Home Triathlon Ironman Lake Placid 2019 Race Recap

Ironman Lake Placid 2019 Race Recap

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Hi there! I am assuming if you clicked the link to read this blog post that you are interested in my Ironman LP 2019 race recap. This blog will have a little bit of before, during, and after thoughts. I am hoping to do a more in depth recap than what I did for Ironman Wisconsin 2018, so this might be a long read but I hope you enjoy!!! Thank you for reading!

Race Week

I finally had this new found energy I had been missing. I had hit some huge burn out during the peak weeks of training but thankfully after speaking with my coach and adjusting my plan I was finally feeling like my normal self. The two weeks of taper were bliss. I felt like I had strength and speed again. I was hydrating and getting plenty of rest in prep for Ironman LP.

Travel

A year ago on 7/30/18 my friends from Mad Dog coaching convinced me to sign up for IMLP before I had even done IMWI! It has been exactly a year since we started planning for this Ironman. The logistics for the race that really determined my travel was trying to keep a low budget. No matter where we flew into we would have still needed to rent a car. So the decision was to save money from tri bike transport and drive from Madison, Wisconsin to Lake Placid, New York. This would end up being a 16 hour drive. The night before we left I packed all race and travel essentials and washed my bike and re lubed the chain!

TJ (flew in from DFW), Jenny (drove from Manhattan, KS) and I made our way to LP Thursday morning and got there at 2 AM.

Friday

Friday consisted of waking up at 8 AM to head to the Mirror Lake OWS practice. We stayed at an AirBnB about a mile away from the lake. It was one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever swam in!

Following the swim we ate breakfast at the Bacon meat and great hosted by a local triathlete named “Greg Bacon.” It was such a nice event for him to host and cook breakfast for all the athletes and spectators there for the race! After breakfast we went to athlete check-in! Check-in was smooth and easy to get to. We explored the Ironman Village and stayed for the athlete de-briefing for the race.

After getting some more food in our system we drove the bike course and noticed that this course was going to be pretty hard. Harder than we thought!!! Panic started to settle in… The rest of the evening was spent eating dinner, relaxing, and prepping gear bags.

Saturday

The goal for the day was to have gear checked in for the race and make sure our bikes were all set for the next day. Everything on my bike seemed to be working great! I checked the breaks and everything was smooth with shifting. I was pleased! At bike check-in I met my Instagram friend Gene Sobol! I just love how triathlon can connect two people that probably would have never met otherwise!

After the day’s activities we spent the day stretching, resting, and trying to get to bed early. My friend Will helped me maximize battery life on my Garmin 735xt to see if it could last long enough for the race on Sunday. Ironically right before going to bed I set my Garmin to charge and noticed that as I was getting ready for the night-it wasn’t holding a charge…I don’t know how I managed to fix it but I went to bed later than I wanted to the night before Ironman but I knew I would have a fully charged watch for the next day. I thankfully slept through the whole night without a problem.

 

Sunday: Race day

Race morning

I felt calm but serious. I didn’t feel as energetic as my friends racing. I tend to just stay quiet on race mornings and to myself. I ate my regular breakfast: old fashioned oats with banana and PB. We all got a ride to the race that morning by our wonderful sherpa team and it was go time. I turned in bike and run special needs (which wasn’t much but a granola bar and spare tube.) I added my nutrition to my bike and then my zipper for my nutrition pouch broke off. There was nothing I could do but use electrical tape to hold its contents. This made me a little nervous that my nutrition would come out. I focused on what I could control and made sure there was enough air in my tires and I was set to go. We took a team picture and headed to the swim start!

 

Swim

The swim was wet suit legal with a temp of 73.5 degrees. The swim is my favorite part of the triathlon.Hands down my strongest of the 3 and I was really excited to see what I could do. While waiting at the start I put my wetsuit on and was reciting in my head the goal times I had in my training peaks given to me by my coach. I wanted a 1:12 swim time really bad to have a good start to the day. While waiting I had to make the decision to either wait in the long line for the bathroom or pee in the lake…I did the latter. I decided it was more important to get into the 1:01-1:10 pace group for the swim. I got into a good position and as they started letting us into the respective corrals I was able to sneak into the lake and pee. I always love the energy of a swim start. Everyone is geared up and ready to tackle the long day to come. After the national anthem everything seemed to go so fast. I said a quick prayer and before I knew it I was running into the water as they let us go in every 4 people. The 1st lap I immediately got into a great rhythm. It just seemed so easy. I was able to draft and minimally sight in such a clear lake. I could even see my watch in the water in front of me and I was so surprised my first lap split was 33 min. Not only was I on pace to meet the 1:12 swim time, but I was going to beat it!

I swam the second lap hard and determined to come under the 1:12 time frame. I had a huge smile on my face to have such a huge PR on the swim. My time at Wisconsin had been 1:18. That morning I had managed to shave 10 min off my OWS race time. I went into T1 with high spirits for the bike.

 

T1

After getting out of the water I pulled down my wetsuit zipper and plopped down on the mat to have the volunteers pull my wetsuit. It came off so easily and I started to sprint! The run to T1 after swim was long but energizing. I absolutely loved the crowd! I ran to my gear bag which was easy to spot and headed to the T1 tent into my bike gear! My volunteer was amazing. She was so helpful in putting on all my gear for me or placing nutrition where I needed it in my tri top. T1 felt like it went by quickly! I ran to transition to get my bike and they were already shouting out my number and handed my bike easily to me. I was off to the longest part of the day…

Bike

I have so many emotions with the bike course. In my head I thought I was really prepared for the course from training so hard on the Wisconsin course. This Ironman training cycle had been the hardest I have ever trained for anything in my life. It had been the most I had ever ridden actually outside.

-The bike course started off with a steep downhill, steep enough that they had stacked hay to prevent impact from a crash!!!

-First hill felt horrible. Stopped at the first aid station and noticed front brake had been on the wheel. I fixed the brake and kept going strong. Then the fun began!!!

-The hill everyone was afraid of going down…Keene descent. I had been having nightmares about this downhill all season and unfortunately because of pre race traffic the days before, it wasn’t really safe to go downhill and test it out Friday or Saturday. But during the race I stayed calm and white knuckled the bars and I went 55 MPH for about 6 miles of downhill awesomeness!!! I was so excited to do it again for the second loop!

Then we got to Jay hill and that was probably one of the longest hills I have ever ridden in my life. On the first loop I had my teammate Philip pass me and he looked to be in good spirits! After the tremendous hill we were at mile 30 of rolling hills but mostly flat until mile 42. At the moment I was so confident I would make my 3:45 split time to get a total 7:30 hour time. I was only 2:25 into the first loop and already at 42 miles. I just needed to go 14 miles in the next hour and 10 min!!! I reached the last 11 miles of the 1st loop and I hated my life. It was so beautiful in this section but absolute hell. I cried and felt horrible. 11 miles of climbing gradually and not making my personal set goal of a 3:45 first loop bike split. I finished the 3 bears (which were not bad at all) and got into town again. I was pissed. I got my granola bar at special needs and was determined to make up time.

I felt strong until the first hill before the first aid station 10 miles into the second loop. I cried and had to stop because eyes were so swollen from the salt that dripped into my eyes. On top of that my left foot was numb and I just felt my body breaking down. It would be very warm, then cold. I finally got a break and enjoyed my second time down Keene. I kept telling myself that after this downhill I needed to get the eff over this and just give it my all on this bike. I saw Scott, Philip, Jenny, Heather, Eliel, and Arlene all out there and that made me determined to try harder. I was pushing hard on the flats and then light rain started….and then hail like rain started. This rain was horrible and of course on the last 11 miles! On one of the climbs a woman’s derailleur broke in half and I got to see her come to terms that her race was over. I felt so bad for her. I finally go to the 3 bears again I was on my way to T2. Thank you God that I made it back in one piece! My bike time was 8:12:42 with almost 6,500 feet of climbing total.

T2

There was no way of telling my body to run the balls of feet were so numb. I took longer than wanted to but I massaged my feet and I felt better about starting the run. I was able to talk to TJ coming out transition 2 and then I was on my way to start the marathon!

 

Run

The first loop went by so fast. I was feeling great and thought I actually had a chance to finish in the 14 hour range somehow! Maybe not a low 14 but perhaps a sub 15! I felt very strong once I started the run but I did notice the run course was not forgiving. It was also very hilly!!!

 

Towards the end of my first loop I noticed an athlete cramping. He could barely run to the finish (he was on his second loop.) I decided to stop and pull him to the side and see what I could do for him. I told him I was an athletic trainer and I could help him if he wanted me to. I told him to lay down and I stretched his hamstrings and hips. Another athlete also gave him nutrition to stop cramping. The athlete seemed really grateful for the help! When I realized he only had about .3 miles left of the race I ran with him as much as I could before we had to split off for my second loop. I was really happy I could help him get to the finish. (The coolest thing about this is I never got the athlete’s name! I came to find this image below on an Ironman Facebook group stating that they were so moved by the gesture. I felt proud to represent athletic trainers and help a fellow Ironman.)

 

I was extremely happy after the first lap and then I started the 2nd lap  and about a mile into it I started to hurt everywhere. The hills seems so much bigger the second time around. I could not muster up the strength to even jog up then this time. I walked with another IG friend, Felipe, and got to talk for about a half a mile. After leaving him I ran the flats and downhills/walked the hills. At this point I was really depending on salty foods from the aid stations. I hated drinking Gatorade and by this time and I didn’t want any more but I forced myself to stay hydrated. I then saw my teammates, and walked portions with Eliel and Philip. I just wanted the race to be over. I was so hurt and tired. The course had really beat my body. I decided to not stop and run the last 3 miles strong. It was rough. I cried again thinking about how hard this year has been.

You think that after doing an Ironman once that doing another wouldn’t be that hard. You know what you have coming. You know what the training will be like but you remember that you are human and life happens. For me it was school stress, death, gun violence, mental health, missing my family and friends…the training cycle felt like a lot was on my plate and made me question if Ironman was even for me anymore. Those last 3 miles I thought about how damn lucky I am that I even get the chance to train for something as big as a race like this. I get the opportunity to dedicate free time for sport that is so fun and beautiful and has connected me to so many people I love and care about. Friends, coaches, teammates. Triathlon has brought that all into my life. I cried those last 3 miles and was determined to finish strong no matter what my time was.

I became an Ironman again in 15:20:23 and I am very happy with that hour PR. Ironman Lake Placid was incredibly tough but rewarding in every aspect. I would highly recommend to do this race for the experience of an extremely tough course. I read the stats the day after stating that 15% of athletes did not complete the race. I wouldn’t have been surprised if I hadn’t completed it that day either. I am very thankful for solid day despite the tough conditions. Perhaps in a year I will start another Journey to 140.6! Until next time Ironman!

 

 

 

 

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