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Ironman USA Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
Ironman North America
Total Time = 14h 15m 50s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

I worked my last midnight shift and finished up Thursday morning. The ladies met me there and we headed up for LP at 0800. There was some traffic through NYC but overall it was a good ride. I drove most of the way, but got in an hours nap while the wife took the wheel. We got in to town, checked in to the hotel, unpacked, and headed down to ironman village. What a sight. The girls were excited, as was I, as I checked in and got my numbers. We walked around the oval and took it all in. I would not jinx myself by letting anyone buy ANYTHING from the store before the race was over.

Friday I met up with some BTers at the lake for a swim. Did about twenty minutes and felt great. Biked one loop of the run course later on in the day to check it out and make sure the bike didn't need any adjustments. All good.

Saturday I took a short two mile run to warm up and make sure the tent we set up was still standing along Mirror Lake Dr. Met WittyCityGirl on the return.
Event warmup:

Woke at 0430, got dressed, got my things, and headed down to transition. Pumped up the tires, saw AdCo again and wished him a good day, and set about the ritual. Finished up with what I had to do there and walked back to the hotel to get my suit and get one final kiss goodbye.

I got suited up and made it in to the water about twenty minutes before the start. Saw KWin and chatted for a few. Floated around on my back staring at the clouds and blue sky and felt completely relaxed. I was completely alone in one corner of a lake surrounded by 2,700 people. Surreal.
  • 1h 25m 52s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 02s / 100 yards

Started about 100 feet behind the line and more or less in clear water. Looked at the mass for a few seconds after the cannon went off, then smiled at the undertaking at hand and joined the fray. The beginning had a lot of contact that was mostly bodies bumping in to each other. It was tough, but not impossible, to find clear water to swim in. I stayed a bit right for a while, then said screw it and headed closer to the cable. This was actually a bit better. Before the turn I got kicked in the face, various parts of the body, and squarely in the junk. That one hurt. Took a few hands, too but nothing heavy. The return and second leg out were the best of the swim. I rode the cable and found some nice feet to follow from time to time. There was no need to sight with the buoy line right there, so I just relaxed and did my thing. The final leg in was horrendous. Contact picked up and people were just getting ridiculous. I took a punch to the left eye with about 150 yards to go that rung my bell. It was totally unprovoked and I have no idea where it came from, perhaps a fish that was pissed I was still churning up his normally peaceful abode. I expected to have a shiner and a cut, but was happy to remove bloodless goggles.
What would you do differently?:

Swim more than 48k yards before an IM!
Transition 1
  • 11m 10s

Got stripped of my suit and jogged with the crowd up to transition. Grabbed my bag and headed in to the change tent. I just started laughing when I witnessed the mayhem inside. Pandemonium. I found a seat and go to the business at hand. I wore jammers in the swim and changed to bike shorts for some added comfort on the long ride. I apologize to anyone who was in my vicinity, but I think the water was chilly enough that there wasn't much to see there anyway. Took a little extra time to apply sunblock to protect the other parts of my body. This Irish skin knows how to burn.

Stashed my gear, thanked the volunteer and headed out.
  • 7h 23m 47s
  • 112 miles
  • 15.14 mile/hr

I got on the bike and headed out on the wet roads. Not what I wanted for the Keene descent. After the first downhills out of T1 I hit the start button on the Garmin and noticed there was no HR number. S@#t! Apparently it crapped out in the water. Over 165bpm my stomach shuts down. It was critical in my race day planning to know this number and pace myself to stay well under it. I tried to reset and have the unit rescan to no avail. I was racing on RPE today. I was quickly at ease with this and started riding.

I had loads of practice on the course as I did many of my training rides indoors on a computrainer set to the LP course. While it did not mimic the descents well, I was familiar with the location and size of the hills and it helped immensely. I got passed on the way to Keene by loads of people that really turned on the jets. I didn't let myself get sucked in and played my game. When in doubt, go a shade easier. The downhills to Keene were downright scary. The roads were WET, it was still raining, and the gusts of wind blew my 147lb ass around enough to make me nervous. I took it easy and gave up the minute or two I would have gained by bombing the descent.

Not long after Keene, I saw a P4 laid up on the side of the road with some dude standing next to it helpless. I caught the number 1016 and realized it was JamesG (my mentor!!!). I was on the brakes and turned around to go back. Introduced myself as we'd never met in person and asked what I could to to help. His valve extender was stuck in his wheel after a flat and he was, in a word, f#$%ed until race support came around to help him. Chatted for a minute and then headed out on my way (he passed me in full afterburner before the end of loop one and killed me by 2+ hours).

Had a great ride just chugging along at a moderate pace and taking it all in. It was really as if my legs told my mind "I got this" and my mind was free to roam. I think the CT time I had solidified the effort level my legs could sustain in my memory bank and I just let them go at their business. I was getting passed all over the place on through mile 80. After that, people really started coming back to me. I got passed by only a few after that. Most of them looked so strong that late in the game that they must have had mechanicals. No way they held back that much and then turned in on. I just kept my effort level even and did my thing. Some people were totally cashed and others were beginning to crack. Other than a sore taint I felt no different than at mile one. I did the last few climbs spinning and passing away.

I lived off the course for nutrition taking a gel about every half hour or so, a banana chunk at every other aid station, and kept tabs on hydration more or less by feel and how often I took a nature break. No, I do not pee on the bike.

Each lap I was able to see my family fans at the tent on Mirror Lake Dr. This was a great time as I stopped to chat for about two minutes each loop to say hi to the kids and kiss the wife. I had a great support crowd of 18(!) and really wanted to thank them.
What would you do differently?:

Not much of anything.
Transition 2
  • 07m 9s

Ditched the Assos for a pair of running shorts and took some time to Body Glide the toes and arches. Another two minutes to run back in the tent and sunscreen up.
What would you do differently?:

  • 5h 07m 54s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 45s  min/mile

Ran out in to the crowd and felt like a million bucks. Caught myself within the first half mile running with those who were obviously on their second loop as my pace was sub-9. I figured I'd be on a run-walk at 5min:1min. I felt outstanding, so I just told myself I could run as long as possible walking the aid stations and major hills. I also forbade myself to run under 10:00/mile pace (this got much easier as time went on ;) ).

I really couldn't believe how well I felt. I was grinning like an idiot and just enjoying myself. Nothing hurt yet. Nothing. I finshed loop one after another chat with the fam. I gave them an estimate on my finishing time and went off for loop two still feeling fresh.

A few miles in to loop two I got a touch of a headache and felt myself beginning to fade. I wasn't slowing, but it was harder to maintain and I didn't have the same pep. A quick assessment and my lighter sweat rate and nearly two hours since I hit the potty meant I was a little dehydrated. I ran to the next aid station and grabbed two full cups of water. I gave myself five minutes walking to take them both in and move along without sloshing and cramping from the extra liquid. Started running again and it worked like a charm. The zip came back and I was smiling again, though I took in a touch more fluids from then on. While walking the aid stations, I maintained the same intake as I did on the bike. The only change was sucking on an orange every three miles or so and had some Coke (I practically live on the stuff). I've had GI issues in the past and did NOT want to get in to that mess. It wasn't broke after nearly 12 hours, so why change? I did want to try the famed chicken broth, but didn't risk it. I never got tired of the course fare and didn't feel hungry. About all I could say is that some of the gel flavors were just awful.

My run stayed strong and I just picked off hundreds of people. It was really something else feeling like I did while I passed so many broken shells of athletes. I kept waiting for the wall, but never hit it. I just paid attention to what I was doing and how I was feeling and stuck to the plan. It hurt, and hurt a lot, but it was totally manageable and, from experience, not anything dangerous. I just put it aside and kept on.

I hit town and I was a f#$%ing rock star. Grinning from ear to ear, laughing and chatting up the crowd, who were cheering like mad for everyone. It was really an amazing experience. I never really though about the finish until then. It wasn't that I didn't want to jinx myself through the day, I just didn't think that far ahead. I was constantly in the moment and assessing where I was and making sure I wasn't burning the wick too fast. Down the out and back was quieter, but the roar of the arena and Mike Reilly saying "You are an Ironman!" was intoxicating. I knew it was my turn, but I just had to get there. I solidified my entrance in my head and headed on to the oval. Around the turn and I hear a voice boom my name: my brother-in-law! I ran right over to them and gave the wife a big kiss and the kids hugs. My mom was yelling at me to go finish. Without thinking, I said "Yeah, I'll get there." Really that was how the whole day went. I wasn't in a rush. I knew I'd get there. And I did. I crossed the line with my arms held high and a big s#$t eating grin on my face and Mike Reilly told me I was an Ironman.
What would you do differently?:

Not a thing.
Post race
Warm down:

Met my catcher who helped me get my medal, hat, shirt and finishers photo. She asked if I needed any medical attention. Hell NO! I headed out to see the family double quick.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of training volume and consistency. I signed up last year with dreams of a sub 12 hour finish. That was not to be and I could now give a rats ass. Both my wife and I work full time and I'm Mr. Mom to our five and two year olds when I'm not working. It's a miracle I can train the little I do. I perpetually toed the line undertrained, yet I kept thinking that it would miraculously turn around and I'd get in huge volume. Well, that was foolish. There was no reason to expect that, especially when my youngest was 18 months old when I signed up. Me sweating the training time I wasn't getting in led to a lot of stress at home as it made me quite irritable. It all came to a head in mid-May and I had a long talk with the wife about LP and expectations. It all came down to just doing what I could with the time I could. My time goals were set aside (finally) and I just got stuff done. The last two months went very well and I was more or less consistent. I went in to race day very nervous as I knew I was undertrained and didn't know how I would fare through the day. I knew I wasn't quitting, so it was either the finish line or an ambulance at the end of my race.

Event comments:

What a day! I toed the line with a real and honest assessment of what my fitness was and what I needed to do to finish the race. I merely needed to pay attention to my body and execute. I did to a T. In the days leading in, I figured that maybe I'd go sub 14 and beat the sunset. If I hadn't spent time on sunscreen, stopping to help a friend, or stopping to say hi to those who went out of their way to support me, I'd have been there. I wouldn't trade any of those minutes.

I know this was long, but so is Ironman. Congrats if you got this far.

My one piece of advice for any first timer looking for some: be honest with yourself and the amount of time you have for training. Unless there is a drastic and concrete change in your life or you really do have that much free time in your schedule, don't expect it to magically appear. There are only so many hours in a day and there are many more commitments in life more important than a race. The pressure of a race is all self-imposed and takes a back seat to real life.

Yes, you can finish an IM on 7 hours a week training, but I wouldn't recommend it. Yeah, no shit. Check my logs if you don't believe me. Not the smartest of things to do.

While I didn't necessarily enjoy the training and hardship involved in getting to the line, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of race day, even the painful ones. Ironman is a mental game: how hard can I push my body for 140.6 miles? Win that game and it's a great day. Miscalucate and you're in a world of hurt. Epic.

Will I do it again? Damn straight, but it won't be until the kids are older. Ironman is too selfish an undertaking with the other demands on my life right now. I'm going to focus on getting fast on Olys for a few years and do a HIM once a year for kicks. I really do love the long stuff, but I won't kid myself again about the time needed to execute like I want to. IM will be there waiting when I'm ready.

Last updated: 2009-07-28 12:00 AM
01:25:52 | 4224 yards | 02m 02s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 11:10
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:23:47 | 112 miles | 15.14 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 07:09
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:07:54 | 26.2 miles | 11m 45s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2010-07-27 10:06 PM

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Long Island, NY
Subject: Ironman USA Lake Placid

2010-07-27 10:08 PM
in reply to: #3008867

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Long Island, NY
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid

My God that was long!  I didn't notice until I punched it in and looked at it.  It's like one of Kerouac's stream of consciousness scrolls!

2010-07-27 10:32 PM
in reply to: #3008867

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Muskego, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid

Looks like you had a great day out there.  It was great to meet you.  Congrats Ironman!

2010-07-28 9:57 AM
in reply to: #3008891

Miller Place, Long Island
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Dude... What can I say?  Freakin awesome!  You are a rockstar!  My eyes are literally welling up reading this.  I cannot wait til he tells me I'm an IronMan.  For now though, you are the guy I will be constantly picking the brain of for the next year... let me know if I become a pest.

Congratulations.  You did it and I am so proud to say you're my friend. 

What were the climbs like?  That is probably my biggest concern more than anything about the race and the course.  Can you compare them to anything we have ridden on or anything in our area?  Do they compare at all to the hill leaving the ferry slip in PJ? or Bald Hill?  I mean, I think I am a pretty descent climber, but I have never had to climb like that on a 100 mile ride and then run 26.
2010-07-28 10:42 AM
in reply to: #3008867

User image

Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Congrats on your Ironman finish!!!!! I loved reading your story. Thank you so much for sharing. I'm doing my first IM in October and am very anxious and nervous. I'm reading everyone's stories for pointers. One question--why change clothes? 
2010-07-28 1:27 PM
in reply to: #3008867

User image

Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid

Congratulations Charlie.  From reading your race report I can tell you soaked-in and enjoyed every minute of your day.  Nice of you to turn around and see if you can help James.  (Funny, I met him for the first time on a race course, too.  )  Your honest assessment of your fitness -- and being only 147 lbs soaking wet! -- allowed you to pace yourself to a victorious Ironman debut.    

2010-07-28 3:37 PM
in reply to: #3008867

Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid


You did amazing for the lack of training you did, great effort and a great time. Thanks so much for stopping to talk to me at the bottom of Keene decent you were the only one and I am guessing I had over 1700 people pass me as I sat on the side of the road for 1:05hrs waiting for a new front wheel. Sorry I didn't see you on the bike afterward I passsed so many people on the bike and run after I got going it was a blur.

I may do Montauk in Sep hopefully see you there.








2010-07-28 5:21 PM
in reply to: #3008867

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2010-07-29 5:57 PM
in reply to: #3008867

Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Great race report. Congrats! I'm super stoked that I was mentioned, lol.  Now... go enjoy your family!
2010-07-30 5:52 AM
in reply to: #3008867

Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid

Awesome report. T1 was great. Really glad you raced. Happy for you and a definite read for any first time IMer.

2010-07-30 12:22 PM
in reply to: #3008867

Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Great race report and great job!! YOU did it!!

2010-07-31 9:52 AM
in reply to: #3008867

Jersey Shore
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
That was a n awesome report,,,,,,  Congrats and enjoy your family!!!!
2010-07-31 11:53 AM
in reply to: #3008867

Dirt Road
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Thanks for the perspective check and congratulations Ironman. 
2010-08-02 2:21 PM
in reply to: #3008867

Brooklyn, NY
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Congrats, and I love the report (not too long at all)! I also struggled with consistency due to life and what you said here resonates very strongly with me:

There are only so many hours in a day and there are many more commitments in life more important than a race. The pressure of a race is all self-imposed and takes a back seat to real life.

Such valuable perspective for a lot of folks. It was great meeting you at the swim and seeing you out on the course, our little chat was a great distraction on the hills!
2010-08-04 2:54 PM
in reply to: #3008867

Millersville, MD
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Great race and report.  Of all of them I've read, yours is the one where it seems the most that you just had a great time out there all day. 

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