Lake Placid Ironman – Can lightning strike twice?

Lake Placid Ironman – Can lightning strike twice?

I know what your thinking ………… Why did it take 2 months to do a race report? Long story short, I was using Apple’s iWeb for my blog. Last year Apple announced that they will no longer support that product and this Summer the site will no longer work. For the last few months I have had to start a new website from scratch. Not really a difficult task, but it took a lot of late nights recreating the blog which dates back to 2002. Because I could not just simply import the old one, I had to do them one at a time and timestamp each one or they would have been dated incorrectly. Whew …… It’s pretty close to complete and I figured its in good enough shape to go live. Okay, back to the race report.

Lake Placid Ironman will always be a special venue. This was the location for my first Ironman, the terrain is very similar to the Berkshires, the swim is aggressive and the weather is very unpredictable (these all work to my advantage). This Summer has been a very hot one and wetsuits were looking like they were going to be banned because of the warm water. Then Mother Nature stepped in and brought a last minute cold front through the area. The day temps went from in the 90’s down to 70 and the evenings dropped into the low 40’s. several days of that and the water cooled down quickly with 1 day to spare (somebody’s on my side). Mirror Lake is one of the nicest places in New England for practicing the swim because the water tends to be cooler and they have a cable that you can follow for the complete 1.2 miles. After Friday mornings swim it was off to the expo to get my Newtons looked at. They have been digging into my achilles and I end up bleeding after several longer runs. I bring em to the booth and they notice that one of them might have a manufacturing flaw. They keep my sneaks and hand me a brand new pair at no charge  (this is good and bad, I’ll get to that later).

My Goal: To beat Jim Sullivan 2010 – That year I did a 10:12 good for 94th overall, 6th in the 45-49 Division and a slot to Kona for the World Championship

Swim finish at Lake PlacidThe Swim:
Because of my less than stellar swim, I have to line up on the front line to get in the mix and to pump a little extra adrenaline into me (I love adrenaline shots). I also have a better shot at getting in a nice draft and every little thing helps. I look over on the sidelines and our group of Cyclonaut spectators. they see me and I give everybody a wave before heading into battle. BOOM …… The canon goes off and I am now committed to give 100 percent today. The first few hundred yards go well and I am lucky that the people around me aren’t being jack @sses and everyone is holding their line. Lap 1 goes well, I run through the chute and off we go back into the water. Lap 2 I finally have a chance to get a glimpse of the cable and that is key for maintaining a straight swim. I finish the swim in 1:06 (not to shabby) and I have a 2 minute lead on 2010 Jim. Transition is another place to gain time (or loose time). I have been practicing how it was going to go in my head over the last few weeks to be the most efficient. Transition is packed because about 1000 plus people swim in the 1 to 1:10 range, I find a spot and I grab what I need and I pack my wetsuit and google back in my T1 bag and throw it in a pile with the others. My transition goes smooth and I just gained another minute on Jim. Now Im 3 minutes ahead. …………. Get me on my bike STAT

The Bike:
Lake Placid Bike course is my favorite bike course of any race. It is the perfect mix of long climbs, fast and flat sections and it’s 5 – 6 hours of bike suffering (perfect ingredients). Todays plan is the same as every other year. Start easy and keep the cadence high for the first 10 miles without pushing on the pedals. Just smooth and steady pedal strokes and ignore anyone who wants to race. The 10 mile section goes by quickly (this is good and bad). The good news is that we have a nice tailwind on the climb out of town (i’ll get to the bad news later). The next section is the 5 mile downhill section. Not much to say except WEEEEEEEE (I always feel like Maxwell the GEICO Pig when doing that descend at over 50mph on a bicycle). The next 10 miles is along the river and out to the turnaround. This is where you can get a glimpse of who’s ahead of you and who’s chasing you. I see all our teammates and it gives me a little adrenaline knowing that my bike seems to be going pretty well. At the turnaround  the only Cyclonauts that are ahead of me were the 2 Paul’s (5 and 10 toe). Based on how they swim I was not expecting to be as close as I was. After the turnaround there’s a nice little headwind and that explains the ridiculously fast first 25 miles. Once into Jay you climb for several miles on your way to the base of the final climb (I call this the stiff little climb, before the long climb back to town). Once I turn onto Rt.86 I get the bad news (remember the tailwind). There is a steady headwind and this 10 plus mile stretch of climbs is going to be challenging. As I approach the city I see a group of Cyclonaut spectators running on the Cherry’s and they are going insane when they get a glimpse of the black and yellow (thanks for the adrenaline shot). Then we approach one of the final climbs …… called Papa Bear. This is a Tour De France type atmosphere with people lining both sides of the climb. Kelly, Chris and Kaitlyn are at the top going crazy (more shots of adrenaline for Jim). As I approach the Lake and there are Cyclonaut Spectators everywhere. I check my time at the end of lap 1 and Im about 2 minutes slower than 2 years ago. Im sure the wind played a part in that slower split. The start of lap 2 has a bunch of Cyclonaut spectators cheering away at the Econo Lodge slash Campground headquarters. Then off to the climb out of town. On this climb I see Mik and after a few miles I catch and pass him. He’s looking good and he shouts out some encouraging words (or he was swearing). More adrenaline and Im off. At this point the people are starting to thin out and I must be making good time (the closer you get to the leaders, the thinner the race is). The uphill, downhill and river section go by quickly and the fatigue hasn’t set in yet (good sign). Just before the out and back turnaround I catch Paulito. I honestly never thought I would have caught him today. I pull up next to him and say “what’s wrong?” he says “nothing, Im right where I should be”. Now I think, Is something wrong and he’s not telling me? I then say “you better crush the run or I will be p!ssed”! I then continue on. We make the turnaround and are now heading back into the headwind. Paulito passes me back and I have to let him go. I have to ride my own race and I don’t want to smoke my legs in the wind. The Jay climb approaches and Im able to pass all the big guns that were kicking my butt for the last few miles. I pull by Paulito, we exchange a few words and off I go. At the top of the climb I glance back and I put some real estate between us (Friends or not, I had to look). More adrenaline for Jim …….. Now I gotta bang out the final climb in the wind. The legs still feel good and I have now just made a decision to back off and save some juice for the run. The final miles on the bike are tougher this time because the wind is even stronger and it seems to be getting hot. I pull into town and the crowds are insane. I pull into transition and my bike split is about 7-8 minutes slower than 2010 and this puts me about 5 minutes behind Jim. T2 tent is like a ghost town. I have my choice of chairs and volunteers. I make eye contact with one and tell him “I need your to stick with me” I told him what I needed and he grabbed the stuff I was done with. I shaved a minute off T2 and now Im only 4 minutes back.

The Run: I take off on the run and down the hills I go. Just after a mile plus I approach Cyclonaut Central. I can hear the group before I see them. Then I crest the hill and BOOM …… there was yellow, black, pink, KSwiss dresses, Leprechauns, Afro’s, taters, cowboys and Indians. The group is on fire and I never in a hundred years figured that I would have been the first naut out on the run. Based upon the look on everyone’s faces they were just as amazed (more shots, thank you). I run the first 6 miles at a good pace and Paulito catches and passes me at around the run turnaround. This makes me happy that he  really was ready to run his @ss off. I can’t match the kids speed so I continue on my race (yes, I can call him the kid. He’s the same age as our son). This is where I feel the start of a blister on the ball of my foot (remember the free pair of shoes I just got from Newton …….. Well, Im wearing them). Nothing like a 26.2 mile run in a brand new pair of sneaks. The thought of slowing or walking isn’t a option. There is to much technology out there and you guys all know exactly how fast or slow Im going. Sometimes I hate the internet! Here’s what happens if you slow …….. Hey Jim, you had a good run, but ….. you seemed to slow between miles 14 to 16. So today I won’t slow and I know that I need to continue passing people to get a shot at a Kona slot. As hard as the run is it is a lot less painful because of all the support of you spectators keeping our pain at bay. I also get charged up by all my fellow teammates that are racing. Doesn’t matter if your being inspired or if you are the inspiration! The first lap goes good and Im on pace to
run a similar time as 2010. Lap 2 is lap 2 …… you tend to slow and thats just the

Heading to the finish at the LP Ironmannature of the beast. After 8 – 9 hours of hammering the body only has so much more fight left. Im pretty much on cruise control and the miles just keep clicking by. My final time by the Econo Lodge I only have about 3 miles to go and these are some tough uphill miles back into the city. On the big hill I cramp and it cripples me to a dead stop. I start to bend over to stretch and someone yells “don’t do it, start moving” I stop stretching and off I go. I ease my speed up slowly (I use the word speed loosely). I head to final out and back and my inner thighs are twitching with every stride. My mind is saying Go, Go, Go …… My legs are saying No, No, No. Little spasms are turning into all out spasms. With about a half mile to go I seize up again and I can’t move. I can see the finish area, but It’s not getting any closer. I rub, squeeze, punch my legs and off I go. I enter the Olympic Oval and all the pain has lifted and Im now running on a cloud. I round the final corner and look back to see if anyone is running me down. Nobodys in sight and Im able to just enjoy the moment. I high five the crowd and get to see the my family and biggest fans cheering away on the bleachers (they all weren’t my fans, but they were for that one moment). Thanks to you guys I was able to give 100 percent for the whole race. Having my whole family there made it that much more special. I think I ran about a 3:35 marathon.

So did I beat Jim 2010? Yes and No
My finish time was 10:14 – 6th in Division and 50th overall including the Pro’s (2800 did the race)
This was 2 minutes slower than 2010, but I just barely cracked the top 100 then and I was 6th in Division. Looks like based on the wind and the heat, I was faster even though my time wasn’t.

Kona? Top 5 in my division automatically have a spot if they want it. 2 didn’t take slots or already had a slot. So ….. I lucked out and biked my way back to Kona.

Lake Placid ……… For me, It’s all about the bike …….. and the spectators shooting me up with adrenaline!