Ironman Lake Placid - Triathlon

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
75F / 24C
Total Time = 16h 05m 21s
Overall Rank = 2199/3000
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 355/
Pre-race routine:

I am going to write this so that not only my triathlete friends can benefit but also friends and family not crazy enough to do this can understand what the day was like.

This was my first Ironman(IM), and a year ago when I signed up for it, my main goal was just to finish and I was able to accomplish that. I did have aspirations of about a 60-90 minute faster finishing time which I feel signifies a little better where I stack up, however, as I learned there are many variables that come into play participating and finishing an IM and they reared their ugly head on raceday.

Don't get me wrong I am elated to have just finished because there were many who did not or had to be pulled off the course for either medical reasons or time cutoffs,

Three things hindered my time that I will explain further below in the report.
1) For some strange reason I lost 2 screws to a cleat on my left shoe which with 3 stops trying to find tech support and then eventually got it fixed I lost about 30 minutes off my bike time
2) In retrospect I noticed this around mile 40 on the bike and with the loss of power and having to climb the hills back to town, I loss power, I over worked my legs , especially the right one which really slowed me down further and the residual effects of this hindered my run later
3) After getting to about mile 6-9 on the run and seeing about 3 people being pulled form the course I decided to get ultraconservative to be absolutely certain I finished. I probably held back some on the run which probably cost me about 30 -45 minutes or so.

Therefore, I am happy to finish but probably left about 90 minutes out there.


I arrived into town on friday to register, and dropped bike off on saturday. I was pretty nervous as a first timer but the energy of the race was amazing in Lake Placid (LP). They had the course set up like we were all pros with banners, barriers etc. I realiuzed that this was going to be a special weekend.

Saturday Night: I went to bed about 9 pm to wake up at 2:11am, hoping to sleep till 330, but that was a NO GO. Got out of bed around 3:20 had 2 English Muffins with peanut butter, banana, coffee, and a gu packet and sipped gatorade-like.

Do to logistics of being about 25 minutes from our amazing rental outside of Saranac lake, my Dad drove me over to the race site to drop me off. It was amazing to see all the racers walking the streets with nervous energy.
Event warmup:

At the site I went to my bike to air up the tires, load the bike with the nutrition, then head over to Transtion bags with bike and run gear to place my athletelive tracker chip and other things I did not remember the day before. Then I had a pretty long walk up the hill to drop off special needs bags for the run and bike. For those reading this that are not involved in the sport, special needs is a bag that after halfway throogh the bike and run , you can access the bag. Typically people put food such as PB and J sandwiches, potatoes, clothing, extra tubes for the bike etc.

Went back to transition area to try to the bathroom and found a fellow guy (Bobby M) I swim with and met a few people. It was great to talk to other to forget about the nervousness.

Transition closed at 6am and the pros were starting around 625, so I started the walk to the water with wetsuit in hand. You get pretty hot in the suit so I wanted to wait to put it on. Ran into John graziano and newman on the pathway to the water, which again helped with nerves.

When I got near the water on the path it was a log jam of swimmers and spectators. It was wild with the famous Mike Reilly on the PA system, tons and tons of swimmers!!!!!!!!.........I put my wetsuit on and with all the nervous energy I put my heel through the suit ripping it. I had a 6 inch circumferential tear about 5 inches from the bottom....Was not happy but would not effect my swim, and I could fix after the race or if I finished I would possibly get another one .

The swim start unlike other years would be a rolling start with swimmers seeding themselves behind signs based on how they would finish the swim (under 1 hr, 1:00-1:10, 1:10-1:20 etc)........Since swimming is typically my slowest of the events I decided to seed myself in the 1:30-1:45 group....I figured I could swim 1:20 on a great day but probably 1:30......I could not get behind my sign so I stood off to the side and figured I would wait for the masses to move forward.

CANNON GOES OFF: this is the start of the race........the wave of people started to move forward as the time signs moved also. I hung back. I wanted to be towards the rear., Swimming in traffic is not fun as well as getting kicked and hit. I wanted to minimize this as much as I could but you can really not totally eliminate it with 3000 people in a reasonably small lake. As it cleared out I started to move to the left so that I could get to the outside of the group. The swim is a 2 loop counterclockwise loop, so I figured if I stayed to the left I would have clearer water but I needed to be on the left when I hit the water or I would have a hard time getting out there later.

I looked at the clock when I went under the arch and the clock said 6:50, so I knew at that point that I would have till 11:50 PM to finish within the 17 hours to be an official finisher. The crowd was going nuts and the music was blaring....I hit the water!!!!!
  • 1h 35m 41s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 16s / 100 yards

This was a slow time even for me. I typically can cruise around 2:00/100 yds, but in open water and race "stuff" I was really slowed down, but I can take it.

The beginning of the swim went just as planned. I was far left and I felt like I was swimming by myself. I did not have the underwater cable to follow to have a faster swim but essentially I was swimming unimpeded and since I primarily breath to the right I could see the buoys counting up 1-9 till the turnaround and then back again......most of the first mile was very relazing. There was more chop on the way back in so I swallowed a lot more water but I was doing ok....Was pretty relaxed. If you have not done a open water swim in a race sometimes your nerves can get the best of you. Some people panic etc. Around the last .2 miles, the real fast swimmers who started about 20 minutes before me were coming through and that was a interesting to see how fast they were. I believe a few female pros blew past me!!!! I tried to thow a line on their ankles but it did not work lol bummer..........I hate 2 loop course because you can taste the finish but you have to go back out or around again and this was the same here.....I looked at my garmin and it read 47 min......was not too happy with it, was hoping for 42-43 but it would not define my day, I still had a lot of work to do for the day and time really was not the goal.

On the second loop, this was a lot more uncomfortable. It seemed like everyone had my idea. There were a lot more swimmers going crooked, hitting me, and visa versa and now that the lake was churned up I was swallowing more water which was making me a little nauseous.

About halfway on the out portion I inhaled some water and had to stop swimming for about 30 sec to hack away and to stop the coughing reflex....I think I scared the rescue people because I made eye contact with one woman and she started to paddle towards me...I think since I was coughing she was worried that I was having SIPE symptoms and was in distress. I gave her the thumbs up signal just telling her I was OK, but just needed a second to clear my throat and get composed......the rest of the swim went on for an eternity and I never thought it was going to end......I was psyched to get out of the water and I saw my family with their shirts that resembled my tri kit ( outfit).....I was slightly emotional because this swim was one of the first obstacles that I needed to climb and 3-4 years ago when I got back into the water for my first organized swim workout I could barely go one length or 1 lap without sucking wind though a runner for most of my I had come a long way and the first part was done, and by the time I got on the bike I was feeling pretty good.

Anotehr thing different in an IM race is that they have Wetsuit strippers /peelers who help you out of your wetsuit. What was funny is the guy who works at the front desk of a tri store near my office helped me out of the suit and we both had they "What are you doing here?" look on our faces, eventhough he knew I was going to be here, since they serviced my bike lol
What would you do differently?:

Not much except maybe be a little more aggressive with my line and swim straighter to cut off some time, but I will work on this and swim speed in the off season

also maybe push myself harder in a race.....when I swim I tend to hold back.
Transition 1
  • 12m 21s

You run up a long barricaded pathway with sponsor banners. It makes you feel like a pro. You grab your bike gear bag which is racked and go to a changing tent. This process is what is very different to most triathlons. Typically you lay your gear next to your bike but not in an IM. There is a guy asigned to you to help you with your stuff, like a personal assistant. They talke your swim stuff and put it in the bag and rerack it where you picked it up...GREAT SERVICE, but I guess we pay for it!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, but I guess if I was really racing I could shave some time
  • 8h 01m 31s
  • 112 miles
  • 13.97 mile/hr

This is where all the fun begins (sarcasm)........I feel I was capable of a 7 hr bike split +/- but with my mechanical issue on the bike I lost at least 30 minutes and possible more due to the power loss and my legs suffered for later.

Leading up to the race I was a student of this course. Watching videos, reading race reports like this one, talking to people etc. Due to my schedule and not wanting to tax the family any further I did not get up here for a practice ride. I do not recommend this. If you can get up for a ride do it.

Coming out of T1 the roads were wet and you have a pretty steep hill to go down so you needed to be careful, but I was prepared for it so I took it slowly. The crowd support was amazing!!! cheering, costumes etc...worth mentioning now is throughout the day the crowds and support both on the bike and run was outstanding. People wearing costumes cheering, yelling things, making noise offering support was like nothing I had ever seen in a triathlon...this happened all the way till the finish!!!

The ride begins with some flat sections then the "Climb out of town:, this is a frustrating series of about .5-1 mile hills which you are going about 7-10 mph. These climbs as well as the ones later is like watching climbers climb to Mt. Everest......person after person in a line going slow. No climb are that hard/steep and with proper gearing and patience you get to the top but they are slow grinds. I knew to hold back and not expel too much energy. My mantra was to ride like it was a leisure sunday ride. After these climbs when you get to the Bobsled runs at the olympic park is the early section of the notorius KEENE DESCENT.......preceding the race I read stories about riding 50+ mph!!! is a section of around 6 miles on some of the most picturesque sectiuons of the course. Honestly, this section is overhyped and not as scary as advertised. Granted I tapped my breaks and rode it conservatively and reached 42 mph but easily stayed in a controllable 30-35 mph for much of it feeling safe..I rode using the technique I learned to come out of the saddle a little with my inner right thigh up against the top tube to add to the stability of the helped with some of the turns you had to make at high speed...there were some bottles on the road from other riders and the road conditions were choppy. The descent is actually 2 staged with the second section being a little steeper. This by far was the funnest part of the day.

You come into Keene there is a pretty massive crowd to cheer you on!!!!!! it was great!!!!...should also mention that throughout the course there were people having private IRONMAN parties like we would have fourth of july parties in their front yard to cheer!!!!!!!!!!!!! also the signs on the course, everything from sweet and nice to profound were great to spark a little humor in a tough day.

After you leave Keene there is a pretty big flat section that you can carry some speed on....on the first loop I was going around 22 mph and had to conciously slow down to be certain I did not burn out to fast especially since this was the first time doing this course and I knew I had a lot of climbing to do later on.

I forget the mile marker but there is about a 6 mile out and back for about 12 miles near wilminton....this has some small rollers but not too bad and it was great to see some of the riders on the other side of the road that got out of the swim faster than I. When I was coming back, Andy Potts a pro who was leading the race and is the defending champion was flying....he later past me.

The water stops on the course where like a party atmosphere with volunteers offering support, music etc......water, perform, bananas etc

You then make a right turn onto route 86 and this is where HELL begins. You immediately start climbing up this 1 mile or so hill (but I think in total it was 3 miles)in the lowest gear possible. This is where I realized 2 things: 1) I should have had a compact crank put on the bike because I needed 1-2 gears more so I did not burn out my legs as much 2) In retrospect this is where I noticed that my left cleat was slipping on my pedal.

For those unfamiliar the cleat is attached to the shoe then the shoe with the cleat snap into the pedal allowing you to be more efficient with pedaling. I was noticing that every 2-3 revolutions my heel seemed to slide decreasing the output of my pedal stroke on the left therefore I had to use my righ a little more. I was still clipped in so I just presumed since they were new cleats (I did use them a few times prior to the race) they were just a little loose.

So I do this climb which was harder than it should have been, albeit still hard with properly funstioning cleats.

There is a quick 1 mile out and back, which was pretty easy, but was still noticing my problem with the cleat which now was getting worse.

I made the turn back to route 86 for the infamous climb back to town. For the climb it is not a steady hill but a stair stepping hills with essentially no down hills except for maybe 2-3 withing the last 12 miles. Why it is infamous is that you really go slow and it is in the last 12 miles of the first loop and from mile 100-112 in the second grueling to say the least.....I had to pee so I pull over at the water station and I figured I could get a tech to look at my cleat since it was very bad at this point....well I nearly fell off the bike...I usually unclip with my left foot first well it did not release so thankfully I quickly unclipped the right before falling.

I will try to make this part short....I needed assistance to take my foot out of the shoe because 2 screws were missing from my cleat therefore there was not enough resistance to unclip!!! well no support was in sight but a vilunteer helped me off the bike, took my shoe off the bike and then tightened the remaining screw.....this would hold me over for a little while but was not going to be a permannent fix...this was about 5-10 minutes......

I noticed the pedaling was a little better but I knew It would fall out eventually and i was not going to take a DNF in this race especially with what happened in my last race......everytime I saw a marshall or anyione with the IM logo I yelled for support, they all said I was about fifth in line and would have to wait......since I could move forward I decided to chance it.

I worked my way up the hills and the bears which are the final hills with about 50% power in the left pedal while burning out my right was a low moment of the day.

I get to town and stop at special needs somewhat rambling my problem to a guy who tried to help but said there was no tech here...i figured if I get to the start finsih line.

I also knew my family was somewhere in the masses over the white barriers.

I found them and pulled over explaing my issue, while eating my sandwich and potatoes.....luckily after 5 minutes I yelled down a tech vehicle....he assessed the problem and withing 15 minutes he had me fixed for loop 2.......I had lost a lot of time...Like I said I had about 30-40 minutes of standing still time plus loss of effort on the bike, so going into loop 2 I knew my time split was destroyed so i had to swallow my pride and just finish

Loop 2 was like the first but harder and I was getting more tired......I saw several people with flats 1 guy lying on his back with his bike next to him. I asked if he needed help but he said someone radioed ahead..his day was done...saw some others not make it on the side of the road...or just other stretching etc..........

Honestly I am not sure how I got through those last 10 miles of hills, with all of the time lost and wasted effort on loop 1. But I got it done

I had many thoughts of the people who supported me for my charity, the people tracking me on myathlete live, family etc that I was not goint to quit!!!!!

I hate to sound so theatrical but I was either finishing or you would have to take me away by ambulance!!

I got done and headed to transition after seeing my family again and looked at the clock 430 PM ...Yes!!! I knew I could walk the entire marathon if I needed and finish...but wasnt planning on it
What would you do differently?:

train hills more and get up to LP for training.....just chalked my problem up to bad luck
Transition 2
  • 06m 7s

when I was going into the tent I could see about 6 people in the medical tent, not sure if their day was done
  • 6h 09m 41s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 14m 05s  min/mile

Leaving town in the first 2 miles I had to mainly walk and just eat and drink plus I was having some stomach issue. the bike and its issue really took its toll on my legs.....the fan support again was absolutely amazing. I was a little discouraged because many people were ahead of me but just tried to stay focussed on what I needed to do....about mile 2 I started to get into a run and was moving slowly but at least I was running.......around mile 6 or so I started the galloway method of running doing some 4 min run 1 min walk.......around this time however I notices about 3 people being pulled from the course . I do not know the reason but typically its either nutritional issue, stomach, effort level etc....this is where I thought to myself that my 14:30 finish is probably gone and I need to change my plan to make it 100% certain I will finish and swallow my pride. Iknew on a real good day I could be 13:30 an an average day 14-15 but with the hour lost on the bike I would be luck if I was in around 15-15:30, so I decided to slow my pace down even further with more walking breaks between the aid would destroy my time further but..I had to finish!!!! I did not want to let myself down nor the huge amount of friends, patients, and family who supported me....! I was not sure if I would ever be at mile 9 on the run again in an IRONMAN. I saw some familiar faces and my feet were burning and quads screaming on every step around mile 11.

I came into town saw my family, grabbed special needs. I had a low moment hearing Mike reilly calling them Ironmen at the finish when I still had 13+ miles to go and it was starting to get darker........on top of that it started to rain!!!!!!!.....overall the weather was pretty ideal for racing but Ithink this was the worse moment of the day......raining, hurting pretty bad, barely able to hold a run and knowing I had a few hours to go....the only thing that was good was I was not crampling and was moving was now getting real dark and only portions of the road were lighted....the volunteers where still incredible

I was drinking broth, cola, water and eating at every station....i had completely lost count of my calories........from my special needs I was munching on potato chips and shortbread cookies also....people were laughing at my bag but they have seen this before... I saw a 82 y/o triathlete on the Kona tv coverage eating poitato chips one year... around mile 17-20 I seemed to get a burst of energy and I was running about a 11 min mile at this time, very slow for a normal marathon but good for today

  • mile 19-20 I was with a goup of people telling stories, talking about the race etc...this helped for the time to pass a little bit quicker.

  • around mile 21-22 I was going from a run/walk pretty frequently with more walking than running I was running out of gas
    It was now pitch black but I could hear the noise from town. I knew it was not going to be pretty but I would get across the line.

    As I headed into town at the bottom of the hills I saw Matt Long the IM survivor story and author of his inspitrational story...he gave me a high five

    I had to walk up those last hills and went past the olympic oval where the last stretch to the finish line was and the finish chute is on the old rink eric heiden got 7 gold medals in the 80 olympic games...but i was not going to the finish I had to do an out and back first!.....I could taste the finish, but i needed to use my hands and arms with every step when I was on a hill because I could not gather the strength to push off.......once I turned up mirror lake drive for the last 2 miles, a 1 mile out and back I started to run again or I should say shuffle...the crowd was going nuts...passed the brewery with some intoxicated people yelling support......made the final turn to head back to town and saw Kelly R. from my Wildwood warrior group on long island who Gave me the last blast of support

  • The music got closer as I headed to the oval, my feet and legs were screaming but the whole time I knew it was going to happen.....I turn onto the oval and see erica and my parents (its about 10:50 at night) make the left turn and I am in the last 100 yds and the crowd was going nuts like I was some celebrity.........All I hear is from Mike reilly "Scott Leslie from Center Moriches new york (he mispronounced but who cares lol) you are an IRONMAN!!!".....I crossed and saw John G. also from my wildwood warrior group and John N. greeting me which was unexpected though I knew they were volunteering....they helped me afterwards with fuilds, food etc....I was elated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! could not believe after 1 year and 3+ years of training I finished
    Post race
    Warm down:

    I was hurting and could barely get up from a seated postion but knowing I finished and had a vacation out in front of me I was really happy.

    What limited your ability to perform faster:

    The cleat issue, the slowness because of it, and my over conservative nature probably cost me about 60-90 minutes but I finished!!!!!!

    Event comments:

    Great race and I am glad I chose an IM branded race as my first Ironman.......I will never forget this experience. The fans, volunteers and townspeople make you feel like a professional athlete and it was AMAZING!!!!

    I still cant believe it!!!!!

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    Last updated: 2012-08-02 12:00 AM
    01:35:41 | 4224 yards | 02m 16s / 100yards
    Age Group: 0/
    Overall: 0/3000
    Performance: Average
    Suit: xterra vortex3
    Course: 2 loop counterclockwise, out and back ,self seeded
    Start type: Dive Plus: Waves
    Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Medium
    200M Perf. Good Remainder: Below average
    Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
    Waves: Navigation: Average
    Rounding: Average
    Time: 12:21
    Cap removal: Helmet on/
    Suit off:
    Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
    Jump on bike:
    Getting up to speed:
    08:01:31 | 112 miles | 13.97 mile/hr
    Age Group: 0/
    Overall: 0/3000
    Wind: Some
    Course: two loop 56 mile hilly course. I will detail some sections below but the toughest sections is the 5 mile or so climb out of town, the turn onto 86 in wilmington and the last 10-15 miles......the problem with these sections is you have seem to spend a lot of time spinning going 7-10 mph which takes effort and you lose time. Be certain to have a compact crank and a 11-28 cassett on the rear....I did not have a compact crank and I seemed to need 1-2 more gears
    Road:   Cadence:
    Turns: Cornering:
    Gear changes: Hills:
    Race pace: Drinks:
    Time: 06:07
    Riding w/ feet on shoes
    Jumping off bike
    Running with bike
    Racking bike
    Shoe and helmet removal
    06:09:41 | 26.2 miles | 14m 05s  min/mile
    Age Group: 0/
    Overall: 0/3000
    Course: 2 loops...down hill in the beginning, uphill towards end with some small rollers, and maybe one hill near ski jumps.
    Keeping cool Drinking
    Post race
    Weight change: %
    Mental exertion [1-5]
    Physical exertion [1-5]
    Good race?
    Course challenge
    Events on-time?
    Lots of volunteers?
    Plenty of drinks?
    Post race activities:
    Race evaluation [1-5]