Ironman USA Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
Ironman North America
65F / 18C
Total Time = 12h 20m 7s
Overall Rank = 884/2345
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 180/387
Pre-race routine:

A little pre-race history here as it totally sets up my attitude going into LP ...... When I signed up for this race last year I had all the intentions of making this my first attempt at a Kona qualifying shot and had intended on training my butt off to put up a great time at the race as the course really suited my strengths on the bike and run with challenging hilly terrain. Then came my race in Florida where I made the IM rookie mistake of pushing the bike too hard compounded with a strange breathing issue that I'd never had before (or since) that resulted in the run portion of the race being a 5:45 long marathon stroll. I came out of there a bit dismayed as to my abilities to not only race that sort of distance but more importantly to take the sheer amount of time needed to train right to compete in the distance. It was a bit frustrating to say the least .....

So I shifted gears to train for a sub 3-hr marathon attempt and that became my sole focus through the winter and then follow up the attempt in March with a solid run at Boston in April before really hitting the road for my IM build up. Training was going well for the marathon and I was well on form to run a sub 3 and was psyched. Then came the flu doing the last week before the race. I was in bed for about 3 days, couldn't eat (or train) and lost about 7 pounds. I was in no position to race but it was too late to pull out, so I started. After 5 miles of running at the required pace I knew I was done and could not hold that for 26.2 miles. I took the smart approach and pulled out and jogged back to the start .... my first DNF in a running race ever.

Flash forward to Boston. After the failed attempt at the sub 3 I backed off my training and tried to get back in the pool and on the bike a few times (I hadn't really ridden much since November and it was March then). I cut back my long runs and never did anything over 14 miles or so in the month and a half between the B&A marathon and Boston. Well, after starting at a good comfortable pace I ended up having the same cramping issues in the Newton hills and ended up going even SLOWER than I did at last year's Boston, which was in tougher conditions. Strike 2 in the this year's goals ........

My next event was to ride relay in the Columbia Triathlon as the cyclist on the team and by some miracle even though I had less than 400 miles on the bike for the entire year I managed to put up the fastest relay bike split as well as a top 25 overall time for the bike. That helped me out some from a mental standpoint. But I still only had 3 weeks left until Eagleman which is a half ironman distance. Gulp!!

Eagleman comes along and I go into it with barely 60,000 yards in the pool, less than 600 miles on the bike but with about 700 miles running in the legs. My longest ride was around 52 miles and nowhere near the pace I would usually hold and I think I ran a 12 miler in the time between Boston and Eagleman. Of course on race day we were faced with almost record conditions for the race - 90+ degrees, no clouds and high humidity. We were in for a long day ..... After a decent but slow swim I tried to stay in control and ride a smart race within my limited riding time. I thought I did okay with that going about 1 mph average slower than last year but still came off the bike cramping some. Within the first mile of the run I knew it was going to be a suffer-fest and decided that to run the risk of injury and to compund recovery time that it was just not worth the effort to finish. So I dropped out ...... first DNF in a tri race. Man, I'm just on a roll this year aren't I??!!

I now had less than 6 weeks to go from almost no swim and bike training, three dismal major races in a row (with two successful smaller things), and a really tough IM course looming on the horizon. I formulated a simple plan of ramping up the mileage on the bike, yards in the swim and focusing on getting in some good solid and well paced efforts in each. I did four consecutive weeks of 100+ mile rides on Saturday and felt better each one. My swim was coming along, even if my speed wasn't increasing that much. I felt confident that if I swam and rode smart that I at least might give myself a chance to run some of the marathon which I didn't get to do in FL.

As a family we decided to make the trip to LP a nice vacation which we have not had in a few years with the house construction and resultant builder/legal issues and we were sharing a place in LP with a Slowtwitcher (triathlon forum) who was gracious enough to offer up a room for us in his rental. We drove up on Thursday (there is an experience that until you do you can never appreciate why they always make fun of it in movies and TV - 3 yound children in the backseat of the car for 10 hours ..... ugh!!) and got in arouns 9 o'clock. Kids to bed, meet Andrew and his family and finally get to bed oursleves!

On Friday morning I met some BTers over at the swim, got registered and picked up my packet and took a small walk around the town with the family. Saturday was all about getting the bike ready and racked, checking and double checking the bags and trying to rest up as much as possible. He didn't say it, but my feeling was that Andrew was a little bit nervous as it was his first IM (my second). I shared some of my experiences and lessons from FL and had decided to go minimalist on the event and let the course support me so I did not have to think about what I was carrying or what to drink.

There was nothing else I could do but pace smart and treat the race as a long training day and remember I was not there to place in the age group, but to enjoy the day and relish in the environment and occassion!
Event warmup:

We walked over from our place and dropped off our special needs bags for the bike and then went over to the transition area to get body marked and drop some things over at the bike. Andrew had not had to leave his bike overnight at a race before, so I had reminded him to pull his computer off and such. We met up again and walked over to the swim start and he went off to talk with his family and I put the wetsuit on (it was a little chilly and overcast). With about 15 minutes to go I waded into the water and paddled out with about 5 minutes to go. It amazed me to see how many people racing were still hanging out on the banks and in the shallows even with only a minute or two to go! Mmmmmmm, hello??? We're about to start a race here?? Get your azzes in the water!
  • 1h 18m 33s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 52s / 100 yards

The gun went off and I was now taking part in the worst melee/slugfest that I have ever participated in while in a triathlon! I was mentally prepared to get an azz whoopin' in FL but that never materialized as everyone was fairly spread out. Here it was a different story as everyone was fighting to get position and close to the buoy line (there is a cable about 6 feet underwater or so that you can see when you are close and it makes sighting a non-issue if you are near it). While I never got physically nailed with a fist or foot it was all elbows and feet no matter where you looked. I did a good job with keeping my stroke even and relaxed and letting the crowd take me wherever it may while not swimming over anyone or being obtrusive in any way. This continues for the whole first leg of the first loop. It did not start to thin out it seemed until we rounded the second corner buoy and headed back to the small beach/pier area.

I came out of the water at the end of the first loop with a time in the 38 minute range and was pretty happy with that. Considering the amount of jostling and inability to get into a good rhythm from the initial portion of the loop it was about as good as I could have expected. My only goal for the swim was to swim easy and beat my Florida time. I was on pace to do that and zipped back into the water expecting to have to go round 2 with the next loop. But that never happened!

The second loop was actually really pleasant. I was able to get over to the buoy line and swim my own race with minimal contact and almost no discomfort. I stayed along the line using it for sighting and was actually enjoying the swim (which for me is always the iffiest part of the race). About 1/2 way down the out leg of the loop I started feeling sharp drops of water hitting my arme and head when I was on each stroke and knew that it wasn't other people splashing ..... it was definitely rain. I was concerned a little about lightning, but not the rai since I was already wet. But I did not hear any thunder or see any flashes. Oh well, c'est la vis!

After rounding the two corner buoys it was back to the beach and finish the swim. I actually felt great and it seemed that the return leg went smoothly and quickly and I was able to continue right near the buoy line. When I could see the bottom again and the water plants rising up I knew I was close. And when I could almost scrape the bottom with my hand I stood up and started to unzip the wetsuit. One leg of the race done, and faster and more comfortably than Florida!!

Gotta give a huge public thanks for that to Sue Mangan for the insightful and very helpful lessons over the winter. Even though my swim yardage is way down compared to what I did for Florida I was still able to knock 2 minutes off of my time from there and feel better doing it!! Who'd of thunk that 3 half hour lessons could make that much of a difference!? ;-)
What would you do differently?:

Swim more, swim better. Otherwise this was about as good as I could have extpected and I was really happy overall with the swim. Just need to be faster, that's all.
Transition 1
  • 08m 57s

Once we got through the wetsuit strippers at the lake we had to run down the street a good ways to the transition area. We actually ran right by the street we were staying on and I looked for Mir and the boys to see if they got out to see us. But it was definitely raining now and I fully did not expect them to be out there trying to catch a glimpse of me for a few seconds.

My transition bag was at the end of my rack so it was really easy to find. I grabbed it and went to the tent at the other end of the oval. Into the tent and it is loud, dark and steamy. I did not use the tent for T1 in Florida and put on my cycling stuff outside. Because of the rain and mud I went into the tent this time. Took a few seconds to find a chair and then sat down and swapped everything over for the ride. I was not in any real hurry and my time shows that. But I got everthing situated exactly as I wanted it and the swim stuff back into the bag before leaving the tent.

Run in my cleats to where they gave us our bikes, crossed the timing mat and after clearing the mud out of my cleats, off I went!!
What would you do differently?:

Not linger in the tent. I was in no hurry to get out into the rain and it showed. Not a blazing time, but it was a long run from the water and getting in and out of the tent took time. My actual transition time in the tent was not all that bad.
  • 5h 56m 48s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.83 mile/hr

My whole race was based around this part being a total casual Sunday touring ride. Very easy effort, watch the world go by and just enjoy the day.

I did not drive the course as originally planned so was not sure what to expect from the route. Throw in the fact that it was constant rain now and I knew I was in for an interesting ride!

My time trial bike was down for the count after Eagleman with a broken seat clamp and it was at a shop waiting to be warrantied so I was riding my road bike. I had always intended on riding it since it is much lighter, allows me a few more comfortable positions and I have an easier time keeping my pace in check when I ride it as I don't feel I "need" to go fast like I do on my TT bike. With that being said ... I DID decide to use my disc wheel and aero helmet because free speed is free speed!! I had to be the only one on course with a full aero wheel set up on a road bike and no aero bars. ;-)

The first section leaving town is rolling and within a few miles you hit the first real climb. I was simply amazed at the amount of people I passed spinning very easily in my easiest gear (my gearing was 53/39 front with an 11-23 rear). On that first little hill I must have passed about 100 people or so without ever getting my effort level up. This would be a recurring theme throughout the entire ride.

When we drove in on Thursday we came up what would be our main descent into Keene. I'm usually a really good descender but with the rain, riding carbon rims with non carbon specific brake pads and a ton of sketchy riders around it made for a very interesting descent on the first lap. I have to say I rode the brakes a bit too much and never got over 40 whereas in normal conditions I probably would have been close to 50 going down something like that. But I didn't want to jeopardize my race just for a little fun descending. And at the bottom of the hill there was an ambulance there for one of the female pros who wiped at the bottom and was out of the race. Once getting through that section and turning onto Rt. 9 it was all smooth sailing until the second lap.

No need to go over every little detail of the loops. The summary is that every downhill I would pretty much coast, take a drink and chat with other people racing, every flat section I would be sitting up on the bars or on the brake hoods and just keeping my cadence high and making a point to look at all the environment around me (I still barely ever got passed on the flats). I would spin at my very easy pace up the hills and was flying past people going up. It amazed me how much of a difference in pace between myself and them. Part of that was being locked into the 39/23 as my "easiest" gear and spinning that meant I was climbing between 10 - 12 mph compared to others in their lower gearing, but it still blew my mind that my pace was so much different than theirs.

I saw Andrew and a few other BTers on the out and back portion to Hassleton and shouted encouragement when I could. I stayed on top of my hydration and for the first time in my cycling history in a race I even stopped to take a pee because I had enough fluids in me!

I finished the first loop around 2:56 or so and was right on pace to hit my goal of around 6 hours while riding easy. Going through town was fun and I even got to see Mir out there cheering for me which was a big and very happy surprise! I was in great spirits, I was doing exactly what I planned and I felt great doing it.

The second loop was much of the same, with a little less tentativeness on the Keene descent. I had a patch early in the second loop where I was starting to feel draggy and hungry and thought I might be on the road to bonking even though I was taking it easy. But that went away by the descent after eating some Clif Shot Bloks.

The onyl other memorable thing from the last loop was the way that I'd sit back and coast down the hills and various people would pass me, then I'd stay with their pace on the flats and just destroy them up the climbs without exerting any extra effort. This went on for a bit with two ladies and two guys through the Hassleton out and back and I just smiled letting them play knowing that once we turned left to head back to LP that I would not see them again until well into the run out and backs. ;-)

Coming back through town I saw Mir again and was excited since I still felt great and was almost done the sketchiest portion of the race. did I forget to mention that it never stopped raining the entire ride?? Oh, must have missed that one ....... Second lap was just a hair over 3 hours so very close to even splits and even in the sense of effort.
What would you do differently?:

I rode exactly as I planned to ride. Total casual Sunday ride enjoying the scenery. I could have easily rode 10 - 15 minutes faster per lap if I had wanted to (and if the weather was better maybe even faster than that). This was textbook of what I wanted to do, so I can't really complain! What a beautiful course and one I look forward to actually racing on some day!!
Transition 2
  • 04m 7s

Kept this one very simple with just changing socks, putting on the shoes and visor and stowing all my bike stuff in the bag. Only issue I had was that I dropped one of the socks in a big old pile of mud .... oops!! But I am glad I had decided to pack a change of socks, even for the brief period they were slightly dry it was a nice change from the wet of the 112 mile ride.
What would you do differently?:

Pretty fast T2 all things considered. Perhaps not drop my sock in the mud, but in the overall picture that made little difference since my feet were back to being soaked within minutes after leaving the tent. Otherwise very happy with the transition.
  • 4h 51m 45s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 08s  min/mile

I came out of the tent in uncharted territory ..... my chest wasn't hurting, I had decent amount of energy and nothing was cramping. Unsure what to expect but knowing the first mile or so was generally downhill I took it easy and held back as much as I could. But the first mile still came in around 8:06 for a split. Tried to mentally slow down some more but second mile was around the same split. Well, okay ..... I feel good, my splits are really good, let's see if we can back it off and still put up a great time!

The next two miles were in the mid to upper 8:3X range and then it started to slow down. Creeping up to 9, then some upper 9 as we came back towards town and then a 10 or two ..... I did get to see Andrew again and joked that I was coming to get him ..... but the reality was he was about 5 miles ahead of me and unless he totally blew up I would not be able to catch him (which I didn't of course). I also saw Fred (pennstate from BT) and Dan (docswim from BT) on the first loop. They were looking good at the time.

Coming through town at the end of the first loop I walked a little after running the main hill until I saw Shelly and slake (more BTers) cheering and started running again. I came through the timing mat right under 2 hours for the first loop and knew I still had 3 hours + to finish the second loop to beat my FL time. At that point I was tired, getting cold from the constant rain and my stomach wasn't doing all that hot with the various things I was putting in. Everything was staying down, but I cut back on my fluid intake so as not to hurl, which wasn't necessarily the thing to do at this point in the race.

The second loop was a lot of walking with some running mixed in on the downhills. I caught up to Dan walking and he was not doing so hot having had the hiccups for about an hour and a half. So I walked with him at this pace and we stayed together for about 5 or 6 miles. Once we got up the hill on teh main road I suggested we run and he tried but had to stop to throw up after only a few hundred meters. I slowed up but he told me to go on. Feeling bad about asking him to run I almost stopped to stay with him, but took his advice and kept going.

It was a mixture of run/walk from then on, but with a mile to go I had just had a few people in my AG shuffle past me and with it generally downhill and knowing that there was almost no way I would not beat Florida's time I decided to go for it. I probably ran the last mile in the 8:30 range and passed 3 people in my AG in the process.

Coming around the oval was a great feeling and I was all by myself with no one in front or behind and letting out a fist pump and yell I crossed the line ..... 15 minutes faster than FL!
What would you do differently?:

I think just mentally not say "I'm done and can walk now" starting the second loop. I never really cramped, which is my usual issue, and while my stomach wasn't all that great feeling it never really got to tossing-cookie-stage like many others. I probably woulda/coulda/shoulda run most of the second loop but I chose not to.

I would also have not asked Dan to try and run in retrospect as he was not doing so well with some serious GI issues. I hope that doing that did not compound the problems his stomach was having. I would have felt like total crap if I had done something to a fellow BTer and Team Zoot Gu teammate that caused their race to be ruined.
Post race
Warm down:

I went through the finisher's chute and my "catcher" walked with me to help get my medal, hat and finisher's tee. I said I was fine and thanked him and walked off to find the medical tent to tell my mother-in-law that I had finished and that she could be relieved from her volunteering. but she was having a fun time with it and had a bunch of athletes she was in charge of and stuck around. So I hugged her and thanked her and went off to get some food, collect my gear and head back to the house.

Turns out Mir and the boys as well as Andrew's mom and her friend had come over to the finish line about 10 minutes after I finished to see me come in. Too bad they missed me but they did get to see what all the hubbub was about. I had already collected my bike and gear (as well as suffering through yet another heavy section of rain while waiting to get my bike) and gone back to the house and was talking to Andrew and his wife and sister before the rest of the crew came back to the house.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Training, or serious lack there of ....... And mentally saying "Ah, whatever" on the run.

Event comments:

What a great venue in a beautiful area. I enjoyed my time and my experience there and look forward to signing up and doing it again in a few years (long range thought is to go back and volunteer next year to sign up for the '10 race).

I cannot thank Mir and the boys enough for being there to support me, for my mother-in-law for volunteering on such short notice to be in the medical tent helping out, to Andrew and his family for sharing their place with us (and HUGE kudos to him for having a fantastic race and getting 2nd in the Clydesdale class taking home some nice prizes and a plaque!!), to Johnnykay from BT for standing in line to get me the chance to do the race in the first place last year (I still owe you that beer my friend), to Sue again for her swim coaching, to Paul at the shop for allowing me to blow all my money buying goodies for the bikes and for all my friends and family for their continued support of this crazy lifestyle!

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Last updated: 2008-01-10 12:00 AM
01:18:33 | 4224 yards | 01m 52s / 100yards
Age Group: 282/387
Overall: 1493/2345
Performance: Good
No HRM on this one (never replaced my lost one).
Suit: Desoto T1 Black Pearl
Course: Very shallow rectangle two loop course
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 08:57
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
05:56:48 | 112 miles | 18.83 mile/hr
Age Group: 113/387
Overall: 505/2345
Performance: Good
No HRM on this one (never replaced my lost one).
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: Two loops on a circular course with one out and back section.
Road: Rough Wet Cadence: 95
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 04:07
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
04:51:45 | 26.2 miles | 11m 08s  min/mile
Age Group: 227/387
Overall: 1210/2345
Performance: Average
No HRM on this one (never replaced my lost one).
Course: Two loop out and back from the town and towards Keene.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
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] 5