Ironman USA Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
Ironman North America
65F / 18C
Total Time = 16h 33m 15s
Overall Rank = 2140/2340
Age Group = Women 45-49
Age Group Rank = 65/83
Pre-race routine:

This will be long and I'll start with my journey to get here..skip to the s/b/r if you want..

A year ago June I crashed badly in a bike race and easily could have been unable to do triathlons if I hadn't been lucky and not injured to badly. It was my bike crash that pushed me to decide 2008 was the year for me to take on an Ironman as I saw how easily I could have lost the ability to ride, run or maybe walk in a blink of any eye. Doing an IM was a goal of mine, I had the desire, time and so it made sense to be brave and sign up.

I felt it was a step of boldness even more so for me who is a BOPer for whom the swim and bike cut offs are a real concern.

Back in 2003 I was a mom to 5, overweight and had no athletic inclination.I wanted to lose weight for a number of reasons: I didn't want my kids to be embarrassed by me as I tended to be the biggest mom in most groups they were in; I wanted to coach their soccer teams; I wanted to be able to play with them. I tried yet again to lose weight with no expectation that I would be successful. In first 4 months I lost about 25-30 pounds joined a women's soccer team where I learned about triathlons. I said I want to do one of those to prove that I have changed my life and this weight loss/fitness thing is a change for good. A year later 9/04 about 62 pounds lighter I did my first sprint, thrilled that I finished, but I didn't really have fun as it was so far out of my world and I was afraid I'd be last, but I was bitten by the tri bug..bought a road bike and started working with my coach Will to try and improve....long term goal was to do an Ironman. Gradually I got faster, went longer, and got fitter. I changed my body and my mind. I loved to train and workout. My cycling improved more quickly than my run or swim. I do not have a high VO max or super genes to be wicked fast or even competitive in my AG, but I'm determined, love being fit and being a good example of integrating fitness and healthy lifestyle to my kids. I love how my body has changed along with my mind.

It is my filter on how I view myself that has slowly been changing as the main way I see myself is by time/pace/numbers...and I'm slow. I think my filter has changed this year some but is a battle for me and will take work for awhile as it is just how my mind works.

For me it is hard to comprehend where I have come from and yes I can do this amazing thing....really pretty cool and all about celebrating my accomplishments..losing weight, learning to love to exercise, love riding and running..swimming I'm at peace with. Back 5 years ago I could never have dreamed that I could do all the training I have done or contemplate an IM (that was for fit crazy folks), learned so much about my mind and body and be able to toe the line

After a rough patch I made a list of why I wanted to do an IM and my coach summed up my reasons well...Challenge, Lead and Celebrate.

The challenge of it appealed to me. Don't we all wonder if we are tough enough to train for one and then execute and finish the race being prepared to adjust and change if strange things come up. I love descending on my bike and the 10K hill going into Keene rocks.

The lead aspect is more being a good Mom. Whata good example to my kids on taking on a difficult challenge, working on it for a long time, and see how fitness can fit into their lives. Plus how cool will it be to have their Mom be an Ironman?

It is a celebration of all that I have accomplished in turning my life around. This was a huge thing for me...I love how tri training has transformed my body to be able to s/b/r and I'm at peace with it.

It's a test of mental toughness and will to what is necessary training wise and more to be prepared and then execute come race day

Notice not one of those reasons of why I want to do an Ironman had anything to do with time, splits, or pace.

My IM Mantra:

I'm ready and well trained, lucky to be able to line up and race.....may I have a good mental race...judge free, moment focused, grateful to be here, enjoy every moment.... really it is being like a kid...race to have fun....may that be me today.
Event warmup:

short recap of our days in LP before race..arrived Wed and checked into hotel hotel on 86 on climb on Whiteface.
Thursday met with BTers for Gatorade swim at 8:30 did one loop in 52 minutes sweet; registered paperwork, wristband, weighed; we pre-ordered race photos and finisher plaque which at the time seemed normal later I wondered how I was brave to do that. They say it makes pick up faster-so not true line was an hour long; little IM shopping; Mexican dinner with BTers

Friday: Another BT swim, easy day, more IM shopping as Lake Placid stuff arrived, went to Athlete's Dinner

Highlight of Athletes dinner was Biggest Loser contest. Who Lost the most weight training for the race. I won and got to go up on stage and Mike Riley interviewed me..97 pounds..applause from lots of was so was pretty neat as throughout the weekend folks noticed me and said kind things. See picture as it was a special moment for me...part of this amazing IM journey.

Sue arrived from FL

Sat: another swim, picked up voucher for '09, more shopping, ART,back to hotel, quick spin on my bike realized 50-11 I can't get into but I can get into 34-28 which is more important. Final T1 and T2 audit and put stuff in groups within 1 or 2 gallon ziplocks as it rains here everyday; eat at home; watch TV keep off my feet as much as possible; try and sleep and get maybe 2.5...not nervous more excited..

Race Day up at 3:45 have whole wheat blueberry pancakes, load sn bags, kids, Sue and Kevin in the car to make it to town before they shut the road at 5am, park, take bus, get body marked, load up bike, pump up tires, freak a little with not having pack of Lava Salts, but Sue gets them from Kevin, to swim start with family, bump into Joyce (scout). Strange I'm calm, excited and at peace ready for my adventure to begin...wrangle on my wetsuit,take more pictures, time to get in the water and get this party started...could I do it? I think I was a great day to become an Ironman I heard over and over...I agree..let's see if I can do it....

Race weight 157, body fat 19.5%

It's an will be long enough..warm up? Are you kidding?
  • 1h 48m 9s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 34s / 100 yards

Since last year when I registered for this race, the swim has been something I worried about. I'm not a strong or fast swimmer and the idea of so much contact that sounds pretty brutal scared me if in doubt look at one of the many u tube videos out there. Being a diligent over thinking preparer, I did some research. Turns out last year only 31 folks came out of the water in 1:45 or longer. Ah, I figured it out..start in the back, get to the cables and stay there as I'll be in the back pretty quickly. The pros should lap me at home stretch of first loop but not many AGer will catch me so my plan was to get to the cable when I could in first loop, and for sure second loop I'd only be in the water with 30-40 folks and we'd be pretty spread out. Knowing this made me feel calmer.

I lined up with the timid slow swimmers by the beach in the vary back but in line with the buoys. I bumped into Joyce (Scout here on BT) which was great as we chatted I wasn't nervous. She was talking about her oldest son's birth and the cannon went off catching me off guard. We the timid swimmers moved forward to start our great Ironman adventure. A little bumping here and there but nothing bad. I was excited to be here in the water in Mirror Lake feeling calm and having fun when this had been a worry for me for so long. I felt little like a lemming just following the crowd. Soon we were at the buoy line and I opted to go on the inside on left as I breath right and less folks were there. I found some feet to follow..perfect not a big kicker, a guy with orange on outside of his wetsuit, and I was able to draft all the way to first turn that was great. Around the buoy without much issue across and back to the inside but I lost my guy. Felt good, but not as smooth in my stroke as it had been, little chop had kicked up and finally I figured out it was raining. It made me laugh a little as who cares I'm wet good time for it to rain when it wouldn't matter. The rain I had experienced in Lake Placid would come quickly and go. About 2-3 buoys from the exit I saw pros in yellow caps flying down the other side of the buoy line smoking fast. I was pleased as they didn't catch me to soon.

I started to hear the noise of the crowd, music and Mike Riley's voice...I'm doing an Ironman..this is so cool. I get to the exit and run to start my second loop and see Sue there to cheer me felt great and here Mike announcing Kathy Graves from North Attleboro is going in for her second loop. Hearing my name announced pumped me up even more. Plus the part of the Ironman I feared most was behind me..I felt relief..I managed through the swim start with 2450 people of an Ironman..yah me!

My plan was to take a gel on the beach between laps and I had practiced that but unlike IMFL they didn't have a water stop so I went without.

Like I had figured the second loop was pretty empty. I had seen the time clock at swim exit 1:01..what? I felt I swam well? I got worried crap could it be I was super slow and might not make the swim cut off? It took about 10' for me to work it out in my mind that was probably the pro time so my time was faster. Mental goal for my race was to be moment focused. I failed that during this portion. Being sort of alone in the water made me concerned. I did figure that if I was last or close to last folks would be trailing me and they weren't which meant my assessment that the time was pro time seemed right. I really had to pee but wasn't able to go while moving..stopped started peeing and then was able to keep swimming..relief.

Tried to find some feet to follow. Big kickers I didn't like. It was strange that I was passing folks who were going really how are you in front of me? Finally just before the turn buoy I found someone I thought I could draft off but she was going to slow and I kept bumping her feet. I passed her and she jumped on my feet and drafted me the whole way home. Honestly it made me feel good that I was helping someone else but wished I could find some feet to follow. I did a little here and there but nothing good.

My shoulder had hurt the day before during my short 10' swim. It didn't feel great swimming but not horrible. On home stretch I worked on my swim technique as it felt a little off. Keeping my mind focused on what I'm doing is key. I felt the rain and the wind was making little waves on Mirror Lake. Folks had shared waves on Mirror Lake meant wind on the bike course.

I was getting closer to the shore and heard the crowd and music and was thrilled to be there in the water finishing my first Ironman swim. I had struggled both mentally accepting that I was slow and the lack of progress much of the year, but had a great break through swimming and coming to peace and enjoyed it in the few weeks before IM.

I get out of the water, hear Mike Riley announce Kathy Graves from North Attleboro is out of the water, I go over the timing mat, see 1:46..yah me, take off my swim cap and flip it backwards on the other side of the timing mat, I want it so a nice volunteer picks it up and gives it to me, off to wetsuit strippers going for one in the middle not the first ones (everyone goes to first ones as I saw in IMFL), took my top off, they help get my bibs off my shoulders, and whip it off in no time. Sue was there to run beside great friend, motivator, person that helped me know I could do an!

I started the swim with some concerns but came out of the water excited and thrilled that I did it! And now I get to get to ride...lucky me...

My first IM distance swim was 2:04 in early July. With some tips from Sue (Socks) I dropped my time about 18 minutes in a week. Marianne (Mav) was willing to swim with me anywhere any time she wasn't working. She helped me embrace my inner Pikester and have fun swimming. These two BT women were key to my success in the water.

Swim Nutrition:

1 hour before :24 oz GE; 150 cal; 600 mg of sodium
3 Lava Salts; 1260 mg sodium
15' before start: 1 Powerbar gel; 110 calories; 200 mg of sodium
end loop one: 1 Powerbar gel; 110 calories; 200 mg of sodium

Swim totals: 370 calories; adjusted 260 calories
2260 mg of sodium; 2060 mg of sodium
What would you do differently?:

I need to keep working on improving my swim technique to get faster.

Given my skill set come race day, I did the best I could and was pleased with how I did.
Transition 1
  • 09m 47s

This was a up the corridor with fans lining out high 5s when I could. There is my family and next to them are the guys from CT, see some more folks, and here someone say BT loves you just before crossing Main Street..I could feel the positive vibes and support here. Sue was able to get in anywhere as she had VIP wristband so she ran along with me...

I get to the grass and it is just muck and it was like being a kid playing outside in the rain. It was gross but to the left around the end down to the end row yell my number and they pull out my T1 bag off the ground and they point me to the women's changing tent.

I get an older women to help me..she asks what can I do..I had bagged all my stuff in 1 or 2 gallon ziplocks to keep things dry as it had been raining on and off. She opens my bags and helps me put on my jersey, get my socks & shoes on, and then the last bag of stuff for my pockets..she'd pull out like items ask which pocket and put gels in right, inhaler and lava salts back up in middle..she rocked! Only issue I had was my motivation pieces of paper were in this T1 bag not T2. She said she couldn't be sure to get it in the right I asked her to put the bag inside one of the bags and on top of the bag figuring I could get it out in T2.

Big thing I was debating was if I should wear my arm warmers and vest or the PVC bike rain coat I bought as it was raining hard. I asked the forecast and no one really knew. All I thought was it was temporary and wet arm warmers wouldn't help me and PVC bike jacket would be to warm. Little did I know that today was going to be a unique day with rain the whole day and the high would be only. Stuffed my sun glasses in a back pocket wishing I had my clear lenses.

Interesting thing is I brought 7 bike jackets, two sets of arm warmers, and a vest just in case to Lake Placid. Plus I had the perfect solution for day like racers use this lotion on their skin to keep them warm and it is water proof. Oh not knowing the weird weather other than vest and PVC jacket I opted not to wear they were all sitting in my hotel room.

I'm not a weather forecaster...obviously...neither are the weather people.

Out of change tent into more muck, high 5ed folks along the fence and two turned out to be Shelly and! I was so excited and pumped..I get to ride my and the rain who cares it will be great. People keep yelling 2471 and I get to my rack and there is my Kuota ready to go handed to me by Cappy along side him was Stone and another BTer I forgot her name, all wishing me well...
What would you do differently?:

I bought 2 PVC bike jacket for the race for $11 and should have worn one and been willing or open to toss it if I got to hot.
  • 7h 51m 4s
  • 112 miles
  • 14.27 mile/hr

I do love to ride my bike.

Out to the mount area, down a hill, sharp 180 then onto the street, fans are on the left, I see my family and Sue so I high five them..them bomb down the street which has a big down hill with a hard left. Most folks were timid but not I and I was so glad to be riding, braked made the turn and off I went. Of course with the fans and slower riders I went a little to hard passed a bunch of folks and enjoyed the cheers of the spectators. Pulled it back a little and off I was on my first IM ride..just do what I have practiced in all my long rides this year and every 20' when timer beeps and pace myself.

Out of Lake Placid and we hit hills..some say they are easy...not me they are doable but many need my easiest gear my Sram 11-28. I'm so happy to be out there I talk with folks that I pass or pass me, and any fans out there. I thank the volunteers and police officers. We debate if jackets are the right choice but only a few have them on.

I started with just 24 oz of Gatorade and about 10 oz of water..less weight up the hill. First aid station I pick up Gatorade and just love how organized the aid station is. Folks handing out GE,water,gels, and some fruit. I made contact and point at who I want to give me the GE and it works flawlessly..this rocks. A little more climbing in the rain and finally get to the top of Keene favorite part of the rice.

I'm pretty comfortable and love descending. Issue was the rain was coming down hard and the faster I went the harder it hit me and the more my eyes would shut even though I tried to keep them open...riding 38 mph with eyes barely open wasn't so good. When I couldn't see hardly at all I'd go hard on the brakes. I was happy to be BOP here as the road was clear and I could pick lines to pass folks. I passed many on the descent and think only one person passed me. At the bottom near the playground were a line of ambulances and my thought was I hope they are not needed today as it was a bit sketchy I'm sure for many.

Out of Keene and into the rolling mostly flat section.I started seeing folks riding with garbage bags as rain coats. Looked a bit funny but clever way to deal with no rain coats. Nutrition/hydration was going well. I would fill my aerobottle on the fly on the easier sections of road.

Interesting and new thing occurred my upper arms were getting sore. My guess is from holding on tight on descents and perhaps during hard rain. Here I played leap frog with other athletes..pass and then be passed back and forth.

This is where I was in my happy place. Riding, talking with volunteers and police officers thanking them for being out there, saying silly things to fans and other athletes. Rain didn't bother me but rather it made this IM adventure more special.

Climb out of Jay into Hazelton felt easier than when I first did it a year ago. Fun section then onto the Hazelton out and back...I enjoy this section as the terrain is varied some up and down hills, rollers. Here I see many more people as I see those about 50' ahead of me. I tried to pick out folks I know but didn't see any. Still being part of these amazing athletes was great.

Aid station hand off work great and I had bananas as my 20' food now and again. Get back off and soon turn to do the climb up Whiteface. I know my family is 2-3 miles up the road at the Hungry Trout...can't wait to see them and Sue. Climb, climb, climb around the corner and I start yelling and there they are..sight for sore eyes. I stop briefly with Kevin and the girls and just feel their love and support. Not much is said but I get a huge energy boost. Ride a little farther at the opposite driveway there is Sue, she takes my picture and off I go.

I'm feeling positive....about 11 miles of climbing into Lake Placid..up little Cherry, Big Cherry which I think is hardest hill of them all, Mama Bear, baby Bear, then Papa Bear with fans lining both sides of the street. drums beating loudly, noise, encouragment..this part of the course rocks...I feel their energy and it motivates me turn on Northwoods and final climb, turn and down Mirror Lake Drive, see a tent and wave and realized after I passed it was Tom's (TC117)'s family. The fans, the energy is electric so easy to want to hammer, but try not to, skip sn as I have everything I need and I have nothing for warmth in there..all but two of my bike jackets my kids are wearing waiting for me. Why I didn't ask them to give me one, I have no clue? Outside help? Thought didn't cross my mind.

Up through town, around the High School, onto lap two. I'm feeling great despite the rain keeps me thinking I'm tough and you need to be tough to be an Ironman.

Looking at my power file my power was even throughout first loop so I avoided #1 mistake in IM of going to hard on the bike first 90'.

Weather got worse loop two. I was impressed by all the fans still out there cheering us on. Many I recognized from the first loop still in the same place. I'd engage them in a brief conversation and thanked them for supporting them or say something silly to them.

Keene descent still the same brake when I couldn't keep my eyes open. On my bike, I rode, ate, drank and peed. What did it matter the rain just washed it away. Second loop it would warm up my legs a little so it was nice.

I felt a little lonely and tried to engage folks in conversation but most didn't say much. I think Maine Rob shared what happened that most folks just focused and got it done and were much quieter than in '06 when he did the race. Me it helps me to chat so I did when I could. Up the hill to Hazelton..saw the same person at base of hill as at the swim exit and he said something about my cadence..I wasn't sure who the person was but was a BTer as he knew me..something to keep my mind busy.

Hazelton out and back again see way more folks on the other side. Almost at the turn around I see a women walking and her chain broke then a guy on the side of the road rolling around in the grass in pain. Police Officer at turn around, calls to get help for both.

Here I started crying a number of times. I thought of Christine and her desire to do an Ironman. The skies opened up and I felt she was with me and they were tears from heaven. How could a women who did a HIM in May, enter the hospital Sunday, be brain dead Monday? My emotions were going and I felt lucky to be out there as I know she wanted I rode for her there.

Saw the first pros here and loved to watch the descend and wow they had awesome bikes.

Out back to the last climb to Lake Placid and another chance to see my family and Sue. Around the corner I don't see them but I do start yelling. Ah they are smart and sitting on the porch waiting for me..stop and feel the support, love and pride they have for me...just the energy boost I need for the final 11 miles of climbing. My legs were a bit tired and it was more challenging. I kept pace with others around me and passed and was passed about the same. Cool thing about big event like IM there are many folks with equal abilities even in the BOP.

Crowd had thinned out on Papa Bear, but the second group of pro men caught me here..I told the spectators I was with them and laughed. Through town with cheers and encouragement and felt good..honestly I could have ridden farther...I didn't hate my bike...riding is my happy place.

Fun things about this ride:
Water dripping off my nose that I would blow off..very silly but fun
Amazing spectators and volunteers
peeing on my bike in the rain
Seeing Sue and my family at Hungry Trout
Recognizing other spectators
Twix bars and Mint 3 Musketeer bar..yum

Entire workout (119 watts):
Duration: 7:51:14 (7:51:15)
Work: 3369 kJ
TSS: 414.5 (intensity factor 0.726)
Norm Power: 139
VI: 1.17
Distance: 112.903 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 415 119 watts
Heart rate: 0 153 126 bpm
Cadence: 24 183 85 rpm
Speed: 0 38.6 14.4 mph
Pace 1:33 0:00 4:11 min/mi
Hub Torque: 0 412 74 lb-in
Crank Torque: 0 866 121 lb-in

Bike Nutrition: I went with Plan A and it worked perfectly..stomach handled it well. Only issue was Lava Salts dissolved in my two salt sticks but I had back up source. With the weather being cooler didn't need as much sodium.

~5 bottles of GE and 2.5 of water..peed plenty so hydration was right on given the weather conditions.
Plan A:
Gatorade Endurance: try to drink 24 oz; 150 calories; 600 mg of sodium
Water: about 12-17 oz
every 20' rotate powerbar gel 110 or 120 calories with 200 mg of sodium
regular kind of food/candy with low fat about 50 calories: Fig Newtons, 1/2 banana, chocolate covered pretzel, miniature candy bar, Cheese crackers all with a Lava Salt
1-2 shot bloks or 2 Powerbar new chewie things
Ends up to be: 35-43 oz of liquid hour
1220 mg of sodium plus from what I eat in food and shot bloks
320-370 calories/hour but varies depending on how much GE I drink...I tend to drink less longer I go in the ride but it seems to balance better as I don't end up having to pee so much

I didn't need B or C but had practiced them include them here for future.

Plan B:
Gatorade Endurance: ~36-40 oz/hour; 225-250 calories; 900-1000 mg of sodium an hour
Every 45' gel; 110-120 calories; 200 mg of sodiums
I added shot bloks in later in my ride
End up to be: 36-44 oz/hour liquid
1100-1200 mg of sodium/hour
335-370 calories/hour

Plan C:
Water only ideally 35-45 oz/hour depends on temps.
every 15' I rotate what I consume
15 and 45' gels, so 220-240 cal; 400 mg of sodium an hour
30 and 60' regular food aim 50 calories each with Lava salt; works to be 100-120 calories & 840 mg of sodium an hour
Ends up to be: 35-45 oz hour
1240 mg of sodium/hour
320-360 calories/hour
Other substitution I make later in the ride when everything doesn't taste as good I switch to Carbo-Pro instead of gels but add in Lava Salt as it has no sodium.
What would you do differently?:

The bike was enjoyable and I just executed it like my long rides...rain added an interesting challenge but one that makes accomplishing it that much sweeter. For the most part didn't bother me much other than making taking Lava Salts and eating my special fish challenging.

Rain made rivers on the road where the road was at the lowest point. Yellow Swiss Stop brake pads on carbon rims didn't brake all that well. Need to look into another option.
I had the same NP and stats as my May ride almost exactly and was 14.8 mph which doing the math means I would estimate I lost 17 minutes due to the rain. More if the cold didn't allow my power to be what it could be.

I didn't even split the two loops but neither did most folks even most pros. The weather may have been worse or the idea of being out in the rain in 61-66 degrees may have effected me.

I'm pleased with my attitude, my hydration/nutrition was spot on, I had fun and I made both the cut offs.

For me and my skill set this course is challenging. Having a better power/weight ratio would help. Next time I do this race I hope to be thinner and lighter so the up hills are easier for me as being stocky is a definite disadvantage on a course like this.

I did the math based on my power numbers. Many say my TSS should have been 325 or less, but my IF is right in line with what is suggested by Allen/Coggan. Being slow makes my TSS higher.

Most folks Power Meters didn't work well in the rain even more so with the wired ones like I have and mine often drops numbers but with my Zipps no dropping of data and it worked stellar all day. It makes me wonder if it is the hub on my training wheel that is the issue.
Transition 2
  • 09m 20s

Off my bike, give my bike to the many bike wranglers and walk around the oval to my bag...nice the mud is deeper and really it would be perfect to many events like mud wrestling but not so much for transitions in tris. I want my inspiration notes so as I yell out my number to have someone locate my bag I just ask for both run and bike bags. Round the way to the mud tent better known as women's change tent...whole place is full of muck, steamy and dark..but to sit down for a few minutes rocked.

This time I get a young IM finisher to help me. Older women did a much better job. How do you get water logged feet dry for new socks and no blisters out running in puddles and rain? I change my shorts, get my stuff in my Oomph! tri short pockets, stuff my double bagged inspiration notes down my top so I look like I have a third breast, now deal with my feet. My volunteer asked about body glide..thank god I had forgotten, some underarms, on balls of feet, toes, and on with dry socks, tie my shoes...only to see exit has huge pond we must cross that is 3-5" deep.

Off I go in final adventure of my IM...pleased as punch to see 10:00 on the clock as I exit..folks are finishing while I have 26.2 to go..I get to enjoy myself more I tell myself.
What would you do differently?:

Make a list of what to do so I don't forget..body glide kept my feet blister free after 6.5 hours of being wet and soggy.
  • 6h 34m 55s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 15m 04s  min/mile

Out the Olympic oval to the cheers of the fan..oh this was great..just the perfect way to start my first Marathon..Go Kathy, you can do it Kathy, you rock was fantastic. I set Sue's watch to interval to beep at 4 minutes and 1 minute later. Goal was to just run and walk without thinking. Fans made it so it was hard to hear. My legs felt good and it was an amazing experience as I was out there and saw lots of other athletes and I loved being part of this. I didn't see my family which meant they probably had a harder time getting back into LP from the Hungry Trout and needed to go the long way around ie reverse the bike course. I would catch them later. We agreed where they would be so I could easily spot them plus they were all wearing their lime green support crew t-shirts.

Aid station..hmm what to eat lots of choices..get some water to my hand held carrier bottle. Next aid station folks are wearing wetsuits to keep I start seeing very cold athletes bundled up in garbage bags, mylar blankets walking and shivering. They looked so cold and so lean and fit. I wasn't cold and glad. Run/walk was working well and I would walk all the hills. I'm not a strong runner and wanted to use my energy wisely. I saw some BTers..Julia looking great on her last loop, Scott also on his last loop, Kelly too. Seeing others always gave my a boost.

River road out and back was more lonely with hardly any fans but lots of sign. I spot a sign my kids made for my a Pike themed sign. I'm trucking along get to turn around at mile 6 at 1:10 nice..just under 12 m/ms. My breathing seemed pretty heavy for my effort level.

Rain lets up a little, I was needing some encouragement so I decided to read one of my inspirational notes. It touched me deeply and I started to cry. I had a hard time breathing so I used my asthma inhaler. I normally only get run induced asthma when I go all out like when I'm in home stretch of a 5K or at the end of a tri. Inhaler didn't help and I was having a hard time breathing so I slowed down and walked slowly. Crude, my breathing wasn't getting better so I did my inhaler again...still no progress. I started to get upset as this had never happened before and I wasn't really sure what to do as breathing is pretty important. My breathing got worse and other athletes were looking at me and asking me if I was okay. I didn't want them to get medical for me as I feared they would pull me out of the race and force me to stop. This was the black hole of my race, I was afraid and unable to breath well like I was at the end of a 5K and not able to catch my breath. The thought crossed my mind my body is well trained for this event, but my lungs, my minor asthma may make it impossible to finish and this made me get upset and start crying. Crying and having an asthma incident don't go well together as my breathing got worse not better. I had to pull myself together as I tried to avoid making eye contact with anyone as I didn't want to talk about it or have someone become overly concerned with I walked and turned my face away from folks who passed me. Slowly I started to feel better, stop crying, gain my composure and there was the Ford inspiration station, walked over the mat and saw my number pop up on the screen but without my glasses and my slow pace I couldn't read what it said.

I decided I would walk and knew my family and Dr. Sue was up about 3 miles. I didn't interact with folks but was in my own little world trying to keep moving forward unsure if I had to just walk I would finish in time..I'm not a fast walker by any means.

I get back to town and my mood brightens as I see spectators. This kind women walks beside me and I share what happened, she holds my hands and says keep moving forward you will be okay you will finish you will be an Ironman. Honestly she was like an angel just when I needed it she was there.

Up the hill and I see Shelly and Slake in his speedo. They snap that picture that was on the IMLP watching thread..not sure how I could be happy and smiley then but I felt better and I was more optimistic I could he was so silly it made me laugh.

Around the corner I see my crew in their lime green ts. I ask Sue and Kevin to walk with and shared what happened and ask Sue for medical advice....she said try running but not up hills. She walked with me to special needs helped me with my bag..picked out pita chips, got some gum, and picked up my arm warmers. I took some Tylenol did the out and back. Folks kept saying almost done..I'm like ah 13.1 more to go..will you be here..they said they would be. The divide for the first and second loop was there..only 13.1 miles to go. I see my family again and now I'm on the last little bit.

Another kind stranger encourages me and says keep moving forward and now that the sun is setting it will get cold, be sure to pick up one of those mylar blankets to keep yourself warm. This becomes a focus for me locate one and how will I wear it as I see many different styles...what not to wear mylar blankets episode.

I see Shelly and Slake again. I ask Shelly to do the math for me; do I have time if I just walk...she assures me I have just under 4 hours..easy she did 3 hour loops mostly walking. I feel more confident and accept I will walk and I will be an Ironman. I did try running some down hills, to next street sign now and again and breathing was okay.

Mentally I had accepted walking was what I needed to do. Was that the right decision or not I don't know.

Find a used mylar blanket and go with the tie it around my shoulder look as I tried to rip a hole to put in over my head but was unable to. On the out and back I start yelling at other athletes we are super heroes..I get little response but turns out one was Chris from BT. They make wicked lot of noise but do warm me up some plus I have my red arm warmers on.

Food becomes very important later in the race or it did for me. They had some cheap chocolate chip cookies I would eat periodically. At the start of the River Road out and back, I wanted a cookie. The first folks didn't have them but pointed to a table they didn't have any so I yelled to the aid station across the way "cookie?" and they were out. I must have asked for a cookie like 10 times, I'm sad and cookieless and at the end of the aid station, and I feel a tap on my shoulder a volunteer said I heard you wanted a cookie and he handed me one from his own personal stash. That cookie tasted so good.Then I remembered the gum and had some Stride and boy that tasted good after all the Gatorade, gels and sweet stuff I had been consuming last 14 hours.

Now 95% of the folks are walking, some periodically run for a short time. I feel alone and don't really connect with anyone, but I keep moving forward. First loop I used the port a potties but they were unstable and so gross that second loop I just peed while walking as I had no desire to use the port a potties and it warmed me up.

I saw many of the same folks out there cheering us on, I engaged them in conversation as it helped, I danced with the music I heard, I asked those drinking to drink for me as I was tired of water and Gatorade, I talked to the other athletes about being super heroes or other silly things. I was doing my best to have as much fun as I could 130 miles into a race when it was 62 raining and wet.

I was doing it, I was going to be an Ironman keep moving forward Kathy. I did the math and figured earliest I'd finish was about 11:15 as first loop took me 3:05 with run/walking about 7 miles of it. I worked at walking faster as I wanted to get done.

I met the guy who was the last swimmer out of the water at 2:17. I was amazed at the varied group of athletes at the end..most looked so fit..made me wonder what happened to them today to have them walk. I saw more men peeing in the woods or on the side of the road than ever..but I understood..most were modest about it..easier for me then us women.

I bumped into a Toronto man doing his 7th IM and a Philly guy doing his first. Each had a story and it felt good to walk with others and chat. There by the horse farm I see Kevin and Shasha walking towards me. They walk with me as Kevin read inspiration notes from you guys...they make me smile and very lucky to have you guys as friends.. I'm in a good place I will finish I will be an Ironman today. This becomes fun to chat and hear what amazingly kind things share with me. Get to the big hill and there is Shelly and Slake they join us wish me well and head for the oval. There is Sue, Libby, Emily and Brian all wish me well and they all head to the oval to wait for my official finish. The out and back along Mirror lake seems so long..I high 5 everyone..wondering how many germs I am spreading? Do the folks realize I have what I've done and I haven't washed my hands once?

The excitement and anticipation of finishing builds. I can't make myself run as I'm afraid I will be out of steam in the oval. My hamstrings and glutes are oh so tired and sore...on the way back so close...the cow bell group rocks but they high five so strongly.

By the lake, down to the loop 1 and loop 2 divider..yah I'm finishing, the music get louder as does the cheers from the spectators. I start to run, yell with the crowd feel great and so excited. The first part of the oval is dark as I round the corner the fans are going crazy, lights are bright, I hear Celebration as the music, I run, the wet, cold, fatigue is gone, I wave my arms around, I feel complete joy throughout my body deep in my soul...I'm doing this..I did this..I finished..I am an Ironman.

I hear my name repeated Kathy Graves of North Attleboro, Mom of five, first timer you are an Ironman. Run to the tape, make a little jump and almost tumble over...lots of folks try and catch me but there is Sue. I'm so incredibly happy...I did it!

Get my medal, Only Large and XL t-shirts left, get a hat..a finisher hat too, Sue points me to finisher photo area..I'm glowing I did it...I'm an Ironman.

Plan is for me to quick go to massage then meet up with my kids. Sue says I'm like a Popsicle. It was between 66 an 61 all day out in rain. I use the port a potty feel a bit tippy in there...go into medical and start to get cold..mylar blanket. See MissBethy Oceanannie, DGillen, we chat a bit Alison gets me a sub I eat some..not very hungry now..Sue makes me some chocolate milk that tastes good. Get a short massage, but am so cold I start to shiver even with mylar and two blankets.

When done Sue dresses me up for short walk to car that Kevin has blasting at 90 degrees I wrap my arm around her shoulder I'm tottering forward. My teeth are chattering so much my son said I looked like an Aileen with my mylar skirt and hooded jacket all they could see is my teeth chattering. A stranger on the street offers to help get me to the car and I put my other arm around their shoulder. Into the car and another stranger suggests I go to medical because I'm so cold...I say Sue is a Dr and I'll be okay. I get wrapped up in towels, in a warm car and we head back to the Hungry Trout..I'm tired, I cold, I'm sore, I'm happy..I am an Ironman.

Run Plan A:
Hydration water with Nuuns: usually 44-48 oz hour; 780 mg of sodium
Gels on 30' and 60'; 400 mg of sodium; 220-240 calories
Shot Bloks or Powerbar chews on 15' and 45';
Ends up to be: 44-48 oz/hour
~300 cal/hour
1200 mg sodium/hour
Later in the run I usually switch one gel to cola and Lava Salt as gel has 200 mg of sodium.

Worked pretty good on the course had pretzels, coke, grapes, cookies and an orange or two...chicken soup tasted funny to me the two times I tried it so that didn't go over well with me. Peed plenty so hydration was tired of sweet stuff as race progressed and glad I had some gum just to change the taste in my mouth.
What would you do differently?:

I'm not sure what I could do differently. I choose to do what I thought was prudent to finish. My goals were to have fun and time goals in there. I achieved my goals of having what a great day and I finished with 27 minutes to spare. I have never had an asthma issue before like I had during the run so dealing with it was a big unknown for me. I took the conservative route as walking was less taxing on my lungs.

Part of me wishes I could have come to a place to be brave and run more to see what would have happened. I am most disappointed in my mental toughness here. My legs felt okay running, but after my initial incident my mind was fearful and it won so I walked. Walking hurt less and in many ways other than my pride allowed me to enjoy this part of the course with more interaction with the fans, police, volunteers, and I felt pretty good.

I need to visit with my asthma specialist. I think being outside in the 61-66 degree wet weather for 16.5 hours isn't ideal for asthma.
Post race
Warm down:

The jump over the finish line almost did me in as I sort of stumbled. I was so happy, satisfied and thrilled to have finished and there was Sue to catch me. Having her there for the weekend and seeing her smiling face with all the encouraging words meant a lot and was always a bright spot for me.

For me the race was like desert the real work was the journey to get to the starting line. I learned so much about myself training for my first IM. My mind often is my weak point not my body tends to go along nicely. I think this knowledge and confidence I have gained will help me in many areas of my life in the future. I am strong, I can do more than I think I can, if I want to do something I have the drive and determination to prepare myself to do it. Finishing I felt so much joy deep in my soul. It was confirmation my life has turned around, no longer am I fat couch potato mom, I'm an athlete, fit, and full of dreams and so many wonderful adventures to work on. The journey was challenging but I was up to the task. Race day was magical and a memory I will have for the rest of my life. I miss that magical place of Ironman but I will be back.

I have so many people that helped me get ready for this:
My coach Will at who I've worked with for last four years; he helped me get stronger, faster, fitter, but beyond that he helped me believe in myself, stretch and grow mentally, eat better, and to have more fun doing this cool stuff

My husband Kevin, best Iron Sherpa around, he believed in me, sacrificed so I could train, get new equipment, go yet another time to LP to be sure I could do it and gain confidence that I could do it; allowed me to stop working so I could train well and be a good Mom to our kids

My Kids: Libby who wished me luck before each training I did and asked me afterwards did I have fun; Emily and Shasha who would run or ride while I ran and supported me and my dreams; Brian who was proud of me even though being 19 that probably isn't so cool; Kyle who is who he is

All BT friends that have supported me from when I joined this site back in 9/ encourage and inspire me which is huge help when I struggle
My fellow BT Lake Placid buddies...Scott, Fred, Kellie, Lauren, Tom, Dan, Rob, Allison, and more of was great following your training, comparing and sharing the fun with you

Sue: What can I showed me women our age can be Ironmen; you believed that I could do this before I could; you are the voice of calm and reason and you helped me stay in the mentally good place...this journey was far better because of you

Next IM maybe I'll try a little more to race it and do my best. Today's race was a celebration and I'm thrilled I did it. How appropriate I finished to the song celebration? You know doing your first one slow, on a harder course in the rain sets up the potential to make big improvements in the next one.

I should have gone to the award banquet Monday as Mike Riley wanted to know if the Biggest Loser had finished. I guess they didn't remember my name from the athletes dinner Friday. But my BT friends shared that I finished, my time and I got a round of applause from everyone. Saturday when I walked around LP often folks would say something recognizing me from being the biggest loser but not race day. Being faster in triathlons would be cool, but being thin and active after not being so for 1.5 decades is better. My husband and kids are so proud of me. They took off the window signs they made for drive to Lake Placid and made finisher windows..with Ironpike and Ironmom and all sorts of cool sayings for drive was so sweet of them.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My goal was to finish and have fun. Time wasn't one of my goals. I accomplished both. I'd be dishonest if I didn't say I wish I was faster. I wasn't able to test my mettle to see how I did running. The fear of not finishing if I had another asthma attack made me choose to walk to be sure I could. I trained hard this year to improve my fatigue resistance on my runs. I did 4 19+ mile runs and didn't get to see how I could do. I wish I could see how I could have done.

Event comments:

Great race, great venue, fantastic volunteers and crowd support, town is very positive and supportive of the athletes. Being a small town in an area with mountains makes logistics difficult on race day if you don't stay in town which is often wicked expensive.

I will do this race again for sure...I'm not sure when maybe '10. I will do another Ironman no doubt about it.

Challenging distance and I do love to ride long and the training is fun most of the time. The Ironman lifestyle agrees with me. I hope next IM I will continue to grow and learn and much of the fear I had will be gone so the journey will be different and I will learn more about myself and what I am made of.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2007-07-31 12:00 AM
01:48:09 | 4224 yards | 02m 34s / 100yards
Age Group: 79/83
Overall: 2316/2340
Performance: Good
Lap 1 51:54 Lap 2 56:29
Suit: 2 peice DeSoto
Course: 2 loops rectangle with cable to follow
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 09:47
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:51:04 | 112 miles | 14.27 mile/hr
Age Group: 51/83
Overall: 2054/2340
Performance: Good
See Power Meter information Below Entire workout (119 watts): Duration: 7:51:14 (7:51:15) Work: 3369 kJ TSS: 414.5 (intensity factor 0.726) Norm Power: 139 VI: 1.17 avg HR 126
Wind: Some
Course: 2 loops about 6 miles of climbing followed by 10K descent into Keene, pretty flat to Jay climb to Haselton, rolling out and back followed by 13 miles of climbing into Lake Placid..repeat.
Road: Rough Wet Cadence: 85
Turns: Good Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 09:20
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:34:55 | 26.2 miles | 15m 04s  min/mile
Age Group: 70/83
Overall: 2140/2340
Performance: Below average
Run 6 miles: 1:10:13 Run first 13.1 miles: 3:05:34: 14:09 m/m Run through 19 miles 4:25:46 Last 13.1 miles 3:29:21; 15:58 m/m
Course: Down through LP, by ski jumps out and back River road turn around at mile 6 and 19; back into town up two hard hills, out and back along Mirror Lake, do it all again.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
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