Ironman USA Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
Ironman North America
niceF / 0C
Total Time = 10h 59m 55s
Overall Rank = 309/2600
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 54/256
Pre-race routine:

"Which are you more nervous about, your first Ironman on Sunday, or getting married on Wednesday?" You kidding? Neither! They should both be a blast. And they certainly were. I just wish there was as much dancing at the Ironman.

Big hugs to Dan (marvarnett) and his uber-positive crew for putting us up at their rental house for Thursday and Friday nights. The boys from Alabama + Georgia were a riot! I could've listened to them read the phone book they were so entertaining. This one guy I talked to, Casey Fannin, is an ambassador for XTERRA and multiple AG winner at the XTERRA World Championships. The seed is planted. Must return to the woods. You know, AFTER this little race.
Event warmup:

Even now I'm trying to drum up some deep, sticky emotion about the race, to reinvent it as this momentous event that reshaped my existence. But like Sam's promise to Large that The Shins will "change your life" in Garden State, it's just a joke. Because races are supposed to be fun. No more, no less -- just a big party to celebrate all the hours in the saddle exploring the Michigan countryside, all the steps up and down dirt roads listening to the birds sing their hearts out, and all the strokes across Trout Lake, soaking in the beauty of solitude.

Before the race, Alaina and I took our Special Needs bags what seemed like a mile down Mirror Lake Drive, then waited in the most popular line of all pre-race. And we saw Whizzzz and Coredump there! Those two are so cute they make golden retriever puppies puke. We were running so late post-potties that the pros were starting and we weren't even in the water. And trapped on the far side of the swim start, we bullied our way into the water and saw we needed to get to the other end to go over the timing mat. So, with wetsuits in hand and panic in our hearts, we thrashed our way to the start with 2 minutes till the cannon.

After crossing the timing mat, I was neck deep in water scrambling toward my perfect swim spot when I realized my timing chip was loose and falling off my foot. Adjusting it with one hand, I felt that sucker slip away into the abyss and I became Gollum watching my precious swallowed up and fighting the urge to not go down after it. Must not panic, must find some calm before the chaotic piranha attack I'd been warned about. Uh, yeah right.
  • 1h 07m 26s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 36s / 100 yards

Remembering that all I needed to do was swim my swim and deal with the chip when I got out, I sunk my face in the water and breathed out. The crowd of people I expected was not there. Huddled masses were waiting on the shore, and plenty of others were well behind my 2nd row position. I was pretty far to the right and underwhelmed by the bodies ready to pummel me.

Then the strangest thing happened. I had a contact-minimal swim. Me. Who hates getting punched and kicked and scrummed with in the water. Who has had full-fledged panic attacks at other tri swim starts. Clearly, it was going to be a very fun day.

Mirror Lake was so clear that I could see where there was open water, and I just swam into that. It was awesome! Sure some people grabbed my legs, but whatever, then they went around. A couple of dudes groped my butt, but who am I to judge?

The second loop was just as good as I stayed a little closer to the buoy line and just enjoyed the feel of water on my arms, gliding along at a steady effort, never pushing it too hard.

When I got out it took around a minute to scream to people that I needed a chip and give them my name, so in fairness it should've been a 1:06 swim, which is right on for what I've been training. The easy part over, it was time to take it even easier on the bike.
Transition 1
  • 06m 29s

Heads of spectators were packed in down the chute to T1, which admittedly was pretty sweet with all the cheering. The suburban-garage carpet they put down over the asphalt was pretty cush too. So that's where my $500 went... ;)

Change tent went as expected. Some people were changing everything but their religion in there.

My tri shorts are getting on in years with the pad going the way of the dodo, so I slathered on enough Chamois but'er to cover a healthy gorilla, which scared one volunteer who exclaimed, "Oh my GOD #298, what happened!?"

What would you do differently?:

Is anyone opposed to using segways to get through long transitions?
  • 6h 02m 13s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.55 mile/hr

I love this bike course. With amazing views of the mountains, ripping river gorges just off the road, smoother than whipped cream flat stretches, Christmas scented air, long climbs, and a TdF style crowd-lined chute at the end, this ride was more fun than I even imagined.

As planned, I sang songs to myself, smiled and giggled at people (and myself) for entertainment, chatted with everyone passing me by, and generally had a good laugh the entire time.

My LYC watt gadget that I'm hereby naming Ariel a la Little Mermaid showed me when I went over 200 watts, so I dialed it back and did some sightseeing. The chamois worked wonders, for I was incredibly comfortable, even after 80 miles.

I was so disciplined on this ride that I should've worn a habit and brought a rosary. I held back so much fearing a fitness bonk that I almost fell asleep riding the bike. I was so conservative that Glenn Beck is now riding my coattails.
What would you do differently?:

Push it harder on the second loop.
Transition 2
  • 02m 2s

Fewer pork and beans moments in the change tent this time. That's nice.
  • 3h 41m 46s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 28s  min/mile

1. (adj.) characteristic of something that's messed up: Johnny got his diaper all bunked up after eating chorizo omelettes.
2. (v.) to mess something up: Ryan totally bunked this run up bad.
-etym. These dudes we stayed with from Alabama before the race.

Maybe it would've been better to hammer the bike a little, because then I wouldn't have all this hope for glory on the run. My legs felt like they had done absolutely nothing the whole day, so I bunked this marathon by making a mistake so classic, so overdone, so cliche that in a modern production of Faust, even the fair Doctor wouldn't fall for a ploy so ridiculous.

I went out too hard.

The run starts off going down a long hill, so it's just easy to let this part hammer at your legs, which I knew better than to do, but did it anyway. For the first 6 miles I was going at what seemed like an easy effort but was way too fast, for I was passing people left and right. The pics from this section are great, all cheshire cat, two thumbs up, high steppin' it up the hills. The Greek chorus must've been having a field day.

My family and Alaina's family were out in full force on the course. They even made these bright green shirts that had triathletes in wedding + tri attire on the back which got them big points all day. Best part of the day award goes to seeing them 2x on the run course.

Coming down the hills on the second loop, I hadn't even a sniff of the pile that was coming. And then around mile 16 my legs started getting a little stiff. No problem, down a few salt sticks, grab some powerbar/ade/ironmanwhatevah stuff, take a Gu, we'll be floatin in the gravy boat right to the finish. Didn't work. Mile 18 hurt a lot, and 20 was worse.

Here I dipped into that bag of HTFU looking for my "Badazz Mofo" wallet, but instead found a giftcard to Cramps Unlimited. The groin was first to go, gripping me deep where Jacob beat on the angel, then went the hamstrings and their guitar string twang. Finally, even the calves cramped up and Achilles let out a belly laugh. I saw Alaina looking awesome and we encouraged each other, but I think she knew my ship was sinking. I took somewhere around 12 salt stick tabs from miles 14-24 to fight off the cramps, but none on the bike, so probably too late.

After the race my family said they weren't sure I was going to make it when they saw me from the "hot corner" before my last out-n-back on Mirror Lake Drive. I wasn't so sure either. It was an awfully long 2 miles. As the idea of going sub-11 shuffled out to sea like Edna in The Awakening, some guy, maybe he was just in my head, but he said if I could hold 8 m/m I could still break 11. Time to dig deep like freckle face, and run with my heart like dick dime.

Saw the family one last time before the oval, and just as I turned the corner, cutting it sharp I saw 10:59:40 on the clock with 400m to go. I heard Mike Reilly say something about here comes the last person under 11 hours and I got this turbo jet under my feet. The crowd was thunderous as I sprinted the finish and I think I heard Reilly call my name as I did my best Cannibal Corpse impression, screaming at the finish with 5 seconds to spare before 11:00. Wahoo!
What would you do differently?:

Go out easier on the first loop. Two days before the race I realized I didn't have a plan for the run. On race day, I still didn't have a plan. It showed.
Post race
Warm down:

Didn't feel so great, so I visited the med tent and they gave me cup after cup of chicken broth. I chatted with the nurse there who kept asking me puzzling questions that my moldy brain could just barely figure out.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Pacing the run and the bike. It's a long day, so I'm pretty happy. I agree with Springsteen. It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive.

Event comments:

IMLP is a great race. The volunteers are the very best that I've ever been around. The course is beautiful. The spectators cheer themselves hoarse. And I love love love the Adirondacks.

That said, I won't do this race again for a long time. There are so many other IM courses out there that I'd love to do, especially the local, non Ironman branded ones that I can't see myself doing this again. Being my first IM, the big show/spectacle was pretty cool. But I don't need it to enjoy my race. Fini.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-08-24 12:00 AM
01:07:26 | 4224 yards | 01m 36s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/256
Overall: 0/2600
Performance: Average
Suit: 2XU Sleeveless
Course: 2 loop swim in gorgeous Mirror Lake
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 06:29
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:02:13 | 112 miles | 18.55 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/256
Overall: 0/2600
Performance: Average
Course: 2 loops on a course so gorgeous you better strap your Sidis on extra tight or risk getting them socks knocked clean off.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 02:02
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
03:41:46 | 26.2 miles | 08m 28s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/256
Overall: 0/2600
Performance: Average
Course: 2 out-n-backs on some sweet hills.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4