This was my third Ironman after Ironman Lake Placid 2007 and Wisconsin 2008. After a disappointing result at Wisconsin, I decided to skip 2009 to get stronger on the bike where I felt my weakness also hurt my run time. I arrived on Thursday and got in easy workouts and swam the course over the days up to the race, but for most case I tried to take it easy and not get caught up in the excitement. Lake Placid was packed with people and traffic! Looks like a ton of people are up to volunteer and sign up for next year. It is crazy.
Prerace. Up at 3:40 am. Morning temperature was 69 degrees. Consumed 2 Boost, 1 banana, and 1 PowerBar for approximately 800 calories. Wore the DC Tri top and Desoto 400-mile bike shorts with the plan to switch to tri shorts for the run. Then just before 5 am, I made the short walk to transition for body marking and to load the bike. I then got out of my morning clothes and headed to Special Needs baggage drop off by Mirror Lake. After a final bathroom break and I put on my wetsuit, downed a pre-swim GU, and entered Mirror Lake at 6:35 to find my starting position. Water temperature was 74.
Swim. I was not sure what to expect after Eagleman (1:02:37 swim) and Reston (2-mile swim in 1:19:28). My plan was to join the mix and hope that the washing-machine effect and drafting pulls me along. I lined up on the far right on the lake just behind the start line. 2,611 people started the race so it will be a crowded race regardless where you start. The cannon started the mass chaos at 7 am and off I went. It was crowded but I fought for my position, staying wide until the first turn buoy. Exited the first lap in 40:46 for the short run on the beach before reentering the water. I was able to stay on the buoy line for the outward leg, but one buoy before the turn buoy I got kicked in the left eye that dazed me and blurred my vision. For the inward leg, I stayed wide right to regroup. I probably would have swum faster if I stayed with the masses and continued to draft, but still finished the second lap in 43:08. Goal: 1:25 – Actual: 1:23:54 (34:58 per mile).
T1. Off with my wetsuit by the wetsuit strippers and then the approximately 1/3-mile run from Mirror Lake up to transition. The run was lined with spectators and of course I pushed the pace to pass people. Hey if you cannot out swim them, then out run them! I kept moving quickly in the changing tent and then grabbed my bike to head to the mount line. Goal: 8:00 – Actual: 6:14.
Bike. It was very crowded on the first lap… maybe because almost 1,900 people beat me out of the water? During the swim light rain started falling and the wind started to pick up. This made the downhill leg to Keene more than a little scary. I hit speeds in excess of 40 mph while sitting up on the bullhorns. I was glad when it was over and we made to turn to Jay. I then could tell that we had a strong tail wind as I was riding over 22 mph peddling easily. Got to the 30-mile turnaround averaging 22.5 mph. The returning 26 miles would not be so easy with the long uphill climbs and head wind. Got back to the Lake Placid to the cheering crowds that lined the streets (just like in the Tour de France!) for 56-mile split in 2:51 (19.6 mph). The roads were dried off for the second loop and I was feeling a little fatigue but continued to push the pace as much as possible. At mile 92, I was still averaging 20 mph. Only the climbs, wind, and 20 miles remain! I was just hoping to average 16 mph but struggled on the climbs back to Lake Placid and fell below this pace a little (more than a little... closer to 14 mph!). I made my only bathroom stop at roughly mile 70 that added a 1-plus minute to my bike split... need to learn how to pee on the bike. Nutrition consisted of 6 bottles on Infinit, 2 GUs, and 2 packets of PowerBar chews for about 2,300 calories. I probably should have consumed more but it is hard to force yourself to eat. Passed over 1,100 people. Goal: 5:54 – Actual: 5:55:01 (18.93 mph).
T2. A volunteer grabs your bike to rack it. I was so excited to be off the bike, I forgot to change into my tri shorts for the run and I didn’t realize this until after the changing-room volunteer grabbed my T2 bag. Oh well, the least of my worries are running in bike shorts. Goal: 4:00 – Actual: 3:14.
Run. My back, sciatic nerve, and hamstring have all been hurting more than usual for the past couple months that significantly limited my running. I only been averaging about 20 miles per week and wasn’t sure what to expect. However the down time during the taper seemed to help and I did not feel much pain (other than the usual aches & pain of running a marathon during an Ironman). The first 5.7 miles to the turnaround were downhill and down wind, so my pace was a little quick averaging under 8-minute miles. It was slower heading back to town with the wind and hills. I ran the first half in approximately 1:50 (~ 8:23 pace), but then at mile 14 I bonked and felt totally done! My lack of running and road racing this season were evident. I fought to keep my pace under 10-minute miles. By mile 24 back in Lake Placid, I was toast and running on flumes, but only on the last 1 mile did I exceed a 10-minute mile. Entering the Olympic oval, I could barely muster a smile but the crowds were great and I was ecstatic to finish! Consumed 3 PowerBar Gels, a couple of orange wedges, and lots of flat Coke. The run was my worst leg, which should be my strength. My time ranked 43rd in my age group. My runs at Lake Placid 2007 and Wisconsin 2008 ranked 14th and 28th in my age group respectively. However considering my last 20 mile run was the Boston Marathon, I am happy with the effort. Goal: 3:55 – Actual: 3:52:22 (8:52/mile).
Total. Goal: 11:26:00 – Actual: 11:20:45. Lake Placid is an awesome race with incredible community and volunteer support... I may be back for 2012.
Thank you to all the DC Tri peeps that supported me, helped me train, and encouraged me to succeed. There are lots of peaks and valleys while training for an Ironman and I could not have done it without all of you!
Congrats Kevin! Sounds like a great race especially considering your injuries this year. I hope that you enjoy post-Ironman recovery!
Great job Kevin and thanks for the report. Now I know what [suffering] I have to look forward to at IMLP next year. :) Hopefully I can turn out a race like you where even after bonking and running on fumes, you still turn in a race time that beats your goal time!
Thanks for the RR. You should be proud of your performance. See you on the road!
Nice work Kevin and congratulations! Very inspiring! Where did you stay in LP?
Kev! Great to see all your swim work paid off. Congrats.
Great race report and great race. I really like reading through and seeing that at almost every interval you beat your goal times. That's the sign of a great race. Congratulations!
A little point not known to many people in the club. Not only did Kevin kicked ass in his race but on the following Sunday he came out for a group 60 mile ride on the hills of Poolsville. It was his recovery ride but he litterally outrode everyone in the group.
That right there ladies and gentleman is a stud.
I stayed in the Northwoods Inn right on Main Street. It is a two-star hotel (e.g., old rooms, parking lot too small, wireless internet didn't work, etc.) with a four-star location. It is the same hotel that I stayed in back in 2007 just blocks from the expo, Mirror Lake, transition, and the finish line. All the hotels in the area are all "price adjusted" for the Ironman, require at least a five-day stay, and include a strict cancellation policy. Golden Arrow, Art Devlin’s Olympic Motor Inn, Motor View Inn, and Best Western Adirondack Inn may be nicer accommodations but fill up very quickly. Numerous other options in the surrounding areas (e.g., Saranac Lake) are also available. There were cancellations so you may be able to find a room closer to race day. I spoke to a few people who were able to get a room in Lake Placid the week prior to the race without the minimum stay and cancelled their out-of-town reservations. A good resort map is available at: http://www.resortmaps.com/new-york/map-of-lake-placid
Tuan is too kind! At any moment on Sunday the group could have dropped the hammer and left me in their wake!