“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” ~Walt Disney
I survived, smiled, and cried. The days leading up were way more stressful than I thought they should be. I left my Osmo nutrition at my apartment in Ithaca (BIG thank you to Alex <3), there was a terrible tragic crash between Saranac and Lake Placid, I racked my bike and forget my gear bags, I tried not to panic or get intimidated by everyone else (but totally was).
All in all, it was an experience beyond words. The words I keep thinking of are: support, love, cheers, smiles, and frozen.
We arrived up in Saranac Lake on thursday to a great relaxing little place on the hill looking towards the mountains and Lake Placid. The view was my favorite part, it was breathtaking.
Race morning went well, surprisingly I slept a fews solid hours (up at 3:00) and my stomach was good enough to get oatmeal, coffee and an Orgain down prior to actually getting to LP. Hair was braided and I wrote some typical things on my arms as reminders: “Head up, Wings out,” “Heart and Courage,” and FLRTC & Oiselle Tattoos then we were out the door. Once there, Alex and I checked our bike tires and went to drop our special needs bags before settling down on the sidewalk outside the beach.
I finally started to get emotional just as Brian (TGBtraining/my coach) and Hollie (his wife) found us. What a relief it was for me to see him for those brief minutes prior to walking down to the beach start. Just needed to be reminded that I knew I could do it, just relax in the water, be smart on the bike and crush the run. When Alex and I were making our way down, my head and heart was ready. I was ready.
Swim: 39:00 (1:20:43)
Starting the swim, I had plenty of space. Only got kicked in the face twice on the first loop and found plenty of feet. Just focused on swimming and doing my thing. Turns out I was passing people left and right. It was nuts. Finishing the first lap, I was feeling good, and believe it or not, totally excited to go back out for another loop. In the second loop things got a little interesting – at least I heard after I finished the race.. but first I noticed that it started raining, and that was super relaxing. Then I saw lightening.. I thought about how epic it was, swimming in a lake (right- probably not the best thoughts, but no one was pulling me out so I kept going). After the turn around, I found myself swimming with this girl the whole way. It was pretty awesome and I felt like I had a good swim going (didn’t start a watch). Next thing I know, I literally ran into something.. we both swam into one of the bouys, stopped swimming, looked at each other and just started laughing. It was great. Then we continued on our way. Me counting down the bouys, ready to go ride with Timmy.. I finally made it back to shore, the wetsuit strippers were awesome, laughing at me as I couldn’t get my hands out and off I was, running to T1. Unknown to me until after the race, that the RDs/volunteers had pulled people from the water, and dropped our second loop of the swim course from our overall time, which was nuts. Overall, I was SO happy that I had finished both loops, I would have been so mad (right-again, not in a safety state of mind) had I been pulled from the water.
It’s a long way to transition from the beach 😉 The volunteers in the women’s tents were awesome, THANK YOU, you were so helpful and I wasn’t anxious or rushed feeling either! I thought about putting on arm warmers for the Bike but reminded myself that no one got frostbite in 60 degree weather (I soon was cursing this decision) and kept going!
I was so happy to start biking, now I really could pick people off. Time to get this race started. Until about 10 minutes in when I started shivering and my teeth were chattering for 2 HOURS. My hands were numb, it was so bad Timmy was swerving in the road, I could hardly change gears, I couldn’t eat nor drink, the decent into Keene was interesting. I cried twice. I thought about how much money, time, effort and work I and put into this stupid race (at the time, I felt it was stupid). I was seriously worried I was going to be hypothermic. Everyone kept passing me. I just tried to keep pedaling to keep moving and hope I was going to get warm. I thought about pulling over and dropping out, not once, but twice. I wanted to call my Mom to come get me. I didn’t want to risk my health for a silly race. I told myself with out a doubt I’m signing up for next year. I told myself I couldn’t do it, if the conditions were going to stay the way they were.
I looked at my arms “Head up, wings out” & “Heart and courage”. I thought about Alex gritting it out on the course, and everyone else from Ithaca. I thought about all my friends and family at home, surely they would understand…Then.. just in an instant.. on the first out and back.. could it be.. the skies.. they opened.. the rain stopped.. and was starting to get warm. Next I just started eating and drinking. I realized I still had a marathon to run. I couldn’t stop now. I wanted to finish this thing. I KNEW I could finish this thing. I started passing people left and right, now that I could feel my body. The hills.. what hills. I flew by people effortlessly (it was nuts actually- good work Brian, turned me to like swimming and I was crushing people on the hills). I was FINALLY having fun again. I started smiling at every aid station. I was taking in the scenery. I met a new friend who said I must have an “Ithaca Motor” on Timmy as we flew up the hills. I was finally hydrated enough to.. uh.. well.. pee. Before I knew it, I was past Whiteface and looking for friends at the Wilmington Camp Ground and running out on the course. I was SO excited to see them! Next thing I knew, I was climbing back into town, flying by more people. Some spectator commented on my climbing, my beauty and asked if there was anything else he needed to know to know about me…. I flew down by the ITC tent, saw my mom (got emotional) and was back out of town to finish loop 2. Loop 2 was a little more relaxed and much warmer 🙂 Around mile 80-90 I had a low point and thought about all the extra energy I had expended from shivering and still riding a bike. I decided to get more food down with an extra gel and a banana. Around mile 100 I was ready to be back in town and run.
After almost causing a crash at the dismount line, I saw Will in Medical 🙂 and just kept running to get my run bag. I was GOING TO GO RUN! There was a small moment of doubt, could I still run a marathon but I knew my body wasn’t going to fail me now.
I tried everything in my power to run SLOW. I felt like I was crawling, but I knew I needed to really hold back on the reins. I was so excited to see Coeur and Oiselle teammate Kelly at the turn to head out to river road. It was an unexpected surprise! I took water in at every aid station, hit the b-room at mile 4, HS chews, a gel, more HS chews, pretzels, a half banana (which really impressed me), then anything my body wanted. The first miles I felt great. I was FLYING by people and still feeling effortless. I was following a similar race plan as Syracuse 70.3 – run the flats and downhills, shuffle the up hills. I also LOVE river road. It makes me so happy, I’m not sure why, but every once in a while I just find a road I love. Then continued on my way back into town, smiling and having fun. In town I just got goosebumps from the noise and energy, tried to still hold back best I could. Out to the turn around on Mirror lake, I saw the ITC tent again and was SO happy. Brian was chatting with me, how was the head, the tummy, how I was feeling, that now I could just go. I’m pretty sure he must of laughed at the look I gave him. It must have been a classic Lisa face — I was thinking he was nuts, I didn’t think I could go any faster, my legs were already starting to ache and I still had 13 miles to go.
Not doubts though. I would definitely finish and I would still run. No walking (except aid stations). Period. Left town and let the roads carry me back out to river road. River road was exciting the second time too, as I knew there was only 4 miles left after I was off it. The aid stations got a little longer. My head was still in a great space but I decided I wanted to try coke. I had heard of its magical effects.. but it upset my stomach and I immediately regretted it. I was paranoid that I was going to pay for it later with that increased sugar rush. Fortunately for me, I didn’t – Phew! After I was just shuffling along and realized that I was going to do it. I knew I fell off my marathon (goal in my head) pace but I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted to get back into town, feel the energy. Running back up the hill I was in PAIN. It hurt so bad, but I looked up and there was IAN (my boss) and Nick! I was so overwhelmed with emotions at that point.. I started to cry (Ian raced earlier in the morning at the catskills). I had no idea he was coming up. Both of the guys were running next to me for a while (check out Nick’s video). Ian was yelling at me that Ironmen don’t cry and that at the last check point I was 10 in my AG. I just started rolling, I was almost done. I had less than 2 miles to go. I used a mantra I’ve used in my long runs/rides before – I could do anything for 15 minutes (taken from a funny joke). I passed the ITC tent one last time and that was all I needed. It was a downhill finish (I roll down hills, booyah!). Next thing I remember, a HUGE smile on my face as I came in towards the circle and was able to go right instead of left (second loop). I just kept running, around the olympic circle, chills went down my spine. It was so loud and so amazing. I was going to be done.
Official: 7th AG, 450 OA, 11:15:17.
I could feel the love and support the entire time – a big thank you from my Coeur & Oiselle teammates for all the encouragement, love and support. My FLRTC coworkers for dealing with the highs and lows. The Cornell XC/Distance girls & coaching staff at Cornell – for always making me feel special and smile. My Mom, family and friends for thinking I’m nuts but always supporting me anyways. Alex and Ian for basically forcing me to sign up, but helped in everyday imaginable – thank you Gchat. Ithaca NY – for the beauty and fun in training, plus the people who provided endless support. Dale and Gerrit for keeping me healthy. Brian for laughing at me in our first meeting about my time goals, but never giving up on me. The last 6 months have been so amazing, it all flew by so fast. It was incredible. Words are still not enough for the emotions I’m feeling. I’ve caught the bug (yes, everyone knew I would) but next up, Wineglass Marathon!!