Ironman Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
70'sF / 0C
Total Time = 12h 26m 3s
Overall Rank = 661/2556
Age Group = M 50-54
Age Group Rank = 49/242
Pre-race routine:

Epic long first IM novel. Grab a coffee and take notes...much helpful information follows-with a lot of fluff too.

Drove up Thursday morning. Quick 4.5 hr drive up with no problems and able to check in early to the hotel. Extremely fortunate to have lucked into a spot at the Crowne Plaza in downtown LP. It was simply the best. We had a view of the lake from the south side and parked in the back. Only downside was that it is on a hill, but I'm sure the proximity of the place more than made up for that. Quiet at night, comfortable beds and we got a rollaway for one of our teenagers so they didn't have to sleep in the same bed. Good food and perfect location, location, location! Being right downtown, I could walk to Mirror Lake for a practice swim (~3/4mile), or walk to registration/transition/expo. This was all basically held at the Olympic Oval with the Lake Placid High School directly behind it. It was about 1/2 mile walk-down past several buildings on Main Street. The expo was around the edges of the oval with a walk through it to the HS in the back where you could pick up the packet/chip/bib/SWAG. And, we walked the bike back (and picked up my bike/run/morning clothes bags) after the race-still somewhat surprising to me that you have to get your bike after the race on race day...but I had NO issues due to the great location of the hotel.

I had been making lists for weeks. What to do and when. What to bring. What goes into my run/bike bag. What to eat/drink and when. Preparation is key and I was prepared.

Thursday's list included: check in/pick up athlete tracker (a great investment, BTW-spotty local cell coverage but my wife was texting to those tracking me in CT getting real time updates also. It lets you see where you are on the course with pace, showing hills etc. I had it sent to the hotel and it was waiting for me at the hotel desk at checkin. Short walk to registration and pick up packet. No issues. Met Jeff Cornick, the tough guy who unexpectedly did the race with a recently fractured clavicle. We all thought he was in for next year and would forego this year. Very gutsy, very tough...Had a smoothie, ate a little something and then drove the beginning of the bike course and saw most of the Keene descent. Dinner and to sleep early. Slept surprisingly well as I felt I had done all I could for preparation and the only thing left was execution of my race plan.

Friday:There was a planned swim meet up with BT folks at 9am, but somehow I missed everyone, so I swam beautiful Mirror Lake by myself, well actually with a couple hundred others. Nice and relaxed, spotting the underwater cable and felt smooth.
Walked back to hotel and went for a nice easy spin out of town for an hour long bike-as planned. Very technical in town with lots of 60-90 degree turns so it was helpful to see that ahead of time. Also good to see the 'hill' out of town that everyone talks about. It is just a slow, upsloping hill that you don't want to waste a lot of energy on and spin steady. Missed the 'mandatory race briefing' but I had heard most everything I needed from people ahead of time.

Saturday (day before the race): Mandatory bike check in was from 10am-3pm. It was the only important thing on the list, other than to rest/hydrate/avoid solid food and continue to salt and carbo load with a planned small dinner (I went with pasta, of course, but not too much). Put race numbers on bags/helmet/bike. Put everything in ziplock bags and thought about each transition as I loaded up the bags. Marked the outside with an X in black tape.
Gathered up bike, bike/run bags and headed down to the oval. Put second bib in run bag in case I lost my bib on the bike, as you need a number/bib to finish the race. Made sure I had all my needs-gels/advil/Scaps/Pepcid/cough drops -in my 'bento box' and brought plastic bags to cover seat and handlebars. Even though it was bright and sunny when we dropped off the bike, on race morning those that did not cover their handle bars were sorry-as they were soaked with the morning dew. Put bike in big chain ring/25 rear cassette as there is a 180 degree turn left 10-15 feet after the mount line and a volunteer told me there were a lot of crashes right at the start. Some did not even clip in until you made the quick turn and went down the ramp exiting the school-not a bad plan. Swim caps were given out as when we got to transition for bike drop off and they wrote the race number on the cap. Walked around the expo and bought some nifty IM clothing. Met a volunteer who gave me all sorts of information about where we enter, which way we run in transition and where we exit. (Best to see and hear that from someone on site.)
Had a relaxing rest of the day. Watched my kids (Michael and Kyle-17 and 15 respectively)swim the course, without a wetsuit-of course. No run for me planned with an unknown amount of walking needed for the day and that worked out fine. Early dinner and to bed with no issues. Getting impatient and excited but can feel the energy in the air all around me. The town simply buzzes.

For those taking notes:
Morning Clothes Bag--wetsuit, goggles, earplugs, elastic band for my finger to make sure my wedding ring stays on in the water, towel, conditioner, spare earplugs/goggles, 8ozGatorade/gel, moist towellettes for BR duty. Also had advil/pepcid/gas-x if needed. Wore sweat pants/longsleeve shirt, socks and sneakers. Picked up cap in transition. Put feed bottle w ice and aero bottle w ice in this bag.

Bike Bag--bike shoes, bike helmet w number on front, bike socks w baby powder, sunglasses, bodyglide, towel, extra contacts, spray sunscreen (which was used by every single person around me in T1), HR monitor strap (I wasn't wearing it in the swim and put it on in T1), nutrition-peach rings in ziplock, bumpy nerd jelly beans in ziplock, race big/belt.

Run Bag--run socks w baby powder, run shoes, sports beans, body glide, sunscreen (both just in case)

Bike Special Needs Bag--frozen PBJ, 2 co2's wrapped in extra tube w extender on as I had 404/808 combination race wheels, bandaid, gel/candy, sports beans, socks

Run Special Needs Bag--I decided not to turn this in and regret it; I would have loved to have had my preferred nutrition,and running socks there waiting for me as I had blisters on my feet and was cramping badly-S caps/pepcid would have been quite nice too-along with bandaids...

Event warmup:

Sunday (race day):4:20 awake, 2 alarms set for 4:30 which weren't needed. Who sleeps well before a big race? Went downstairs for coffee and back for a shower/BR. Dressed w trisuit/bodyglide/morning clothes=sweatpants/LongSleeve shirt/socks/sneaks. It was somewhat cool, ~60degrees/overcast, so I could have worn ShortSleeve shirt. Put on watch/timing chip/BT tattoo (thanks Rusty!). Mixed feed bottle (700 calories of endurox and EFS mix) w little water and ice from machine and put ice into my water bottle. Brought ice in ziplock to top these off when I leave transition. Put frozen PBJ into Bike special needs bag. Brought morning clothes bag which was wetsuit/goggles/earplugs/spare goggles/along with gatorade and gel to eat 1/2 hr before race and small ziplock w cough drop to tuck into my wetsuit sleeve (I get dry mouth from swimming and I took this out and crunched it down as I got out and walked around the dock after the first loop and it worked perfectly). Also brought Special Needs bag to drop off on rock wall. *If you have family with you, get them to take your special needs bag down the 1/2 mile down Mirror Lake Drive on race morning. I was not happy with that walk and felt it made me cut the time close. These special needs bags are not returned, but you can try to find them the day after in a big pile, I'm told. I used the bike special needs bag for a spare tube/w extender/gels/special nutrition=PBJ (uncrustables frozen PBJ-are perfect, just remember to take them with you from the hotel in the morning). I did not go back for my Special needs bag to get my tube/co2 etc.

5:00am: Walked down to transition with a goodbye/good luck kiss from my beautiful wife, Denise. (Love that woman for putting up with all the time commitments of training and racing-especially with teenagers.) Brought small Kodak digital camera that I would take with me on the bike, and if it fell, I wasn't going to worry about it. But if I could get some shots during the bike, I'd take them. Took some pics of transition in the morning.
5:15 Bodymarking on Main Street in front of the entrance to transition/oval. Go to bike, take off plastic covers. Borrowed a pump and helped one of the pro women with her tires but cut my finger a little, then pumped my tires. Had difficulty with the first pump and all the air came out of my tire, but got a second pump. People are so helpful and there was no negative energy. Got the front tire filled and decided not to touch the rear tire. You do actually have access to your run/bike bags in transition so you can adjust things there --if needed on race morning.

I had put a big X in tape below my number on my bike/run bags to make it easier to see, but that wasn't needed as my bags were in a sweet spot near the front and I had a good landmark to locate it. Put bottom half of wetsuit on-using conditioner on legs/shoulders to make the wetsuit a bit more slippery. Sprayed suntan lotion on.

6:15 Left transition to drop off SN bags and do a warmup swim. Walking barefoot with goggles/swim cap tucked into the front of my suit and earplugs loosely in my ears. Took longer than expected to walk down Mirror Lake drive. (Better to have someone meet you and drop off sneaks for walking around early morning on race day-and to drop off the special needs bags, but that wasn't in my plan, so barefoot it was trekking down the long road...) Needed to use the port-a-potty down past the drop off and stood in line...a long while... forgot to bring my moist towlettes which I had in my morning clothes bag.
6:40 arrived to far side of beach to get into the lake. Calmly warmed up for about 5 minutes and waited on the beach until 6:58. Pros went off with cannon at 6:50. Our race started promptly at 7:00 and I only had to tread water for about 30 seconds. Very packed with no obvious open areas to the right or along the cable so I tried the middle, but back a bit.

BOOM!!! And off we go!
  • 1h 21m 13s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 55s / 100 yards

I dreaded this portion but I've improved a lot. My first OWS was at the Rev3 Quassy 1/2IM 6 weeks prior. After that debaucle, I learned that you actually should practice open water swimming to get better at it. What a novel concept! Taking this to heart, I did 2-3 OWS/week for the rest of my training. Throughout the year, I've adjusted my schedule as needed from the many people around me who have shared their experiences. Without the help of Dave and Tony, my buddies at Master's swim and my swim coach, Rob, I would have had much more trouble with this. Instead I was right in the middle-an average swimmer which is a MIRACLE.
What would you do differently?:

Try a different line to not be so congested. Most of it's luck. It appeared that there were bodies everywhere-left and right and middle, right before the start so I did not expect to find any open water.
Transition 1
  • 10m 12s

Once done with the swim, many (most?) took off their wetsuits immediately after getting out of the water and ran/jogged with them in their hands. I waved my hands and screamed to my wife and ran over and got another good luck kiss from her! I then pulled off my cap/earplugs into my left sleeve and then took off my right sleeve. As I jogged up the path, I realized my goggles were still on my head so I tucked them into my right sleeve. It is 1/2 mile down the road, up the road, down the road to get to the oval. I then grabbed my bag, ran into the changing tent which was full and quite humid. Found one of several empty seats and stepped out of my wetsuit. Towelled off feet, put socks on, bike shoes on. Sprayed suntan lotion, put on race belt/bib, glasses and helmet. Stuffed the suit into the bag. Double checked to clip the helmet as I ran out the back of the tent and handed my bag to someone. click/click/click down the path and someone hands me my bike as I'm coming down the row. Put on my athlete tracker that was on my bike resting and ran w bike the short distance to the mount line. Swung foot over and wasn't going to clip-just steer around the 180 degree turn, but my feet clipped in without me looking at them. How is that for luck?

Around and out of transition down onto Main Street!
What would you do differently?:

Go faster, but I wanted to be meticulous and not forget anything.
  • 6h 22m 6s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.59 mile/hr

I was a machine on the first loop. Steady, conserving energy. Clicking off what needed to be done. Sip feed bottle, drink water, eat gel. Rinse/repeat. Not windy, but sun was out and it was starting to get hot. I decided to eat Scaps and a pepcid every 30 miles. I saw a lot of drafting out on the course, but other people can do whatever they want. I was racing my race. Made the climb out of town and kept HR to low 140's. Pushed some downhills with my 11 gear and passed a bunch of people without burning any matches. Down Keene safely but on the brakes. Steady spin up the bears and tried to always regain momentum whenever I could. don't rest going 10 mph, rest after you get back to 18+mph!

Very windy on the second loop and I tried to hold back a bit as my pace was a bit faster than I expected on the first loop. I was trying for 3:05-7//3:08-10 splits and got 3:04 in reality, but I didn't know that based on my messed up watch time from the reset during the swim. I thought it was faster based on my watch so I decided to take it a bit easier for a while. That only helped me in the end.
What would you do differently?:

Go faster.
Transition 2
  • 04m 13s

I didn't have to do anything when I got to T2. Didn't have to jump off or run with the bike. A volunteer immediately came up and took my bike asking me if there was anything I needed from it and reracked it for me. (I forgot about the camera so no 'on the course' running pictures were taken and frankly I'm a bit surprised I still had the camera.)

Click/click/click down the path to grab my run bag and into the tent. But first, a long pee at the trough told me that my hydration was A-OK. I could have peed on the bike but since I was getting blisters on my feet already, I didn't want to make them worse.

Dumped bag, sat down. Off with the helmet/glasses/socks/bike shoes. On with the run socks/run shoes/visor. Felt I didn't need more sunscreen, but probably could have used a bit more. Grabbed more nutrition-peach rings/bumpy nerd jelly beans/sports beans and stuffed it into trisuit. Wished I'd taken cough drops as my mouth gets dry...have I already said that??

Threw the stuff back in the bag and threw the bag to the side with the hundreds of others at the back of the tent and jogged out the rear of the tent onto the run course.
What would you do differently?:

Go faster.
  • 4h 28m 19s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 14s  min/mile

Man, it was hot out there. I was told it was in the 70's, but boy it sure felt like 80's-especially after being in significant heat/humidity in CT and feeling the reprieve the days before the race. LP weather had been perfect. Perhaps it was the fact I was running a marathon after swimming and biking for 8 hours...hmmm....
What would you do differently?:

Train more. I neglected distance training and believe it hurt me a bit, but there is only so much time in the day and I came from a running background so when in doubt, running got cut out.
Post race
Warm down:

Crossed the line and felt like I was going to lock up. Legs didn't move well and I seemed to want to go sideways rather than forward. Basked in the glory of the day and told my wife and kids about the adventure until I was well enough to collect the bike/bags and head back for a shower and try to eat. I iced my quads and my knee for a while. Ordered dinner but couldn't eat much. Sick to my stomach for a while. Long shower and then got the shakes from the ice on my legs, but I slept like a rock.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

With more time to train, I could have done a better job and gone faster. With the training I did, I'm thrilled

  • 2556 started race--with 2277 finishers with an 11% DNF rate-almost double from 2011-is notable.

    Event comments:

    This is a great race. I'd highly recommend it to anyone. I was blessed by so many people offering suggestions and helpful hints in the Beginner Triathlete IMLP thread. I 'met' so many people but the best was DC, Mr. DreamChaser, Bobby M. He always had something to offer and with his experience and knowledge, I felt that I had an unfair advantage over other first timers who did not participate in the thread. I also was able to look into the logs of Bobby, Rusty (TankBoy), Dave (03djmorris), Kent (Klassman), Jason (jmoney) and so many more that I can't even begin to thank you all.
    With the support and comradre, the race was the icing for the months of training with all it's trials and tribulations. Athlete's who are undergoing the same thing understand best how difficult this really is.

    But without my loving spouse and her ability to keep control of everything, I would be lost. I love you, Denise.

    Profile Album

    Last updated: 2012-02-01 12:00 AM
    01:21:13 | 4224 yards | 01m 55s / 100yards
    Age Group: 134/242
    Overall: 1618/2556
    Performance: Good
    Well, that was quite an experience. The mass swim start is appealing to those in the sport, but to expect 3000 athletes to all converge together is ridiculous. I had a lot of contact for the entire first lap. Arms hitting me, kicked once pretty hard in the chin, athletes' clawing at you and shoving you away so they can have was ugly. Surprisingly, I handled the contact reasonably well, but once again, my breathing started to quicken. 150M into it, I couldn't get my breath and was on my back sculling and trying to get control. It is just a panicky feeling when everyone is thrashing around you and there was nowhere to swim with bodies all around me. I was moving forward with the current of people, even on my back, and after 20 seconds or so, I calmed down enough to flip over. No one even swam over me as I was moving with everyone with little energy and concentrating on breathing slowly. I tried to focus on attempting to breath deeply and stay relaxed. I did not care about time just effort. Counted down from 50 and all was well then all of a sudden the entire pack stopped as a swimmer was apparently in trouble. Everyone waved their hands and a kayak came over quickly to help while we all just treaded water for about a minute, maybe less. No one knew how much in trouble the swimmer was in but I later found out that it was a kick in the nose/broken nose?. We all started swimming again, but were logjammed for a time. The sun came out and was directly in my eyes as we headed out towards the turn around-being a right sided breather and having tinted goggles was a big plus as I was told beforehand about that. I was constantly trying to find some sort of space and kept getting pushed towards the left. Eventually I found myself along the cable! A steady stream of faster swimmers were barrelling over people along that path, so it was safer to stay 10 feet to the right of the cable. The contact continued for much of the way back to shore but less on the way back. I did not have to sight as I found some feet with a red strap on the left foot that was about my pace. Drafting behind someone who has good sighting is quite helpful. I was behind him and then lost him but found a strong woman that I stayed behind and rested, conserving my energy. Out in 39:50. Came out of the water feeling good and took my cough drop out and chewed it. Shocked at my time but quite happy. Out for second loop and goal is to conserve energy. Did not draft well this loop. Much less contact but still some bumping going on. Again, swam along the left, near the cable, despite trying to stay outside. No issues. Sang songs in my head. Tried to focus on my form and stay long and smooth. Back in 41:23. Noticed that my watch was not running at this point, so I assume that during the meelee, it was 'paused' and then stopped timing after it timed out, so I restarted my watch during my run up to T1.
    Suit: Full Helix
    Course: 2 loops in scenic Mirror Lake. Mass start with line about 75 M into the lake. Straight out along cable/buoys with short 90 degree turn for 10 M then second 90 degree turn back to shore along second string of cable/buoys. Short walk up beach around the dock and back into the water for second loop.
    Start type: Deep Water Plus:
    Water temp: 73F / 23C Current: Low
    200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Good
    Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
    Waves: Navigation: Good
    Rounding: Good
    Time: 10:12
    Performance: Good
    Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
    Suit off:
    Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike:
    Jump on bike: No
    Getting up to speed: Good
    06:22:06 | 112 miles | 17.59 mile/hr
    Age Group: 84/242
    Overall: 991/2556
    Performance: Good
    Goal was to keep my HR around 130-140 for the majority of the time. If it went below 130, I had energy to push the effort a bit. If it went above 140 and I wasn't climbing, I backed off a bit. On the hills, I just tried to stay seated, spin steadily in the highest gear I could maintain a 90 cadence. Pretty much kept true to my HR goal as it ranged 130-139. I still think you can guesstimate your pace for ~1/2 the time it will take by approximating the time it takes to go the first 32 miles. This will be approximately the time it will take to travel the final 24 miles (of uphills).
    Wind: Some
    Course: 2 Loop course heading out of town up a slight hill followed by several miles of short rollers. Then Keene descent is actually a long, winding switchback road so even though you get to 40mph, I felt that I needed to be on the brakes as the road was somewhat bumpy. After this there are a number of miles with gentle downsloping areas where you can push a steady pace. After experiencing the easy part, the second half constitues long steady climbs offset with some much shorter down portions where you can catch your breath. It is not difficult, just unrelenting. By the time you get to mile 100, you want it to end, but it doesn't-more bears follow...
    Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 90+
    Turns: Good Cornering: Average
    Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
    Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
    Time: 04:13
    Overall: Good
    Riding w/ feet on shoes
    Jumping off bike
    Running with bike
    Racking bike
    Shoe and helmet removal
    04:28:19 | 26.2 miles | 10m 14s  min/mile
    Age Group: 49/242
    Overall: 661/2556
    Performance: Good
    Goal was to start off at about 9:30 pace, really wanted to go much easier than my 'goal pace' of 9 minutes. Didn't work out as I was at 9 min pace for the first 2 miles, then backed off even more. Just tried to keep my legs moving but I could feel the cramps starting to happen. My calves, quads and hamstrings all twitched a little bit. Then my right arm cramped up at the elbow. This happened in a hot running race, so I presumed dehydration/salt depletion/undertraining all were contributing. Took double water/perform and walked every aid station. Threw out any time goal and wanted to try to run the majority of the race with planned walk breaks on any hills and through every aid station. Didn't look at HR monitor anymore as cramps limited my performance, not aerobic conditioning. My HR averaged about 130 during the marathon, but if able, I'd have pushed it to 135-140. I just couldn't move my legs that fast without them seizing up.
    Course: Slightly down for the first several miles followed by flat, small rollers leading into a long series of pretty short hills that are much higher on the second lap. I swear they grew higher and I don't quite know how it was done...Finish in the oval and seeing all the people cheering and hearing your family call to you at the end is priceless.
    Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
    Post race
    Weight change: %
    Overall: Good
    Mental exertion [1-5] 5
    Physical exertion [1-5] 5
    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