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?
- I learned first and foremost I need to stick with my nutrition plan on the run. I can’t be afraid of getting sick again. This probably held me back on the bike. My nutrition plan overall was solid.
- I need to face the reality that I am not in as good as shape as I thought I was. I lost a lot of fitness when I tore my labrum last August. I didn’t even start running until about 8 weeks before Texas. Even to this day I have been hesitant to run that much. It’s not that my injury is still an issue but, it’s mostly very tight the day after a run. Because of the lack of running it has caused me some weight issues. My overall fitness is pretty disappointing.
- My race weight is 167 pounds. I haven’t seen this weight since Texas in 2015. For the last three Ironmen my weight has been somewhere around 175-182 pounds. Most of this is because the lack of running and not training enough. This is me facing the reality that I need to be in much better shape to excel at Ironman. I am working hard to get into better shape for Ironman Maryland coming up on October 1st.
- After Ironman Maryland this fall I need to re-evaluate all of my training. I need to find that fire I once had and work on getting in much better shape. My confidence is not where it was two years ago and I realize this. I have a few good ideas on what is holding me back but I want to keep that private.
- I understand doing three full Ironmen in a year is a bit much and this is the only year I will do this. If I had known last August I wouldn’t be fully healed from my injury I would have only done two Ironmen this year and done three another year. At this rate I will be eligible for the Kona legacy program at the end of 2018. I plan to go and spectate Kona in the fall of 2018 and hope to compete in 2019 or 2020.