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Ironman 70.3 Timberman 2014 Race Report – A Purple Patch Day

purple patch (plural purple patches)

  1. A period of excellent performance, where nearly everything seems to go right, work properly, and contrasting with a more general lower level of performance.
  2. An ornate or elaborate section of a written work, a patch of purple prose

– Source: Wiktionary

I was not sure how I would feel come race day at Timberman 70.3, having just completed Ironman Lake Placid only 3 weeks prior. I hadn’t trained much in between, but the little I had done I felt really good. Would it last? I had no pressure to perform well given my recent events, so I could just relax and enjoy the day. If I felt good, great, otherwise just enjoy the day and scenery.

I had a great nights sleep. I didn’t have any of the pre-race nerves that I typically do. My sleep schedule was on track since we had to get up early the day before to volunteer for the sprint race. I had a couple bowls of chia cereal with hemp milk to start the metabolic process along with a couple cups of coffee too. I had all my gear ready to go the night before so it was pretty easy morning. Just dress, eat and go.

Denise dropped my off at the entrance to Ellacoya State Park and then drove back to the hotel. I made my way to transition, getting body-marked along the way. Everything flowed pretty well. My transition spot, #701, was the 2nd row in from the Bike Out arch, not counting the pro racks. I quickly set everything up and just hung out watching everyone else while sucking on my Skratch Labs bottle and chomping on a Amrita Bar. Even got to watch Andy Potts get ready too.

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Andy Potts prepping for Timberman 70.3

I decided to head over to the porta-potty line. More for something to do than to really go the bathroom. The line was really long, but I had over an hour to kill so what the heck. It actually moved pretty fast, but when I got there I realized I didn’t have to go anyway. The worst thing was the guy before me WREAKED!! I was literally dry-heaving in there and had to pinch my nose to get control again. Nasty!

I saw my wife Denise walking across from the volunteer tent as I left the shithouse area. She had rode her bike back to the event so that we could easily get out of there later. We did not want to get our car stuck there or have to take the shuttle bus. This would prove to be a wise move. We chatted for a bit before Denise headed over to the beach to get in her kayak for the swim start. Our post-race plan was to make the short walk over to the Ellacoya Barn & Grille after the race for some lunch while the biking part finished. Denise instructed me that I could not dilly-dally after the race and that we had to get to lunch as soon as possible. It could be crowded and that we might throw off our appetite for dinner. Food is a priority in our house! So maybe I did have a little pressure?

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Timberman Pre-race transition

I headed back to transition and put my wetsuit on. It was just starting to rain a bit, so I covered up my bike and run shoes with a plastic bag. The ran started coming down pretty heavy so I stood under a nearby tree that overhung into the transition area. Not sure why I needed to stay dry since I was in my wetsuit ready for the swim at this point? The announcer guy directed us all down the beach to the race start as transition was closing. The rain subsided.

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Timberman Pre-race transition

I made my way over to the start line along with the mass exodus of others. I headed into the swim warm-up area and swam out a bit, treaded water for a little while and then headed back to shore. I didn’t want to get out the water since it felt a bit warmer than the air temperature. Eventually I headed into my wave as it neared start time.

I had told Denise to stay on the outside of the swim lane since I typically swim wide instead of getting beat up on the inside line. I had my Tyr USA-colored goggles on so I figured there would not be too many of those so she could identify me. As I stood in line I noticed a guy with the same goggles and same “john” style Xterra wetsuit! I told him the deal and we started talking a bit. Turns out he actually knew a guy that I played hockey with who he used to work with. Small world. He was doing his first 70.3 so he was a bit nervous about it.

The Swim

We were only the 3rd or 4th wave to start, so we were lining up waist high in the water pretty quickly. I was in the 2nd row on the outside which is probably a little eager for me. I stayed there anyway. We were given the start signal and off we went. I did a get a little beat up in the beginning, but eventually settled in to a rhythm in some more open water. I tried to speed up my pace a bit to try to get ahead of some slower swimmers. I was swimming in the middle of the lane most of the way out to the first turn.

I rounded the first turn buoy without much issue. Usually turns get a little crazy with everyone trying to cut the corner, but this wasn’t too bad. I was trying to check out all the kayakers as I breathed bilaterally the whole way. I saw one female kayaker that I thought was my wife and did a double breath, but it wasn’t her. I somehow drifted to the inner part of the swim lane and eventually got inside the buoys. I corrected myself and finally got on track again just inside buoy #2. Just as I did I noticed Denise on the outside of the lane far away from me. She was also pointed back towards the first turn but I tried to give a wave to her as I took my recovery stroke. She didn’t see me though. Bummer.

I made my way to turn 2 and then headed towards the shore. The water started getting very waving here and it felt like I was in the ocean. I started kicking a bit more here to get some blood in my legs and pickup the pace a bit. I hadn’t looked at my Garmin the whole time so I really had no idea how I was doing. It did vibrate a couple times but I wasn’t sure if that was for a certain time or distance. I always change those settings in the pool, so I never know when it going off.

I started to see the lake bottom come into focus in the very clear water of Lake Winnipesaukee now. I saw a few guys standing up already, but I swam right past them as I kept going until my hand touched the bottom. I exited the water, smiled for the camera guy sitting there and headed to transition. He apparently missed the smile shot.

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Swim Exit-Ironman 70.3 Timberman 2014

This was definitely one of my better swims. it was smooth and steady the whole way. I didn’t have too many other swimmers cutting in front of me, but when they did I adjusted and didn’t freak out about it. I felt my stroke cadence was good. I averaged 33 strokes/min which is a stroke higher than averaged at Lake Placid and Black Bear this year. Swim cadence is something I really want to increase next season to improve a swim time a bit.

I included the Garmin Connect version of swim so you can see my actual course deviations. Strava seems to straighten things out.

Swim Time: 00:36:25 (1:43/100yds)


I made the long jog circumnavigating the outer chute to the transition area entrance. I was surprised to see wetsuit strippers lined up as I approached. I spotted a younger kid that was available and pointed to him that I was coming and to get ready. With my wetsuit peeled down to my waist, I walked right up to him and fell backwards on the ground and he quickly pulled the rest off using the slack top. I was off to my bike.

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Timberman Pre-race transition

I easily found my bike due to the Notre Dame(Go Irish! – new good luck item for all races) towel and the close proximity to the bike exit. I quickly slipped my bike shoes on, sans socks. Donned my speed hat( as Denise referes to my aero helmet ) and shades and was out the gate. Easy peezy!

T1 Time: 0:02:29


I headed to the far side of the mounting area and hopped on my bike. I was on my way down the long, banner-lined driveway out of Ellacoya State Park. Spectators lined the fencing, cheering away. There is a slight incline once you hit the road out of the park and I had set my gearing to a nice spinnable gear start off. A guy heading out at the same time did not do so and I quickly spun past him as he struggled with a harder gear. Once I crested the incline it was mostly downhill cruise for the next couple miles. We passed the Fireside Inn and made a left at the light. A few sharp turns and then we started some more difficult climbing.

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Bike-Ironman 70.3 Timberman 2014

Mile three to six was another climb. This one a little higher but more gradual. I got into my spinning mode and just kept a consistent cadence. I was being very conscious not to burn any matches this early in the race. It could be a little tough to do since you are usually feeling good at this early point in the race. The tendency would be to just rip right up these, but you have to remember that your are going to have to hit them again at the end since it is an out-and-back course.


We peaked out and then quickly descended again before hitting a bit flatter section. We made a couple fairly sharp left turns,  which took a few guys by surprise and almost missed them. Then we onto the steeper climb of the course which is listed as a category 4 and referred to as the “Marsh Hill Monster” on Strava. Once we crested the “Monster” it was a pretty long, fast descent down a really gnarly road. There were some major cracks, potholes and sections of uneven patching of previous potholes. With the speed you were going it was an all hands on deck, white-knuckle ride. I reached around 35-40 MPH in this section. I had heard after the race that Andy Potts had flatted and crashed, breaking a finger in the process. I would not be surprised if that happened here. It was bad.

From the long descent, it was a pretty steady, slightly downhill cruise on to the mid-way turnaround  point. The road was in nice condition and had wide shoulders. It was eventually apparent why the road became so wide when we passed by the New Hampshire Motor Speedway near Louden, NH. I really did feel like I was driving a race car too since I was just cruising along at a nice ~25 MPH most of the way. Git-R-Done!! This is where you can really get some good speed by just settling into your natural cadence with a big gear. I was mostly cruising along at around 200-220 watts.

We made a right turn onto some smaller local roads before turning back on the main road(RT 106). It was back to cruising again despite a slight uphill grade now for most of the way. I didn’t utilize any of the aid stations other than grabbing a half a banana towards the end. It was a last minute decision as I was going by and thought “hmmm…that looks yummy!” I had everything on board I needed. 3 bottles of Skratch Labs  for hydration and a mix of honey/maple Stroopwafels, Amrita Bars, and Chunks of Energy for nutrition. I just grabbed a small piece of whatever I got my hand on every 10 minutes when my Garmin 10 minute reminder chirped. It was kind of fun since I never knew what was I was going to get. The Stroopwafels are the big prize!

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On the road again-Ironman 70.3 Timberman 2014

There were a handful of riders who I would continue hopscotching the entire way. I love the people that just sit in the left side of the lane going at a mediocre pace with no one on their right. I usually make a point yelling “ON YOUR LEFT!” extra loud for them. Smile There was the French-Canadian fellow who blatantly sped up as I passed him and would not let me pass him. Really? Read the rules lately? Perhaps they don’t publish them French? Then, there was the 3-person drafting pace line that flew by consisting of two women and a dude. One of the women was decked out in a orange kit with a big Wattie Ink “W” logo on it. Perhaps she was trying to generate some advertising? Sorry Wattie…no tattoo for you! Ok…I am done bitching now!

When I reached the hilly section the course diverted off of the gnarly road onto some nicer back roads through more wooded areas. It was NOT less hilly at all, just less traffic and a nicer road surface. I spun my way through the hilly section and back to the final few miles and my legs were still feeling good. I was really just trying to keep a steady cadence and power output the whole time. No spikes if I can help it. Before I knew I was cruising back into the Ellacoya State Park entrance way. I didn’t check my Garmin until the end and saw it was going to be well under 3 hours. Sweet!! A PR half-iron bike split for sure. But would I still have legs to hammer the run too?

Bike Time: 2:46:57 (20.13 mph)


I quickly dismounted my bike and made the short jog to my transition area. I ditched the bike shoes and put socks on and slipped my running shoes on. I exchanged my helmet for a run hat and my Smith “running” sunglasses. My running sunglasses don’t seem to catch as my sweat drips as my biking ones, but the running ones let a lot of air in on the bike and make eyes itch. I decided to skip the Fuelbelt and just take a couple Amrita bars in my jersey pockets. I was going to take a FuelBelt bottle of Skratch along in my hand, but I dropped it in the shuffle. Oh well. I took a few extra seconds to squirt some sunscreen on my face and arms. I had gotten burnt a bit the past couple races so I need to take care of that.

I was off for the run, but wasn’t totally sure where the exit was. I finally realized it was over near where we came in for the swim. Fortunately a volunteer was directing traffic over that way. I had been looking for Denise since I came into the park on the bike, but hadn’t seen any sign of her yet. Hmmm?

T2 Time: 0:02:19


I headed out the run start archway and spotted Denise along the side. She yelled something like “You are kicking ass!” while she tried to snap my picture with her phone. I always give her a time that I will be at a certain point and then tell her plus or minus 15 minutes. Well, I was at the minus 15 minutes part of that range for once. Giddy-up!!! Smile

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Run-Ironman 70.3 Timberman 2014

imageMy legs were feeling pretty good out of the gate. I was running 8-8:20/mi pace for the first 4 miles and half of that was uphill. I hoped I could keep it up. I just concentrated on a steady leg turnover the whole time similar to how I did with my cadence on the bike. I pictured my feet being like a locomotive wheel and then long metal arm just turning over-and-over.

I continued a sub-9 pace for the rest of the first lap, despite a pretty long steep hill around mile 5. I passed Denise again and told her be ready for an “early lunch!” She seemed pretty psyched about my performance. I headed into the turnaround point and volunteer was directing us. There was a maze of cones which was very confusing. She told me to head down the grass to my left. As I headed there I saw the finish arch. Then a sign saying “To the Finish”. WTH?? This is not right! I turned around and started heading back towards the lady. An Ironman guy came down towards me and signaled me to keep going the way I was going. I was getting pissed off now since I was having the incredible day and now it was getting F-ed up because of this stupid maze of a run route.


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This ain’t right??!!-This is where I got mixed up at the run turnaround.-Ironman 70.3 Timberman 2014

So it turns out the run goes practically right up to the finish line and then turns off to he right and heads back out the entranceway of Ellacoya State Park. I was a bit wound up over the screw up there, so I told myself to put it behind me and move on. Which I did. I came up to Denise again who had moved a little further up there road now. She was kind of squatting with the iPhone pointing towards the lake on our right. She told me to “hold up a sec!” so she could get a picture of my running by with the lake in the background. LOL…Ok you want a pose? I will give you a pose!

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Strike a Pose! Timberman 70.3 Run

The lady running behind me started cracking up immediately. I didn’t think the picture would turn out with the bright background and it didn’t out of the camera. I managed to adjust a bit in Lightroom so it was at least usable. I probably lost a few precious seconds there, but it was worth the laugh and the photo too. Oh yeah, and I totally forgot about that little issue at the run turnaround.

My pace slowed down a little on the second loop. I could see that it was on my Garmin, but I didn’t feel like I was going slower. There first two miles after the turnaround were the toughest. They were mostly uphill, especially mile 12 which was the big one. I kept running the whole time and didn’t walk at all. I slowed a bit at the aid stations just to get liquid down. I had 2 cups of Coke at the last 2 aid stations that had it, which helped me power up the hills.

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Good to go!-Ironman 70.3 Timberman 2014

Once I crested the big hill it was go time. One more mile downhill into the finish line. I looked at my Garmin and saw something around 5:15 and some change. I was pumped! My fastest Half Iron distance was a 5:54 at Quassy and this was way under that. I turned it up for the final stretch and was back to a 8:27 pace for the last mile. I cruised down the finish chute passing one more guy right before crossing the finish line. I raised my arm and stopped my watch…5:24!!! 30 minutes faster than my previous Half-iron PR!!

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Always punch your competitors at the finish!-Ironman 70.3 Timberman 2014

Run Time: 1:56:31 (8:53/mi)

Finish Time: 5:24:41


It was an Epic day for sure! Pretty much everything was executed perfectly. When the whole run turn issue happened I dealt with it and moved on. Looking at my splits it really didn’t affect things much. My fitness, my nutrition and my head were all working together for the perfect day. I definitely owe some thanks to Tawnee Prazak and Lucho Wagoneer over at Endurance Planet for giving me the confidence to not overtrain in those 3 weeks in between Lake Placid and this race. I know I would have trained a bit more than I did had they not advised me. Also coming off a Ironman, makes a half seem so short. Not a total breeze though, but you can go after it a little more with the confidence to lay it out there a bit.

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PR Baby!!-Ironman 70.3 Timberman 2014

When I found Denise at finish line she yelled “What the F$#% was that??!!!” I said “that was a perfectly executed race, now lets go to lunch!” We walked around a bit and headed over to the Athlete’s food area. They had some pretty good stuff too. Pasta salads and some chicken for the meat eating folks. They even had some homemade ice cream which I gave to Denise. She said it was pretty good. Then we walked up to  Ellacoya Barn & Grille for my traditional post-race Pizza & Beer! And it wasn’t even crowded yet! I guess we beat the rush?

Well that is pretty much the end of my triathlon season for 2014. It was surely a great season and ending on high note like that really tops it off. I still have a trip to Italy and the MS City to Shore ride(click to donate!) coming up so plenty more to do this year. Then all focus will be directed to Ironman Coeur d’Alenems  for 2015. Stay tuned for another wild ride! Thanks so much for reading and sharing the journey with me! Hope you have learned some things from all my mistakes along the way too.

Ironman Lake Placid 2014 Race Report-Ridin’ the Storm Out


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.

IMLP 2014-Bike racked in transition
IMLP 2014-Bike racked in transition

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!

Ironman Lake Placid 2014
Pre-Race Selfie

The Swim

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

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Did I really pay $750 to do this?-Ironman Lake Placid 2014

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.

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Torrential downpour on the bike leg of Ironman Lake Placid 2014

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.

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Night Rider-Ironman Lake Placid 2014

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.

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Coming in on Mirror Lake Drive-Ironman Lake Placid 2014

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. Smile

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Mirror Lake Drive-Ironman Lake Placid 2014

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.

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Running on River Road-Ironman Lake Placid 2014

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.

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Running by the Red Barn-Ironman Lake Placid 2014

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.

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Sun is out on River Road for the run-Ironman Lake Placid 2014

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.

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Scanning for my fans-Ironman Lake Placid 2014

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.

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I am an airplane!-Ironman Lake Placid 2014

Run Time(26.2 miles): 4:52:55 (11:10/mi pace)

IMLP 2014 Finisher Medal
IMLP 2014 Finisher Medal
Ironman Lake Placid 2014
Post-Ironman Pizza & IPA at Dancing Bears


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.

Irontrac Results for IMLP 2014 bib# 2422
Irontrac Results for IMLP 2014 bib# 2422

Media Coverage? Me?

One pretty cool thing that I found out from Jason over at Cook, Train, Eat, Race on the way home from Lake Placid was that I was mentioned in a web article on Lava Magazines’ recap of Ironman Lake Placid. Susan Legacki provided a pretty accurate depiction of my day just from my Strava Uploads. You can read the article in its entirety here… Performance Highlight: When Weather Rules The Day by Susan Legacki(LavaMagazine.com)


It’s Not Over Yet!

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Ironman Lake Placid 2014 Finisher Medal

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!

Thanks for reading!

Race Report: 2014 Black Bear Half Iron Triathlon

I chose the Black Bear triathlon this season since had a half-iron distance and it was close to home.  I like to do a half-iron distance in the beginning of June to test out my fitness in preparation for Ironman Lake Placid which is at the end of July. This year I was trying to cut back on my triathlon-related expenses so doing a race that I can drive to really eliminates a ton of travel costs.

Saturday Packet Pickup

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Black Bear Triathlon

Saturday was the packet pickup for the race at the Beltzville State Park. It was a pretty uneventful packet picket with no expo or anything to make it a real worthwhile trip. They did have a warm-up swim course available in the lake so I did take advantage of that since I was making the 40 minute drive up there and back. It was a beautiful day, so I really didn’t mind the drive at all.

After I got my race packet, I headed over to the beach and put on my wetsuit for a swim. The water was said to be around 65 degrees ( F )  and I found it to be the perfect wetsuit temperature. They had the sprint swim course setup with start line, and 5 buoys lined up at 100 yard increments. Each one was marked with the distance except for the last one. They were working on setting up the other distances at the time, but there was a large gap between the end of the sprint and the olympic turnaround.

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Black Bear Triathlon

I ended up swimming the 1000 yards of the course plus what it took me to get to the start line from the far end of the beach. I tried going past the end of the sprint course but the boat guy setting up the buoys yelled at me. It was a nice swim and I felt pretty good. On the way back it was pretty windy and the chop was making things a bit difficult.

I prepared all my race gear Saturday night and loaded my bike into the car beforehand. The less stress I have on race morning the better. I noticed that I had taken my old size ML “fat” wetsuit for the swim earlier since my newer size “M” was still in the basement. I was wondering why it was fitting so loose. I had a delicious pre-race dinner of  Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry with Green Peas and was in bed by 9:30PM.


Race Day-Pre Race

I got up around 4:45 am on race morning. I finished mixing up my water bottles filled with Skratch Labs Raspberry hydration mix and one bottle with UCann SuperStarch. I would then supplement with water on the course(see Race Nutrition Plan below). I finished packing up, said goodbye to my wife and my dog and headed north up the PA Turnpike. My wife has been working a lot lately and Sunday was here only day off that week. I told her she didn’t need to spectate this race. It is an full 8 hour day and it just isn’t worth her sitting around there all day just to see me whiz by for a total of 2 minutes during that whole time. It was a beautiful morning with the sun coming up and a low fog settling in the cooler low spots. And now wind! I so wanted to stop and take some pictures, but I needed to get there before 7AM. I fired up my Pre-Race playlist on my iPhone and jammed away for the ride up to Beltzville. I skipped ahead to Beautiful Day by U2, before I hit the exit at Mahoning Valley. That is my go-to pre-race song!

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Black Bear Triathlon

Pohopco Drive was backed up a little bit from the entrance to the park, but it moved pretty fast. They were filing the cars into the grass soccer field first and by the time I got in they directed me right up close to the lake, which is where I would usually park anyway. Sweet!  Sometimes it is better to be late I guess. I made a B line for the toilets by the beach to get that out of the way, then I could calmly get my stuff and setup transition.

I made the long walk over to transition, got bodymarked and setup my little spot. On the way to my rack, I spotted one of my Facebook friends Nikky. I had been Fb friends with her since the now defunct Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains when she was posting the water levels of the Delaware River, but I had never met her in person. It was nice to finally meet her in person. I wished her good luck and headed down to find my assigned rack. Most of the rack I was already filled up so I was forced to the end of the rack where the guys in there had spread out like kings. A British gent politely offered to push his stuff over to give me some room. I setup pretty quickly and then heard someone calling my name. It was my friend Kirsten who used to play ice hockey with my wife. Her partner Kim was doing the race as well and she pointed out that Kim was just a couple rows over. Kim had done the triathlon in Belleplain, NJ when I did my first duathlon, so we have always kept in touch on Facebook about our racing. Kim was doing the olympic distance race today. After setting up my stuff I headed over and talked to Kim and Kirsten for a bit.

I also saw my tri-blogging buddy Shanna from Swoon Style & Home on the walk to the swim start. We had been chatting about on each others blogs since last years’ NJ Devilman race, so it was pretty cool to finally meet her in person. She is getting ready to do her first Ironman Lake Placid this year and I really enjoy following her progress and journey. She has also been doing really well in her age group with local races, so I think she is well prepared for July 27th!

So, my pre-race consisted of a lot of socializing which was fun! I find that I don’t have pre-race anxiety like I used to. I don’t know if that is good or bad? I am curious how Ironman Lake Placid pre-race will be this year. At least I know what to expect this year.

Race Nutrition Plan

Activity Nutrition Post-Race Comment
Pre-Race water/skratch labs hydration
Vega Protein bar on arrival to venue
Bring spring water(throw away) bottle while waiting for wave start.
Swim Lake Water(hopefully no pee!)
Bike 2-20oz bottles Skratch Labs
3-1oz servings of Chunks of Energy Chia Chunks
1 Clif Bar cut into small chunks(White Choc Mcadamia)
1 bottle of UCann SuperStarch
on course water to supplement
Clif Bar was yuk! Try Amrita bar next time instead for variationDidn’t really drink much UCann. Other food was plenty. Better off with another Skratch bottle.Took one water from aid station
Run 2 8oz Fuel Belt bottles of Skratch Labs
1 Lemon Honey stinger Waffle(at start)
Aid station water
Hit many of the aid stations for water. It was very hot on course.


The Swim

I made one last bathroom stop before the swim and then waited on the beach watching all the early swim waves take off. My wave was the second-to-last swim wave so I had an hour to wait from the first wave. I cannot understand why they put the longest race last to start?? Why wouldn’t let them go first so they can finish a little earlier and maybe they would actually have some specators still around when they finish.

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Black Bear Triathlon

Eventually, the “powder blue” swim cap wave was on-deck and we swam out to the dark blue balls indicating the start line. I swam over to the far left side of the start and it was only about 15 seconds until they started us off. The swim went fairly well overall. I settled into a pretty easy pace and just enjoyed the ride. Every once in a while I would run up into someone, but would then quickly redirect to the closest open water area. I always seem to find these guys that zig-zag their way through the course. I really hate that because they just seem to come out of nowhere and run right in front or into you from the side. I tend to sight a lot because I am not the fastest swimmer. I figure the straighter I can swim the less effort I need to exert. Lifting my head up to see every 6 or 7 strokes is not a big deal to me. It is better than being one of those feckless meanderers that aimlessly swimming all over the place.

We swam down to what seemed to be the wall of the dam and made our right turn. My Garmin had buzzed at the 20 min reminder just past the 2nd right so I figured was on par for my usual time. I started seeing a bunch of the red-capped ladies from the wave behind passing me so the fact that I was getting “chicked” was playing with my confidence a bit. I soothed my soul a bit by telling myself they were young.

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Black Bear Triathlon

Sighting also became a bit more difficult after that 2nd turn since we were going right into the sun now. We also didn’t need to follow the bouys on our right and could go directly at the one yellow one that was our last left turn to the exit. The only thing is, it was far away and I could not see it. I just followed the red cappers in front of me and kept an eye on the buoys on my right. Seemed to workout out alright. My watch buzzed 30mins just before the left turn buoy, so now I was eager to get to shore. I tried to increase my stroke a bit. I was soon spotting the lake bottom getting closer and closer. I would not stand up until my hands touched it. Bam…I am up!

As I exited the water I started searching for my zipper cord. I heard my name being called out by a male voice from the spectators to the right. Is that me?? Then I spotted Kenrick Smith waving to me. Kenrick is up-and-coming triathlon pro and coach from my area and is also founder of the Bruised Banana race report website. I don’t how he could recognize me with my swim cap and wetsuit, but it was pretty cool to have someone like him cheering for you to start the race.

Lessons Learned: Need to keep swimming when zig-zaggers cannot swim straight in front of me. I keep stopping cause I get mad and I am losing time.

Swim Time: 37:21


The first transition went pretty well with no major hiccups. I had socks out, but decided against them. My bike shoes are meant for no socks so they work pretty well like that. I put my shoes on at the rack instead of the flying mount stuff. That is usually more headache than it is worth. The walking of the bike to the mount area is a bit of uphill slog. Especially when all your blood is in your shoulders.  It was a long haul.  Time was not too bad considering that.

T1 Time: 2:39

The Bike

I fortunately left my bike in the small chainring and middle gear on the cassette which is perfect to start. I don’t think I did that intentionally, but was happy it was there. I was pretty thirsty after the swim, so I hit the Skratch Labs juice pretty quickly and often right from the start. Once on Pohopco Drive I tried to settle into as much a rhythm as you can on that roller-coaster of a road. It was a little better this time(as opposed to my previous ride) since there was less traffic about and navigating the poor road conditions and lack of a shoulder was much easier. Being familiar with the road is very helpful since you can predict your shifts in a much more timely manner. There is lots of shifting to be done.

Black Bear Half Iron Triathlon 2014-Bike
Black Bear Half Iron Triathlon 2014-Bike

I found myself being entertained by the Endurance Multisport guy with the disc wheel who would fly past me at the end of each descent and then I would then spin by him going up the ascents. He would always climbing out of the saddle which made my quads cramp just thinking about it. That could come back to hurt him on the run I would guess. The course was pretty much as expected from what I learned on the pre-scout ride I did before and I really didn’t have any issues. I managed to survive the out-and-back on Penn Forest Rd. unscathed. That is a totally nasty downhill section that is littered with potholes. It sucks and is an accident waiting to happen.

Black Bear Half Iron Bike Course Elevation Profile
Black Bear Half Iron Bike Course Elevation Profile

The only difference to the course was the change to accommodate the bridge out. Instead of making the right onto Owl Creek Road, we stayed straight on Deer Lane. This was a pretty nice downhill section where you could pick up some speed. I did run into a bit of a jam at the one little uphill section past Lakeside drive. The slower cyclist had decided to stay in the middle of the road and when I tried to veer left to blow by him there was a large crater of a pothole in the road!! By the time I saw it I had passed him so I was able to swing back to the right, which is where he should have been. As I did this I heard someone yell “Right!” I looked back to find two faster cyclist had decided to pass him on the right, which is illegal and obviously not safe. I had cut them off, but I didn’t care cause they were in the wrong. I expected them to say something when they passed me, but they didn’t since I figure they realized they were wrong.

We then made a couple sharp turns(there were a bunch of these too) and popped back out onto Pohopco Drive again crossing the bridge just before the park entrance. We then made a quick right turn onto Pine Run Road just so we could make a super sharp left to the hit the nice little steep section onto Jefferson St. Thanks CGI! We then circled back around to the park entrance and on for the 2nd loop. I remember thinking how daunting it was to have to do that again, but the second loop went pretty quickly.

Black Bear Bike vs 2013 Quassy comparison
Black Bear Bike vs 2013 Quassy comparison

My pace after the first loop was around 17.5, so I must have slowed a bit on the second since I ended up around 16.9 overall. I felt like I was going faster the second time and their was a lot less bike traffic. I did mis-navigate one of the many potholes on Penn Forest Rd. this second time and had a bone-jarring thud of my front wheel. I kept checking my front tire for a flat for a while after that. My aid station-provided water bottle almost fell out between my aerobars too and I had a hard time getting that back in while navigating all the other potholes in the road while descending. I didn’t want to lose that water since it was all I had until the run.

Black Bear Half Iron Watts/Power
Black Bear Half Iron Watts/Power

I finished up the bike wondering if I had given too much to the 5000+ feet of climbs and possibly hurt my run. My Garmin showed a Normalized Power of 204 watts for the 3:19 bike ride, which is pretty high for me given a 234 FTP. I raced the bike as strong as I could without totally dying and I still felt pretty good when I finished.

Lessons Learned:

  • More Skratch Labs hydration, less UCann Superstarch(for half-iron distance)
  • Skip the Clif Bar, more Chunks of Energy or Amrita Bar cut into pieces

Bike Time:  3:19:09


While dismounting my bike, I knocked one of my water bottles off my X-Lab Turbo Wing. Not a problem. I sauntered down the hill to transition crossing over a very soft sand volleyball court. I didn’t remember that on the way up? It just sucked all the momentum out of my legs…kind of an unexpected thing? Found my way to my rack space and racked my bike. Switched to my running sunglasses, hat, put socks on. Ripped one of them trying to get them over my semi-moist feet. Sneakers…forgot to untie or loosely tie them…doh! Left shoelace knotted trying to untie it(of course)! Argh! Relax…be calm…deep breath! You cannot untie a knot in panic mode! Finally undid the knot and got shoes on. Squirted blobs of sunscreen up and down my arms and shoulders. Fuel Belt…check. Run bib belt…check. Lemon Honeystinger Waffle to-go….check. Yum! And we are off…

While exiting  transition and chomping my Honeystinger waffle, I hit a button on my Garmin. Apparently I hit two of them because a minute or so later I realized my watch was stopped, but it was in the Run mode of the Multisport setting. I smeared around the sunscreen as best I could on my arms, shoulders, face and neck after my little lemon snack. Apparently I didn’t so such a great job cause I got some weird sunburn around the edges of where my jersey armholes end. I wish they had sunscreen appliers at these smaller events! It was after this I realized the Garmin was stopped.

Lessons Learned: Untie or loosely tie running shoes in transition before race!

T2 Time: 4:05 Sad smile

The Run

The legs were feeling pretty heavy at the start of the run. No wonder because that bike was pretty challenging. The trail started out along the water and then turned right up some trails through the woods. This is were I started feeling like it was more of an XTerra race than a triathlon. At least it was shady here. I hit a short, steep little incline on the double-track going through the woods. My quads started to cramp up…NO!! I just passed Endurance Multisport guy with the disc wheel who was walking up it and started to walk a little until the cramping stopped. I settled back into an easy pace again by the time I popped out of the woods. Now it was all sun exposure as we circumnavigated all aspects of the Beltzville Dam. The first was was down the right side on a very gravelly dirt road. I could feel every rock and pebble that I stepped on. Everyone stayed in the narrow little track where the tires had pushed most of the stones out.

Black Bear Half Run Elevation Profile
Black Bear Half Run Elevation Profile

The trail then angled to the right and more swiftly downhill and the road became VERY loose stones which were hard to run on. I moved into the narrow grass shoulder to gets some better footing. The road got steeper at the end before it bottomed out onto sharp left turn to a cement road where there was a aid station. I filed up and took a couple splashes from the kids. They were really enjoying dumping water on us. I sipped on my 2 8oz bottles of Skratch Labs hydration evenly in between water stops so that the weight was always properly distributed.

First Lap on the run. Only 6.5 more to go!
First Lap on the run. Only 6.5 more to go!

After the water stop, I looked up to find the trail leading up a VERY steep wall of the dam. What?! Holy crap! It had to be 20-30% grade and it was large loose rocks. There were a couple volunteers stationed there I guess to help people up. WTF?! I didn’t even attempt to run this because it would not be worth the energy and I probably wouldn’t go any faster. From there it was a steady incline up to the top of the dam. We then went back and forth across the top of the dam. There was a shithouse at the turnaround, so I popped in there quick to unload my bladder. Must have been hydrated well if I am peeing at this point? The top of the dam seemed like eternity. I think it must be a mile and half both ways. Fortunately there was a tailwind on the way back.

Beltzville Dam The Wall Elevation
Beltzville Dam The Wall Elevation

We then took another gnarly stone/dirt road down the left side of the damn almost to the water then turned around and back up to make a right. I lady in a teal one-piece tri suit passed me very easily…chicked again! Oh she had a “30” on her leg, so she has got the whole youth thing going there. That’s my excuse! Ok the dam has been fully inspected now. And I somehow managed to do it without breaking an ankle! We then headed across a very flat open plain before going back through the woods we came in on.

Black Bear 2014 - Run
Black Bear 2014 – Run

I made the turn to the right to make my second loop of the run course. The left turn to the finish line looked so inviting! I actually felt good on my second lap. I tried to stay  present take in the scenery and not focus on how far I have to go. It helps. One foot in front of the other. I walked the steeper hills and a couple aid stations to make sure the water got down my gullet. The miles ticked off. I was now getting pretty familiar with everyone in front and back of me since the whole route consisted of out-and-backs. I tried to make ends meat of whether I was getting relatively faster or slower, but it was hard to tell. I did pass one guy in my age group on the last stretch of the dam, which renewed my will a bit.

I hit the 13 mile mark right before heading into the shady wooded section. Ahh! Home stretch. It is funny how good feel at this point. Why didn’t I feel like that 2 minutes ago? Running along the water, I angled to the left and stayed left into the finishing chute. It was pretty much empty with a few straggling fans along the fence. The announcer said something with “Alburtis, PA” in it and then announced my name as “Brian Schwind, with the wind at his back” lol! Not enough wind I thought! I crossed the line with a minimal fanfare except for a few golf-claps from the few remaining spectators. It was the most anti-climatic half Iron distance finish I have ever seen. Not a big deal. I got a bottle ice cold water and my very large finishers medal and walked around a bit.




Lesson Learned: Bring mountaineering gear next time for run course! Smile

Run Time: 2:06:51 (9:41/mi avg pace)

Overall Finish Time: 6:10:06


Post-Race Summary

I circled back to the finish line chute to cheer for some of the folks coming in behind. I didn’t want them to feel meager finish that I did. Having done a bunch of these it is not a big deal, but if this was someones’ first half or A race of the year it could be pretty disappointing.

I walked around a bit after my cheering time and I found that there was a tent with bags of food for the athletes. It would have been nice if someone told me that?? It was the most laid back finish experience I have ever had. They didn’t even put the medal around your neck, but just handed it to you. It was pretty heavy though. I sat down and chowed on my soft pretzel and a uncrustable PB&J which was pretty good.

I considered staying for awards, but they seemed a little disorganized there too so I figured I would not be getting one anyway. I ended up finishing 8th in my Age Group(of 33) which is alright. My actual finish time was my longest ever for a half-Iron distance, but given the course I am not that depressed about it. It is a good prep for Lake Placid and will give me some extra push to get faster. I really need to get my run speed up post-bike. I would really like to maintain a 9:30 pace at IMLP this year.

I have heard post-race that several folks were a bit disappointed by the course and the unsafe aspects of it. The road conditions are not very good and given the steep descents and still flowing vehicle traffic on the course it makes this a dicey situation. There many drivers in this area that are not cyclist-friendly and do give them the safe distance and passing speed that is necessary. CGI really needs to look into this a bit more before someone is seriously hurt. I am not sure if I will do this race again, but if I do that will play heavily into my decision.

Ironman Lake Placid 2013-The Full Race Report


I knew it was going to be a good day when “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath starting blasting through my earbuds as I enter the speed skating oval/transition area on race morning. Was it coincidence? I think not. I have over 2000 songs on my iPhone and I had shuffle-played them all while driving to town. I think it is going to be a great day!

The alarm went off at 3:45am and I immediately rose out of bed. I had taken my Heart Rate Variability like I do each morning and it read a 55. Not great, but I didn’t exactly have a great night sleep either. I felt as though I was awake more than I probably was. Despite that, I didn’t feel too bad for 3:45 in the morning. I proceeded making my usual breakfast fruit smoothie and a couple cups of tea.

I finished packing up my “specials needs” bags, which I am able to access at the halfway point of the bike and the run, with extra inner tubes, socks, and nutrition. Skratch Labs hydration mix, Chunks of Energy Chia Chunks, Amrita Bars, and a couple peanut butter and jelly sandwiches form the base of my nutrition program. I am not fan of a lot of gels and the typical sugary, processed race nutrition that most people use. I see so many people have stomach issues and those are usually the culprit. I did throw in a couple Clif Bars and Honey Stinger waffles for some variation too.

We were off on our way to town. Denise dropped me off at the intersection of RT 86 & 73 at the top of the hill by the Sunoco station. I made my way up the road to the transition. It was still kind of dark and it felt like a quiet pilgrimage up  to the speed skating oval. A few rain drops started to fall as I made my way up the street, but it never really amounted to much. I entered the transition area and headed over to my bike to put my water bottles on and my “bento box” full of nutrition. I double-checked my bike and made sure the tires did not go flat over night. All good.

2013-07-28 05.04.22

I then headed to the bag racks and added more food and hydration mix packets to them. I passed my coach, Scott,  on the way over there. I re-tied my bags and broke the one string on my run bag. Ugh! “Relax…no big deal” I thought to myself. I managed to “MacGyver” it so that it was ok. Next, I left transition and headed to the body marking area in the street just in front of the oval. I got in line and waited my turn. I had gotten in a longer line and a woman in a Polish bike jersey signaled to me to jump in her line which was much shorter. I was then marked with my number on both shoulders, both thighs and one the back of my left calf. Of course they would not leave a calf unmarked, they put my race age on my right calf too. I don’t think anyone could not figure out what number I was.

2013-07-28 05.32.06

I then waited a bit at the Mobil station for my wife to show up. Cell service in Lake Placid was awful the entire week, so texting is impossible. I bumped into Coach Scott again and we chatted a bit. His tire pump died on him while pumping his tires up. Why does that stuff always happen at the worst times? He managed to get another one, so it was all good. I then realized I left my special needs bags laying on the ground in transition and ran back to get them. Whew! They were still sitting there. Slight panic averted!

2013-07-28 05.35.51

I headed back and got in the porta-potty line and then Denise and my in-laws showed up. I finally got to the porta-potty and no TP! Ugh…Guess I will have to hold it for 13 hours! Actually I didn’t have to go that bad, just want to take a little insurance evacuation. TMI? We then headed up to the swim area and I dropped my special needs bags off at the appropriate areas. The walk to the stone wall on Mirror Lake Drive felt like miles and took forever. I was walking briskly back to the swim chute since it was getting time to start and I was still carrying my wetsuit. I got back to where Denise and her parents were standing and I quickly put my wetsuit on. We had a tearful goodbye and good luck and I made my way down the chute to the swim start. Time to get this party started!

Putting on wetsuit before the swim. Denise with backpack watching me
Putting on wetsuit before the swim. Denise with backpack watching me
A teary-eyed goodbye before the Swim
A teary-eyed goodbye before the Swim

The Swim

I felt sort of like a herded cow as I made my way to the seeded swim sections. I was looking for the 1:11-1:20 finish time section and it seemed impossible that I would get up there. While standing there, I felt a slight tweak on the rear of my wetsuit. It was Scott again…LOL! The red-faced girl next to him and behind me was like, “it wasn’t me!!”. Definitely a tension-breaker! So we shot the shit again as we tried to make our way to the start. I also saw my friend Robin, from the Troy Jacobson IMLP Camp standing along the railing. We said Hi and she said she would be on aid station #4 on the run course. This would be great to have another friend out there in no man’s land on the run. Scott eventually worked his way up to the 1:00 seeding area and I found my way into my section. The cannon went off for the pros a little before the rest of us.

Before I knew it, a second cannon went off for the age-groupers and the line began to move. I put my goggles on and florescent green swim cap over top. I weaseled my way over to the left side of the herd so I would be on the outside of the group for the clockwise swim. I also thought maybe I could see Denise and the family since it looked like they headed over there. I never saw them though. Before I knew it, I was passing under the big red Swim Start gate, hitting the start button on my Garmin, and submerging into the water. Here we go!

I started out easy since I hadn’t warmed up at all and eventually settled into my rhythm. There were no issues at all. The water was a nice temperature. Not too hot, not too cold…just right. No one hitting me and mostly clear water to swim unobstructed. After about 17 minutes I was rounding the big red tetrahedrons marking the turn back to the beach at 0.6 miles. The turns are always a little congested, but it is a narrow course, so it didn’t last long. The swim back went just as smooth and even thinned out a bit. Before I knew it, I was exiting the water for the first loop. I tried to look in the crowd for family, but my goggles were all blurry at this point. I hit the lap button on my watch at ~37 minutes and back into the water for another loop. Still feeling good and only 1.2 more miles to swim!

The second loop was even better. I was swimming the outside again, but noticed on my right side breath that there was no one between me and the buoys. I then angled over to the rope that is sunk a few feet beneath the surface. This helps so that you don’t have to keep looking forward to site the buoys to swim straight, and your times will increase since you are not swimming so far. I kept the rope in sight most of the second lap. I veered off a couple of times, but not a lot. Before I knew it I was grabbing the sandy bottom of the beach and standing up. I jogged through the swim exit and hit the lap button on my watch. Time: 1:16:54. Nice! This was the easiest swim I have ever had in a triathlon.


I started unzipping my wetsuit as I headed over to two available “wetsuit strippers.” They quickly pulled down my wetsuit to my waist and instructed me to laydown and they ripped my wetsuit off my legs. One helped me up and the other handed me my wetsuit. Done. I then jogged down the chute that lead to transition. The chute was long and lined deep with cheering crowds of people. I tried to scan both sides while still keeping a steady jog. I finally heard my wife screaming my “BRIAN!!” as I was about 10 feet past her. I stopped and quickly ran back to her trying not to obstruct the other athletes behind me. I gave her a quick kiss and then on my way. Right before I entered transition I spotted my parents and my dog, Yuki, who looked like a drowned rat. Apparently, it had rained pretty good while I was swimming. Funny I never noticed it. I gave my Mom a kiss and Yuki a pet on the head and headed into transition.

Post Swim Smootch

I quickly grabbed my blue bike gear bag and made my way into the very crowded changing tent. I found an empty chair and sat down to get my bike stuff on. A volunteer came over to help me. I got out my helmet, sunglasses and shoes and was on my way out to get my bike. The volunteer took my bag and would put it back on the rack. There was a volunteer calling out numbers for other volunteers to get bikes out, but my number was not called out, so I headed down the aisle to get my own. Another volunteer was in the aisle next to me and she quickly helped my find my bike. They had apparently spun it around to the other side so I had to do the limbo and get into the next aisle. I got my bike and headed out the bike exit to the mounting area.

T1 Time: 0:08:45


The Bike

I headed around the sharp turn and down the hill onto the bike course. Denise and her parents were along the side of the road yelling my name as I cruised by. They must have sprinted to get down there so fast. I made my way down the steep, wet streets very cautiously so that I could make the sharp turn at the bottom. They had a wall of hay bails set up at the bottom and I did not want to be the one who crashed into them. Success! The first loop of the bike went very smoothly and my legs felt so good. It felt effortless at times. The only issue on the first loop was the long downhill from Cascade Lakes to Keene. The road surface is horrible and it was pretty wet. I have previously gotten up to 47 miles per hour on here, but this time 35 would be my limit. My brakes were not stopping me as well as normal with the wetness on the carbon fiber wheels. I was not about to take any chances here.

Going aero with my "speed hat" by Cascade Lakes
Going aero with my “speed hat” by Cascade Lakes

The stretch from Keene to Ausable Forks and back to Jay was a real cruise. I think we had a tailwind cause it was really nice. I unfortunately dropped one of my Amrita Bars out of the little side pocket of my jersey. Guess I should have kept that in my bento box. Crap! I still had a Clif Bar and plenty of Chia Chunks so I was still ok. I consistently popped the chia chunks in my mouth the whole way while sipping my hydration mix. I did not stop at any aid stations to take on more water since I wanted to empty the four I had before the hills started. I also had a small bottle with Ucan Superstarch in it that I sipped occasionally too. Not the best tasting stuff, but I think it is a good slow-release carb that I think works well. It does give you some serious farts afterward though. But for me that is nothing unusual. LOL!

Not very aero with my "speed hat" in the valley between Keene and Jay
Not very aero with my “speed hat” in the valley between Keene and Jay. Even have a “spare tire” around my waist in case I get a flat! Lol!

Coming into Ausable Forks a bike whizzed by me with a TYL (Tri Your Limits) cycling jersey on. I knew it wasn’t my coach Scott and then realized it was John from work. He also swims at Rodale Aquatic Center where I used to swim. I sped up to him to say Hi. I hoped I wouldn’t regret burning that match, but it wasn’t too bad. We chatted briefly and then I dropped off since John is a faster biker than I am. He has also finished IMLP a few times now so I figured I would not be able to keep with him. I checked my time through the 30 mile split timer and it was just under an hour and a half. Crap…I am looking at a ~3 hour split for the first 56 miles! I was thinking it would be like 4 hours. I was not feeling like I was going real hard either, so I just kept at that pace.


Next it was up the climb from Jay to Wilmington. It is a pretty healthy climb, but I just love it. It was nice to get out of the aero position for awhile and spin an easy gear. The thing I love about the Lake Placid course is the variation. Flat is ok for a little, but too much and I get sick of it. I like to climb too. The stretch from Wilmington back to Lake Placid is a steady climb up through the gorge. It was recently paved so it is pretty nice. It felt great the first time through. I managed to drop a whole Clif Bar right at the entrance to Whiteface Ski Area. Ugh! Note: Cut these packaged bars up next time and put them in my Chia Chunks baggy. I still had some Chia Chunks left so it was not an issue. I think I over did it on the food, but I would rather have too much than not enough.

I finally reached the “three bears” climbs before heading into town for the 2nd loop. There are a bunch of crazy spectators lined along the climb almost in Tour de France style as you ascend. It is pretty fun. As I reached the top of “Papa Bear” hill by Cobble Mountain Lodge, Denise came popping out aside me and running along. We chatted a bit until I made the right turn into town. Pretty cool! I cruised into the crowd-lined Mirror Lake Drive and picked up my special needs bag. I pulled out more chia chunks, Amrita Bar, a PB&J and some Skratch Labs packets and was on my way for lap #2. I did the first lap in a little over 3 hours which is an hour faster than I had planned. Hmm..better chill a bit on the second lap.

Chatting with Denise on Papa Bear
Chatting with Denise on Papa Bear

I weaved through town and behind the high school and down the hill. I spotted my parents and Yuki down past the hay bails and gave them a wave as I whizzed by. When I got on the climb past the ski jumps, I pulled out my PB&J and started chowing on that. The peanut butter was getting stuck in my throat, so I had to take sips of liquid in between bites. Here I am climbing a hill with a PB&J in one hand and a water bottle in the other. And I was passing some people too! Lol! The PB&J really hit the spot though. The descent down to Keene was here in no time. This time it was dry…sweet! There was also less people this time, so I could let it fly a bit more. Not sure how fast I got going this time since I was going too fast to look.

Bike Loop 1 done!!
Bike Loop 1 done!!

The 2nd time through Keene to Ausable Forks I was getting tired of being aero. My ass was really starting to hurt being in this position so long. I was relieved to hit the climb to Wilmington again and sit up a bit. I stopped briefly to pour some water from aide station and a Skratch Labs pack into my water bottle. My legs were starting to feel it a bit on this stretch back to the end. Not terrible though. What you would expect after 80 miles of riding. I did manage to get an Amrita Bar into my mouth this time without dropping it. Yum! I also kept popping Chia Chunks the whole time keeping a fairly consistent feeding routine. I think this would be key to the rest of the day for me. My coach had said that I would not feel like eating during the race and that I would have to force it a bit. Ha…ha…not me. I had no issue wanting to eat the whole time on the bike. For once my non-stop hunger becomes advantageous.

Back up the “three bears”, into town and straight into transition this time. The bike is over. Time: 6:24:38(7:50:17 overall)…Excellent! 36 minutes ahead of my plan. I just hope I didn’t tank my legs though. I will soon find out.


I gave my bike to a volunteer and headed for the run gear bag hanging on the rack. Then into the changing tent which was much less crowded this time. The volunteer in the tent just ripped my bag open and assured me he would get my a new bag. I changed into some fresh socks, which felt sooo good. My cold, numb feet started to regain consciousness. I put my run belt, fuel belt and run shoes on. I ditched the run hat and sunglasses since it was still totally cloudy out. I popped a few salt pills and b-lined for the urinal in the tent. My pee looked pretty dark which worried me a bit. I needed to keep sipping liquids. I headed out the tent and over to the sunscreen appliers. The one girl even rubbed some on my head…what are you saying I am bald?? Lol! Good idea really.

My transitions were a bit slow, but it is the first time I had done them in this format. I know next year I can definitely shave off at least 5 minutes from here.

T2 Time: 0:07:58

The Run

I was out of transition and onto the run. The first mile is all downhill out of town. I felt really good here thanks to gravity. Denise and her parents were down at the bottom of the hill by Lisa G’s I said Hi and cruised on up the little hill and headed out of town. My legs felt a little crampy up the hill which worried me at first. I think it was from all the downhill and  it went away  pretty quickly. The first 13 mile loop of the run went very well and my legs felt phenomenal. Apparently, I did not burn my legs on the bike. I ran past the house and Wendy was out front and yelled some supportive words. A mile later I was at the 6 mile turnaround and heading back to town.

Realizing I have a whole marathon to run...think I will have a snack!
Realizing I have a whole marathon to run…think I will have a snack!

I fast-walked up the hill by the metal bridge by the ski jumps just to save my legs a bit. I was going as fast walking as some were running anyway. I was back into town and the whole family was cheering for me as I went by approaching the big hill into town. I slowed down to say Hi and pet Yuki a bit and then onto the hill. I walked most of the way up until the turn on Main St. I was on track for a 2 hour half marathon first loop. Wow, maybe I could PR my marathon during Ironman? My one and only marathon was a 4:30, but I was nursing a IT Band issue and really took it slow.

Possibly this years Xmas Card Family Photo
Possibly this years Xmas Card Family Photo
" Excuse me Maam, Does your dog bite?"
” Excuse me Maam, Does your dog bite?”
Petting Little Yukes
Petting Little Yukes

Making the turn on Mirror Lake and having to head all the way back out to River Road again really messed with my mental state. This is where is got tough. When I passed the family I told Denise this loop may not be quite as fast. I struggled a bit and had a few bouts of walk-run. I always walk the aid stations to get water in without spilling it all over myself, but now I was walking some in between. I also starting feeling something in sticking up in my left shoe. I thought there was something in there but I stopped and took my shoe off and there was nothing. I then took my sock off and still nothing. I ran my hand in my shoe and could not feel anything. WTH?! There was some excess thread in my sock that may have been causing it so I just took it off. One foot sockless and one not. It seemed better and I continued on this way.

On the way down to River Road I struck up a conversation with a girl in a No Meat Athlete shirt and she was telling me about her day. It helped get my mind off the drudgery of doing another loop. When I reached Aid Station #4 things started picking up again. I started drinking Coke with some water for some quick energy which really helped. I also started challenging myself to run for longer stretches and I was beating these challenges.

Hamming it up on the 2nd loop of the run!
Hamming it up on the 2nd loop of the run!

After the final turn and reaching the 20 mile marker I got a 2nd wind and running become the prominent method of movement again. I could feel the finish looming ever closer. I knew I got this thing now. I fast walked the hill be ski jumps again, but that would be the last hill I walk today. I was now running all the way to the finish. I even walked ran the big hill into town and up to Mirror Lake Drive. My family had now situated themselves along Main St. in front of the transition area. I heard them yelling  and gave them a big smile while holding up two fingers , indicating only two more miles to go. Fans lined along the street were yelling my name, which is listed on my bib, and words of encouragement the whole way. It was awesome. I reflected on all the training and hard work it took to get here and was so stoked that it was coming to the grand finale.

I made the last turn on Mirror Lake Drive. It was only one mile now to the finish. Just then, the sky opened up and it poured! Oh great, I am going to finish in a downpour. It really felt good though and I needed a shower anyway. How timely! It had stopped by the time I reached the oval and I took the right fork this time into the speed skating oval…this is it! Spectators lined the barriers cheering away. I high-fived a bunch of people as I rounded the bend. There were a few people in front of me and I tried to slow a bit so we had some separation. I took a glance up at the Jumbo-Tron and tried to take it all in. I could vaguely hear “Brian Schwind, You are an Ironman” being called over the loudspeaker  with all the cheering fans. It wasn’t quite the finish I had expected after watching all the late night finisher videos, but I did it and that is all that really matters. I was scanning the crowd for family in the finishing chute, but did not see anyone. I came through the finish line and gave a little “hockey-pump”. I did it!

Run Time: 4:39:44

Finish Time: 12:37:59

Finish line hockey pump!
Finish line hockey pump!



As soon as I passed the finish line I was quickly escorted by a couple volunteers who asked if I was ok. I was! They put a foil wrap around me that had “Refuel with Chocolate Milk” on it. I wasn’t too happy about promoting chocolate milk, but the warmth felt good. The volunteer, only one now, paraded me around to different people to get finisher swag, water, and take my race chip off my ankle. He then walked me around a bit and I said I was good. I spotted the family behind the fence on the side and went over to say Hi. I didn’t see Denise and first and asked “Where is Denise at?” She was standing just to the left and gave me a look like duh…here I am! I gave her a big hug and kiss and then proceed to give my Mom and Mother-in-law hugs and kisses. My Dad and Father-in-law got high fives. I thought I would be more emotional at the finish, but I wasn’t. Maybe too tired to be. I was happy though. I don’t think it was totally set in yet.

I started getting a little dizzy while talking to them about post-race plans. I went and sat down for awhile. A volunteer came by and asked if I wanted a piece of pizza. Hmmm…I have been plant-based for over a year now, but I think I can break the rules for this. Sure!…I said. It was soooo good!!  chatted for a bit with another first-timer from DC and even had another slice of pizza. That stuff is addicting!

I finally mustered up the energy to get moving again. I collected up all my transition bags and my bike and met up with my wife. We walked down the hill to the parking lot on Wesvalley Road. Most places were closed at this point(~9pm), but we headed over to the Dancing Bears on Main St. I had a couple Lake Placid IPA’s and yes, another Pizza!! What the hell!

The spoils of victory!! LP IPA and a Pizza!!
The spoils of victory!! LP IPA and a Pizza!!

After chowing down, we went back to the finish line to see the final finishers of the night. It was so cool. So much energy!! I could not believe people were still out there that long. This is what I expected the finish line to look like. Everyone was dancing and music blasting. Mike O’Reilly was up and down the finishers chute dancing and carrying on. One girl entered the oval at few seconds before midnight, but she didn’t cross until after 12:00. Not sure if she made it or not.

After that, we then made our way back to the car and headed home to River Road. I took a quick shower and slide into the covers around 1AM. Just before my eyes closed I thought to myself….


…And I fell off to sleep! I think it finally sunk in.

Thanks for reading!

Rev3 Quassy HalfRev 2013 Race Report


My eyes peeled open around 4:15am. 15 minutes before my alarm went off. I was happy to have gotten a full nights sleep and feeling pretty fresh. I rolled out of bed and started preparing my pre-race breakfast in the little microwave in our hotel room. Granola with coconut milk, a banana and a cup of Tazo “Awake” black tea. I tried to be quiet and not disturb my wife, but everything seemed so loud. Eventually she awoke.

I had everything prepared the night before, so it was pretty easy to get ready. Just had to eat and get dressed. I did need to make two trips to the car since I had accumulated a bunch of gear from the car. I was happy to see other triathletes vehicles still in the parking lot when I got out there, confirming I was not totally late. We were out of the room by 5:30. The transition area at Rev3 Quassy closed at 6:30am and a half hour drive there gave me a full 30 minutes to get my transition area prepped. There wasn’t much to do really since my bike was already there and I body marked myself already. We had made good time getting there until we made the turn onto the last road into Quassy which backed up 1 mile from the park. Fortunately it moved pretty quickly and we were there in no time. Some people got out of there cars and started walking to the race entrance and their cars actually passed them. By the time we got to the entrance they were re-directing everyone to the overflow lot across the street. Denise dropped me off and I made my way into transition.

I got to my spot and quickly set everything up. I put socks in bike shoes this time, which I don’t normally do, but I thought it may be a good idea with the heat. I also opted for the standard bike helmet as opposed to the aero helmet, to keep a little cooler. The aero helmet will not provide that much benefit on a hilly course like this. I also put my sunscreen pump bottle there too so I could lather up a bit. I carried my wetsuit and swim stuff out of transition with me since I had over an hour until my wave, the last wave of the day. No sense getting heated up that early. I headed over to the Quassy ticket booth to wait for Denise and chowed down one of my PB&J Rice cakes(from Skratch Labs Feed Zone Portables cook book. Yum!). I tried texting Denise but the cell waves were quite congested and the message never got through. I resent as a text message and waited. By now the toilet was a calling so I jumped in line for the Port-O-John. They were well stocked and lines were not too long, so I was in there pretty quickly. Much better than the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon and Steelman Tri last year.

I still had not received any response from Denise after emptying out my digestive system, so I went back to waiting. Eventually I got a text back from her and spotted her immediately. She didn’t see me, so I had a little fun texting her while walking right behind her. LOL. We headed over to the beach area and watched the pros and initial age group waves take off. They had a area designated for swim warm-up, so people were swimming away while other waves were going out. Pretty nice. I decided to suit up and head in for a warm-up swim. Water was really nice temp, which they said was around 72 deg F. I was feeling pretty good in the warm-up and the lake was really nice for swimming.

The Swim

Before I knew it they were calling my wave, so I headed over to the starting coral. We then proceeded over the timing sensor into the coral. I lined up right in the middle of the pack on the right, inner buoy side. I have no idea why I lined up here cause I am usually a back, outside kinda guy avoiding the craziness. Today I for some reason chose to get “in the mix”. Perhaps I am feeling a bit guilty about missing out on the mass swim start at Lake Placid due to the recent swim start changes. The countdown started and then we were off. It was a little hectic getting started but things eventually settled out. As I was spotting the buoys I also glanced for some open water too. I did end up getting a little drafting in with some other swimmers which may have helped my time a bit.

Everything was good until I made the first turn, then it was straight on sun right in the eyes trying to spot the buoys. I could not see anything straight ahead of me except swimmers immediately ahead of me. I thought I could follow them but that is not always a good idea. I remembered that they said that the paddleboarders would be on the inside and kayakers on the outside, so I just kept them at a certain distance a side of me and knew I was good. I got into a nice rhythm and was feeling amazingly good. I really focused on my swim technique and started kicking more than usual. I also really worked on my body rotation to get a little extra torque.


Before I knew it I was at the last turn towards shore. At this time I started getting a gas fume smell or taste from the boats. It was really foul. I also was getting blasted from the sun again, but this time on the left side. I focused on closing my eyes when I breathed to the left side and also took double breaths on the right side. I was starting to see all kinds of psychedelic trails now from the sun glare. Pretty wild.  Next I was grabbing sand in my hand and was up and out of the water. I spotted my wife right away and headed over her way while I started unzipping my wetsuit. I forgot to hit the lap button on my watch until in transition and it was reading 34 mins and change…holy crap! That would be my fastest 1.2 mile swim ever. Officially it was 32:45.

The Bike

Transition was pretty uneventful. I managed to get my socks on without issue and ditching my wetsuit went well too. I made my clackety-clack walk to the other side of transition to head out on the bike. Denise was standing at the turn so I ambled over towards her to have a quick chat as I mounted the bike. She told me to “enjoy those hills!” as I left. “Thanks!” I replied. The course started out with a slight downgrade and I took full advantage of it. I wanted to get my heart rate down since it is always red-lining coming out of T1. We made the first right turn and then it was steady upgrade from there. The course was always either up or down, there was nothing flat for any length of time. My plan, with help from my coach, was to spin easy up the hills and bomb the downhills. I think I did that pretty well. I really tried to let it fly on the downhills keeping in a tuck position and trying not to hit the brakes. I only did so a couple times when I wasn’t sure what was around the next bend. Knowing the course more would have really helped there I think.

The course was very hilly to say the least, but I really liked it. I was enjoying just spinning past people going up those hills. Many people were laboring to breath and I felt like I had mammoth lungs or something. Nutrtion-wise I just kept nibbling away at my Cha Cha Cha Chia Chunks of Energy the whole ride. They are packed with nutrition and don’t give you that rot gut like all the over-processed crap does. I also drank my Hammer Perpetuem too, but I am not sold on that as a single nutrition source. Makes me feel very full. I also was drinking my Skratch Labs hydration drinks and water very consistently. I really feel like I did everything right on the bike. I was hoping to be around 3 hours, but with a course much tougher than Ironman 70.3 Muskoka, 3:11 is not too bad. I did slow down a bit towards the end just to give my legs some reprieve before the run started.

The Run

T2 went pretty smoothly as well. I was starting to feel some sunburn on my shoulders so I layered on another coating of sunscreen. Fuel belt, run bib belt and shoes and off on the run. My plan was to head out on a steady pace for the first couple miles until the legs acclimate. Today it took about 3 miles for that happen, which ironically was right as the hills started up. We basically headed out the same way as we did on the bike, but eventually made a different turn. I got into a steady run around 8:00-8:30 pace. I thought I would be able to pick things up a bit, but little did I know how tough this run would be. The worst part was the hill from around mile 3.5 to 5. It was unforgiving to say the least. Just up and up and up again. Not only that it was dirt road which made it worse. I have not seen that many people walking since I was volunteered on the run course at Lake Placid last year. It really made it tougher to keep running when you see people that look much more fit than yourself walking.

I did end up walking the aid stations after that big hill. It sucked the life out of me. Walking the aid stations also gave me a chance to get all the hydration I could in and put some ice in my hat. It is amazing how much help that is to get you going again. My legs were really feeling it and I was battling in my head to keep on running. I kept thinking to myself how this is good practice for LP in controlling the mind. If I can do it here I can do it in LP. There was one guy, who was running near me and we kept passing each other. We would then push the other one when one was walking. It made such a huge difference to have that support. We ended up finishing right next to each other and he definitely helped me get there and I hope I did the same for him.

REv3 Quassy Run Start

Eventually some relief came with a bit of downhills, but they were never real long as there was always a little up interspersed every so often. The worst part was at around mile 9.5 the course went right by the finish before heading out for another 4 miles. How cruel!! The only good thing was the encouragement from some spectators and seeing my wife. But then it was out away from the finish and the hills started up again. The last one was really steep too and it was all I could do to keep from walking. Eventually I caved in to the grade. At the last aid station I grabbed a cup of Coke(the only time I will drink Coke) and some water for a last blast of energy to get me home. As I neared the finish, I could feel the feet picking up again and then all the pain is quickly forgotten. Sort of.

As I entered the finishing chute, I spotted my wife with iPhone camera in hand. I headed over for a high five and then high fived the announcer guy too as I made my way to the finish line. The clock said  around 6:47 and I thought “oh crap, I am over 6 hours!” figuring my wave left at 7:45, but realized we were probably late so I had no idea. My watch was saying 5:57 so was a bit disappointed at first. I never saw my official finish time until we were part way home and realized I had a new half-iron distance PR of 5:54, which really made me happy. Also, 2:05 run on a hilly course like that is not too bad for me.

Rev3 Quassy Finish Photo

Nothing like an post-race ice bath! Ahhh!
Nothing like an post-race ice bath! Ahhh!

Crossing the finish line I was draped with a icy cold Gatorade towel over my shoulders which was the best thing I ever. It felt so refreshing. I was pretty spent. That was a tough course no doubt. I was also given a finishers ribbon that would have made a rapper jealous. I usually hang those things on my night stand light, but this thing will surely pull the light off. I met up with Denise and we headed over so I could get some food. As we walked over, I spotted a couple people wallowing in what looked like cow troughs. Oh man…Ice bath!!! The water looked disgusting and actually had a oil slick of sunscreen on the top, but I didn’t care. One dude sitting in one said it is gross but feels amazing! I hopped on it and it really did feel good. A girl next me had her friends filling up a cup for her with a pitcher of beer and my wife caught me staring at it. Denise then quietly snuck away to get me one while I chatted with the guy next to me. When she realized they only had Miller Lite she nixed that idea.

After the ice bath, I headed over to the food. They had lots of pasta that looked so good. They even had veggie burgers which I was pretty psyched about. Thankfully the lady behind me asked about them cause they were not readily visible. While standing in line I realized that they had Corona bottled beer so I ended up getting one and it tasted some good. We then headed over to transition, packed up my stuff and made our way home.

This was a true test of my fitness for Lake Placid. Although it was brutally tough, I come away with some confidence for Lake Placid and new 70.3 PR. The other notable thing was that this was my 1-year anniversary of switching to a whole foods, plant-based diet and I am feeling better than ever. The run at Lake Placid is twice the distance, but the hills I feel are more manageable. I still have a lot more training to go, so I know that will only add to the fitness that I already have. Thanks Rev3 Quassy and bring on Ironman Lake Placid!

2012 Ironman Muskoka 70.3 Race Report-T1 & Bike


Toronto HarborfrontI bypassed the wetsuit strippers on the exit of the swim and started the long haul up the hill to the Deerhurst Lodge parking lot were the transition was. I can get out of my wetsuit pretty quickly and I thought the strippers would take longer than if I did it myself. I may take advantage of it at Lake Placid next year though. The path to transition followed the golf cart path up steady hill and ended up being about 0.35 miles in length. This was probably the longest transition distance I have ever had. I thought my transition was fairly decent for the things I had control over. I did put on socks since it was a bit cool out this morning. This will take up a good 30 seconds more, especially with wet feet.


T1 result: OK
T1 Time
: 5:01

The Bike

Technical Difficulties--Ironman Muskoka 70.3The start of the bike was a bit rough. After getting out into the mounting zone, I hopped on my bike and started pedaling. I immediately felt a rubbing of my back tire. I had recently put a new rear tire on and it was a bit taller than the previous one. I thought I had adjusted this correctly, but I think it may have came loose again. Funny how these things always happen in a race. My wife had made her way up to the road and came over to see what was going on. I heard my wife say “uh oh!” I managed to loosen the quick release and adjust the wheel to alleviate the rubbing and was on my way. I had taken my bike gloves from transition, but ended up giving them to my wife after I got the wheel fixed. I was finally on my way.


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The course was hilly to say the least. It wasn’t like huge mountain climbs, but it was just constantly up-and-down. There was a section on one of the major roads that was somewhat flat for a little bit, but even that had some undulations. Tried to settle into some grooves and made sure I was spinning at over 85 rpms on the hills. There was a couple hills that I had no choice but to go under, but for the most part I kept to that.

Toronto HarborfrontThe ride went through a couple small little towns that were a really nice change of scenery. There were usually groups of supporters cheering away. The scenery overall was gorgeous. Lots of lakes and woods. The trees were starting to change color too, which added even more to the picturesque surroundings. One stretch of road ran along a beach of a larger lake and there was fire boat docked shooting a large stream of water out over the beach which was really cool. I picked up a bottle of water and a Honey Stinger waffle at the first aid station. I usually don’t take food at race aid stations, but the Honey Stinger Waffle is my regular feed on the bike. This along with my homemade energy chunks kept me well fed for the race. I also kept well hydrated with 2 bottles of Skratch Labs Hydration mix and 1.5 bottles of water. Felt like this was the perfect amount. I had also taken 3 Salt Sticks and a bottle of Skratch Labs mix prior to the race too.

Toronto HarborfrontThe last part of the race was quite a bit hillier than the first half. My legs were really feeling it on the last couple of climbs. In addition to this was 3 sections of recently oil-and-chipped road…YUK! This shit should be outlawed! They did a pretty good job of sweeping it, but it just sucks the life out of me. Fortunately the sections were fairly short. In addition to the hilly course, they also extended it to 58.5 miles(94km)! What the hell??? Could we make this tougher please??!! Finally I rolled back into Deerhurst to get ready for the 13.1 mile run. I was hoping my legs still had some life left in them. While this was not my fastest bike ride, I think I may have executed it as I had hoped to and that was to remain steady and save something for the run. I also lost a minute or two adjusting my wheel at the start.

Bike Result: OK-(not superfast, but steady)
Bike Time: 3:18:59 ( 17.6 mph)