“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” – Thomas Carlyle
Wow, it’s amazing to me how every Ironman has a completely different story and as an athlete you can experience something completely different. This year’s ironman lake placid is no different. Leading up to the race, we (Doug, my Mom and myself) came up on Thursday to our Airbnb, which is about a mile from the swim start. While a convenient location, an a clean bed, it’s probably not worth staying again. Kinda dirty, but oh well. The days leading up were pretty relaxed, some swimming in Mirror Lake (with Alex, Dana and Hollie), some biking (with Dana), and a little shuffling. I also had the pleasure of meeting up with a bunch of my Coeur Teammates at Mr. Mike’s. I just love our team, it was great to catch up with friends and meet new ones. I love how a bunch of random strangers can be instantly friends!
Race AM went really smooth, woke up after a good night’s sleep. Ate breakfast, had half a cup of coffee, did pre-race braids, sat for a minute, then it was time to get dropped off. Once in transition, it was time to get Timmy all set up (tires pumped, nutrition, and filled my aero bottle) and Dana found me. I’m typically not that talkative race morning, but it was so nice to see her. Once transition was set, I headed over to Mirror Lake to hit the port pot one more time before getting in my wetsuit and a short warm up. I was able to see Alex, which was also a wonderful distraction ha. After the short warmup, I gave my mom a hug and it was off to get in line for the rolling start.
Swim: 4200 yds, 1:14.32, 1:55/100m, 23rd AG, (actually swam 4368 yds – 1:42/100yds)
I typically like the rolling start, but good grief. This was the most brutal swim of my life. I self seeded in the 71-80min group, which was accurate, in hopes that I would be closer to the 70 min mark for the swim. Well, they also had pauses within the rolling start (which I did not remember from 2014). After the first pause, they finally let us go and into the water we went. I’m not sure what people were thinking as they walked into the water, but I pushed on through and started swimming as soon as possible. I felt very relaxed in the water, I felt like there were people all around me, clawing, hitting, etc. It was insane. Not too long after the first 2 buoys, I noticed my left eye couldn’t see and assumed it was full of water.. then I got punched in the left eye which hurt a LOT. Before I knew it, we were at the turn around. To be honest, I felt like I was going too slow, but couldn’t find a good pair of feet and couldn’t really get going. It was incredible to me how fast the swim went by.
Once we got out of the water for the first loop, I emptied my goggle, and fixed my garmin strap (making sure the more important issue got fixed first) and AGAIN people were taking their sweet time getting in the water. I thought to myself: C’mon people.. don’t you just want to finish this and get on your bike.. cuz I DO!! Finally I found some feet, I jumped around to try to keep moving up, and wouldn’t you know it.. I got ELBOWED in the left eye AGAIN. Fortunately the gentleman apologized in the middle of the swim, which calmed me down a bit and I went back to work. Again, the second loop went by fast even though I couldn’t get going there either. Finally made it back to the dock and the swim was over. Still unsure of what the other racers were doing as they walked up the ramp, but I thought about my bicycle and ran to the wetsuit strippers. Unsure how I swam so much extra, but it’s fine. I just wanted to go ride my bicycle.
Gear: BlueSeventy Reaction Wetsuit, Roka R1 Goggles (can’t speak enough about these – no fogging!!), Garmin 735xt.
Bike: 112 miles, 6:06.57, 18.3 mph, 10th AG (actually 6:03.01, 18.5 mph)
Once into transition, I hurried to my bag, and went into the change tent. Ladies who volunteered in the tent – THANK YOU. Both of you who helped me were incredible. Thank you so much. Before I knew it I was out to get my bike. While not a big deal, I was a little surprised that I heard my number several times and no one grabbed my bike. Good thing I knew exactly where it was ha!
Once over the dismount line (which was really crowded) I settled in and followed my very specific race plan keeping an eye on my watts and my HR, while eating, drinking and letting my ego go as I was getting passed by a LOT of people. I kept reminding myself that it would help me later. The Keene descent was a lot less scary this year than in 2014. 1) it wasn’t raining, 2) there was no real cross wind, so 3) I was a little ballsy and went down in aero and kept up with some of the guys. Someone made a comment to me but I think it was a good one. Also – huge shoutout to the gentleman who helped me scream left on the descent to get the other guy out of the way. I appreciate the men on the course who respect the women competing. Not too long later I caught up to Dana (thanks to the FLRTC bottle on her bike), and asked her how she was doing, she mentioned she died on the swim (she swam sub 62.. I WISH I could). Then continued with my plan. Enter random thought: I was kind of cold, but told myself that I would want this temp on the second loop and it’s no where near as cold as 2014 so keep going and don’t think about it.
All I could think about was how fast the course was going by, focused on my plan and my nutrition. Even the out in back to Ausable Forks wasn’t terrible. Before I knew it I was climbing back by wilmington and smiling thinking of 2014 where friends were at the campground and thinking about the three bears at the end before the end of the second loop. The three bears is probably one of my favorite parts on the course, people line up on both sides of the street and it makes me feel like I’m in the tour de France. I always get goosebumps coming back into town too. I heard my name right in front of the brewery, and saw a friend’s dad on the side across from special needs. Not too far down from special needs I saw my mom, going bananas with her cowbell. Then it was on to loop two.
Heading back out of town I reminded myself of the grind, being patient and following the plan. I also wondered where Doug was, then wouldn’t you know he appeared! We chatted and he said to start cranking it down slowly. So I tried to, I noticed my HR was creeping up and decided to start to pour water over my neck, back and legs at the aid stations. Next was the second Keene descent – this is also where I gave up trying to pee on my bike (sorry if TMI), I promised myself after trying for 70+ miles and failing, I would just get off and go at an AS. I really really had to go. Once back on it clicked in my head, I couldn’t go because I changed SADDLES. So I’ll be in the market soonish.
Moving on at a more comfortable position and pace, it was time to do the first out and back again. It definitely took a little longer this time, or at least mentally a little longer. Once done, another woman and I were excited to hear ‘Cake by the Ocean’ and were chatting a bit about this and that, like food, how long she had done triathlons etc before I started moving again on the downhill. Wouldn’t you know what happened next: my CHAIN DROPPED. I was kinda in shock, thankful it was on a downhill and immediately started thinking about what Doug told me a while back – just keep shifting. So I did and it caught itself and everything was grand. Then I was just paranoid it was going to happen again, fortunately it didn’t. It had never happen before, fortunately it was the only thing that really happened on the bike. Around mile 100 I as ready to be off and even chucked to myself thinking about my long ride during over load week as it took SO MUCH LONGER😉 Before long it was back up the three bears, down into town and time to get off my bike.
Gear/Nutrition: Coeur Sports Zele Tri Top (so perfect), Coeur Sports Team Shorts, Rudy Project Aero Helmet, Smith Pivlock Sunnies, Shimano SH-WT60 Triathlon Shoes, 6.5 bottles of Osmo, 2.5 bottles of gatorade, 2 HS waffles, 2 Gu Stroop Waffles, 1 1/2 sleeve of Clif Shot Bloks, Base Salt every 10 miles, 1 banana.
Run: 26.2, 3:51.08, 8:49/mi, 6th AG
To be honest, I didn’t want to get off my bike and run. I thought about how I was content to just be done. I was tired but I was trusting of my body and trusting of my training. So, I got off the bike, grabbed my gear and headed into the training tent. A huge shout out again to the volunteer who helped me. She was fantastic. Before I knew it, I was headed out on the run and into the sea of cheers.
I prepared myself on the bike that I would feel terrible getting off, however to my surprise I felt pretty good, granted it is downhill. So thinking about what people had been telling me and I just let my body fall down the hill through town without any real effort. I saw mom, Alex ran next to me telling me where she thought I was, and then Doug was down further. We chatted and agreed to stay around 155 for my HR. So I focused on my HR and making sure I was running, not shuffling.
Before I knew it, I was turning onto River Road and just reminded myself of taking the tangents, focusing on my hydration and get to the turn around. My Coeur teammate Denise was out there volunteering which was such a huge relief ha. It was nice to see her out there. I kept reminding myself that I love river rd, the beauty is unbelievable, not to mention there is shade. However today, I wasn’t really in the mood to love River rd ha. Around mile 5 my legs started aching. Really aching. I tried not to think about the fact I had 21 miles to go, and focused on putting on foot in front of the other. I thought about all the time and work I had put into the day, the hours spent working out, the sweat, oh the sweat, and the amount of honey stinger waffles I had eaten in the last 8 months. Eventually, I made my way to the turn around and then focused on getting back to Mirror Lake. Around mile 8, I gagged choking down some Honey Stinger Chews (happens every race, working on this, even with Tums this race) and decided it would be liquid from the aid stations from now on. I was paranoid about loosing all the hydration and nutrition I had gained thus far and did not want to end up in a bad place.
Heading back into town, I saw Doug again and informed him of my close incident and he said more salt and coke. Well, to be honest, my mouth was so cotton like I couldn’t get anymore salt down and I typically hate coke. I tried it two years ago at IMLP and almost got sick but prayed this year would be different. Thus for the rest of the aid stations it was – water, gatorade, coke, ice, repeat. I was pretty amazed at the amount of fluid I was putting down and I figured that if I took gatorade and coke at each aid station then I had to be getting enough calories. So I took a deep breath and prayed that would get me across the finish line.
Running up that hill in town SUCKS. It’s not even that big, but after the swim, the bike and running 10 miles it just wipes you out. So I shuffled, and shuffled and put my head down and shuffled. Once in front of High Peaks Cyclery, I felt like I could get into a decent running Rhythm then and saw all the QT2-ers which was a good boost before running out to the Mirror lake turn around. While I appreciate all the noise, cheers, etc, the beer I could smell along mirror lake was gross. I had a brief moment of envy of all the spectators but quickly dismissed it. Once at the turn around, I was searching for teammates behind me, gave them cheers and got back to work focusing on getting myself back to that River Rd Turn around.
Running back through town, I think I saw my mom again, Alex, Tim, Tom, Kelly (thanks for the BIG cheer and forcing me to smile), and I think Doug again – I don’t remember what he said this time hahah, but my head was down and I was focused. Focused on the people around me, pretending we were best friends, focused on the aid stations (powering through), focused on getting to that turn around. The turn around came relatively fast and I willed myself after to try to pick it up more, move my legs, give the end of the race what I had. The last part on River Rd went quickly and at 5k to go, I saw Doug again. He told me I could run hard for the 3.1 miles. So I gave it more. I also saw Coeur teammate Meghan, multiple times out on the run course, she always gave me an extra boost and was so positive.
Finally back in town and up that stupid hill the last time, I kept moving, knowing I was less than 2 miles from being done. Ran onto Mirror Lake Drive, Heard some insane cheering from my Oiselle teammates Stephanie and Mollie – seriously, I may not have smiled but almost cried, totally one of the high parts on the run course – and just kept trucking as much as I could to get to that last turn around. Finally hit it and all I could think of was move, move, move. This is it. Third Ironman will be in the books, get to that OVAL. I won’t lie, running on the the oval is one of my FAVORITE parts about this course. I get goosebumps, BUT it seemed like it took FOREVER this time haha. I was relieved that I didn’t have to out kick anyone this year like in 2014, that was just silly and crossing the finish line I throw my hands up to make a heart (I hope it worked) and heard Mike Reilly say my name. Just like that, it was over..
Gear/Nutrition: Coeur Sports Team Tri Top, Coeur Sports Team Shorts, Coeur Team Trucker Hat, Smith Pivlock Sunnies, NB 1500 Shoes, Feetures Socks, 1 pack HS chews, all the gatorade, coke, water at aid stations, Base Salt.
Finish: 11:21:00, 16th AG, 43rd Female, and 235th OA (46 min PR on this course from 2 years ago*).
Once finished, it took me a bit to keep moving, you know you’re a little tired after an Ironman, in case you didn’t know😉 A huge thank you to the volunteers and to the medic who fetched me some sprite as I was feeling sick. I met a nice gentleman who had finished and had done it with his fiancé, he also helped distract me from the other fellow who was using the garbage can.. Once through transition, I saw Coeur Teammate Olivia, who was near me all race. She raced FANTASTICALLY! We chatted for a bit and hugged each other. We had similar race plans this year so we’ll toe the line together in Arizona too🙂
Finally, met up with my Mom, Doug, Alex, John and Wolfie (the cutest baby EVER), and chatted, before long I was too cold and had to go shower. Always the adventure as I was so SORE. I returned in time to catch my athlete Dana finish and caught up with her for a bit. She had a great day out there and is such a trooper! She was all smiles! Another athlete of mine, Will was racing too. He had a great swim and fell hard on the bike, BUT I love his determination as he got back up and made a new race plan of focusing on each aid station, before he was pulled. He’ll be back some day and be stronger!
I was finally able to get some food in too, which was new. So I’m figuring things out! Post race soreness was in full effect for a few days (again, I had never been so sore), but was able to hang out with family and friends, eat at Lake Placid Brewery, finally hit the Tail o’ the Pup, and took mom up Whiteface.
Overall thoughts: I had a good day, not great, BUT I walked in the swim start line and was going to be happy and give the day what I had. If the cards played out in my favor, fantastic but I would be 100% ok with the results if they didn’t. I am happy with the results, but something was missing during the race – I just couldn’t get going. While I swam a Swim PR, I know I can swim faster, I wasn’t tired when I was done and I was dealing with a tight back/hips all week. My Bike was great – I wanted to go sub 6 but that may have been a little greedy. I was 8 minutes off my run time from 2014. I’ll call that a win. Had I known (how was I supposed to know, but I learned and now KNOW) that my legs wouldn’t ache more, I think I would’ve dug deeper, but such is life. I am tougher and wiser from Ironman number 3 and am ready to start building towards Ironman number 4.
I can’t thank my family, friends and teammates for the support. I thought about all of you during that day. Everyone was with me, seriously. A huge thanks to Coeur Sports, Oiselle, Honey Stinger, Finger Lakes Running & Tri Co, my Mom, Doug, Alex (J and W), my Chiropractor Sarah, Ian and SO many more. The list is so incredibly long. I am so blessed and grateful for the continued support, love and encouragement, not to mention being ABLE to do these crazy events.
The hunger continues…
“Wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way.” -Les Brown