Ironman Lake Placid - Triathlon

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
Total Time = 10h 42m 1s
Overall Rank = 103/2271
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 18/192
Pre-race routine:

I woke up around 4:30 with Ben in the camper. Didnt sleep that much, never had that happen in any of my other races before. Maybe it was my body telling me I was more nervous that I was externalizing. Another new practice was NO coffee and I actually ate a normal breakfast (cereal and yogurt). Not many words were exchanged between Ben and myself. Both of us were kind of in our heads. Ben getting ready for his FIRST ironman and my third. I was feeling proud of him getting to the start line healthy and in one piece.

Not soon after my dad popped out ready to take us to the start line. Myself, Ben, Jill and Nellie. Dad drove us into town as far as he could and we walked the rest to the oval. What a scene. Racers and spectators, both equally as nervous. Love that. It never gets old. I went into transition to make sure my tires were up to pressure and check on my bags one last time. I exited to meet back up with the growing crew to walk special needs to their spots. Teammate Keith offered to walk the run bag all the way down the road...HUGE help!!
Event warmup:

Got into my wetsuit no problem. I wanted to make sure it wasnt too high on my crotch to prevent what happened in 2014. It was so high it felt like someone was kicking me in the nads the whole swim. Not fun. I think at the point I actually said to Jill out loud "I'm nervous." She replied with what I absolutely needed to hear; "you've done the work, you'll be great, I know it." Can't ask for someone better than her for a wife. We made our way down to the "warmup" area to get a few nervous strokes in. It wasn't much of a warmup because there were so many people so I took the opportunity to pee and flush some water through the suit. GAME TIME
  • 1h 01m 45s
  • 4331 yards
  • 01m 26s / 100 yards

My plan was to swim as close to 59:59 as I could. So I self seeded right at the back of the one hour pace group infront of the 1:00-1:10. Kris Johnson was right next to me with the same plan. I was great to have a training partner there at the start of the day. Pro women went through onto their second lap and BOOM, it was our turn. The fog was still pretty dense so sighting was difficult. I had plenty of room, very little contact for an ironman swim. The problem was if I wasn't right on the line I couldn't tell if they two people I was swimming next to were swimming straight. So eventually you got close enough to see the next buoy and shot for that. First two turns were very painless and again little contact. I was hoping that Kris was having the same experience. I actually had enough room to notice that there were some caps not the same color as mine. PRO caps!! I had caught two pros finishing their swim on my first loop. BIG first for me.

Towards the end of the first 1.2 mile loop, with the dock in sight, I took two gigantic full breaths of just water....fuck. This had only happened once to me in the pool and I felt like I was going to die. What was I going to do in the middle of an Ironman?? I stopped swimming and thought about calling a lifeguard over to help. I was deep into a panic attack. I tried to get quality air in but couldn't. Finally I started to calm down and continued on to finish loop 1.

On the way out of the water to the turn slapped high five with John Coleman and Greg Rashford volunteering. One quick glance at my watch let me know I was on pace for a swim PR!! Lap two was more spread out than the first and I got to swim on the line for most of it. I started to swim through the back of the age groupers who were ALL OVER THE PLACE on their first loop. Exited the water with a swim PR. Very excited.
Transition 1
  • 06m 19s

Having nearly met my swim goal I was on cloud 9. Quickly making my way through the buzzing crowd 0.25 miles to the changing tent. I was in my cycling one piece suit. In hindsight, AMAZING idea. Super fast material and comfortable full chamois for 112 mile ride through the mountains.
What would you do differently?:

I know I could make up some time in both transitions for IM but its too easy to take your time when you are moving all day long.
  • 5h 30m 30s
  • 112 miles
  • 20.33 mile/hr

The bike ride was relatively uneventful. My goal was to stay in aero and slippery as much as possible. Mission accomplished. I knew this because later my hips started to tighten up a bit. Never happened before, but I had never been forced to be in that position for that long before. No biggie I know. I was riding with two bottles of 1.5 hours of infinit nutrition. Great plan. I took water from aid stations as needed.

First loop down to the Ausable out and back was fun. Very little bike traffic. I started to count how many people I was back. I think I made it to 50-60 by the time I hit the turn around. Very cool. Just then I dropped my nutrition bottle and had to stop and go back and get it. Poor form Liam. Now I'm looking at the racers coming in the other direction. I saw something disgusting. Two packs of probably 30-40 riders each in a huge peloton. I guess there is no preventing it but I was just fortunate to be faster than all that nonsense.

Nutrition and hydration was on point headed back into town. I was ready for an emotional boost. Coming back into town when there is no racers around you is a great experience. I hit bike special needs alone and was out in a flash. Still no one around. I hit the corner by the church alone and heard Mike Riley call out "Liam McCarthy from Albany NY" and everyone on the corner went nuts! What a feeling. So cool. Still on a good pace I headed back out of town and got to see the effect of the race on the Patriot Multisport crew we had waiting at Cascade Acres. Truthfully it made me smile super hard, but choked me up big time. Love every single one of you. Fun fact I tied my bike top speed 52mph on both loops alone (which I set drafting behind a car down that same hill).

Still feeling very comfortable with tons of energy in the tank starting to climb back to wilmington. It happened. Kris caught me. I knew it was a matter of time. It was great to chat for a minute until the rocket that is Nick Gough went by us in a flash. Monster...just so impressed with him. This is what training partners allow race competition. Wouldnt have it any other way brothers. Something that didnt happen this year was mentally feeling sorry for myself. I was head strong the whole ride. Dont get my wrong, I was ready to get off my bike but I knew I had done nearly everything right. About 12 miles to go I started going through the back of the age groupers on their first lap. Awesome.
Transition 2
  • 06m 48s

Bike dismount was good. This was the first year that I got out of my shoes (left them on the bike) and ran through to the tent in my socks. My feet hurt, like crampy hurt. I just chalked it up to the bike shoes being so stiff and my feet finally having some movement. Grabbed my T2 bag and got into the tent no problem. Very few people in there. Again had some help from John Colemen who let me know I was a few minutes behind both Nick and Kris. Guys were out there crushing the run already. OK its GO TIME. Got out of my cycling one piece and into my tri one piece. Much different fit but super comfortable. On to the marathon!
  • 3h 56m 39s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 02s  min/mile

The key to starting this run for me was to remain composed. Swim PR, Bike PR; just one to go. My goal was to do ZERO walking. That meant running through aid stations. I had never done that before. How exciting! New territory. Made my way to Team Patriot Multisport camp where everyone was still hanging, beyond drunk by now I'm sure but they were no less enthusiastic. Baker had his bike out and rode with me for a little while. Asked me if I needed anything and told me I look like shit and to quit dragging ass. He knew I needed to hear that. I knew I didnt look like shit. I felt amazing. Again nothing really to report on the first loop on river road. Taking nutrition and water was right on plan. Got to see Nick and Kris on their way back from the turn around both of them looking like they were going to go take what was theirs...speed and greatness. Continuing to put together a good run, I ran up both hills back into town with no issues. Up a packed Mirror Lake Dr to run special needs feeling ready for the second half of the marathon. Thanks to Keith and Hilda for making sure my second bottle of run nutrition was well taken care of.

Headed back out of town down the hill I started to feel a bit fatigued. Then BOOM. It hit me just after mile 15...hamstring cramp in my right leg. WHAT!?! NO!!! Not now. I stopped stretched for about 10 second and got right back on my pace. Again, a mile later. And the mile after that. What was going on?? Was I doomed to the death march? No, I WASNT going to start feeling sorry for myself now. Keep going. Stretch when needed and MOVE. Walking wasnt going to help. Stretch and go. I knew I could still make my goal of sub-4 hour marathon. Before the cramping I was actually on pace to smash my stand-alone marathon best of 3:45. Kinda crazy in an Ironman right??

The run course was starting to get crowded. No telling who was on their first or second loop. Talked to one guy who was moving about my speed and he said "only on loop one, if im looking half as good as your are on my second loop ill be doing great." He was in my age group :-) By this time both hamstrings were cramping. Nick on his way back into town still in beast mode said "get moving, just make it back to town." Big morale boost.

When I hit Mirror Lake drive again I was drained. Period. I think I told Keith and Hilda I was "circling the drain" I was so damn tired of moving. Hilda pulled my tri suit open and dropped some ice down my shorts. JUST what I needed. I made it to the turn around and back to them in almost no time. Still needing to stop and stretch. When I returned they were soooo happy for me. Hilda took a sponge and wiped off all the salt she could see on me. Set me up for an epic finish line photo.

I hit the oval. It was just as I remember it the last two times. Amazing feeling. Only this time I had it all to myself. No one around me. What joy. And boy did I use my time.
Post race
Warm down:

Where to start. Ironman PR by 40 minutes. Thats crazy. Whats even crazier is that I think there is still room for more. I now know that I cramped because I didnt take enough water while running as the day heated up. Oh well, learning, right?

I really need to thank my Patriot Multisport family. Without them training in the winter would be impossible. The support from you all was endless. I hope to someday repay that. To call Nick Gough just my coach would be a terrible understatement. Training partner, brother, drinking buddy, so many other titles. He brought out the best in me just like all of his other athletes. Thank you. So happy for your PR as well.

Event comments:

Great race totally recommend for anyone looking to do a WTC Ironman.

Last updated: 2016-07-31 12:00 AM
01:01:45 | 4331 yards | 01m 26s / 100yards
Age Group: 16/192
Overall: 121/2271
Suit: Blueseventy Helix
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
Time: 06:19
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
05:30:30 | 112 miles | 20.33 mile/hr
Age Group: 16/192
Overall: 73/2271
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 06:48
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
03:56:39 | 26.2 miles | 09m 02s  min/mile
Age Group: 18/192
Overall: 103/2271
Performance: Average
Keeping cool Average Drinking Not enough
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] 5