IronMan Lake Placid
July 24, 2005
2.4 mi S, 112 mi B, 26.2 mi R
I would like to thank my coach Carole Sharpless. I have been working with her for over 2 years now with this race as one of my goals since 2003. Her custom preparations have always been great and have led me to many PRs over the last 2 years. And, of course, my family who at times thinks Iím crazy for getting up at 4:30 AM; but, supports the endeavor.
I kept very busy during taper so I didnít have a lot of time to think about the race. However, I re-injured my hamstring, originally injured early April, less then 2 weeks out and the Wednesday before the race I could barely walk. I skipped my short run and talked with Carole who confirmed I should just rest it until race day. My training had been great; but, you shouldnít be hurting before the race starts. I kept telling myself, you have four days of rest.
We left 3:00 AM Thursday morning to avoid traffic and have time to get settled in on Thursday at Lake Placid. I started running into friends in the hotel parking lot as I was unpacking. Went for a swim and the water was beautiful. Squeezed into the ART tent before it closed to get some work done on the hammie. Met up with more friends Friday morning for a swim. I decided to skip this one and went to the ART tent again after seeing them off on their swim. The massages did wonders but within 30 minutes it started tightening up again. You still have 48 hours. Maybe if I say it enough I will believe it. Many more lines for registration, lunch, and trying to relax.
Saturday was a short swim and 20 minute bike. It took about 15 minutes for my leg to warm up on the bike. I have been using Capsicum patches all week to keep heat on the hammie. These things are wonderful. I just hope they have enough time to work their magic. Out for one more massage then pack and drop of the bike and gear bags. My leg was getting a little better every day; but, will it be good enough. I planned on wearing the capsicum patch overnight and for the race. It should keep my leg warm at least until I get to the bike. That and a healthy dose of Advil.
Up at 3:00 AM to start eating and last minute packing to hit the transition area around 5:00. I slept much better then I thought I would. Hammie was a lot better then it was 4 days ago. It was still tender and was good as it was going to get. I would probably know an hour into the bike weather it would be good enough to hold up. After getting to transition, meeting up with Lauri and loaded up the bike and gear bags, there was nothing to do but stress about the race. She tried to calm me down. Maybe it took her mind off the swim. I just wanted to get started and find out one way or the other. Last minute gel and water and into the lake to wait for the start.
I was warned about IM swim starts and told that the chaos didnít start to die down until the second loop of the swim. It lived up to expectations and more. My 1/2 IM swims have been about 35 minutes so I should be able to go under 1:15 even with the chaos. I started about 30 yards from the inside line and about 15 yards back. Still up front when you consider the 1997 who started the race. The gun goes off, the froth kicks up and we are off. The first 50-100 yards were normal. Then came the squeeze as everyone headed for the inside line around the course. I ended up right on top of the underwater wire. I actually got pushed to the inside and fought my way back to the outside. It was like 2000 people trying to start a 5k down a one lane road. You basically got the crap beat out of you the whole first lap. Didnít these people every hear of high elbow recovery?
Finished the first loop in 33 minutes. Wow, that drafting stuff must work. With all the fighting I was expecting around 40 minutes. Quick jog around the pier and back in the water. Started swimming as soon as it was waist deep. It was a little more spread out but not much. Just before the turn around I was passed by a woman without a wetsuit. She had an Ironman two-piece suit on and an M-dot tattoo so she must have done one of these before. There was someone right on her feet but they veered off so I figured if she saw a lane I would jump on her feet. Still about 100 yards from the turn around she stopped and switched to breaststroke. I ran up on her before I realized. As my hand entered the water I was greeted with a nice firm IronButt. Just when you thought it couldnít get any better. Finished up the swim in 1:08.
Came out of the water. I thought they took my picture; but, later I found out it wasnít me. Jogged the couple of blocks to the transition area. Taking baby steps at this point my leg felt OK. Steadily changed, more suntan lotion, potty break and out the back.
Time to test the leg. The bike start is a quick downhill with several sharp turns. They have hay on the corner for the people who miss the turn every year. Start heading out of town doing an easy spin to loosen up the hamstring and get blood into my legs. At one mile a woman comes up and says hello, nice day etc. Then she cuts me off and her derailleur goes into my front spokes. I save the bike and donít see any spokes sticking out. She apologies and says nice save. I hope that is my one issue on the bike.
Now, at the bottom of each pedal stroke I can feel the tightness in the hamstring and also running down behind my knee and into my calf. Stretching on the bike and after a couple of miles I decide to take the Advil I had for the bike. A couple more miles of hills before the nice 9k decent into Keene. By the time I got to the top of this set of hills my leg was surviving. Tight; but, not like it was going to snap. Ah, the downhill. Time to fly. It is like one of the super slides at carnivals. Down, flat, down, flat, down. Flying down at about 48mph. My computer says my max speed was 70.4!?! Not sure about that one; but, no one passed me as I passed well over 100 people. I know they would get me on the next up hill so I was taking advantage of my strength.
Settled into a comfortable aerobic pace. Spinning up hills and going by effort. At mile 40, part of an out and back on the bike loop, there were Gatorade bottles all over the road. I didnít have time to get around all of them. The good news is I hit the bottle at 90 degrees and bounced over it and stayed upright yet again. I saw on the second loop there was a dip in the road causing bottles to come out of cages behind the seat. I continue down the road and it feels like I have a flat. I slow and look at the front and back tires. They look OK. I canít be bonking, I feel fine but my legs are turning the pedals anymore. Time for a more complete inspection. Pull over and go over the wheels. Turns out the bottle tacoed my wheel and it was rubbing against my brakes. The spokes may have been weakened with my first incident at mile one. Who knows. I have to open my front brakes all the way so there is no rubbing. This virtually eliminates the front brake. Note to self: brake early in turns.
Now to finish the first loop where the steepest hills are just before the finish. Affectionately called Mama Bear and Papa Bear. Papa Bear had spectators lining the street like the Tour de France. It was cool going through a tunnel of people. It really does take your mind off the effort you are putting in. Swapped out some stuff at the special needs section and luckily had an uneventful second loop.
Not attempting a rolling dismount with my leg. There were volunteers to collect your bike. Then everyone was taking off their shoes to run through transition. Luckily ART message therapists were working the changing tent. I changed and got a quick stretch on the hammie. He asked if I wanted the calf stretched; but, it felt OK at that point so I got more suntan lotion and headed out. Of course in hind sight, I probably should have had some work done but who knows how long or how much difference it would have made.
You are required to wear reflective tape for the run. So, I decided to put a smiley face on the back of my singlet. We signed up for this. You might as well smile. I had lots of comments from spectators and participants.
My hamstring seemed to be holding up; but, my calf was cramping up from compensating. Stopped a few times to stretch. I seemed to be holding a decent pace. At the second aid station they had ice so that went into the hat. They then ran out of ice. Everyone was asking for it. It took over an hour of the hottest part of the day before more ice was brought out to the aid stations. This seemed to be the only visible glitch in a greatly run race.
The second loop was a lot tougher. I knew I would finish. It was a matter of how much I could run. I tried running the flats and down hills and walking the up hills. By mile 18 my left knee was sore from taking on the extra work. This also limited the length of each run. I had plenty of company and talked with people from all over. Ran/walked saving enough energy for a strong finish in the oval.
I hit the Olympic speed skating oval and the adrenaline and emotion takes over. You get the IronMan glow and you get a few minute reprieve from aches and pains. The family was waiting on the turn and the kids came out to finish with me. I did have to remind the boy to let me go first. He only had a 100 meter dash, I was one mile 141. Breaking the tape was awesome. A goal I have had to two years.
Re-hydrated and got a message from my friend Meagan up from Florida to see her BIL race and was talked into working the massage tent. Monday, I hobbled around collecting my pictures, certificate, and a nice finisher windbreaker.
What a great journey and experience. I wont be doing Lake Placid next year. Maybe a local iron distance race. Iíll be back later to see what I can do.
SWIM 2.4 mi. 1:08:23
BIKE 112 mi. 7:29:24
RUN 26.2 mi. 5:47:12
Full Splits: http://liveupdate.ironmanlive.com/pp...rid=56&bib=841