July 18, 2018 at 9:45 am #20956
It’s almost GO time! Here’s to a safe and successful race ahead.
Speaking of safe, there is a chance of thunderstorms. However this is not unusual for Lake Placid. What I recommend here is controlling what you can control and not worrying about what you cannot control.
What you can control is how you adapt to the potential weather. Here are a few recommendations. They are not inclusive but will give you a guide to work from.
Pre Race: Be sure to tightly close your gear bags upon check in as much as possible. If there is a chance of rain overnight, consider putting a hole in the bottom of a Dixie Cup and put the strings through the hole allowing the cup to cover the opening of your bags. This will minimize the amount of precipitation that could enter your gear bags overnight/morning of/during the race.
During the race: If the roads could be wet, consider putting in slightly less PSI into your tires. This will give better traction on the roads. Please be careful of other and their gear. There is already danger of water bottles flying out of the backside water holders going downhill or when athletes toss them at aid stations. Add in slippery road and this is a recipe for a disaster like accidents, falls, etc. This can be a race ender. So be extra careful of others.
In addition, consider putting in a light weight rain jacket for the ride. Wear things that you can layer and take on/off as needed (and even throw away as needed). This is true for the run as well (when the sun goes down and you have been sweating all day). You want to avoid any chills throughout the race because getting cold can greatly impact your race. Your immune system is not as able to regulate temperature extremes due to the stress it is under. Thus you want to ensure you don’t get cold/chilled at any point throughout the race (or overly hot).
Post race: Get out of wet clothes as soon as you can to minimize temperature changes and asking more of your body that it can do at this point in time. This is how athletes often get sick after a race. Yes, it will take your last store of energy but I know you can do it!
Moral of the story, let’s not stress or worry here. The chance for thunderstorms and rain is not guaranteed. And I can tell you from experience that there is always a variety of different weather patterns cycling through this race every year. There have been races where it rained the entire time! Seldom is the weather ever perfect for a 17 hour day (let alone in the mountains)!
This is what Ironman is all about. Again, seldom is the 17 hour day that ever goes completely as planned, let alone a 17 hour day of exercise. Thus this is the reason for the advanced preparation (ie race plan, etc) so that you can be as organized and prepared as possible. Then if something doesn’t go as planned, you can make the best (often split minute) decision for yourself as you can. Keep calm so you can make the best decision for yourself if and when the time comes. Ironman is all about strategy so embrace it!
Finally, I want to extend my top 3 recommendations for IMLP.
1. Dial back the bike one notch. This is not the course to be superman or superwoman and grab that extra gear. You need this extra energy for a very challenging run course instead. Best seasoned advice I was given before my first IMLP!
2. Execute your run:walk from the very beginning of the marathon no matter how you are feeling or how happy you are to be off of the bike. Walking is inevitable and purposeful. The purpose of the brief walk break is to get your HR back down, nutrition in and reset your running form. Thus the more strategic about how you carry out your run:walk strategy, the faster your marathon will be. Speaking of benefits of a quick walk break, it breaks the marathon up into 4 minute runs or 8 minute run intervals (whatever your run:walk interval is) instead of 26 miles. If practiced all season long, the run:walk is scalable and you can shorten your running intervals/lengthen your walk intervals in order to gain the purpose of the strategy (see above). It’s a beautiful thing!
3. If at all possible, head back to the finish line to cheer on the inspirational folks heading into the stadium and crossing the finish line at the last hour. Given that it’s in the old Olympic skating rink, it’s still my favorite IM experience from all of my racing. It’s about the athlete with one leg or the 80 year old athlete. It takes a village and this is your time to support and cheer on your Ironman village!
4. When the going gets tough (and it will), instead of thinking about your pain or suffering, thank a volunteer or an emergency medical personnel. There is a lot of research that demonstrates that if you take your mind off of your suffering and help someone else (or just thank someone else), it releases hormones that give you a second or third or fourth wind. Support your village and it will pay you right back.
Stick to your plan. Enjoy the experience. High five the crowd. This is your day! Good luck and please let us know how it goes for you.