Ironman USA - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
74F / 23C
Total Time = 13h 50m 9s
Overall Rank = 1504/2345
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 180/268
Pre-race routine:

Sun before: rode 40k & ran 8k at IM pace
Mon: rest
Tues: drove to LP and did speedwork on run course
Wed: swam the IM course and rode 60min ez
Thurs: swam 30min & ran 30min (try to stay off my feet)
Fri: swam 30min, ran 20min fast but skipped the 45min ride in big gear (tried to get extra sleep)
Sat: ride to check bike and rest (prep race food and tried to sleep)
Race Day: up at 4am. Bagel w p/butter, banana, yogurt & energy drink
Took event bus to T-zone with Athena.

Event warmup:

None. Got to T-zone early enough get everything organized and wetsuit on at a relaxed pace. Just walked up to the lake and hung out eating a Cliff bar. At the lake I was surprised and touched to find Nada and Theresa (my wife's run club friends) had driven down to watch me. They have been such enthusiastic supporter during my training and their excitement and joy for the day was contagious. It warmed my heart to have such wonderful people care about me and share my passion.

Got in the water 30min before the start and gently swam across to the far side of the bay start. Kept to myself and focused on staying calm. Didn't need nervous adrenalin shooting my heartrate up even before starting the swim. I planned to let the mass start ahead of me and then swim from the far outside on a slight diagonal to the 1st turn. I popped a gel 10mins before start.

I was surprised how calm I was given how much this goal meant to me and how much I have invested in this day. Essentially this day has been 2yrs in the making and a lot of work, not only by me, but by my family and the sacrifices we have all made to get ME to this place in time. I was also confident that my coach had prepared me well, I had successfully completed the necessary training and God had blessed me with a cool day and a body that was working perfectly.

I still can't find the words that explain my motivation to dedicate myself to this challenge, but know it has been God's grace that has brought me here and the support of my wife, kids and friends that has made it possible. As I waited for the start, I enjoyed the wonder and happiness of having reached this day and I was profoundly thankful to have been so blessed. I felt the gratitude of it all and God gave me His gift of peace, another reason for which I love Him.
  • 1h 24m 36s
  • 3840 meters
  • 02m 12s / 100 meters

Lots of contact in the beginning but not as bad as expected. I swam with my arms wide which worked good for defense but I still had lots of people on my legs and feet which was distracting. I took the 1st turn wide but it was still pretty rough. Swam a conservative pace for the 1st loop and was very happy to see 40min as I ran out so I did a little dance and twirl. Most were walking so I ran. Most waded so I did a running dive.

It stayed busy in the 2nd loop but I could swim without much difficulty. Sighting was a challenge because of the chop from the other swimmers. The last leg of the swim was the roughest because of the large number at the same pace and all funneling toward the finish gate. Got punched in the back of the head and briefly saw stars. I was very glad to see the sand of the beach and swam until I was clawing bottom. I jumped up and stripped off to the waist as I exited. I surprised not to be wobbly so enjoyed a fast exit and throw in some cheering of my own.
What would you do differently?:

Transition 1
  • 08m 38s

I was running through the chaos of the exit chute and wasn't going to use the wetsuit pullers, but decided at the last minute that this was my only opportunity for such an experience. So I quickly picked two strong looking guys at the end of the line, dropped on my back and they stripped off the suit in one quick pull. Wow, they looked as surprised as me at how easy I popped out and we all laughed. They tossed the suit back to me and off I ran back toward the Oval. Totally cool.

Everyone was trotting single file down the carpet which was too slow for me, so I hopped over to the pavement and dashed past many. There was, of course, Nada and Theresa screaming like mad and Dragon snapping pictures which made me burst with pride. I had not seen Gloria and the girls yet this morning so I was beginning to worry about them. So I was really happy they surprised me by the barrier just before the Oval and I couldn't stop myself from grabbing some kisses before heading off to T1. Buoyed by their spirits I ran into the Oval and was directed down the racks of gear bags.

I grabbed my bike bag and was directed into the men's change tent. I stopped dead at the door. Wow! I couldn't believe it. The tent was very dark, filled to capacity, body-steam hung like fog and the floor was just a mudpit squeezing up between my toes. It was very bad and I thought "No way" and backed out. The volunteer tried to stop me, so I told him that I didn't need to change and was just getting something out of my bag. I stepped around the end of the tent and was standing in 5cm of water, but at least it was clean.

I quickly pulled out my helmet and bike shoes and stuffed in my wetsuit. Didn't bother with gloves or sock as they we're soaked. I threw my bag on the designated mountainous pile and ran for my bike (tiptoed around the mud actually). I managed a quick escape from the Oval only to get stuck in a bike jam at the narrow mount-line. Too many people having trouble getting on their bike, grrrr. Probably mud in their cleats. I stomped my cleats and cleanly hopped on. No time for scanning the crowd for the faces of family or friends as I had to carefully navigate the chaos and deal with the immediate downhill beyond the mountline. I didn't want to start my long ride with an early crash.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Would have been faster if it wasn't so congested but I would have to be a lot faster in the swim to get ahead of the congestion.
  • 7h 21m 7s
  • 180.25 kms
  • 24.52 km/hr

I was determined to be careful on the 1st loop. Lots of braking down the big school hill, then easy out on the climb to Keene. I took a gel and warmed up quickly. At least I didn't regret the lack of a jacket.

The rain really started to pour and the rain peppered my face even on the normal downhills. It was still crowded on the descent to Keene and very few were following the rules. People passed on the right, lots blocking on the left and riding 3 abreast. I can't remember seeing any Marshalls beyond the beginning of the 1st loop (very maddening after all the warnings we received) I was frustrated that I seem to be the only one who was quickly passing and moving back to the right.

Almost everyone seemed to be coasting a groups and using their brakes. My bike just want to go. So I let my speed build and started passing at a good clip. I finally decided to stick to the left and let it rip. Nothing close to my usual downhill speed, but too fast to brake behind blockers so I had to cross the yellow line a couple times. I was glad they had placed cones in the middle of the upbound lane to keep traffic to the far side. The rain was crazy and my front wheel looked like the bow of a boat at times.

I couldn't believe that the rain wouldn't stop. I also couldn't believe that here I was doing THIS race in rain when I had done the whole bike of my 1st iron-distance (Esprit) in the rain and got hypothermia. I also did the whole bike of Epicman last month in the rain and got 3 flat tires. Pretty funny actually. I always said I would take whatever the big Guy gave me and be glad.

From Keene to Jay, I relaxed and tried to eat but the rain made it difficult. I didn't seem to need my usual intake because of the cool temp. So I tossed a water bottle to lighten my climbing load. I was passed by many but kept my pace. I cranked the climb to Wilmington easier than expected and loved the out&back except for the water-filled potholes. Saw a guy coming toward me go down for a long slide on the wet road but he got up ok. There were a lot of ambulances coming and going on the route. Hmmm?

The climb to Whiteface and the gorge was no fun as expected. I was very happy to see the cherries and bears and the supporters at Papa Bear were amazing. Rick Hellard quietly standing by himself under his unbrella on Northwood encouraged me before I reached the endless cheering along Mirror Lake Drive and back through town to the Oval again. There was Nada and Theresa of course but I had just about given up looking for Gloria and the girls when there they were, having found a quiet place out of the crowd just before the turn at the school for the 2nd loop. It was wonderful to see them and I stopped for the 1st time to collect kisses. They wouldn't let me dwell long and sent me on my way. Missed see my parents because I couldn't rubber neck on the school hill.

The 2nd loop was just as wet but a lot lonelier. I realized I had been passed by almost the whole field. Well at least I could open it up on the descent to Keene. Picked up a bottle of Gatorade and pushed it harder on this loop but couldn't seem to generate any power on the climbs. Then my derailler started giving me trouble and I realized my chain had been completely stripped of oil. I looked for a tech support vehicle but the only one was busy helping change a tire and I didn't stop. My speed really dropped on the return to town and my legs were useless. Most of the crowd was gone when I got back to the 5 hills and I dropped my chain on Northwood. The chain was stiff and squeaky clean when I put it back on.

The route back to the Oval is just a blur in my memory except that it was quite deserted. Only the faithful Nada, Theresa and Dragon cheering for all they were worth. Unfortunately, all I could manage was a smile and small wave in response. My butt was killing me and I just want to get off that bike so badly. Finally saw my girls as I was heading back into the oval and reached out for high fives.

Decided to keep my shoes on because of the mud. Unclipped and jumped off my rolling bike right at the mount line. Now for the run. I was surprised that I was looking forward to it. Must have been delirium setting in.
What would you do differently?:

Take chain oil on the ride in wet conditions.
Transition 2
  • 05m 59s

Volunteers took my bike, then ran to the racks to get my run bag. Was directed into a different change tent that was not as bad as earlier. Luckily there was a used towel on the chair beside me. I decided not to put on a shirt or take my fuel belt. New clothes would be a waste since it was still raining and I thought I would be able to fuel adequately by just picking up what I needed on the run course. Put on socks and runners and was quickly off again.
  • 4h 49m 51s
  • 42.16 kms
  • 06m 53s  min/km

Wow! When I ran out of the Oval onto Main Street, I found out where all the people had gone. It was amazing and lifted my spirits completely. And there was my beautiful family with the biggest smiles I think I had ever seen. I felt on top of the world and my legs just flew on the downhill. Until my hamstrings reminded me to dial it back. I also had some major chaffing happening so I grabbed some Vaseline at the 1st aid station.

My Garmin wouldn't tune in while running because of the cloud cover, so I had no idea of my pace until the 3mile marker were I was just under 30mins. Cool, a sub6 pace! The spectators were fantastic and never seemed to stop. It was so nice to see Steve and Sherry going pass me finishing their 1st loop and knowing they were having an awesome day, (especially MWKMAATC Steve) but they still took the time for kind words for teammates like me.

Out by the Horse Show grounds I saw the lead amateur female bike coming toward me but didn't recognize anyone (I missed seeing Leslie's amazing finish). I planned to always keep running except to walk through aid stations. I alternated gels and coke with banana and Gatorade as I had done in the Esprit and it seemed to be working well except that I needed to stop for a pee several times, which is very unusual for me during a race.

I ran well on the River road out/back. Motored up the hill and passed lots of walkers. Dev went by me looking rough, followed by Barry in fine form with more words of encouragement. I was shocked to see Jean walking but he too had good words to encourage me. Kiza's James and Athena went by only a few minutes before the turn-around with more mutual encouragement. I was disappointed with myself for not having enough wits about me to think up more encouraging responses, but my brains seemed to be working in slow-motion. At least I wasn't too far behind my Z3S friends.

I was proud of myself for being able to run up both big hills on the way back to Main Street and loved the cheers at Ottawa corner even though my eyes could seem to focus on the supporters except for my family. The Mirror Lake Drive loop went by nicely and I was happy to be 2h12 at the 13mile mats. I delivered this good news to Gloria on Main Street as I headed out for my 2nd loop. She looked at her watch and said she better get the kids some supper head to the finish. Again, it took a few minutes to process what she was telling me as I continued running, also distracted by the mile-wide smile and amazing cheers from my Barrhaven ladies.

Somewhere between passing Gloria and the turn to River Road, my get-up-and-go got up and went. I started talking to my legs and telling them that my highly scheduled wife and family were expecting me back at the Oval in some 2 1/4 hrs, but they didn't want to talk to me. They just kept moving slower and slower. I remembered that Rick always says your slowest jog is still faster than walking so I kept it going.

I caught Athena out by the Horse Show grounds and we ran together for awhile. Holding to her pace was too much work so I wished her my best and moved on. For the rest of the 2nd loop I was completely focussed on passing walkers and pushing my leg to move faster. I completely missed passing Jean and didn't recognize his voice of encouragement until I was well past him and didn't have the energy to turn my stiff neck back to see him so I just yelled by wishes (which I hope he heard) and pushed on for all I was worth.

I had to walk up the big hill after River Road but I managed to jog all the way up Sentinal hill and up Main Street even though it was almost deserted. I do remember the Barrhaven ladies on Main and Nada started to run with me and I quickly told her not to worried that I would be DQ'd. I hoped that I didn't hurt her feelings and she understood as I ran on. Everything was being cleaned up along Mirror Lake but knowing that Gloria and the girls were waiting patiently and probably worrying about me by now kept me going. I figured I was about 30min overdue.

Finally I crossed the 26mile mats, aware that Mr Ironman would know I was coming. I could hear his voice as I approached the Oval, bestowing Ironmanhood on those that were finishing and knew that I too who soon be numbered among them.

The last of the faithful spectators at the entrance to the Oval were wonderful, I couldn't see or process what was happening around me but I was very very happy. All I can remember is an endless line of smiles and then Julia standing in water with the officials waiting to join me for my run to the finish. It broke my heart to she how worried she was holding on to her finger but she smiled brightly as she saw me put out my hand for her's. We both splashed our way down the finish chute in the glare of the lights. I think I heard something with my name in it but all I could do was think how my family must have suffered on such a day and about how lucky I am to have such a beautiful, dedicated, athletic family who shares my craziness and stands by me (in ankle-deep water) in accomplishing the things that matter to me, even when it costs them. I have been truly blessed.
Post race
Warm down:

Gloria and Jessica were at the railing just passed the finish. I was momentary concerned when they separated Julia from me to return her to Gloria. Then it was picture time and pizza time. That pizza tasted sooooooo good but I was immediately full having shrunk my stomach.

I had been warm enough all day but immediately started to shake with cold even with the foil-blanket they gave me. I would have likely to hang around to see others finish but decided to get home and into some dry clothes. It was so kind of Athena's friends to collect my special needs bags that night and bring them back to me.

Event comments:

Am I signed up for next year? Nope.
Would I do it again? Yup, someday.

It was an amazing day. M-dot is truly different than all the rest. But having a job and training for an Ironman doesn't leave room for much else. My wife has put her goals on hold for some time and now its my turn to do support.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me in my journey. You know who you are. Congratulations to all you new Iron-people and all my best to those signed up again. Like Rick says, if you do the work, execute it properly and are lucky, you get what you deserve. I also can't help throwing in a even better quote to live and train by "In all things, God works for the good of those who love him".

Profile Album

Last updated: 2007-09-19 12:00 AM
01:24:36 | 3840 meters | 02m 12s / 100meters
Age Group: 209/268
Overall: 1853/2345
Performance: Good
Suit: sleeveless RB
Course: 2 loops of Mirror Lake
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 08:38
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed:
07:21:07 | 180.25 kms | 24.52 km/hr
Age Group: 225/268
Overall: 1812/2345
Performance: Good
to Keen 46:25 to Jay 28:37 to Wilmington 23:03 out/back 47:52 back to LP 1h01 gives 1st loop 3h36 to Keen 50:08 to Jay 1h01? to Wilmington 53:08? out/back 1h08? back to LP gives 2st loop I consumed: 6scoop bottle of Perpetuem 1/2 a Cliff bar (wasted 2.5 in a soggy clup) sandwich bag of dried fruit flask of 5 gels 1.5 bottle of Gatorade.
Wind: Little
Course: 2600m of climb
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering:
Gear changes: Below average Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 05:59
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:49:51 | 42.16 kms | 06m 53s  min/km
Age Group: 132/268
Overall: 1184/2345
Performance: Good
13 miles 2h13
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4