Ironman USA Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
Ironman North America
73F / 23C
Total Time = 13h 31m 26s
Overall Rank = 1640/2611
Age Group = F35-39
Age Group Rank = 61/137
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 3:30 and felt surprisingly good. I had slept about 5.5 hours which is a ton pre-race for me. I made coffee and had one piece of sprouted grain toast with Nutella (yum) and PB. I couldn't get the second piece down and didn't stress it. Woke Mark up, grabbed the bags and headed out just before 5am.
Event warmup:

Isn't that what the swim is for? :) The walk to transition/special needs was warm-up enough for me.
  • 1h 29m 51s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 08s / 100 yards

Lake Placid is known for the crowded, brutal swim. The beach was full of people with a few sprinkled in the deep water treading. There was a huge gap between the treaders and the fast swimmers right at the start line. I didn't want to be caught in the beach mob so I picked a deep water spot pretty far over to the right and asked the folks around me for their goal time. We were all aiming for 1:25-1:30 so I felt good there.

The start was really congested but not violent like I expected. My biggest challenge was simply moving forward through the sea of bodies. I'm slow, but apparently some of the people around me embellished a bit because I had to swim over a lot of athletes to get moving. Because the lake is small you have to accept there will be some challenges in the beginning. At times I couldn't even take a stroke so I just floated on my stomach and waiting to get enough water to put my arm in.

I took zero hard contact on the first loop, nothing more than some small hits and kicks to my torso and legs. I had a lot of clear water (surprisingly) and being able to see the swimmers around you makes it so much easier to navigate. I felt good. I was at the first turn in no time and couldn't believe how well it was going.

When I reached the exit for lap one the clock said 53 minutes and I was floored. Anyone who follows my logs knows I didn't train for the swim this year (oops) but 53 minutes was way worse than I was expecting. I was disappointed. I would later find out the 10 minute Pro lead was still on the clock then which was a huge relief!

The second loop was totally uneventful. I took my first and only kick in the head and it wasn't so bad. I exited the water and saw 1:29 on the clock, I was thrilled. Only two minutes slower than IMWI and I didn't feel beat up at all.
What would you do differently?:

Go to the pool maybe? I have no excuse for my lack of swim training. I had serious issues with it this year and had gaps of 4+ weeks with no swimming.
Transition 1
  • 11m 12s

There is a bit of a run (about 250m) to the transition which I was happily able to run this time. I stopped for a quick hug and kiss from Mark, well worth the extra few seconds :)

My swim time seems to be a popular one so T1 was mobbed. It was dark and steamy in the tent and totally packed so I stepped outside and did my prep there. I patted my back dry so my sunscreen would have some hope of sticking, sprayed SPF 50 all over my body, put on my HRM, socks, shoes, helmet and glasses. I thought I had wasted zero time but my transition times are still slow in comparison to others.

Because it was busy I had to go get my own bike as well which was a little disorienting. Regardless, I still need to work on my T times - free speed!!!
What would you do differently?:

Move faster!
  • 7h 06m 6s
  • 112 miles
  • 15.77 mile/hr

I love this course. This was probably my 7th or 8th time on it and by far the strongest I've ever ridden the full mileage, but still a little slow. I held back because my legs were burning a little from the get go, likely due to my "taper" in Italy. It was also pouring rain for the first hour or so including a big downpour on the Keene descent. I had to really ride conservatively to stay safe as I'm not overly confident on the descent to begin with. Despite this I was passing people for once and that was a boost.

Nutritionally I nailed it. I didn't take anything in during the first 10 minutes just to let the system settle down from the swim. I started on the Gatorade Endurance and at 30 minutes had a small mouthful of Hammer Gel. I averaged one bottle of GE/Perform per hour and one serving of gel on the hour to supplement. I had one banana in two parts - half around mile 40 and half around mile 80 - just to satisfy the solid food craving.

I had planned to work the downhills and flats to my advantage based on where I've been comfortable and fastest in the past. I approached the hills conservatively, super easy gearing and comfortable effort. My Italy climbing paid off and I was handling the hills better than I ever have before. Another athlete commented on how comfortable I was on the big 86 climb, which meant a lot given how poor I've been in the past with my climbing skills. I still have a long way to go but I feel like I'm improving.

The new out and back was great, I really enjoyed it and kept my speed consistent. A big headwind made the last stretch on 86 a little challenging, but as we neared town the spectators increased so that helped. I stopped very quickly at Special Needs to get my caffeinated gel flask and a sunscreen reapplication and was off. I was averaging 16.1 as I started the second loop.

I did the descent much faster and really took advantage of the flat stretch on 9N on the second loop but was definitely losing some steam. It got really quiet as well so it was harder to push. I felt like the wind was worse on the second loop but still manageable. I was thrilled to clear the 3 bears and be heading back into town though. As I approached the dismount I saw Mark, I was not expecting him to be there. I stopped short of the dismount line and had to hobble over!

What would you do differently?:

I wanted to do sub-7 and about 15 miles into the second loop I knew it wasn't possible so I conserved energy for the run. The only thing I can do differently is keep biking. Keep working. I've been cycling for about 8 years but only really working at it for 3 so I'm incredibly proud of what I've accomplished. Italy was a huge confidence booster for me, I'm so glad I did it.
Transition 2
  • 07m 39s

Ok, a little better but still room for improvement! My feet were wrecked from the bike. I did the full 112 in soaking wet socks since I started in the downpour so by the end they were numb, pruned up and the toes were aching. As soon as a volunteer took my bike I just had to ditch the shoes. My feet hurt so much I had to walk through the gear bag area and all the way to the tent, losing a couple minutes. I also took a quick pee break. I had gone once on the bike, but was dying to go again and couldn't find any privacy on the last few downhills!

Once in the tent I was very fast - tons of body glide on my spongy, white feet; new socks - yay!!!; new shorts that fit nicer and have better seams; ditch the HRM; another coating of SPF; hat on and out the door.
What would you do differently?:

Change my socks at special needs so I could feel a little better coming off the bike. I hate losing momentum mid-ride so I skipped it. Those dry socks would have been like heaven in my shoes.
  • 4h 36m 38s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 34s  min/mile

What a dream marathon for me. Just 11 months ago I tore my plantar fascia and it blew my world apart. I hobbled my way back but only had 6 months of running under my belt with the first couple months being run/walking. Overall my training was ultra conservative the whole way. If anything felt off we pulled back and my longest run was 17 miles.

I started out feeling tremendous. My legs felt great and I did sub-9s the first couple miles. I knew it wasn't sustainable so I slowed down. My plan was to walk a few steps through every aid station and run in between, but in my excitement I ran through the first one so I really slowed it down at mile 2. I felt strong, my feet felt great and I was enjoying myself. My first split at 5.7 miles was a 9:27 pace. I couldn't have been happier. I was doing all liquid nutrition, alternating cola and sports drink at each aid station with an occasional broth to kill the sweetness. I started rinsing my mouth with water and spitting as the miles clicked on. After a sloshy stomach around mile 8 I had four small pretzels and skipped the fluid at one aid station. I attempted a cookie and only got half down as well so I went back to the fluids.

I hit the first round of hills like a pro, I jogged up super slow and got a lot of cheers from the crowd because I didn't walk. I wasn't trying to prove anything, but figured if I could "jog" it why not. I saw Mark on Main Street, a huge boost. I got a big hug and continued on. I stopped at Special Needs for some Aquaphor, I had terrible armpit chafeage happening. I had also packed this tiny little pecan pie thinking it would be soooo yummy to have as a treat. I grabbed it and ate it while finishing the Mirror Lake Drive out and back and while it tasted spectacular, my stomach revolted the minute I got it down. I battled a cramp for about two miles. I deserved it. I mean come on, a pecan pie in the middle of a marathon? My second split at 11.9 miles was at an 11 pace. Not bad with the hills.

I skipped about three aid stations toward the end as I was starting to have stomach pains and was just feeling broken down. I continued to run but was so looking forward to the aid station walks. I went through much more slowly to really enjoy the "rest" they provided. I was in pain for sure, every single foot strike shot pain through my legs, but all just regular "doing an Ironman hurts" sort of pain, no foot issues. In fact my feet felt better than the rest of me. In a regular marathon I start to really hurt around Mile 18. In this one, I was hurting at Mile 8. You really have to dig deep and power through.

I walked the last big hills, I was totally out of steam. I saw so many people - a couple tri club folks, Swishyskirt, Whizzzzz, JorgeM. Every single one of them helped. The boost I would get from a familiar face was incredible. I love this about Ironman.

As I made my way back down Mirror Lake Drive I was flooded with emotion. I thought about my 7+ hour marathon at IMWI and how badly I wanted that finish and here I was, just 4.5 hours into the marathon and I could hear the finish just around the corner. I started to cry and had to cover my face because it was so overwhelming. I was caught between the biggest smile I think I've ever had and the biggest wave of tears. I picked up the pace and by the time I hit the oval I couldn't feel my legs at all. I was running a sub-9 according to my Garmin and I high-fived anyone willing to touch my filthy hands. I went back and forth along the chute until I hit the straightaway to the finish and then just focused ahead. I heard Mike Reilly say my name - that's two for two!

There was still daylight and I felt incredible. This run was everything I wanted last year and I couldn't believe I did it.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. This was incredible for me.
Post race
Warm down:

I found Mark right away, got a photo, drank some water and had some pizza and a small sandwich. He had already claimed my bike and gear bags so we went straight to the LP Brewery! Whizzzzz and Core joined us, they were sitting at the finish waiting for me and had totally missed me! I had two Ubus and a burger and felt amazing.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My training was not ideal. I had the injury to contend with but also faced a lot of work/life scheduling challenges that forced me to miss a lot. I barely swam, but I biked a lot and I did what I could running wise. I was trying to prove you can have a normal life and race IMs. I'm not the fastest one out there, but I set a killer PR and had a great time doing it, plus I had that life I so desperately wanted, including a 12-day cycling trip to Italy during taper! I have no regrets. This race was perfect.

Event comments:

Lake Placid is a special place for me. We do vacation weekends there as often as possible and there is no better place for cycling in my opinion. I think the race is outstanding, but I don't think it has the same spirit of fun and energy that IMWI does. We'll see how I feel the second time around in WI, perhaps it was first-time IM excitement and not the venue. I'll reserve my pick for the best until after September 12 :) Overall I was thrilled. If this race were a month or two later I'd likely do it yearly, but I just don't have the discipline to train for an IM in February!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-09-23 12:00 AM
01:29:51 | 4224 yards | 02m 08s / 100yards
Age Group: 101/137
Overall: 2227/2611
Performance: Average
Suit: Blue Seventy Helix
Course: Two loops in Mirror Lake with a short run on the beach in between. Narrow course, almost feels like an out and back instead of a loop.
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 11:12
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:06:06 | 112 miles | 15.77 mile/hr
Age Group: 71/137
Overall: 2000/2611
Performance: Good
Wind: Strong
Course: Two hilly, beautiful loops. One of my favorite rides of all time.
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering:
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 07:39
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:36:38 | 26.2 miles | 10m 34s  min/mile
Age Group: 61/137
Overall: 1640/2611
Performance: Good
Course: Two out and backs, lots to look at and distract you along the way. A couple killer hills that reduced most athletes to a stroll.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 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