Lake Placid 2008 Race Report
Behind the numbers:
• Start of training Nov. 2007
• Total miles covered including Ironman: 2,299.57 (used the Trifuel training log)
• Breakdown (miles):
o Swim: 119.09
o Bike: 1529.23
o Run: 651.85
o Weights: 22 hours
o Average hours per week: 8 hours (I was not a slave to the training plan, I let my body and life dictate my schedule)
• Calories burned during Ironman: 8,218
• Avg/Peak Heart Rate during Ironman: 136/167
Entered Mirror Lake approximately 25 minutes before the start to get loose and shake off the butterflies. Found a spot on the far right of the start line hoping to avoid the massive churning of bodies in the middle of Mirror Lake. As I looked around I realized everyone had the same idea so I swam out to the middle and just decided to take my chances. The cannon blast starts the race and as the blue smoke floats across the start line the once calm water is instant chop. My only thought at this point was to keep the head down, get ready for contact, and no matter what stay composed. You can not train to swim with 2345 athletes. It’s an amazing mental and physical battle that lasted the entire swim. I got one good shot to the chin from someone kicking and hard elbow to the back of the head to compromise my thought of staying composed at all costs. The first lap was completed in 36 minutes and I felt strong. The second lap was full of bumping and more contact. I slowed down a bit since the first lap split was faster than I planned and did not want adrenaline to get the best of me. During the second lap it starts to rain. The second lap is over in 38 minutes and I feel pretty good. Walk over the timing mat and get help with the wetsuit removal. Now its time for the 200 yard run to T1. By this time the rain is pouring and the roads are flowing with water.
I grab my gear and head to the tent which is a mud fest. The tent is packed and minimal light so I could barley see what I’m doing or even move. I dump the socks since they will be fully saturated with in minutes. Which turns out to be a great idea since the water just flowed through the bottom vents of the shoes.
Right out of transition there are very steep short hills and sharp turns. On the breaks immediately to control speed and avoid hitting the hay bales on Station St. At this point I realized I made a wise decision to go with aluminum rim race wheels due to better stopping properties in the rain than carbon rims. The first major climb occurs a few miles outside of Lake Placid and immediately went to the easy gears and took my time. Just kept thinking patience is the key. Once up the hill the rest of the way to Keene is rollers capped off by 3 plus miles of screaming downhill. The rain was pouring and most athletes were on the brakes trying to control the speed due to conditions and congestion.
Keene to Jay is fast with some rollers. Otherwise it’s a great place for speed and finding a rhythm. You couldn’t enjoy the scenery since you really had to mind the roads due to the torrential downpour. Once into Jay you make a left turn towards Wilmington and the start of 2 mile hill. Once again just stayed patient and used the easy gears. Once over this section it moves well with more rollers. Now it’s time for the right turn onto Hasselton Rd. (out and back). This road is fast paced with some rollers that you should go easy. No need to burn the legs on rollers. You will pay the price on the last 10 miles of this course. More patience. The pavement condition on Hasselton Rd had some rough spots which made it look like a triathlon store with all the assorted equipment spread all over the road. The return on Hasselton Rd the rollers are more severe and less overall speed. Once done with Hasselton Rd you turn back onto Route 86 for a short period then you make the left turn (still Route 86) towards Lake Placid and the work begins. The next 10 miles are uphill. First challenge is the Willmington Notch. Take it slow and patience is the key. Once you get past the Notch it flattens out for a little bit where you spin your legs loose. Then there are more hills, in this order: 1) Cherry Little, 2) Cherry Big, 3) Mamma Bear, 4) Baby Bear, and 5) Papa Bear. Each hill is named and painted on the shoulder of each hill. Each one takes a little more out of you. At the top of Papa Bear there is a great crowd cheering you on to get you ready for the next few miles into Lake Placid. Once into Lake Placid the crowd is loud and exciting. You forget the pain of the first 56 miles and before you know it your beginning the second loop. First loop was completed in 3 hours and 13 minutes (17.34mph).
The second loop. More patience and same plan of attack as the first loop of managing the hills. Still pouring rain and getting cooler. Key thoughts are keep fueling up and stay the course. The hardest part of the second loop was the last 10 miles. The legs are really feeling the effects of the all the climbing and rollers. Second loop was completed in 3 hours and 22 minutes (16.58mph)
Nutrition on the bike:
Nutrition went flawless, felt great and was easy to manage in horrible weather conditions.
• 3 sips of water every 10 minutes (approx 20 ounces per hour)
• Swig of Sustained Energy every 20 minutes (300 calories an hour)
• S-Cap every 30 minutes
• Used timer on Polar 625x to keep me diligent regarding refueling
By this time the crowds have thinned out and the chaos from T1 is gone. Get shoes, socks, hat (to keep rain out of the eyes), and fuel belt. No need for sun block because it is still raining. My thoughts are how will my saturated feet withstand the friction of running.
The run begins going downhill which stresses the quads even more from just completing 112 miles on the bike. The run moves pretty quickly until you get to Riverside Rd where the road turns and twists non stop and you keep waiting to see the turnaround point. The first lap goes begins to go sour at around mile 12 (First loop in 2 hours 17 min). My IT band is starting flare up. By the second lap I’m walking with some minimal running. At this point the right knee doesn’t want to bend or take the weight from running. Now that I’m walking I’m getting cold due to more rain and grab a space blanket to warm up. I dump the blanket after about a mile and begin a power walk with arms pumping to keep warm. I didn’t feel out of place since many people were reduced to walking. I overheard one athlete say they pulled off the bike because his lips were purple and they wanted him to warm up before he continued. It was a miserable day. When you make the loop through Lake Placid everyone is encouraging you to run and go but my leg have other ideas and the thought of long term damage creeps in (Second loop in 2 hours 42 min). Once you come down Mirror Lake Drive you can see the Olympic Oval and all the pain went away. I entered the oval ecstatic, relived, and amazed that I will be completing my first Ironman. All the doubt is over. Finishing my first Ironman in 13 hours and 5 min.
What a day celebrated with my wife, kids, father, mother, aunt, brother, nephew, and friends. I had a great team cheering me on during the entire race. They braved the rain and cold. Would I do another one? Not right away. As many people know juggling two kids, my career, wife’s career, coaching kids soccer team, personal life, and so on can be daunting. The accomplishment is still sinking in.