- 6th: Providence marathon
- 17th: Patriot 70.3
- 23rd: Ironman Lake Placid
- 20th: Tremblant Ironman
- 15th & 16th: Reach The Beach
I wanted to do a blog that was a bit different. I want to write about Cars vs Bikes. I have been driving since September of 1991. If you count all of the cars that I have owned in the 25 years that I have driven it comes out to about 500,000 miles. I have been biking since I was a kid. But as a kid I was either on the sidewalks or in a quiet neighborhood where I wasn’t concerned about cars. As an adult I have been riding since August 2008. In those 9 years I have close to 20,000 miles on the road.
The triathlon/cycling community is very small in general. I’m sure you have all heard of the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. Meaning every actor/actress in a movie can be connected to Kevin Bacon in 6 people or less. In the triathlon/cycling community this number would be closer to 2-3. So when a person is killed or injured chances are very high a friend of a friend on Facebook or the Ironman community knows this person. It hits close to home.
Death and Injuries
As an active cyclist and triathlete I am very aware of people getting injured or killed as a result of a car. In 2014, the latest data available, shows that 726 people were killed involving a motor vehicle while riding their bike. With an addition 50,000 injured. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812282
What this means is almost two people are killed per day and 137 are injured everyday. 71% of these killed are happening in urban areas. The average age has spiked to 45 from 39 in 2005.
82% of drivers and 78% of cyclists didn’t have any alcohol in their blood. While 13% of drivers and 19% of cyclists has a blood alcohol level of .08 or more.
On Facebook the majority of my friends are either cyclists or runners. I have a handful of friends who have posted about annoying cyclists taking up the majority of the road. Let me share some thoughts I have….
I have had a few close calls while being on the bike. Most of my confrontations have come from angry males speeding then turning around to tell me off. I refuse to interact with these people. The last time this happened in October of 2014 it was about 4 days after my latest Ironman and this guy buzzed me coming around a corner speeding and I stuck up my hands (no I didn’t flip him off) he turned around and started swearing at me. I honestly just smiled and waved to him. What was he going to do stop the car and chase me? 🙂
On side roads I don’t quite understand because it’s dangerous to be going excessively fast on these side roads. As a driver when I see cyclists in the middle of the lane for no reason other than to talk to their friends it can be annoying especially if I am in a hurry. But truthfully what’s the rush?
As a runner I have close calls all of the time. This is because of a few reasons. Most cars don’t stop at stop signs. So if you are running on a side walk and you come up on a street, that stop sign is usually just before the path of the sidewalk or just after. Either way cars don’t stop there and they are usually looking the opposite way. As a runner you have to be even more aware. Most drivers are looking for other cars and not pedestrians.
Cars and cyclists need to work together. You both need to be aware of each other. We all need to be a bit more patient. Stay safe everyone!!!!!
Ironman Lake Placid was my 7th Ironman that I was able to participate in and complete. IMLP was suppose to be a bit different than last year. It was suppose to be me getting redemption after having a rough race there in 2015. In 2015 the weather was hot and I never was able to nail down my nutrition. Before we talk about IMLP ’16 lets reflect on IMTX from May and the training leading up to it.
IMTX the race itself was full of a lot of drama both leading up to the race and the race itself. The drama had to do with the organizers not being able to secure the full distance of the bike. The course ended up being 96 miles instead of 112. Even two days before the race they moved the bike transition because the swim in the canal wasn’t safe for swimming because of issues with the water. Usually it’s .8 up turn .8 down and then about .8 in a canal. They changed it to be about 1.1 down turn across about .2 then back down to 1.1. The bike course had more turns than watching a Nascar race. Of all of the Ironmen I have done the run course is my favorite. It’s three loops and in the canal area it’s a complete party.
The swim for me was pretty much a non-event except for the last 400 meters or so when I had to either do a side stroke or backstroke. I started to become dizzy. This is something that I will talk about more for IMLP. I actually road the bike course fairly well except for the last 15 miles or so when I became tired. I cut back on my nutrition and I paid the price for it. More details on that later. :). The marathon was an adventure unto itself. When I got onto the marathon the skies were darkening pretty quickly. I did my normal where I walked for a bit before I started running to get some calories in me.
About mile 3 it started to rain and by 5ish it was a complete down pour. At an aid station around mile 5 A volunteer told us to go to the timing mat and wait there because the race has been put on hold. This is where the race becomes a complete cluster. A bunch of us jogging were like the hell we’re stopping. We were at a part of the course where it didn’t make any sense to stop. Little did I know my buddy Greg Barnes was up the road about 3-4 miles (I think a lap ahead). At this point an elite runner came up on me. He was on his 3rd and final lap. I started pacing behind him.
About a mile later while it’s down pouring we were about to enter the canal area where all the fans are I asked him if he wanted me to pace him and said yes. This to me is an incredible ego boost. This is what I live for. I was having a crappy race and if I could pace him for the rest of the lap so he could have a strong finish It would make my day a bit better. I went from running 10-12 minute miles to running about 8’s. In the canal area all of the fans are huddled under overpasses or anywhere they can find a dry spot. I remember yelling at times to let people know runners were coming through. On this stretch we were getting pelted by hail. I was literally getting nailed in the head. I was in the zone at this point and giving it everything I could. At times we were ankle deep in water because it was raining so hard.
I was able to pace him for a solid 3-4 miles. I was still able to at this point pace him a bit longer but the police had held back probably 200 participants at about mile 8 near the end of the loop (just before that out and back for those that know the course). I was there for about 30 seconds before a few participants just charged and we all followed. Everyone went nuts. It felt almost like the movie Braveheart and everyone charging. By this point I had no energy and I spent the next two laps getting sick multiple times and having Evan and my parents on the course rooting me on. Thanks to Melissa Akin for staying with me as I was on side of a hill for about 2-3 minutes getting sick. I had some quit in me that day but she wouldn’t let me. Thanks my friend!!!
Texas this year was my last time participating in it for at least the next few years. They moved the race to the third week in April and being up north it’s impossible to get in enough shape with outside miles. It would require starting training in early December. Next year I’m coming to volunteer. I’m leaning towards volunteering at the swim so I could enjoy the rest of the day. Evan and I have talked about it as well as a few other friends. It’s time to give back to IMTX!
Coming into this years race I had a decent training period. Coming out of IMTX on May 14th I just wanted to be healthy and I was able to attain that. I had ten weeks between Ironmen and thought that was enough time to get ready. Some of my preparation including getting back to basics of riding with my club. For the last few years I haven’t ridden enough with my club on Wednesday’s and Sunday’s. I spent most of June riding with the club and getting into better shape. I also was able to head to Freedom, NH to do some serious training up there as well. Todd and I had a great training session together. The other major piece here was me getting help with nutrition. My Ironman friend Ray and I met up and he explained to me how nutrition works for him. It’s essentially 2 3 hour bottles. Each bottle consists of 1,000 calories. I also competed in Patriot 70.3 and had a great race.
The swim at Mirror Lake is so easy and calm that it should really be the best swim anyone has. Except if you did IMCHOO in ’14 because it was all down river. :). You can follow using the buoys for site but the chain under the water makes this not necessary. I swam the first lap in about 43 minutes. On the second lap I started to feel a bit nauseous. On the last 800 meters I had to do the backstroke because I knew I was going to get sick. As I was getting out of the water I was so dizzy from the swim. I got sick right away. I had someone pull off my wetsuit and got sick again. Then medical attention came up to me a bit concerned and asked what my nutrition plan was. I explained to them and that I was feeling better.
I saw my family and friends. I saw Ray as well and said now for plan B. Whatever plan B was! 🙂
So why did this happen? I think mostly because my new ear plugs weren’t the quality ones I had used previously. Water got in my ears and it caused me to be a bit dizzy. I know I have some vertigo and this causes a lot of me being dizzy. I also need to do a bit more swimming that’s over 2,000 meters.
When I got on the bike I knew I was in the negative for calories so I decided to take it slow. I should have probably eaten some food right away but wasn’t sure if I would get sick again. I stuck with the liquid nutrition plan. It’s ten miles before you hit the Keene decent. The Keene descent is 5 miles of descending and you need to hold on… Once you get through this you have a good 20+ miles of flat stretch. A few small rollers but overall flat. I dropped the hammer the best that I could. My legs felt strong and I was going to give it a go. I passed a lot of people in this stretch without really working to hard. This is because of two reasons. One I was so far behind from the swim and I descended so slowly in the Keene descent that I didn’t pass one person there. :).
The first lap was pretty uneventful overall. When the climbing began from Wilmington to Lake Placid I noticed I was riding a bit slower. I thought at the time I was doing this to conserve energy. My legs felt fine overall but I didn’t have the speed I did last year during this stretch. More on this later. When I came into finish my first lap I saw my family and friends. My bike special needs was very basic. I just needed the other 1,000 calorie bottle.
Starting lap two I felt stronger than I did last year. I was about 25 minutes slower and had a good idea why. More on that later. I got down the Keene descent again and when I made the turn that was mile 70. I know at this point I was slowing down but I was still on my TT bars plenty and I worked hard for the next 15 miles or so not to lose to much time. At about mile 90 I had a nice person hand me a drink of a beer. For someone who doesn’t drink much at all I am known to have a few shots of beer while on the course. This honestly gives me a sugar rush as well helps me to burp.
The climb back into town was death march. I had thoughts about quitting. I was asking myself why am I here if I am not learning from my mistakes. I have done 7 and in 6 of them I have limped to the finish. On the bike course I barely stopped at all and when I did I was pouring water on my head. I used the restroom once and that was near the end of the first loop.
When I got to the end I saw my parents and asked where Katie K. was. They didn’t know. Katie finished 7th in her age group last year and I knew she had a shot of qualifying this year. Katie is someone I see about once or twice a year at races and we have mutual friends. I’m friends with her on Facebook and know how strong she was. Why ask where she was at this point? It’s because going into the race I really thought she would only be about a 1/2 lap ahead of me of the marathon and we would see each other going the opposite direction. But I had a crap swim and a crap bike so I thought maybe she would be just finishing the first lap and I could help her out. Please understand this about me I am a loyal Lieutenant. I am someone who will turn myself inside out to help pace a friend like I did at Texas back in May. My day was over at this point and if I could run say 3-5 miles or even more for someone with a chance to qualify it would have been worth it. I learned about 10 minutes later she was already on lap two and I had no chance to catch her… Bummer! But she finished 5th and I know she will qualify there next year.
Normally when I start the run I walk for about a 1/2 mile to get some food in me before running but I was able to run pretty much right away. Overall I had pretty good first lap. What I did wrong was not continue my nutrition plan. I went for Gatorade instead of having my special drink. Having food and drink cravings is the closest I will ever feel to being pregnant.
During Ironman you get all of these cravings. On the first water stop I started to drink soda. You think no big deal but that was the first time I drank soda since Thanksgiving Day 2003. I went 12 1/2 years between having a drink of soda. Meaning I didn’t have one soda in my 30’s. And I drank it at every water stop. When I saw Gary and Bridget on the course I mentioned it to them and they told me don’t stop drinking it because you will get a sugar crash.
At about mile 12ish I saw my Aunt Sue Stockwell and Geo. Geo took a video of it and it’s on my Facebook timeline. After the first loop I started to fall apart. This was because I didn’t have the proper nutrition in me. I saw Bridget and Gary again about mile 13/14 then I saw my parents at about mile 14. About 100 feet later I got sick. Someone from Base came over and gave me some fluids. It was a bit to salty for me but I did enjoy it.
I got sick again about 2 miles later and by then I was pretty deflated. I ended up walking most of the rest of the way. I just wanted my day to be done. Coming up on Mile 25ish I saw my friend Catherine and Paula that I met in IMCHOO in 2014. They were volunteering at the last aide station. It was great to catch up with them and say hello.
Coming into the Olympic oval I pretty much was still walking. I was just frustrated with how my race went. I did jog the last few hundred yard and happy that I finished. What I have learned from my other finishes was to not stick around. Just get my medal, picture taken, and head towards the hotel. My parents grabbed my bike and because I was a mile away from the hotel I was just going to coast there. Ray ran with me and even pushed me up the hill. I think we did that mile in about 7 minutes.. ;).
Thanks to everyone who showed up to watch me or followed me online. Next year Hunter will be there to spectate.
So what did I learn in all of this?
Ironman Texas 2016 has honestly come up on me pretty quick. Ever since my finish at Lake Placid in July I was itching to get back do another Ironman. Lake Placid left me with a sense of emptiness. I had prepared well for it but I had breathing issues that I haven’t been able eliminate. It’s something that haunts me and my training to this day.
A few weeks after Lake Placid, in August, I hiked Mount Washington. I was hiking to meet up with some friends who were doing the bike race up the auto road. I hiked this a pretty good clip. It took just under two hours to hike up and less than that to go down. Little did I know that this triggered an injury that would haunt me all winter. The next weekend I was out doing a 20 mile run and about 5-6 miles into it I felt something. I assumed it was just the heat and I continued on. That was a mistake.
I had plans to try and BQ in the fall at Hartford but After Labor Day weekend I knew it wasn’t going to be realistic. I did the New Haven Road Race and I shouldn’t have. I was running 7:30’s on an injury to my hip area. Right after mile 1 I could feel it and I pressed on. It loosened up but I realized later it was just completely numb. So it felt like Novocain in my hip area but I was making it worse.
Two weeks later I ran Reach The Beach for Calumet. I warned some of my friends that it would be a rough day out there for me. I think some of them thought I was playing possum with them. :). And to some extent I thought I was as well. But during my first leg of three I knew it would be a rough day. I hobbled through my first two legs. On my third leg I had to pull out because I couldn’t even move. I really appreciate my teammates for filling in for me. I will make it up to you this fall I promise.
Over the course of the fall I had two MRI’s. They found I had a torn labrum on my right side of my hip. I was told not to run for a while. It turned out I couldn’t really run all winter. I didn’t really start running until about 8-10 weeks ago.
Then the day after Christmas my bikes were stolen. One was taken right off of my bike trainer and another was taken from an upstairs bedroom. I have so much I want to share with everyone on who and why but I need to bite my tongue here because as I wrote on IG and FB yesterday morning they are ‘just things’. You made me realize what is really important in my life. I realized so many caring people who reached out to me to offer to help. My FB post was shared by over 1K people from around the country. I had bike shops offering to help me as well. I am in debt to so many of you for helping me out.
My only real tune-up race’s for IMTX was doing a Spartan with my friend and mentor Todd Gothberg as well as a 10K race in CA a few weeks back pushing a few kids.
My strategy for Texas is to ‘slow down’. Remember when Maverick in ‘Top Gun’ at the end of the movie he said to his new Rio (co-pilot) he was going to ‘slow down’ and let them fly right by? Well that is my strategy. I believe by slowing down I will have a better day out there. I fully admit I am not in shape like I have been in the past. I am carrying some extra weight that I probably shouldn’t be. I admit I will probably be in the 14 hour range. It’s okay I am here to finish and come out of this healthy.
I will be changing up my nutrition a bit as well. I will be eating a bit more solid food. I have a lot of more ‘Oh Sh$t’ food. This is food when things go wrong and I need to get something in me in a hurry.
I am thankful for so many things. I am thankful for having to go through the injuries that I went through these last 10 months. It taught me that recovery takes time and I need to be patient. It taught me to listen to my friend Robin Ziko and spend time daily with her stretching. And even though I am not flexible she continues to work with me. Thanks my friend.
Jeremiah 29:11 God declares I think of you and I have plans for you prosperity and a future filled with hope
Philippian 3:13 Keep Pressing Forward!
PS.. Thanks for the sneaker Mindy!
To follow me on race day…. Click Here
Reach The Beach 2015 was my fourth year in a row running the event. I was part of an amazing group from Camp Calumet. We had four teams and we raise money every year to send kids to camp. As of tonight we have raised over $65,000. This fun event is about the kids.
All of the runners and drivers have ties to camp. We were either on staff, a camper, or currently on staff. Most of us reside in the New England area but we do have a few people fly in from NC, FL, or other places around the country. We’re a very close group and unless you were part of a camp (it doesn’t have to be Calumet) you just might not get it. I mean that with respect. Camp people are special. To my Ironman friends it’s a similar group.
Coming into RTB I didn’t run since my Labor Day race. I was still nursing this injury. I knew it wasn’t healed and I was limping a bit. I knew the race would be a struggle but thought with enough time off that I may be able to push through.
I was in Van 2 again this year. Again I had amazing teammates. This was by far the strongest team I have ever been on. My teammates were Kim, Megan, Knute, Mike, & Jack. Our driver was Croce. I told Kim going into RTB that Croce will make you laugh so much. He did not disappoint. These runners make it look easy. I couldn’t ask for better group of people.
I was running the same legs as last year (8, 20, & 32). When it was my turn to run about 1:30 Kim showed up earlier than expected and I was honestly a bit frazzled and not quite ready for her. My watch wasn’t turned on either. So I ran the first 30 minutes without my pace. But I knew my heart rate was through the roof because of the heat. This was the hottest RTB I have ever ran. Once I started running I could tell my right leg (butt muscle) was in bad shape. I was limping. It took me about 3 miles to loosen up my leg. As my van mates told me after they could see me struggling at times while other times I was running okay. I honestly had no idea of my pace. Normally when I am healthy I can dial it in and know how fast I am going. But as I mentioned it took 30 minutes for the satellites to pick up where I was. So I decided to reset my watch. The last 3.15 miles I did in 24:43 for an average of 7:50. I went back and figured out that for my leg of 7.3 miles I did it in 55 minutes for an average of 7:32. I must have been going quicker than I thought those first 30 minutes.
My second leg was at 2:20 in the morning. It was a wild card transition. I had talked to Kim beforehand and our plan was for her to hand it off to me in the beginning of the wild card. Based on my watch I ran 6.84 miles in 1 hour flat. for an average of 8:50. Even though my time was slow for me my leg actually wasn’t terrible. The temps were ideal at this time and I thought I was consistent. My plan was to run the first few miles of the hills slow as I loosened up and then go faster. My last .84 was uphill (slight one) and I was averaging 8:29. Meaning I was getting stronger.
Entering the third leg I didn’t do the same thing as I did for the first two legs. For the first two legs I would Ice my leg and take some advil. I would learn that this was a big mistake. When I started my run I knew right away my leg wasn’t turning over. I was going at a decent clip but after a 1/2 mile I couldn’t turn over my leg at all. After about 1.75 miles I texted Knute telling him ‘I’m suffering’ He asked me if I wanted him to come back for me and I said ‘Yes’. My day was over! Megan jumped out of the van and she, Knute, & Mike split the next few legs. I was scheduled to run 6.7 miles but only managed 2 miles. My leg was numb and there was nothing I could do. I admit I was a bit deflated. I want to thank all of my van mates for picking up the slack. It means a lot. Looking back at it I probably should have swapped with Kim for the third leg and then she could have split that leg with Megan and Knute. Or I could have just iced it and had more advil. :).
I had a few people ask me afterward what would have happened if this was Ironman? Let’s be clear At RTB I have teammates who were more than capable of running faster than me. Megan can easily hold 8 minute miles and even though the pace doesn’t matter for a charity race but me running/ walking 12 minute miles for a third leg makes zero sense. I would have completed Ironman. I probably would have had to walk the rest of the way but I would have finished. For me to quit Ironman it would mean that I passed out.
Last year I had Ironman Chattanooga a few weeks after RTB. What would have happened if I had IMCHOO this year (it’s the 27th of September)? I would have shown up and finished Ironman. I’m stubborn in that I refused to not complete Ironman. I honestly would have asked for a shot (cortisone) to help me complete it.
This really is my favorite event of the year. It’s something that I look forward to doing and putting on my race Calendar. It’s already on my 2016 race schedule. It’s such a team event. Everyone from our group of 48 runners, 8 drivers, & countless volunteers from Calumet makes this event top notch.
As most of you saw on my Facebook post I am now shutting down all racing for the rest of the year. My injury is going to require about 6-8 weeks to recover. I don’t expect to race again until sometime in 2016 when I am fully healed and ready to tackle 3 full Ironman race events along with 2 70.3 distances.
This off-season I think will be a lot different. I have decided for the most part to keep my training a secret as I work to improve on my weaknesses. I am in PT two days a week and working to keep my fitness.
The goals I set in 2015 were not achieved. (Break 12 hours at Ironman, break 4 hours on the marathon course at Ironman, run a 3:15 open marathon, and run a sub 2:00 1/2 marathon at a 70.3) Even though I am disappointed that I didn’t reach these goals they still remain in place for 2016.
Dealing with an injury is going to make me a better and stronger triathlete. The fire that I had in my belly post IMLP is honestly burning more now than ever. As my friend and mentor Todd said the question isn’t ‘Why is this happening?’ the question is ‘What am I to learn from this?” The WHAT is going to refine who I am and make 2016 the best year yet.
I look forward to a strong healthy 2016 as well as healthy relationships….
Over the course of the last few weeks while dealing with some challenges in my personal life I have been focusing on my 2016 race schedule. While 2015 is not over yet I consider this year to be a bit of a disappointment in my racing. Sure I finished 2 Ironman races and a 70.3 in June but I didn’t race enough.That will all change next next year.
Lake Placid was something that has eaten at me since I finished at the end of July. It’s a race that really caters to my strengths. The swim is easy with two loops. You just follow the rope. The bike course is two loops. There is a ton of flats then for the hills you ‘only’ have two sections of it on each loop. My strength on the bike isn’t a constant up and done it’s the course being consistent. The run is boring, mostly flat, and the few hills they have they are good for walking if you want. But Lake Placid has me feeling empty inside like I didn’t do well enough. That was a course I should have broken 13 hours without much struggle had I not failed my nutrition.
That’s why today on my 41st birthday I am announcing that I will be doing Ironman Lake Placid.
I am already signed up for Ironman Texas in May. I am going to be signing up for Ironman Maryland in early October when it opens up.
Recently I reached out to a few friends including Katie Kinnear and Sue Stockwell for advice. Katie is already signed up again for next year. She did LP this year and is doing Maryland in a few weeks. I’m still waiting on Sue to sign-up for LP (no pressure).
While doing research on trying to train for 3 fulls in one year I noticed something. After Texas it’s 10 weeks to Lake Placid then it’s another 10 weeks to Maryland. Most of us who have done some back-to-backs know that 10 weeks in-between means about 5-6 weeks of hard training. The rest is recovery, etc.
Why do three in one year?
Here is my logic:
Currently I have completed 5 IM’s. If I do 2 every year then at the end of 2018 I will be at 11. I can’t get legacy until 12 (Meaning Kona eligible). So I would need to wait until 2020 to apply and I would be at 12 or 13. Plus I am hearing there is at least a year waiting list. If I do one year of 3 IM’s then I can apply in ’19 and then I would be able to do Kona in ’20.
My other logic is I am coming out of a relationship and this is probably the ideal time to do it. No matter who I meet or who I am dating next year it will slowly evolve.
Everyone asks what’s my goal in all of this? Is it to break a certain time or is it just to finish? It’s both. My body is capable of doing sub 13’s at any Ironman event that I have done. My nutrition has prevented me from doing so. :).
Isn’t the goal still to qualify for the Boston Marathon?
Absolutely. My focus is just that. Unfortunately at the moment I am nursing a pretty bad injury that is preventing me to do much running at the moment. I will be running a 1/2 marathon on Monday but I am not optimistic of how I will do.
My plan is/was to try and qualify at the Hartford Marathon on October. As of today I don’t see that happening. I need my leg to heal very soon so I can get in a bunch of runs to give me a chance. My thought process is to do Hartford as a training run. Maybe break 3:40ish then get in a few weeks of hard training and go to Philly in November to give it a try again.
2016 Tentative Race Schedule:
I will post this with more details probably early next year.
I learned back in April how important training camps are. Next year I plan to do a training camp in Texas in March. I will take about 4 days to visit Evan and his family for a day or two while I train. Then I will head over to The Woodlands and train with some friends who are going to come to town.
This will be repeated at different points of my training. Most of my training camps will take place at Camp Calumet. End of April, 4th of July weekend, Mid-September. I will also head up to Lake Placid this time for at least one weekend and do at least a lap or two of the course.
I know doing all of these races will be a challenge but this is a lifestyle that I embrace. I really believe I already have the base to complete three in a year and that I just need to work on a few things so that I can be successful. This is also the reason why I will look to hire a coach in the coming months. They may not agree with my schedule but they can help me get to where I need to be.
I really want to thank my family and friends for their support. They have stood by in times of need but yet had the courage to question me in all of this. I’m looking forward to new relationships and a healthy 2016 of racing.
See my IMLP Pre Race for what my plan was.
Kate and I arrived in the Lake Placid region on Thursday late afternoon for the Sunday Ironman. We were staying in Willmington about 13 miles out of town that was located along the bike course. This was the first time my girlfriend was joining me for this event and I was excited to show her what It’s like. She came with me for the Syracuse 70.3 in June. While that event was great (except the parking nightmare) the 70.3’s don’t have the same vibe at all.
On Friday morning we headed up to Lake Placid to have some breakfast. The parking on Friday morning was a bit hectic and I was honestly nervous on how this was going to work since Syracuse only had one way into town. By Saturday I had a better understanding on how/where to park and race day turned out to be a non-event with parking.
While the food in and around Lake Placid was good overall the service tended to be pretty slow at all of the places we went to. I won’t call out any restaurants but the places we went to weren’t that busy. I spent 10 years in the restaurant business and I have a very good handle on how it still works to this day. So when it takes say 45 minutes to get your dinner I know the two or three reasons why.
We went and got me registered at Ironman Village on Friday about mid-day in Lake Placid. We didn’t hit any lines at all. The last day to check-in is two days before the event. This was my first time waiting until Friday for a Sunday event. When I was in Texas in May I checked in on Wednesday for the Saturday event but when I went back to the village on Thursday the lines were super long. I get the feeling that Lake Placid participants and families show up a few extra days ahead of time. Most of the hotels in Lake Placid require a 4-5 night minimum stay. So I believe that most got into town on Wednesday.
This was my first Ironman event where I was actually weighed at check-in. My weight came in at 172 pounds. This was with cloths on and having just had breakfast. I had weighed about 167 pounds for Texas in May and because we had so much climbing at Lake Placid I was hoping to coming in at about 165 pounds. I was feeling kind of heavy and had a bit of a ‘food baby’ in my belly. I believe I showed up at race day at about 170 pounds.
After check-in Kate and I went to the athlete briefing. If you have been to one or two before you don’t really need to go again. But I wanted her to experience it. Sometimes you get tips on a certain part of the course. I also had a question or two about parking. Word of advice, if you have questions on parking go to the Information booth that is located when you first walk into any Ironman Village. They have maps and can answer your questions.
In the afternoon Kate went for a run while I got my bags and bike ready. The good news about driving to an Ironman event is you can bring as much as you want. The bad news is you feel completely unorganized. In the evening we headed back up to Lake Placid to have dinner with our friends Adam and Monica.
On Saturday Kate and I headed up to the pancake breakfast in the Olympic oval where the village/ finish line is. It was free and the pancakes were delicious. I highly recommend this. After breakfast I went and did a practice swim. This is my first Ironman where there isn’t an official time on when you actually go and swim the day before. Normally at say Texas or Chattanooga you have this two hour window to do a short swim but in Lake Placid you can swim in Mirror Lake anytime. I did my normal short 500 meter swim. I came out of the water a bit dizzy. I had this issue in Syracuse as well so I decided to buy a pair of ear plugs.
They say don’t do anything ‘new’ on race day but putting in ear plugs isn’t going to make my swim any worse. It really made a difference. I will wear ear plugs going forward.
After the practice swim Kate and I decided to drive the bike course. This is the first time I have ever driven a bike course before an Ironman event and I’m glad we did. Most people come up here to ride the course a few times. It’s a two loop course. We would drive the first 40-43 miles of the course because we had driven the last 13 miles or so 2-3 times already going into Lake Placid. Those last 13 miles are where you climb and your average pace becomes a bit realistic.
The first few miles you had a few small climbs and some rollers. On race day I expected to be slow on here as I would be just getting my legs loosened up. The course elevation just drops at about mile 10. It’s known as the Keene decent. Driving it was a bit scary. This is the part of the course you can easily hit 50 mph. I had no interest in doing that on race day. The next 16-17 miles were almost completely flat. This is part of the course if you have a tri-bike where it pays off. I was on a Specialized Tarmac road bike. It’s very light weight and great for climbing. The last 13 miles or so you do a bit of climbing. This is where you get most of your elevation.
After we drove the course we met up with my parents to go and drop off my bike in transition along with my bike and run special needs. This is the first Ironman I went to that you actually hung your own bags and racked your own bike. At every other event someone was with you. Next Kate and I drove the marathon course. It’s a two loop and essentially a few turns and on major out and back section that is 4 miles each way.
After we drove the course Kate and I went for a short run. I always like to run about 3 miles the day before Ironman. It’s the first mile at about 10 minutes pace, the second mile I ran it about 7 minutes, and the third mile I walked it. Next we caught up with Rory and Hannah. We had dinner in Wilmington with my parents along with my aunt.
After dinner we drove up to Lake Placid to look for some Sunday morning parking and caught up with Bridget and Gary. We saw the fire as well that was burning and the smoke was going over Mirror Lake.
We got back to the hotel about 9 PM and went to bed. I woke up at 3:15 to start my day…We left the hotel about 4:40 AM. Before I left I had 2 Ensure pluses and some oatmeal along with 2 cups of coffee.
We got to transition a little bit after 5 AM. Parking was a non-issue on the side of the road. I filled up my tires, put my bottles on my bike and we dropped off our Special needs bags. This is the first time I had to walk to two different spots to drop off my special needs bags. This is also the first time I had very little walk between bike/run transition and the start of the swim. In Texas and Louisville you walk almost a mile. In Chattanooga you are bussed upriver.
By about 5:30/5:40 we were down by the lake just hanging out with my family and friends. For me this is the time that I’m fairly quiet and usually a bit relaxed. I’m just going over in my head on what I need to do that day. Mostly nutrition, etc.
The swim started about 6:30. I headed down the swim area maybe about 6:20/6:25. Just after the national anthem. I lined up at the 1:21-1:30 swim time. I had a new wetsuit on and thought I would swim about a 1:25-1:30. It was very crowded in here and I’m glad I didn’t line up any sooner. At Texas it wasn’t near as crowded and you felt you had room to breath. I got into the water at about 6:44. The Lake Placid is a two loop swim and you basically follow an under water cable the whole time. They had buoys that were numbered 1-8 on each side. My first lap I settled in and felt I was swimming pretty good. For the first time ever I actually tried to draft in the swim. My first loop was about 41 minutes. I knew I wasn’t going to do a 1:22 but thought I had a chance at about 1:25. When I got to the second turn around buoy. I could feel my stomach bother me a bit. So I needed to slow down a bit. I ended up finishing the swim in 1:27. I was very pleased overall and took my time getting to transition. It’s about a 300 yard walk/jog on the streets that they carpeted. The ear plugs I used saved me. I was never dizzy at all.
I changed fairly quick but had a bit of a stomach issue so I ended up in transition for a total of 15 minutes. Not a big deal but something I wasn’t surprised about considering how I felt in the last 800 meters of the swim.
I took my time in the beginning. It always takes me about 15-20 minutes to loosen up. I knew by then I would be close to the Keene decent and not have to peddle much. I entered the 6 mileish of down hills with a lot of caution. On the very steep section I don’t think I was more than 30 mph while on other downhill sections where it wasn’t that bad I was able to get up to about 35 mph.
Once we took a left onto 9N your at about mile 15 and you can finally settle in an actually ride your bike. You’re loose and you aren’t going downhill. It was flat for the most part for the next 25 miles. There were a few climbs but an elite athlete probably did this stretch in about an hour or so. I was cruising. Miles 11-35 I averaged 21.7 mph on a road bike. I am sure a lot of people were averaging about 24-26 mph. On sections of Route 9N I was doing 25-30 on the flats a lone. My legs felt strong.
Once we took a left onto 86 at about mile 43ish we had a climb back into town. The bottom part of the hills I thought were the worse part overall. My goal was to limit my losses. This is the first Ironman that I decided to really push it where I could. On some stretches of 86 it leveled out and you could go 20+ mph.
The last three climbs are known as the three bears. The Mama bear, Baby bear, and Papa bear. The Mama bear was sneaky hard. I held my own. If you get enough momentum coming off of it, which I did, Baby bear is easy. I entered Papa bear with a chip on my shoulder. It reminded me of Buck Hill back home that I have ridden over 200 times but not as steep and I knew I could attack it. I was out of my saddle the whole time and just peddling my ass off. I know I was averaging well over 350 watts on that climb. So many fans are on that hills cheering you on. I passed everyone in site. I think mostly because they were sitting on their tri-bike but also saving themselves for the second loop.
The difference between say Lake Placid with 7K feet of bike climbing and Louisville with 5K feet of climbing is Lake Placid your climbs are only about 15+ miles per lap. It’s steep hills but you can settle in, grind it out, and limit your losses. With Louisville it’s constant up and down. You don’t get the rhythm that you get in Lake Placid. Even though my bike time is slower in Lake Placid than Louisville I would take Lake Placid’s climbing every day of the week.
On about the second loop of the course you get your bike special needs. My friend Catherine from IMCHOO took my bike and I inhaled some liquids. I had some Campbell Soup and most of an Ensure. I was disappointed that we had no bathrooms here. Every other bike special needs stop had them in the other four Ironmen that I have done. I had to stop another time about 2 miles up the road to use the bathroom. I was still feeling strong overall. I saw my family, girlfriend, and friends.
At about mile 60-65 I could tell something wasn’t right. I was a bit nauseous. My stomach was okay but it felt full. I didn’t want to eat any longer. Even my liquid intake was slowing down a bit but I still thought I was drinking enough. I was just getting sick of everything I had been eating. My pre-race plan was to give myself plenty of options out there which I did.
By mile about 90 or so I was just feeling like crap. My legs were fine. I just had no energy. It was getting hotter but near as hot as Texas. I did my best to work through it. I am not exactly sure what went wrong but I think I need to switch up my liquids at the 1/2 point. I love Hammer Perpetuem but I think I may have watered it down a bit to much. This is because I mix it in a bottle and transfer it into a plastic water bottle. For my next IM I plan to just buy some cheap bottles and put in a bit more concentrate. That would help. I also want to use some of my own Gatorade. I prefer grape or fruit punch. So I will have some of that at the 1/2 way point.
I saw my girlfriend, family, and friends at the end of the bike ride. I told them how I sucked out there and I needed to fix it. They were so encouraging and rooting me on. I really got so much more energy from it. I was doubting myself but they brought me back to life. I went into transition and changed fairly quickly. I came out of transition walking bit. I saw my crew again and once I got around the corner I started to jog again.
The run course is two loops. It’s an overall down hill for the first 6 miles and the last 6 miles coming back it’s a net uphill. Most Ironman marathons are boring with multiple loops and for first timers this becomes so mental. At mile 2.2ish you make a left onto Riverside Road and stay on this road until 6 and change then turn around and run back.
I have done enough of these where I could do a combination of running and walking. I wasn’t going to averaging 9-10 minute miles but I was strong enough to fight through it and keep moving. I refuse to walk the marathon course. I am smart enough to walk the water stops and to walk the steep hills.
At mile 8 I got sick for the first time. I think I realized at this point I was dehydrated. I was able to start running again. I felt great after being sick.
At about mile 12 I saw Adam while I was climbing a hill and we chatted for a few minutes. I then ran into my girlfriend, friends and my family. I was still in rough shape from the run. At the Special needs bag I picked up some food and Gatorade. After the out and back and I was on mile 13 I saw my family, girlfriend, and friends again. Once I went by them I started to feel a bit better. I decided to run about 9/9:30 minute miles. My legs as I mentioned were feeling good. I think the chips and Gatorade perked me up a bit. From miles 14-22 I ran almost the whole way averaging sub 10. I even ran through about two water stops.
I got sick again at mile 23. From there I jogged it out until the finish. I was still very excited crossing the finish line. I know I didn’t have the best day but I was still able to fight my way through.
I saw my family, girlfriend, and friends at the finish. I couldn’t thank them enough for all of their support.
Overall Lake Placid Course:
This being my 5th Ironman (4th different course) and my parents have been to everyone this has to be the best one for spectators. The swim is the only full I have done you can see the whole course, The bike is two loops where you actually come back into town, and the run you do two laps. Most marathons you can see someone probably once or twice.
This was my favorite swim and bike course that I have ever done. The marathon is my second favorite. I prefer the Texas marathon because it’s three loops.
I think Ironman (WTC really) should consider making the Lake Placid run course three loops. Why? Because the last two miles of each loop are full of so many people. In Texas you are running along the canal for a while and I love this but the last mile of each loop in Texas (except the .2 for the finish) isn’t that busy with people. It’s a boring out and back.
If Lake Placid does three loops you cut down on the distance of Riverside Rd. Yes you have to climb a few more hills but you get that true thrill of all of your family and friends for each loop. You also can have a few less aid stations.
Things I would do different:
I still need to learn from my nutrition. I thought I had it in better shape for this time around but I failed overall. My legs weren’t that sore. I had enough training to do a sub 6:30 on the bike. I did a 3:10 on the first loop and I had the legs to do a 3:20 on the second loop.
I am on the fence about getting a coach. But leaning towards yes. I have reasons for and against. I know getting a coach holds me accountable. I have a few in mind. I know I need to get a full nutrition analysis done and I know it’s not cheap. So I think I will work on finding a nutritionist.
I also plan to work on getting my tri-bike on the road again next year. Over the course of the last few days/weeks I have come to realize I know what the problem is. I need to raise the stem so the handle bars aren’t so low so I can climb out of the saddle if I want to. The stack is also so high that I want to lower that once a new stem is in place.
I have plans to run the Hartford Marathon in October. I am hoping to BQ this year and my training started last weekend with long runs.
I need to get back to the rider I once was. As I mentioned in my pre-race I have really started to fall in love with the bike again. I know my QVV friends will be more than happy to help me out. Trust me I need it. I want to improve on my power numbers and my time on the bike for Ironman.
2016 IM Events:
2017 IM Events:
Maybe Florida or Cozumel. Arizona is tempting as well.