The alarm went off at 3:30 AM and I had no problem getting up…it was race day! The thing about training for an Ironman is that you train for 6 months to a year for one event. Everything you have done comes down to that one day. My mom and dad still can’t believe that we actually pay money to complete an event like the Ironman, yet we don’t think anything else sounds better.
I got up and ate my breakfast of two rice cakes with almond butter, banana, raisins and honey and one salt tab. I sipped on water until everyone else woke up. My dad drove myself, Duran and my coach and her husband to the race start. We made our way over to our transition bags to put nutrition in for the bike and run then headed off to check our bikes for race day. Now, I am not bike savvy and usually do the cross my fingers and hope everything is all set up. I pumped my tires – made sure not to put too much air in them, checked my brakes and just left it alone.
After body marking we all headed up to the swim start to wait for the warm up time to begin. I didn’t really need to “warm up” because as a non-swimmer I had 2.4 miles to do that but I wanted to make sure my goggles were in the right spot to not leak while swimming and my Blue Seventy Reaction wetsuit felt good.
Swim: 1:16 – 33rd in Age Group
We lined up in our respective corrals because of the new swim initiative. I had been swimming the course for about 2 weeks and had consistently been doing 38 – 39 minutes per loop. I figured a 1:20 swim for sure. I lined up in the middle of the 1:10 – 1:20 swim times and off we went. The swim was tough! Not the distance but it was like a wrestling match. I was tugged, punched and everything in between. I definitely threw some elbows – it is just natural human instinct to do that in the water when you feel like you are getting pulled under. Once I turned the corner and started to run out of the water , I checked my watch and it said 37:00!! I was so pumped, I ran and jumped right back in for the second loop. Just like the first loop it was a war zone. I kept getting pushed in the middle to be on the cable running underneath the course, which is where I didn’t want to be. But, I just kept trying to swim strong and long and do the best I could. Last turn around the dock and out of the water – check watch- 1:16!!! I couldn’t believe I had swam 4 minutes faster than I thought. I used the wet suit strippers for the first time and off to T1 on cloud nine! I saw some of my friends who came to cheer for me which gave me a little extra boost and I knew it was time for one of my favorite sports – the bike!
Bike: 5:45 – 2nd Age Group
Since, I had trained with my coach all year with power – I knew what my zones were suppose to be during the race. I also knew from riding the course multiple times that the second loop could be worse in terms of the wind so I was prepared for that. My goal for the first loop was to take it a little easier than the second but push on the flats especially if the wind was in our favor there. (if it was a tail wind on the flats, it would be a head wind on the climb back). I made it out of T1 with no problems – down the steep decline and it was time to climb out of town. Once on the first short climb – I started to pass a lot of people and noticed it was raining and the roads were a little wet. I made sure to stay in my comfort zone but I was racing so it was ok to hurt a little. The funny part was – I made it to the start of the decent quickly without feeling the burn. I knew it was going to be a good bike! Down the decent with no issues and passed a lot of people. I capped out at 43 mph going down. Once the decent is over – you take a left in Keene to head to upper jay. This is where the fun begins! It is relatively flat with a few rollers but you can put some “time in the bank” on this section of the race. I am a strong cyclist on flats and am able to push. I got the ok from my coach if I felt good on this section to push a little bit more than the watts we wanted for the overall course. Once you get to Jay you start the out and back portion of the course. This area is a slight downhill till the turn around then slightly uphill with a headwind on the way back. It was important here for me to stay focused and not to over expend myself because the climb to Wilmington is long and I wanted to be fresh. At this point I was still feeling very strong and on top of my nutrition. I was using Infinit Nutrition for most of the bike. I had gone pee a few times but was having some gas. I think in the swim war zone I may have drank a bit too much of Mirror Lake and I had a feeling that I needed to go to the bathroom again before the swim start but the lines were super long…things to remember for next time! You take a right to head to Wilmington. This is a long stretch of climbing but it is nice and steady which I like. There were a lot of climbs of people riding together but on a course like this it seems like it would be difficult to stay the distance you are suppose to. I was doing the best I could not to draft or at least just keep passing people. Once you get to Wilmington, you do a short and uneventful out and back then take a left on 86 to head home. When you read about Lake Placid – you hear a lot about the three bears at the end of the course but I truly believe the rollers in the middle of 86 are more difficult. I made sure to stay within my zone and keep a stead effort throughout.
Before I knew it, I was climbing up the Papa bear ready to head back to Mirror Lake and on to loop 2. Loop 2 was pretty much the same in terms of effort. My stomach wasn’t feeling great and I still had some gas but was hoping it would go away by the end of the ride. I never struggled on the bike or had thoughts of wanting to be done – I was enjoying every second. By the time the second loop was done I was excited to be on the last leg and pumped for breaking 6 hours on the bike.
Run: 3:51 – 6th in Age Group
I ran into T2 – found my bag and headed towards the tent. I got a little turned around because the entrance for runners was different than after the swim. Before I headed in, I stopped at the porta potty to hopefully relieve myself. Lesson learned number 1 is to not go too quickly through here. Lesson learned number 2 is to not clip your Castelli kit together in the back. It took my forever to unclip it in order to actually go to the bathroom. I definitely should have taken a few more minutes to make sure my stomach was ok before leaving. It could have saved me more time on the run.
I left the transition area and immediately saw my family and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I was feeling great…except my stomach. Once I headed out to river road I finally saw Duran who made sure I knew I looked great but that I needed to maintain 8 min/mile. No pressure or anything. But, I kept a good pace for the first 8 – 10 miles still dealing with some serious stomach pains. I was not having the marathon run I wanted or knew I was capable of but it’s my first Ironman and I was still happy to be out there. My motto from the beginning was to just keep moving and that is what I did. I walked when my stomach was in such a knot its all I could but ran when I could. The frustrating part was when I did run my pace was fast but the walking hurt my time. I knew Kona was out of the picture and I was battling to beat 11 hours.
I came down the final mile with a huge smile on my face because I knew I would be finishing Ironman Lake Placid. Hearing Mike Reilly say “You are an Ironman” is something I will never forget ever.
I’ll never forget how I battled my mind during the whole marathon. I will never forget the support I had from my boyfriend through out the entire marathon. I can’t wait to Sherpa him in his next race. I will never forget having my family there to see my finish. I’ll never forget my first Ironman. It is a stepping stone to many more adventures to come in the future for me.
Swim: 1:16 – 31st in Age Group (25-29)
Bike: 5:45 – 2nd in Age Group (25-29)
Run: 3:51 – 6th in Age Group (25-29)
Overall: 11:02 – 6th in Age Group 33rd Female Overall