My first Triathlon
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Ironman Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman
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Lake Placid, New York
World Triathlon Corporation
= 13h 16m 33s
Age Group Rank
There is no routine. Mary and I drove as close as we could get to the race start, grabbed our gear, and walked down to the olympic oval. We found our bikes, pumped our tires, put our bottles on the bikes, hit the porta potties, and walked down to the lake, which is at least 100 yards away from the transition area. We put on our wet suits, watched the pros take off at 6:50, then got into the water to prepare for our start. I'm actually feeling the nervousness hit me again two days later while I write this.
We got into the water and gave a few strokes to let the wet suit fill up, check the goggles and pass the time while our 7am start approached. My goggles were fogging up, which concerned me, but when I put my face in the water, I could see just fine, so I just tried to let the stress roll off me and go with whatever life threw at me today, which was going to pretty much be the theme of my race today. This is the first race I've done in years...maybe EVER, that I did not have a expectation or goal beyond "FINISH". I wasn't trying to beat a previous time or qualify for anything. All through my training, I never set myself up for any times. This was not my "A" race for the year, but I still wanted to do good and have fun. I was excited to be here with Mary and have as good as a day that life intended for me to have. If "shit" happened, then so be it. Short of either of us getting hurt, I was gonna be happy with just being in this beautiful place. I'm feeling very "zen" lately.
1h 18m 33s
01m 52s / 100 yards
Wished Peggy could have joined this adventure....next time Peg!
From our practice swim the previous day, I found the infamous "tow line", which connected each of the marker bouys. It was clear as day, and to follow it would assure perfect navigation. So as we were within just 5 minutes of the start, about half the people were in the lagoon, treading water near the start line. But about 1000 other people were hanging WAY...WAY back, not even up to their waists in the water yet, and I knew what they were up to. ONE: They didn't want to participate in the giant "WASHING MACHINE" that is a mass, deep water start....and TWO: they were aiming for the TOW LINE. I had said goodbye to Mary, as she decided to hang back a bit towards the shore, and I treaded water to stay somewhere between the huge pack at the front and the people waiting to enter after the gun went off.
The scene here is just freaking surreal. I'm treading water. About 1000 other people are near me treading water. We are all in these black wet suits...girls with pink swim caps, men with green, and we're just bobbing there. The mountains are all around us. Spectators are lining the shore. Music is blaring and the announcer is yelling at us and yelling at the crowd. The sun is on it's way up, and the sky in cloudless and crazy blue. The water temp is perfect. Suddenly I hear the cannon go off and U2 starts singing "It's a Beautiful Day"....one of my favorite songs. I take it as a good sign.
So this will be two laps. Swim out a little over half a mile, turn left at the orange bouy, swim a little ways, take another left turn, and swim back to the start area...then do it again. 2.4 miles overall. So I begin to GO FORWARD. No...I don't begin SWIMMING, because for most of the first lap, I did very little of what I practiced in a pool for the last several months. There was over 2000 people aiming for the same turn. This is called "THE WASHING MACHINE". Arms windmilling around. Heads going left and right and forward trying to breath.....and to my amazement...some people kicking. Kicking, in my estimation, is not only a bad idea, but stupid. We are all in wet suits, and there are so many people around you, kicking to go faster is stupid. You CAN'T go faster. You can only go as fast as the person in front of you....beside you...and behind you. That's it. End of story. If you wanted to go fast, then you had better have your ass on the front line. I was resigned to my place and knew what would happen, so I didn't get frustrated with this situation. I just did this two or three stroke movement that let me advance with the rest of this pack. It was more of a SURVIVAL stroke, to make sure I didn't get kicked or punched or swam over top of. I sure as hell didn't kick, because to do so would only mean I was going to injure whoever was behind me.
About half way out on the first leg of the first lap, I started hearing people screaming. Lots of people. I stopped swimming for a second to see 30 or more people screaming for the people on boats to help someone off to my right. Apparently someone was having a major problem and needed help. I never did find out what happened, but this put the bug in my brain to make sure I protected myself out here. Getting punched or kicked was a real possibility, and I didn't intend on becoming some statistic.
So I continued my "swim" for the rest of this first lap. On the last few hundred yards of the first lap, there were brief periods of enough open water where I was able to put in about 10 full strokes, but that was the exception...not the rule. Eventually I came to the end of the first lap. I wasn't "physically" tired in any way, but the swim part is just a part of the race I find zero joy in. I got out in 39 minutes. Slow, but there was nothing I could have done about it, and I'm not a good enough swimmer to think I belong at the front of the line for the start. I jogged out of the water, pulled a GU out of my sleeve, tore it open and squeezed it's contents into my mouth, handing the little empty pack to a volunteer, as I rounded the big inflatable timing mat area and jumped back into the water for lap #2.
I wanted to put a little space around me this time and find that tow line, but that was a pipe dream. I was able to swim a bit more freely this time, and had a bit more space, but everyone was still aiming for that tow line, so I just steered clear and decided to stay in some open water and actually "SWIM" this lap. For the most part, I was able to put in a good bit of normal stroking, but there was still a lot of people out there with me, and I had to navigate left and right around a good many people. I did some hitting, got hit plenty, but for the most part, nothing serious. I did get kicked once in the right eye, and bashed once on top of my head, but it was to be expected. I felt pretty lucky that was the worse of it. By the end of the second lap, I was more that ready for this part to be over. Swim Time.....1:18:33...I did almost the exact same time on lap two......I'm THAT bad of a swimmer.
What would you do differently?:
It doesn't seem to matter how much I swim to prepare for a race, I'm just not getting any faster. The only thing it seemed to do for me this time around was make me strong enough that when the swim was finished, I wasn't tired in the least, and I was ready for the bike to start. But as far as SPEED is concerned, I am apparently just getting slower. I need some serious professional help in this area if I truely wan to improve.
Out of the water, ran up a little incline, pulled my wet suit down to my waist, found a stripper, sat on the ground and this girl whipped of my wet suit like a magician pulling the table cloth off a table. PRESTO and it was off. I jogged through the streets, along the outdoor carpeted path, and to the transition tents, where were quite a ways from the lake. This is what made the transition time so long. I kept a good pace and didn't goof around, but didn't go nuts and forget something. I put on my toe socks, hoping that I didn't have to pee on the bike and get then wet so I didn't have to change them again for the run. Shoes on...helmet on...glasses on. Ran out of the tent and the volunteer had my bike ready to hand me. I turned on my Garmin, strapped it on and jogged with my bike to the end of transition and where we were allowed to mount up and take off. TIME TO SHINE!
What would you do differently?:
6h 14m 29s
My plan was simple. Stay comfortable. I didn't want to push the bike at any point where I felt the lactic acid build up and feel fatigued. I wanted to be able to come off the bike fresh enough to do a marathon. I took off from transition and immediately had to hold myself back. The first few miles were either flat or slightly down hill, so it was easy to push to hard, but I kept holding back. However, right from the start of the bike, I was passing people...a LOT of people. I kept checking myself...making sure I wasn't pushing myself, but I wasn't. I was going easier then most training rides in fact, but I was passing people. Eventually, this really confirmed how crappy of a swimmer I am. THESE were all of the GOOD swimmers, and now they had to put up with a GOOD biker...ME. My crazy hard training route in Kentucky was finally paying off. This course was no where near as hard as what I had already put myself through for the last several months. Eventually, I came to the famed Keene Descent. This is a extremely long down hill that is fairly steep. I haven't checked my Garmin yet, but I stopped looking at my speed when it hit 47mph and just concentrated on staying upright and alive. It was better than any amusement park ride and I let out a few hoots on the way down....even as my knuckles were turning 7 shades of white. There were some flat parts after that and many rollers and the "3 bears" hills, which were several miles long, but all the while, I was passing more and more people and I kept checking myself to make sure I wasn't pushing too hard. As I finished my first loop, I came back into town and the crowds were lining the streets, yelling and cheering. I was giving fist pumps and the crowds would go nuts, screaming like I was some rock star. I turned through the streets, climbed the hill by the oval, turned the corner and as I began to head out of town again, there were two very steep drop offs, which I actually jumped my bike off of! I was so pumped up it was amazing. I forgot that doing such a stupid thing might make me loose my water bottles like the last Ironman I did, but between the crowds and how great I felt, I was on top of the world, and decided to enjoy the moment, because who knows how many times life will let you feel this awesome...so I just went with it. I headed out of town and pretty much did a repeat of loop 1, except the last 10 miles were a bit tougher this round. I could have easily pushed harder and kept my same pace...I had that kind of power in me, but I kept reminding myself that the race ended with a marathon, and not with this bike ride. There were still many hours ahead of me...so I slowed down. I was still passing people, but not as many. The last 7 or so miles found me without any more of my Infinit Sports drink and I began just drinking water, which was part of the plan anyhow. I knew I was sweating a great deal of salt too, because I put my hand to my cheeks a few times and felt mounds of salt built up. My nose was also getting raw from the sun and salt and my running nose, so eventually I grabbed some water bottles at the aid stations and just squirted my face down.
Eventually, I came back into town and the crowds were just as enthusiastic as the first time, which only pumped me up once again. My ass was finished with this bike, literally, and I was ready to see what I had left for the run. When I got out of the water, I was in overall place of 1,377. When I got off the bike, I was in 798th place, so I had passed 579 people while biking. Again....the reason was as much as I'm a bad swimmer as that I am a good biker.
What would you do differently?:
Maybe try to drink more, but I seemed to have been right on schedule for the amount of time I was out there. However, I didn't pee once, and didn't feel the need, so that's a bad sign. I think this may have come back to bite me during the run....but I really can't tell.
I hand my bike off to one of the volunteers and remember just a year ago, it was Mary and I who was standing here, taking bikes from the racers and wondering what these people were going through. Last year, the people getting off the bikes looked pretty rough, but here I was, and although my ass was pretty sore, I felt pretty good really.....considering I just biked 112 miles. I was trying to move forward in my bike shoes, which makes you a bit unsteady to begin with, and my head was a bit foggy, but not too bad. However, the volunteers kept asking me if I was OK and the look of concern was on their faces. I must have looked a bit rougher than I was feeling. I trotted around the circle to the transition bags, grabbed my RUN gear and headed into the tent. I got off my shoes and began to put my running shoes on when a volunteer asked me if he could do anything to help me. I had a bottle of water I kept from my bike and asked him to put it in my bottle on my belt. I had some NUUNs in the bottle that it had to be mixed with. I put my hat and glasses on, and put my HAMMER GEL in my side shirt pockets. Grabbed my water belt from the volunteer and began to head out the tent, but decided to see what came out of me in the porta potty. I didn't feel the "need" but since it was there, I figured I better take the opportunity. Very little came out, and it was dark, both of which is a bad sign during an endurance race. This meant that I had not taken in enough fluids during the bike portion. I didn't feel any worse than I thought I should at this point, but time would be the test here. I trotted out of transition and wondered what would happen next.
What would you do differently?:
5h 26m 45s
12m 28s min/mile
The wheels didn't fall off immediately here, and maybe they didn't really fall off completely, but they were not in alignment for sure. I went out at a nice clip, but not to fast. I KNOW it takes me at least 2 miles to get my running legs back after a long bike ride, so I was just running along, waiting for my legs to slowly make the BIKE TO RUN transition, and right on que, things began to come around. My pace was picking up, legs felt normal, stomach felt normal, nothing hurt at all. ALL SYSTEMS "GO". and then, just like Apollo 13, right out of nowhere, all systems started to go hell in a hand basket for no good reason. I just felt deflated. No energy. Nothing really hurt, but I had no UPMH...and soon I began to walk, then run, then walk and run again. I decided to GO ULTRA and walk the hills and aid stations then run the flats and down hills, but even a few of them I found myself walking. But for the first time ever, I didn't feel upset by this, or defeated in any way. I think this was because I had no real TIME goal or expectation about this race beyond FINISHING. So, I just decided to do the best I could, push till it hurt, walk till I felt like running again, and keep on trucking. At the aid stations, I would drink Coke, put ice in my shirt, pour water over my head, eat a few things, but never stop forward movement all the while. The volunteers were great and kept everyone amused. As the mile markers slowly began to tick away, I knew this was going to be a long marathon. At about 9ish miles in, during part of one of the OUT and BACKS, I saw Mary running towards me. "THANK GOD", I thought! We stopped and hugged and spoke for a few moments. She looked great, I was happy. At the same time, she could tell my run was not going well, but she told me she was proud of me. I told her I was walking a lot, and she looked awesome. We parted ways and I jogged a few moments before slowing to a walk again...but that was ok.
I came back into town to do a short little out and back, during which I could already hear the announcer telling people crossing the finish line that THEY WERE IRONMEN...... for those of you who have never seen this, as each and every person comes across the finish line, the say your name and tell you that YOU ARE AN IRONMAN....well....THIS Ironman still had about 14 f*cking miles to go, and to hear other people already finishing is a tad disheartening....I looked at my watch and realized that during my best Ironman, I was nearing the finish line already. How could I be THIS many miles behind?!?!?! Still, I wasn't discouraged. Some races are awesome...some suck, and some are somewhere in between, but all of them provide lessons, and I would try to garner one from this one as well.....maybe not immediately...but there was something here to learn from.
Just like the crowds in town during the bike portion, they were just as supportive during the run. They would yell your name, ask for HIGH FIVES, tell you you were AWESOME and the look on their faces showed they actually meant it! AND I WAS WALKING!!! Little kids, grown men, women....everyone.....they were going nuts like each and every one of us was part of the most famous rock band on the planet! They yelled through orange cones, wore clown wigs, and cheered. The energy was so thick, there was no way to feel bad for yourself, no matter how crappy you felt, so you just put one foot in front of the other, and headed back out of town to do 13 more miles, at whatever pace your body decided it would allow.
Lap 2: I got faster. I felt better. Oh...not MUCH faster...and not MUCH better, but these things are measured in heartbeats and breaths. I started pounding the COKE and the second they began serving Chicken Broth, I started slamming it....OH SO MAGICAL CHICKEN BROTH. Still at every aid station, I was pouring water over my head, but with about 8 miles left to go, I started walking less and jogging the hills sometimes. I saw Mary again, and again we traded hugs. I NEEDED THAT! Off I went and off she went. I knew she wasn't far behind me at this point. There was no speed in my legs, but I thought if I could at least jog more and walk less, I'd finish sooner and have a better time.
The mile markers kept ticking off, and for some reason, I kept comparing the distances to my old running route in Latonia...where we used to live. It seemed to make the distances easier to rationalize. With 2 miles left, the crowds picked up again, and they began yelling and yelling and yelling, and from that point on, I never walked, and actually picked up my pace. Even up the steepest hills coming into town, I was able to run...well...jog. Every time I was temped to walk, there was someone yelling at me to keep going. I was SO close now, and I just told myself that no matter how much it hurt, the pain would be over soon. I did the little out and back and was on the last mile of the course. The sun was going down and was just now behind the mountains. Now and then I could catch glimpses of the finish area and could easily hear the announcer as each person crossed the finish line. A began to smile without thinking about it, and people actually said "GREAT SMILE"! I felt numb with happiness now. I came down the street to a sign that pointed to the left if you needed to do another loop, or to the right if you were going to finish....I took the right. Now things became surreal. I tried to soak it all in, but it was all happening to fast... The crowds on the street were screaming, the lights seemed to be getting brighter, the cow bells louder. I made the left turn, crossed the sidewalk and was suddenly making the right turn on to the olympic circle. Ya know...I didn't think this would be such a big deal. I mean...this was my 5th Ironman. This wasn't my best race, but OH MY GOD! I couldn't stop this giant stupid smile on my face. I actually felt my eyes water up. Now the crowds were just out of control...bleachers of people....music blaring...and then I heard "TROY WHITE...
(yes Troy....it's what's on my credit card
), from UNION KENTUCKY....YOU....ARE....A....IRONMANNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!! I put my arms in the air, crossed under the timing finish line, and into the arms of two volunteers. Another guy put my medal around my neck, and it was over.
What would you do differently?:
Nothing. This is what needed to be done today to learn what needed to be learned. I'll do better....I'll do worse....but you know what....I WILL continue to do it...and being present is the point.
Little to none really. I grabbed a slice of pizza and a chocolate milk....yummy right? I grabbed my bags and staggered back to my car, changed some of my cloths, and walked back to the finish to wait for Mary.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
I'm really not concerned with this today.
We REALLY loved this entire experience.....Lake Placid as a town is wonderful.....I could live here. The race is great and I can see myself doing this one again some day...........some day.
Last updated: 2011-08-14 12:00 AM
01:18:33 | 4224 yards | 01m 52s / 100yards
2 laps in Mirror lake.
73F / 23C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:14:29 | 112 miles | 17.94 mile/hr
30 miles: 23.17mph 56 miles: 16:03mph 86 miles: 20.9mph 112 miles: 13.75mph
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:26:45 | 26.2 miles | 12m 28s min/mile
3 mile: 9:19pace 8.2 mile: 11.06 pace 12 mile: 14.39 pace 16.1 mile: 12:45 pace 21.3 mile: 13:14 pace 25.1 mile: 13.38 pace 26.2 mile: 11.11 pace
2 loops of two out and backs.
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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