Ironman Lake Placid
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Ironman Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman
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As I began swimming amidst the mass of people, I was surprised that I was still calm. I did not lose this calm until a man took a stroke landing his hand on top of my head. Instead of repositioning his hand, he continued his stroke down into the water, pushing my head way down, almost making me upside down in the water. I thought to myself, "That's one way to keep my feet and legs up," but I would rather do it myself than receive that kind of help. After a few minutes, I regained my composure again, which lasted until a kick to the head pushed the left side of my swim cap to the top of my head. Luckily, I had put my goggles under my swim cap, or I would have lost them. It was tough trying to tread water and pull my swim cap back down with other swimmers swimming over top of you. Eventually I got it on "good enough" and continued. I had started to the right of the buoys, but was getting pushed left. As I was thinking, "Wow, things seem to be clearing up," a man in a kayak told me I needed to go back to the right. I asked if I had gotten inside the buoys and he replied "Way inside." I looked up and found myself almost in the middle of the swim course rectangle. It was nice there, but I obediently swam back right to the line. On the line, I continued on top of it and found it very helpful as I am not known for being able to sight or swim straight very well. I did change my swim style. I had practiced all winter on bilateral breathing, but went to breathing on only one side. This helped when I had to skip a breath due to contact and water when it was time to breath. It didn't seem to slow me down.
What would you do differently?:
Learn to sight better, to avoid extra distance.
When I got into transition, the tent was crowded, but the volunteers were wonderful. As I was changing into bike clothes, I also began drinking an Ensure. My towel was a little damp as it had rained the night before. Luckily I had put my socks in my helmet, turned it upside down in the bag, and put my towel over it, in case it did rain. This kept my socks dry. I remembered to ask for sunblock - they were not automatically checking to see if we wanted it - and got slathered with it. So much that my skin looked white. This would prove to be very valuable, when the sweat started washing some away. I remembered to make sure I had my sunglasses- important not only for sun, but also for eye protection.
What would you do differently?:
Enclose my socks in a baggie to protect against wetness, when left overnight in the transition bags.
When you first leave the transition area, you go down some steep hills. Be careful - it is crowded and you are just starting. After this, you are working your way up, before the famous "Keene descent." This is a good time to hydrate and conserve. I used the small ring on this ascent to prevent myself from mashing and pushing too hard. I felt like I could really go. I had made the swim cut off (a concern of mine) and I was on the bike! But I had been warned that going too hard now would come back to haunt me, so I made myself take it easy. Again, I spent this time in prayer and praise - enjoying the beautiful scenery around me and had a worshipful experience. I did have a scare while going down the Keene descent, probably close to 40 mph. I was passing 2 bikes on my right, when the one behind the other just started to pull out left without looking, almost clipping my wheel. I yelled "On you left" which stopped him until I had passed. I realized that this was a definite answer to my prayers for safety.
In the aid stations, I often pulled to the side and dismounted my bike to refill my hydration system, take endurolyte pills, drink, eat, and pour water over me, trying to cool down a little. I think this helped prevent some cramping in the calves. It was fun to talk and interact with the volunteers. I felt great during the first lap and did not start to feel tired until the hill climbs on the 2nd lap. My conservative biking had helped and I never felt so tired that it was a struggle. It was during the end of my 2nd bike lap that I realized just how determined I was to finish this thing, as I found myself thinking "if I crash my bike now, I still have enough time to carry my bike the rest of the way and complete on time." At the very end, I got out of the saddle after the right turn at Mirror Lake to take that short hill and felt it did not waste any energy. It is short and you will quickly be going downhill through town as you approach the stadium.
It is a beautiful bike course - make the effort to enjoy and appreciate the scenery. It is way more fun than training!
What would you do differently?:
As I pass someone, I will clearly state "On your left" - esp. when going down a descent.
I learned that the bananas are cut in a way that you only have to push up on them, not peel them. I almost wiped out trying to peel one.
If it is later in the bike ride and come to a place where you need to turn, ask the volunteers which is the correct way. While they usually point you in the correct direction, when my husband came to a turn, they were talking amongst themselves and failed to indicate which way he should go. He decided to take the same way he saw 2 previous riders take, only to find out they were not part of Ironman and he followed, going the wrong way. After he was past, the volunteers realized what had happened and went after him yelling, but he felt he went at least ¼ mile extra down the road.
Remember to pull up as well as push down on your bike stroke. I would do this and then go back to poor form, forgetting to use the pull up, reducing my stroke efficiency.
The volunteer took my bike at the dismount line, so all I did was grab my baggie with endurolyte pills out of my bento box, and was on my way into transition.
I was surprised that my legs worked. Often in training, when I got off the bike, my legs felt like they weren't used to walking or running. Not so this time!
Again, I was determined to conserve during the run. I knew I had a long ways to go and had already come a long ways. I started out at a slower pace, walking up hill and at aid stations. (I choke when I try to drink and run at the same time.) I tried very hard to stay hydrated, but was losing in this effort. By this time, the thought of a Powergel made me sick. There were only 2 choices - Raspberry (too sweet) or Latte:(. I went with water, ice, and orange slices. It was nice that I met up with one of my sons, and we traveled together most of the first lap. It wasn't until GI issues forced me into Porta-johns, that he decided to move on without me. Midway through the first lap, cramping and GI issues started. Now I was down to water, trying to quiet these down. At special needs, I tried to take another Gatorade Prime, knowing that I must be really low on fluids and calories - big mistake. Now I was nauseated and walking. Anything faster would have me stopped to be sick. I walked until the nausea subsided and then back to a slow jog. On the 2nd lap on River Road I tried chicken broth twice. Although it really seemed to hit the spot, it also caused me to immediately seek a porta john (I had already spent too much time in these, but now was getting more urgent.) For the rest of the run, I took almost nothing - just a little water every so often due to GI problems. Not smart - but there wasn't anything I could take that didn't exacerbate my troubles. After going without things for awhile, I did feel better and was finally able to jog again. On my last time down Mirror Lake road, it was nice to have fellow BTer, Glazebal come up and run with me for awhile. Sharing this experience is always nicer. After the turn around on Mirror Lake road, I was feeling better, and by the time I reached the oval, I felt like I could run. The only thing was that I was already at the end and didn't need to. As I made the turn for the final stretch, I looked to see if anyone was behind me that I should pause for to allow them to go by. There wasn't and I made my way down the stretch. Someone must have been hidden just before that last curve, because as Mike was announcing my name, another runner suddenly ran by me. Oh well - he probably didn't have sons coaching him on how you should let each runner go across individually.
What would you do differently?:
Find some type of nutrition and fluids that do not cause GI issues after a long distance (I"m not sure there is such a product.)
Take Immodium or something similar before the run.
I may have held back too much, and would probably recommend picking it up a little sooner. I felt like I could really pick it up at the end and also did not feel sore the next day (actually felt like I could go for an easy jog) which makes me wonder if I saved too much. My time was more than an hour longer than my last marathon time, but I hadn't done the first 2 legs of an Ironman before it either.
When I was done, I felt light-headed. I was definitely dehydrated and probably low blood sugar as well. This was worse when I stopped and stood still. Keep walking.
I wish I would have went into the massage tent. I wasn't really aware of this opportunity.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Beautiful course. Attempting this with husband and 2 of my sons, and doing it while worshiping and talking with God made it one of life's highlight experiences.
Last updated: 2011-07-30 12:00 AM
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Age Group = F 55-59
Age Group Rank = 8/
All the "stuff" I would need was laid out the night before. Went to sleep praying, which helped control first timer pre-race jitters. Up at 04:00. Had coffee, orange juice, and oatmeal. Reviewed my "checklist" of things I needed to remember and headed down towards transition area to begin this adventure. Note - we had brought our own bike tire pump, but there was an air hose available for athletes who needed it. You had to stand in line for the "fill" but it seemed to be moving fast.
After dropping off our special needs bags, we made our way to Mirror Lake. We drank a Gatorade Prime and was frustrated that we could not find a trash bin anywhere along the lake. Got into our wetsuits and made our way closer to the beach. Wanted to get some practice strokes in, but decided it was too crowded already to do that. While standing there waiting for pro's to start and then age groupers, I spend the time in prayer. As I looked around at all the anticipating athletes, I was amazed at how calm I felt, esp. knowing that my swim is not strong.