My first Triathlon
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Ironman USA Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman
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Lake Placid, New York
80F / 27C
= 14h 17m 51s
Age Group Rank
PRE RACE STUFF:
I volunteered for this race in 2005, my 2nd year of doing triathlons. After seeing the bike course, I recall being so intimidated by it, but still wanting to do this Ironman. Due to life circumstances, when it was time for the 2006 registration, it just wasn't a wise choice to commit to this race.
I arrived at Lake Placid early Thursday afternoon and drove straight to registration then checked into my hotel room at the Northwoods Inn.
As far as pre-race routines go, there is no magic warmup or psych games I play with myself, but I am going to go back to when I began my taper. I never felt quite rested for this race, and never had the "raring to go" mojo. I think this was a signal that Ironman Lake Placid should be my 3rd and final race for the season. I did Ironman Florida just 8 months before, and I was pretty tired
(I just "HAD TO" get an Ironman in for 2006 and life circumstances surrounding me during the short window for the IMLP 2006 race registration didn't make it a wise decision
). I really wanted Lake Placid to be my first, but it wasn't meant to be, but that's okay.
I won't lament over the bullshit about injuries, illness, life and work getting in the way of my training. I'm away for work 3-4 days/week, I get sick, and I get injured. That's just the way it goes, so I just do what I can, when I can. Rest if I'm tired, and sleep in if I'm sleepy. I also didn't pass up on rare once in a blue moon opportunities to experience life, nor special occasions to visit my family.
I didn't want to allow Ironman Lake Placid training to dictate my life
(especially because of the short window between IMFL and the good/warm weather days in the Northeast leading up to July - training should have been carefully planned and every workout counted
). In truth though, it was always in the back of my mind when I chose to sleep in as a result of sleepless nights in hotels, or due to long work days; when I took extra days off to fly out to family celebrations & drank a little too much; when I was in India marvelling at the Taj Mahal; when I was doing a little too much self-indulgent "recreational eating"; or even choosing which schedules I wanted to fly for the upcoming month.
Make no doubt about it, Ironman training for me was serious business and definitely demanded a lot of dedication and time. I am not a gifted or natural endurance athlete, and I have to put in the time, but I didn't want to obsess about it. So I tried my best not to.....which caused me a lot of anxiety and stress in the upcoming last 2 months leading up to the race. I second guessed my training which didn't resemble ANYTHING like my training for Ironman Florida.
This was going to a complete mental game for me. Small mantras helped me through my first Ironman race, my favorite being "Discipline, Patience, and Courage".
Discipline to do my OWN race, and stay mentally with it: think about my swim stroke, cycling and run cadence. Let the faster people go ahead and don't chase or try to keep up with the much older lady who just smoked me.....do my own race!
Patience: it's a long day. Be patient as I pace myself according to how I feel and how I trained. There's 140.6 miles to cover....be patient, do my own thing the way I know how to do it, and the course will come to me and I'll tick the miles off one by one. Be patient. It'll happen.
Courage: opposite of cowardice. I hate that word: "COWARD". I can do this...I'm not a coward when it comes to pain. Besides, courage is a BIRTHRIGHT, isn't it?
This time around, my mantra also included DEFY SUBMISSION. Or DENY Submission. I refused to give up on this race until someone pulled me off of the course or took my chip off of me for not making the cutoffs. I knew the bike was going to require a lot from me and I had to be smart and mentally strong to keep it together.
I have slowly evolved away from the "I'm just happy that I'm just able to participate in this race" kind of weekend warrior, but I am developing a taste for wanting to be stronger & faster in my racing. So I really needed to keep myself in check for this race and ride at MY own pacing, and not chase down the 50-something woman with bad cellulite who smoked my ass on the bike
(yes, it did happen to me!
). Or pace the couch-potato looking guy on the run who was WAY faster than me. I had to be mentally strong.
RACE MORNING PRE-RACE:
Just before 5am, I met up with the CT Riff Raff
(Seth, Rob, Aaron
) who were staying at the Golden Arrow to go down and get bodymarked. Max joined us as we passed his hotel
) on the way. We got bodymarked and dropped off our bike and run special needs bags then headed back to our own rooms to get our wetsuits on and take care of last minute business. We met up again around 6:15 am to head to the swim start.
1h 12m 20s
01m 43s / 100 yards
Near the swim start, we found Pam, Polly and her husband and said hi to them, and good-bye to the CT Riff Raff's families
(my hubby was still in bed! LOL
) before we headed into the swim start. We had to walk over a timing mat to "check us in" for the start of the swim and race.
We waded in the water near the shore, contemplated where each one of us wanted to seed ourselves, and moved around. Aaron stubbed his big toe on a bunch of rocks and it started to bruise under the nail quickly. It ended up that Max and Rob seeded themselves towards the back, and Aaron, Seth and I towards the front of the middle, somewhat near the cable.
The race handouts said that there would be 3 flag lines and for us to seed ourselves accordingly. The first flag line would be for those anticipating a swim under 1 hour. The second flag line for those anticipating a swim of 1h 10m. The third flag line was for those anticipating longer than 1h 10m.
The flag lines weren't up.
I love the anticipation of the swim start. All the emotions I experience make me feel SO ALIVE!! I'm nervous at how long the day will be, how I KNOW I'll be kicked on the swim, how there will be some big time struggles along the way, how exhiliarating it will feel to listen to Mike Reilly say my name
(who still fucks up the pronounciation of my city and last name
), and how excited I was to be among people who I've had the chance to ride with and have them finish their first Ironman.
The music blaring over the speakers was motivating. After they did the National Anthem it became real. Time for business. But there was still a few minutes before the 7am gun, and they played Black Sabbath's Iron Man and that was it for me! I was ready! I pumped my fist into the air, grinned huge at Aaron and Seth, heard the helicopter overhead and waved at the camera........I was ready! Let's do this!
The gun went off. Here we go. Am I far enough up front? Too far behind? Did I seed myself okay? It doesn't matter - just swim! As I crossed under the flags for the start line, I saw the SCUBA divers below. They must have been filming because I figured it was waaay too early from the start for the rescue divers to be hanging out.
It was a big slugfest. Some athletes may differ with me, but we are all just trying to get from point A to B, and there's no getting around the fact that you will be kicked, pulled on, swam over - no one was being malicious. The first loop was 1.2 miles of constantly being shoved, kicked, being swam over, swimming over people.....it didn't feel like it thinned out. It literally felt like it was an exercise in keeping yourself from getting drowned. I was over the cable and this guy swam at an angle into me. The timing was perfect that his head went under my right armpit as I was stroking on my right side and as I pulled, his head went right down underwater as I pulled and rotated my body. It was great leverage for me, so it must have been horrible for him.
I stopped for that. We both stopped swimming and asked him if he was okay. He was like, "YEAH!!?? YOU??" I had to smile. He was in such good spirits to be racing today, even after I totally armpit drowned him. Its the spirit of Ironman. Then we started to get mauled by other swimmers and had no choice but to keep on keeping on.
I came out of the water on the first loop at 35 minutes. I was exhausted! I was tired from trying to maintain afloat and swim my own line in the big mix. My dream goal was 1:10 for the swim, but I knew I couldn't expend the same energy on the second loop. The second loop thinned out just a little more. Still crowded over the cable, and I swam over it. Wouldn't you know, everyone else had the same idea and I was literally getting shoved over as I swam off of the cable. It was unreal.
The second loop took me 37 minutes for a total swim time of 1:12. Fine. My thought was I just wanted to get out of the water in enough time to give me as much padding as I could get on the bike to make the 1:30 and 5:30 pm cutoffs.
I got out of the water and walked a little as I undid the neck of my wetsuit, took off my cap and goggles and stripped my wetsuit down to my waist. I looked for a stripper and probably should have gone further back into the line as I had waited a little bit for the same stripper I had my sights on. Some guy jumped in front of me and got his suit stripped. I was like back off, ass - that bitch was mine!
The distance from the shore of Mirror Lake to the transition area at the Oval is said to be about 1/4 mile. I jogged through it carrying my wetsuit careful not to trip on the carpet. That was my biggest concern at the moment - don't fall down and get carpet rash. The collective gasp from the crowd and subsequent laughing would haunt me in my dreams. It was then that I heard Tom, TC117 yell out my name from along the barricades. It was the first of many times that I'd see him cheering for us during the day.
I grabbed my Swim to Bike bag off of the rack and headed into the changing tent. I dried off as best I could and changed into my biking gear. The woman next to me was all bound up in her sports bra as she tried to get it over her wet body and she was yelling for a volunteer to come over and help her. I don't know why I did it, but I just spun her around, untwisted her bra which was all rolled up in the back and worked it down. 15 seconds....so what. She called me an angel. It's the Ironman spirit :
) So I finished my own gear change, left my bag on the floor for hoping the volunteers would do me right and hang it back up
) and headed out of the tent to get my bike.
A volunteer had my bike ready for me as I ran down the center of where all the bikes were racked. The volunteers were awesome!
7h 26m 40s
So this is where I had to be mentally strong. I didn't want to know how slow I was going and I set my bike computer to show my cadence and elapsed time so I could keep track of when I needed to fuel.
In the overall scheme of things, when compared to a field of triathletes, my swim time is stronger, my bike is the weakest and comparably slow in any given field, and my run......well, I just hold on until the race is over. At that point in a race, I'm at the end of the rope - and I tie a knot and hold on!
So I came out of the water with 60% of the age grouper field still behind me, and maybe 90% of those people behind me are going to pass me on the bike. That is very demoralizing, but I know it'll happen, so I have to mentally stay in the game and
ride my own race
. I'm waiting the whole time...waiting for Seth, Aaron, Rob and Max to pass me. Dave - Hudnick - passes me straight out of transition. It's good to see him. Aaron passes me after about 40 miles in that tough section back into town. Seth catches up with me for a while on the 2nd loop, but has to stop to pee and apply eyedrops often so I don't see him again on the bike. I see Rob and Max on the out/back section, and I also see Stacey there, who is well ahead of me. She rocks - she just competed a week earlier for Team USA in France.
The loop ends with this steep climb up Rte 86 into Northwoods Rd and specators are lined up on it cheering you on. It looks like sections of the Tour de France - they're great though. Talk about motivation to get your ass up the hill!! I keep telling myself to ride my own race -- don't get excited and try to hammer up it. Despite of the crowd's insane energy & the woman banging her drum, stay calm, smooth and spin up the hill....easy, easy, easy......
Shortly after this hill, named Papa Bear, are the Special Needs bags. I have a sandwich in there that I want to eat so I stop for my bag and enjoy my PBJ sandwich before continuing. I was keeping an eye on the time to see how much time I had before the first loop's cutoff time the whole time. I'm comfortably safe after the first loop, and have lots of time for the 2nd loop so I am relieved. I also realize that I am TIRED. I expected to feel some fatigue after 56 miles, but I am thinking I am more tired than I should feel.
The second loop should be interesting. I have to do this whole thing over again. I stop at the first porta potty on the loop and have to wait for it. In the second loop, I am falling into place with riders of my same ability and I am not being passed as much. The road is more clear on the big descent into Keene and I desperately want to get my bike to go faster than 50 mph, just once! Alas a biker decides she wants to hog up the road and not ride to the right. I have to feather my breaks in a turn so as to not crash into her or the oncoming traffic. Bitch. Going that fast, it is a little unnerving to have to pop out of the aerobars and get onto the bullhorns to get to your brakes. Shortly after, I check my bike computer as I take a sip of water and stand on my pedals to stretch. I discover I only top out at 46.7 mph. I think maybe if I had pedalled a little harder at the top of the hill and during the descent I could have hit 50 mph. It will have to wait for another time. Focus again - there's still a lot of riding to do.
Somehow I make it back off of the bike with plenty of time before the 5:30 pm cutoff. I see my husband who has finally decided to get out of bed and brave the crowds as I roll into the transition area. He tries to take my picture but the stupid digital camera takes too long, and he takes a picture of my back as I ride away back into transition.
I come off of the bike elated that I made the cut-off. I am on Cloud 9, but come crashing back to earth as I tell myself it's not over. There's a marathon ahead of you. The extreme highs and the extreme lows - this is Ironman. Drama.
What would you do differently?:
After the race and I looked at my splits for the bike I realize I did NOT ride my own race in the first loop. I went much faster than I had planned and it looked like I paid for it a little during the second loop, even with the stops I took.
There were PLENTY of volunteers in line waiting to take bikes and re-rack them. Well, there were PLENTY available by the time my sorry ass rolled back into town. One took my bike from me and I headed over to the porta potty before getting my Bike to Run bag from the rack.
There was lots of room in the changing tent by the time I got in there. I took my time to change into my tri suit for the run, change my socks, put a flask of Hammer Gel into my pocket, put on my bib with my first name on it, and put my visor on. As I adjusted my ponytail from my "bike helmet ponytail" to my "run with my visor ponytail" I realized my hair wasn't going to cooperate and per Amiine, I'd just have to fix it before I crossed the finish line. :
5h 21m 50s
12m 17s min/mile
So I started out on the run and I don't know if I talked myself into believing I didn't feel so bad, or if in fact my muscles were just glad to transition from biking to running muscles. It doesn't matter: focus.
My plan was to run to every mile marker and then walk for a minute. It served me well at Ironman Florida. With the exception of walking the two big hills - at the Horse Show Grounds and into town, I had planned to stick to that.
It worked well. Until the second loop when my watch died. MY WATCH DIED. How the fuck am I gonna do this now?? Well, looks like I had to count to sixty everytime I walked and just go by feel while I'm running. I get what I get for my mileage splits. So that's what I did. It was mentally exhausting....I have a habit of just keeping my head down and looking about 2 feet in front of me and forging on when runs get tough. When I pass everyone doing the race with me they call my name and I snap out of my daze. I feel bad that I am always last to say hi back. Hudnick passes and says hi. I keep meaning to ask Aaron how is toe is after stubbing it in the water. Stacey is strong and plugging along.
I am concentrating hard. Keep going. After sixty seconds, I run again, no matter what. How am I doing on the fueling plan?? Try to take in something! c2fd and isis54 are at the end of River Rd on the run. I give them hugs. I see KathyG and EmilyG in town. I give them hugs for cheering us on and hanging out. I see TC117 again and I ask him if he's sure he wants to do this next year. I see HotTamale, she cheers. I see Aaron and Seth's families volunteering at an aid station, and I see stumfossil and Polly volunteering too. Did I say how awesome the volunteers are? I see huskyboy and ask what he's doing on the other side of the barricade - he should be having as much fun as us today...he says he will sign up next year. I also see the guy who set me up on the Fitlinxx system at the YMCA in 2003 when I started to work out again. He cheers for me. I see him often at local races here in New England. He is proud to see me on the course forging on. I ask him if he's going to try this race next year too.....he says NO. I laugh. Somewhere along the run, oceanannie says hi to me. I am so out of it that it took me moments later to register what she said to me to realize who she was. My spirits are high when there are lots of spectators. On the out/back on River Road though, it's mostly just ourselves. Seth catches up to me again on the run and we chat for a while. He is having GI issues. How am I so lucky to just have a broken watch today??
I am running and it is still daylight. I am happy about that, so I can't be doing too terribly on my Master Plan for my run
(I had factored in 12 min/mi
). I get antsy though. I ask other athletes what time it is. They wonder why I ask since I am still wearing my broken watch, which incidentally is NEW. When my mind wanders, I formulate the email I will write to Timex about how shitty their Timex IRONMAN watch is. It got water in it on my swim, and died on the marathon of my IRONMAN. The sun disappears a little more than 20 minutes before I finish.
As I round the corner into the Oval for the finish line I see my husband again. I am happy that he's out here to see me because I know how much he's SO NOT into triathlons. He supports me wholeheartedly, but the fact that he has no interest in triathlons or big crowds, but comes out to the longest and most crowded ones means a lot to me. He later tells me about some woman who was crowding him along the barricade where he was waiting for me and how her cowbell and stupid kids were driving him fucking nuts. It means more to me than ever now that he stood there and took that kind of abuse.
As I round the corner of the Oval into the finish line, I check behind me to make sure no one is about to sprint in front of me and screw up my finishing photo. This is one photo I really wanted. No one is behind me.
But I forgot to fix my hair and I forgot to rip off all the stupid reflective tape off of me.
I jumped across the finishing line tape - exhausted but happy. I defied submission out in Lake Placid. There's nothing quite like finishing an Ironman. Even if Mike Reilly screws up the pronounciation of my town and last name.
What would you do differently?:
I am NEVER purchasing another Timex Ironman Sleek again. Quite possibly never another Timex product.....I don't care if they sponsor Ironman. Thier product SUCKS.
After I crossed the finish line, I got some food and then looked for my hubby. I didn't see him so I got my bike and took a finisher's photo with it. After I got my bags I ran into my hubby who helped me get all my gear back to the room.
I showered, put ice bags on my legs for a few minutes then headed back down to hopefully catch the finish Rob and Max. Aaron was LONG DONE, Seth was too close behind me to have found again, and I only caught Max's finish and found Rob as he rolled out with his gear after the race.
Regrettably, I didn't have the opportunity to meet all the other BTers here. Even if I do crumble into my own world on the run
(which is where you get to greet everyone
) it would have been nice to say hi.
Pics to be posted soon!
I have yet to do a race that compares to how organized Ironman is. Unfortunately when I went to pick up my Finisher's Certificate, it was MIA. :
When I finished, my hubby gave me a gift again. It was an approx 1ft x 2.5ft photo of the start of this race's swim as a gift. It's amazing - it was taken by a guy in the water right under the start flags just after the gun went off. You see the people in the far front about 7 people deep starting to swim and the people behind them, about to start swimming, and the people behind them still straight up and down in the water. It's actually funny looking closely at the picture of all the people getting whacked, and looks on some of the faces!
He left Lake Placid a day before me so he could make a dr's appt. When I got home he had a bouquet of flowers for me.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
"What limited my ability to perform faster?"
I said I wasn't going to lament about this one! In the end, it doesn't matter.
Because of the terrain in the Adirondacks, it was easy to let this course break me. To try to predict at any moment where I'd be in an hour would be too much since my speed/pace varied so much from the terrain, and watching myself perhaps miss targets could make me break. I just let the course come to me and stayed in the present and not worry about the upcoming hills I had to ride or run over. That was to be dealt with when the time came.
So now I have to go take care of things I've left undone over the last year and a half, starting with painting the shed outside. Pictures to be posted soon!
Last updated: 2006-07-30 12:00 AM
01:12:20 | 4224 yards | 01m 43s / 100yards
Ironman Instinct Full
2 loops in Mirror Lake
0F / 0C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:26:40 | 112 miles | 15.04 mile/hr
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:21:50 | 26.2 miles | 12m 17s min/mile
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]
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