely incapable of following this advice and was pushing 230 or so going up the that climb out of town. You get into a rolling section for a couple of miles, and then you start the descent. What a blast.

There's a steep descent where, despite the rain, I tucked in and just bombed. I passed tons of people on the way down. It levels out a bit where you start to pedal again, but it's still generally downhill, so you're still moving. Finally, you've got a bombing 3 mile descent down to Keene. I had to sit up a bit in some of these sections due to the some of the other riders, but it was still fun and I passed a lot more people. I didn't check my speed, but I'm guessing I got into the high 40's or low 50's the first time around. That section of road has amazing scenery.

Once you turn in Keene and head north towards Jay, it starts to roll, so this section is pretty fast.

More gorgeous scenery as you head into Upper Jay and then make the turn on Haselton road for the out and back. Even this section is cool because it's a winding road that's fun to ride. By this point, the rain had eased stopped and it was starting to lighten up. The Haselton turn around was cool. There were a ton of people out there with music blaring. Just a lot of energy.

When you come back to the end of the out and back, there are 12.7 miles left back to Placid. Unfortunately, they're the toughest miles on the course. Still, I was feeling pretty good and the sun was coming out. It was turning into a great day.

Coming back into town is great, because there's a climb just before you turn onto Northwood Road and people are lined up along it like it's L'Alpe d'Huez. You come back through town down Main St, which is packed by this point and head out on the second loop. First lap: 2:57, 19 mph.

As I was headed towards the edge of town, I saw some of my family members again and my sister took picture of me as I road by. Then I was out of town and getting ready to climb.

Remember that hill that I said bites people on the ass on the scond lap? It's got sharp teeth. I could tell pretty quickly that this lap wasn't going to go nearly as well as the first. I went even faster on the descent this time, hitting almost 55 mph. But the hills were going to be an issue. I wasn't able to generate nearly as much power for sustained periods and that 170 watt floor that my coach wanted me to maintain was a dream.

I was starting to get really down by mile 80 or so. I was getting passed like crazy on any little incline and despite that I was panting by the time I reached the top. I had just done too many high wattage minutes on the first lap. The thought crossed my mind that I could just stop. My family wouldn't think less of me. I could just be done and call it quits. I never really came close to actually stopping, but it just sat there and tempted me. Once more on the out and back and then I was back to that killer 12.7 miles back to town. It was slow (for me) and it wasn't pretty, but I rolled into T2 in 6:20:25. My second lap was 23 minutes slower than my first at 16.5 mph.

I was glad for the jacket because it went from warm to cool quite a bit along the course, even after the sun came out.
What would you do differently?:

Listen to my coach about staying under 200 watts AND getting a 12-25 cassette.
Transition 2
  • 03m 57s

I rolled into T2 and hopped off at the line. I swear I think the volunteers thought I was going to crash. I like to coast right to the line and hop off. They didn't seem to be expecting this and instead seemed to believe that I was out of control. Another volunteer grabbed my bike so I headed off to get my gear. I changed socks for the run since mine were soaked from the rain early on the bike. This was a very good idea and is probably the reason I ended the day with no blisters or feet issues.
What would you do differently?:

  • 4h 47m 26s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 58s  min/mile

The run course for Placid is just as great as the rest of the course. You go through town, do an out and back section, come back through town, do a shorter out and back section the other way, and the come back through town AGAIN for the second lap. Anyone watching you can you see 4 times on the run and still make it to the finish line to see you cross.

As I headed out, I passed my whole entourage along the road cheering for me. My 16 year old daughter was a little further ahead with my sister and she ran along side saying I was doing great and that she loved me. This was a big deal for me, because 1) she's a teenager, with all that it implies, and 2) our relationship has never been the same since her mom and I got divorced 4 years ago. I tried to express my gratitude as much as possible before having to tell her that she wasn't supposed to run next to me.

I managed 9:15-9:30 miles at first, despite walking each of the aid stations, while plodding along behind this 50-year old guy named Bob. I told Bob that I was going to just kind of hang out about 5 feet behind for just as long as I could. He was cool with that.

Things started to unravel at about mile 6. Walking just the aid stations wasn't quite cutting it at that point and I began to walk longer and longer stretches as the distance wore on. I came back into town, so the family again, and kept plodding. I came through the first lap in 2:14 and was scared to death of the second.

As I went through town for the second lap, I was coming up on my family again. About 100 yards ahead of them, my parents were there with a sign for my brother in law. It was his birthday, so I thought it would be cool to cheer for him. The people around them got a kick out of me reversing roles a bit by yelling and running by with a sign that said "Happy Birthday Scott!"

I handed the sign off to my brother and told him the second lap was going to be SLOW and not to get concerned when if it was 3 hours or more before I came in. At this point, I was starting to believe I would be reduced to having to do nothing but walk before long.

At mile 14, I started grabbing a cup of chicken broth and a cup of Coke. It was an odd combination but it went down well. I did the same at 15, and again at 16. I started to feel a bit better, but decided to be conservative. I figured if I took it easy for nearly of all of mile 16, give myself some good recovery time, I'd be able to reassess as I started 17.

At mile 17, I checked my watch. It was 10:50 into the race and I had about 9 miles to go. I half shuffle, half walk would give me 15 minute miles pretty easily. If I could average that pace, I'd finish in 13:05. I could live with that. So at mile 17.1, I started to jog. I ran to mile 18 and then walked the next .1. That was 11 minutes, so I figured that was 4 minutes in the bank. So now, 15 minute miles got me done in 13:01. I kept this up mile by mile: run .9, walk .1, check the watch and recompute finish time. That time kept coming down as I was able to keep the routine going. Once I got to the top of the hill turning back onto Main St., I was good to go and was able to run the rest of the way from there (other than the aid stations, where I still walked).

I made the right on to Main St. followed quickly by the left into the oval and started to get really jazzed. I saw my sister there just before I got on the track and she was cheering like crazy.

As I came to the final turn, my son, Jacob, jumped out to join me, which was great. My parents had made such a HUGE deal of this whole race and part of that was putting a lot of pressure on Jake about crossing the finish line with me. He wasn't so sure about it, though. He had no idea what to expect and was stressed out. So on the trip up there, I told him not to worry about it. I'd cross the line alone and that was perfectly okay with me. BUT, if I while I was out there on the course, he saw some other kids cross the line and thought it would be cool, then he should just tell Carey and she'd get him in place for it.

So we came down the chute together and across the line. Since my parents were working as catchers, they were able to get my daughter in as well and she was there with a huge hug and the medal to put around my neck. Then my parents grabbed me, the kids went back to Carey, and I headed to the massage tent.
Post race
Warm down:

I got a massage from a girl who couldn't have been more than 20, had some pizza, and then got my stuff together. I brought my bike over to TriBike Transport and then we hopped the shuttle back to the car and went home.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Poor race day execution, mostly.

Event comments:

I've already made a long post in the Iron Distance thread about this race as a venue, so go there and read it. The bottom line is this: if you're going to do an IM event, do this one. The travel is a bit of a pain, the lodging can be expensive, and the weather is unpredictable. But it is simply an incomparable experience.

My only gripe: He didn't tell me I was an Ironman when I crossed the line. I want a refund.

As for my performance, how upset can I really be? I wanted to go sub-12 and missed it by a good margin. On the other hand, this is my first IM, I beat more than half the people in my AG, and I beat well more than half the people in the race. Now it's time to convince the boss to let me do IMAZ. If I get the green light, I'm going sub-11: 1:10 swim, 5:25 bike, 4:10 run.

Last updated: 2006-01-20 12:00 AM
01:11:58 | 4224 yards | 01m 42s / 100yards
Age Group: 215/523
Overall: 979/2183
Performance: Good
Suit: Promotion sleeveless
Course: Two loop rectangular with a short out of the water section to start the second lap.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 75F / 24C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 07:04
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:20:25 | 112 miles | 17.66 mile/hr
Age Group: 241/523
Overall: 950/2183
Performance: Below average
Wind: Some
Course: Two lap loop. Gorgeous scenery, rocking descents, and some grinding climbs.
Road: Smooth  Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Below average
Race pace: Too hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:57
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
04:47:26 | 26.2 miles | 10m 58s  min/mile
Age Group: 237/523
Overall: 1064/2183
Performance: Below average
Course: Two lap basically out and back.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 2
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5