This past weekend I was able to go to Lake Placid Ironman Training Camp with TriMoxie Coaching (my coach) and Personal Best Multisport in beautiful Lake Placid, New York where I got to pretend I was training for an Ironman. There were about 20 or so of us there to train for the long weekend. I was one of two who were not actually doing IMLP in a few short weeks. I was there mainly for fun (yes, I think training for an Ironman is fun… perhaps I should check my sanity?) and also to determine if I really do want to commit to doing the race next year.
Thursday began with a lovely six hour drive from Maine to New York through rural New Hampshire and Vermont. The drive was uneventful and long with some lovely road construction stops in Vermont. I decided to take the ferry across Lake Champlain to New York because it was a beautiful summer day and I want to get out of the car to stretch!
|From the Ferry|
I was chatting with a gentleman on the ferry who asked me where I was going. I told him I was heading to Lake Placid to train for the Ironman and he told me he thought I looked like I was going to be doing something crazy. He also thought I was Canadian.
I finally reached our house for the weekend around 4pm only to unload my car and jet off to Mirror Lake for an hour swim on the course! My wetsuit is too big for me so Mary was nice enough to let me borrow her old suit. Luckily I was able to squeeze myself into it! Mirror Lake is much smaller than I thought it was and had canoe racing lanes set up in the middle of the lake. The swim was kind of fun because all you had to do was follow the underwater cables across the lake almost like a swim lane! Now, the real race day course doesn’t exactly follow the cables, but it’s nice to spot off of those instead of trees, houses, etc. I definitely thought I was cheating at times though… The water was super warm too. IMLP is definitely not going to be wetsuit legal unless it it miraculously snows 10 feet in July to cool the lake down. I highly doubt it will happen, but who knows… the USA did win the gold medal in hockey there in 1980! 😉
Friday was the long bike ride day. People will say that Lake Placid is one of the harder Ironman courses because it’s hilly. So I expected there to be some giant hills like Mooseman style! There are three notorious hills on the courses commonly referred to as the Three Bears (Mama Bear, Baby Bear, and Papa Bear). I’ve heard people say they are hard so I was picturing them to be steep and hard. IMLP bike course is a two loop course. You start from in town and then begin a long climb out of town followed by a crazy fast 6 mile descend into the town of Keene. Once into Keene you take a left and follow a long flat-ish section into the town of Jay that is relatively fast. In Jay there is a 11 mile out and back then a sharp right to begin climbing into Wilmington. Personally, I thought this was the hardest section of the course. It’s a long gradual hill and you just had to be patient while climbing. If you pound the hill then you will definitely be in trouble on the second loop of the course and then for the marathon after the bike. Once into the town of Wilmington you take a left onto Route 86. This section is the slow section. It’s only about 12 miles back into Lake Placid, but you are constantly climbing whether you realize it or not. The climb is more of a stage climb. It’s never steep. Just long and gradual. Sometimes it flattens out, but it’s more or a false flat. The road conditions also suck. It’s very scenic however with the river and views of Whiteface Mountain. The Three Bears come at the end. They are not super steep like I thought they would be. I was pleasantly surprised! You just have to spin up the hills. Slow but steady. Be patient and don’t blow all your matches!
I had a good ride. I rode with three other girls who were riding at my similar pace so it worked out nicely. My coach had given me my power zones previously before beginning to ride so I knew what I should target power-wise. I did my best to keep a low VI, but that didn’t really happen. I got a bit sloppy on the end of the second loop, but I was hurting. Riding 101 miles in one day without many stops does a wonder to one’s crotch! Ouch! The weather was also perfect for riding. It was partly cloudy and in the 70s. I was pretty happy with my ride. It was slow, but I didn’t kill myself either. I learned that I need to be PATIENT on this course. You can’t go out and hammer the course because you will kill your run afterwards. The worse part of the ride was the ride back to the house. It involved a massive hill climb al la Mooseman style! It sucked. At this point we were all about 100 miles into the ride and just wanted to be done, but he had to climb this half mile hill that probably averaged at least a 6% grade. Not fun, but I made it up the hill without falling over! Nutritionally I felt pretty good on the bike. Except around the 12:30-1pm mark when my stomach decided it wanted food. Like real food, not gels or sports drink. It made me realized that I should start incorporating a bar of some sorts into my bike nutrition. I will start experimenting with that on my rides. After the ride was a 20 minute transition run off the bike in the hot sun. I got attacked by horseflies. It was great. It never felt so good to be done with a workout!
Saturday began with an early morning 2 mile swim TT in Mirror Lake. The course wasn’t quite the full 4000 yards, but we were pretty darn close. I had a great swim! I was able to draft off one of the other camper’s feet for a majority of the swim. We finished in 58 minutes! It makes me a little bummed to see my time and realized that I won’t be doing Peaks to Portland this year. My goal for that race was to swim a sub-hour. I definitely think it was doable with the ocean currents and my current swim fitness. But such is life!
Saturday afternoon was a recovery ride. We planned to do one loop of the course without the out and back section, so about 45-50 miles including the few extra miles to get home. However, Mother Nature decided to have some fun with us. We got rained on and some others got hailed on! The thunderstorms were chasing us the whole ride, which was not fun. We climbed the big hill into Wilmington in the pouring rain! Luckily, the fast guys that started before came around and picked all of us up before the lighting struck. Although, our chance of getting struck was probably slim to none. But I willingly took a ride in Kurt’s man van. I finished the ride with 40 miles. The first five miles from the house were very painful. My crotch was hurting from the previously day, even in super nice bike shorts. As it started to rain I forgot about the pain and started focusing on finishing the damn ride. I was actually having a super good and strong ride on Route 86 before Kurt saved the day. I was pretty happy with the ride overall!
|We are completely soaked from the several rain “showers” we rode through! Whiteface Mountain is in the background.|
Sunday was the long run day. Most of the athletes were running between 16-20 miles. Since I was not training for a marathon I only did 7 miles. I got to see some of the run course and also get a good run in. I was worried all weekend that I would not be able to run after all the riding and swimming from previous days, but my legs actually felt pretty fresh. I was quite surprised and relieved to be able to put one foot in front of the other without falling over or hobbling 7 miles! The miles were rather uneventful for me; however, our cooler we left water and gels in on River Road was stolen by some rude people leaving a few of the other athletes without water and nutrition! So not cool!
|Before Saturday’s dinner. I was still freezing from the wet ride and thus wearing about 10 layers on clothes!|
After the run I packed my stuff and headed home. I had a very good weekend. I met some amazing athletes whom I can’t wait to watch cross the finish line in few short weeks! And, I definitely plan on signing up for 2013! 🙂