Lake Placid Ironman 2014 – Wild Day in the Adirondacks

Lake Placid Ironman 2014 – Wild Day in the Adirondacks

Please note: if you are offended by old sweaty guys who write long winded gibberish ….. you might just like this.

Wasn’t going to do a race report until I read the reports our newbies wrote. It is very motivational to read these reports and I haven’t written one in a long time. With twitter, instagram, Facebook now being so popular a blog is old school. 10-15 years ago it was the only way to this. We took pictures with cameras, some even had film that had to be developed. To do a slideshow you would just hand someone a pile of your pictures. Now we can do race updates during the race. I even saw people that were competing with phones. What the freak is so important? …. Honey I’ll be 6 hours late for dinner, I thought I could run the marathon. But instead I’m walking and I had to stop and charge the phone. Or, maybe they are just updating their blog …… Hmmm, this is giving me some ideas to be a better blogger. This would give you more reading time during work! It’s a win, win.

All kidding aside I would be sucky blogger. Between work and Endurance sport training it doesn’t leave much time for sleep, friends, family and surfing the web. We all make choices in life. My choice was to do Triathlons. Not Ironman, but just to do Triathlons. In the early days I loved doing sprint triathlons and the thought of doing an Ironman was just stupid. I was doing sprint tri’s for 10 years before I did my first Half Ironman.

We all make choices in life. My choice was to do Triathlons.

In 2003 I did my first Ironman. It was Ironman Lake Placid. I had never been there before, I never even seen the course until I showed up a few days before the race. I only knew 3 people who had even done a Ironman before (Jen, Sara and Tom). I didn’t pre-ride the downhill, didn’t even preview the course. I just did it. My biggest errors in those days was my nutrition. I always trained for short races and my only pre race meal was a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for a coffee roll and coffee. My other nutritional nightmare was my race bottle mixture was Endurox R4. Never effected me in a sprint, but I would find out on that day that my Marathon would suffer based on the amount of calories and the heavy load of protein instead of the boost in carbs. I think I had waffles and peanut butter pre race (because there just wasn’t a DD in sight). I wish I knew of in those days because my food choices would have been a lot different (I could have juiced my coffee rolls). My other mistake was that I had an different outfit for each event. Speedo for the swim, Cycling bib shorts, jersey and wind vest for the bike and a tri outfit for the run. I just didn’t know that changing wet clothes was close to impossible and extremely time consuming (my T1 might have been around 11 minutes). All in all I had a great day and finished my first Ironman in 11:04.


Ironman turnaroundfast forward to 2014

This year I feel like a veteran. Im going to attempt to complete my 6th Lake Placid and my 10th Ironman. This will also be my last Ironman with the 40 year old kids. In January I will be hitting the big 50. Things are gonna change! Im gonna need more sleep. I’ll need to get re-fit into a non aero position. I might even have reading glasses in my bento box……Do they allow canes and walkers? AARP discounts and One a Day 50+ is all Im gonna be thinking about. Yes, Im blabbing again.

This year we have over 20 Cyclonauts doing the race and another 100 plus team spectators who brought groups of friends and kids (aka: Brat Pack). My family on the other had is so sick of all my racing that they aren’t even interested. Kidding! If I invited them, they would come in a heartbeat. It’s a tough task being a spectator and this years weather conditions proved that.
Kelly will be also racing and shooting for her 2nd Lake Placid (this was her first ironman in 2005). You go grandma! So, in a way I brought my family.

Spectating is tough! I did it a few years back and it is exhausting! Athletes on the other had have it pretty easy. We are only on our feet for the marathon. The rest of the time we are sitting on our bike or lounging in the lake. We even get to go in same sex changing tents. Oh, the life of a rock star.

One of the big question marks this year was the weather. It was pouring the night before and the morning’s forecast is sketchy. luckily I woke up at 3:30 to eat breakfast and the rain had stopped. We headed up to transition at 4:45 and the rain still seemed to be holding off. We prepped our bikes, filled our bags and headed to the lake to meet up with our peeps. With 30 minutes to race start the rain has still held off and Im happy. I hate prepping for a race while it’s pouring. Try putting a wet wetsuit on.

The Swim

We put the wetsuits on, took some pics and headed to the start line. This is where we said our final goodbye’s and we all headed off to our spot in the coral that we felt that we should be in. I lined up in the back of the 1 hour and under group knowing that a lot of people line up to close to the front based on their abilities. I swam a 1:03 last year and my swim conditioning was better or just about right on so I think Im lined up in a perfect spot to swim a little faster. The race starts and off we go. Off we go …….. Okay kids! ….. Off we go. What the freak! …… Im now stuck in a group thats probably swimming at 1:20 pace. After a few minutes I break free and now Im already on the cable. Oh shoot …. Im not interested in being on the cable this early in the race. This is going to get abusive (most want the cable and they will fight you for it). Today is different. Everyone is content and we have a nice little group just cruising along and nobody’s beating me down. The pace feels easy and we bang off the first lap without burning much energy. I see the clock and now I know why it felt so smooth. My time was about 33 minutes and Im about 3 minutes slower than I needed to be. So I decide to pick it up on lap 2. Here’s my strategy…..Draft for a few and then pass and draft the next person. Just keep leap frogging. After about 10 minutes of this exhausting work I decide to just sit in. I am beating myself down just to move up 8 people. So, I just cruise along with my group.

With about a half mile to go I can feel some pretty big raindrops. It’s now raining so hard you can feel it hitting your skin as you swim. With about 50 yards to go we round the final turn and BOOM. I just got kicked in the face by the girl ahead of me and I scream profanities. The girl next to me stops and I told her “That wasn’t meant for you”. I was seeing stars for a few minutes. The swim is now done and its off to grab the bike. As we run through T1 the thunder is getting angry and it is pouring. I can sense that people are freaking out.

The Bike

After throwing my socks, shoes, helmet and sunglasses on I run to get my bike. As Im running my glasses are fogging and visibility is a premium. I bite down on the sunglass arm and this is were they will stay until I get up to speed on the bike. Now Im on my bike and life is good. It’s pouring, but nothing I haven’t ridding in many, many times over the years. I actually prefer this weather because I know it will mess with many and I can pickup some ground.

My pace feels comfortable, but Im clueless of my current pace/wattage because I have tinted glasses on, it’s pouring and it’s getting very dark. Once in a while I swipe the screen on the Garmin and I catch a glimpse of some of the numbers. Heart Rate is not showing up? Why now? I just changed the battery a few days ago and it’s still not working. Not to worry, I still have wattage. Note: last year my Garmin died at mile 50 and I rode the last 62 miles with no HR, speed, watts etc.. Just rode by feel. Luckily its not the end of the world because I did my first few Ironmans without any gadgets.
The rain is not letting off and it’s time to crank down the big hill. Now the rain feels like it piercing your skin at high speeds. I let it go on the decent and had a few glimpses of 50mph (49.3 to be exact on the first time down). Im sort of a adrenaline junkie and this is right up my alley. As I finish the desent I pass Doug and now its time to crank out the fast and flat section of the course. I typically dial in my watts and go to work from here until the end of lap 1. A few minutes later Doug blows by and I decide to pick up the pace. Buzzer Please! ……. Wrong move. I know better and I preach the fact that you can’t ride Placid to hard or it will beat you down.

Because my bike fitness was ahead of years past I decide that I could push the numbers that I originally set for my limits. I set these limits higher than I have for the last 2 years, and now Im going to push even harder. I hope Im making no sense …. because it makes no sense. I hit the first hour on the bike averaging 24.8mph. During this first hour on the bike I am rocking to AC DC thanks to the girls at the condo for the song “THUNDER” kind of fitting for both the weather and in song. Yes, this is the fastest section on the bike, but that was a bonehead move. Fast forward to the end of lap 1 and Im already hurting. Not a good sign. I still have 56 miles to bike and a Marathon to run. Lap 2 of the bike starts and it’s pretty much damage control from here on. The good news is that it has stopped raining. The bad news is now the winds are starting to pickup. Oh joy! Im hurting and the sections of headwinds are just making this a joyous occasion. Im not even going to go into any of the pathetic details of lap 2. Summary: Do as I say, not as I do.

The Run

After selling my bike in T2 I was off to grab my run bag. I tried to run, but I was so beaten down and slouched over that I had to walk to the tent to attempt to stretch this skeleton back to a somewhat normal looking posture. I get to the tent, switch shoes, put the run Garmin on and then I just sit for a second. I really would like to bag this race. There is no way Im gonna be able to run a Marathon based on the fact that I am in a beaten down state.

Here’s where my family, friends and teammates come into my head. I have nothing to prove to them and failure from me is not an option. Nor is it the type of example I want to set for all the others who are also struggling too. So I take a breath, exhale and set the watch for a Marathon that could get real ugly. I start the run and the QT2 squad is all lined up by High Peaks and a familiar face (Tim Snow) walks up to me and asks how you feeling? I let him know that Im hurting and he say’s just to slow it down a little to get it back together. I take his advice and soldier on. Now it off to Cyclonaut central and the sea of black and yellow was an uplift to my dark state. I try to not show signs of distress and give them some high fives and continue on. All in all Im running OK. But my pace is off by :30 to 1:00 a mile. It’s the price I will pay for being a knucklehead on the bike. So the miles are clicking by and Im not feeling bad. I am continuing to gain on people and this is keeping me motivated. I get to mile 9 and now the hills start. There is this hill at 9 and then the mother of all hills (Mile 11) in the final few miles of each lap. I was able to run up the mile 9 hill and this is a good sign. Now it’s off to the Econolodge for some Cyclonaut love and then back to work on the final climb. jim_run_WEBAs Im getting ready to round the corner to the lake, I cross paths with Kelly and we both smile big and give each other a high five. She’s smiling and I can tell she’s having a good day. I wasn’t going to let her see my state so I made believe I was loving life. I somehow ran the final climb and this helps my mental toughness game going into lap 2 with just 13.1 miles to go. I know Im a little messed up, but it seemed like there was someone I knew every 100 yards while I was in the city and this helped me a lot. Most of the time I never saw you, but I could hear your voice and I enjoyed every one of your cheers. I need to stay focused and distractions can throw you off course. Now it’s off to somehow keep it together and “Git Er Done”.  I head back by QT2 and then by camp cyclonaut. Now its off to the lonely out and back. Even though the course is packed with athletes, there isn’t a spectator in sight. The out and back seemed longer this time and the small hills even seemed a little steeper and longer than they were on the first lap, but that’s pretty much as I have always remembered it to feel here. I made the it to the out and back and now it’s home free. At this point I don’t think about what mile Im on. I think about how many to go. I just keep counting down the miles 1 mile at a time. I get back to 9 mile hill (which is now 22 mile hill) and Im still running. I wanted to walk that hill so bad, but I was now on a mission to run this whole marathon that I originally was going to quit on. Now Im proving something to myself. This was a good Jim / bad Jim conversation that went like this. “Bad Jim: you CAN”T do this” “Good Jim: I told you you could do this” “Bad Jim: #quitter” “Good Jim: #wegotthis”.
I think one of the things that keeps me going is the fact that Im thinking all these weird things and it makes the time go by so quickly.

jim_run2_WEBSo now it’s back by Cyclonaut central and Im as pumped as they are. I can’t do much celebrating though because of the Monster hill just up the road and it is going to be bigger and steeper this time around. I hit the aid stop at the base, guzzle about a 2 liter of coke and #KaBoom Im off to climb Mt. Everest. I continue to run up the hill and I can feel my inner thigh muscles twitching because my quads are shot from cycling. I make the turn to the lake and it’s only a 2 mile run to the finish. The pain starts to become less and less at this point because you know you have made it this far and it’s home sweet home from here. Now my plan is to get to the final out and back and then kick the pace up for the final mile. Great Plan! on paper…… I pick the pace up and now Im in cruise control. My legs are kicking a little higher and then the Sh!t hits the fan. As I approach the Lake Placid Brewery my inner thigh muscles spasm and Im in a standstill position with full blown muscle cramps. I try to move and the cramps get worse. I punch them and nothing helps. OK, just calm down and let them calm down. Then Bad Jim says “I knew you couldn’t finish” …….. I think good Jim was agreeing at this point.
Not today B!tches …. Im off and Im going to be an Ironman (Helen Ready is playing in my head – I am woman hear me roar). As I enter the oval I am ecstatic and nothing can stop me now. My time is irrelevant. I am happy to have learned more lessons and things about myself today. This is what being a life coach is all about (Yes, Im a Life Coach).


It just goes to show that Ironman always has the upper hand. Once you think you have it figured out it will kick you square in the pants! I think this is what makes us all come back for more abuse. Ironman is a race against others, but it is also a race against yourself. It doesn’t matter how fast you are because you are doing the best you can do on that day. I am grateful for all the relationships I have built or will continue to make over the coming years of this sport. I might be getting real old this winter, but I am woman …. hear me roar! Yes, you will have that one stuck in your head today.

Is this the point I thank each and every one of you? Honestly, I would miss one because there are so many who have made all my dreams come true over the years. No matter how fast you are or even if you just support me on an emotional level. I am grateful to all of you for pushing me every minute of every workout or just pushing me in life. I do have my major contributors ….. Rich, Mike for pushing me all winter in the pool (some glimpses of Ryan too). Paul Mik for dragging me along on his torture rides. Some of the rides he was training for a big race and I was supposed to sitting on the couch, but those pushes really helped keep my fitness. My Wednesday night crew. I really enjoy those easy Wednesday night rides. Snowstorm Classic Saturday am winter runs including the post run bagels. The USAT competition over the winter including hitting the Guertins after the Monson swims on Sunday am’s (I even enjoyed getting yelled at by Mary to keep my mileage high). The insanely hard Tuesday rides from Hampden. I even cranked out one of the Thursday rides with Kevin’s crew. The QT2 Florida camp with Mik and Kelly (we all drove there together). Having the BRAT PACK cheering for me at every corner including the Jack Daniels signs. Our extremely mellow condo crew that are always so quite and calm. Our Monday party crew that we assemble the day after the race for junk food, adult beverages and singing to TOTO Africa. The post weekend workout dinners with the wife. The funny thing is that we both trained for the same race, but rarely rode and ran together.

That’s it for now ………. I hope you enjoyed it.