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Ironman 70.3 Lake Placid - Triathlon

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
Total Time = 7h 38m 30s
Overall Rank = 1715/2060
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 136/175
Pre-race routine:

First, a little backstory. In 2015 I attempted my first 70.3 distance at Syracuse but my day was cut short because of severe thunderstorms; I was only allowed to complete one lap of the run because they were forcing racers off the course. 63.16 was the distance I finished; the best I could do with the race I had been given that day. LP 70.3 was meant to be my redemption race in a location I absolutely love. Now, let's proceed with my report!

Arrived in LP on Thursday with EFP and the dogs. We rented a house in the area of River Road. After we got settled in, we headed out for a 50 minute bike followed by a 25 minute run. Friday I got a chance to test the water temp of Mirror Lake (about 62-63, not too bad) with a ~1300 yard swim and later did packet pickup and cruised the expo. Met LT and P and her parents for lunch.

Saturday I did some brief bike and run openers, then dropped Rico (my bike) off in transition. Even though the weather was crappy (rainy, misty), I drove EFP up Whiteface since he'd never gone before. We were able to see out a few of the vistas on the way up but were in total zero visibility once we neared the top. We took the dogs along, too, and they didn't appreciate the 43* temps at the summit! Tried to not be on my feet too much but wanted to do something to make myself tired enough to hopefully sleep OK. Hydrated, hydrated, hydrated: water and Nuun.

We ate dinner in just to be sure - grilled chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans. Tried to go to bed in decent time but I forget exactly when. Didn't sleep as horribly as usual the night before a race!

As part of my mental preparation for the race, I wore a silver necklace that bore a roadrunner charm (the actual bird, not the cartoon bird from Looney Toons) and another little charm with the word, 'Believe'. I wore this necklace for months, ever since I registered for the race. I needed to believe in myself, to believe I could do this, to believe in my training and my coach. I also told myself that no matter what the day brought, I was going to be sure to take in the day and the joy of racing in one of my favorite places. Friends and I have trained here each summer over the years while coming up to support friends doing the 140.6 race and I simply love the scenery, the smells, all that is swimming, biking, running in the Adirondacks. I was going to enjoy this opportunity no matter what!

Got up before the alarm. Took my medicine. Breakfast: yogurt, apples, granola. Got to body-marking just after 5. Sipped Nuun. Ate Justin's nut butter prior to leaving EFP to get staged. Gave him my bag and bike pump to take to the car after the swim. LT was already either staged or at the lake for a warm-up, so I didn't see her right before the race but had given her a hug and well-wishes in transition earlier. I did get to chat with her family, not sure where P was. Had a thought about having my inhaler for later in the race but at this point didn't know how to have it in transition or with me, so it went in my bag and away with EFP. Kept my parting words to EFP short because I didn't want to get all emotional. A quick hug and a few words and I was off to stage myself for the swim.

It had rained and been pretty chilly every day since we arrived but race day promised sun and warmer temps once we got past the morning fog and chill (37*F in the morning, but was supposed to get up into the low to mid 60s). There was fog/mist over the lake and the mountains making it look mystical. The sun began to peek out, fulfilling its promise of a nice day.
Event warmup:

Heh. Standing around in 37*F weather in only a wetsuit for 45 minutes was NOT warming up!

Somehow I didn't get the memo as to where/how they were staging athletes for the self-seeded, time-trial-ish start. They were lining us up out in the street and had us within a fence; I was on the 'wrong' side and had to get over fence then maneuver where I wanted to seed. I didn't see seeding signs at first and asked some people what their expected time was and how they knew to stand where they were and they kindly showed me person with the sign. Based on what those people said and the sign, I found what I thought was an appropriate spot.

I didn't have shoes on, big mistake. Barefoot on wet, cold macadam for an over half hour wait in just the staging area wasn't fun. I also didn't have any other clothes on other than my LS wetsuit. A light jacket or something would've been nice. I wasn't sure how/where I'd get rid of these items so I didn't wear any, but now I'll know for next year that they can be put in a 'morning clothes bag' or even handed off to my husband (I think - I mean, after all my race didn't start yet so it wouldn't be abandoning or outside assistance, right?). Kept moving my legs and rubbing my arms to try to stay warm.

After at least 30 minutes of waiting in the staging line, it was finally time to enter the water! I can't say for sure how long it was - I kept my watch off to ensure I'd have plenty of battery for the day.
  • 42m 28s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 01s / 100 yards

Finally, finally it was time to start! I waded in amongst the smattering of people who were standing there, hesitating - I was able to make myself get in and sort of get going - I Tarzan swam for a good handful of strokes then forced myself to put my face in. My feet were very cold from standing around on the cold road so I kicked to get circulation going. I passed a fair amount of people who were treading water or doing the breaststroke or other assorted means of not getting to the business of swimming. Sure, there were a lot of people truly swimming like the race it is, but a surprising amount of those who weren't.

Steadily throughout the swim I passed people. I stayed off the buoy line, sometimes staying close enough that I could see the underwater rope, other times drifting too far away to see it. Because of the cold water temps, neoprene booties were allowed and I quickly discovered people wearing said booties were tough to see in advance: the black booty and black wetsuits blended in with the water and it was easy to swim up on someone and not see him/her until the last moment. This caused me to get a foot to the face at one point, but an oddly gentle foot to the face, no damage done. There were more people doing breaststroke than expected; I gave them wide berth as not to get kicked. I accidentally swam over a backstroker's legs, sorry! Truly!

Sighting was a bit tough with the rising sun and mist/fog because I breathe right and that was where the sun was positioned on the way out. It got a bit easier on the way back in since I was breathing away from the sun. Again, I was mystified by continuing to overtake people even in the waning distance of the swim.

I was so happy swimming in an official swim in this lake - the many swims I've done in the lake over the years for pleasure was now for real; I was racing in Mirror Lake in Lake Placid! I smiled as I passed the familiar landmarks (when I could see them for the fog), especially the toboggan run since that meant I was getting very close to the end. There was a part of me that was reluctant to finish the swim and I actually thought, "Can't I just keep swimming?"

I swam until my hand hit bottom, then I stood and made my way out of the lake.

What would you do differently?:

For the start: have shoes at a minimum but preferably have a sweatshirt or jacket as well. Get a better start. I lost a little time hesitating to put my face in. Swim faster; I think I was a little complacent for lack of a better word. I was just swimming, not really pushing it. I would've liked my time to be a bit better, actually would've expected my time to be better. I guess the cold may have had something to do with it, IDK for sure.
Transition 1
  • 11m 22s

I bypassed the wetsuit strippers after my not-so-great experience with them at Syracuse in 2015 and made my way across the beach and up the mats. It's a very long run to transition and I surprised myself by actually trotting/jogging the whole way on my numb, peg-like feet.

I pulled my wetsuit down to my waist as I ran and removed it in total when I reached my spot. Here I lost a lot of time messing with my socks - I was having trouble getting the one up and positioned with the huge house-arrest bracelet aka the timing chip thing. Then I stupidly stood there messing with my arm warmers, wasting time rolling them up while in transition. I should've worked on them while running the bike out or on the bike.

I also took time to put on shorty bike gloves and a wind vest. Helmet and sunglasses, too, of course.
What would you do differently?:

Not waste time rolling up arm warmers while in transition, do it while running out or on the bike. Not muck around with my socks quite as much. They were things I definitely wanted/needed, I just should've managed them better.
  • 3h 49m 3s
  • 56 miles
  • 14.67 mile/hr

Clothing choices: Sock Guy bright striped arm warmers, HTC wind vest,PI shorty bike gloves, wool blend Swiftwick socks, SS tri kit. Perfect, truly. Toe covers on my tri shoes which, well, we'll get to them. Good choice but also bad choice.

Didn't have the best mount but that's OK. On the bike I was a comfortable level of chilly to start. Spent the first few miles flexing my toes inside my bike shoes trying to get some blood and feeling into them, they were still very cold and numb from the swim. Each time I did this, I felt the toe covers pressing into the top of my foot but didn't think too much of it at the time.

I felt like I wasn't quite in the groove until after the out and back at the Olympic complex, then I started feeling better. The crazy Keene descent went fine and I passed a fair amount of people here. 9N: I was in the groove, just keeping it reeled in remembering my coach's words about not overdoing it on the first half of the course since the second half would be mostly climbing. The mist was still hovering in the mountains, adding to the mystique and beauty paired with the changing autumn foliage. Simply wonderful.

Eventually I got hot and took off my gloves. I wasn't sure where to put them so I stuffed them down my tri top. A bit later the arm warmers came off, too. I was also not sure where to put them, so down the top they went, too. This was OK for a while but eventually I could really feel my chest getting hot from all the extra material. I fished the arm warmers out and put them over my aero bars, one on each. I moved the gloves out toward my shoulders more. Much better! It's funny to think it was still likely in the mid-to-upper 50s at this point and I was hot!

Saw MW on the out-and-back to Ausable Forks - we chatted a bit then she moved on. It's always a nice boost seeing a friendly face. I kept smiling throughout the ride, savoring and taking in the scenery and the experience. I love riding this course!

I stuck with the plan of eating a gel (V-Fuel, peach cobbler, cool citrus, mountain berry) with water close to every half hour, drinking Nuun when not eating, and doing some BASE salt at alternating half hours 15 minutes after eating although I may have missed one or two. Continued to feel good on the climb into Wilmington and over on 86 where I often peter out some (in training rides in the past). Oh - got a water at the station on Wilmington climb and made another Nuun bottle. Saw friends cheering with their little toddler on 86 which gave me another boost. Handled the three bears with no issue and the trip back into town was fine if not a bit congested.

The Three Bears (a series of 3 hills that people make a big deal about but really shouldn't, there are worse ones on the course like the one up to Wilmington. Maybe because they are at the end? IDK) didn't faze me one bit at the end, I felt good and had one of my best times climbing them.

This was my best HM bike ever by 6 minutes (officially timed: the ill-fated Syracuse and the half-aquabike I did in CO), so I'm happy. I know I had more in the tank, too. Very happy with my time and my effort and with the fact I felt very good getting off the bike, not drained, not beat down. It is such a bonus to be familiar with the course from all the times we've trained on it over the years. It's almost like doing a local race, only 450 miles away!
What would you do differently?:

Not really sure. Maybe could've gone a little harder but I'm OK with what I did. More than OK, actually. This was a PR for this distance on the bike, better than my Syracuse bike and better than the bike time I put up in a half distance aquabike last year and better than any training ride of the course/distance.

Wear better fitting toe covers seeing as they don't fit my tri shoes the same way as they do my regular bike shoes.
Transition 2
  • 06m 12s

I was feeling good coming off the bike, mentally and physically. I trotted/walked to my spot, removed helmet and changed shoes. I think I remembered to take my gloves out of my shirt, LOL! I grabbed my race belt with drinks/gels and the belt that had my number on it and put these on. Grabbed my hat and off I went!

I needed a 'comfort break'. The line was only one deep, thankfully. When I came out I stopped for sunscreen slathering by a volunteer which took a bit of extra time, but worth not getting scorched.

EFP had his head in his phone and didn't see me go by so I yelled, "Goodbye!" at him. He looked up and attempted to get a picture but failed miserably. He's not so good at this race photography thing!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I needed to pee and I needed sunscreen, didn't want to burn.
  • 2h 49m 25s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 12m 56s  min/mile

The run, ah yes, the run. Started out ok, I took it easy going down the hills as not to aggravate my knees that early into it. After it flattened out (as much as that area flattens, lol), I alternated walking and running to alleviate a hot spot I was noticing in my left foot where it often happens. On River Road I tried to run more steadily with less walk breaks but I noticed the tops of my feet kind of near my arch were strangely hurting and hurting pretty bad. At the time I had no idea why but later I decided it was how the toe covers from the bike had been pushing on my foot, aggravating the tendons and muscles. I honestly think I could've run more if not for that discomfort but as it was I alternated running and walking.

Nutrition: ate gels (I think 3? not sure), drank my water and Nuun. Felt a little bit queasy occasionally but nothing too bad and I'm not sure what was causing that. I thought about not eating in case that was the issue, but then my stomach would growl and I'd eat a V-Fuel.

At one point after turning around on River Road I realized my breathing was becoming a bit extra labored and I kicked myself for not having my inhaler with me. I really could've used another dose before starting the run. It also didn't help I was getting a bit emotional realizing that barring some extreme issue, I was going to finish my first HIM! I'd start thinking about running into the oval and crossing the finish line and my eyes would tear up and my chest would tighten and throat constrict. After doing this to myself numerous times, I said, "No more! No more imagining the finish, you can't breathe when you do!" It worked; I didn't allow myself to think about it until closer to the end.

I walked up the 2 bigger hills on the way back and just continued walk/run. With a half mile to go I decided I was running the rest no matter what and I did, smiling the whole way. What a great feeling! Saw EFP in the crowd in the oval as I neared the finish line. Just after that, the announcer read off my name. Big smiles and fist in the air! I made a tired/semi-pathetic leap as I crossed the finish line, still smiling so huge - I DID IT!

Gathered my medal and hat and for a split second was semi-annoyed at the attention of the volunteer at the finish line, then I remembered (from my own finish line catcher experience here in July) that he's just doing his job, that 's what he's told to do: stay with the athlete. All good!

What would you do differently?:

Have my inhaler.
Repeat: Wear better fitting toe covers seeing as they don't fit my tri shoes the same way as they do my regular bike shoes.
Post race
Warm down:

Reunited with EFP, looked for LT and was disappointed to not find her in the crowd. Eventually learned she was in town with her mom and her dad was getting her some pizza. EFP forgot to go get my bag back out of the car so he went to fetch it. I needed warm clothes and he wasn't wearing anything extra he could give me. While he was gone, I found LT and her family and her dad gave me his sweatshirt, yay!

Ate some pizza and mac & cheese from the athlete tent. In reality it could've been the worst tasting stuff but after eating gels and Nuun for 7+ hours, it tasted like manna!

Got my gear gathered up and we headed back to the house to get cleaned up. I was walking like a 90-year old woman by this point mainly because of my feet but also general exertion. Came back into town to meet LT and her family at Smoke Signals for a celebratory dinner. She had a great race as well, finally overcoming her long distance demons of cramping and GI issues. Smiles all around!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Already discussed most reasons but the other ever-present one is my weight. I'd surely be faster if I lost weight. I did manage to dump about 10 lbs but losing another 15-20 (or more) would be ideal. Next year!

Event comments:

A lot of DNS and DNF: 2908 were listed but only 2060 finished: 848 did not complete the event for whatever reason.

I'm very much looking forward to doing this race again in 2018!

Last updated: 2016-11-08 12:00 AM
00:42:28 | 2112 yards | 02m 01s / 100yards
Age Group: 65/175
Overall: 1034/2060
Performance: Good
Suit: ROKA Maverick
Course: The one-loop, counterclockwise swim takes place in Mirror Lake, a calm, pristine lake right in the heart of Lake Placid. It’s an excellent spectator course. The water temperature is typically in the high 60s to low 70s. The swim is an age group rolling start keeping all swim buoys to your left. Originally from:
Start type: Wade Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 62F / 17C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 11:22
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed: Below average
03:49:03 | 56 miles | 14.67 mile/hr
Age Group: 126/175
Overall: 1657/2060
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: The demanding one-loop bike course takes cyclists through the surrounding hills of the Adirondacks, culminating with the 11-mile climb up "the notch" from Wilmington back to the transition area located at the famed speed skating oval. Originally from:
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 06:12
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:49:25 | 13.1 miles | 12m 56s  min/mile
Age Group: 156/175
Overall: 1832/2060
Performance: Below average
Course: The one-loop course will challenge athletes with a tour through the city center. Runners head past the famed Olympic ski jumps, down to the turnaround on scenic River Road and then back up to the turnaround on the shores of Mirror Lake. Originally from:
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2017-10-19 3:25 PM

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Subject: Ironman 70.3 Lake Placid

2017-10-23 1:03 PM
in reply to: #5229932

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Middle River, Maryland
Silver member
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Lake Placid

Awesome race, Melanie.  Well executed.  Hope the feet feel better!

2017-10-23 2:02 PM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Simsbury, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Lake Placid
Dude that race was CRAZY cold at the start! You rocked it!
(and I usually stuff gloves down my bra when I want to take them off )

2017-10-23 5:37 PM
in reply to: #5229932

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Lake Placid

Great job!  That's some great riding on those hills & so hard to dress appropriately when I warms up so much.  

2017-10-26 10:48 PM
in reply to: #5229932

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Lake Placid
Oceanside was cold like this last April! I seriously put my wetsuit at least 45 minutes before the race started. I curled up into a ball in my transition spot and cried because I was so cold! The water felt so warm!

Glad you warmed up and had an amazing race!.

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