Ironman Lake Placid - Triathlon

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
80F / 27C
Total Time = 14h 03m 15s
Overall Rank = 1214/
Age Group = F 35-39
Age Group Rank = 49/92
Pre-race routine:

Warning - this is long. My race reports always are.

Lake Placid will always be very special to me. Not only is it one of my favorite places, it was where I finished my first Ironman in 2006. It was really nostalgic and emotional to be heading back there for Ironman #13. In June, a woman from Ironman contacted me to confirm Brad and I applied for the Kona Legacy Program for 2014 and weren't selected. She stated if we finished an IM this year and was signed up for one next year, we had guaranteed entry into Kona for 2016. That made this race even more important and special.

I was up at around 3:45 am for breakfast and coffee. The fire on buildings on Main Street the night before threatened the swim...water testing was going to be done race morning to make sure the water was safe to hold the swim. I had an english muffin with almond butter and a banana while sipping coffee and chatting with Heidi. Craig dropped me, Brad, Heidi and Sissy off near the Crown Plaza. From there, we got body marked, pumped our tires and got into our T1/T2 bags before linking back up. I made another english muffin sandwich for the road and ate it while finishing up in the transition area. It was raining before we left the house, but the weather broke and the sun was rising. We dropped off SNB before dropping SNR off and finding a short port-o-potty line in that area. We saw Heidi's parents and chatted with them for a few minutes (and I took a GU) before making our way over to the swim start area.

We said our goodbyes to Sissy and made our way into the seeding area. Brad and I said goodbye to Heidi since we were seeding ourselves differently. He and I got into the water to get some water in our wetsuits before lining up in the middle of the "sub 60 minute" group. I had some anxiety about this since I knew I wouldn't swim sub-60, but I assumed most people towards the front would be seeding themselves more aggressively. I tried to take it all in and remember back 9 years ago standing on the same beach with tears in my eyes because I was so nervous.

Event warmup:

No real warm up besides getting some water in my wetsuit. After the nation anthem, things moved along quickly and before we knew it, Brad and I kissed and hugged and wished each other luck for the day.
  • 1h 07m 2s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 35s / 100 yards

Oh dear lord...that was rough. I realize I am the one who decided to seed myself aggressively, but was a pretty physical swim for the first half of the first lap. I ended up swimming on the cable, which I knew would be a crowded spot and I kept trying to move over, but wasn't very successful. On the way out of the first loop, you could taste the fire from the night before on Main Street in the water. Not totally nasty, but noticeable. I had some sighting hiccups close to the turn buoy as one of the yellow buoys wasn't in line with the others. I then realized I was sighting off of the 2nd orange turn buoy. Adjusted and was back on track. Made the two turns and headed back in. Closer to shore, I saw the blind athlete and their escort in orange caps on the inside of the yellow buoys. As you get closer to shore, you can hear Mike Reilly and the crowd. I made the turn around the dock, swam as far into shore as I could and glanced at my watch as I made the short beach run. Not thrilled with the time for my 1st lap (32:32). Back in for lap 2 and it was uneventful. I didn't feel I had quite the same draft as I did the first loop, but tried to keep a steady pace. I got out of the water at 1:07 and wasn't super thrilled with the time, but what's done is done...onto the bike.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe move back a little in the seeding area so I would be closer to the 1:01-1:10 group...then maybe I could have found some feet to hang with a little bit longer.

Transition 1
  • 07m 30s

It's a long run from the lake to the transition tents and I was proud of myself for running the entire way. I found my bag without issues (put ribbons and colored tape on them) and ran into the women's tent. It was pretty empty and I had a volunteer helping me. I tried to be efficient as possible. I swam in my tri top and a tyr swimsuit bottom. Off with the swim suit and on with the bike shorts, socks and shoes. I crammed a honey stinger waffle in my mouth while changing. I had my arm coolers rolled up like donuts and slid them on my wrists. Threw stuff in my pockets and on with my helmet and glasses. Before the race, I had written a small thank you note and included a $10 Starbucks gift card all in a ziplock bag to give to the volunteers that helped me in T1, SNB, T2 and SNR.
I felt like I had to pee and didn't want to start the bike with that feeling. After I grabbed my own bike, I stopped at the port-o-potty within the transition area. I figured it was more efficient to stop now versus when I was moving on the bike. So happy I stopped.
  • 7h 34m 6s
  • 112 miles
  • 14.80 mile/hr

I immediately saw the Johnson's when I was getting on my bike. Was great to start that leg seeing familiar faces. I hit start on the Garmin and while the time was going, the power wasn't reading. I tried to sync the powertap a few times, but with so many in the area, it was picking up others. I settled into the climb past the ski jumps and was still messing with the Garmin. On top of not reading power, it also wasn't reading distance. I turned it off and on again and still no success. So instead of watching the time slowly go by on the Garmin, I changed it to the blank screens which typically show my lap power and 3s power. I now was going to be riding by feel and took lap splits at every 10 mile mark. I honestly think this may have been a blessing in disguise as I just rode. I had my interval timer on my watch to beep every 30 seconds. I alternating eating something solid (HS waffle, 3/4 of a Lara bar) with some GU product (GU or chomps). I also took 1 hit of Base salt every 30 minutes and was only drinking water.

It was overcast when I started the bike and when I ran by the sunscreen table leaving the transition tent, it wasn't being staffed. I opted to wear the aerohelmet despite being kind of indecisive on what would be best for me if it ended up being sunny and warm.

The descent to Keene wasn't as bad as I recall. The pavement seemed to be in ok shape and I rode kind of conservatively. That was my goal for the first loop. I knew it was a long day so I needed to ride easy. The part along the river was fast and fun. I tried to thank every volunteer I could at every aid station or intersection. The sun came out somewhere on the first loop, but it wasn't super hot yet. Heidi passed me (I can't remember where) and I got to see both her and Brad on the longer out and back. I knew I was well hydrated since I stopped to pee 3 times on the first lap. The climb up 86 was manageable and after the short out and back, I started on the trek back to town. It was kind of windy and I just tried to keep a steady pace while staying aero. I passed the River Road and knew I was only a few miles and climbs away from town. Big Cherry and Little Cherry (two notable climbs) weren't labeled and I honestly don't know where they were in the line of hills. I hit Mama Bear and heard Sissy screaming at the top of her lungs. She shouted words of encouragement to me and let me know Brad was doing great. Up and over Baby Bear and then the Johnson's were on Papa Bear. Riding up Papa Bear is like nothing else I've done yet. It's lined with people cheering, ringing bells, in costumes. So freaking awesome! The Johnson's were so energetic and gave me the extra boost I needed.

I stopped at SNB to get more nutrition and then kept going for lap 2. I tried to turn my brain off from the task of heading back out for another 56 miles of wind and hills (with heat added for the second lap). There were still some packs of people drafting, but the second lap was less crowded. It was warming up and the sun was out now with little shade on the course. My nutrition was spot on, my energy was good (besides tired legs) and I kept pouring water on my head and back at each aid station. I also was religious with my salt intake. I saw Brad as he was finishing the long out and back...was a nice surprise to see him there since I figured I wouldn't see him until I was off the bike. I also saw Heidi which was a great pick me up to see another familiar face out there. Somewhere on the 2nd lap, I took 2 excedrin migraine since I felt the slight onset of a headache (and usually get them in sunny and hot conditions).
The climb up Rt 86 was rough. Headwind, hot, sunny and no shade. Every so often, the clouds would give us some relief, but it was pretty exposed here. Despite being 90+ miles in and it being so hot, I was still mentally in a really great spot. I am not sure if the Garmin had anything to do with it where now the expectation was just to ride. Or if it was because I was back in Lake Placid racing here again after doing my 1st IM here 9 years ago. Or because with a finish on that day for me and Brad, it meant we were going to Kona in 2016. I am guessing a combination of all of them. I was chatting with other athletes, smiling and thanking volunteers.
Made a quick stop at the aid station on Hassleton Road (short OAB) to see if they had sunscreen. The guy that helped me was someone we met on Thursday night at a mexican restauraunt in Lake Saranac. He told us he and his wife and daughter, Jane, were volunteering at that aid station. Surprised he remembered me. And Jane came running over asking how Brad was doing. Thankfully they had sunscreen which I sprayed on my shoulders and arms and off I went.
The conditions on the way back to town the final 12 miles were tough. Not having my total distance was nice because I had nothing to check. It was full sun and hot with a strong headwind. I kept thinking how fortunate I was to be able to be out there and at times, started to tear up thinking I was getting close to getting off the bike. The Johnson's were again on Papa Bear and it was so amazing to see them there. They were screaming and cheering and full of energy. I didn't expect for them to still be there so it was a nice surprise. Craig and Ben ran along side of me for a little before I made the turn to finish the bike.

Coming along the lake, I saw Brad on the short out and back section of the run. It's always so nice to see him on the course, but it means more when we are both done with the bike.
What would you do differently?:

Despite being slower than I planned or would have wanted, I am not sure what else I could have done differently. I purposely rode easy the first loop to conserve energy to not suffer the second (and I was successful at my ride strategy). My nutrition was spot on and mentally, I rode happy for the entire ride. The full 112 miles. I think that right there is a small miracle.
Transition 2
  • 06m 51s

I told the volunteer to sell my bike. :)
I immediately saw and heard Sissy screaming through the fence with her arms up in the air! The amount of sincere energy she has on race day is like nothing else in the world. It gives you energy when you then have to run a marathon in the heat.
I walked through transition because my back was achy and I was on pavement in bike shoes. I tried to start doing things while walking like taking off my aero helmet and gloves and switching my Garmin over to run.
I had a great volunteer in T2 who helped me a ton. I changed my socks and into tri shorts before loading up my pockets and hitting the port-o-potty. They filled up my handheld water bottle, I put on some vaseline on my arms and headed out to get sunscreened before starting the run. I am glad I decided to run without a visor (usually gives me a headache), but with my Athleta headband and sunglasses.
What would you do differently?:

Hustle. I could always hustle more. Just happy to be off the bike.
  • 5h 07m 46s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 45s  min/mile

Here we go. Time to run a marathon. My legs felt really good to start actually. I just used the downhills to keep some momentum. I saw Katie and Chuck within the first mile and then the Johnson's who were on the corner where I turned (eating lunch). Amy ran over and I met her to give her a hug. Also saw Nate and then Sissy who said we would soon be seeing Brad. I thought he was ahead of me on the way out of town, but it turns out he was behind me as he caught me within the first mile or so (me on my 1st loop and him on his 2nd). I was walking the hills and aid stations and we chatted a bit. He wasn't ready to run so I went ahead...not sure the last time that happened. I was concentrating on my form and getting time in the bank while I had the downhills.
Brad caught up to me and we leap frogged a bit before hitting River Road. We were doing a run/walk combo and when I told him to go ahead, he said he would run with me. I was shocked and thrilled! How lucky was I to have my husband's company for half of the marathon! I made a comment to him at some point of how hot it was. Despite water over my head and ice in my bra top, it was full sun and warm. I also was joking when I said that finishing in the daylight was overrated. :)
We saw Heidi on River Road and she looked strong. I tried to keep with the plan of eating Chomps or a GU every 3 miles, but it was hard for me to get it down. My body just wasn't interested in eating that kind of food any longer. So I had some fruit and Gatorade at every aid station. Brad and I had pre-determined walk/run spots which helped keep us accountable. We ran through a Kona themed aid station and I told him I would get us leis on my second lap. I'm not sure if he believed me. On the way back on River Road, Brad and I met this Australian guy who was on his 93rd Ironman. He was headed to Boulder next week before doing Chattanooga and a few others in a few weeks. He was lining Australia up to be his 100th and his wife's 1st. Insane!

We got back to Rt. 73 and saw Heidi making her way a few miles into her 2nd lap, still looking strong. The way back to town was fun and the time flew. We danced and sang to spectators playing the song from Blues Brothers. We saw Sissy on the "Subway hill" who said she randomly made friends with Ken Greenburg, Brad's college roommate. We continued the run/walk intervals up the hills to the short out and back. Brad said he would leave me at the downhill part after mile 25 (after the turn around). I was sad to not have his company for the second lap and was hoping I wouldn't just resort to walking. We stepped to the side to hug and kiss goodbye and both started to tear up a bit. He made me promise to run the tangents. Funny! He set off running and with the nice downhill section heading back to the oval and then leaving town, I started running.

A tad slower the second lap, but again a consistent run/walk strategy. I saw Heidi near the ski jumps heading back to town. Always looking strong, smiling and offering words of encouragement. The out and back on River Road my second loop was kind of surreal. Early on when I first started doing IMs, that was me at that time of day on my first loop envious of those on their second loop. But here I was, continuing to run the flats and downhills and walk the uphills and aid stations. I was happy to have vaseline in a snack sized ziplock bag since my arms felt a little chaffed. I was so happy to hit that turn around and head back to town. Stopping through the Kona aid station one last time, I asked a volunteer for 2 leis after explaining our quest for Kona. She was happy to give them over and I stuffed them into my back pocket. I kept reminding myself to "run the tangents, run the tangents". And I was happy to be able to stick to the run/walk plan that Brad and I had used on the 1st loop, remembering where we ran and walked and doing the same for my second solo loop.
I was getting within 1-2 miles of making the right turn onto Rt. 73 when I noticed Craig Johnson was standing on the side of the course in bike shoes. I was so happy I could have cried! He couldn't bike into the run course so just started walking on the course until he ran into me. I kept up with my run/walk intervals and he ran along side of me, first in bike shoes and then in his socks. At the turn in the road, he picked his bike up and said he would ride ahead for me. I continued on and up the hill and felt like I was running strong on the flats and downhills. I felt I still had good form and I was on a mission and ready to be done. Not in a mean way, but it felt good to be passing people at this stage of the race. It meant I had had some good pacing throughout the day and still was able to run. Craig kept riding ahead, stopping, yelling encouragement at me and then moving on. He kept this for a few miles back through town. It was amazing to be so supported by family and friends. I power walked up the Subway hill and saw and heard Brad and Sissy along the side lines (not sure if anyone else was there). I pulled out the blue lei and put it around Brad's neck before giving him a kiss and continuing on.
I just had the final out and back section along Mirror Lake Drive. Wow...what a different race I had today versus 9 years ago at my first. I was thinking back of how far I've come from there and proud of myself for the progress I've made...not just physically, but probably more so for the mental toughness I've gained. I remember the sky over Mirror Lake being absolutely beautiful. The pinks, purples and oranges of the sunset were amazing. And I remember thinking what a beautiful sight to be finishing to.

Once I hit the turn around, I kept walking until I hit the downhill. I knew from there, I could run the rest of the way. I couldn't stop smiling. Ear to ear. I ran on the right side of the road which meant I was headed to the finish. I wanted to enjoy the experience so kept checking over my shoulder to make sure I was solo. I thought about crossing with the lei around my neck, but it was really annoying to run with so it got stuffed back in my pocket . Around the second bend of the speed skating oval, I saw our crew screaming and cheering. I went over to hug and kiss Brad and broke down crying, I was so happy. I let some people pass so I could have a clear finish line and then jogged down the chute, making sure to enjoy it. I slowed down to walk across the finish line crying. Never in my wildest dreams 9 years ago would I have guessed I would have finished lucky number 13 and be heading to Kona with my husband next year.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Overall, given the heat and hills, this was a good run for me. It helped I had no hip pain and was able to keep running, even at the end of the race.
Post race
Warm down:

I got my medal, silver blanket thingie and shirt/hat. The volunteers kept asking me if I was ok. Maybe that's what they're told to do, but I swear, I think they asked me 10 times. I grabbed a piece of pizza and Brad found me. We got a picture together and I got a post-race massage. Me, Brad, Heidi and Sissy walked to the car that was staged at the Crown Plaza. The rest of our crew had already loaded our bikes and gear backs into the car. They are amazing!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Perhaps race day conditions, but everyone had the same sun and wind.

Event comments:

Lake Placid is so special to me. It was my first IM in 2006 where I vowed I was "one and done". And it was where Brad and I completed lucky #13, the final check mark off of the to do list on our way to Kona 2016. My favorite race experience to date is being able to run half of the run course with Brad. Lake Placid 2015 did not disappoint.

2006 vs. 2015
Swim: 1:10.46 vs. 1:07.02
T1: 11:08 vs. 7:30
Bike: 8:38.06 vs. 7:34.06
T2: 5:26 vs. 6:51
Run: 6:22.47 vs. 5:07.46
Total: 16:28.11 vs. 14:03.15

Last updated: 2014-10-08 12:00 AM
01:07:02 | 4224 yards | 01m 35s / 100yards
Age Group: 13/92
Overall: 272/
Performance: Average
Suit: sleeveless
Course: 2 clockwise loops with a short beach run in between
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 07:30
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:34:06 | 112 miles | 14.80 mile/hr
Age Group: 53/92
Overall: 1486/
Performance: Average
Wind: Strong
Course: 2 loop course - climbs to start, descent to Keene, flat along the water, OAB to Ausable Forks, climbing up Rt. 86 and then the rest of the way back to start loop 2.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 06:51
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:07:46 | 26.2 miles | 11m 45s  min/mile
Age Group: 49/92
Overall: 1214/
Performance: Good
Course: 2 laps with rolling hills and some more significant climbs. Out and back down 73 to River Road and then a short OAB along Mirror Lake Drive.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
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