Well it’s taper time! All the hard training is behind me now and I will gradually decrease my training volume over the three weeks before Ironman Lake Placid . It works out quite nicely with the start of the Tour de France too. One of my biggest fears during the pre-race taper period is getting sick. This happens to many triathletes as their immune defenses are at an all time low from all the training. Hopefully, my plant-based diet will help guard me against that with all the good nutrients I frequently indulge in.
I started off the week with an active rest day of mowing my lawn. Taper time is always good for catching up on some of those things that get let go during all the training. The rest of the week consisted of typical workouts. I eliminated the two-a-day workouts, so I end up with 2 workouts in each discipline instead of three.
Wednesday was threatening rain so I ended up getting on the trainer again to attempt a final TrainerRoad20min FTP test while also watching the Tour de France. The FTP test started out ok and I was feeling pretty good until about 2-3 minutes to go. I this sharp pain down the left side of my back. It felt a pulled muscle and I had a hard time taking a breath. It forced me to briefly stop pedaling until I worked it out. I eventually did and tried to re-coop my lost wattage, but it was too late. It ended up giving me an FTP of 223, which was well below my prior FTP of 234. 🙁 I know this is in correct, so I just manually changed it to 230 again. I am also about 7 lbs lighter than I was during the last test so my watts/kg went from 2.79 to 2.9.
Some Bike Maintenance
Another thing that always seems to get put off is bike maintenance. Friday evening I finally got down to degrease my drivetrain and re-lube everything again. I also did a good wash and cleaning of the entire bike as well. My sweat tends to be quite caustic and I really need to do that more often. I also tried putting some bike tube sealant in my rear tire. I really have no idea whether any of it actually got in there or not, but I hope so. I checked over everything and all seems to be good to go.
My long, slow distance(LSD) workouts on the weekend were cut in half, except for my swim which I cut back 15 mins. Swimming doesn’t really take that much out of me, especially when I take it really easy. And for the effort of getting to the pool I might as well take advantage of it.
We were heading up to Lake Wallenpaupack in the Poconos on Saturday to Sunday for my in-laws family vacation so I got out on the bike a little earlier on Saturday. I stayed on more flatter terrain for the ride to keep the intensity down a bit. It is amazing how fast a 3 hour bike ride is when you have been riding 6 hours every Saturday. I covered a little over 50 miles for an average pace of around 17.4 MPH. I skipped my brick run just due to lack of time.
My Sunday run was a bit of an adventure since I really didn’t know where I was going. Although I had spent a big part of my childhood at Lake Wallenpaupack, I was not familiar with the area we were staying. I only needed to run for an hour and a half, so at least is wasn’t the typical mambo long run I would usually do.
We stayed in the Ledgedale Area and Ledgedale Road turned out to be pretty nice. It was a pretty quiet road trafficwise, but when there was a vehicle you didn’t have too much room to get out of their way. The guardrail was tight up against the road on one side and there were pretty high weeds on the side. Despite that most cars got over enough and it was a really nice road to run on. I had one dog barking and coming after me but never actually made it to the road. Another one was a Weimaraner, fortunately on a chain, barking like a maniac at me. Other than that it was pretty cool. The road followed the small inlet to the lake.
My final build week before Lake Placid was a fairly decent one. I took a rest day on Monday since I felt like I needed it. It was very hot and humid early in the week which upped the intensity a bit for my Tuesday night run.
The weather later in the week did not cooperate too much and I ended doing trainer rides on both Wednesday and Friday. It was probably a good thing since I get a much better and more consistent ride on the trainer. I also don’t need to spend as much time on the trainer as an equivalent road ride since you are constantly peddling and not coasting and stopping like you do on the road.
My Thursday night run was cut in half due thunder and lightning. It had started out to be a really good rain in a downpour, but I bright flash and a boom occurred at the 30 minute mark. The rain never stopped until Friday afternoon which worked out since we were going to a picnic that day. I skipped my LSD swim on Friday just for lack of time.
All the weather issues early in the week paid off because Saturday was BEAUTIFUL! I did a ~97 mile bike and then a 25 minute brick after. I kind of winged it with my route and hit some different territory over in the Oley Valley/Lobachsville area. Had some pretty nice climbs on Sweetwood Road in Macungie(cat 3) and Lobachsville Rd(cat 3-4). Ended up with a pretty good 4k+ feet of climbing.
Sunday was my last long(over 2 hours anyway) run for the training season. I headed over to the Ironton Rail Trail for some 5.5 mile loops and a 5 mile out-and-back spur. It is fairly shaded too which helped. It was a pretty hot day, but a good breeze kept things in check.
I starting getting a weak, shaky feeling about 2 miles into it and was wondering if I was going to make it the planned 3.5 hours. I ate the Amrita Bar in my FuelBelt and instantly felt better within a mile or so. Guess I was a little low in blood sugar or something. I also had a non-typical breakfast that morning of chia waffles with maple syrup which could have played a part. It didn’t have the same gusto as my smoothie does.
Other Items of Interest…
Leg Shaving…If you read Triathlete magazine you may have read the latest Jesse Thomas column about how shaving his legs during a recent wind tunnel testing session at Specialized. Jesse, being a fairly hairy fellow and high on the “Chewbacca Scale”, saved a whopping 15 watts by shaving his legs. The guys at Specialized created a video about it which is below.
I have never shaved my legs before and really haven’t found much justification to do so. Until now. They say on average this could have 5-10 minutes on an Ironman distance event, which is pretty huge. I am trying to cut about 25 minutes off my bike leg this year and getting a free 5-10 minutes could make that that much more obtainable. My wife was not real keen on the idea, but I what the heck it grows back. Anyway, here is the video…
My wife Denise also skydived on Sunday morning. I told her to just let me know when it is over. I have no interest in that. I did tell her to get the video, so I could watch it later. It was pretty cool to watch. Anyway, here it is.
Here is some video I shot on a recent ride on NY RT 73’s new paving from the Ski Jump to Cascade Trailhead. This is the first part of the Ironman Lake Placid bike course and WAS one of the worst sections of the course.
The week started off on a high note with some really good workouts early on. The effects of my prior recovery week have started show up. I banged out a nice 32 mile ride on Monday night in less than two hours,averaging about 17.7 MPH while still staying in a zone 2 heart rate. Tuesday continued with a good swim and decent run despite it being a pretty hot afternoon.
I decided to attend a yoga class with my on Wednesday night to give myself a little break before the upcoming training blitz in Lake Placid this weekend. Yoga classes were also free this week and I thought spending some time with my wife would be a good thing before I take off to the Adirondacks for the weekend. The yoga class wasn’t the greatest and when you don’t do it on a regular basis it isn’t the easiest to wing it. I also had packing for my trip and needing to cut the grass before I left on my mind too.
Off to Lake Placid
I managed to knock out a quick swim at lunch on Thursday. I had been hoping for the latest release of on of my favorite podcasts, Zen and the Art of Triathlon, on Thursday but was disappointed when it didn’t show up in my Podcast app. The podcast host, Brett Blankner, is very entertaining and it usually plays for about 3 hours. I thought this would be great to listen to on the drive. I decided to tweet Brett to see when he was expecting it to go out. He replied back for me that he would send me a link to the podcast, which he graciously did. Thanks Brett, you rock man!
I quickly threw all my stuff in the car and made my way to Lake Placid after work. I stopped off at Cali Burrito for burrito to take along for dinner. The ride went pretty well except for some stop-and-go traffic on I-287, but that didn’t last too long. I stopped at a rest stop on I-87 to eat my burrito, take a bio break and re-fuel. I listened to the ZenTri podcast most of the way up which really helped time go by. I got the first taste of the new paving on Rt 73 coming into Lake Placid. I was a bit diI arrived at the apartment a few minutes past eleven, unpacked, had a beer and went to sleep.
I woke up around 8-8:30 Friday morning and headed into town for some breakfast at the Breakfast Club next to Starbucks. It was pretty packed so I sat at the bar. I splurged a bit by having French Toast and home fries. Pretty yummy though. I needed to kill some time (since you have to wait an hour after you eat before swimming…right? ) so I headed to EMS and did a little shopping. I was very ready to get out of town at this point since it was starting to crowd up a bit. I managed to get a good parking spot by Mirror Lake beach area right in front of Lake Placid Pub & Brewery.
I had purchased a SaferSwimmer float a while back for swimming in lakes that have boats and when I don’t want to leave my keys and things laying on the shoreline, but I hadn’t gotten to use it yet. Lake Placid is pretty safe to leave things on shore, but I wanted try this thing out. Two ladies swimming were asking me about it and thought it would cause too much drag. They had started swimming before I did and I ended up passing them with my orange buoy hanging off my ass. Guess not? Really I forgot it was even there once I was swimming and it is nice if you just want to take a break and hang out for a few mins.
I had also started up a workout on my iPhone in the Runkeeper app just as a comparison to my Garmin. It came in handy since I forgot to take my watch off of Pool Swim mode, which does not use the GPS. So after swimming for 20 minutes my watch said I only swam about 50 meters! I also could not get it to locate the GPS satellites while floating in the lake.
I did a full 1.2 mile loop with my floaty and then ditched it on shore for my 2nd loop. I took my waterproof camera this time, stashing it in my wetsuit. I swam out another 12 minutes or so, took some pictures and then swam back for another ~3/4 mile. The water was perfect wetsuit temperature and it was a beautiful day too.
After my swim, I headed back into town again for some lunch at the Good Bite Kitchen. The Good Bite Kitchen is a tiny little place in town that has really good and healthy vegetarian food. The perfect place to replenish during a heavy training weekend. As always it was delicious.
I headed back to the house and chatted for while with Dan & Wendy who own the apartment I stay at. I then hopped on my bike and headed out River Road for short loop. My short loop is the basic IMLP bike loop minus the out-and-backs and cutting off town with River Road. It ends up being just shy of 40 miles which took my about 2.5 hours last year.
The start of the ride was amazing with the new paving. Granted it is still a pretty tough climb, but you can now just focus on spinning and not dodging all the cracks and potholes in the road. The new paving ends at the hikers parking lots before the Cascade Lakes. There is a small stretch of new paving on the right side part way down the Keene descent, but it only lasts less than mile ending at Owls Head Road. They really need to finish this down the hill because it gets really bad around the Rustic Furniture shop. It does look like they are still working and they have a few cutouts where they taper the macadam off.
The map below indicates the newly paved areas in green as of the time I left on Sunday(June 29th). Hopefully that smaller section to the right gets much bigger before July 27th! I also hooked up my GoPro under the aerobars on my bike and recorded most of the IMLP bike course. Once I figure out the processing workflow for those videos I will probably post a couple short clips on the new paving and the descent into Keene on here. My ultimate plan is to create a TrainerRoad video workout for the entire ride for the winter time.
So, the smooth paving was short lived. As I made my way around the last bumpy turn before Keene, began hearing a rubbing noise coming from my back wheel. I pulled over to the side and spun my wheel didn’t see anything. I continued on and the sound continued. Then as I hit the last cut out for the new paving in the old road my back tire flatted. I pulled over into the large ditch gulley. There was no shade to be found and the sun was beating on me. Also there was a constant stream of large trucks and horse trailers that had obviously let out from the horse show that was going on this weekend.
I changed the tube in around 15 minutes or so and continued on down into Keene. The remainder of the ride was quite nice since it was getting later in the day. Once you make the turn towards Jay, it seems like you can just relax a bit and enjoy the wide, flat road with minimal traffic. I felt really good on this ride and the climb from Jay to Wilmington seemed so much easier than I remembered it to be. I ended completing the ride in almost 10 minutes less than I had the year before without even trying!
I got cleaned up after the ride and headed over to one of my favorite places to eat, The Cowboy. They have one of the best veggie burgers, but I ended up going with the Thai Green Curry dish tonight. It was really tasty. In keeping with the Thai theme here I also started out with the Spicy Thai Noodle salad which was also very good. It reminded me of the classic Thai papaya salad with noodles. I washed all that down with a Lagunitas IPA. I ran over to the Hannaford grocery store after dinner to pick up some items. I had forgotten my VitaMix at home so I no longer had my smoothie as a breakfast option.
Saturday the big plan was to do one full, 56 mile IMLP bike loop, then do a shorter second loop without the Ausable Forks out-and-back. This should amount to somewhere around 100 miles for a pretty full day. I got on the road somewhere around 10:30 AM. As I approached the Cascade cross-country ski lodge, I started hearing a rubbing noise again in the back wheel. It was very similar to the sound I heard the day before when I got the flat. I inspected the tire, but no flat. Hmmm? After further inspection I realized my tire had started bulging in one spot and rubbing against the frame right behind the brake mount. Ugh! I managed to pull the tire back in the lockouts enough that I was able to ride the 2.5 miles back to the house. Glad that happened before I started down the Keene descent!
I had a new tire that I considered changing this tire with that morning since it had over 2000 miles on it, but skipped it due to time. Guess that didn’t pay?! I changed the tire and began gradually taking it up and down with air pressure to avoid a pinch flat. On my last pump up to 100psi I heard the dreaded leaking of air. Ugh!! Now I only have only tube left with the 80mm stem on it for my deep profile race wheel. I am surely not going down into Keene with no spare tubes. I do not get any cell coverage down there, so if I get stuck I am hitching a ride with someone to get back. I finished replacing the tube and this time it seemed to be ok.
I got changed and drove over to Placid Planet Bike Shop on the other side of town. They had plenty of tubes with 80mm valve stems, but they were $16 a piece! I usually pay around $8-10 for the Continentals. Oh well, guess I am forking it over. Now that it was after lunch time, I had a decent lunch of some lentil vegetable soup before heading out for my second attempt to ride.
I started out riding down into Wilmington and riding back up to Lake Placid just to make sure everything was cool. I did the Three Bears Climbs and navigated through town. The road coming up past Lisa G’s and the lumber place is really buggered up, so watch out for that. I kept riding past River Rd and the ski jumps to Cascade Lakes still everything was ok. I stopped for minute because after this point I was fully committed to the Keene Valley with no communications. I pushed on.
The rest of the ride went very smooth. It was now around 5-6pm so there was minimal traffic and it was a really enjoyable ride. I skipped Ausable Forks again, but I did do the short Haseltown road out-and-back. I approached River Road, where I could have turned in to the house, but decided to go forward and do the Three Bears one more time. Once I reached the top of Papa Bear, I turned around for the easy cruise back to River Road. I ended up with around 81 miles which is ok, but not the 100 I had planned. I was fortunate to get that in with all the issues. Hopefully they will take care of all the mechanical issues for IMLP!
I stopped on the way to town to snap a few shots of the mountains and ski jumps from the golf course.
I decided to head to Lake Placid Pub & Brewery for dinner, since my wife never likes to eat there. I had a nice view from my table of the beautiful sunset that night out the window. The food was pretty good. I had a nice vegetarian style french-style onion soup that had a mushroom stock for appy, and a flatbread pizza. I also had a couple 46’er Pale Ales which are my favorite and are typically hard to find in the store. To top things off, I had two mousse shooters for dessert! One was a peanut butter mousse and the other traditional chocolate. Yummy!!
After dinner I grabbed my camera and shot a couple pictures of Mirror Lake as the final bits of sunlight disappeared. Got a few keepers. Beautiful night!
I decided to sleep in until 8:30 again on Sunday morning. I sleep so well in the ‘Daks and the bed at the apartment is soo comfortable! I enjoyed a carb-heavy breakfast of Oatmeal and whole wheat bread with some Coconut Peanut Butter(Yum!), before gearing up for my long run. I started out around 10:30am with a 3 mile warm-up making a right out of the driveway on River Rd. I left the Fuelbelt at the house and would grab it on the way back. I turned around mile 1.5 which was almost to the end where it intersects with Rt. 86. There were a bunch of skate-skiiers out on their roller-skis as well as other runners. I need to get a pair of those roller skate-ski’s! There was a couple ladies with a big cooler of water offering to everyone that past which was nice. Not sure if they were with a specific group or not.
It was getting pretty hot quickly, but I was feeling good. I was keeping to a 9:30 pace most of the time. I stopped back at the house to grab my fuelbelt and ended up shooting the breeze with the homeowner for a bit. I eventually continued on. The only rough part was the climb by the steel bridge on RT 73, which lowered my pace a bit. I was starting to get a little worried about time now. I wanted to leave no later than 2PM and it is now around 11:30pm and I was only an hour into my run. Two more hours would put me at 1:30pm! Why did I not figure this out before? I would still need to shower, eat something and packup and I don’t think I could do that in a half hour.
Now I was kind of stressing about time. I decided to run up into town and turned around right before the road drops down before Lisa G’s. I figured I could fill in any extra time I had with back-and-forth on River Rd. There was a horse show going on at the Horse Grounds so that was something to watch as I ran by. I ended up doing an extra repeat on the ski jump hill on my way back. There was another runner walking up it when I did that and I thought it would motivate him a bit, and it did. When I turned around and past him he was like “you’re doing repeats??!!” I laughed and said “only one!” Well, I think extra repeat did me in. Somewhere between there and the house I started feeling like crap. My legs got all crampy and stiff on me. I was drinking Skratch Labs hydration the whole time too. This made my decision to quit early an easy one. I ended up running past the house and doing another mile out and back. Those two miles were really slow 10+ /mi pace. I ended up with around 13.5 miles in around 2:14, which was about 45 minutes less than planned. I didn’t feel too bad about it either because I felt like I was listening to body on this.
I got back to the house, showered up, and packed up. I was on the road by a few minutes after 2pm. The ride home went pretty smoothly too. Denise ended up meeting my in Clinton, NJ for some dinner at Pru Thai. Nice end to the weekend!
I ended up with a around 16 hours of training for the week. Not the 20 hour blitz I was hoping to do, but it was still a decent week. It is always nice to be in Lake Placid! Hopefully I have exercised all of the mechanical issues out of my equipment for the year too. I feel very confident with my performance on the bike and I am sure I will see some improvement there on raceday. Hopefully I can still execute a 9:30 pace for the marathon portion.
Wow! Time flies when you are having fun!! I am just finishing up my 2nd Base training period(not including the recovery week) already with 18 weeks to go until Ironman Lake Placid. Training has been going pretty well despite Winter kicking and screaming. I am still spending a lot of time on the trainer compared to last year and the rides are getting longer a bit quicker this year. My fitness has been really so I feel like I am much further along than I was last year. Although the past couple days I have really been feeling the effects of this 3rd week of base building. I am so ready for an easy week!
A friend from work was asking me if I was further along this year as compared to last. I thought I was but really hadn’t compared the data to last year. So, I got on Training Peaks and after having cleaned up last years duplicate data I was able to get a good comparison.
As of today, my Chronic Training Load(CTL) or Fitness is around 77 whereas last year it was at 58. The scale on the y-axis is a bit off here since this is the beta graphs of the new Training Peaks site. The dotted line on the current graph is my forecasted values based on my planned training. The next couple weeks could be a little squirrely since I will be attending a conference and then on vacation the week after.
As for my training volumes, I am up by two hours over the same time last season. I imagine I will probably peak out at around 20 hours this year in late May or early June and then cut back a bit and up the intensity a bit. I do have a long training week planned in Lake Placid the last weekend in June so that may get burst of volume. That will probably be the last big push and then it will be taper time. Hopefully that will be a combo of intensity and volume.
So far everything is going pretty well on the health front. No major issues other than a few niggles here and there. My Altra 3-Sum running shoes have an elongated arch in the left shoe which causes my foot to ache a bit after my runs. This is the same pair I wore for IMLP last year that I thought I had a stone in and ended up running the 2nd half without a sock on that side. I guess I wasn’t hallucinating. I sent Altra email about the issue but they have yet to respond. If I don’t hear back from them I will most-likely go back to either a New Balance or Newton.
I also had another Performance Panel blood test done at InsideTracker. I just got my results back and was not real ecstatic about them. I will cover that more in another post though. I am still running about 10 lbs heavier than last year, but I don’t feel like it is affecting me too much yet. I may need that weight when I start getting into those long rides and runs.
I was ready to get out into the mountains after a full day of recuperation from my Ironman Lake Placid 2013 race. I had spent most of post-Ironman Monday just hanging out around the house after returning back from the the Ironman Store. I had stood in line from 7AM until around 8:30AM to get the much anticipated finishers apparel. Later I found out I could have just ordered it online and slept in. Ugh. Anyway, Tuesday morning I awoke feeling fresh again and ready to hit the trail. My prior days’ cowboy-style walking posture was now back to normal.
After doing some online research, I came up with Blueberry Mountain outside of Keene, NY just south of Lake Placid. It is a hub for many hikes and this one started out of Marcy Field Trailhead.
We had some lunch at the nearby ADK Café, which we also had dinner the night before, but today the service was a little less than desirable. We had asked to sit outside, but there was only one large table open, and our waitress said that they needed to save that for larger parties. That was fine, but when a two-top opened up she then made a big deal about us moving as said it would confuse the kitchen. Really? How would the kitchen even know where we were sitting? More like it would confuse her…and it did later when she gave us the check. We also had a regular burger and a veggie burger which took an hour. They were not all that busy either. We really love this place and they are usually very accommodating, but we have had a couple bad times there during lunch. Guess we should stick with dinner.
We eventually got to the trailhead around 2pm or so to start our hike. It started off pretty mellow and gradually started to climb. The climb got steeper and steeper as we went. Denise kept turning around to check on me to make sure I could handle it. Once I got going it was fine. I also was the one wearing the backpack, so I had some extra weight to deal with. I was also testing out my new Salomon Quest 4D GTX hiking boots for the first time and they worked very well.
We came upon several bald, rock-faced openings as we got closer to the top of the mountain. Each one provided magnificent views of the surrounding Adirondack Mountains and valleys. We had practically a 270 degree view from the top. In addition to the views the top was covered in the best tasting wild blueberries I have ever tasted. Denise could not get enough of them and I think she almost cleaned them out.
Once we got to the top, which was a large rock bald area with a very large boulder sitting on it, we continued on through some very thick trail. It wound around a bit and eventually came to another balk face with more impressive views. At this point we had gone about 2.5 miles and roughly 2300′ of climbing elevation. A pretty good hike, especially 2 days after doing Ironman.
The hike back was actually the tougher part. The constant pounding on the quads and knees was tough. We were psyched to get back to the trailhead and head back to Lake Placid for some dinner.
We had dinner at Freestyle Cuisine for the first time. They have only been open since June and they are located behind Saranac Sourdough on Saranac Ave. Turns out this was the chef we had liked so much at the Alegria Garden Cafe back in the Winter trip. There was also the bartender and waitress from there too, so they all must have moved down the street together. The food was incredible and we were bummed we hadn’t gone there before. Definitely a stop for next time.
I made my way into town and headed back to the Lake Placid Conference Center for 2014 registration. The line was coming out the door and winding up the hill on Olympic Drive towards the Crowne Plaza hotel. As I made my way around the bending line, my coach, Scott and his family were just getting on to the back of the line in front of me. This made the long wait go much quicker since we were chatting the whole time. Before we knew it we were in room where the registration takes place. I think it took about an hour to get in there.
I was eventually put into another line for a registrar volunteer. I finally got up to the registration table and gave them the info and my credit card to pay the $742 race entrance fee for next year. Yikes!! Does this go up every year? Jee-whiz! Then the computer that the registration volunteer was using crashed during my transaction. Great! Is this a sign I should not be doing this or what? They brought in the supervisor girl and she straightened things out and made sure that my charge did not go through. Then we tried again. This time everything went through ok. I am in for another year. Would I regret this tomorrow?
On the way back to the car, I stopped into the Ironman store and picked up an “Ironmate” t-shirt Denise was looking at yesterday. I then headed back to the house to finish prepping my bike, bike gear and run gear bags. Fortunately you can access your bags again on race morning to put your nutrition in there. I needed to drop this stuff off in transition between 10am and 3pm today, and then after that I was done going to town until race morning.
We headed back to town and Denise dropped me off at transition in the speed skating oval. First, I took my bike over to the bike racks. Having a low number, like 234, comes with some nice perks. My bike and gear bags are right in the front and very easy to find. I was 2 rows away from the pros. I hung my bags on the S-hooks on the dual level bag racks. I also made sure to double over the top opening of my bag and tying it off to prevent any rain from seeping inside. That’s it…next time I would be here would be race morning.
I met back up with Denise and we headed down to the ADK Café in Keene for some lunch. I had a veggie burger and some ADK Fries. We then took the long way back home following the Ironman bike route back, minus the out-and-back to Ausable Forks. It was nice to just review the course again before the big day. It is a gorgeous drive too.
The rest of the day we just chilled back at the house. Our hosts, Dan & Wendy, have a nice little yard with picnic table and Adirondack chairs, so we took full advantage of them and just chilled out for the rest of the day. We did some reading, listening to some tunes, and chatting with Dan & Wendy for a bit. Denise had a glass of wine while I enjoyed a couple non-alcoholic Old Milwaukee’s.
My parents had arrived in town in the afternoon and they stopped by to say Hi. They had brought our dog, Yuki, along too who was barking away at Dan & Wendy’s dog Tucker. Tucker is a big Golden Retriever who is one of the gentlest dogs I have ever met. He was so good with Yuki. Yuki gets a little defensive with bigger dogs after being attacked a couple times now. Eventually, he chilled out and realized Tucker was no harm.
My parents headed back to their place and we started making some dinner. I made my old stand-by, Chick Pea Sweet Potato Curry, which I got from the No Meat Athlete website. It is just packed with good stuff and the perfect pre-race meal for me. It has a little spice, but nothing that really bothers me. It was a little late for a pre-race dinner, around 8pm, but it ended up being ok.
I was in bed by around 9PM and fell asleep pretty quickly. Tomorrow was the big day. I cannot believe it is here already.
After a good nights sleep, we had a good breakfast and headed into town to the athlete check-in for the race. The Athlete check-in was held in the new Lake Placid Conference Center at the Olympic Ice Rink complex. It was a pretty smooth operation and I walked right up the steps and was greeted by a volunteer who looked up my information and wrote my bib number(#234) on a yellow card. The funny thing was the volunteer actually new where Alburtis, PA. Turns out she was from Allentown and a member of the local Endurance Multisport triathlon club. She mentioned that she rides through our town frequently which is not too surprising since we are in the hub of some of the best cycling in PA. She then directed me back to the next station and wished me good luck.
Next up was the waiver signing station. A nice elderly lady with a southern accent then proceeded to rattle of a formal speech that she obviously had repeated hundreds or thousands of times over the last 2 days. When another guy came up next to me, she stopped and started over again to try to “kill two birds with one stone”. I signed my death waivers freeing the World Triathlon Corporation, the State of New York, and Lake Placid of responsibility in the event that I injure myself or croak during this event. Hope that life insurance is paid up!
Next up was weigh in. I am not sure exactly why they weigh you before the event, but I think it may be in case you dehydrate or something so they have something to compare to. I was able to ditch my shoes but I had a bunch of stuff in my pockets…had to be at least 5 lbs! Really!! Anyway the scale read 178! Wow…fat boy! I was 174 when I left home the day before. Hmmm. After that I was directed to a few more stations were I was given my swim cap, race number stickers, gear bags, and some swag consisting of a IMLP license plate holder and event poster. Finally, a race chip was programmed with my race number which I would wear on my ankle for the entire race so that my times are recorded along the course. On the way out another volunteer directed me down to the Ironman Store at the race expo in the speed skating oval to pick up my swag backpack.
I like how they force you through the Ironman Store to pick up your backpack so you go buy some more stuff. We poked around the store a bit, but never ended up buying anything. I have a bit of a superstition now of buying race garb before a race after the Ironman Pocono 70.3 incident where I purchased a race bike jersey and then ended up DNF-ing the race. Fortunately, we were able to convince them to let us return it. We walked around the expo stands that were situated around the speed skating oval. Nothing really that exciting. There was a big station of dairy council propaganda for the whole Refuel with chocolate milk advertising campaign which I have some major issues with. They are trying to pass off a sugar-laden, cancer promoting drink as some kind of healthy sports drink which is a bunch of crap. Just another of big money corporations trying to dupe the public into thinking something unhealthy is good for you. Ok, enough of that rant.
We headed to The Good Bite Kitchen in town for some lunch. Had some broccoli rabe soup and a broccoli curry for lunch. Really good as always. The Good Bite Kitchen is the only true vegetarian/vegan place in town and is always a must stop. It is tiny, but we never have a problem getting a quick lunch. We sat on the little bar outside the place and listening to all the triathlon chatter was starting to get annoying. I prefer to be away from all before a race and I was looking forward to being back to the house.
Next, we headed down to Mirror Lake beach and I headed out for a 20 minute swim in the lake. The Kid’s race was going on while I did that so there was a big crowd on Mirror Lake Driver watching that. Denise sat on the beach and read while I swam. The swim felt good and the water seemed to be the perfect temperature even with my wetsuit on. I cruised out 10 minutes, turned around and headed back to the beach in a little under 10 minutes. The swim felt effortless and it really restored my confidence for Sunday. I changed out of my wetsuit on the beach and then we headed back to the car in town. Finally time to head back to River Rd and get away from all the triathlon-ville banter.
Denise headed out for a head start on our afternoon bike ride, while I putzed around a bit back at the house. I ended up chatting with our host family for a bit and got a late start out. I probably would not catch up with Denise. It was another beautiful day. Our plan was to ride out River Rd to Rt. 86 and then follow the IMLP bike course in through town and then head back down River Rd at the ski jumps. I had received a text from Denise saying she was heading out farther towards Mt. Van Hoevenburg since she was really enjoying the ride. I also decided to go up to the Adirondack Log road just to extend my ride a bit too.
I thought I would catch her coming back but never did. I rode up the road to Adirondack Loj and took a few pictures of the mountains with my phone. I took a few minutes to reflect on the upcoming event and how happy I was to compete in an event in such a beautiful place. I then remounted my bike and cruised back down the hill and down River Rd to the house. A nice hour ride which also restored more confidence due to feeling so well.
We showered up and headed over to the Cowboy for some dinner. I had a black bean burger and sweet potato fries which is always good. They didn’t have the green curry entrée on the menu anymore which we pretty bummed about. Denise ended up having the Salmon entrée with a mix capers, olives and veggies on a bed of quinoa. Also very good.
Next, we headed to the Herb Brooks Ice Arena for the “Mandatory” Athlete Meeting. They had an athlete dinner beforehand which overran its time so we got to hear some of the leftover speeches from that. One of interest was the 5 members of the same family that were all competing in the race together. Pretty cool stuff. Each one of them dedicated the race to different people that have suffered recently. The other thing that was cool was that when I looked up at the scoreboard in the arena it had the final score of the US vs. USSR “Miracle on Ice” olympic hockey game posted…4-3. The athlete meeting was the same old stuff really. The only thing of note was that the weather could play a factor and they mentioned possibility that the swim could be shortened or cancelled due to lightning. Hope that doesn’t happen.
After the meeting we headed back to the house and off to sleep. One more day until the big event. I can feel it getting closer.