Spoiler Alert: I AM AN IRONMAN!
Okay, please don’t be mad, but I’m breaking this race report into two posts since it’s going to be a long one! 140.6 miles is a long way and thus leading to a lot of my ramblings of the day.
I headed to Lake Placid on Friday. I made the long drive solo listening to books on tape to make the drive go by faster. I arrived in Lake Placid about 2pm. As I drove into town I could already feel the energy of the town as more and more athletes arrived. The energy prior to an Ironman event is amazing. Lake Placid is such a magical place during Ironman week!
I immediately found a parking spot on a top of a giant hill and succeeded to head down to athlete check-in. I showed my ID, signed my life away to WTC and the State of New York, got weighed in (totally should have peed first!), got my numbers and my wrist band. I was officially checked in! Ahhh! I then headed down to the Ironman store tent to pick up my backpack. Funny how WTC placed the backpack pick up in the store tent… not like they make enough money off of us or anything….
I quickly walked back up the giant hill to grab my wetsuit and walked down to Mirror Lake for a quick swim. The water was the perfect temperature! And completely wetsuit legal! I got in a quick 25 minute shake-out swim and felt good. I passed a bunch of guys out there on the swim who started before me so I felt pretty confident that I would have a decent swim.
After the swim I headed down to Wilmington where our hotel was located, The Hungry Trout Resort. I wouldn’t say it was a resort, more like motel, but it was decent. The beds were actually super comfortable and it was kind of nice to stay outside of town. Mary, my coach, and her daughter Jordan showed up shortly afterwards. We all settled in and then headed back to town for me to attend the Mandatory Athlete Meeting in the ice arena. It was super cool to be in the same ice arena where the 198o “miracle on ice ” occurred when the USA hockey team beat Russia to take the gold medal! I arrived a bit early and listen to some of the welcome dinner inspiration prior to the meeting. When I arrived there was a group of athletes up with Mike Reilly talking about their Ironman journeys. One young girl was from Newtown, CT and said that this race for her was for all the victims of the shooting. I teared up.
We had dinner at The Dancing Bear. It was fun to look around to see who had little blue bracelets indicating they were athletes. So many super fit and lean people around on expensive bikes! A bit intimating at times! Saturday morning I slept in to 7:30. I got up and started organizing my bags and getting my bike ready for bike check-in. I had organized my various bags prior to leaving home on Friday. I put items in their own paper bag so all I had to do is dump the items into their corresponding transition bags. We then headed into town for a giant breakfast. It was certainly the highlight of my week! Pancakes and a breakfast sandwich. Yummy! I dropped Azul off in transition for the night. She got a professional photo shoot prior to her entrance into the Olympic oval. I guess WTC wants to make sure everyone goes home with their correct bikes or something.
After check-in, it was back to the hotel for bed rest until dinner. We had an early dinner at the “resort” and then an early bed time. I was in bed by 7:30. I didn’t sleep too good that night. I spent a lot of it tossing and turning, but I figured this would happen so I made sure to get a lot of sleep the week before the race.
My first alarm went off at 2am! Yikes! I got up. Drank an Ensure and had a few handfuls of pretzels. Back to bed. More tossing and turning. Second alarm went off at 3:40am. This time it was put contacts in, put on race kit, eat more food, prepare race nutrition and bottles, and get ready to leave. Mary dropped me off at transition at 4:30am when it first opened. I saw Marisa, another TriMoxie athlete and got myself body marked. I added my race nutrition to Azul and got her tires pumped back up to psi. Next was a walk to run special needs to drop that bag off and then a walk to bike special needs to drop that bag off. Then a long wait. I got in line for a porta-pottie and then made my way down to Mirror Lake. I sat down on the grass near the warm-up area to wait about 30 minutes until warm-up time began. As I was sitting there a woman sat down next to me and asked me who my coach was because she saw my TriMoxie top. Turned out it was Mandy, Caratuck Girl! We chatted a bit and then I met another TriMoxie athlete, Robin. Soon enough it was warm-up time and then time to line-up in our appropriate time corral for the rolling start! I got in the water to get wet and get a few quick strokes in.
I lined up in the 1:11 to 1:20 group. I estimated based on training times that I should be about the 1:15 mark. We waited a while in line. I was surrounded by a group of Aussie men joking around. Good day mate! 🙂 Finally the cannon for the age groupers went off and we slowly made our way to the start line. Finally, the volunteer’s arms dropped and it was turn to hit the water!
I quickly ran across the timer mat and hit the start button on my Garmin. I ran into the water until it was deep enough for me to dive in and start swimming. I immediately had lots of open water space. I decided to stay wide of the cable. I didn’t feel like getting punched in the face or swam over just to shave a few seconds off my time. I settled into my swim quickly and felt good. Occasionally I would run into people or feel people tapping my feet, but for the most part I had open water. There were 9 buoys out to the turn-around buoy. I definitely stayed wide of the turn buoy. Mary said that the turn buoy can be a very scary place if you’re not careful. Like the possibility of drowning scary. Yikes! Throughout the swim I keep telling myself “just keep swimming” and “to stay in the present.” I tried not to thinking about the 112 miles that I had to bike next or even the 26.2 miles I had to run later after that!
On the way back towards the beach I started to get a small cramp on the left side of my lower back. This was completely new, but I kept swimming hoping that it would disappear. It did eventually. The beach began to appear larger in the horizon and I knew I was almost done with the first lap! Things started to bottle-neck a bit at this point and I was making a bit more contact with swimmers around, but no boxing match type punches. I swam until my hand hit sand and I stood up, ran across the beach over the timing mat and jumped back into the water for my second loop.
This time I felt a bit more confident and I positioned myself closer to the cable, but still a few feet out from it. I felt a bit more contact here and managed to find some feet periodically to draft off of for a bit. I’ll take any free speed at this point! Once again, I kept telling myself to keeping swimming. I was so close to being done with the swim. It was my warm-up for everything to come. Mary told me that the real race is with the bike and run. I made it around the turn buoys again and headed for the homestretch! I picked the speed up a bit. At one point I swam into a group of about 5 large men who succeeded to sandwich me and push me a top of one of the guys. I survived and kept swimming. Finally, the beach was in sight again and I was done!
I stood up, torn my swim cap and goggles off, unzipped my wetsuit and ran to one of the wetsuit strippers to have them rip my suit off! I stood up, grabbed my suit, and started jogging the 800 meters or so to T1. My right ear was full or water and I kept trying to get it out. Into T1, grabbed my bike gear bag and ran to the women’s changing tent. I put on bike shorts, threw on my helmet, shoes, stuffed my pockets with gels and was off to grab my waiting steed.
Swim: 1:16:09 (1:58/100 meters)
Next up: The Bike, Run, and Finish!
~ Happy Training!