Chasing a Dream

Chasing a Dream
John and I with our LP finishers medals

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lake Placid Ironman 2012 Race Report

We got to Lake Placid early Thursday afternoon.  Picked up our packets.  Let me say for the first of many times...THE VOLUNTEERS ARE AMAZING!  When picking up our packet, the woman ahead of me started tearing up because it was her first Ironman and she was nervous.  The volunteer handing out packets came out from behind the table gave her a hug and some encouragement.  There were hundreds of volunteers that had a big part of making this race what it was, and not one of them was anything but 100% supportive.

We then headed to our house, which was 10 minutes or so out of downtown tucked away back in the woods.  Got some groceries, and settled in.  We went for a 30 minute run with Meg out on some trails near our house.  John worked on getting the race wheels ready and on the bikes.  Thanks Matt for procurring me some Zipp 808 Firecrests!!!

Friday morning we swam a loop in Mirror Lake.  It felt great, and my time was 34:xx which was right where I was hoping it would be.  I just didn't know how the crowds on Sunday would affect my swim time.

In the afternoon, John and I went for an hour bike ride, mainly to make sure the new wheels were working and to get a feel for how the race wheels might handle differently.

We started getting our many bags packed up--> Bike bag, Run bag, Morning bag, Bike Special needs and Run Special needs.  The bags along with the bike needed to be in Transition area tomorrow.

Bike bag: helmet, sunglasses, socks, shoes, vaseline, arm warmers (just in case),

Run bag: hat, fuel belt (wish I had NOT done a fuel belt), new socks (just in case) and a whole new running outfit (just in case)

Saturday morning:
WE SIGNED UP FOR 2013 LAKE PLACID, in the gym around 9:30.  We then took our bikes over to transition, racked the bike and then put the bags on their racks.

We spent most of the rest of the day relaxing at the house.  Connie and Liz arrived in the afternoon after going to the expo.
We had Ohio City fresh pasta for dinner, with sauteed vegetables, garlic bread and salad.  And headed to bed by about 9:15.

Race Day:
4am wakeup alarm.  I slept pretty well.  When I woke up I just did NOT let my  mind go through my race plan.  I tried to pretend that I was NOT going to do my first ironman race the next day.

Had coffee and oatmeal, and got stuff ready to go.  Our support crew is ready for the day:

We were all in the car and I thought I might have forgotten to put a hat in my Run Bag, so I ran back in the house.  This was when I noticed both our wetsuits sitting in our bedroom.  WE ALMOST FORGOT OUR WETSUITS!!!

Got to the site with just a short walk to transition.  Got body marked, put bottles on bike and on fuel belt in Run Bag.  Sunscreens up, and chamois cream on and walked over to the lake with our crew!
John and Meg walked our Special Needs bags down to that area.  I felt relaxed and excited to start the day.

The Swim:  Goal 1:10
After having a GU and a bottle of water, John and I entered the water together and said our goodbyes and good lucks to do a little warm up and try to find some open water to do our start.  My plan was to go just right of the midpoint of the start line.

After warming up for a few minutes, I spotted John standing on a rock near the edge.  We stood there for a while and then decided to move up to the start line.  It was incredible how many people just stayed standing around the edges all the way up to the time the cannon went off.
We went right up to the start line, held on to a paddle board as we waited for about 5 minutes until the cannon.  It was really pretty sparse up there, and all of us were wondering more people weren't out at the line with us.
I felt very calm and ready to race.  I knew I had done all my training, I was ready for each and just going to take each thing one loop at a time.

When the cannon goes off, I take off.  There is contact all along both loops on and off.  But it was always manageable.  I tried to be very aware of feet around my face so I didn't get kicked.  I also took a peek forward every 7-10 strokes to make sure I was swimming in open water away from others whenever possible.
I did find myself on the line here and there.  I also drafted on some feet on and off.  I felt good out there and tried to concentrate on my form.
I came out of the first loop at around 34 minutes.  Smiled and waved to the crowd and headed back in for the second loop.
I felt just a little fatigue coming back the last 500meters or so, but other than that I TOTALLY ENJOYED EVERY BIT OF THE SWIM!
Totally worth all the 4:15am wake up calls to get my swim in before school!!  I swam 3000-4000m three times a week (usually) starting January 1st.

TIME: 1:10.54

The Bike: Goal 6:15-6:30

Out of the water, then had my wetsuit stripped by another GREAT volunteer.  Walked/jogged the 400meter pathway to transition.  I grabbed my bag, and had a seat in the tent.  Another great volunteer dumped my bag and helped me.  Socks, shoes on, sunglasses on, helmet on, stinger stuffed in my pocket...and then even though I had peed a lot in Mirror Lake, I took a quick stop in the porta potty.

Grabbed my bike, with the help of another great volunteer.  I took it easy on the mount and down the hairpin turn and down the first long hill.  And I was off...

Took it easy on the hills out of town and just sipped on water for the first 20-30 minutes.  The view as you climb is amazing!!!

Then you get the descent.  It is 6-9 miles of long downhills.  I was about middle as far as speed.  I was passing quite a few people, but there were also people passing me.

Once I got down the descent, I settled into my aero bars for quite a long flat section.  Kept my heart rate in the zone 115-125 and with the tail wind I was going 21-25mph.  This section is so fun!!!

Nutrition plan was 1 bottle per hour of Accelerade followed by Ironman Perform handed up, and 1 GU per hour.  These were taped on my top bar using electric tape, which worked great.  This was about 350 cal/hr.

The last 12-15 miles into town there is a headwind and speed is frustratingly slow.  Finally got to Papa Bear and felt like the Tour de France as both sides are lined with FANS!!

Finished the first loop at about 3:09.  Stopped in special needs, wiped off my face and my bars (they were sticky from the first three GUs I had) Again, went to the bathroom (I am guessing this took at least 3 minutes.)
And headed out for the second loop.  Going through town on the bike is an awesome experience.

I felt about the same on the second loop as the first.  I was in aero all times except on some climbs and on the big descents.  I again LOVED the entire loop, UNTIL mile 100....
The headwind was much stronger and I felt like Papa Bear was never going to appear.  The other bikers around me felt the same.

Around mile 100 I thought I had a good chance for about 6:15 on the bike.  But these last miles were SLOW.  I was not being passed, so I think everyone was struggling with these miles, uphill and headwind.

My stomache started to be a little off during these miles, and I did NOT TAKE IN ENOUGH NUTRITION DURING THIS HOUR.  (I think this was one of the big contributors to a tough run!!!)

Finally hit town, up Papa Bear and through town and into transition.

Bike: 6:27.55 avg 17.3mph

The Run:  Goal 4:20-4:45

My goal was to run the whole thing.  Possibly walking through a few aid stations on the second loop.

I came out of transition not feeling too bad.  I ran the first three miles at about 10 minute pace.  But was feeling weaker and weaker.  I could tell that my nutrition was NOT where it needed to be.  I began walking through aid stations (set up about every mile) and then WILLING myself to run to the next aid station.  The miles were not fast more in the 11-12 minute range.

At about 12-13 miles I really was feeling light headed and very weak.  I walked quite a bit.  I saw my fan crew and told them, "This SUCKS!!"  Stopped to talk to them for a bit, and told them not to worry if this second lap took a while.

I knew at that point that if I did not get some calories IN I was going to have trouble finishing.  So I focused on eating a whole bag of Chomps from the next aid station and getting in some Perform drink.

This really did seem to help and I could go back to running between aid stations (with a LOT of will power).
Coming up the hill at about 24 miles, hearing the crowd in the oval, and seeing my fan crew was amazing.  When I spotted my neon green crew as I ran/walked up, I got the most emotional of the whole day.  I knew I would finish.  They had their hands up in the air and big smiles on their faces.  And I just tried to take it all in and 'enjoy' the last two miles.

I call this picture, the Pain Finish...

Entering the oval, the crowds all cheering wildly.  It was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!

This was the HARDEST thing I have ever done!  Even harder than any of my three child birth experiences.

Plan to make this a better run for next year:

  • Get in more nutrition on the second loop of the bike
  • Lose 10-15 pounds
  • Run more...I trained for Boston marathon through April and but then feel like I didn't put in enough miles during May and June
Run: 5:21.48

I was 22nd in my age group out of the water.  I was 15th in my age group after the bike.  I was 28th in my age group after the run.  (out of a little over 100 that started the race)

Final time: 13:14.16
I am gunning after a sub-13 race in 2013!!!

At first I was pretty disappointed with my race.  After seeing some data published on the web Lake Placid 2012 Results Analysis I felt quite a bit better.  The average finish time for everyone was 13:13, which was 29 minutes slower than 2011.  The average swim time was 1:17, bike time 6:47, and run time 5:09.  There were 11% of the people that started that Did Not Finish, compared to 6% last year.

There were winds on the second half of the bike to deal with and heat was also a factor on the run.

Some pictures of John's race, he had an amazing day going 10:59:

Thanks to all the people that supported this effort.

  • John who patiently rode hundreds of miles with me on the bike and does lots of things around the house to make my life manageable.  
  • All the friends and family who sent texts, phone calls and emails of encouragement.  
  • Eve, Liz and Connie who were there on race day.  Seeing them cheering me on was definitely a necessary part of my race. 

  • And my biggest supporter, my 13 yo daughter Megan.  John and I asked Meg before we even signed up for this race whether she was ok with this commitment.  This meant there were lots of hours that John and I were out training and she was a 'triathlon orphan'.  She was never anything but 100% supportive.  She did not hesitate to give the thumbs up for us to sign up for 2013.
  • Thanks also go out to my older kids, Matt and Lizzie.  They are both tough stuff, both in their college work and their triathlon training.  They are very inspirational.  

I am blessed with an amazing family!!

And thanks to anyone who actually read this whole race report.  I wanted to get all my thoughts down to be able to look back at over the next it is a bit LONG!