IMLP Race Report 2012
In case attachment doesn't work:
Ironman Lake Placid 2012
Coming out of IMFL, I had a whole new confidence level for my run segment. After checking out both mentally and physically on the first half of the bike leg in FL, I was able to snap out of it. Snapping out of it meant, doing a bit of an experiment on the fly. I wanted to destroy my legs on the bike, and see how they would hold up for the duration of the marathon. Needless to say, they held up, as a result I gained a sense that regardless of how I felt coming off of the bike my run would be there.
Fast forward 8 months, and I was starting to taper down for IMLP. The training had been great. I didn't focus on working harder, I just focused on recovering harder. This focus allowed me to maintain a consistent effort level on the days that counted. I never faded, never felt like I "didn't have it", never bonked. I'm not saying it was easy, and I enjoyed every minute, but when I had to dig deep it was there.
My paces/wattages weren't "sharp", I didn't feel "fast", but instead felt that I was going to lock into a an effort level on race day and was going to be able to maintain it all day, no problem. Every workout, I drank at the same time, took a gel at the same time, took a powerbar at the same time, took a cliffblock at the same time, went to the bathroom at the same time, etc, etc. Four years of the same routine, and now there is no thought process during my IM races. I've become a racing robot. Having the ability to now remove the brain from the racing experience has been a huge step forward in not inhibiting what my body is capable of.
Years ago, I saw a famous Princeton Chemistry Professor give a talk about the point of learning/education. His point was, the importance is to have a prepared mind. Opportunities will present themselves over the course of your life, and you will either be prepared to take advantage of these opportunities, or you won't. Your preparedness will ultimately determine your success. On Sunday, my mind and body was finally prepared to take advantage of an opportunity that presented itself. It was 37 years of lessons learned from family, coaches (Coach. Brophy, you can overcome ability with paying attention to details and technique. Coach Raffolo, you can overcome ability with mental toughness. Coach Willman, no matter how hard you work, no matter how fatigued you are, you still have more to give), students, failures, successes and QT2. Following the QT2 protocols have completely transformed me as an athlete. After going 4:40’s every year in HIM’s, and a 11:30 first IM attempt on my own. Going to QT2 4 years ago gave me a focused plan to bring me athletically to a level I never thought would be possible. On January 1st, 2005, if you told the 195pd me, who ran to the end of the road and back for a workout that I would be where I am today I wouldn’t even have responded
In June, I told the graduating class of the high school I work at, to not be passive. Don't expect great things just to happen to you, because they won't. Your self worth, will be measured by your ability and desire to get after it. To always risk failure. Personally, I haven't always done this, but on Sunday I knew the body was ready to put my words into action.
This is what happened
Swim: Lined up right next to the dock, on the start line. Figured there would be some fast feet in that location, but once the chatter started about swim times I realized I was going to miss out on the front group. I’m never right up there, but at least able to hang on to the back of the lead pack. Cannon went off, and swam as fast as I could for 400 yds, the whole time seeing a group take off towards the middle of the field. That 400 hurt, almost too much. I was struggling just to keep the arms moving after such a violent effort. Knowing a mob of swimmers is behind you, can make you swim with a bit more effort than normal. With 2,000 people to my right, and O to my left, there was no way I could make my way towards the lead pack. About three quarters of the way down the first length, I was still inside the buoy line, in clean water, but with no draft I was working too hard to keep up. With the turn buoy coming up, the field had cleared enough for me to have some room to get back in line with the pack. As we made our way back to the start line I decided to bridge the gap between the pack I was in, and the front group. Got the turnover rate up, and decided to get dizzy for the last 800 of the first lap. Was able to get close, but not close enough. On lap two, I wasn’t going to waste the energy to try another surge, just wasn’t worth the gamble at the 30 min mark of a 10 hr race. The body just didn’t respond to what the brain was telling it. I’ve spent the last 4 years, getting ready for a “moment”. A chance to actually “race” this distance, instead of getting through it. The brain said slow down, get into a groove, and the body responded with a middle finger. So I pinned it on the second lap, and by the time we reached the end of the swim segment I was in the front group.
Swim time. 53:24 1:23/100m AG rank: 2 OA rank: 21
T1: Bike shoes on, helmet on, jump on bike. That is all that really happens there.
Bike: Heart rate was through the roof, but with the terrain and heat it wasn’t going to be about HR on the bike. The ability to make a hilly course flat, is key to a great run coming off of a tough bike leg. So today it was all about wattage. I figured I would be able to hold 225-235 watts and then run a 3:15 marathon. When you ride and run for over 8hrs over the course of every weekend for the last 6 months you can figure that kind of stuff out.
The goal of the bike leg was to maintain a level of consistency in effort level, even though the consistency of the terrain and weather would change. I told myself to never got over 280 watts and never go under 220, and try to hold onto 230 with a cadence in and around 90.
Every 5 minutes fluids went in, every aid station two bottles of water would be poured all over me, every 30 minutes fuel went in. Salt tabs at the 2 hr mark, and 4 hr mark. 98 grams of carbs/hour, 772 mg’s of salt/hour. IM racing can be more like a science experiment than any else, and I like science experiments!! As we know, science experiments are only valid if they have been tested over and over again with the same results.
One unique aspect of the first 30 miles was the lack of people passing me. I was actually holding my own on the bike, and gaining on people in front. The brain was not happy with this. This is not what we are use too, you are going to blow up it kept on muttering. Yet everything felt fine, fine for racing 140.6 miles that is. So as we made the turn around for the bike I started counting who was in front of me. I think there were about 17 in front. The pros went off 10 minutes before us, so there was a mix of pros and age groupers in the mix. Figured I would maintain, get passed towards the end of the second lap and then just start reeling them in on the run. So just stuck to the numbers.
Paying attention to just my wattage was key mentally. There are moments on that course where you are in a head wind, and going up hill. When you look down and see 9mph, it can be mentally defeating. So I had set up my Garmin to just show power and cadence. Anything else just didn’t matter, so I didn’t want to know.
On to the second lap, things started to get interesting. More and more racers were coming back to me. People were blowing up. Some racers were catching me as well. But when we went uphill, they would always get out of the saddle and hammer up the hills, while I just continued to lock into power and cadence, never getting over 280 watts. Powerspikes kill runs splits. That is all I could think off. When I see someone hammer up a hill, out of the saddle I know I will see them again, on the run course, as I pass them (hopefully!!). As we approached the next turnaround, most of the group that was in front of me at the first turnaround was now closer than before. So I was gaining on the group. This time I counted the number of age groupers. There were 5 in front of me.
As we made our way back into town, I just continued to fuel, pace properly and stay aero. The headwind was strong, and as a result just tried to stay as low as possible. As I made my way into transition, another age grouper passed me, so coming out of T2 I was in 7th place in the amateur field.
Bike : 5:19:53 21.0mph AG rank: 3 OA rank: 13
T2, got ready to run.
Run: Came out of T2 like I got shot out of a cannon. This is my segment. This is where I feel confident. This is where I can dig deep, run angry, run with a chip on my shoulder. So this is where I was going to make this thing happen, this is where I was going to get to that ledge and go for it. I knew, no matter how horrible I feel, I can run. As we made our way down Main St., all I could remember was QT2 coach Pat Wheeler walking towards me, almost felt as if he was going to jump in front of me, and he yelled “Slow Down”!!!! I just remember thinking, not today.
Then I realized, I had just covered .1 miles, and had 26.1 to go. That .1 felt fast, and for the fist time, I did feel like I dup deep, worked a bit too hard. I had 3 hrs plus left of running, so figured slowing down was some great advice, and did. As a result I watched as images of the racers in front of me got farther and farther from me. So I backed off the ledge, and didn’t go for it. Figured that last 6 miles might require some ledge jumping, so I would save it for then.
It was getting hot out, so instead of looking at pace, I tried to keep my HR manageable. If I was going to overheat, HR would tell me. So I monitored this closely the first 6 miles, being sure I never spiked it out of my aerobic zone. Pace was locked into 6:50’s on the flats, and 7:20-30 on the hills. Every time I looked down, the numbers were the same. HR 150, average pace 7:15. Mile after mile, it just stayed level. I couldn’t see anyone in front of me, nor anyone in back.
As I reached mile 12, I got a glimpse of the 6th place age grouper. He had passed me in T2, and took off like a rocket out of the gate, and I lost sight of him 3 miles in. Now 10 miles later, I was on his heels. One down. Mile 15, got on the heels of the 5th place age grouper. Looking down, HR 150, average pace 7:15.. (it may sound like I was going easy, keeping steady, but at this point I wasn’t even conscious. I was in a place where I was hanging on for dear life, the body was moving forward, and that is all I remember). Mile 16, passed another. No one coming from behind…. But everyone was coming back. 151….. 7:15…… 151……7 :15, if I went up to 155, or 7:10 it would have been all over…. I was right on the verge of blowing up, but held steady.
At this point I was in 4 th place. 10 miles to go, and one person to catch for a top 3 overall showing for amateurs. That is what I wanted, that is what I’ve always wanted. It isn’t something you can say out load, since too many variables need to line up just right. So going into races, goals like that are held close and guarded. But there is was, right in from of my face. The thing that got me up each morning, on the bike afterschool, and out running in the middle of the winter. At this point, everyone was on the course. So I had no idea of where the lead guys were. I knew for sure, that the lead guy was WAY up the road and would have no chance of catching him. All I knew is I was looking for someone with a white race shirt, sponges tucked under the shoulder straps. The other racer in front, had a Cervelo logo on his back, with a stripe down the back.
3 miles ticked by with no visual of the two I was trying to catch. With seven to go, I jumped. 50 minutes of racing in an IM is like, going all out in the last 100 of a 500. The pain and discomfort gets so bad, you just go numb, if your mind lets you. You can relish in the pain, or wallow in it. At that moment I couldn’t get enough of it.
As we approached the last turnaround. Striped Cervelo man was a few minutes a head, and shoulder sponge man was right there. He was done, and I made the pass with 5 miles to go, I was in third. Once we reached the longest straight away on the course, I was finally able to see second place. It was as if he was standing still. At the mile 22 mark, I made the final pass, in 2nd.
The last 4 miles, I can’t really say I remember much. You just want it to end so bad, that is all you can focus on. The last time I hurt this bad was Pman 2011, and as I approached the finish line I was able to give Guy Lajeunesse a high five. Felt good to be able to give him another one,
Run: 3:11:16 AG rank: 1 OA rank: 6
I thought if I had an OK day, I would go under 9:50. A solid day, around 9:40. An epic day would get me under 9:40. I had an epic x2 kind of day
9:32:58 1st in AG, 2nd OA amateur, and 6th OA.
I only found this out as I sat in the corner of the changing tent, by myself, looking at the results on my iphone. Still in shock, I called Brooke. Not much could be said due to the emotion of the moment. What people see as results on paper, give no justice to the amount sacrifice that goes into a “time” you get on race day and load up on athlinks. She was in VT for the weekend showing her dressage horse, and I was in NY doing an IM. We’ve risked a lot, and have put many things on hold, to both get to that ledge, each with our own dreams, hold hands and jump. That is what living is about., and I’m beyond lucky to be able to share that with her.
Seeing Amanda come around the oval completely shocked at how well she did was a moment I’ll never forget. When you see someone finally believe, in what you’ve always believed, it is unforgettable. We wrote the book on how to properly rest for an IM race. On Saturday night, we were literally ill from not doing anything for 3 days. We were achy, had headaches and were exhausted from being so lazy. It was ridiculous. Come race morning, those 3 days made all the difference for both of us. Looking forward to many more IM races in the future.
To end the day, facebook was blowing up with the word that Diane was “finishing what she started”. The day hadn’t gone the way it should have, but grit and determination never yield. You are my hero for what you did on Sunday
I’m not going to Kona. I declined my slot. I knew going into this event, I wasn’t going to go due to too many variables that just didn’t make it the right choice this year. However, due to the stars aligning just right, I did earn the right to gain a pro card for the next few years. This is an opportunity that I will cash in on. This will allow me to race with more flexibility, and get to more races. That is what attracts me to the pro level. What I will lose, is the ability to get to Kona over the next few years. To get there at the pro level, under my circumstances is impossible. Impossible are odds I like, and need, to further improve myself as an athlete, coach and person. So bring on impossible!!
The Finest RR ever. Thanks for sharing so much with us. I learn from you every time.
You. Are. Amazing.
A great summary. I have chills.
I can feel your passion.
And, it will only get better. Best of luck as a pro!
Vinny you are a f*cking STUD!!!!
Thanks for helping a stupid rookie like myself out before and especially after the race (thanks for not letting me hit my head on the ground-left ass cheek still hurts)
Thank you. for the RR, and everything else that you have contributed to this forum.
This was the first RR that I looked forward to reading and even periodically checked the site to see when it was available.
Thanks for a good read and again congratulations on a great execution of your plan - not just on race day but all throughout your training to make it possible.
Now that the chill is gone and the tear is out of my eye all I can say is Wow! I'm printing this race report and keeping it with other motivational clipings I have. Please do us all a favor and keep posting tips pointers etc. on this forum as you continue as a professional triathlete. I have tried and modeled training around many of the things you have written on. Great job Vinny
Fantastic race report. I do not post here ofter, but I lurk daily. Your advice and wisdom are not only appreciated, but shared with all of my training partners. Best of luck in the pro field and enjoy this success.
Awesome race report. Glad I got a chance to meet you on what turned out to be an epic day x2. For those that weren't there, or have not heard the reports coming form the race, everyone was having a tough day. I was working the T-2 tent and my wife was working medical and everyone we saw and talked too said the same thing, "hot, windy, hilly, brutal". And having meet Vinny briefly after the race he said a lot of the same things which goes to show what an amazing accomplishment that was. Congrats.
What can one say except "Brillant! Well done!"
I am so happy for you!
So many thoughts, but I will keep it short.
1. The races that turn into science experiments are the best. I thought I was the only one that thought that.
2. After an epic x 2 race, what else is there to look forward to? You found it. Competitors that always want more are awesome.
3. The Princeton chemistry professor point is hard to accept, but true. People view themselves as victims or unlucky too often. If we prepare and wait for the opportunity, amazing things happen.
An epic story of hope and success for mere mortals. Thank you, Vinny.
Great RR. You are wicked fast and a true Ironman. Congrats on an awesome finish.
Top race report, and now a pro, well done
years of hard work and training finally paying huge dividends! Now your a pro at that!
"I've become a racing robot."
See?! I [i]knew[/i] it!
So much to love about your race report. The quotable quotes, like others have said, are numerous and grounded in truth. Thanks for sharing, Vinny, and congrats on your graduation to the ranks you belong in. Your students (including us here!) are very lucky.
Congrats. Great race and great race report. You are a wealth of tri-knowledge. I volunteered at IMLP...so I'm sure I saw you a few times...and I was at the finish line when you finished. Just didn't know it!
1. What did you race week training look like?
2. I'm assuming you are I teacher (as am I), any advice on setting up my year with IMLP as my goal next July.
Thanks for the input...and congrats again.
Race week was Monday, easy swim, easy bike then brick run
Wednesday, easy swim, easy ride, tempo brick run
Thursday, Tempo ride, east brick run
Friday, short, easy swim, with some hard efforts, east bike/run
Advice for setting up a plan.... lots of variables to consider so it is hard to say. Don't worry about swim volume early on, just try to get some technique worked on. The focus should be on always increasing bike volume. Your ability to bike, with make or break your day. So from Dec-Feb, work on technique and strength (hit some weights), lots of bike volume and just steady easy runs.
March/April/May, get your self doing strength work, but while swimming, biking, running. Hill repeats, low cadence stuff, paddles/buoys etc. June, try to get just huge volume, July bring it down but maintain intensity
DIAL IN YOUR NUTRITION!! Every long ride, long run should be a prep for race day. Monitor how you feel on these efforts and get a nutrition plan in place. Doesn't matter how hard you work, you take in something wrong on race day, it is over!
Damn bro looks like you got alot stronger from FL to LP, you really nailed the run at both courses. At LP more impressive because of the hills. I guess like you said it all starts with a strong bike volume. I've seen your name a few times cause your in my AG, and I did both those races..
Those folks at QT2 seem to really really know what their doing! GL at your Pro career buddy
I just read this again to get ready for the upcoming season. Although I am not the athlete that you are (by a long shot), I am inspired by your diligence and study, and hopeful that my lower level dilegence and study will produce results and progress at my level.