Ironman USA Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
Ironman North America
65F / 18C
Total Time = 11h 15m 57s
Overall Rank = 365/2345
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 72/387
Pre-race routine:

This is the second time I've done an ironman, with both being here at Lake Placid. I felt more relaxed and focused in the days leading up to the race, although the race morning nerves were pretty high.

I woke up at 4:30 for breakfast. Walked down to transition to drop off my bags, but then decided to walk back to our condo (which was only a few minutes from the swim start) instead of pacing around with 2000+ other athletes. Plus the lines for the bathroom were definitely shorter than at the portapotties :). At 6:30 I hugged Jen and my daughters and made my way over to the beach. Ran into Mike (MikeJ), Fred (Pennstate), Lauren (LaurenSU02), and Allison (oceanannie) and wished everyone luck.
Event warmup:

Yeah, right.
  • 1h 14m 11s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 46s / 100 yards

Welcome to the steel cage, no holds barred, swim beat down of death! Actually, I had been more worried about the swim contact than I should have. When I did this race in 2006, I swam on the inside of the buoy line and had some contact, but it wasn't that bad. Last year I watched the race, and the contact and bodies piling up looked way worse than I remembered, so I had myself pretty psyched out about this swim. I decided to start over to the right this time, which worked out pretty well. There was a lot of contact and bumping, but I never was actually hit or kicked.

So I planned to start over to the right and swim a diagonal line to the turn buoy 1000 yards away, but the first leg of the swim went so quickly that all of a sudden I looked over and saw the turn buoy about 40 yards to my left, so I had to swim a little extra. The turns were very crowded, but I made it and then started down the backstretch. I had thought that I might try to follow the buoy line on the way back, but I ended up further to the right again, which was fine. I was able to sight of the jumbotron back on the beach, since it was overcast and the screen looked very bright.

I hit the beach at 36 minutes and was pumped - my goal swim time was 1:15, so I knew that I was off to a good start. We walked back into the water, around the dock, and out onto the second loop. This time I did stay just to the left of the buoy line most of the way to the turn, and then swam a bit more wide coming back. There was still some occasional contact, but more of someone hitting your feet as they swam up on you.

During the last part of the swim I began to notice that it was raining heavily - if you can notice rain while swimming, then you know it must be coming down pretty hard...

Finished the swim at 1:14, ahead of my goal for today and nearly six minutes faster than 2006, and my day was off to a great start.
Transition 1
  • 05m 57s

The transition at Lake Placid is very long, as you have to run from the beach back into town and into the olympic oval. I flopped down and let the wetsuit strippers do their thing, then took off running, passing people left and right in the transition chute. Grabbed my bags, went into the tent, made quick work of getting my shoes and helmet on, and then raced out into the bike racks and then off to the mount line.

3 minutes faster than 2006.
  • 6h 04m 28s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.44 mile/hr

So we started out on the bike into some pouring rain. By a few miles in my socks were soaked and there was water pouring out of my shoes, and the heaviest rain was yet to come. I remember thinking how ridiculous this seemed, with thousands of us out there riding for hours on end in the pouring rain, but I checked my attitude and decided to just take the course section-by-section and not think about just how long we'd be out there.

As usual, I was passing a ton of people up the first hills out of town. My pace was good, and I wasn't working too hard. Finally made it to the Keene descent and had a pretty wild ride down. It was pouring, the road had water running across it, and there we were bombing down at over 40mph. I maxed out about 43mph on the first loop, although I was riding the bullhorns so I could be near my brakes just in case. I wasn't wearing my sunglasses since I couldn't see out of them anyway, so the rain pelting my face and eyes at that speed was really intense, and I was squinting to try to minimize the pain to my eyes.

The rest of the first loop was pretty uneventful (although wet - did I mention it was wet :)?). I kept the pace reasonable, and spent plenty of time in my small chainring even though I could have pushed the gears a bit more. I rode back into town up the hill named "papa bear", surrounded by hundreds of crazy, screaming people standing in the rain and cheering us on, and then rode back into town and saw my family and Darryl and Sarah as I passed through.

I finished the first loop in 2:53, a little faster than I had anticipated given my goal time of 6 hours.

As usual, the hills felt twice as hard the second time around, but I just kept cruising. The rains became even heavier during parts of the second loop, but I just kept cranking. I started relying on some easier gears, since I was feeling fatigued and wanted something left for the run, plus I thought my goal of a sub-6 bike split was easily in reach. I even decided to make a bathroom stop at the end of Haselton Rd., since I figured I had a few minutes to spare. Unfortunately, the final 11 miles of climbing back into town really started to drag, and I ended up missing the 6 hour goal by a few minutes.

13 minutes faster than 2006.
Transition 2
  • 02m 52s

I hit the dismount line and the volunteers grabbed my bike and took it away. I started to run around the concrete oval to the tents, but realized that was too painful and slippery, so I stopped for a few seconds to take off my bike shoes, and then ran in my soaking wet socks to get my bag and enter the tent. A volunteer held my bag while I grabbed a new pair of socks and threw on my running shoes, and I was on my way quickly.

1:30 faster than 2006.
  • 3h 48m 31s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 43s  min/mile

Took off out of T2 feeling pretty good and screaming to the crowds lining the street. I was back on my feet where I belong :). The first mile of each loop is largely downhill, so I hit mile 1 in 6:45, but then settled into about 7:15-7:30 for the next 3 or 4 miles. I had a stretch goal of running a 3:30 marathon, so my plan was to try to maintain about a 7:30 pace for the first loop. I had also planned on only stopping at every second or third aid station.

By mile 5 or 6, I started slowing down and realizing that I would need to re-adjust my plans, so I slowed down a bit and started hitting aid stations more frequently. By mile 10 or so I was hitting a real low spot mentally and physically, as I was working much harder to just keep running and starting to think about walking in between aid stations, but I kept running. I passed Dan and we both mentioned how much we were hurting. I hit the last big hill up to Main St. and started feeling a little bit of a stride again, and then hit the Mirror Lake Drive out and back and saw my family, which was a definite boost. Also saw Julia (juliapurr) running the other way - she looked tired but was moving well - I never did catch her :).

I finished the first loop just over 1:45, and started back down the hill for the second loop. At this point I started feeling a little better mentally, and felt that the strategy of running from aid station to aid station would get me through this. I saw Fred coming back from the turnaround and realized that he had a huge gap on me and was looking really strong - he had an incredible first ironman. I also saw Mark (rollinbones) running the other way on River Rd., and he also looked like he was running well in his first IM.

The miles started rolling up, and by the time I had made the turn and was coming back on River Rd. I was getting closer to 20 miles and realizing that I would finish this thing. At this point I was working to stay under 10 minute miles (including 30 second walk breaks at the aid stations), but I was feeling positive that I was going to finish well. I ran every hill, including both of the ridiculous hills on the return part of the loop. This were some of the hardest moments I've ever had while running - everyone around me was walking, but I was determined to keep running. Pushed hard to get up to Main St. and then up Main St., and then once I made the turn onto Mirror Lake Drive for the last out and back, the euphoria started to hit. I was soaking wet, exhausted, and feeling like I had been run over by a truck, but I was still running, still pushing, and still persevering. My mantra through the last part of training and for today was something Aaron had written on BT about the ironman experience: Grind - Fight-Suffer-Persevere.

Just after the final turnaround a guy pulled up next to me and thanked me for pacing him for the last few miles. We ran together back down Mirror Lake Drive, and then made the wonderful right turn to head to the finish. He said he would back off once we got into the oval so I could have a good finishing picture, which he did, plus once I made the final turn I kicked into some adrenaline-crazed stupor which had me running hard, pumping my arms in the air, pointing to my family on the hill overlooking the finish, and screaming as I splashed through the massive puddles down the finishing stretch. I ran through the tape feeling incredibly proud.

11 minutes faster than 2006.
Post race
Warm down:

Crossed the line, got wrapped in a space blanket by a very supportive catcher who really held onto me while we walked through the finisher's swag area. She asked how I was feeling and I said "not too bad", but she misheard me and said she wanted me to go to medical. I repeated what I had said and she let me go. Went over and had some crappy pizza for a few minutes before reuniting with the family and retrieving all my gear so we could get back to the condo and get into a hot shower (which felt awesome). Jen and I later returned to the finish to see the later finishers.

Event comments:

What a day. It was a very different experience than 2006. Between the weather and the fact that I was pushing harder than I did last time, this felt like more of a real test of my limits, both mentally and physically. I pushed and fought my way through today, and even though I didn't meet my ideal goal for this race (sub-11 hours), I'm thrilled with the result. I beat every time from 2006, and it feels like the work and sacrifice that I put in this year was all worth it.

Thanks to everyone who supported me, from my wife, girls, and all my family, to training partners, to all the people on BT that inspired me both online and in-person.

So the final breakdown (2008 vs. 2006):
Swim: 1:14:11 vs. 1:19:49
T1: 5:57 vs. 8:59
Bike: 6:04:28 vs. 6:17:12
T2: 2:52 vs. 4:22
Run: 3:48:31 vs. 3:59:51
Total: 11:15:57 vs. 11:50:11

Age Group Rank: 72/387 vs. 120/279
Overall: 365/2345 vs. 614/2156

Profile Album

Last updated: 2007-08-13 12:00 AM
01:14:11 | 4224 yards | 01m 46s / 100yards
Age Group: 226/387
Overall: 1199/2345
Performance: Good
Suit: Blue Seventy Energie Fullsuit
Course: 2 rectangular loops.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 05:57
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
06:04:28 | 112 miles | 18.44 mile/hr
Age Group: 138/387
Overall: 643/2345
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: 2 loops with some fast downhills and grinding climbs.
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:52
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
03:48:31 | 26.2 miles | 08m 43s  min/mile
Age Group: 48/387
Overall: 230/2345
Performance: Good
Course: 2 loops, with two obnoxious hills on each loop.
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?
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5