Having done Kona Ironman the past four years, and struggling the last two, I planned on taking 2011 off from Ironman-distance racing. Thankfully, my buddy Kirsten signed me up for IM Lake Placid, as I did want to see how I would do at age 38. Maybe I had another 2008 performance in me.
I had raced Lake Placid 2002, still young and not that familiar with Ironman training and nutrition. I was injured in 2002 and intended to stop after the bike, but since I was in 16th place I ran out of transition, and then walked. I ended up finishing in 12:40. This year it was all about going back and running the marathon.
Temperatures were unseasonably warm. I was so happy to hear the water temperature was 77 degrees and it was a non-wetsuit race. I lined up front and center 10 minutes before the cannon, caught a good draft, and swam over the cable, about 2 feet below us, a cable lines the rectangular course with buoys. I felt strong, and exited the water in 56:40, faster than the pros! Pretty good, considering my lack of swim training — only two minutes slower than 2002.
Back in 2002, young and naïve, the only part of the bike course I remember was the downhill. I remember thinking most of the course was mostly downhill except the first 10 miles. Maybe they changed the course over the years. I did not remember the last 10 miles being so hilly (Papa, Momma and Baby Bear climbs). The Lake Placid bike course is not a fast course. Either way, despite my left leg tight and numbness within the first 20 miles, an issue I have been battling since I started riding a tri back in 2009, I held my own up the climbs and enjoyed the course. I enjoyed this ride more than any other Ironman event because of the beauty, the challenge, the cooler temperatures, and my focus was to be able to transition from the bike to run a strong marathon. I rode the first loop fairly conservatively, keeping to my nutrition plan of PowerBites and Ironman Perform/water. I was able to push the second loop and finished strong. I finished in 5:54, the same split as 2002, 3rd in my age group.
The days leading up to Ironman my calf was giving me some issues. Thanks to Cassie and her ART technique – she treated me the previous two days – my calf tightness was not a factor. My left hamstring and glute were surprisingly giving me problems. My left leg shut down. The tightness affected my stride. I cruised at a descent pace though mile 10. Then my legs just wanted to stop running. The only part of the course that felt good was running uphill! I promised myself I would not walk between aid stations. I really wanted to walk the last seven miles – I’ve been there/done that in Kona in 2010 – so I just focused on form and cadence and kept moving forward. I never ran at such a low heart rate and intensity level, as indicated by my Timex Pro Trainer. Despite my low effort run, I still ran 3:56, two hours faster than in 2002. Of course, I was happy – I was running!
I was so motivated to hear the cheers (Go Timex!), and see the Timex Crew on the course and in the crowd. I was internally and externally smiling the entire day. Congrats to teammates Jackie and Marie on their strong marathons and top 10 finishes. I am so proud of Marie to rally after fixing a flat tire. Keith, Dave, Max, Herbie and the rest of the crew ROCKED IT this year.
Win some, don’t win some – I am driven by the challenge of figuring “it” out, and each year brings on new challenges. Next on my calendar, back to my swimming roots, my first 10k Horsetooth swim in the reservoir above Fort Collins on August 7th. In the meantime I will tweak my tri bike position following the guidance of my bike fitter friend Scott Taylor from SBR sports in Utah since my previous fits have not done the job. Maybe Orbea will let me borrow a road bike for Vegas 70.3 Worlds.
Thank you Timex, PowerBar and Newton, friends and family for supporting me all these years!
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