If I had to sum up my experiences at Ironman Lake Placid in one word, it would be PERFECTION.
I drove up from to Lake Placid on Thursday morning and was probably the first few hundred of athletes to check in. The town and Main Street had yet to be saturated with triathletes and their families. Over the next couple of days, I did easy workouts, stayed relaxed, foam rolled – pretty much anything my coach would like to see me do to prep for the big race. It was great hanging out with friends, family and other New York City & Long Island based triathletes. There’s way too many of them to name them all in this race report, but if you’re reading this, you know who you are (and congrats!).
Saturday, July 26th – Déjà vu – I found myself hanging out at the Starbucks on Main Street for a couple of hours, the same thing I did back in 2012 when I completed my first Ironman Lake Placid. The day was super chill, I hung out with mom and dad, and topped it off with an impromptu group dinner at the Lake Placid Brew House. It doesn’t get better than that.
Race Day, Sunday July 27 – Execution Complete, with some speed bumps.
So apparently, everyone was concerned about the weather except for me. Maybe it was because I had limited access to internet on my AT&T powered iPhone and I didn’t even bother checking the weather report. So many things can go wrong during an Ironman that the last thing I was worried about was the weather! Hindsight is 20-20, and looking back, I’m glad that I just brushed off the worry about adverse weather; otherwise, I don’t think I would have been able to charge through the storms like I did on race day.
The day began at 4am to the sound of my parents shuffling around our rustic, ski-cabin styled room. I rolled out, ate breakfast, did my business, body glided the areas, and put on my onesie Team Chocolate Milk triathlon race kit. It had rained overnight so I double checked my bike and my gear bags. I was out of transition by 5:30am, then met up with Kelsey, mom, dad, and teammate Erika for the pre race body marking. We made our way down to the swim start at 6am, took some pre race pics, a few selfies, and I was on my way! The gun went off at 6:20am for the Pro’s.
Swim – (about 1:14) – Nothing special to report here, at least not until I found out after the race that swimmers were pulled out of the water because of lightning! The swim was straight forward, 8 buoys down, 9 back, around the Mirror Lake dock and then do that one more time. My first loop was significantly faster than my second loop, mainly because of congestion ahead. I knew that my swim was going to be my weakest link so the game plan was to find feet and draft. Saving energy can go a long way!
Bike – (5:28:45) – First off the bike. Thanks to my coach Jim Uemura and his direction, I have been able ride my bike like I have never imagined.
The 1st loop of the bike course was misery. There is no way anyone can sugar coat that ride to make it seem like it was enjoyable. I got on my bike, and after leaving the transition area, I was faced with downpours, thunder, lightning. The roads were saturated with rain water and I found myself cycling closer to the middle of the road to get out of the flooded sections. The descent into Keene was where I hit my top speed of 50mph. The energy I used to mentally get through the descent made me feel very sluggish (mentally). I remember saying to myself…”this is terrifying…”, and at the same time wiping my sunglasses because they kept on fogging up. The rain did not pass until I got to Wilmington climb back to Lake Placid. [2:38:52]
The 2nd loop was a 11 deficit from the first, mainly because I started coasting on some sections where I should have been pedaling. I was just so mentally drained that I wanted to get off the bike as fast as possible, but didn’t have the capacity to pedal. It’s not always pretty out there, and during the climb back into town, I definitely felt the fatigue settle in. I was done with biking…I just wanted to run! [2:49:53]
Run – (3:35:18) – Holding on, digging deep!
After a #2 during T2, I felt like a new man coming out of transition! I knew that it would take a mile or two before I would find my stride for the rest of the day. It was awesome to see my parents right outside of transition waiting for me. That definitely gave me a boost. At mile 3, I saw my buddy Tim Russell. He took this sweet pic!
I churned on for about 12 without walking until I hit the hill back towards the transition area, where walking seemed to be the same speed as a slow shuffle… At around mile 13, I was passed by Kevin, whom would later put a sizable dent in our times. He chased and chased, caught me and then ran an impressive marathon to separate himself from me. From the point I got passed, the run became a guessing game. Will I be passed by another guy in my category? I knew I had to keep on going, and that’s what I did. My legs were really feeling the fatigue and I decided that walking the aid stations would be enough to catch my breath – so for the last 10 miles, I ran between aid stations, skipped the last two stations and charged towards the finish. The speed skating oval was filled with puddles from the rainstorm and making my way into the final turn, I saw my parents in the VIP tent! Quick wave, and then finish!!! Ironman Lake Placid complete!
Refueling was the first thing that came to mind after the volunteers escorted me from the finish to the finishers’ section. That is where I saw Kelsey with a handful of TruMoo low fat chocolate milk, which I instantly chugged! Then I saw mom and dad! I was in a daze…the conditions of the day had put a dent in me and seeing my family and friends made me instantly feel better.
Special shoutout to Team MOM & DAD, Team Chocolate Milk, ISM Seat & Headsweats.
SEE YOU IN HAWAII!