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Ironman USA Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
Ironman North America
65F / 18C
Total Time = 12h 28m 15s
Overall Rank = 939/2193
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 183/398
Pre-race routine:

Up at 4am tho I never really slept. Nice thing about IM, or LP in particular, is that the local bagel shop opens at 4am. Able to have the usual - cup o joe and a fresh bagel w/ PB and honey. Yum.

Left the hotel at 5 am to get body marked and drop off Special Needs. I also made a wise last minute decision to throw dry shorts in my T2 bag (more later).

Nerves were off the charts like never before. Went back to the hotel and sat on the patio looking at Mirror Lake collecting my thoughts. It really helped calm me. Put on the wetsuit and walked with Gail and the boys at 6:20 to the start.
Event warmup:

Saw Gail's parents, said goodbye to everyone and headed to the water. Looked around but didn't see anyone I recognized so I decided to go in the water to calm down some more. Swam a few yards then joined the largest group standing on the far (right) shore line. It was eerily quiet. With a minute to go before the start I waded into the water, far right about 5 rows deep.
  • 1h 19m 44s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 53s / 100 yards

I must've picked the perfect place to start! My nervousness was completely unfounded. I encountered VERY little contact. I have had worse at many other races. I eased my way to the left and made it to the turn buoy in 18 minutes. There was some traffic here but really not that bad. A hard turn and I was on the buoy line. Out of the first loop at 37:xx and right on target for my 1:15.

Took my time re-entering the water, cleaned my goggles and restarted right on the buoy line. Again, very little congestion until the turn buoy. My HRM died so I stopped looking at it (I saw the day before the battery was low, couldn't do anything about it and so I wasn't surprised). I think that was a mistake. With no one around me I just took it easy and played "spot and follow the buoy line." I was just real comfortable. At some point though it did seem like it was taking a long time to finish. As I approached the finish I stopped to stand and the water was over my head. YIKES! Then both hamstrings spasmed! Scary moment as I breast stroked (w/o my legs) a few feet until my head was above water. I limped out of the water,cramping and noticed the 1:19:xx.

I think I was lulled to sleep by the lack of traffic. No other reason to be 6 minutes slower than my first loop. I'll chalk it up to inexperience at this distance. I wasn't gonna let it bother me.

First IM swim DONE! Despite the time I really enjoyed it. Maybe a bit too much ;)
What would you do differently?:

Actually swim the second loop instead of taking a siesta!
Transition 1
  • 08m 35s

Hammi's spasmed as I laid down to have my wetsuit pulled off. Stood up cramping but was able to walk/hobble it off. Managed a slow jog through the long transiton area in the pouring rain. By the time I reached the tent the spams had thankfully stopped.
I wasn't changing but took my time to ensure my gels and endurolites were properly pocketed. I looked at my arm warmers and remembered they did no good in training camp in June when they got soaked so I left them. A tactical error on my part.

My bike was at the far end of the oval. So I had a long run to it and the exit. Another thing I couldn't control so I dealt.

All in all I had a decent T1.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really.
  • 6h 41m 5s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.75 mile/hr

Left T1 in pouring rain figuring like all week the showers would pass. A weatherman, I am not. It either POURED or rained hard the entire ride.

Made my way out of town navigating the crowds as best I could. I was never concerned with the other athletes other than from a safety/drafting perspective. I was riding at my own pace.

The first Keene desent pretty much sucked. It was pouring rain, cold and crowded. I had my first dark moment, thinking it just wasn't worth it. Thankfully that passed when I survived the descent. Then onto my favorite part of the loop, 9N. My spirits rose with my body temperature and I started having fun w/ some other athletes. The rest of the first loop was uneventful. 3:13 at a very managable pace. I made a quick stop at special needs to grab my 2nd bottle of Perp - powder only - per my plan I'd stop at the next aid station and add water. I was now used to the rain and was happy heading back out.

Don't know why but I got emotional as I entered town. I spotted my family and just felt aweful for them. I wanted to stop but was well beyond them so it was back to business.

Again took it eay getting out of town. The Keene descent was better the 2nd time mostly because there were a lot less people. The rain sure as hell hadn't let up.

The climb to Wilmington was definately harder this time around and as I turned at Hazelton for the out and back I prepared myself for the climb out which I think is under-rated. I managed o.k. Back on rte 86 I passed the 101 mile marker at 5:50 and thot a 6:30 bike was there for the taking.

As I got out of the saddle for a climb though I heard a rubbing noise on the disc. It sounded like a brake. I thought of reaching back and loosening the caliper but with the rain I wanted the ability to stop. I had no desire to get off the bike (in the pouring rain)and inspect it. In hindsight it was tactical mistake number two. Those last 11 miles took me 40 minutes and I'm sure I used more energy than necessary. 2nd loop -3:28. The inevitable fatigue I guess. I would've like it to be closer to the 3:13 of the first loop. Saw my family agian before heading out on the run.

Still, I was pleased with the bike; 6:41. Aside from the absurd rain I never felt bad out there. My legs felt good, I stayed within myself, managed to have some fun with the spectators and other atheletes and got off ready to run.

I wanted to start the run at the 8 hour mark and saw that it was 8:15. Close enough. Nutrition was spot on - Two six scoop bottles of Perp w/ 6 electrolites in each. Approx 10 gels. Had half a bag of Cliff Shot Blocks and half an Uncrustable but neither tasted good or seemed necessary. Oh, and the ONLY good thing about the rain was that I pee'd myself about 7 times never really giving a shit cuz it was immediatley washed off me and for sure no one could tell with all the precip falling. Still I was conciderate of the other riders ;)
What would you do differently?:

I know to race faster I have to ride more. Plain and simple.
Transition 2
  • 05m 35s

Original plan was to wear the tri-suit for the entire race. During the sleepless night I decided to throw running shorts in the T2 bag. Since it stopped raining at this point I decided to throw them on. I thot I was the smartest man on the planet. A weatherman, I am not. They would quickly become as wet as as my tri-shorts!
What would you do differently?:

Not bother changing.
  • 4h 13m 16s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 40s  min/mile

NO RAIN! Grabbed my Red Bull with the hope that holding it would keep my pace in check. I was so psyched that it had finally stopped raining. My spirits were soaring and I started engaging ALL of the spectators.

Managing my pace w/o my HRM would be tricky as I had trained with it for 8 months. I remember thinking I'd have to go by RPE whatever the hell that means ;).

Goal was 9 minute miles for as long as possible. First mile 8:30. I was feeling good and knew it was because of the crowds and the downhill. Forced myself to slow down, a little. 2nd mile, 8:45. I slowed and my pace was comfortable and relaxed as I passed the Ski Jumps and made the left onto River Road. I missed the next mile marker then stopped worrying about my splits. The turnaround came pretty quickly.

Unfortunately the rain returned as well. I mean F'n torrential, AGAIN! This time I'd had it. I started cursing and swearing I was going to rip up that voucher for 2009 and never return to IM again. It was my lowest point of the race. I was demoralized. I actually stopped, raised my hands to the sky and YELLED "Is that all you got? Come on mother f'n nature you can do better than this." Some people laughed, some thought I'd lost it. So did I.

Nothing else to do but run I guess.

Then, suddenly a change in fortune. I was befriended by another athlete, aptly named - Mark. We started talking and he mentioned that his mentor told him that if things got tough on the run to find a partner. Would I mind? Hell no. I told him I thought I had just about lost my mind. Amazingly, we were at almost the exact same pace. We met around the halfway mark and would run the next 13 miles together.

I saw Gail on Main Steet. I stopped for a rejuvinating kiss. I told her I had some dark moments out there but the worst was behind me and I'd be back. Soon! Again, I felt worse for her and my family and stopped feeling sorry for myself. An aside, I don't know what happened to my run splits on the NAS computer but those watching at home thought I had problems since nothing showed up. Some others had the same issue (Pam). It must've been the water.

Our strategy was comletely in snyc; run from aid station to aid station get our nutrition and run again. It worked like a charm. I ate my Carb Booms and water and alternated Coke. I didn't need or want anything else. Mark ate everthing in sight. I got a kick out of that. At his recommedation I tried some chicken broth. The warmth felt good and it tasted alright but soon after my stomach let me know it was not welcomed. Enough of that.

Our conversations were the best distraction from the pain and of course the rain. The whole complextion of the race had changed because of this chance meeting. I was really enjoying myself. The way it was supposed to be.

The miles just ticked away. At mile 18 I told Mark this was where the race began. Our pace remained constant and we were really feeding off of each other. At mile 20 we were in a groove and getting stronger. As we approached the hill at the Ski Jump Mark said he planned on walking to keep his heart rate in check and that I could go ahead. As we all know, my ONE goal was to run the ENTIRE marathon. Well, things change for a variety of reasons at Ironman. I had no problem putting my pride aside. We'd walk together. He had made such a difference in my attitude that my original goal took a back seat. It was no big deal. In fact it probably made us faster. We walked the big hill into town too. But now our spirits were soaring as the we could hear Mike Rielly! We really picked up the pace on the out and back passing many, many walkers. At the 24 mile marker Mark said "you've got more in the tank than me go ahead". I wasn't having it. We had come this far, we were going to the rest of the way togehter. I made a point to thank him for making the last two plus hours of the race the most enjoyable and memorable and then I told him to go ahead so that we could each enjoy the Olympic Oval on our own.

Wow! What a feeling. It's hard to describe the actual finish. I wanted to soak it all in yet there was a part of me that didn't want it to end or maybe didn't believe it actually was going to. But alas, there they were, the words I'd worked so hard to hear,"Mark Dabrowski, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!"


What would you do differently?:

Hard to say I'd do anthing differently for my first IM. I executed my plan, nailed my nutrition and stayed within myself. My training times indicated a 12:30 and I finished w/ a 12:28. It's true, you reap what you sow. It was really as I had hoped; the race itself was not that hard because I had trained to the best of my ability.

The weather sucked and may have had an impact but as usual I felt much worse for my incredible family than for me.
Post race
Warm down:

Grabbed a foreign meat substance hero and tossed it as the pizza arrived. Ate two slices to fast and felt like puking. Thankfully didn't. Finally found my family, got my bike and headed to the hotel for a hot shower.

After a burger, we put the kids to bed and Gail and I headed to the finish at 11 pm and stayed until midnight. I'm glad we did. It was fun.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The monsoon

Event comments:

NAS can do a better job w/ things like registration and directions after the race (I wasn't directed to the finisher's photo area).

But the venue, spectators and volunteers can't be beat. With the new voucher system for particpants, NAS has made a return trip in 2009 very appealing. As with all distances, the experience gained here was invaluable. If I return in 09 I'm confident I can perform even better. And I'll be the on the young end of the 45-49 AG :)

Last updated: 2008-06-12 12:00 AM
01:19:44 | 4224 yards | 01m 53s / 100yards
Age Group: 276/398
Overall: 1567/2193
Performance: Below average
Suit: sleeveless
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation:
Rounding: Good
Time: 08:35
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:41:05 | 112 miles | 16.75 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/398
Overall: 0/2193
Performance: Good
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 05:35
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:13:16 | 26.2 miles | 09m 40s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/398
Overall: 0/2193
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2008-07-23 10:15 AM

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New City, New York
Subject: Ironman USA Lake Placid

2008-07-23 10:50 AM
in reply to: #1551989

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Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid

Congratulation on a well executed race!

Very cool that you found a buddy to run with that was your pace that helped in so many ways.

You trained well and you did reap the benefits.

The 2009 voucher decision..we don't have much time.

Glad I met you albeit briefly. 

Congratulations on becoming an Ironman! 

2008-07-23 10:55 AM
in reply to: #1551989

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Avon, CT
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Congratulations IronBones ! You executed a smart race and made the most of the crappy weather. It was great seeing you out on the course and you always looked strong!
You should be very proud!

Btw- next year I'm going to leave something more scandalous in your car. LOL!
2008-07-23 11:15 AM
in reply to: #1551989

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Not a Coach
Media, PA
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid

Congratulations again, Mark!

"You reap what you sow" long as you execute.  Your consistent training definitely sowed the seeds and your execution allowed you to reap the rewards!  Looking forward to following you plant your next crop...and hoping to see you reap the rewards in person next time!

Mark Dabrowski, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN! 

2008-07-23 11:50 AM
in reply to: #1552370

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Colchester, CT
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Congratualtions on finishing.  Sounds like you had a great, enjoyable run.  We must have been almost right next to each other coming out of the water.  I think I came out 10 seconds after you did.  Way to plan the race then race the plan.
2008-07-23 12:31 PM
in reply to: #1551989

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Roswell, Georgia
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
I had a similar experience on my run at IM Kansas 70.3... ran 10 miles with the same guy and he was my lifesaver. Thank goodness for those chance (or divine intervention?) encounters!

2008-07-23 12:34 PM
in reply to: #1551989

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Northern VA
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid

Great race Mark! Your training and race plan execution were tremendous and got you through a nasty day. What a great pace on the marathon.

Congratulations Ironman!

2008-07-23 12:36 PM
in reply to: #1551989

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Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Yeah Mark!! You ARE AN IRONMAN!! So much fun getting to the start AND finish line with you! Thanks for hanging out with me and keeping me from losing my mind in the days before the race. Next year…?? i'll be calmer!
2008-07-23 12:37 PM
in reply to: #1551989

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Fishers, Indiana
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Excellent race out there. I really enjoyed reading about your whole report, and even more so, the sticking with the run buddy there at the end--really shows the heart of triathlon and you as an athlete....not to mention you did AWESOME and beat your goal in a northern monsoon!! Congratulations Ironman!
2008-07-23 12:41 PM
in reply to: #1551989

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Reston, VA
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Way to execute on race day and congrats on becoming an IM!

Edited by docswim24 2008-07-23 12:41 PM
2008-07-23 2:15 PM
in reply to: #1551989

Brooklyn, NY
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Congratualtions Mark!

You certainly earned the IM title (and tatoo if that's in your post recovery plans)

2008-07-23 2:32 PM
in reply to: #1551989

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Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Awesome race and RR. Way to stick it out through the run. While I was reading your RR and you said you raised your hands at mother nature, I just picture you looking like Lt Dan from Forest Gump yelling in the rain.

Well it looks like you are on your way to IMLP '09.
2008-07-23 4:06 PM
in reply to: #1551989

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The Woodlands, TX
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Congratulations Ironman! How great to have found a running buddy, you are very lucky
2008-07-23 5:26 PM
in reply to: #1551989

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Extreme Veteran
Frisco, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
i got teary eyed reading about your last several miles with the other mark. how awesome. and how awesome that you had the mindset to appreciate it all! great great race, through tough conditions. excellent report!
2008-07-23 5:57 PM
in reply to: #1551989

Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Congratulations, Mark!

It was awesome watching your training/progress and, after camp, I knew you were going to have one hell of a race.

Very well done, IronMan!
2008-07-23 5:59 PM
in reply to: #1551989

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.

2008-07-23 6:06 PM
in reply to: #1551989

Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid

Excellent race Mark! 15 minutes slower on the second loop of the bike is not bad at all - it's just the nature of the ironbeast.

Congratulations again and it was great to meet you this weekend!

2008-07-23 7:48 PM
in reply to: #1551989

Cycling Guru
Fulton, MD
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid

Congrats Ironman!

You finished on a tough course in epic conditions and did fantastic!!

2008-07-23 9:09 PM
in reply to: #1551989

Long Island, NY
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Great job and great report. That was a monumental accomplishment.

The wife thinks I'm nuts for wanting to do IM in '10. Sometimes I do, as well... until I read reports like this. Thank you.
2008-07-24 8:01 AM
in reply to: #1551989

Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Congratulations Ironman!!  Way to overcome some nasty weather and dark moments.  Way to stick to your plan and readjust accordingly at the end.  Hopefully you and the other Mark will keep in touch.  Or perhaps, like the movie Fight Club, there is no other Mark... it was really just an imaginary alter-ego of yourself running alongside you for 20 miles    
2008-07-24 11:15 AM
in reply to: #1551989

portland, or
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid


2008-07-24 11:30 AM
in reply to: #1554875

South Jersey
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid

Great job out there Mark. It looks like you executed the race perfectly. It was great to meet you as well .

Good luck next year!!

2008-07-24 3:28 PM
in reply to: #1551989

Canandaigua NY
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid

Awesome race!!! Nice job sticking with the plan and executing it!

I had the same thoughts of yelling to the sky, but was afraid they would haul me off the course for losing my mind!

2008-07-25 2:07 PM
in reply to: #1551989

Wye Mills, MD
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
What tough conditions for an Ironman! Amazing job. I'm quite impressed that you made it through the mental valleys on such a trying day. Sounds like you prepared well, and were ready for the challenge.
2008-07-25 2:17 PM
in reply to: #1551989

Flower Mound, TX
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Great race, Mark.  Sub 12:30 is really awesome and thanks for sharing the nice story about racing w/ the other Mark towards the end.  That was really cool of you.
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