My first Triathlon
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Ironman USA Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman
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Lake Placid, New York
Ironman North America
65F / 18C
= 13h 11m 19s
Age Group Rank
I left Delaware on Tuesday evening after work and headed to my parents in Syracuse. We left Syracuse on Thursday morning for LP, and I have to say - I was SO anxious just to get UP there! I knew the town would be electric with race vibes and I wanted to get a dose.
My house was fabulous - right on Mirror Lake Drive in front of special needs. The location was great, and almost too convienent. I could walk anywhere, but I had to keep reminding myself to stay off my feet and rest.
I met up with Tom
) on Thursday afternoon for an easy ride - we went up the run course and then back 86
(up the bears
) and back to the house. I finished up with a quick run around the lake, which felt great.
Friday morning I did the Gatorade swim and checked into the race. Unfortunately, I found out that tickets for the dinner were sold out. Boo! That's ok - my family and I, once again, dined at Mr. Mike's, which was great. I spent way too much money in the merchandise tent
(as called for, I think!
) and checked out the rest of the happenings before heading back to the house.
Saturday I did a the same bike route as Thursday, a quick 10 minute run and a quick 10 minute swim. I was done with my workouts by 8 a.m. and ready to lay around for the rest of the day. This is when everything started sinking in - wow, it's TOMORROW! Up until then, there had been a cushion of a day or so, but now it was real. I spent the rest of the day laying as low as I could and rearranging my transition bags about fifteen times. My family went to the boathouse for dinner, but there reservation wasn't until 7:45, which was too late for me. So, I stayed home by myself and ate oatmeal and left over pasta, which was actually a good thing. I needed some alone time to get my head together.
Everyone was asking "what time do you want to get"? I always phrased the response as "Based on my training, I think I can finish anywhere between 12:30 and 14:00". I really didn't have a goal, except to finish. I was intimidated by the distance and didn't know how my body would react. I've done marathons before and knew that "things happen" and stuff starts to hurt that never hurt before, so I had NO idea what would happen over the course of 140.6. HOWEVER, based on my training paces, I had an idea of what I was capable of, if no surprises came up.
I woke up at 4:30 a.m.
(yes, I slept - I can alway sleep the night before a race
). Ate a banana and pb sandwich on wheat, coffee and gatorade for breakfast. I headed down to transition around 5:45 with my parents, who helped me carry all my stuff. I heard it was supposed to rain Saturday night, so I had covered my bike and waited until Sunday morning to bring my T-bags down.
(HEH - isn't hindsight a bitch sometimes??
Got everything unloaded and put my drink bottles on the bike, and then my coach found me. He gave the bike the once over and pronounced it good to go.
(he also raced that day
) I found my parents in the transition mess and posed for a few pictures before heading up to the swim start.
Thank GOD I found Kellie
) a few people in front of me in the swim start line! At first, I thought I wanted to be along and focus, but as I got closer to the lake I started to freak out a bit, and seeing a familiar face was a total blessing.
We got into the water at about 6:40 and went over to the far side to hang out until the pros started. We got in line at about 6:53 and treaded water until the start. I swear, my watch said 6:58 when the cannon went off, so it took me
) by surprise. Let the good times roll!
1h 12m 10s
01m 43s / 100 yards
It was your typical IM swim. Total combat the entire way!! I've never experienced anything like it - it was so cool!
It took about 500 yards to get into a groove, but once I did I was fine. I was pretty cautious the first lap, as I hadn't experienced this type of swim before and I don't think I was quite prepared for how brutal it was. I was letting some people pass me in order to stay in the clear, which I shouldn't have done. I like to think that I was kind of a pansy the first lap, but then I started doing a bit of aggressive swimming of my own on the second lap.
My plan was to stay off to the left until I hit the boathouse, then start making my way toward the red buoy for the turn around. That would have been fine, but I guess I didn't go far enough to the right, because when I looked up once, the red buoy was directly 100 yards to my right. I made the first turn for home and somehow, I kept swimming right on the buoy line, which I did NOT want to do. I kept getting pulled over in that direction though, which I think is why I thought the swim was tough for the entire 2.4 miles.
Out of 2,339 other people, it seemed like everytime I looked up to sight, there was Kellie! It was too funny...a sea of strangers and we're together for the entire swim.
Thankfully, NASports had a huge screen TV at the swim start, so I could easily sight for the finish line with the bright light at the end. I made the short run onto the sand to start the second lap without a problem.
Like I said, I was much more combative the second lap than the first one. No more Ms. Nice Triathlete! I don't think I dished out too much, but if a person wasn't going to move for me, then I was going to take any avaiable real estate I could find on my path.
The whole time I tried to find feet to follow, but they kept changing up really fast. It seemed like the whole swim was a giant draft fest anyway. It seemed like the minute I found feet, they would take off on me.
I think it started raining sometime in the second lap, but I'm not sure. I do know it got difficult to breathe and I was drinking a lot of Mirror Lake in the second lap.
What would you do differently?:
I should have been more aggressive at the start...I will be next year!
OK...this was a bit excessive for a transition. My coach asked if I brought out my blow-drier when he saw my time. As has been noted before, the tent was completely dark, which took me by surprise. It was also disgusting and smelly. I had a hard time finding a place to sit down, but when I did I took my time getting everything together and making sure I had all my nutrition.
What would you do differently?:
Speed up? There's about three minutes in here
) that I can cut off, although it does include a port-a-potty stop.
7h 00m 58s
Hey guess what?? It rained in Lake Placid on IM day! The latest estimate I heard was 4". That's a lot of rain.
My main goal for the bike was to keep on top of my nutrition and to keep it easy the first lap. I was totally freaked out about the thought of a marathon after riding this course, so that kept weighing on my mind. I knew that if I didn't achieve both of those goals, 26.2 miles would suck, bad.
The ride started off ok, but it was really crowded on the roads. You couldn't help but to draft because people were ALL around you.
(I did see some people in the Penalty boxes, though
). I made the climb out of Lake Placid fine, and the descent into Keene fine
(I even hit a new high speed, which I guess shows how much of a decending weenie I am in training rides
). The fun started on the ride out to Jay.
I got to about mile 18 when I noticed something up with my rear tire. [flash back to 10 a.m. on Sunday: "Coach, can you give me a quick tutorial on how to change a rear flat? I haven't had to change one yet, and I'm not sure I know exactly how to do it."] BAM - rear flat at mile 19! Let me tell you, the scene that followed was NOT G-rated. There were literally HUNDREDS of people flying past me, and there I was, stuck on the side of the road
(in the rain
) fixing my first rear flat. I don't how long it took to fix it, but I'm guessing between 5-10 minutes. I got back on and my bike was still making a weird noise, like there was a card or something stuck in the spokes. I got off again and looked, but I didn't see anything wrong with the derailluer or brakes, so I kept on going. Come to find out, I think it was my computer cable. It kept making the noise the entire ride
(on and off
), but never broke down again.
After watching everyone fly past me, I was SO fired up and I just wanted to catch back up to where I thought I should be. I kept remembering not to push TOO much, because I would end up paying for it in the long run
The first loop ended fine, I suppose. I wasn't really paying much attention to my computer or Garmin
(which was mounted on the bike
) because of the rain. I had set my Nike stopwatch for the entire race, and that was my main source of timing. I had the Garmin attached just because I wanted the data, and the bike computer was on anyway. I did the entire race on RPE.
The climb up the bears was crazy! The Devil was out and made the scariest face I've ever seen while I was climbing up Papa Bear - it was totally like the Tour de France
(or as close as I'll get anyway!
). I rode up Northwoods and down into town, where I saw my cheering section
). God Bless each and every one of the volunteers and spectators for staying outside in that rain all day. I don't know how or why you did it, but it means the world!
The second lap was much less crowded, and thanks to my paranoia about nutrition, this was the first ride I've ever really nailed it. In retrospect, it was probably the cooler weather - when it gets hot, I don't like to eat as much.
Nothing too exciting about the second lap - just kept up with the nutrition and kept my effort at about a 7. Although, on the ride back I got behind some hotties and was anxious to keep on their tail. Whatever works at mile 100 on a 112 bike ride in the rain, I guess? Made the climb back into town with all my bottles empty and some run legs avaiable, so I made my goals.
What would you do differently?:
I was wondering if I lost focus a bit too much during the race, but I don't think I really did. Seven hours is a LONG time to be on the bike, and I think I did a good job with staying on my game plan. The real question is whether or not my game plan was aggressive enough.
Yuck! What a mess! Thankfully, a volunteer helped me reattach my race number
(one side had fallen off
) and get my shoes tied up
(I don't race with Yankz
). I changed shirts, ditched the useless sunglasses and put my visor on.
What would you do differently?:
There is probaly a bit to trim off here, but I don't know how much. I didn't run to the tent in my bike shoes because my toes were hurting, so that's one place.
4h 42m 28s
10m 47s min/mile
Now is when the real race begins!
As I left transition, I thought a
) I'm so glad to be off the bike and b
) Dude, I have to run 26.2 miles! I did feel good - probably the best I've felt after any of my long rides in training, and the "bike legs" weren't as pronounced as they had been before. My plan was to walk through each of the aid stations, taking some calories in each one. I didn't bring anything with me on course, so I was living off the land.
At the first couple aid stations, I needed something solid in my tummy, so I took a banana and water, which worked out well. I was really feeling pretty good on the run, and was keeping up about 9:45 miles, which I was thrilled about! Everything was going along fine for the first half marathon, walking through each of the aid stations and taking in food. Boy, did I take in food - powerbars, bananas, gatorade, coke...you name it, I was eating it. My stomach never got really upset or anything though, so I guess I needed it.
I was paying more attention to aid stations instead of mile markers, because my run was focused around food
(haha...it's always all about the food!
). I would see the miles go by, but since there were so many of them, it wasn't really registering. I was paying more attention to getting to the turn around spots, or key points on the course
(ex., start of River Road, turnaround on River Road, end of River Road, oval, turnround on Mirror Lake, etc.
). That seemed to help the time go by faster.
After the half marathon point, I noticed that my quads were pretty tight. I tried to stretch them out a bit, but it wasn't working very well. I really just wanted to get done and then deal with all the injuries and stuff after the race, so I kept plugging away. I was still keeping up about 10:10 miles at this point, which I was frankly amazed at. I was running faster in my IM race than any of the HIMs I've done
(it was also about 15 degrees cooler and no sun during the IM, however
I think it was at the start of River Road the second time when I noticed that my ankles and IT bands were hurting. They continued to get progressivly worse for the entire race. I made it to the turn around on River Road, and by then the walk breaks between aid stations had started. I was actually doing well going up hills, but going down was a different story. My quads and IT bands did NOT want to extend like that.
I was still waiting for the "dark momenets" to come. I was most scared of this time in the race, when it seems like it's absolutely impossible to finish, yet somehow you have to drag yourself through it. My coach and I had talked about it, and I knew this would be the point that would break me during the race, if I let it. I was more freaked out about this moment than the nutition and pacing on the bike mostly because I felt like it was the most out of my control
(actually...it's the element that's most IN my control
). I never really felt like I had that "dark moment", though. Sure - it was tough from mile 19 - 24, but it felt just like the marathons I've run. Maybe it was the marathon experience that made me stronger through those miles? I knew that I just needed to stay focused and the miles will pass, eventually.
I made it into town and walked down the hill, because my IT bands would not cooperate. A port-a-potty stop at the bottom of the hill was required
(yes...I know...I should fix this for next year
), and then I walked the majority of the hill back into town.
I made the turn for the out and back, and that's when it started to hit me - I'm actually going to do this and become an Ironman! All those early morning sessions, afternoon workouts
(I hate evening workouts!
) and long rides are paying off and I'm doing this! The run down to the turnaround on Mirror Lake seemed to take FOREVER, because when I turned around the next stop would be the finish line!!
I crossed Main Street and I swear started sprinting down the oval. It was totally surreal - out-of-body experience. I don't even know if it was raining or not - I felt like a rock star! Tons of people clapping, screaming, and me running down the Olympic oval! There were two people in front of me - one wanted to finish with her daughter. I'm such a weirdo - I starting thinking, ok...slow down and don't interfere with their finish photo, plus you don't want them in your picture, so slow down. I was so overwhelmed and happy that I totally missed Mike Reilly calling me an Ironman! I know he said it, and said that I was from Wilmington, Delaware, because my parents heard it.
The finish line catcher was SO nice - he wrapped me up in the solar blanket and walked me over to the photo booth to get my picture taken, and got me a t-shirt and hat. He had a calm, soothing voice that was totally appreciated.
What would you do differently?:
I think I could have pushed a bit more in the run. My pace slowed dramatically between the two laps, and I think I could have pressed a bit more.
I found my family and coach and posed for all the pictures with them
(all of which I look like a totall weirdo in, but I'm blaming in on exhaustion
). My coach helped me get my stuff from transition, because he still had to get his bike in there too
(he DNFed - hypothermia on the bike course
). I walked back to the house and took a much needed shower and changed. It was difficult to process it all at the end.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
I think this is about as good as I could have performed, based on my training and the circumstances - I'm totally happy with my race! Of course next year...that's another story!
It was the most incredible experience ever! I'm so glad I did this - I'm totally hooked on the "Iron" lifestyle. I'll be back in Placid for a few years, for sure!
Last updated: 2007-07-23 12:00 AM
01:12:10 | 4224 yards | 01m 43s / 100yards
2 loops of a rectangle course
72F / 22C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:00:58 | 112 miles | 15.96 mile/hr
2 loops of Lake Placid and surronding villages. Not one huge climb, but lots of rollers and steady climbs. It's not easy, but not ridiculously hard either.
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:42:28 | 26.2 miles | 10m 47s min/mile
Two loopes out 73 to River Road, and then back into town. There is a giant hill on the way back into town, too.
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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