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Ironman USA Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
Total Time = 13h 02m 12s
Overall Rank = 1182/2100
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 221/340
Pre-race routine:

Woke up late. Yes, actually slept, and because I didn't pack up the night before, was rushing before I walked down to the IM village. Ate a Hammer Bar and out the door by 5:45. And forgot Gatorade, water, etc. Checked the bike, put on the wetsuit, and headed to the lake.
Event warmup:

Warmup? For an Ironman? Yeah, right.

Well, I did ease into the water and swim/slide/trip to shore near my wife. Not sure if that offically counts as a warm up.
  • 1h 06m 57s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 35s / 100 yards

Pre-race, I bobbed and circled, looking at all the people in the water and on shore. Rain started at about 6:50. Also happened to be near the divers as they entered the lake and submerged. "Cool," I thought. Someone said I might see them under us as we swam. Then, when the announcements started, it sunk in that there was probably a reason for them being here, and maybe I should stop grinning like a fool and seed myself for the swim.

U2’s “Beautiful Day” blared, the shot of the cannon echoed across Mirror Lake, and the adrenalin hit. Definitely a moment not to forget.

I’d heard of the mass open water start, but doing it is something to be experienced. Think full contact water polo, but without the ref's whistle to call the foul. And let me tell you -- I'm not sure who it was, but at one point, someone slid over me. Literally, along and over me. And then he/she/it (like you can tell someone's sex when they're in a wetsuit and cap and your goggles have started fogging up) stopped for air.

I believe in breathing, both in and out. But when you stop, I plow into you, and the next guy rear ends me, and we suddenly resemble that scene in "Animal House" where one of the guys pushes the drum major out of the way and leads the marching band into the alley. Back-ups are not good.

Lots of elbows thrown around, and can I say, many people either need to learn to swim straight, or need turn signals affixed to the soles of their feet. I'm all for being mildly aggressive in the water. And I believe in your right to swim along the buoys, if you're into that. (I try to start wide to the off-side and about 1/2 in slide over.) But I just get pissed off at swimmers who like to slither to the right, and then to the left, and then back again, either refusing or unable to let you pass. It's just the swim, folks. It's my strongest sport, sure, but I'm not going to win a race on it. You'll have your many chances to dust me on the bike and run. So hey, about letting a guy get past you?

In my past races, the swim pack thinned out about a ¼ mile in. It was more like after doing the first loop of this race before I got some breathing room. As for that fabled yellow cord, five feet below the surface, that guides you along the course – I never saw it until the last 10 minutes of the swim.

What would you do differently?:

Transition 1
  • 09m 48s

Out of the water was a new experience. I love peelers, that’s all I can say. Drop to the ground, put your feet up, and let a strange woman strip your wetsuit off. (Come to think of it, this whole race involved strangers offering help and advice, which I greatly appreciated.)

The jog around the corner and up the block to the transition area was the longest distance I’ve ever run in transition, although I’m sure it was no more than a quarter mile. Run to get your gear bag, then to the changing tent, try to untie the knot you put on your bag to keep the water from soaking all your bike gear, try that again, cuss, get it untied, dress, hand the bag in, run to the bike in the middle of the Olympic Oval and then out the back and you’re off. Hmm, after reading this description, and then looking at my T1 time, I wonder what took me so long.

What would you do differently?:

As always, just have to practice and work on cutting time in the transitions.
  • 6h 40m 1s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.80 mile/hr

Out the chute is a steep incline and 2 quick turns. I didn't clip my second foot in until I was past the turns, as I didn't want to be the first to fall on the course. (I knew my time would come, and it did, about 50 miles in. Cue ominous music here.)

Rained for the first 20 miles, which made it seriously cold riding down the mountains. Once the sun came out and I was dry, I loved this course. Glad I didn't stop to put on tights, but arm warmers would have been nice.

I’d prepared for hills and felt strong but was still disappointed with my time. I thought I’d be faster, and still can’t figure out why I wasn’t. Well, I can – and it's not the bike. But oh, you so much want to blame your equipment when you see what some others are riding. My reason is much more simple -- all those Saturdays where I blew off the long ride for other things. But the course still let me open it up a bit on the downhills. I hit 40mph at one point. And then I was passed like I was standing still. By a young woman who was probably born when I was graduating from college. How’s that for emasculating? Now, I'm sure that I probably could have caught her on the uphill, but I didn’t want to ruin her day like she ruined mine, so I graciously let her go on ahead.

As for the fall. Here's another lesson learned -- sand stops tires. Quickly. I pulled off at a drink stop to use the portajohn, and as soon as my front tire hit the sand, I was off the saddle and over the handlebars and laying on my back, looking up at the stunned, shocked, and scared face of the 13-year-old volunteer with Gatorade in his hand who I'm sure saw it all happen in even slower motion than I felt it go by, and who probably thought I was dead. I've never seen eyes opened so wide in my life. "Ouch," I said. "Holy Shit," he said. And that's how I got the bruises all along my legs.

The Lake Placid community loves this race. I don’t know exactly where it was, but it was near the end of the loop, where you head up a hill and everyone lines up on either side of the one lane you’re riding on, cheering wildly. For that one moment – well, 2 actually, because there are 2 loops in the ride – you feel like a pro, like you’re fast, like you’re a biking god. It’s a nice feeling.

What would you do differently?:

Need to do more bike training. I guess the only way to get faster on the bike is to put in the miles.

And learn to pee on the bike. I saw some guys unclip one foot, kind of set up like a tripod, and do their thing. But with my inherent clumsiness, I'm going to hold off on this effort until I'm sure I never want to have sex again.
Transition 2
  • 07m 19s

Loved handing my bike off and heading into T2. Although, had some troubles lifting my leg high enough to get it over the drink bottles still in my drink holder behind the seat. It's comical and pathetic at the same time.
What would you do differently?:

Don't stop to eat pretzels. And be more understanding of the aid attendants. Not that I'm a rude guy, I'm not, but the person helping me was so keen on getting me through transition that he just didn't recognize that I was seriously okay with taking my time here.
  • 4h 58m 7s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 23s  min/mile

Nice run, started out good, kept my pace, but then from Mile 16 on, I was dying a slow death. It just hurt. Everywhere. And god forbid you have to use a portajohn. Think about it -- 1000 other people in there before you, many of whom obviously didn't aim. My run was disappointing, and I want a rematch.

The 80's music at about miles 5, 8, 18 and 21 was a nice touch. And it led to some great math problems and related soul searching. For example, this song was played at my prom. I graduated high school in (insert early 80s year here). So this song is ___ years old. Which makes me ____ years old. What's a guy my age doing out here? Why didn't I just buy the convertible for my mid-life crisis? My friends are playing golf today. How much does a golf club membership cost? What's my bike worth? Would a hot dog at the 9th hole taste better than Lemon Sublime Gu?
What would you do differently?:

More run training. Can't fake it in this type of race.
Post race
Warm down:

Found my wife, ate some pizza, and back to the room for a shower.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Poor training. And I thought I followed my plan pretty well. So - I either need a better plan, or I need a better work ethic.

Event comments:

If it wasn't so far from home, I'd do this race again.

Last updated: 2005-10-31 12:00 AM
01:06:57 | 4224 yards | 01m 35s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/340
Overall: 559/2100
Performance: Good
Suit: IM Stealth
Course: 2 loops, out and back, quick run on beach between laps. Clear water, tastes good, easy sighting.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 77F / 25C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 09:48
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
06:40:01 | 112 miles | 16.80 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/340
Overall: 1153/2100
Performance: Average
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: 2 loop course, some serious inclines but nothing too threatening. Felt longer than 112.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 07:19
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
04:58:07 | 26.2 miles | 11m 23s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/340
Overall: 1182/2100
Performance: Below average
Course: 2 loops. Some hills, but a great course. Lots of folks barbecuing in their yards, blaring music, banging drums, cheering you on.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2006-07-28 4:38 AM

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, District of Columbia
Subject: Ironman USA Lake Placid

2006-07-28 5:21 AM
in reply to: #495724

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Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid

Congratulations! Don't sweat it about the people passing you downhill - I was cruising that descent around 43 and some tiny young thing came flying by me, head on her aero bars, easily going 50 or more. I don't get how someone that weighs 100 pounds can move so fast downhill, but oh well.

That spot you mention with all the crowds was at the top of "papa bear" just before the turn onto Northwood Rd. Incredible, eh?

Nice job on a very tough course.

2006-07-28 7:19 AM
in reply to: #495724

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Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Every race report mentions that spot, I really want to do this race just for the atmosphere, good job, congratulations on a great race.
2006-07-28 8:47 AM
in reply to: #495724

Orange, Massachusetts
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid

Nice report!  Yeah, don't sweat the race times on that course, the ride is one of the toughest you'll ever do.  Sounds like you had a decent plan and followed it pretty well.  Hahaha...if you were a slower swimmer like me (1:24:00) you wouldn't have gotten rained on during the bike! 

Congratulations Ironman!


2006-09-11 5:15 AM
in reply to: #495724

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Extreme Veteran
Peachtree City, GA
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid

Great race report!  You made me laugh with your pee comment.   I think your times look great.   I wish I had times like that for that race (like I would ever do it!).  Awesome job on your first ironman!



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