Ironman USA Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

I fell asleep at 11 and awoke at 4 AM. Had a pretty good nights sleep considering it was the night before an Ironman. Only woke up once during the night. Only ate a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, totally forgot to eat my banana. I think I had a gatorade, too. Can't remember.

When I arrived in transition I realized I had forgotten to bring down my bike bottles, including my aero drink bottle. Luckily I had a water and gatorade in my gear bags and I found two bike bottles.
Event warmup:

Kissed the wife and kids goodbye, and said goodbye to my SIL & BIL, and my good friend Dan P. was there as well. Dan and I are very similar in SBR ability and he'd just had a super-rough first 140.6 race at Challenge Roth. I secretly hoped what happened to him would not happen to me.

I jumped into Mirror Lake 15 mins early and (ironically) found myself standing right next to my training buddy, Derrick (sevenride). We swam out to the middle and just hung and "soaked in the moment".
  • 1h 13m 50s
  • 3862 meters
  • 01m 55s / 100 meters

Last year's swim was crowded - just the same as it was this year. Last year I seeeded myself in the same spot: smack dab in the middle, about 10 rows back. Last year I had clean water the entire swim with very minimal contact. I knew I was lucky. This years swim was the very opposite. It was hand-to-hand combat. This years swim was elbows, knees, frog kicking feet, and claustrophobic mayhem everywhere. At least for the first 1/3 of a mile. I ended up swallowing a few mouthfuls of water but nothing crazy. I just concentrated on myself, and staying within my own box and before I knew it I was around the first turn bouy without incident. There was a lot more open water on the swim back to shore and I was able to get in a groove.

I hit the beach after loop one with a time of 34 mins and I was feeling fine. I thought, This is pretty good. I can just put in a solid effort on the next loop and finish 1:10 or maybe perhaps around a 1:08 and change.

I dolphin dove back into the water and I was happy, for the moment. Within another few hundred meters I found myself surrounded by elbows and arms again. Despite it being the second loop I found it tough to find open water. This persisted and I stated getting pissed. I let myself get caught up in a game of cat and mouse with the swimmers around me and I burned a huge match trying to sprint ahead. As I did this some of my oatmeal came up out of my mouth and nose. It burned bad. This sent my already bad attitude into a tailspin and I went to a dark place for a good ten minutes, questioning myself as to why I need to do mass start Ironman swims? I've visited this dark place plenty of times during races before, but I usually only stay a minute or two. The last time I visited this long was during the run of a 7-hour 70.3 fiasco at Harryman in May of 2010. What really irritated me the most was I couldn't just get into a 'groove' and focus on my form.

Approaching the final turn-around I was starting to feel better and get my groove back, until confusion slapped me silly. I was at the end of the lake, I saw athletes making a 90 degree left, but I didn't see the orange turn-bouy, just another plain yellow sighting bouy. WTF?? I swung my head back and forth disoriented. So I just made a left turn and followed a group of other swimmers. (Turns out, the last yellow bouy before the turn cut loose and drifted far to the right. Perhaps this is why there was some confusion with athletes swimming wayward on the second loop back out?)

On the final swim back to shore I was feeling good, reaching far, and rotating my hips nicely. I was heating up a little and every once in a while I bent my head down and let a gush of water into the back of my suit, and it cooled my back. When I hit the shore and saw 1:13 on the clock I was disappointed. Despite going to the dark place for a bit, I snapped out of it and swam smooth and strong - How the heck did I lose 5 mins?
What would you do differently?:

Last year before IMUSA I ate a banana with breakfast. I know I needed that glucose. I had also forgotten to take a GEL before the swim! I always pop a gel 20 mins before a swim start, whether it's a sprint tri, oly, half or full. I was very absent-minded and mentally lacking.

'Physically' my pool training and consistent lake swims had me prepared for a 1:08 Ironman swim - but 'Mentally' I was lacking motivation and drive. The fire was there, but it was just above a smolder. Last year it was white hot.
Transition 1
  • 06m 26s

:30 seconds faster than last year. A decent transition. Was feeling OK.
  • 6h 32m 40s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.11 mile/hr

The last couple of years while swim training, and odd occurence would happen. After a long swim I'd get out of the pool and I'd feel terribly sick - extreme nauseau and dizziness. It happened just two or three times in 2011 and once or twice this past winter. It most recently happened two weeks ago after a 2-mile lake swim with Sean. The pool I swim at is a warm 86 degrees, and Wildwood lake was warm the day I swam with Sean. I chalked these few bad experiences up to accumulated training fatigue and dehydration, and hoped it would never occur on race day. I also figured since I'd be tapered, rested, and hydrated for big races the chance of it happening would be slim.

My bike fitness is the best it's ever been, and my hill climbing ability is much better than last year. I was excited to see if I could go sub 6 this year after a 6:05 bike split at LP last year. I drank half a gatorade and half a water, zoomed out of town to the sound of my Zipp 900 woosh woosh wooshing along. I came to the first descent that goes over a bridge and past River Rd. Since it was very early into the bike I sat up to keep my heart rate low and that's when I felt my right arm jumping. I looked closely at my arm and my left bicep and forearm was twitching. This is not good. Immediately I knew it was dehydration and I knew I needed to drink the rest of my gatorade. But when I grabbed my gatorade bottle I noticed my hand did not fit around the bottle properly, my pointer finger and middle finger on my right hand were frozen straight!! This is really not good. I shook my arm out, finished my gatorade, popped a few gel blasts, threw my cassette into the easiest gear and spun up the first Keene climb. My body felt weak and my legs ached. Sigh. I just did this same climb twice this week and it felt easy. This climb was nothing compared to the Quassy bike course and the hill repeats I did in training on Oakwood in Port Jeff.

But it didn't matter.

By the top of the very first climb I found myself crossing the road and riding down a side street (Timber Lane). My bike was lying on it's side, I was lying on the dirt with sand clinging to my clammy legs. I could hear the race going past me, and I couldn't believe after a year of training I was going to DNF 10 mins into the Bike. Talk about being in a Dark Place. I felt so damn sick, nauseous, and part of me hoped a medical unit would pull up. I was holding back throwing up cause I knew whatever nutrition was in my stomach, I would need the fuel to bike back to transition.

After about 7 or 8 minutes I started feeling a touch better. I stood my bike back up and walked back to the line of cyclists continuing the climb. I knew an aid station was coming up and I convinced myself to try and make it to the aid station before pulling out. I pedaled softly, I made it to the aid station, I shoved a banana down my throat and washed it down with syrupy Ironman Perform. I poured water over my head. I made it to the Keene descent. I convinced myself to push forward and enjoy the descent and perhaps it would allow me time to recover.

During the decent my bicep and forearm muscle eventually stopped spasming but my two fingers were still not releasing after I would straighten them. I knew if this didn't correct itself I'd have to stop.

I made it through the descent. I popped a tangering powebar gel (not sure WHY I didn't do this earlier??) and I slowly came back to life. Every few miles I grew stronger. Every aid station I grabbed a Perform and water and finished both just in time for the next aid station. The cramping arm disappeared, I was joking with other riders, and feeling myself again. I hit the climb up to Wilmington strong and pedalled up it quickly with much less effort than last year. On the last 11-mile climb I hung out with Derrick. He gave me some salt pills (I put my salt pills into a tic tac box and wore them on the swim. Needless to say my tic tac box looked like milk when I went to use it. Yes, I am an idiot.) Derrick told me how 200 yards into the swim an athlete next to him was having a panic attack and they had to prop him up and they hoisted him up on a kayak!

I hit Poppa Bear and flew up it with ease. In the back of my mind I knew I was still cycling on 'borrowed time' and that I was gambling. I only ate one pouch of gel blasts up to this point and my appetite was starting to fall off. I climbed up to the Keene descent strong, hit the first aid station and ate another banana and took a Kona Punch gel. I knew if I was going to keep feeling good for the second loop I'd have to get this nutrition in an keep it down. The entire descent I clenched my mouth shut and fought off my stomach's request to push the food back out. I avergaed 21.3 MPH from mile 56 to 86. I was passing cyclists left and right without much effort.

At the end of the out & back I had to pee badly. I stopped at the timing mat and used the port-a-potty. I peed non-stop for approx 3 or 4 minutes. I hoped to come out of that bathroom break feeling strong. I met up with another athlete who was from Rye, NY. We chatted for a good 4 or 5 miles. However I started noticing that it was taking effort to talk. Shit. I was starting to bonk. I fell back and ate a waffle stinger. It tasted like chalk and was tough to swallow. We made a right and hit the Wilmington climb and I was no longer passing anyone. I started using the athletes around me to pace off. I hoped to get some glucose in but it was too late.

The remaining miles were misery. They were about survival. My only focus was to not stop and ly on the side of the road. I tried to squeeze Peform into my my mouth but my body refused to swallow it. I had zero desire to take a gel. I popped two gel blasts in my mouth and they melted slowly against my tongue, giving me a tiny bit of energy. On the final 11-mile climb I kept yawning (never had this happen before), I didn't want to lift my head, it was a death-pedal all the way to transition.

Transition 2
  • 00m

My plan was to walk straight into the medical tent. However my heart vetoed the brain, and I walked past the med ten. Picked up my run bag and found a seat in the transition tent. I put on my run shoes, and visor, and then I sat there. I was hoping for a miracle, really. Hoping after a few minutes the nauseau and malaise would pass like it did on Timber Lane.

Derrick came into the tent and I went over to him. I was hoping seeing my buddy would re-energize me. I'd leave the transition tent with Derrick and we'd run the marathon together, and cross the finish line victorious. But it took effort just to walk to his seat. The smell of the urinal trough was making me queasy and I had to go to the other side of the tent. Derrick left for the run. I thought, I'd take another minute and I'd catch him. The volunteers, ART specialists, and some other guy with M-Dot credentials kept asking me, "Are you OK?". My voice kept getting weaker till the point it was gone. So eventually I just gave them a 'thumbs-up' as I didn't want them to know I had no voice.

One ART guy told me I was pale and I needed to get glucose into me. He told me if I wanted to stay out of the Med Tent I'd need to squeeze some gel under my tongue. I told my hand to pull a gel out of my pocket and do just that, but my body wouldn't respond.

After 27 minutes and two quick emotional breakdowns, I left the T2 tent and headed toward the med tent. My brain convinced the heart that if I went out and started the marathon, I'd likely not finish. They'd likely be bringing me back on a stretcher and I didn't want to do that to my wife and kids. And if I did finish by some miracle, I'd risk doing physical harm to my body. My lower back ached and I could tell it wasn't sciatica, it was probably my kidneys.

Inside the medical tent my body temp was 96. I was able to swallow water so I didn't need an IV, but when the doctor put his hand on my skin it felt like his hands were on fire. Anytime anyone touched me it felt like hot coals against my skin.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. It was excruciatingly difficult for me to put my pride and ego aside and DNF.
  • 00m
  • 26.2 miles
  •  min/mile
Post race
What limited your ability to perform faster:

I'm not 100% sure what happened this Ironman. I was physcially prepared moreso than last year, but my head was not in the game. After 14-years with the same corporation, the company was shut-down this past February. Instead of jumping to another corp, I decided to start my own business and the stress and hours of this endeavour have overwhelmed me. I should've known something was up when I was looking more forward to visiting Lake Placid for the family vacation and the break, than competing in an Ironman. In the back of my mind I knew my training would carry me through, but the devils in the details and I missed a lot of small details the morning of the race.

I also had some additional stresses going into this race: my LBS totally screwed my bike up. I made the mistake of not testing my Race equipped bike till the day before I was leaving and spent the entire day fixing the problems (they screwed up my wheel, front break, and put a new chain on backwards!). I also signed up for an UCONN Endurance study. The morning of the race they fitted me for a HR Monitor that was a little too tight, and they spent 30 mins trying to pair the watch with the monitor but it didn't work and they finally switched me to another watch with just 20 mins left to the swim portion. I'm not accustomed to being one of the last people to leave transition and although this added stress was not a bg deal, it perhaps was one of the many small negatives that added up.

Ultimately, I started this Ironman with low glucose, dehydrated on the swim, recovered a few times during the event, but this is just too long a day to try and fully recover once you're behind the 8-ball.

Event comments:

I Love Ironman Lake Placid. I love the Adirondacks, the volunteers, the athletes, the whole vibe of Ironman USA is just a top-notch, amazing experience. We had ideal weather and race conditions. I am sure to return in a few years.

Last updated: 2011-07-29 12:00 AM
01:13:50 | 3862 meters | 01m 55s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 06:26
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:32:40 | 112 miles | 17.11 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 00:00
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:00:00 | 26.2 miles |  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]