Ironman USA Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
Ironman North America
65F / 18C
Total Time = 14h 01m 27s
Overall Rank = 1583/2345
Age Group = M 40-44
Age Group Rank = 296/398
Pre-race routine:

I have called this experience both "The journey from 285 to 140.6" as well as the story of the accidental Ironman! Last year watching the finishers on line was so inspirational that I decided I wanted to give it a tri. My wife knew I wanted to at some point, but was a bit surprised that I was going to try and get in so soon in my tri career! At that point I had done 2 sprints and was training for my first marathon. I was only a year off the couch and my starting weight of 285, but I had lost 100 pounds and was running and biking consistently and knew, if I got in, I would be able to put in the time to prepare! But I figured it would be difficult at best to get in online and if I didn't I would have to go up this year and volunteer if I wanted to do it next year. As fate would have it, I was able to get in!
I used the marathon training as a base and after a month of recovery started the winter maintenance, bike focused plan. I knew the bike was key to a successful Ironman. I now know that to be the truth!
Fast forward to race week!
We drove up to Lake Placid on Wednesday and checked into the Crowne Plaza. Registered on Thursday and spent some time walking around the expo and Lake Placid. Did a lap of the swim course on Thursday morning as well. Met some of the other BT participants. Spent Thursday through Saturday resting some, sight seeing some and basically relaxing. I was surprised how little anxiety I felt about what I was about to attempt! But I had made my mind up early on in this process that I had to trust the training and let the cards fall where they may! rstocks confirmed this when he sent me a message saying not to waste any energy being nervous. I think the week before and after this event I got more sleep then I did the entire months of May and June combined!!!
I did spend some time with the ART guys on Saturday morning, I always struggle with the first couple of nights in a hotel bed and this trip was no different. He loosened up my back as well as the hammies and I think this was a big help on race day!
I woke up race morning about 3:45, about 15 minutes before the alarm. I had some breakfast and watched the weather channel one last time to get another false weather forecast!
Event warmup:

Nothing, other than a trip to body marking and transition to pump up the tires and then back up the hill to the hotel to get the wetsuit and last minute good byes with Connie!
  • 1h 22m 53s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 58s / 100 yards

I seeded myself towards the back and center. Swimming is not my strongest sport of the 3 and I wanted to give myself some time in the back to get into a rhythm and relax before mixing it up with the rest of the swimmers. The first lap was fairly uneventful. I aimed for the end buoy and stayed about 10 yards outside the line. I had some people grabbing at my feet and I came up on some other swimmers but the contact was minimal. We kind of treaded water rounding the first buoy as it got a bit congested, but once we made that turn it was fairly clean back to the beach to start the 2nd lap. I walked the beach and used the time to adjust my goggles and then it was back into the water. I had heard that 2500 swimmers would create a whirlpool effect, but was amazed at the pull once I rounded the end of the dock and headed back out!

On the second lap I found myself in much more traffic. The good news was most of us were swimming about the same pace. Most of the contact was incidental and caused by peoples (myself include) inability to swim straight. I also think we were all trying to draft off the same feet. I just kept swimming at what felt like a comfortable pace all the way back to the beach.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I got out and seen 1:20 something. I was expecting to be closer to 1:30!
What would you do differently?:

I think I might have moved up towards the middle a bit more at the start. But otherwise nothing. I am pleased with the results and I came out of the water unscathed!

I must really thank Dudley (dexter on BT) for the time he took over the last year to make a respectable swimmer out of me! He pushed me to masters a couple of nights a week all winter long and got out of bed early to swim in the lake with me, including 5000 yards in miserable conditions a week ago on a Sunday morning! I owe you big time!!!
Transition 1
  • 08m 53s

After the swim I got my suit down to my waste as I walked up to the strippers. I think my suit was off before I hit the ground! Its about a 1/4 mile maybe more from the lake to transition tent. I jogged on the carpet into the bag area and then into the tent. Dried off so I could get my jersey on and shoes and helmet. I made the decision to go without socks as I am comfortable with this and figured the rain would just make the socks worse. Never even sat down in T1, but moved along making sure I had what I needed. I didn't want to spend anymore time in the changing tent than necessary as it smelled really raunchy!
What would you do differently?:

  • 6h 57m 1s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.11 mile/hr

After getting to the mount line it was really congested and took a while to get going. In hindsight I might have been better off walking it down further rather than waiting for others to get on and get going. After some down hills and turns through town and out past the ski jumps the first climb started. Took it easy and tried to get into a good cadence. Passed some and was passed by others. I felt comfortable and the hr indicated I was good. Next came the long down hill sections into Keene. Unfortunately there was no way to take advantage of this as the rain had some people riding the brakes and others trying to pass. What would normally be a 40 plus mph down hill turned into a 25 - 30 mph down hill at best on this lap. I did well getting into my nutrition plan which had my alarm going off every 15 minutes. First a salt tab and next a gel. Skip the 45 minute alarm and start all over. Add in a bar at the top of the hour for something solid. Sip from the gatorade endurance bottle when the terrain and traffic allowed along with the water in my aero bottle. Unfortunetly I had to adjust some when after the first one, my salt stick had gotten wet and jammed up with melting tablets. So I upped the gatorade and gel intake to compensate. Other than the down hill, the first half of the first loop was fairly uneventful. The Haselton out and back was a bit congested and this is the only place I saw where a rider had gone down. I met the ambulance coming out and at one intersection their bike was lying there in pieces. From the warning we received on the way back I am guessing that the rider went through a puddle and there was a pot hole that took out their front forks.
The rest of the first lap it was fairly routine. Hit the aid stations every other time for bottle replacement. Never stopped, just slowed down. Hit the porta-pottie once. The rolling hills past White Face and into Lake Placid are all named, mama bear, papa bear etc. I didn't think they were that big a deal. Papa Bear does draw a crowd of spectators that really provide some needed energy for the second lap.
I skipped special needs as there was nothing there that I wanted. I did eat the uncrustable I had on me on the flat section along Mirror Lake before heading back out of town. I saw Connie going past the Skating Rink , that was nice.
The second lap was more of the same. Drink, eat a gel, have a bar. About the only thing I did differently was add in a banana. I think over all I took in about 60 oz of water and close to 100 oz of gatorade. Stomach felt good, never hungry, never full.
I was able to pick up the pace a bit on the down hill. There was less traffic, but it was raining harder and faster just plain hurt. The rain felt more like rocks. Every time the skies would get lighter I would get the idea it was going to lighten up and that was just false hope as it would always just open up into a downpour!
KathyG had her family at a restaurant on the way into town and they had a BT sign up cheering us on! That was nice. I saw quite a few flat tires, but I was fortunate not to have any mechanical issues on the bike.

Into transition and glad to be off the bike!
What would you do differently?:

Considering where I was a year ago, I think I did all I could. That said, anytime in the saddle is a benefit.
I was unable to get up to Placid to ride the course before race day. I did drive it on Friday, although it helps, it is not the same.
Training around the Finger Lakes and the Bristol area prepared me well for the hills of this course. I really think with more time training and the experience of knowing the course I could really gain some ground here.
But under the circumstances I think the bike went as good as it could have!
Transition 2
  • 08m 21s

Only 2 things slowed me down here. I really enjoyed drying off if only for a couple of minutes. Socks on ok, shoes on, changed shirts, added some body glide and running hat and it was off for the run.
What would you do differently?:

  • 5h 24m 21s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 12m 23s  min/mile

I took off out of transition and saw Connie just past the start of the run. Stopped and gave her a kiss and I was off!
I was comfortable that I could put in a fairly consistent half marathon, but due to the lack of long runs last month, I was nursing a sore achilles tendon, I knew the second half would be a challenge at best. As such, my plan was to maintain an upper 9 minute mile pace, walk the bigger hills and the aid stations.
Heading out of town, I saw an old friend from high school that had done this race a time or 2, he gave me some encouragement. Other than that, the first loop was uneventful. It seemed like a long way to the turnaround, but just kept moving along. I tried to stay consistent at the aid station, taking in gatorade at one, water and a gel at the next. I finished the first loop at 2:20 something and was still feeling pretty good.

The second loop the wheels fell off the train to a certain degree! I seemed to be able to run when I wanted to or needed to. I think the mental thing crept in to a certain degree. A lot of people were walking on this loop and it was tough to run when there are so many people walking around me. The quads were screaming and the hammies were tight, but all in all, I wasn't feeling as bad as I expected or the 2nd half time indicated.

Most of the aid stations were offing the mylar blankets, but I kept resisting even though it would be nice to warm up and have a little protection from the rain. I knew if I put one on, the walking would get worse than it was already. I kind of looked at this as an admission of defeat and wanted to postpone that as long as I felt ok. At this point I had switched from gatorade and water to cola and pretzels along with an occasional gel and water. I tried some chicken broth, but that was the nastiest stuff I had all day. I also had some watermelon which was great, but was in short supply.
A couple of miles from the end of River Road, some guy comes by and says, you know, if we run this in, it will be over quicker! So we ran together and griped about the rain for a while and it helped get to the uphill by the ski jumps. We both walked up the hill and I lost track of him at the next aid station. Continued the walk some, run some routine and tried to decide how much more run I had in me. I knew I wanted to run up Main Street to the turn onto the Mirror Lake Drive out and back, which I did. The crowd support was great along here. I remember really feeling bad for those that were still heading out on their second loop as I knew they would be pushing the midnight cutoff!
I walked, ran the out and back to the last aid station and was going to skip it and run into finish, but was tempted by some good looking cookies! Had a couple of those and a little water and was ready to run it in! I don't think there is any better feeling in a race than to make the turn down the finishers chute in an ironman!!!
I am sure I was running something close to a 10 minute mile, but felt like I was closer to 6 when I ran around the speed skating track heading to the finish!!! I wish I would have slowed down my thoughts and listened to Mike Reilly as I vaguely remember hearing him call out my finish!
What would you do differently?:

More long runs and bricks, but under the circumstances not much as far as run fitness. The achilles affected my run training, without a doubt, but I think the 2nd half of the marathon is 90% mental and 10% physical.
My goal was to finish with a smile, and I did that. My goal was to finish period, and I did that too. That said, going over 14 hours by a minute and a half has me trying to figure out how I spent too much time at the 26 mile buffet!!! But it is what it is and I would not change a thing!
Post race
Warm down:

After getting caught by the finish line volunteers, I got my tee shirt, medal and hat and found my way over to the fence where Connie, Lisa, Cady and Dave were waiting! Chatted with them for a minute and took in the atmosphere! Made arrangements to meet on the other side of the oval to go back to the room and get cleaned up a bit.
If you want to call anything a warm down, another trip up the hill did the trick!!!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I think the weather cost me some time, but it could have been hot, it could have been windy, so the rain was just a challenge that all of us had to deal with.
If anything limited my performance, it might have been inexperience at this distance.

Event comments:

This is Ironman! They have this gig figured out! It is not cheap, but they have a product that is in demand and people are willing to pay for.

I want to use this space to thank some people that helped me out tremendously on this journey!

First, of course, my wife Connie! Besides providing encouragement and support through out all of the training, coming and getting me where ever I was when I had bike issues, she was out in the rain Sunday when ever I came through town cheering me on. Not to mention by the time I was finished, she already had my bike and transition bags back at the hotel so I didn't need to worry about that.

I also want to thank Dudley (dexter) again! Your help the last year swimming helped me get through the swim exceeding my goals! Plus you and Mike (marmadaddy) keeping me company on some of the long rides the last couple of months! Connie always felt better knowing I was not riding alone!

Also, the rest of the local BT crew for your inspires and advice! I was thinking about you guys on Sunday! Thanks!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2007-07-25 12:00 AM
01:22:53 | 4224 yards | 01m 58s / 100yards
Age Group: 308/398
Overall: 1759/2345
Performance: Good
Suit: Sleeveless
Course: Two laps of a long and narrow rectangle.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 08:53
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:57:01 | 112 miles | 16.11 mile/hr
Age Group: 291/398
Overall: 1516/2345
Performance: Good
Wind: None
Course: 2 laps through the hills around Lake Placid, Keene and Jay
Road:  Wet Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 08:21
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:24:21 | 26.2 miles | 12m 23s  min/mile
Age Group: 299/398
Overall: 1621/2345
Performance: Average
Course: 2 out and backs. Some flat, some hills.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
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] 4