Ironman Lake Placid
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Ironman Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman
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Originally I was planning on swimming on the inside of the buoys but after they told us not to at the pre-race meeting I decided to start in the middle about 20 feet back from the line. I found a good spot and started treading water. I took a moment to look around. Just a year ago I was standing on the banks of Mirror Lake watching the athletes tread water and now I was the one waiting in the water.
The cannon sounded and chills ran through my body, there is nothing quite like that sound. I started swimming forward defensively keeping my head above water. It was very crowded and I was in the middle of it all. My plan was to swim about 20-30 feet to the right of the cable on the way out and then try to pick up the cable on the way back. As I continued to swim I noticed that I was getting pushed toward the cable by all of the swimmers to my right. There was no use fighting it and soon I found myself directly above the cable, so much for trying to avoid it. Since it was still so crowded and I was getting a lot of contact I decided to go back to my original plan and swim to the left of the buoys. I made a move to the left and found a little more swimming room. I found a fast pair of feet and started drafting (it would have been hard not to draft with the close proximity of all the swimmers). I reached the first turn buoy and slowed down so I could make it around it. The second turn buoy seemed just as crowded as the first. I didn't want to lose as much time as I did on the first one so I dove under water and swam under all the swimmers. Under water I made it to the right of the rope holding the buoy and then swam back to the inside so I would be able to resurface. Once I resurfaced I stayed just to the left of the cable and followed it all the way to the end of my first lap. Once my feet hit the ground I looked at my watch, 33 minutes. I was ahead of where I thought I would be. I ran out of the water, adjusted my goggles (which were leaking on the first loop), and ran back in for lap two.
There was less contact on the second lap but I did take a hard elbow to my right eye. The elbow felt hard enough to crack my goggles but surprisingly didn't even make them leak. I swam on. This lap was pretty uneventful, I would draft as much as possible, but at times I felt I was going too slow and would swim wide. I found once I stopped drafting I had to put forth a noticeable greater effort. I decided to just take it easy and continued to draft. Upon coming out of the water the second time I checked my watch again, 1:08 and some change. I had slowed down on my second loop but I saved a lot of energy by taking it easy. I jogged out of the water, found a stripper, and then jogged into transition.
What would you do differently?:
Nothing, I was very pleased with my swim. Although it was crowded and there were people all around me I was very comfortable and didn't receive as much contact as I thought I would. I swam a comfortable pace and wasn't fatigued when I exited the water.
My goal for this Ironman was to spend a little less time in transition. In my first Ironman I took my time and didn't rush myself. As I ran to the changing tent I went through the order of what I would do once I sat down. I was delayed a little by someone moving much slower in my row of bags. Once I sat down I put my socks and bike shoes on, race belt on, sunglasses and helmet on. Then I took my sunglasses back off, they had fogged up so fast I couldn't see a thing. I held them in my hand for now. I started to take care of my wetsuit and swim cap but a volunteer stopped me and told me he would finish it for me. I ran out and called out my number, a volunteer brought my bike to the end of my row, I grabbed it and jogged for the mount line.
What would you do differently?:
Put my sunglasses in my pocket instead of on my face. Other than that I was ok with this transition. It wasn't fast but I didn't waste time either. Oh, I did forget to put sunscreen on. They weren't yelling "sunscreen" out so it slipped my mind.
Biking is my weakest discipline. In my first Ironman I had no idea what to expect so I took the bike slow, very slow. This time I still didn't want to overexert myself but I did want to pick up the pace.
Heading out of town I took it nice and easy, spinning up the hills. I was getting passed by everyone. I told myself not to worry and chances are I would get a few of them back on the second loop. Although I am not a strong cyclist I do feel like I am a pretty good descender. A few days before the race I had ridden the Keene descent and hit 49 mph on my bike. I knew it would be more crowded in the race and I would have to be more careful. I was very pleased to see that we were given an extra lane on the descent to Keene. I descended as much as I could to the right of the double yellow but would cross and go into our extra lane as needed. About halfway down the descent I saw a race motorcycle in the middle of the road directing riders to stay to our right. As I passed I noticed a cyclist laying in the road on the left side of the yellow line with his bike not too far from him. The last thing I would want to do is fall on that descent. I stayed alert for the rest of the descent.
After taking a left on 9N I settled into a good pace. I maintained this steady pace all the way until the turn around. After the turn around I headed back to Jay and noticed my average pace was just below 20 mph. This was faster than I had anticipated but I knew I hadn't started any of the climbs yet. Right before I turned right in Jay I slipped my chain. I got off my bike and put it back on. If this was my only mechanical problem on the bike I would be fine with that. I turned right in Jay got in my granny gears and started climbing. It is tough watching your average speed drop but my goal was to ride my second lap faster than my first. Got through all the climbs and still felt fresh. Stopped at special needs and filled my pockets with nutrition. Then I headed out for the second lap. Every hill seems tougher on the second lap. Climbing out of Lake Placid was tougher than the first time. I was looking forward to the Keene descent and it being not as crowded. I was however, slowed by a headwind, and even with staying aero throughout most of the descent was not able to break 45 mph. I tried to pick up my pace as I turned left on 9N.
I started to tire and feel fatigued around mile 90. I was hoping I had saved enough to be able to pick up the pace the last 20 miles but that was not the case. I really labored the last 15 miles. Around mile 105 Rusty (TankBoy) passed me. He looked strong, especially considering what had happened to him on the bike. I got through the final 7 miles thinking I had worked too hard and would pay for it on the marathon. I got up the cherries and the three bears and rode through town ready to get off my bike.
*After the race I noticed my rear tire was flat. I know it wasn't flat when I was riding but I may have had a slow leak that slowed me up the last 20 miles of the race.
What would you do differently?:
Nothing, I stuck pretty close to my plan during the ride. I didn't want to exert too much energy because I knew I would need it on the marathon. Even if I had noticed my tire was leaking air I probably wouldn't have changed it that late in the race.
When I reached T2 I didn't realize how numb my left foot was. I dismounted with my shoes on but then decided to take them off and run to transition. This helped get some feeling back in my feet. Once in the change tent I took off my helmet, bike shoes, and socks. I loaded my feet with glide, put on new socks, and then my running shoes. I remembered to have sunscreen put on and then headed out on the run.
What would you do differently?:
Leave my bike shoes attached to my pedals. Everything else went well.
I headed out of transition and turned right on main street. I figured my chances of breaking 12 hours were slim. I struggled the last few miles on the bike and was tired in transition. I looked down at my Garmin and realized it was only 2:48 p.m. I still had 4 hours and 11 minutes to break a 12 hour Ironman. My goal was to run a 4 hour marathon but was unsure if I would be able to do it.
The first few miles are downhill and I actually felt great. I tried to slow down my pace because I knew I had a long way to go. I took a left on River Rd. and tried to maintain my pace. I was running just over a 9 minute mile pace and I would walk the aid stations. I hit the turn around on River Rd. and started to head back. When I crossed the bridge I decided to walk the big hill after it. I was passed on the hill by a few that were running it. They were working so hard to run up it. Once I got up to the top I started running again and passed the few people that had run passed me on the hill. As I started to get closer to Lake Placid I saw Rusty (TankBoy) and ran with him for a mile or so. I saw my mom heading out on her first run loop and checked my watch. She was ahead of where she thought she would be. I again walked the next big hill before turning left on Main St. Once I turned left on Main St. I started running again. I turned right on Mirror Lake Dr. and decided to skip special needs. All of the climbing back into town had tired me out. I hit the turn around on Mirror Lake Dr. and headed back toward Main St. I checked my watch. My first lap took me about 4 hours and 6 minutes. I would have to run a negative split on my second loop to break 12 hours. I didn't know if I would be able to. I felt tired and didn't feel I had the energy to run a lap faster than my first. As I approached Main St. I caught back up to Rusty (TankBoy). I made a joke about how it would be nice to head to the finish instead of heading out for another lap. I think I mentioned how I would have to run a faster 2nd lap in order to break 12 hours. In my mind it wasn't possible. Rusty said something to the extent of how I looked good, I would be able to have a faster 2nd lap, and he couldn't wait to read about it. I was now inspired to at least give it a shot. I picked up the pace and headed out for my 2nd loop.
Because I felt fatigued I started taking coke at the aid stations. My original plan was to take it for about the last 6-8 miles. But I figured I might as well start early. I felt really good for the next 5 to 6 miles. I was running about an 8:30 pace only walking briefly at aid stations. I saw my mom and my brother walking together, heading back on River Rd. They were both on pace to easily finish before midnight. That lifted my spirits seeing them but I still hadn't seen my dad. Hopefully he was about to start the run if he hadn't already. I made the turn at the end of River Rd., which felt much further away on the 2nd lap. I started to feel really fatigued again. My legs started to cramp up. I reached in my back pocket to grab my salt tabs. They weren't there, they must have fallen out of my pocket. I pushed on without them.
I hit mile 20 and I felt awful. I continued to grab coke at aid stations and also started drinking chicken broth. I figured it was my only chance to hold off the cramps. There is a section of road on River Rd. where there are no trees. The sun felt so hot and I was exhausted. I wanted to walk so bad. I told myself to at least keep running until I got back into the shade and if I still felt this bad I could walk. Upon reaching the shade I did feel a bit better and continued to push forward. I hit the end of River Rd. and took a right. I crossed the bridge and then let myself walk the hill before the horse show grounds. Again, I got passed by a few people jogging up the hill, including Spider Man. I got to the top of the hill and tried to start jogging again. Each time I stopped it was harder and harder to get going. My legs felt like they may cramp up and stop me at any moment. I actually kind of wanted them to cramp up. That would at least give me an excuse to walk.
I hit the aid station just passed the horse grounds. I walked through the aid station as I took nutrition. This time I held onto my nutrition longer than usual. I did not want to start running again. I looked ahead and saw a giant inflatable on the side of the road. I would allow myself to walk as far as that. I started to think that finishing under 12 hours wasn't worth it. So what if I finished with a time of 12:10? It would make the rest of the race much more enjoyable. I reached the inflatable and checked my watch, 3 miles to go and 30 minutes to do it in. This was still possible. I started to run again. I somehow made myself run to the base of the hill in Lake Placid. I then again started to walk. I was on empty and although I was only 2 miles away from the finish line I felt like I wasn't close at all. In my first Ironman I felt a sudden burst of energy around mile 23 which propelled me to the finish. Today I felt nothing, no help.
The runner in front of me asked what time it was. Someone told him it was 6:40. We had just passed the mile 24 marker. He made a comment about having 20 minutes to run 2.2 miles. Somehow after hitting the wall around mile 20, walking 2 hills, and multiple aid stations, I still had a chance to finish before 7. I finished walking to the top of the hill took a left on Main St. and started running. I made my turn on Mirror Lake Dr. and tried to pick up the pace. I was in a lot of pain but was so near the end. Right before I hit the turn around I passed Spider Man again. I told him we could break 12 hours but we would have to push it all the way in. I hit the turn around and headed back toward the finish. About a 1/2 mile from the finish Rusty (TankBoy) went cruising by. He had really picked up the pace and looked great. I knew that he would be able to break 12 hours.
I checked my watch, 6:56, with a half-mile to go. I tried to pick up the pace. Checked my watch again, 6:57... 6:58. Finally I hit the end of Mirror Lake Dr. and turned right on Main St. I entered the Olympic Speed Skating Circle and the volunteer there said, "you are going to make it under 12 hours, let the crowd take you home". Then I heard Mike Reilly say "45 seconds to make it under 12 hours". I sprinted around the speed skating circle and crossed the line. I broke 12 hours by 19 seconds.
What would you do differently?:
Pick up special needs bag. I had extra salt tabs in there. It may have prevented cramping.
After crossing the finish line two volunteers grabbed me. They handed me a water which I quickly drank. As we approached the finisher photos one of the volunteers asked if I wanted a finisher photo. I told her no, I still felt awful. I continued to keep moving and after a few minutes started to feel better. Food didn't sound good so I instead grabbed my bike out of transition. I took my bike back to the house where I was staying, showered, and then came back to the finish to watch the rest of my family finish.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Cramps. I have never had trouble with cramping but not taking as many salt tabs as I normally do hurt me. I think it would have also been smarter for me to take a little more nutrition than I did. I was planning on taking more gels on the run but the flavors they had were awful.
Course was beautiful, volunteers were great, atmosphere is like nothing else. Some do complain about the post race food but I was in no mood to eat, so I didn't mind.
Last updated: 2011-07-28 12:00 AM
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World Triathlon Corporation
Overall Rank = 713/2493
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 101/223
I got into Lake Placid Tuesday night so I was able to do my final training rides, runs, and swims on the course. Race morning I got up at 4:15, ate breakfast, grabbed my special needs bags and my wetsuit and headed to transition. In transition I pumped up my tires and then brought my bags to special needs.
Moved through the crowds and finally into the water. Finished putting my wetsuit and goggles on and swam a few yards and looked for a good place to seed myself.