Ironman Lake Placid - Triathlon

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
48F / 9C
Total Time = 11h 51m 53s
Overall Rank = 413/3055
Age Group = 55-59M
Age Group Rank = 11/179
Pre-race routine:

Drove up Thursday afternoon. Pretty fast with no events other than some traffic due to construction. I liked being able to check in early to the hotel. I was happy to be back at the Crowne Plaza in downtown LP. It is second best, to the Hampton Inn, which is right across from the swim start. The Crowne Plaza is on a hill though, and walking up and down that hill even the 1/2 mile, can be taxing after a while. But no parking issues and you could get anywhere you needed. Again, it was quiet at night, comfortable beds and we got a rollaway for one of our kids. The food is exceptionally good. And of course, 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 Convention Center/Lake Placid High School directly behind it. It was about 1/2 mile walk-down past several buildings on Main Street. Highly recommended, if you can get in. It sells out fast.
Once again, I was prepared. Eerily calm and no real issues had come up, either physical, mental or mechanical. This, of course, had me worried, as something ALWAYS happens.

Thursday's list included: registration and check in to the hotel. No kids with us initially, so lower stress levels to start.
Slept great in a comfortable bed and knew it was time to test things out. Planned a short swim, bike and run throughout the day. Walked down to swim and the Garmin wouldn't work. (Later figured out it had a dead battery and just needed charging). Felt uncomfortable in the water and only swam 15 minutes. My wife swam with me for a short while and wore a wetsuit for the first time-ever!
Walked back to hotel and went for a nice easy spin out of town for a 15 mile bike. We drove up through the Keene descent on the way up so I saw the road. Looked better with some new pavement but still some less than ideal areas. Went out of town and it was helpful to see that ahead of time. I was surprised to see that holding 185 watts gave me a 6 minute mile on mile 4, so I knew to keep that in the back of my head and not be disappointed. Had some rubbing issues with the wheels and saw my 25 tire was rubbing on the front frame and knew I'd need to change back to a 23.
Did a short 2 mile run and got chastised by the Guertin's for being out in the heat. Then went back to the lake to overcome my water fear with a charged Garmin. Met Bobby and the clan from NY. Swam a PR for 1.2 miles in 37:18 and got a HUGE confidence boost. DC waited for me, as I'd changed my mind and swam the full loop rather than a shorter one and he was worried about me. (He knows my swim history). To the LBS for a tire, dinner at the Boat House and then put the tire on and check it. Still rubbing on the back wheel at race PSI...Hmmmm.
Our son Mike arrived late, ~11:30pm and we set him up in the room and all went to sleep. Slept OK and had another delicious breakfast at the hotel prior to checking in the bike/bags. Brought the bike down to check it. Thought I'd see if I could borrow a screwdriver to loosen the set screws on the rear wheel to eliminate the rubbing on my rear tire with the 25 and the wheel rental guy helped me do it, which took care of all my bike mechanical issues! It was supposed to rain, so I put socks in open plastic bags, covered the stuff on the top with a small towel and additionally put a plastic bag over the top to prevent water from getting in the hole on the top. I saw a lot of people did different things to prevent water leak, like plastic cups inverted with a tiny hole at the top. You have access to the bags on race morning, so you can go and ready everything for the race.
Small pasta dinner, sleep early and set multiple alarms.
Event warmup:

Sunday (race day):3:00 awake, Ate my food in the dark-Boost, poptart, Rice Krispies treat, granola bar and bannana. Drank a little G2 and back to sleep. Re-awoke at 4:30 for shower/coffee. My wife went downstairs for coffee for me. (I do so love that woman, for so many reasons that are not even related to this, of course)
Got 'Race Ready' before leaving. Race kit, timing chip, HR monitor, Garmin on wrist, self body marked (more fun and meaningful when family marks you anyway) then put on warm clothes over that. I knew I'd wear sneaks this time and give my bag to my family. They were responsible for dropping off special needs bags too, so I didn't have to do extra walking. A much improved plan from 2012. You must have a specific, predetermined meeting spot planned though, as it is madness with crowds.

5:00am: Walked down to transition and met Bobby (DreamChaser) walking back from transition. He'd already been there and was heading back to the hotel for final arrangements and chill time. Went into transition with plan to meet at specific area prior to swim practice and found my family while I was waiting for the long port-a-potty line. (Which took 15 minutes to get from the back to the front.) Took the wet plastic covers off. Checked my tires, which were low and got the bike to get into line for free air pumping, as I wasn't carrying my pump. But the Cyclonauts have a special system or communication or something, and before you know it, another 'Naut is in my row and offering me his pump to use. How lucky! Left transition after triple checking everything and sipping on a G2 and headed down to the water. made note of transition entrances/exits again in my mind, as I messed this up last time. Sad to know that I had just about the WORST spot ever and had to run my bike through the madness the entire length of the rows of bikes...
Got suit on and warmed up starting at 6:00am. Pro's (only women at this race) would start at 6:10 and AG athlete's would start entering the water at 6:40am. It was a self seed, rolling start. Interesting..
Swam a bit, but quickly realized that there was no supervision and people were swimming every which way. I got kicked, bumped, pulled etc and figured this was good practice prior to the race. HA! (Foreshadowing)

  • 1h 19m 33s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 53s / 100 yards

I did not swim at all this winter and began swimming in early Jan. I was convinced that a short 8 week block with focus on technique and faster swimming in the pool followed by longer swims to promote swim fitness would help get me where I needed as time efficiently as possible. This proved true, but panic attacks can undue you. Like Mike Tyson says, 'everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth'.
So, no mass start and I'm thinking this HAS to be better. We start walking into the water. I self seeded at just past 1:10, figuring I could swim 1:15 and possibly would be faster with the current of people. I just needed to relax and not panic. Well, that did not happen, but I am so much better at dealing with it. I went out fast (1:33pace, per Garmin) and had some trouble with the contact and it started to get in my head so I flipped and sculled for a bit. It always seems so long, but my breathing was better pretty quickly in hindsight and I started swimming again. But, I was engulfed almost immediately got hit with an inadvertent right cross and then a group of 3 swimmers swam over me and pushed me under. Felt like forever but it wasn't too long, but I flipped out and starting hyperventilating. Again, got control and knew I'd stay way wide, if I could. As I was getting ready to start again, saw someone who likely resembled me, thrashing a bit and clearly having a panic attack. He was close and I swam over to him and tried to get him to calm down and he quickly dunked me. I thought I was going to drown and realized THAT was a bad idea. Got away and talked him through it. It seemed like it took 10-15 minutes, but according to my Garmin, it was about 5 minutes. (So my swim was actually ~5 minutes faster). We were sculling on our backs getting control, so I was actually moving a bit, per the device. He was then OK and proceeded on his way and in my mind I knew I was very delayed. I scrolled screens, for the first time, and saw I was at ~1 hour at the turn around and figured we were out there for 20+ minutes and I just didn't realize it. I thought my race was f*cked at this point and was completely demoralized. I just went through the swimming motion. I didn't try to go hard. I never did focus on a strong pull or breathing 2:1 as I do when i swim fast. I was just disappointed and knew I was going to try to finish.
The main issue was that my Garmin inadvertently started during the swim practice and I didn't know it. so 28 minutes were added to my time. I was only using the swim pace screen and didn't understand why it wasn't giving me a pace and only later figured it out but I was mentally out of it by then.
What would you do differently?:

Use a different screen to have time as well as pace. I often use the lap time/lap pace and distance screen but I didn't use it on race day.
Transition 1
  • 07m 41s

So, after the ordeal, I went right over to my wife and told her about the issue and was shaking my head about it. Gave her a kiss as I didn't care to make a fast transition at this point. Then went over and got 'stripped' for the first time. The big guy pulled me up and the girl shoved the wetsuit in my gut. I had sand all over me which was annoying. Slowly jogged up towards transition. Got my bag and left the wetsuit by the bags-oops. Dumped the bike stuff out and dried feet with towel, put on socks, put on bike shoes, then helmet and clipped it, put nutrition in back pocket, put bike flat stuff in other back pocket. Jogged out the rear of the tent to go around the oval to get my bike, which was closest to me and I had to run it all the way in the grass to the other side. Impossible to pass anyone, so I stayed in line and waited to get to the mount line. Then I ran past everyone, jumped on, turned quickly180 degrees then clipped in. As we were leaving transition, a guy launched his bottle (and it looked like the only one on his bike, so I gave him my second bottle) and then we were off!
What would you do differently?:

I'd have pressed more if I knew I still was close to pace for the race. Nothing to do about the sh*tty transition spot, until I do 3 IM branded races and get labelled 'All World', which I would be, if I'd been a 'sponsor' and done IM races.
  • 5h 47m 43s
  • 112 miles
  • 19.33 mile/hr

Not too shabby considering there were supposed to be ~3000 athletes. I pushed it and my legs felt like I was tired, but I still felt like I could run the marathon. According the the TP/Friel chart, I 'overcooked' the bike, but sometimes you just gotta roll the dice. I was pushing for a big PR and I was going to get it or not.
What would you do differently?:

Transition 2
  • 04m 35s

As soon as you dismount, someone takes your bike, so there isn't a lot of thinking, just click-clacking around to get your run bag and change. I picked up my wetsuit and stuffed it into my bike bag so I didn't lose it. Got my run stuff on. Drank a Boost as I was pretty tired and a bit hungry. Knew hydration was going well as I peed on the bike once. I then went out and got sprayed with suntan spray and was off out onto the course. Felt fast but I wasn't pushing it at all and I was actually faster in 2013.
What would you do differently?:

nothing, so far so good, the blow up was yet to happen...even though I'd written the race off in my mind.
  • 4h 32m 21s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 24s  min/mile

Oooof. That was hard. I am still processing how hard that was. Maybe I should have had more LR's. Maybe I should have peaked my run training later. Maybe, maybe, maybe...It doesn't matter. I laid it all out there, as I usually do and see what happens. I try to minimize mistakes and know that we are all in the same weather environment, so that doesn't matter. The race is within yourself and I know to try to hit my own goals. There will always be unexpected challenges. You just have to deal with them. The heat was one extra factor. It was 48 degrees at the start and high 70's at the finish. +30 degrees is a challenge.
What would you do differently?:

Bigger run training block with more LR's and prepare with salt better. A new IM PW on the run-woohoo! (And to think I have an open 3:15 marathon sad)
Post race
Warm down:

Couldn't walk straight. Glad to have Bill helping me as a volunteer. Felt nauseous. Legs were twitching and cramping just standing there. I needed to sit and catch my breath...for like 15 minutes. Good to see my wife and son and let me vent a bit. More Cyclonauts' came over to talk but I wasn't into socializing yet. Eventually, got stable enough to limp out with my son Mike getting the bags and me walking the bike. My wife Denise helped carry stuff too so we didn't have to come back to transition. I knew I needed a cold shower on my legs and food-eventually.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Weather, Undertrained for the run, Overbiked on race day-in that order.

Event comments:

This is a great race. I'd highly recommend it to anyone. I was blessed by so many people helping me along this training block. Having the Cyclonauts to swim and ride with was exceptional. Having Bobby (DreamChaser,) go through the Rev 3 full revolution and IMLP was just terrific. He is a good friend, even though we haven't spent nearly enough time to hang out and just talk about life.

*edited to add pics

This year, my older son Mike drove a million miles from Philly just to see the race. Very special. And my wife is beyond praise with her never ending support and patience listening to me whine about everything triathlon related. I love my family lots.

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Last updated: 2015-11-06 12:00 AM
01:19:33 | 4224 yards | 01m 53s / 100yards
Age Group: 58/179
Overall: 1269/3055
Performance: Below average
Faked out by a first lap of ~1 hour on my Garmin, which started early. Sigh. Otherwise, held my goal pace of ~1:45 pretty much spot on, except for the adventure at sea.
Suit: Helix Sleeveless
Course: 2 loops in scenic Mirror Lake. Rolling start with new (for me) clockwise swim, which plays to my advantage being a right sided breather. 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. I had counted that it took 50 strokes of one hand in my practice swim to get from one big buoy to the next on the way out and 52-53 on the way in. It also took me a minute (at my pace) to get from the out lane to the back lane. Water was perfect in temp. Clear enough to see. No issues with sun. Just very congested, very quickly. I think they let the athletes on to the course too fast and we were all way too congested very quickly. They need to hold back a bit and temper the enthusiasm. I was about a third of the way into the line, maybe 1/4, and it took only 3 minutes for me to get into the water. That's a lot of people in the water very quickly. Not a mass start, but it's pretty close. There must be a better way...
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 73F / 23C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Average
Time: 07:41
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
05:47:43 | 112 miles | 19.33 mile/hr
Age Group: 11/179
Overall: 330/3055
Performance: Good
Let me just say, I threw out the original power plan and decided to be aggressive. Instead of going 175 on the first loop and 185 (if able) on the second loop, I decided to push 185 and see how much I could hold onto at the end. I was pissed about the swim and wanted redemption. I was flying down the descents and knew my VI would be whacked, as when you average a lot of zeroes in from coasting, the numbers go afoul, but I also knew I was faster by being aero rather than 'holding some preset power goal'. Get up to speed quickly and then tuck and rest. Get as low as possible. it works. Couldn't hold power at 185 the second loop, which was more windy. Great to get encouragement from Jim/Kelly Sullivan and then Doug/Mary Guertin at the bears and in town, respectively. AP=164/NP=179/VI=1.09 (artificial)/IF=0.76/TSS=336/FTP=235/cadence=78 (with coasting)/avHR=133/maxHR=149 Pretty much hit HR goal and power goal of av 180watts spot on, but I'd have paced it better if I'd know my real swim time and would have likely been a bit faster and negative split it or at least more close to even split. GC said I did very well avoiding spiking and the 7 matches burned were all little bursts of 10-20 seconds of getting some speed up and then settling back into a higher cadence pace.
Course: 2 Loop course heading out of town up a slight hill followed by several miles of short rollers. These rollers are not insignificant and mile 4 is a real hill which took me 6 minutes at 185 watts. Do not burn matches you do not need to. The Keene descent is actually a long, winding switchback road so even though you get to 50mph, there are sections of it. The third is the most twisting and has some areas of road that are still a bit bumpy. I was extremely fortunate to have low wind for my pair of 808's as this can be very dicey with crosswinds and worse with wet conditions. After this, it seems there are 30 miles where you can push a steady pace. After experiencing the easy part, the second half will tax you if you went out too hard. I did not think anything about the Bears the first time around, but they got bigger by the second loop.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 78
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 04:35
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:32:21 | 26.2 miles | 10m 24s  min/mile
Age Group: 11/179
Overall: 413/3055
Performance: Below average
Goal was again to try to do the first two downhill miles at race pace and NO faster but that didn't happen...again. I ran the first 6.5 miles at around 9 minute pace and goal was 9:30 pace. I don't know why I think I can bank time and go against the plan. I'm just a dumb*ss. But I still felt good. I always break up the course into segments of: 3.1 miles so 4 x ~1/2 hour each segment and I just concentrate on getting to the next pit stop. Focus on eating/drinking and watching out for cramps. I took 4 endurolytes at the beginning of the run with my boost and thought this would be enough. Got to the big hill at mile 9 and my right quad locked into a twisted knot. Took a minute to break that and massage it out. Then I could walk, then jog slowly. 2 minutes slower than prior pace and I knew I was now part of the Zombies, the walking IM racers. Wanted to 'not slow down' as much as possible, so I kept running. Didn't have any salt capsules or endurolytes, but they had salt sticks they were giving out, so I took two. Glad they were at the ~11 mile spot as I needed it. That stopped the cramping but put my GI tract into overdrive and I knew eventually I'd likely need a port-a-potty, for the first time in a triathlon. Made it through town, up the hills in town at 10 minute pace, which was the goal and did not walk (on the first loop) except for the cramps at mile 9. I later realized that those hills are all less than 100 feet. Great to see the family and Mike Finney in town cheering me on but my gut was getting hyperactive. On the way back into town, I had to stop at the BR and went. Got out and didn't see my bib. Someone else went in, so I waited to see if it was in there and I didn't see it. I then realized, I pulled up my second pair of bike shorts over it...sigh. Off to running out of town, feeling lighter and happy to have a bib. Back into focus mode for trying to hold pace but I was slowly starting to blow up. Twinge cramps were constantly happening everywhere. I was always looking for salt and chasing it down with water. It was getting hot and I took ice, water and gatorade at every station and walked through them, which slowed me a lot. At mile13, I started to think this was an extremely bad idea. By mile 16, I swore I'd NEVER EVER do an IM again. Every step hurt. I couldn't jog without cramps happening. My neck, my forearm, my hip flexor, my quads, my calf-yep everywhere. Started to just make it one mile at at time at mile 20 but those miles come very slowly. When I got to town, the energy of the crowd definitely carries you home. Out on Mirror Lake Drive for the out-n-back and I knew I'd get to go right and into the oval. I couldn't stop smiling at that point. I didn't know or care about my time, I just wanted to be done with running. I heard Mike Reilly say I was an Ironman (again) and limped across the line.
Course: Slightly down for the first 3 miles followed by flat, small rollers for 3 miles, The first hill starts at mile 9 and is only ~75 feet. There are then a series of pretty short hills that are much higher on the second lap. Getting back up the hills in town are much more challenging at the end. It was helpful for me to have family, friends and club support. I can't say enough about seeing Bobby a few times and him cheering me on, even though I didn't have the energy to respond. I did yell at a few Cyclonauts and high fived when I had the energy. Mostly, I'd point and nod my head approvingly. It seemed like there was an endless number of people passing me, but I suspect many of them were on their first lap.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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