Ironman Lake Placid
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Ironman Lake Placid - Triathlon
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I got out and in the clear very early -- within 10 strokes. I was with two other guys and we gave each other room. Eventually, after about the 6-7th buoy, the guy closest to the line (I was in the middle) went a bit ahead and took over the lead. We started catching people shortly thereafter.
The second lap was like a MMA fight. Twice kicked in the face including once in the mouth that made me certain I was bleeding. At one point on the way back to shore to finish the swim, around the third buoy, someone came perpendicular to the course from right to left swimming right for the boathouse. This person delivered an elbow to me right under my right side ribs and make me see spots.
There was absolutely no where to go. Going right put me inside of the line and the course. Going left the field fanned out for at least 30 meters. There was breastroke, backstroke, treading water, slow swimming and all around mayhem in the field for the last 35 percent of the swim. I bitched plenty about the effects of the Swim Smart Initiative when it was announced and what it would mean when the front of the pack caught the back of the pack -- the intellectual vindication did not taste sweet. It tasted like blood in my mouth and huge frustration that I couldn't swim three strokes without danger.
I was prepared physically to turn in a 52. I didn't.
I think I worked about 50 percent more this year than last on the second loop. There was never clear water.
However, the temperature was great, the energy in the crowd was huge, swimming up the sandy beach to the finish of each loop was nice for running out and the first 30 minutes of the race may have been my favorite. I love going fast and looking out over the flat water for a fraction of a second and seeing trees and the light blooming into the sky. Weirdly enough, it started to rain during the swim buy my memory (which can be faulty) is of seeing the shades of gray and blue and silver in the sky lighting up throughout the swim. It made me smile at the time and now it just makes me wonder if I'm nutso since I had dark goggles and it was raining.
What would you do differently?:
Find a new strategy for passing people -- maybe go wide by a full 20-30 meters. I never really revved up and went for it on the third section -- my favorite section to really push the pace. This is where I started into the congestion that really threw me off plan.
Somehow, I want to swim this race with the edge that I brought to the bike and even moreso to the run course. I never really hit the point where I questioned if it was necessary to back off a little. It isn't that I was just cruising without effort, but I wasn't right up to the line wondering if I had crossed over into that zone where only truly epic things happen -- epic blow ups or amazing, concept busting races are born. I need to blow the doors off of a swim just to see what happens and how it affects the whole day. I want to swim that hard for that long -- and didn't. This is a disappointment, but balanced against the conditions and the good that did come of the swim, I'm okay with that for now. The lake is simply beautiful. It is clean and smooth, it has character and is ever new to the touch.
For next time though, look out...
I was 18 seconds slower than in 2012 and I'm not sure why unless perhaps I ran slower due to the rain. I thought I was moving along quickly. Had no trouble finding my bag. All in all, it was well executed but it should have been done with more urgency. I think I could probably go another minute faster on this course. One mistake that happened in T1 wasn't recognized until about half an hour later: I think my left sleeve hit the "stop" button on my watch and I didn't know it until after Keene.
What would you do differently?:
Run harder. Less futzing with arm sleeves.
I improved from 2012 by 27:09. I made up 3:03 in the first 30 miles and 12:53 in the next 26 miles. On loop two I made up 5:45 in the first 30 miles and then 5:28 on the last 26 miles. Comparing first loop to second, I gave up about 1 mph for each second averaging 23.67 mph and 17.99 mph on loop one and 22.63 mph and 17.01 mph on loop two. It is clear that I faltered a little on the second loop climbs back to town compared to the other three sections although I didn't come unglued, I did let go of the focus necessary to keep driving the big pace.
I popped three wheelies around mile 90 at the top of a hill for some jokers asking everyone to try. I rode through a huge soap bubble before the Haselton aid station made by a boy and his Mama. I descended in the rain, twice. My maximum speed was 43.8 mph which is about 5 mph slower than 2012 (rain). However, I rode with Aaron's Zipp 808 on the front, the aerojacket on the back and his aero helmet -- all of which helped with aerodynamics. I rode about seven pounds lighter than in 2012 and I'm sure that helped with the speed and the climbing while took a little away from the descending.
After Keene on the second loop, after the right hand turn to stay on 9N and around where the aid station was located, I was passed by Andy Lipscomb. I wished him well as he passed and as I put my head back down, I saw that he was at the front of a train of about 10-12 guys. After a moments thought, I jumped into the group about 2/3 of the way back. I rode with these guys about 40 minutes. I need to ask Andy what he thought of this group. Here is my take:
Everyone was very conscientious about not drafting. However, I don't think that there was four bike lengths between everyone. It was probably closer to 2-3 bikes. People would swing out left and pass a rider or two at a time if it appeared like they were getting too close. No one was coasting -- everyone was pedaling the whole time. It was like a peek into the world of the super elite racers. When they talk about making a group or missing a split on the road, they are not talking about who is drafting and who is not because they are surrounded by helicopters and motorbikes. The extra edge, the vividness of the ride is intensified when there are ten other people trying to outride you. I noticed that Andy was rarely outside of the first three riders while by contrast I was everywhere from first to last and usually about halfway back. After riding through the aid station and down to Ausable Forks, turning around and riding back 3-4 miles it was time for me to have something to eat. And this is where it gets interesting. I had already thought that the group would drop me on the big hills to Wilmington. But I didn't expect that the time I gave away messing with a Gu and taking a drink would be enough for the group to gap me. They were not riding on each others' wheels and working as a team -- it was more like a school of fish with each person independently pushing the pace just a fraction to make sure they were moving along fast enough. After getting dropped from about the third position to the last position and then gapped by 50 meters, I let them ride off and I sat up to try to piss again before the climbing. The experience was really cool. It was the most "on the edge" racing I did all day outside of the first 1000 meters of the swim and it was revealing too -- my sense is that not only did every member not want the other guy to draft, but he didn't want to cheat either. Contrast this with some of the packs we saw riding the other direction where it looked like a group ride taking over the road. It was really fun too. At one point I rode up to the front and passed Andy. He hadn't seen me in 20 minutes and probably thought that I was simply passed and out the back. I asked him how he was feeling and how his day was going. His response was, "Just chilling." And he was. He was monitoring the power numbers and not going too hard (for his race plan). No matter that I was riding up to the top of my zone 3 -- I knew that I wouldn't maintain that effort for another 90 minutes and I was okay with that. Having those other guys around -- within sight basically, really sharpens the whole situation. Out there more than 50 miles from the finish -- half of that running -- it made it a race and not just a long ride.
What would you do differently?:
This was a great ride. However, in a perfect world I don't like my splits being so far apart. Loop one to loop two had a difference of 3:30 on the first 30 miles and another loss of 5:01 on the second 26 mile segment. I'd like to shrink that 8 1/2 minute spread down to a negative split.
The transition time was :41 seconds slower than 2012 for no good reason. My bag was on the end of a rack so it was super easy to find. I got off the bike and ran through the whole area without cramps or problems. I simply need to execute faster. There really isn't much to do except socks, shoes, hat...but it still took me longer. This is frustrating but can be fixed.
The cap holding my laces together on one shoe did break so I spent about 10-15 seconds looking at that before deciding there was nothing to do about it.
What would you do differently?:
Race through here. Next time I have a race, I'm going to try to set a T1 and T2 record and have one of the top 5 combined times for my age group.
Personal best by 45:59! I'm very happy that I was able to pull it all back together for the final out/back on Mirror Lake Drive after the big hill at mile 25. On the course, I thought that mile 25 was the first time that I had broke the 10 minute mile pace and I didn't want to end the race on an inflection point where I broke down.
On the course, I focused on a single number. I would think about and look for the next mile marker I was supposed to see. So, if I was in the middle of mile 5, I would only concentrate on the number 6. I wouldn't think that 6 was a fourth of the run or that I was halfway through my nutrition cycle (a rotating four mile cycle) or that the first five miles felt good. Only 6. Six. Seis.
The nutrition plan was to do something different at each aid station for four in a row and then repeat. Therefore, aid station 1, 5, 9, 13 etc. were all Perform. Next it was a Gu gel plus water. Third aid station was skipped or maybe ice. Fourth aid station was water plus a Cytomax salt tablet.
At about mile 8 I took a Gas X as a preventative measure since I had already been putting back the Gu for hours.
The only variation from the nutrition plan was at mile 22. I was due for a gel but skipped that station and took nothing but ice. I didn't have the stomach for it. As soon as I left the aid station I regretted it and got back on track and downed the Gu at mile 23. I carried 2-3 gels in my race belt and 1-2 in my shirt. I took two gels off the course including a Roctane which I used at about mile 17. I carried the salt tablets in an old Nuun container which fit in my belt nicely.
In 2012, I came out in 7:33 and then did a few miles in the 8:40s. This year, I came out in 7:32, did two miles at 8 min/miles and then popped up to the 8:40 range for the next four miles. The next mile -- mile 8 -- is where I stopped to use the port a potty and pee. W/o the pee, it too would have been about 8:40 and then it was followed by mile nine in 8:34. At this point I hit my first pacing inflection point. My times jumped up by 20-25 seconds per mile to the 9 minute range as I entered the hills coming back into town. In all, I hit inflection points three times. At mile three I went from 8:00 to 8:35-8:40. At mile 10 I jumped up from the 8:35 pace to about 9:00-9:05 pace. And then at mile 19, my pace slid once again from about 9 minutes to between 9:25-9:40. A fourth inflection is after mile 25 when I put on afterburners and finished at a pace under 9 minutes.
The conditions for the run were superb. It was only about 71 degrees (although extremely humid -- it would rain about an hour after I finished.) It was overcast and the crowds were all out. All of the aid stations were well stocked. There were toilets to be found everywhere. I knew the course and therefore had a sense of what was coming next.
This may be the single best run I've ever put together. It wasn't the fastest but it had the most consistency of effort, mental focus and steadfast splits. I slowed down but there was no point where the wheels came off and I had to really regroup. I was able to get my gut to cooperate with that much food and I didn't chase people even though I was tempted to get out of my own rhythm.
Unlike in 2012, I was not lapped by the leaders. I saw them all on the course but managed to get only lap two before they finished.
I think with the bike ride that I turned in, my run capabilities still have another 10-15 minutes of gain available. More diligence and confidence in my ability to go the distance and I may have been able to hold that 8:40 pace throughout. The difference was not in the running, it was most likely in the 20 steps I took through many aid stations on the second half of loop two.
Despite looking for candidates, I never found someone to run with. I did the whole marathon basically alone.
After mile 12 I saw Dana on Mirror Lake Drive. I wanted to go over to the fence to see her up close. I was in a hurting way from the hill back up to the Oval/lake. She said later that I looked really rough so she ran off to the playground to get the kids before I came back. I couldn't cross the road because of the cyclists who were all coming back into town. By the time I came back, she was there with at least three of the kids and they were all shouting and joyous. I was on my stride by then and felt so much better for having done a mile or so on flat road. Also, about 400-600 meters prior I had made a pass of Mike -- one of the Ignite Endurance team. I wanted to pass him with some measure of confidence since he had already got me on the first loop of the bike. I tried to give him some good words then lifted my head and thought about form so that by the time I came up to Dana again I'd be looking better. It helped. It made me feel better too. The photo below is from mile 13 -- right after the pass and when the kids were yelling and screaming that I looked strong. It was simply amazing to hear them. Like a choir of angels yelling "Papa, Go Papa Go".
What would you do differently?:
Pee my pants while running instead of stopping. Dig down to the pits of my soul to not lose so much time in three of the last four miles on the hills.
After the race my catchers were Will and Ray. They helped me over to a chair, brought me drinks -- including chicken soup -- and were simply as helpful as anyone could possibly be. I found Dana and the kids by the fence, agreed to meet by the flagpole after a quick massage, visited with Patrick Pannett for a couple minutes and then went for the massage. On the walk to the massage I noticed that I was starting to feel cold. Emily -- the massage lady -- actually brought tears to my eyes. It hurt and felt good and was just a release of so much that I cried on her table. Patrick and I left the massage tent together and my right hand was twitching. I picked up my dry clothes bag and couldn't get through the fencing to meet Dana so we agreed to meet by the snow pile in front of the Olympic Center. By this time, I was starting to get confused and both arms were twitching methodically and uncontrollably. Patrick was going to find Jess and Ava, meet us at the snow pile and then shower at our place before driving to their hotel. I was the last one walking up the hill -- carrying transition bags and dry clothes -- and I was struggling and by this time felt COLD. It felt like I was in a freezer and my arms were twitching so much that I think it scared Dana a little. She helped me change into a dry shirt and put her raincoat over my spaceblanket for the walk of 2-3 blocks to the hotel. About ten minutes after getting inside, it poured with rain. I took a bath and discovered huge burn/rashes at my south pole and small, quarter size, marks under each arm.
After I changed, we took the kids for Ben and Jerry's. I couldn't finish a small so I had some of it and split the rest among the kids. They wore my finisher medal and hat and basically behaved taking turns among the four of them.
I ordered a cheeseburger and sweet potato fries from the place downstairs, ate, and then got my bike. I started to stretch but basically, I just crashed out not to be heard from again until morning. I was cold most of the rest of the night.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Rain on the bike/especially descent. Massive crowds and logjam on the second loop of the swim.
The swim start was a failure for the front of the pack. From what I can tell visiting with people from the middle and back of the pack, it was really rough for everyone on loop two and for many people on the second half of loop one (as the FOP caught up).
The volunteers at IMLP are simply overwhelming with their kindness and generosity. It is humbling to be offered so much -- especially when one is nearly helpless -- by a smiling, kind friend.
The venue is inspiring. From an effervescent lake to the glory of the High Gorge and Whiteface to the sylvan beauty of Riverside Road, I don't know why anyone would want to race elsewhere -- ever.
I simply cannot say enough good things -- but I will try to say more of them at my blog. www.radicalimmersion.wordpress.com.
I followed my raceplan and beat the goal time by 3+ minutes. I set a PR at this race/distance by 1 hour, 12 minutes and 10 seconds.
It was simply amazing.
Last updated: 2012-07-25 12:00 AM
2013-08-02 12:37 PM
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World Triathlon Corporation
71F / 22C
Overall Rank = 143/2348
Age Group = M 35-39
Age Group Rank = 27/294
Wake at 2:50, eat 5 eggs and an Ensure and a banana. Wake at 4:25 to shave, dress, organize Bonk Breakers for the bike and eat a Bonk Breaker with two cups of tea. Took frozen Ensure (20oz) and Perform (20 oz with 4 scoops instead of 3) out of freezer for bike.
After dropping off bike special needs bag, waited for body marking and then did tires, nutrition and morning bag drop off. Waited 35 minutes for port a potty and nearly missed warm up.
Warmed up in lake for about 5 minutes by doing some drills. Probably less than 200 yards total. At Gu Roctane 30 minutes before my start and drank water consistently for the hour prior to race start at 6.30 a.m.