John’s Ironman Lake Placid Recap
Now that a couple of weeks has passed, and Justin, Ashley, and Kim have gotten the cleverness out of their system, I think I can write a short race recap from my Ironman Lake Placid. But seriously, they were pretty clever, and Kim takes the award for best joke by congratulating me on my half ironman ::facepalm::. I wish you could see the messages.
Let’s rewind 3 weeks. Race morning I was getting ready and most anxious for the swim. Luckily I found someone’s ankles that were about equally-spaced as I was. So I “tucked in” and found myself moving pretty effortlessly. I also noticed that the 2500 people going clockwise created a nice whirlpool effect and I was getting a significant pull from the water. Bonus! Got out of the water feeling like I barely worked and onto the bike!
IMLP bike course is two 56 mile loops, with most of the work towards the back half. First loop was great. Starts with an early 5 mile continuous descent where you can really hit some serious speeds. I topped out at 48mph (Vanessa, and mom, don’t read this). After that the work starts but its gorgeous scenery amidst the Adirondack Mountains and next to crystal clear rivers. We even had mostly cloud cover the first lap so that was even better. Cruised through the first lap, saw the family back in town, then back out for lap two. This is where it got rough. The heat rolled in, along with the storms. I only got rained on once thankfully, but it was scattered around us so the humidity and sun made it feel like I was baking for most of the second loop. To top it off, the winds picked up and the headwinds were just another hurdle. But hey, its supposed to be tough! Nutrition was good until about mile 70. My stomach started bothering me and for 20 miles I couldn’t really take calories in except for water. My focus was to stay hydrated. Then the leg cramps came, and the right knee started to act up. Long story short, I was on the bike for 7+ hours with a lot more energy expended and thats what did me in. Not training for a ride that long didn’t allow me to be efficient on the bike so that took a huge toll on my body. My legs were cooked and what I thought was my strong suit, ended up being my downfall on race day.
Once off the bike, I took my time in transition, threw my sunglasses on and found Vanessa just outside the tents. We chatted for a few minutes so I could enjoy the energy of the town and settle down a bit. She even had an empty pizza box with promises of it being full at the finish line…oh I love that gal. Legs were feeling good but I knew it was a long journey ahead so I played it smart, walked every aid station, and even walked the hills. This is the Adirondacks, so there was a lot of walking haha. Two miles in I saw a couple on their porch with their german shepherd. Obviously another break is good for the legs and puppy fuzz is good for the soul. Who am I to argue with science? So I played with the dog a bit before the people wished me luck. At mile four Daniel cruised past me but he slowed up a bit so we could chat. Probably my favorite few minutes of the entire race. Finally I told him to get after it. He told me to stick to my plan and pushed forward looking strong. I was pretty excited knowing he was going to run through that finish line. Just after the turn around my calves started to cramp, and my right knee started acting up again. I knew this was the start of a long process. I was about six miles in and things were starting to catch up with me. Tried every trick in my book but couldn’t manage more than thirty seconds work of jogging. Ultimately, my running was done for the day. By the time I got back to town twelve miles into the run, I decided to call it. I’ll leave the details surrounding some vomiting out for the sake of this post. When I saw Vanessa in town I had about six hours left on the clock. I could have walked the second half of the marathon with that time cushion, but that’s not what I call a good time. I was thinking ahead and if something did happen I would have been far away from town, not to mention I also had another race to stay healthy for. #DNF….again (Saving Justin the edit).
I have no regrets with my race performance. It was and always is on me, and I set realistic expectations. My goals this year were to try and remain committed to training, and most importantly I wanted to enjoy racing again. I had a blast up in Lake Placid for the weekend. I got to explore with my wife, support my closest friend in his journey, and I got to experience one of the best courses on the IM North American circuit. I handed in my timing chip just as Daniel was crossing the finish line in a stout 11:05. I congratulated him and as quickly as it all started, we thought it was time to shower and grab some food. There was a brief stint in the medical tent for me but that’s neither here nor there. For me, it’s a fun day in the outdoor office.
I’m on to the next one, Maine 70.3 here we come! …oh and then theres always Ironman Florida in 12 weeks ::smirking::