I have just returned from another fabulous Winter weekend in the Adirondacks to celebrate the New Year. While I was there I had gotten in some ample cross-training time skate-skiing, hiking and some photography. This outdoor time gave me a good amount of time to reflect upon the last year. I keep hearing others saying over-and-over how 2016 was such a horrible year, but for me, not so much.
You would think that as one gets closer to the big 5-0 that PR’s and things would become less frequent. But my 48th year was full of them. What is up with that? Perhaps the fact that I had well preserved myself well during my 20’s and 30’s may have something to do with that.
December(2015) was full of Winter cross-training in Banff National Park in Western Canada. They had gotten a good amount of early season snow there and Lake Placid had none. We hit the downhill slopes at Lake Louise and Sunshine Village, got some snowshoeing in on the Bow River and a ton of photographing the beautiful Winter scenery on the Icefields Parkway leading to Jasper.
In January, we had plans to spend a week in the warmth of Sedona, AZ but that was cut short due to a blizzard that delayed flights for several days. We still ended up with an amazing, activity packed long weekend there. We got out for some amazing hikes and photography some beautiful scenery. I replenished my vitamin D store with the clear skies and bright sunshine. It was a great reset before turning my attention back to the long Ironman training season that lies ahead.
In February I started up my official Ironman training season with Todd Wiley. I had gotten to know Todd over the last year or so through some of his workshops and Lake Placid training camp and really like his personality. He was a prior pro triathlete and has had a lot of success with some pretty high-level athletes over the years, so I thought I would see what he could do with this old, average dude. My goals for the season was to increase my IM run performance while maintaining my bike and swim and finalizing that with a sub-12 hour Ironman.
In March, I had my first official race of the season, The St. Pat’s Allentown 5k. While it is only a 5k, this would be the first test of my fitness to see what I had accomplished during the last two months. I would also use this as my Lactate Threshold(LT) test for my training. It did not disappoint. I finished with a 1 sec PR of 22:45(chip time) over my prior PR from 2013. 3 years older and getting faster.
In April, I took things up a notch and competed in the local St. Luke’s Half Marathon which I hadn’t run in since 2013 when I ran with my wife. I was planning to run it in 2015, but got a stomach bug the morning of and had to bail. My current PR for this race, and half marathons in general, was from back in 2010 when I finished with a 1:46:41(chip time). I also had challenged my co-worker Steve, who is what I would consider more of a “runner”, to a duel for this race. It was a bit of a stretch, but I thought the extra competition would bring out a little extra in motivation for me. Although I didn’t come close to beating him, I did manage to eke out another PR for myself finishing in 1:45:10 after 6 years. 2 races and two PRs…not too shabby a start to 2016.
Next up was my first triathlon of the season, the French Creek Olympic Triathlon. I had never done this race before, so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. I knew it was a pretty brutal race with a very hilly bike and run, so you could not even compare it to any other Olympic Distance race. I obviously did not PR this race, but I did end up on the podium by taking 3rd in my age group. This was the first podium since my very first multisport race, the Belleplain Duathlon, back in 2008 where I finished 1st in my age group. So now 3 races and 3 top outcomes.
In June I traveled up to Syracuse, NY for the Ironman 70.3 Syracuse triathlon. Another race I had never done before, but was hoping for a good finish here given the prior results so far this season. The race started off well with one of my best half-iron swims and a decent bike leg where I felt I hadn’t “burned too many matches.” The run leg was a different story. The sun came out and the heat turned up towards the end of the bike and my body turned to mush. Reminiscent of the Ironman Couer d’Alene run I fell into a walk-run for the very hilly run course. Ok, you can’t have them all! So with no PR to be had this time, I took my setbacks here and turned it into motivation for the true goal “A” race of the season at Ironman Mont-Tremblant.
July turned out to be a pretty hot month, so I gained some pretty good acclimatization to the heat while training. If Ironman Mont-Tremblant (IMMT) was going to cook me like Syracuse, I was now prepared. Well, as much as someone who does not like the heat can be.
August came around quickly and tapering was in full swing as we made our way up to Mont-Tremblant for the peak race of my year. When race day came I could not have asked for better weather conditions. It was very cloudy in the morning as I prepared to hit the water. A fighter jet buzzed us so close it brought tears to my eyes. Then the cannon blasted and we were off. The rain started during the swim and poured down all day! For me, that was perfect conditions. I was like a pig in the slop.
Due to some choppy lake conditions, my swim was not as fast as I thought it would be, but still one of my faster IM swims. My bike was one of my fastest so far but yet I still held back as I planned to save something for the run. The run was my best ever Ironman run. The rain came down and kept me cool while cranking out some 8:30-9:00 pace miles. I felt amazing the whole time. I blew away my sub-12 hour goal by about 14 minutes and coming away with an Ironman PR of around 50 minutes! I chopped off almost 30 minutes on my IM run time alone. Mission accomplished!
So now 5 races completed for this year and 3 of them were PR’s and 1 podium. What more could I ask for? A fabulous end to an epic season for sure. Proof that aging does not mean you get slower. At least not yet. Maybe by the time I am 50 I can qualify for Kona? 🙂
Usually with the last race of the season comes a little depression that it is all over for another year. I like to schedule something big for after my last race that keeps me on the up-and-up. Just when you think things can’t get any better we headed to Iceland for a two-week journey around the island in a camper.
I let my body recuperate a bit and broke out my camera for an incredible trip. It was the perfect diversion for someone who has only thought about training for the last year. The scenery was out-of-this-world and it was a great end to all the hard work that was put in over the last 8 months. I have been working on a full report blog post on this trip which I hope to be published very soon. Stay tuned for that.
While you would think that was all for this year, I had to do one more race. I signed up for the local South Mountain 10-miler run which was kind of a birthday run for me. I had never done this race before, but it looked to be quite challenging. It starts not too far from the Lehigh Univesity’s Goodwin Campus fields and a makes it was up to the very top of South Mountain, turns around and heads back down again. It is very steep and a big slog. I ended up 40th overall and 6th in my age group. Not a great result really, but I maintained a 8:12 pace which is just a bit off my half marathon pace. It was more for fun so I am not too worried about that.
I concentrated on my photography a bit for the remainder of the year, which tends to play 2nd fiddle to my training. I made a couple trips to Lake Placid and a short trip to Salt Springs State Park(PA) for some photography sessions. I came away with some keepers and also started getting more active with my Instagram feed. I dug back into my photo archives and found some great pictures I had taken in the past that never made it off my laptop.
So now as we head off into 2017 and I set my sights on Ironman Boulder and the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Lake Placid this year, I have great memories looking back on the amazing year that was 2016. Despite what many others have felt. I have so much to be thankful for. I can only hope that 2017 is even half as good as last year.
I can only hope that 2017 is even half as good as last year. Although, it is already shaping up to be a pretty full one. I have several races on the docket and plans are already being hashed out for an amazing trip to Croatia and Slovenia during post-race season. As for goals, Ironman Boulder should be a challenge in itself given the altitude so I am not putting any time goals on myself for that. Perhaps working on pacing myself would be enough. I think Ironman 70.3 Lake Placid may be my A race for the year and I would like to shoot for a half-iron distance PR there.
My other goal for 2017 is to get back to regular blogging here. I have fell off the wagon a bit over the past year so I hope to pick that up again. I have just “cut the cord” and cancelled my cable TV subscription, so besides saving money I plan on spending a little less time in front of the tube.
If you are reading this, I hope you had a great 2016 and a even better 2017 as well. Thanks for reading!
Several people have asked me how Ironman Coeur d’Alene compares to Ironman Lake Placid, namely the bike courses. So, I decided to attempt to answer that question with a bit of a comparison of the data that I accumulated from the last two races. It was fairly difficult to find any one tool that conclusively compared the two courses, so I used a few different methods. It is a bit off-the-cuff, but it might help to give some people a little idea of how similar or different these coursed really are.
First off, I tried using Garmin Connect. While it is pretty easy to select two rides and click compare in GC, having IMCdA recorded as a “Multisport Activity” from my Garmin 920xt proved more difficult to compare since IMLP 2014 was recorded as just a single ride. Then I had to export the IMCdA Ride as a TCX file from the MultiSport activity and re-import it again by itself. When I did that, it didn’t calculate my Normalized Power watts at all and my average watts were off by about 3 watts. I then filled them in manually. So I finally got them in a table format which is below.
So, these courses above look very similar. The only major differences was my power output for Coeur d’Alene was about 20 watts less on average and normalized power. Note that I used the same Stages Power Meter for both races. The corrected elevations here show only 400 more feet of climbing at Lake Placid and about 500 more feet of loss as well.
Next I jumped over to Strava where I have the Stravistix extension which provides some more information on the grade of the courses. Thanks to the Stravistix Google Chrome Extension for Strava from Thomas Champagne for the statistics below…
Here again, the courses are very close. The only thing that really stood out to me was that IMCdA has a little more flats and IMLP has a little more downhill.
Equalizing Course Profiles at 0 Elevation
I also was able to import the original Garmin FIT files into Golden Cheetah, which allowed me to the export the raw data points from each ride/course into a spreadsheet. I then imported those rides into my favorite analysis tool, QlikView.
I equalized the starting elevations for each course to zero for each race profile. Next, I adjusted the rest of the points elevations’ by the difference from that starting elevation to zero. Plotting this way then moves the course profiles on top of one another(below) as if they started at exactly the same elevation. This gives us a interesting perspective of the courses that I would not have seen looking at the numbers above. While the numbers look the same the profiles are very different.
The Coeur d’Alene course is much more up-and-down in the range of 0-500′ climbing. Lake Placids’ long downhill section into Keene provides you with a nice long and speedy descent, but then you pay for that later with the very a very long, gradual climb from Jay all the way back to Lake Placid. This climb continues on into your second loop at LP too after heading through town. So if you like a constant gradual climbing then Lake Placid is more your style, whereas CdA is more for the folks who like big rollers.
The one thing I didn’t take into account here was the wind. For Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2015, the wind was coming out of the NNE mostly at around 7 MPH. This provided a nice tailwind from mostly the first turnaround at Heggins Point all the way out to the second turnaround. Coming back to town thought was obviously a headwind. Not a bad one, but I could definitely feel it. Lake Placid in 2014 was a little higher at around 8+ MPH out of the South. It always seems to just whip right up through the Wilmington Notch as you are grinding your way back to Lake Placid. 2014 also had a the nice edition of nasty thunderstorm on the first half of the first loop too.
EFD -Effective Flat Distance Overall
For one last comparison, I had stumbled upon the Flacyclist.com site by Tom Jordan. Tom has a calculator tool he put together that figures our what the Effective Flat Distance(EFD or EDO) of a ride is. This is basically how long the ride would be if you took into account the climbs and descents and just flatten everything out. It seems pretty complicated, but probably a more accurate way to equalize different courses for comparison.
I downloaded Toms’ spreadsheet version of the calculator and filled in the data. Getting some of the required fields tooks some data wrangling. I used the ride extract from Golden Cheetah and then did some Excel magic to figure out the climbing(> 1%)/descending(< -1%) distances. I had also downloaded hisorical weather info from Weather Underground site. I used some default values for area of rider and things like that. I set the wind direction at 45 since both courses were basically out-and-backs so there was a combination of headwind and tailwind. You can view the calculations here…
Looking at the two course calculations above, you can see the (EDO or EFD)Effective Overall Distance for each ride is in the 2nd to last row of each image above. The first distance value is taking wind into consideration the other is not. Based on the no wind calculations here, the IMLP was equal to about 121 miles in EFD but the IMCdA course was just a couple miles more at 123 giving it a very slight edge in difficulty. But not much
Taking the wind into consideration, IMLP 2014 averaged about a mile or so more per hour(8.24mph) over the time on the bike course than IMCdA 2015(7.4mph). With an equivalent amount of head vs tailwind, this effectively evens both the courses out at about 142 miles and some change.
This comparison also seems to point to both courses being very comparable in difficulty. The only difference being what type of ride do you prefer? Do you like to maintain a steady uphill climb over a long distance or do you prefer more shorter ups-and-downs?
Personally I liked both courses in their own way I guess. I really feel like I could have PR’d the Coeur d’Alene course under normal temperatures this year. Once that heat kicked in, the wheels just fell off. Despite that I was still able to come in only 5 minutes later than Lake Placid the following year. I was under 3 hours for the first 56 miles while the temperatures were still reasonable.
I hope that was somewhat helpful to anyone considering either of those races. They are now moving the full Ironman in Coeur d’Alene to August next year, so 90-100 degree temperatures may be the norm for that race now. Some locals told me that that weather is more typical at that time of year there. That pretty much takes that off my list of races to try again! Hopefully next year I can compare the Ironman Mont-Tremblant course to these two courses.
Less than 5 weeks to go until Ironman Coeur d’Alene! Actually, if you are reading this post it is probably less than 3 weeks to go. With all the heavy training volume lately, I cannot find the time to get this post out and I didn’t want to just throw it out there. Anyway…I digress.
This was a bit of an odd week. I was ready for some recovery time after finishing up two solid build weeks, but with Todd Wiley’s Lake Placid Training Camp this weekend I could not afford an entire week of recovery. I did a light swim on Monday, took a total rest day on Tuesday, and then a easy run on Wednesday. It was a good amount of time to recover and be ready for a solid training block over the Memorial day weekend. My HRV Timeline chart below shows my recovery as well with a solid upswing into the mid-80’s by the middle of the week.
On Thursday morning I made the 6 hour drive up to Lake Placid for the start of Todd Wileys‘ Lake Placid Training Camp. Last year I had my own little solo camp, but riding alone up there leaves me a little uneasy. Especially when you get a couple flats and mechanical issues. When you are with a camp you have some extra support plus it is always fun meeting new people with similar interests. We were staying at the Olympic Training Center for the Todd Wiley camp which was really cool. This would be much more fun than staying in some hotel downtown by myself. I had driven past the OTC facility many times but never saw the facility from the inside, so now I could really check it out.
I arrived at the facility, checked in and unloaded my gear into the room. Eventually, my roomate Max came in and introduced himself. He was a really nice, mellow guy which I was very relieved about. It was kind of like the first day of college and meeting your dorm roomate. Everyone eventually met outside in the parking lot around 4PM for a group run after getting settled into their rooms. We then headed out for a nice 5-6 mile run into town, around Mirror Lake and then back again. I ended up running with Dr. named Howie most of the run. He was a super nice guy and quite a character too. The run went really fast since we were chatting the whole time.
The original shedule had a short 15 mile bike ride listed on the first day, but that got nixed since we got out later than planned. We then headed to the cafeteria at the Olympic Training Center(OTC) for some dinner. I was a bit apprehensive about eating in a cafeteria all weekend and whether they would have much for me to eat. I was pleasantly surprised. The OTC cafeteria food was awesome! They usually had several different options for each meal with at least a couple of them being veg-friendly. Another nice benefit of the cafeteria was that we didn’t have to deal with eating in town on a holiday weekend. This can be a bit of a challenge especially with a large group.
On Thursday night the group got together for some discussion with Todd about the plan for the weekend and some general training information. We also got a a bunch of swag including a t-shirt, a towel, and some sun/cooling sleeves. I was pretty psyched about the sun sleeves since I had wanted to try them but didn’t want to fork out the money for a pair. I also just happened to check the weather on my phone during our session and it was apparently snowing outside. That should make for an interesting ride tomorrow!
On Friday, we were up for breakfast by 7AM after a good nights sleep and out for group ride by 8:30am. It was a bit cool and very overcast as we waited to depart. It started raining as soon as we left the OTC making for a cold, damp start. We headed down Route 73 to River Rd and then down 86 to Wilimington and back again. The ride down to Wilmington is mostly downhill so I took it easy crusing the whole way. The skies eventually opened up and the sun came out. My plan was to give a hard push back up the notch to Lake Placid. It was a good hard ride, I turned around at Cobble Mountain right after the three bears climbs and then swung back down to River Rd. and then back to the OTC.
We then headed out for a half hour brick run immediately after we returned from our ride. I joined up briefly with Derek Fitzgerald, the only heart transplant and cancer survivor to complete an Ironman, and we ran across the street up Bear Cub Rd. past the entrance to Henry’s Woods. I went a little further up the road since I had never been up the before and was curious where it ended up. It was a gradual climb most of the way out.
We had a afternoon session with Fernando Paredes from Fusion Fitness & Performance on his strength training principles after lunch. I had attended Fernando’s workshop back in January so this was more of a refresher for me. The session was mostly just a overview of his methods and we didn’t get into any actual strength training. Fernando did a couple demonstrations with some of the campers which were pretty amazing. The one guy had really tight hamstrings and Fernando was able to have him touch his toes after just rubbing his jaw on both sides. That was pretty wild.
On Friday night we had a classroom discussion on triathlon rules and safety with Ken Modica. Ken is a USAT official who officiates many of the races in my area. It was a good review of the rules and some of the changes that have been made. I kind of lost attention though after everyone started their “airing of grievances” and bringing up their individual occurences of being unjustly penalized for things. I would have liked to have seen a little more discussion on overall race strategy and nutrition in the camp, especially for the folks who are doing Ironman for the first time. Troy Jacobson did this in his camp, which I attended in 2012, and I found it really helpful. The coaches here were very accessible though and I know my roomate had sat down with Todd individually to discuss some of these topics.
Saturday was our long bike ride for the weekend, so I was off early for a good nights sleep Friday night. We topped off our tanks with a good breakfast and then we headed out for our long ride. Some of the campers were only doing one loop of the IMLP Course, and then the rest were doing two loops. Both groups were skipping out on the out-and-backs to Ausable Forks and Haselton Road. I was considering doing one or two of them just to tack on a few miles.
I started out with a group led by Nancy Smith, an elite age grouper and multiple Kona qualifier. Nancy has an unbelieveably smooth cadence which never seems to change despite the terrain. She also had a very similar pace to me so I always seemed to be following her. She did tend to drop me a little on climbs, but then I would catch up on the downhills. My extra weight comes in handy sometimes! Thanks gravity! Also in our pack was my roomate Max and Jeff. We would stop every once in a while and catch up a bit.
It was a pretty brisk morning on Saturday, but I dressed appropriately with jacket, leg warmers and full finger gloves and it wasn’t too bad. It had gotten a little warmer towards the end of the first loop, so I swung back to the OTC for quick wardrobe change. The first loop went well and I was still feeling pretty fresh. The wind had picked up a bit on the second loop but it was mostly a tailwind from Lake Placid all the way to Upper Jay. There never seems to be a tailwind from Upper Jay back to Lake Placid which is basically all uphill.
I started to feel it a little in my quads as I made my way up to Wilmingtion. I had heard someone yelling my name as I rolled into Wilmington and eventually saw Todd parked across the street and my roomate Max taking on some hydration. I swung across an refilled my bottles and food. It was good timing because I was out of hydration and starting to feel it. After sucking down a bottle of Skratch Labs and eating an Amrita Bar I was ready to tackle the climb back to Lake Placid. I even hit the little out-and-back on Haselton Road just to get a couple more miles in. I like this little stretch too since it is pretty mellow with minimal traffic. It is kind of a break in itself.
I made the push back up 86 to Lake Placid, this time being a little more challenging than the first loop. The stronger headwind made things just a little tougher too. There is a short but steep stretch around the gorge area where the road gets very narrow with no shoulder and a stone wall guarding you from a rocky cliff into the Ausable River. I got behind another cyclist who was going relatively slow, but I was not able to pass him do to the car traffic and lack of a shoulder. As we reached the top of the climb, but not quite passed the stone wall he decided to stop! WTF!! I yelled “NO! Keep going!” He obviously didn’t even realize I was behind him. He managed to gather some more strength and pedal up to the turnout a few feet away. I patted him on the back and laughed as I went by. He smiled but was too exhausted to say any words.
I finished up the ride back into town after completing the Three Bears climbs for the second time that day. My legs were pretty tired by the time I got back and I only had food on my mind at this point. Fortunately the OTC cafeteria is open all day long for snacks and things and I headed right there.
Fernando had a strength training session in the afternoon, but I could muster up the motivation to attend. I was ready to just chill a bit. The plan for the afternoon was to go into town for a short swim in Mirror Lake. I ended bagging the swim since it was still pretty cool air temperature and very windy. I knew the water was cool which I can deal with, but the thought of getting out of the water not being able to get warm changed my mind. I knew Sunday was supposed to be a warmer day, so I will save my swim for then.
I ended up going to Lake Placid Pub & Brewery to get some dinner and have a couple beers. I ended up meeting up with some tri-friends from home, John, Ashley and Johns’ daughter Laura at the Pub. They were staying with some other friends, Brian and Mandy, from back home who have a house in LP and invited me to come over for dinner. I felt a little funny going over to have dinner at someones house that I never met, but they said it was cool. Brian and Mandy were really nice people and so accomodating. They are both REALLY GOOD athletes and Brian was into photography too so there was no shortage of conversation. I had such a great time with all of them and we had a ton of laughs too. It was like I had known them forever. Oh also they had rice and beans with side of kale for dinner so it was the perfect meal for me. I did cheat a little and had a organic chicken sausage too. 🙂
Sunday all the LP campers met up after breakfast at the front gate to the OTC. Todd debriefed us on the plan for the run since some folks were running different distances than others. I was planning to get at least 18 miles in but was hoping for 20. I would assess it as I went depending on how I felt. We then got together for group photo before set off on our run.
I realized that I forgot to put sunscreen on as we started down the road, so I headed back to the dorms to put some on. The zipper in my running shorts got jammed and I could not get my ID card out. I could not get the zipper unjammed for the life of me and I didn’t want to break the it on my favorite running shorts. So I had to go without. Fortunately it was fairly cloudy as the day went on so not really an issue.
I fell pretty far behind everyone with the zipper drama, so I was basically on my own for most of the day. I did catch up to a few people in the camp and saw the rest coming back on River Road. Todd was waiting at the turnaround on River Rd. with water and gatorade for us. He also said he would wait for me at the Ski Jumps, on the other end of River Rd. to restock me with water before I head into town. On the way back I stopped at the house we typically stay at on River Road to say Hi to our friends Dan & Wendy for a few minutes. I chatted with Dan for a bit and then continued on. I stepped up the pace a bit since I knew Todd was waiting for me.
The cooler air temps this day really made a huge difference in my run. I felt so good the whole time as opposed to the prior weeks run back home in hot & humid temps(see image above). My previous long runs were much slower and the courses were also much less difficult in terms of terrain. I can only hope for temps in the 60’s in Coeur d’Alene!
I made my way up into town, headed around the back of Mirror Lake and turned around at the Lake Placid Marina right before coming back into town near Saranac Ave. I was at around 16 miles when I got back to the OTC, so I decided to head up Bear Cub Rd, where I had done the brick run on Friday to get 20 in. I ended up finishing with only 19.3 but I didn’t feel like to doing filler runs just to get 20 in. Close enough! I was quite happy with the run at that point, so no point in continuing.
After some lunch, we headed into town to get a swim in at Mirror Lake. My friend John had told me to let him know when we would be swimming and he was going to meet me with his kayak. It was pretty nice having my own support crew. I stashed a water bottle on Johns’ boat and he took some pictures and video of me while I swam too.
The water was really cold! I was a little fearful of cramping up after just running 20 miles a couple hours before. My hands, feet and face were numb. I started out with a pretty good pace just to get some heat pumping. My plan was to swim 20 minutes out and then back again. By around 15 minutes I was starting to have enough. My toes were involuntarily curling up from the cold. I stopped at around 17 minutes, took a drink of water and chatted with John a bit and then headed back. Unfortunately, I forgot to stop my watch to get an accurate pace.
The wind really started to kick up on the way back and the waves were smashing into my right side. I took a mouthful of water and started choking a bit just like I did at Devilman a few weeks before. I eventually calmed down and restored my breathing again. I then started breathing only to the left for the rest of the swim back. I finished up with a mile swim, which was plenty considering how cold it was. It had to be at or below 50 degrees. When I reached the beach the rest of the people in the camp were already done swimming and they had started after me. Todd even said it was crazy cold and he bailed early too.
Sunday night I was pretty tired and just settled in early. I had a good dinner and then got a good nights sleep. We had planned to do a short bike ride early in the morning and then checkout by 9:30am. The forecast was for rain and I planned on skipping that if that was the case and get on the road early to avoid all the Memorial Day traffic.
I was the first one from our camp in the cafeteria in the morning, but Derek Fitzgerald had come in later and joined me. It worked out nice to get to chat with him one-on-one for a bit. He was telling me about his upcoming Tour de Cure ride across America which is starting on June 9th. He has a pretty amazing story which I would highly recommend you check out.
I then packed up after breakfast, said goodbye to my roomate Max and everyone I saw from the camp. I got to meet a lot of new triathletes from the are area while getting in some solid training. It was a really great experience and I would highly recommend it. Staying at the Olympic Training Center was very cool.
The ride home started out ok, but traffic got very heavy as I got past Lake George. Fortunately no major delays though. I stopped in New Paltz at the Taco Shack for a quick bean burrito along the way. It was crazy busy everywhere else.
Ok, back home with only two more build weeks to go! Thanks for reading!
Hey Folks…If you are a follower of this blog you know how much I love Lake Placid, NY. I know some of you do too. So we need your vote to make Lake Placid one of Outside magazine’s Best Outside Town 2015.
I mixed things up a bit for week #4 by heading up to Lake Placid for a bit cross-training in the snow. I try to get up there for a week in the Winter every year for some skate-skiing at Mt. Van Hoevenburg. We have a week planned in Sedona, Arizona next month so it wasn’t looking good for skate-skiing this year. We decided that we needed our Lake Placid Winter fix, so we arranged a long weekend up there which was perfect.
I tried to get in as much biking and swimming in the early part of the week as I could. Thursday ended up being a rest/travel day. I got a small case of swimmers’ ear too, so it worked out that I would not be swimming for a few days. The rest day would also help since skate-skiing can be pretty exhausting .
We made up to Lake Placid in time to have dinner at the ADK Cafe in Keene, NY which is one of our favorites. On Friday, I was able to get our ski’s waxed in the morning so we were able to get in a good hour and a half in the afternoon. Conditions were great at Van Hoevenburg too. There was a really solid base and everything was open too. Temperatures were perfect as well running in the high 20’s to low 30’s on Saturday. On Saturday, we did our town shopping spree and lunch and then headed to ski later. Denise ended up pulling her back out though while putting her boot on. 🙁 She was in some severe pain too. I had to run her home, but then was able to go back again and get a good hour in anyway.
On Friday night we had a nice dinner at Milano North in town and Saturday Cafe Rustica. Both of them are two of our favorites. The ladies at Cafe Rustica were also very accomodating of Denise’s back issues. I was a little disappointed to find out that my all time favorite, The Cowboy had closed up. Also Pan Dolce seems to be closed as well.
Sunday was a different story though. We got about an inch or two of new snow and it got cold! Like 7 degrees in the mid afternoon. Brrr! This also changed the snow conditions too and the purple wax that I had on my skiis was no longer gliding like it was the past two days. Now I was getting a major workout whether I like it or not. To add to this I also headed out on one of the harder trails, Porter Mountain Loop. I was sucking some major wind on this one. It was brutal, but I got in another 1:30 of skiing. So all-in-all it was some workouts on the ski trails. It is nice to break up the running, biking and swimming during the Winter.
Sunday night we had a real nice dinner at the Interlaken Inn Pub with the couple we stay with in Lake Placid. Food was amazing, but we had to rush through it since we were going to the Banff Mountain Film Festival immediately afterwards. There were some really good films this year and it is always a packed house in Lake Placid. I threw together this playlist of some of the ones they showed there…
One thing to note this week was my Heart Rate Variability(HRV). I hadn’t had any alcohol since New Years and over the weekend I had a few glasses of wine on two of the four nights in Lake Placid. It is pretty interesting how my HRV dropped severly on both mornings after that. They were also not consecutive days, so my HRV went up on the night between and down again the following. My training was about the same on all the days too, so I don’t think that had anything to do with it. I slept good all the nights as well.
We headed home early on Monday due to the impending winter storm, Juno which was headed our way. It turned out to be a non-event, so all that rushing home was for nothing. Oh well. It was a great weekend in the Adirondacks and it was nice to change things up a bit too. Well next week it is back to some usual training again.
Well, I am back. This off-season has been pretty uneventful ever since I completed Timberman 70.3 back in August. We did take a trip to Italy back in September which I just finished posting yesterday. I have continued to train and I did complete the 180 mile City-to-Shore ride, but I have had more achievments on Untappd than on Strava this fall. With those acheivments comes a snug waistline and around 15 lbs extra weight above my racing weight I need to shed. The lowest point was the week of Thanksgiving where I literally did absolutely no training that week. Unheard of! Apparently I needed this little break and I am trying to listen to my body a bit. Keeping up that motivation for Ironman training after 3 years is not always an easy task.
But, I am back in the swing again and I am getting geared up for Ironman Coeur d’Alene in June and the St. Luke’s Half Marathon in May. Other than that I have nothing else planned but hoping to do so late season local races. I was tossing around Ironman Maryland as well as Steelman. Still thinking that over.
The last couple weeks I have been back at it pretty steady and I am feeling pretty well. I seem to have carried over my endurance because I am go out run a half-marathon, swim an easy 3000 meters, or ride my bike for 3 hours without issue. Given that I trying to focus more on developing some speed and power for this season. I still have a goal completing an Ironman in under 12 hours which I carried over from last season.
In the pool, I have started using a Finis Tempo Trainer. I have a very low stroke rate and am pretty much a glider. With that my lack of ability to do flip turns my typical stroke rate shows up at around 56-58 spm(both arms) on my Garmin 910xt. That translates to around 2:00/100m which is not great. I typically swim around 1:46-7/100y in open water which basically washes out the need to turn. So my plan is to try to gradually increase my turnover rate in the pool to increase my pace. I know that when I get my strokes/min into the high 60’s or low 70’s I can get down to about 1:50/100m which equates to about a 1:40/100y. If I can work on maintaing that pace for IM swim it would be cut down to about 1:11 or so. Actually I would be happy to get to a 1:15, which is 2 min improvement over the last 2 years.
On the bike, I am back using TrainerRoad again through the Winter months. This software helped me make huge gains in the bike last year. I went from a 223 FTP to a 253 which is 13% increase. It really showed on the bike too, I cut about 15 minutes off my Lake Placid bike leg and I had a great ride at Timberman finishing well under 3 hours. I am doing the same training plan I used last off-season and am looking for 10% gain edging to maybe 275-280 FTP.
I need to generate some more speed on the run for sure, especially after a long bike. My goal would be to finish the IM Marathon portion in around 4:10, which equates to a 9:30/mi pace. So, this is my floor pace for all my longer(LSD) runs this season. Other than warm-ups, I am going to make this the slowest I can go or I will have to cut distance in order to maintain it. I know I can run the distances at 10+ pace, so now it is time to step back and take it up a notch. I also want to incorporate some longer brick runs off the bike. I seemed to suffer more after the first 6 miles during IM and I need to work that out. During the week I will continue the tempo and interval runs as I did before.
Getting back to racing weight will also be critical for all this to happen. I feel I have my race nutrition plan pretty solidified, which is anchored by my good old Amrita Bars, but my off-season nutrition needs some work. A few too many pizzas and IPA’s this year, so I will be cutting that all out come January 1st.
Here are a couple good articles that I recently read on off or base season training that provide a little different twist on the traditional approaches…
If any of you are on the Zwift beta program and you are looking to ride with someone let me know too.
So I hope to get some more posts going here very soon. I have a couple training excursions and some product comparisons and reviews coming up too which should be interesting. So if you have stuck around, I hope you will continue to read on. Thanks for reading.
3:50AM finally came around after waking every half hour since about 1AM. Despite broken sleep I felt pretty well rested and was more than ready get this race started. I had actually felt that way all weekend since arriving in Lake Placid on Thursday afternoon. The time was finally here.
I started the already prepared coffee maker with exactly two cups of coffee. Just enough to rev the engine a bit, but not enough to go into high anxiety mode. Next, the VitaMix was load up with frozen fruit, kale, avocado, seeds, nuts and a can of coconut water. My daily smoothie concoction that starts my days on a high note. I had prepared all my water bottles and nutrition for the race the night before and staged everything in the refrigerator. Special needs bags were loaded up and it was time to head to town.
While I had only done Ironman Lake Placid once the year before, the drill seemed all to routine for me. Perhaps I had run through it in my head so many times it almost seemed real. This year I had much less anxiety than the year before, since I had a better idea of what to expect. Little did I know what challenges the Adirondacks and Mother Nature were preparing to dish out for me this year.
The forecast had said 40-50% chance of scattered thunderstorms all day, but many times they never really happen. We headed out River Road and onto RT 86 into town. Denise dropped me off at the barricades on Main St. by the Sunoco and I walked up the street that I would be running on later that day to transition. I located my bike in the racks and loaded it up with nutrition and bottles of Skratch hydration, went to get body marked, then dropped off my special needs bags up the street. The run special needs bag area is such a long walk from transiton, but I did run into Shanna & Amy and then John & Ashley along with way to wish them good luck for the day. I then changed into my race gear and stashed my morning clothes bag in transition along with my other bags.
I met up with Denise at the Mobil station and then we walked up to the swim start. It was getting close to race start so I put on the wetsuit, said my goodbyes to Denise and made my way into the swim start line. The canon had gone off for the pro men and woman at this point. It was pretty crowded and the line did not move very quickly. I kept pushing my way through the crowd and eventually found my way to the 1:11-1:20 finish time wave area. Ok, here we go!
The start of the swim has been so anti-climatic ever since they started the new Safe Swim Start. They used to play some really powerful tunes, like Beautiful Day by U2, and Mike Reilly would get everyone fired up. Now the music is really lame and he doesn’t say much at all except something like “Go ahead!”. I don’t understand why it can’t still be a more exciting.
Anyway, we eventually roll into the water after a few minutes and I am on my way. I stay to the outer left side in the more open water as I usually do to get started. Occasionally some feckless meanderer comes zigzagging out into my path but for the most part I have open water to swim in for the first loop. The buoys tick away from 1 to 7 and before I knew it I am making the turn to head back to the beach again. I took the first turn wide too to avoid the congestion that usually happens when turning in a swim course. I kept a nice steady pace the first lap and averaged a 1:47/100y for the first 1.2 mile loop. So far so good!
I exit the water and head through the archways to start my next 1.2 miles. While traversing the sandy beach, I hear Mr. Mike Reilly announce “Brian Schwind from Alburtis, PA” over the loud speaker! I raised my arms in acknowledgment of it. I didn’t think he could pronounce my name since he barely muttered it last year when I crossed the finish line. My wife Denise actually heard it too and she was down the street along the corral to transition. She said that he only said about 20 names tops during the whole swim. I guess I came out at a good time.
My 2nd loop went along pretty well until about a third of the way when the skies opened up with torrential rains. It was raining so hard that my mouth was getting water in it when I tried to take a breath. I made the turn to head back and started getting a cramp in my left calf. I stopped swimming a bit to stretch it out and probably lost some time there. I did get going again and eventually found myself swimming along the yellow rope that runs below. That didn’t last too long because it soon got congested with other swimmers and angled back out to the outer lane again to avoid being trampled.
I exited the water at around 1:17 which was a couple seconds slower than I did last year. I apparently lost a bit of time on that 2nd loop with the calf cramp and meandering a bit too much. All in all not a horrible swim. At least I am consistent. My plan from the beginning of the season was just to maintain my swim performance, which I guess I can say I did.
Official Time(1-1.2 mi loop): 0:37:39 (1:47/100yd)
My Watch Time(2.4 miles): 1:17:56 (1:51/100yd)
I unzipped and pulled my suit halfway down while finding a available wetsuit stripper. I then fell backwards on the ground while the volunteer violently ripped my wetsuit off my legs. I was up and jogging down the finish corral scanning the people along the side looking for my wife. I eventually spotted her down the street, closer to the transition oval. I multitasked a kiss for the wife while high fiving the in-laws and was quickly on my way into transition. The rain was dumping and the thunder was a banging at this point. I entered the gate to the oval and counted my way to the 3rd row of bags in transition and grabbed my bike gear bag. The changing tent was very full and very wet. It was like a little pond under a roof.
I found an empty chair, got my bike stuff on and stashed my swim gear in the bag. A loud blast of thunder ripped and everyone in the tent gave a group “Wow!” I had to switch the lenses in my sunglasses to the light rose colored ones due to the weather. When I did that I forgot to transfer the nose cushion piece along with it. I handed my bag to a volunteer and headed back out into the storm. There was lightning coming down in several directions, all followed by loud blasts of thunder. A volunteer had my bike ready at the end of the aisle and I signaled to him it was mine and I am coming. I headed out of transition and saddled up in the mounting area.
T1 Time(My Watch time): *8:49
*Ironman did not count T1 time in official results due to lightning
I carefully navigated the 180 and 90 degree steep downhill turns out of the transition speed
skating oval. My bike has carbon race wheels that require special brake pads that won’t damage the carbon rims. They work pretty well when it is dry, but are almost useless when they are wet. I had to squeeze them very tightly just to keep from gaining too much speed. Stopping with them requires a very long distance and is pretty much not happening in an emergency situation. I made it safely down the corkscrew turns to the street below where I spotted Denise and my In-Laws standing under umbrellas. I have them a big “Hey!” and then turned my focus back to the steep downhill street ahead. I had put my sunglasses in my jersey since I thought I might not need them until later. The rain was coming down so hard it was hard to see to navigate the cracks and undulations of the street. I was on the brakes full tilt down to the lower street where it finally leveled out to make a sharp left turn at the hay bales.
The rain continued in torrents as I made my way out of Lake Placid on Route 73 towards the ski jumps. Lightning would flash and very defined bolts would slice through the sky in what seemed like a few hundred yards away. Large ear-pounding thunder followed a few seconds after. I questioned my safety for a brief second, but the task at hand seemed to trump that at the time. Probably not logical thinking, but in an Ironman you are willing to push through things without blinking an eye.
As I spun my way up the ascending terrain towards Cascade Mountain and contemplated the long descent into Keene that followed. I had minimal brakes and 7 mile long twisting descent to navigate. Would I be able to keep my speed down enough to navigate the turns? What if I really needed to come to a complete stop? The thoughts rushed through my head. I hoped the rain would stop before then.
I hit a couple small downhill sections and found that it was impossible to see with heavy rain and the higher speeds. I pulled my un-cushioned sunglasses from the front of my jersey and put them on. The jagged plastic of the lens dug in to the skin on my nose, but at least I could see where I was going now. Things are always better through rose-colored lenses right? Not necessarily.
I eventually reached the Cascade Lakes and begun the long descent down to Keene. It was still pouring rain. I gripped the brakes with a clenching fist that made my knuckles turn white. I was still reaching speeds into the high 20/low 30 mph range. Fortunately they had recently paved the road and at least I didn’t need to negotiate the nasty cracks and potholes that previously marred the route down the mountain. Still, a few other riders still flew past me going down the speedy descent. Crazy!!
I had heard several others say later on that they were actually shaking as they rode that early part of the first bike loop from being cold. I am fortunate enough to have a nice little extra layer of “insulation” on me this year being about 5-7 pounds heavier this year compared to last. I really hadn’t planned on that, but hey sure came in handy because being cold was not really something I had to deal with today. Although my toes did become a bit numb out there. I am like a human heat pump otherwise.
Well, I made it safely down into Keene without issue. I was disappointed about the time I had lost having to ride the brakes down the mountain, but I was also relieved to have that behind me for now. I made the winding turn onto Route 9N in Keene and could now settle into a nice rhythm on the flat sectionto Ausable Forks. Ahhh!! It was still raining but I now I could just cruise. My legs were feeling good and I just spun at my comfortable cadence and settled in at around 21-22 MPH average speed. I continued to pop Armita Bar pieces and Chunks for Energy into my mouth and washed them down with copious amounts of Skratch Labs Hydration mix to keep the fuel tanks full. I also had a small bottle of Ucan Superstarch as well for a little extra long-term energy source.
While traversing the uphill section on Route 86 from Jay to Wilmington, I could finally see some breaks in the clouds ahead. Relief! But, along with that I could also feel the wind picking up a bit. I averaged around 16 MPH for the 30 miles uphill section from Jay back to Lake Placid using about 200 watts of normalized power. I felt good the whole time and it seemed to tick by pretty quickly. I ran into John Newman, who I identified from his Amrita tri kit and the name “John” listed on his run belt. John and his wife, Tara, had been communicating a bit with me over the past month or so over social media. John was telling me about how he was shaking so much from being cold down the descent into Keene. He had lost so much time because he was on the brakes the whole time. I said me too, but was on the brakes more out of fear than the cold. Eventually he proceeded ahead of me and I never saw him again until later on the run.
I reached the “Three Bears” section where folks were lining the road in a Tour de France fashion cheering everyone up the hill. I was focused on searching out my wife who stationed herself out here last year, but saw no sign of her. Hmmm? I made the right turn by Cobble Mountain and continued towards Mirror Lake Drive. On the last little kick uphill by the school I spotted my wifes’ bright pink shirt from a couple hundred yards away. I started waving but she just seemed to be staring at me. Eventually she realized it was me and I gave her shit for not knowing who I was. Loop #1 complete.
I quickly stopped for my special needs bag and retooled with nutrition and hydration. Best of all was the peanut butter & honey sandwich on white Italian bread that awaited me. Yum! Time to strap on the old feedbag! The first bite always gets stuck in my throat, so I have to wash it down with a big swig of liquid. After that it is just heaven!
The rain had finally ceased and it was looking like a nice day, albeit the wind continued to pickup. I knew I needed to make up some time on this lap if I still wanted to hit my goal of sub-12 hours. I tried to stay consistent without totally blowing my legs out. I still felt good so I figured I was ok. I hit the bit descent again, this time staying in the aero position and not touching the brakes. I was flying baby!! I found out later I was hitting speeds in excess of 45 MPH. On the flats from Keene to Ausable Forks and back to Jay I again was in cruise mode ranging from 20-22 MPH most of the way again.
The uphill section from Jay to Lake Placid on the second loop went pretty smoothly but a bit slower. I averaged around 15 MPH this time with a normalized power of 189 watts. I still felt pretty good but the legs must have been getting a little more tired. I was relieved to roll onto Mirror Lake Drive with crowds cheering away knowing that I had survived a pretty epic Ironman bike leg unscathed. Looking at my Garmin I noticed I was also about to complete a PR bike split that was around 10 minutes below last years time. Apparently the shaved legs worked as they said they would.
Bike Time(112 miles): 6:15:12 (17.91mph avg speed)
I quickly dismounted my bike and handed it to a volunteer to be forgotten about until after the race. I tried running on the concrete of the speed skating oval with my bike cleats, but it was very difficult. I saw another athlete take their shoes off, which I quickly followed suit. A guy from the med tent yelled out to take our helmets off to cool off. The sun had come out on the 2nd loop and the wetness on the ground made for some sweltering humidity now. I grabbed my run bag and made my way to the change tent. I quickly found a empty chair and a volunteer came over to assist me. He laid out all my stuff on the ground while I put my shoes on so I could quickly get changed. It was a big help. Volunteers ROCK!! I had hoped to find another pair of sunglass lenses with a nose piece but no such luck. I ditched the glasses and just put my run hat on. The volunteer also checked my back for sunburn and said the back of my neck was getting red. I put a pack of sunscreen in my jersey and a Bodyglide stick in the other pocket. I stopped at the sunscreen girls to lather me up good which they did, and then I was off on the run.
T2 Time: 7:08
I headed through the arch that marked the beginning of the run. I heard several people calling my name, but this is typical since it is listed on the front of my race bib. One person that stuck out of the crowd was lady standing under an umbrella on the other side of the street. It looked like Kim, who I had met at a friends New Years Party this past year, but I wasn’t totally sure. I looked for her husband to confirm that it was her, but did not see him so I continued on. Turns out it was her after all. Her daughter, Lauren, was racing also and had a great day finishing 2nd in her 18-24 age group on her first Ironman.
I continued on down Main Street and was feeling really good. Usually the first couple miles of a run after biking 112 miles is a little rough. My legs were feeling ready to run, but I was also going downhill. The real test would be once I hit some inclines.
I ran into my wife Denise and her parents just down the street in front of the sushi place. I gave hugs to everyone forgetting that I had just been lathered up with copious amounts of sunscreen. Sorry! I tried to quickly tell them how crazy the bike ride was while running backwards so not to lose any more precious time. Then I was down the hill towards Lisa G’s for my first loop.
The little rise in the road just past Lisa G’s and Liquids & Solids is always a little bit of a wake-up call since it is the first real incline on the run course after the bike. This is when reality tends to strike. Ok my legs don’t feel quite as good as I first thought. Hmm? I kept pushing on though.
I continued to maintain around a 9:00/mile pace for the first 2.5 miles until I hit the small little rise about a .25 mile past the ski jumps on River Road. The sun was beaming and it was getting hot and steamy. My quadricep muscles were starting hurt already and the negative thoughts started to well up in my head. “How am I going to make it 23 more miles?” I continued to press on walking through the aid stations to get ice and water. I took the cold wet sponges and stuffed them in my jersey. One of them went down my back which I was never able to get out. I tried to eat one of my Amrita Bars, but my stomach was feeling so full I ended up tossing half of it.
My pace was now creeping up into the 10:00/mile range with the small shifts of walking. I ran by the house we stay at and was a little bummed when I didn’t see anyone there. This was such a helpful push last year when they were all sitting out watching. Unfortunately they had to work and run errands all day so they were not able to be there today. Just before the turnaround on River Road, around 4.5 miles, I passed my coach Scott who was coming back the other way. It is always nice to see someone you know to take your mind off the pain at hand. I was also kind of psyched that I wasn’t that far behind him. Surely I didn’t that I would catch up to him, but maybe I wasn’t doing as bad as I though I was.
I finally made the turn on River Road and started back to town. I was really starting to struggle physically and mentally. My legs and feet were screaming. I was now taking walking breaks more than just at the aid stations. My pace was now drifting up in the 10-11:00/mi range, especially given the hills on the route back to town. I reached Denise and her parents and indicated I was struggling a bit. My Father-in-law told me later it was readily apparent I was having a rough time. I walked up the hill on to Main St. but started to get back to somewhat of a trot again after the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery. Perhaps the thought of a cold beer had energized me.
I freshened up my Fuel Belt with some new bottles of Skratch Labs hydration from my special needs bag. My pace picked up a bit with a little help from the downhill from the Lake Placid Pub to Lisa G’s. I ran past the dreaded fork where you are either going out for another 13 miles or you are finishing. I made the left and pushed on. I was determined not to let the mental aspect of having to do another loop get to me. I just focused on staying running even if it was slow, just keep the feet moving. It seemed to help and eventually the miles ticked off.
I had passed my coach, Scott again as well as Shanna and Amy and my friend John from work several times. My enthusiasm to cheer them on diminished more and more with each passing. The last time I passed them I was only able to muster up a thumbs up since speaking would have used far too much energy.
I began dosing the Coca-cola on the second loop. I would pour it over a cup full of ice, let it cool for a few seconds and then drink it down. It tasted so freaking good! I don’t drink soda typically, but this was just what I needed. It definitely changed my mental frame of mind too. I even broke my vegan ways and had a couple cups of the chicken soup. Sorry chickens! I never had that before in a race, but it was pretty good too. These things definitely helped me get through this last half marathon.
I eventually reached the bottom of the hill at Lisa G’s again. There were several slightly intoxicated characters dressed in animal costumes high fiving all the runners as they went by. It was definitely a good boost of energy. I started walking on the bottom of the hill, but soon got back to running again. I said to myself you have to run this last hill up to the brew pub. There were numerous fans cheering and calling my name which gave an added boost. Little kids were holding out their hands for high fives which I always try to do back. I don’t want to be that triathlete that takes himself too seriously that cannot acknowledge the people cheering us all on.
Eventually I ran into Denise and her parents who I imagine were glad to finally see me running after how I looked last time. I kept on running from that point as I could taste the finish line now. I rounded the bend on River Road and picked it up a little for the last mile. I hit that fork in the road where you are either going back out for another 13.1 miles or going to the finish line. I made a big pointing gesture to the volunteer guiding everyone there that I was coming in for landing. The spectators nearby starting cheering a little louder and you could not have wiped that smile off my face for anything.
I entered the speed skating oval and rounded for home. A few more high fives to a few kids along the way and then Mike Reilly said “Brian Schwind” and then a long pause. Ugh! Apparently he got distracted. He may have said “you are an Ironman” but it was after such long delay it was almost pointless at that point. I believe he fouled it up for me last year too. Whatever…I was happy to hit the finish line whithout issue. I know I am an Ironman Mike, you don’t need to tell me I guess.
Run Time(26.2 miles): 4:52:55 (11:10/mi pace)
I was met after the race by Denise and my In-laws along with Dan & Wendy and their two boys Charlie & Emmett who we stay with in Lake Placid. It was fun seeing them all and chatting for awhile. I chilled out and had some pizza at the finish line and then collected my bags to get changed.
I had given Denise my Yellow card to pick up my bike in transition while I got changed. I was surprised not to see her when I had finished getting dressed. After some time she showed up with a disgusted look on her face. Apparently the volunteers could not find my bike. They looked around and then pow-powed with supervisor lady. They then told her maybe someone else picked it up. She told them she is the only one with the card and I was getting changed. Then they very non-cholantly told her to come back later that maybe someone else took my bike and they may bring it back later. What??!! Eventually they went and looked again in slot 2242(I was 2422) and there it was. What a run around!
We took the bike to the car and then headed over to the Dancing Bears for my post-race pizza and Lake Placid IPA. On the way my manager, Steve, from work texted me “Great job 11:52”. I was like “huh?” My watch says 12:42 , what is he talking about. Unfortunately the cell lines are so busy in Lake Placid at this time I could not get my results on the Irontrac iOS app to see. Hmmm…
Well, I had a goal this year to do a sub-12 hour Ironman. Given the official results for Ironman Lake Placid 2014 I finished in 11:52:54, so according to the official results I did accomplish this. BUT, this does not count the 2nd 1.2 mile loop of the swim or my T1 time. I tried to locate what the actual time was for my 2nd loop according to Ironman, but was unable to find anything. According to my Garmin watch, I actually finished in 12:42 which is about 4 seconds slower than last year. I know in my head I didn’t hit that goal, but it was a more challenging day than it was last year. Any Ironman finish though is a success in my book. So I will take it with a big smile on my face. Nothing wrong with back-to-back sub-13 hour Ironman Lake Placid finishes right? Atleast I am consisent!
Another positive was that I PR’d the bike leg by 10 minutes after having a first loop that I was on the brakes for a 7 mile descent. I think if the weather was nicer I may have been closer to 6 hours. I did burn some extra energy on the 2nd loop which I think led to a less than spectacular run. The run was 10 minutes slower than last year, but I did feel like I was able to overcome some major fatigue and developed a little more mental toughness too.
It was a fun day overall and the challenges with weather sure make for some good stories. I will be sure not never to forget that race amongst them all. If was easy everyone would do it right?
Official Ironman Finish Time: *11:52:54
My Unofficial time with full swim: 12:42 and change
* 2nd loop of swim and T1 time not included due to lightning.
Well my season is fortunately not over yet. I am trying to ride out my fitness this year and am finishing my triathlon season with a race at Timberman 70.3 in New Hampshire in 3 weeks. Last year I was wishing I had something else to do after Ironman, so I decided to give it try this year. I should not have to do much training and still be able to do well at this race. Stay tuned!
Last year I pretty much did nothing exercise-wise the Saturday before Ironman Lake Placid. This year I decided I was going to take it easy on the Friday before and then do a light bike and run on Saturday. I usually feel better if I do a little something the day before a race.
I fired up the VitaMix immediately after waking up to get the engines fueled with a nutritious breakfast smoothie. I did a little bike check and maintenance after eating. Then I headed out for a nice easy ride out River Rd to Route 86 and then follow the IMLP route through town and then back to River Road. I did extend it a little past the ski jumps to the Adirondack Loj road to take in the great view. The bike seemed to be in good working order and I felt confident now to take it in town and rack it in transition for the race.
Next, I headed back to the house and jumped into my run shoes and did a little brick run down River Rd. It was only about 10 minutes, just enough to get the muscles warmed up. Everything was feeling good and ready to roll!
I through the bike in the rack on the car and prepped my Bike and Run Gear bags for transition.
Bike Gear Bag:
Sunglasses(dark & light lenses)
Socks( 1 light and 1 thicker wool pair)
Spare jersey(for warmth)
Run Gear Bag:
Run Belt and bib #
Fuel Belt & 4 bottles(2-Skratch Labs, 2-Honey & water)
2 Amrita Bars
4 Salt Tabs
Denise dropped me off in at the back of the speed skating oval and waited for me. I racked my bike and hung my bags. It was pretty busy, but everything went smoothly. I tied the bags closed at the plastic instead of the string so that water would not get in. The weather forecast did not look promising for Sunday.
We then headed over to the Dancing Bears for some lunch. I was not real hungry so I kept It light with a nice salad which was perfect. After lunch we headed back to the house and just relaxed for the afternoon.
I had made some Sweet Potato Chickpea curry before we left home for my go-to pre-race meal. I did a little thai pepper to it that had a little punch to it. Hope that would not come back to get tomorrow!
I was in bed and asleep by 9:30pm. I really didn’t feel as freaked out this year as I did last year. Having done the race last year, I now knew what to expect and the anticipation anxiety was much less. It was a long training day and I had been through this before. I had no trouble falling to sleep this time! Big day tomorrow!
Well the week I have been preparing for all season is finally here. It was a quick 3-day work week and then packing up and heading to Lake Placid on Thursday morning. I did a light swim and easy hour bike on the training Tuesday and Wednesday just to keep the blood moving. Tuesday was a bit of a panic day after finding a large nail in the back tire on the CRV and then the crown on my tooth fell out. I fortunately had a dentist appoint that morning already, which was really the reason it fell out in the first place since I decided to floss. I won’t do that again! 🙂
Denise also cut my hair on Tuesday night, so I took the trimmer to my legs right after. It was not pretty. And there was bloody carnage that came with those “free” alleged 15 watts. Warning! Some viewers may find these images disturbing…
All the issues eventually took care of themselves as we got 2 new tires on the CRV and my crown was glued back in place again. Packing up seemed much less stressful this year and I usually keep most things I need all ready to go at a moments notice.
The drive up went very smoothly and no major traffic except for a small slowdown on I-78 due to them spraying some chemical cocktail of herbicides along the side of the ride. It was some pretty nasty stuff which we were able to taste and smell for some time after we passed. Thanks for the carcinogens NJDOT!
Denise did most of the driving and had located a good farm-to-mouth place in Saratoga Springs called Comfort Kitchen. They had meat and veggie burgers, but I ended up going with the veggie tacos. They were mostly corn and beans with a piece of some deep-fried veggie, which I think was eggplant, and some spicy and tasty little sauce on top. I would gather it was not vegan, but it was too good to inquire about. What I don’t know won’t kill me right? Saratoga Springs was a bit busy for some reason and it was hard to find a spot to park. The food was good though, so it was worth the stop.
We arrived at the house on River Road around 4 PM and settled in. I was eager to get out on the road for a little run to stretch the legs a bit. It was a beautiful afternoon and the run felt so good. I kept it to a half hour though just to stay fresh. I felt like I could have run forever.
We headed out for dinner after a quick shower. We had made reservations at Freestyle initially, but cancelled them after viewing the menu and seeing Foie Gras listed all over it. Foie Gras is a disgusting practice were the force feed ducks which I have some major issues with. You can google it if you care. We tried Cafe Rustica, but it was an hour wait. It was tough to turn down because it smelled so good there. We ended up at the Cowboy, which is one of my favorites. They had had a large party being served there so we had to wait a bit until they were done. It was not even a half hour though. I ended eating the same Thai Noodle Salad and Thai Green Curry with Tofu I had back in June. It is just to good to pass up.
After dinner we made a stop at the Hannaford Grocery store to pickup some frozen fruit and a few other items. Next we were back to the house and settled in for the night. I had a crappy night of sleep after waking up at 2:30am and having trouble getting back to sleep again. My Jawbone said I slept 7 hours, but it sure didn’t feel like I did.
It was a pretty cold morning when we left the house. The thermometer said 46 degrees F and it felt like it too. I ended up putting pants and fleece on to head into town to get some breakfast.
We got out to the Breakfast Club by around 7:30AM to beat the crowds, which we were successful with. I had a massive stack of pancakes and I was feeling a little guilty about it after seeing all the people running and riding by the window on Main St. I got over it pretty quickly though because they were yummy!
We killed a little time walking around until 9am when I was able to register and get all my race crap. There was a little line coming down the steps at the convention center, but it moved pretty quickly once they started up. One of the things they do is weigh you. I was not looking forward to this after eating that huge breakfast and the large meal the night before. I also had pants, phone, and wallet on too. I was 180 when I left home, but they got me at 188…Yikes!!! I told the lady those pancakes I had for breakfast weighed a whole 8 lbs. She got a laugh out of that.
I finished being ushered around to all the different stations to get my race numbers and stickers, swim cap, computer chip and some swag. We actually a nice little bike multi-tool which I thought was cool. We also got IMLP backpacks again, but I like the ones this year much better. I could probably use this one for work. They make you go down to the expo area to pick them up probably so you buy some more stuff. I bought nothing this time. Last year I over did it and then half the stuff was on sale on the website afterwards anyway.
Denise was chatting it up with nice guy from Charlottte, NC named Bob. His son is a pretty awesome triathlete from what he was saying. He was a pretty interesting guy. I also bumped into my Coach, Scott too and talked with him for a few minutes. We walked around the expo for a bit and Denise ended up buying some electrical muscle massage thing.
I headed over to the lake for a quick 20 minute swim in the lake. The lake seemed a little cool at first, but should be perfect for raceday with a wetsuit on. I took it easy on the 10 minutes down the lake and then took it up a notch and cruised back towards shore. I saw the cruise back average pace was around 1:38/100 yds, which for me is pretty fast. Doubt I could do that for 2.4 miles, but it does give me confidence of being more in the 1:45 range.
I was ready to get out of the craziness of town after my swim and get back to the house and chill for a bit. I think I saw two-thirds of Team AWESOME too on the way out in their Soas kit. It was a little too crazy though to stop and say hi.
Well that is about all for now. Got some chillin’ to do!