An Ironman is such an unpredictable event. You never know what kind of things are going to come your way on race day. You try to mitigate as many possible issues as you can think of, but you can’t control everything. One thing you certainly cannot control is the weather.
Last year I competed in Ironman Lake Placid with the intention of going sub-12 and was faced with a brutal thunderstorm. The race officials eventually forced many people out of the water on their second loop of the swim and subsequently only counted half the swim and no T1 transition times. Since I felt I had lost some time on my first loop of the bike, I went a little too hard on the second loop of the bike to try to gain lost time and ended up hurting myself on the run. While officially my time was under 12 hours(11:52), I know that the real time was still a 12:40.
Heading into this 2015 season I signed up for Ironman Coeur d’Alene with the goal of a sub-12 time again. I have trained all season with this intention in mind too. I chose Coeur d’Alene because of its northern location and typically cooler climate which I prefer. Sometimes when you become so focused on a goal for so long, it becomes hard to give that up and change. Change is never easy.
Today we are faced with temperatures reaching solidly into the triple-digits in Coeur d’Alene, ID on race day. This is unheard of for this part of the country. But, just like when you have a tire go flat or losing your bottle of nutrition, you must adapt. Therefore, my sub-12 hour goal has now changed to more like a sub-17 hour goal, or just plain survival. We can whine and complain about it all we want, but I think a true “Ironman” accepts the challenge in front of him/her and figures out how best to deal with it. The obstacle in front of us has changed, we must figure out how to deal with it. Speed becomes a relative term at this point. It may end up being our most demanding event ever and the one we will never forget for sure.
Dealing with the Heat
I am started thinking about some some tips and things to help deal with the heat, so here they are in no particular order…
Hydrate early & Often – start taking in electrolytes the day before the race as well as race morning. Severly limit or avoid alcohol too. 🙁 I will save that for after the race I guess.
No wetsuit if over 76.1 def F – Although it may be cooler in the morning, if the water temp is over 76.1 you risk dehydration earlier by wearing your wetsuit. Not to mention that you are inelidgable for any AG awards( I don’t really have to worry about this). This was a lesson I learned from my coach who wore his at LP a few years ago and was dehydrated when he got on the run. No sense starting out with a large hydration defic
Extra salt pills or Base Salt – I usually never do anything new on race day, but I just heard about Base Salt from Base Perfomance from zentri-598-christine-lynch-and-time-trial-tips.html” target=”_blank”>Christine Lynch when she was recently on the ZenTriathlon podcast. I did previously use salt caps, but this is absorded quicker through the mouth which I think is more effective. Jury is out on this one, so we’ll see how it works.
Cooling Sleeves – I recently picked up a free pair of cooling sleeves from the Todd Wiley Lake Placid Triathlon camp I attended last month. I didn’t realize how essential these might become to reflecting the sun off my arms and also provide some material to keep moisture close to the skin. I will pick up water at each aid station no matter what and pour it over them and the rest of me.
Nathan Handheld Bottle for Run –
This is another ZenTriathlon tip(I am going to owe Brett some donations after this race). I will keep this bottle filled with ice water at each aid station and slowly drip it over me during the run. The coolness in my hand should also help keep my blood cooled too.
Jump in the Lake?! – The run course at IM CdA is on a path that follows the shoreline of the lake. Perhaps we will be able to just jump in the water every so often and cool off. Not sure if that would break any rules, but it might be an option.
Eat Amrita Bars! – Sorry I could not resist this one! But seriously though…it becomes very difficult to want to eat when it is really hot, but not doing so is a sure way to a serious bonk. Plus, Amrita Bars are even more yummy when they are soft and gouey!
I am going to double up here on the last two weeks of build before my 3 week taper into Ironman Coeur d’Alene. It has been a pretty brutal 2 weeks since I really never had a full recovery week since about 5 weeks ago. I did a couple little 3 day recovery before and after the Todd Wiley Lake Placid camp, but still managed a decent training load for the weekend in between. Despite all this I have been feeling pretty good. A few of my longer workouts were in some pretty hot and humid temperatures and were obviously affected. My performances during the workouts when the weather was cooler surely made up for it.
Swims…I am still using the Finis Tempo Trainer and feeling pretty settled at around 68-70 spm. This is up from around 58-60 when I started using this tool early on in the season. My paces have picked up along with it and I am hoping this carries over to a few minutes gained in my 2.4 mile swim. I did both of my LSD swims at around 1:13 for just under 4000 yards. Given that this is without a wetsuit and no flip turns I think I could manage this time in Ironman which would be a 4 minute improvement over the last two years.
Biking…I have been averaging around 145 miles/9 hours a week on the bike for both weeks. My long rides on the weekends were just over 90 miles long running about 5:30-5:50 depending on the terrain. Most of my weeknight rides were steady state rides in zone 2-3, but I did manage to get one good hill repeat ride in on some of my favorites hills: Dogwood & Centennial!
My long ride on May 20th started out a little rough when a large flying insect fly directly into my mouth while cruising along at around 20mph. Ouch! It partially lodged itself into my mouth since it was partially open. I had to actually spit the thing out and it tasted like crap too! My lip
immediately swelled up to what felt like having a gumball in my lip. Judging for the picture I guess it didn’t look quite as bad as it felt though. I didn’t know what kind of bug it was and wasn’t sure if it stung me or that was just the impact of it on my lip that hurt. Eventually, the swelling subsided and my lip resumed to its normal size again. Why do I always get pelted with creatures when I am riding?
I followed the Dream Come True(DCT) route for the start of my long bike ride June 6. This is a nice somewhat challenging route with a little over 4000′ of climbing over 64 miles. This ride was also not without some wildlife incident as well. While cruising a downhill section of backroad that contained some overgrown shoulder a large doe popped out immediately in front of me broadside. I made some kind of grunt or yell as I came within about 10 feet of the animal and it quickly dashed out of my way. Another close call. Not too long after that I came across a lone fawn standing in the road. He scampered in down the road, heading in the same direction, for a bit before he darted up the steep bank. He was pretty young and no mother to be seen.
Runs…My Sunday long runs consisted of a 21 and 20 miler respectively. The 21 miler was a hot & humid one that I did 4 loops of the Ironton Rail Trail(IRT). The IRT is pretty shaded which helped defer some of the defer some of the sunlight but it was still a hot one. I ended up averaging around a 10:00/mi for the run. The next week I ran at the Lehigh Parkway and it was about 10 degrees(F) cooler and much less humidity. The Parkway is also pretty shaded but has about twice the elevation gain as the IRT. Due to the more temperate climate I was able to average a 9:30 pace over the 20 miles while maintaining a Zone 2 heart rate. More on track with what I would like to do at Ironman this year and a good note to finish on before my taper.
Heart Rate Variability(HRV)
My HRV has remained fairly steadily in the 70’s during this last two weeks. I have been flirting with the low recovery and low activation ranges most of the time, but still in the “ok to keep going area”. This is pretty much expected from where I am at this point. I should be overreaching a bit at this point, with a good 3 week taper coming up.
Compared to Last Year…
Comparing this years training on the Training Peaks Performance Management Chart to last year looks fairly similar. You can see that the last month or so of this year(top chart) I have incurred a bit more fatigue(pink link) with consecutive build weeks and no full recovery week in between. My Fitness(CTL in Blue) has steadily risen to a value of around 112 during my last build week, whereas last year I was up to 120 or so.
3:50AM finally came around after waking every half hour since about 1AM. Despite broken sleep I felt pretty well rested and was more than ready get this race started. I had actually felt that way all weekend since arriving in Lake Placid on Thursday afternoon. The time was finally here.
I started the already prepared coffee maker with exactly two cups of coffee. Just enough to rev the engine a bit, but not enough to go into high anxiety mode. Next, the VitaMix was load up with frozen fruit, kale, avocado, seeds, nuts and a can of coconut water. My daily smoothie concoction that starts my days on a high note. I had prepared all my water bottles and nutrition for the race the night before and staged everything in the refrigerator. Special needs bags were loaded up and it was time to head to town.
While I had only done Ironman Lake Placid once the year before, the drill seemed all to routine for me. Perhaps I had run through it in my head so many times it almost seemed real. This year I had much less anxiety than the year before, since I had a better idea of what to expect. Little did I know what challenges the Adirondacks and Mother Nature were preparing to dish out for me this year.
The forecast had said 40-50% chance of scattered thunderstorms all day, but many times they never really happen. We headed out River Road and onto RT 86 into town. Denise dropped me off at the barricades on Main St. by the Sunoco and I walked up the street that I would be running on later that day to transition. I located my bike in the racks and loaded it up with nutrition and bottles of Skratch hydration, went to get body marked, then dropped off my special needs bags up the street. The run special needs bag area is such a long walk from transiton, but I did run into Shanna & Amy and then John & Ashley along with way to wish them good luck for the day. I then changed into my race gear and stashed my morning clothes bag in transition along with my other bags.
I met up with Denise at the Mobil station and then we walked up to the swim start. It was getting close to race start so I put on the wetsuit, said my goodbyes to Denise and made my way into the swim start line. The canon had gone off for the pro men and woman at this point. It was pretty crowded and the line did not move very quickly. I kept pushing my way through the crowd and eventually found my way to the 1:11-1:20 finish time wave area. Ok, here we go!
The start of the swim has been so anti-climatic ever since they started the new Safe Swim Start. They used to play some really powerful tunes, like Beautiful Day by U2, and Mike Reilly would get everyone fired up. Now the music is really lame and he doesn’t say much at all except something like “Go ahead!”. I don’t understand why it can’t still be a more exciting.
Anyway, we eventually roll into the water after a few minutes and I am on my way. I stay to the outer left side in the more open water as I usually do to get started. Occasionally some feckless meanderer comes zigzagging out into my path but for the most part I have open water to swim in for the first loop. The buoys tick away from 1 to 7 and before I knew it I am making the turn to head back to the beach again. I took the first turn wide too to avoid the congestion that usually happens when turning in a swim course. I kept a nice steady pace the first lap and averaged a 1:47/100y for the first 1.2 mile loop. So far so good!
I exit the water and head through the archways to start my next 1.2 miles. While traversing the sandy beach, I hear Mr. Mike Reilly announce “Brian Schwind from Alburtis, PA” over the loud speaker! I raised my arms in acknowledgment of it. I didn’t think he could pronounce my name since he barely muttered it last year when I crossed the finish line. My wife Denise actually heard it too and she was down the street along the corral to transition. She said that he only said about 20 names tops during the whole swim. I guess I came out at a good time.
My 2nd loop went along pretty well until about a third of the way when the skies opened up with torrential rains. It was raining so hard that my mouth was getting water in it when I tried to take a breath. I made the turn to head back and started getting a cramp in my left calf. I stopped swimming a bit to stretch it out and probably lost some time there. I did get going again and eventually found myself swimming along the yellow rope that runs below. That didn’t last too long because it soon got congested with other swimmers and angled back out to the outer lane again to avoid being trampled.
I exited the water at around 1:17 which was a couple seconds slower than I did last year. I apparently lost a bit of time on that 2nd loop with the calf cramp and meandering a bit too much. All in all not a horrible swim. At least I am consistent. My plan from the beginning of the season was just to maintain my swim performance, which I guess I can say I did.
Official Time(1-1.2 mi loop): 0:37:39 (1:47/100yd)
My Watch Time(2.4 miles): 1:17:56 (1:51/100yd)
I unzipped and pulled my suit halfway down while finding a available wetsuit stripper. I then fell backwards on the ground while the volunteer violently ripped my wetsuit off my legs. I was up and jogging down the finish corral scanning the people along the side looking for my wife. I eventually spotted her down the street, closer to the transition oval. I multitasked a kiss for the wife while high fiving the in-laws and was quickly on my way into transition. The rain was dumping and the thunder was a banging at this point. I entered the gate to the oval and counted my way to the 3rd row of bags in transition and grabbed my bike gear bag. The changing tent was very full and very wet. It was like a little pond under a roof.
I found an empty chair, got my bike stuff on and stashed my swim gear in the bag. A loud blast of thunder ripped and everyone in the tent gave a group “Wow!” I had to switch the lenses in my sunglasses to the light rose colored ones due to the weather. When I did that I forgot to transfer the nose cushion piece along with it. I handed my bag to a volunteer and headed back out into the storm. There was lightning coming down in several directions, all followed by loud blasts of thunder. A volunteer had my bike ready at the end of the aisle and I signaled to him it was mine and I am coming. I headed out of transition and saddled up in the mounting area.
T1 Time(My Watch time): *8:49
*Ironman did not count T1 time in official results due to lightning
I carefully navigated the 180 and 90 degree steep downhill turns out of the transition speed
skating oval. My bike has carbon race wheels that require special brake pads that won’t damage the carbon rims. They work pretty well when it is dry, but are almost useless when they are wet. I had to squeeze them very tightly just to keep from gaining too much speed. Stopping with them requires a very long distance and is pretty much not happening in an emergency situation. I made it safely down the corkscrew turns to the street below where I spotted Denise and my In-Laws standing under umbrellas. I have them a big “Hey!” and then turned my focus back to the steep downhill street ahead. I had put my sunglasses in my jersey since I thought I might not need them until later. The rain was coming down so hard it was hard to see to navigate the cracks and undulations of the street. I was on the brakes full tilt down to the lower street where it finally leveled out to make a sharp left turn at the hay bales.
The rain continued in torrents as I made my way out of Lake Placid on Route 73 towards the ski jumps. Lightning would flash and very defined bolts would slice through the sky in what seemed like a few hundred yards away. Large ear-pounding thunder followed a few seconds after. I questioned my safety for a brief second, but the task at hand seemed to trump that at the time. Probably not logical thinking, but in an Ironman you are willing to push through things without blinking an eye.
As I spun my way up the ascending terrain towards Cascade Mountain and contemplated the long descent into Keene that followed. I had minimal brakes and 7 mile long twisting descent to navigate. Would I be able to keep my speed down enough to navigate the turns? What if I really needed to come to a complete stop? The thoughts rushed through my head. I hoped the rain would stop before then.
I hit a couple small downhill sections and found that it was impossible to see with heavy rain and the higher speeds. I pulled my un-cushioned sunglasses from the front of my jersey and put them on. The jagged plastic of the lens dug in to the skin on my nose, but at least I could see where I was going now. Things are always better through rose-colored lenses right? Not necessarily.
I eventually reached the Cascade Lakes and begun the long descent down to Keene. It was still pouring rain. I gripped the brakes with a clenching fist that made my knuckles turn white. I was still reaching speeds into the high 20/low 30 mph range. Fortunately they had recently paved the road and at least I didn’t need to negotiate the nasty cracks and potholes that previously marred the route down the mountain. Still, a few other riders still flew past me going down the speedy descent. Crazy!!
I had heard several others say later on that they were actually shaking as they rode that early part of the first bike loop from being cold. I am fortunate enough to have a nice little extra layer of “insulation” on me this year being about 5-7 pounds heavier this year compared to last. I really hadn’t planned on that, but hey sure came in handy because being cold was not really something I had to deal with today. Although my toes did become a bit numb out there. I am like a human heat pump otherwise.
Well, I made it safely down into Keene without issue. I was disappointed about the time I had lost having to ride the brakes down the mountain, but I was also relieved to have that behind me for now. I made the winding turn onto Route 9N in Keene and could now settle into a nice rhythm on the flat sectionto Ausable Forks. Ahhh!! It was still raining but I now I could just cruise. My legs were feeling good and I just spun at my comfortable cadence and settled in at around 21-22 MPH average speed. I continued to pop Armita Bar pieces and Chunks for Energy into my mouth and washed them down with copious amounts of Skratch Labs Hydration mix to keep the fuel tanks full. I also had a small bottle of Ucan Superstarch as well for a little extra long-term energy source.
While traversing the uphill section on Route 86 from Jay to Wilmington, I could finally see some breaks in the clouds ahead. Relief! But, along with that I could also feel the wind picking up a bit. I averaged around 16 MPH for the 30 miles uphill section from Jay back to Lake Placid using about 200 watts of normalized power. I felt good the whole time and it seemed to tick by pretty quickly. I ran into John Newman, who I identified from his Amrita tri kit and the name “John” listed on his run belt. John and his wife, Tara, had been communicating a bit with me over the past month or so over social media. John was telling me about how he was shaking so much from being cold down the descent into Keene. He had lost so much time because he was on the brakes the whole time. I said me too, but was on the brakes more out of fear than the cold. Eventually he proceeded ahead of me and I never saw him again until later on the run.
I reached the “Three Bears” section where folks were lining the road in a Tour de France fashion cheering everyone up the hill. I was focused on searching out my wife who stationed herself out here last year, but saw no sign of her. Hmmm? I made the right turn by Cobble Mountain and continued towards Mirror Lake Drive. On the last little kick uphill by the school I spotted my wifes’ bright pink shirt from a couple hundred yards away. I started waving but she just seemed to be staring at me. Eventually she realized it was me and I gave her shit for not knowing who I was. Loop #1 complete.
I quickly stopped for my special needs bag and retooled with nutrition and hydration. Best of all was the peanut butter & honey sandwich on white Italian bread that awaited me. Yum! Time to strap on the old feedbag! The first bite always gets stuck in my throat, so I have to wash it down with a big swig of liquid. After that it is just heaven!
The rain had finally ceased and it was looking like a nice day, albeit the wind continued to pickup. I knew I needed to make up some time on this lap if I still wanted to hit my goal of sub-12 hours. I tried to stay consistent without totally blowing my legs out. I still felt good so I figured I was ok. I hit the bit descent again, this time staying in the aero position and not touching the brakes. I was flying baby!! I found out later I was hitting speeds in excess of 45 MPH. On the flats from Keene to Ausable Forks and back to Jay I again was in cruise mode ranging from 20-22 MPH most of the way again.
The uphill section from Jay to Lake Placid on the second loop went pretty smoothly but a bit slower. I averaged around 15 MPH this time with a normalized power of 189 watts. I still felt pretty good but the legs must have been getting a little more tired. I was relieved to roll onto Mirror Lake Drive with crowds cheering away knowing that I had survived a pretty epic Ironman bike leg unscathed. Looking at my Garmin I noticed I was also about to complete a PR bike split that was around 10 minutes below last years time. Apparently the shaved legs worked as they said they would.
Bike Time(112 miles): 6:15:12 (17.91mph avg speed)
I quickly dismounted my bike and handed it to a volunteer to be forgotten about until after the race. I tried running on the concrete of the speed skating oval with my bike cleats, but it was very difficult. I saw another athlete take their shoes off, which I quickly followed suit. A guy from the med tent yelled out to take our helmets off to cool off. The sun had come out on the 2nd loop and the wetness on the ground made for some sweltering humidity now. I grabbed my run bag and made my way to the change tent. I quickly found a empty chair and a volunteer came over to assist me. He laid out all my stuff on the ground while I put my shoes on so I could quickly get changed. It was a big help. Volunteers ROCK!! I had hoped to find another pair of sunglass lenses with a nose piece but no such luck. I ditched the glasses and just put my run hat on. The volunteer also checked my back for sunburn and said the back of my neck was getting red. I put a pack of sunscreen in my jersey and a Bodyglide stick in the other pocket. I stopped at the sunscreen girls to lather me up good which they did, and then I was off on the run.
T2 Time: 7:08
I headed through the arch that marked the beginning of the run. I heard several people calling my name, but this is typical since it is listed on the front of my race bib. One person that stuck out of the crowd was lady standing under an umbrella on the other side of the street. It looked like Kim, who I had met at a friends New Years Party this past year, but I wasn’t totally sure. I looked for her husband to confirm that it was her, but did not see him so I continued on. Turns out it was her after all. Her daughter, Lauren, was racing also and had a great day finishing 2nd in her 18-24 age group on her first Ironman.
I continued on down Main Street and was feeling really good. Usually the first couple miles of a run after biking 112 miles is a little rough. My legs were feeling ready to run, but I was also going downhill. The real test would be once I hit some inclines.
I ran into my wife Denise and her parents just down the street in front of the sushi place. I gave hugs to everyone forgetting that I had just been lathered up with copious amounts of sunscreen. Sorry! I tried to quickly tell them how crazy the bike ride was while running backwards so not to lose any more precious time. Then I was down the hill towards Lisa G’s for my first loop.
The little rise in the road just past Lisa G’s and Liquids & Solids is always a little bit of a wake-up call since it is the first real incline on the run course after the bike. This is when reality tends to strike. Ok my legs don’t feel quite as good as I first thought. Hmm? I kept pushing on though.
I continued to maintain around a 9:00/mile pace for the first 2.5 miles until I hit the small little rise about a .25 mile past the ski jumps on River Road. The sun was beaming and it was getting hot and steamy. My quadricep muscles were starting hurt already and the negative thoughts started to well up in my head. “How am I going to make it 23 more miles?” I continued to press on walking through the aid stations to get ice and water. I took the cold wet sponges and stuffed them in my jersey. One of them went down my back which I was never able to get out. I tried to eat one of my Amrita Bars, but my stomach was feeling so full I ended up tossing half of it.
My pace was now creeping up into the 10:00/mile range with the small shifts of walking. I ran by the house we stay at and was a little bummed when I didn’t see anyone there. This was such a helpful push last year when they were all sitting out watching. Unfortunately they had to work and run errands all day so they were not able to be there today. Just before the turnaround on River Road, around 4.5 miles, I passed my coach Scott who was coming back the other way. It is always nice to see someone you know to take your mind off the pain at hand. I was also kind of psyched that I wasn’t that far behind him. Surely I didn’t that I would catch up to him, but maybe I wasn’t doing as bad as I though I was.
I finally made the turn on River Road and started back to town. I was really starting to struggle physically and mentally. My legs and feet were screaming. I was now taking walking breaks more than just at the aid stations. My pace was now drifting up in the 10-11:00/mi range, especially given the hills on the route back to town. I reached Denise and her parents and indicated I was struggling a bit. My Father-in-law told me later it was readily apparent I was having a rough time. I walked up the hill on to Main St. but started to get back to somewhat of a trot again after the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery. Perhaps the thought of a cold beer had energized me.
I freshened up my Fuel Belt with some new bottles of Skratch Labs hydration from my special needs bag. My pace picked up a bit with a little help from the downhill from the Lake Placid Pub to Lisa G’s. I ran past the dreaded fork where you are either going out for another 13 miles or you are finishing. I made the left and pushed on. I was determined not to let the mental aspect of having to do another loop get to me. I just focused on staying running even if it was slow, just keep the feet moving. It seemed to help and eventually the miles ticked off.
I had passed my coach, Scott again as well as Shanna and Amy and my friend John from work several times. My enthusiasm to cheer them on diminished more and more with each passing. The last time I passed them I was only able to muster up a thumbs up since speaking would have used far too much energy.
I began dosing the Coca-cola on the second loop. I would pour it over a cup full of ice, let it cool for a few seconds and then drink it down. It tasted so freaking good! I don’t drink soda typically, but this was just what I needed. It definitely changed my mental frame of mind too. I even broke my vegan ways and had a couple cups of the chicken soup. Sorry chickens! I never had that before in a race, but it was pretty good too. These things definitely helped me get through this last half marathon.
I eventually reached the bottom of the hill at Lisa G’s again. There were several slightly intoxicated characters dressed in animal costumes high fiving all the runners as they went by. It was definitely a good boost of energy. I started walking on the bottom of the hill, but soon got back to running again. I said to myself you have to run this last hill up to the brew pub. There were numerous fans cheering and calling my name which gave an added boost. Little kids were holding out their hands for high fives which I always try to do back. I don’t want to be that triathlete that takes himself too seriously that cannot acknowledge the people cheering us all on.
Eventually I ran into Denise and her parents who I imagine were glad to finally see me running after how I looked last time. I kept on running from that point as I could taste the finish line now. I rounded the bend on River Road and picked it up a little for the last mile. I hit that fork in the road where you are either going back out for another 13.1 miles or going to the finish line. I made a big pointing gesture to the volunteer guiding everyone there that I was coming in for landing. The spectators nearby starting cheering a little louder and you could not have wiped that smile off my face for anything.
I entered the speed skating oval and rounded for home. A few more high fives to a few kids along the way and then Mike Reilly said “Brian Schwind” and then a long pause. Ugh! Apparently he got distracted. He may have said “you are an Ironman” but it was after such long delay it was almost pointless at that point. I believe he fouled it up for me last year too. Whatever…I was happy to hit the finish line whithout issue. I know I am an Ironman Mike, you don’t need to tell me I guess.
Run Time(26.2 miles): 4:52:55 (11:10/mi pace)
I was met after the race by Denise and my In-laws along with Dan & Wendy and their two boys Charlie & Emmett who we stay with in Lake Placid. It was fun seeing them all and chatting for awhile. I chilled out and had some pizza at the finish line and then collected my bags to get changed.
I had given Denise my Yellow card to pick up my bike in transition while I got changed. I was surprised not to see her when I had finished getting dressed. After some time she showed up with a disgusted look on her face. Apparently the volunteers could not find my bike. They looked around and then pow-powed with supervisor lady. They then told her maybe someone else picked it up. She told them she is the only one with the card and I was getting changed. Then they very non-cholantly told her to come back later that maybe someone else took my bike and they may bring it back later. What??!! Eventually they went and looked again in slot 2242(I was 2422) and there it was. What a run around!
We took the bike to the car and then headed over to the Dancing Bears for my post-race pizza and Lake Placid IPA. On the way my manager, Steve, from work texted me “Great job 11:52”. I was like “huh?” My watch says 12:42 , what is he talking about. Unfortunately the cell lines are so busy in Lake Placid at this time I could not get my results on the Irontrac iOS app to see. Hmmm…
Well, I had a goal this year to do a sub-12 hour Ironman. Given the official results for Ironman Lake Placid 2014 I finished in 11:52:54, so according to the official results I did accomplish this. BUT, this does not count the 2nd 1.2 mile loop of the swim or my T1 time. I tried to locate what the actual time was for my 2nd loop according to Ironman, but was unable to find anything. According to my Garmin watch, I actually finished in 12:42 which is about 4 seconds slower than last year. I know in my head I didn’t hit that goal, but it was a more challenging day than it was last year. Any Ironman finish though is a success in my book. So I will take it with a big smile on my face. Nothing wrong with back-to-back sub-13 hour Ironman Lake Placid finishes right? Atleast I am consisent!
Another positive was that I PR’d the bike leg by 10 minutes after having a first loop that I was on the brakes for a 7 mile descent. I think if the weather was nicer I may have been closer to 6 hours. I did burn some extra energy on the 2nd loop which I think led to a less than spectacular run. The run was 10 minutes slower than last year, but I did feel like I was able to overcome some major fatigue and developed a little more mental toughness too.
It was a fun day overall and the challenges with weather sure make for some good stories. I will be sure not never to forget that race amongst them all. If was easy everyone would do it right?
Official Ironman Finish Time: *11:52:54
My Unofficial time with full swim: 12:42 and change
* 2nd loop of swim and T1 time not included due to lightning.
Well my season is fortunately not over yet. I am trying to ride out my fitness this year and am finishing my triathlon season with a race at Timberman 70.3 in New Hampshire in 3 weeks. Last year I was wishing I had something else to do after Ironman, so I decided to give it try this year. I should not have to do much training and still be able to do well at this race. Stay tuned!
As I finish up my first 2.5 months of training, all bodyparts are still intact and muscles still functioning without pain. I am thinking this previously abused, middle-aged body still has some miles in it. The last few weeks have been pretty similar in volume(time) with a few small increases here and there. I feel like I am really settling into this amount of training, which is actually equivalent to one of my heavy weeks were last season. I know this will be changing soon, so I am soaking it up while I can.
The other nice thing this week was that the weather is starting to break and feel a bit more like Spring. It was still a bit cool out, but the winds were less making it a little more tolerable.I feel as though my run pace is increasing a little bit. My “steady state” runs have been getting faster and I am able to sustain it while maintaining a Z3(a/b) heart rate. The image below shows all my previous steady state runs which are all slower pace compared to last Thursdays’ run.
Tuesday nights’ bike ride went a little awry for me. As I headed home from work I decided to do another trainer ride since the winds were a little ridiculous for my taste. I plopped the bike on the trainer and fired up my Mac. TrainerRoad had a new upgrade available(1.5 beta) so I quickly upgraded that. Big mistake! Now my Bluetooth 4.0 USB plug would not read my bike trainer BTLE transmission properly. My power reading was jumping all over the place. I tested it out with my iPhone and that was working fine. Next up, my Garmin speed sensor that reads a little magnet on my back wheel decided to stop working too…WTH! I checked my equipment log and it did have several thousand miles on it so I guess its time was due. So no I have no speed and no power. Just cadence. I wasted a bunch of time trying to get that stuff working, so by the time I just started riding it was getting late. I eventually got it done and I just estimated my distance. I guess if that stuff is going to crap out on my now is a good time.
Thursday ended up being a bit nicer and I was able to get out for good ride. I had the typical 5-7MPH headwind heading out(W-SW) but the return trip was a nice cruise back. Still riding with the new carbon fiber wheels and I am liking them a lot. The only issue with them is if you are riding against a crosswind and you go behind a building or structure that blocks that wind, then it there is a little bit of a push when you come out past the building and hit the wind again. Just something I will have to keep in mind on windier days.
Friday was a gorgeous day and I had the day off…what more can you ask for. I headed to the pool and knocked out my 45 minute swim and then got my dog out for a hike up at Bear Creek Ski Area in the afternoon. There was still a substantial amount of snow on the slopes and my dog made sure he took full advantage of it when it was near. There were a bunch of guys playing Frolf up there and even saw a few guys doing some trail maintenance on the MTB trails.
Friday night was a little rough. I had met up with a friend and ended up having a couple Martini’s. I had swore these things off long ago, but I seem to have forgotten how nasty these things are. Long, story short, I paid for that the rest of the weekend during my workouts. Ugh…And I am swearing off Martini’s yet again. Hopefully I remember that this time.
My long Saturday bike ride was a little delayed, but that turned out to be a good thing. Saturday was another beautiful day and the winds had totally died by the afternoon. The traffic on the roads seemed to have died as well. No idiots flying by you within less than the legal four feet they are supposed to give me. The grandeur of the ride came to a halt once I remembered that I had to still do my first “brick” run of the season immediately following my ride. A “brick” is a workout where you do multiple disciplines one after the other to get your body used to switching activities like you would in a race. It turned out to be a nice little 15 minute run through my town and legs felt good. Nice end to a nice day.
Sunday it was off to the Lehigh Parkway again for a 1:40 long run. I actually pushed the pace a bit this week and cut almost a 30secs of my avg pace for the run while still maintaining a Zone 2(aerobic/endurance) heart rate. The engine is starting to get faster and efficient. Still got a good several months to go to push that more.
Well one more build week and then another recovery week. Lehigh Valley Half Marathon is in 2 weeks and the NJ Devilman Half-Lite is the week after. Hard to believe racing season is on a couple weeks away. Looking forward to seeing my wife finish her first half. I know I was pretty excited to be doing that race a few years back. Don’t think we will be hitting a 8:00 min pace this time though.
Well another build cycle comes to an end and a welcome recovery week awaits me. Spoiled by a beautiful, Spring-like weekend the week prior, this past week I was not as lucky. I ended up doing a 2 hour trainer ride on Saturday which always tests your ability to handle monotony due to a fresh dumping of snow. I probably could have gotten out if I didn’t dilly-dally so much. But the dog won out with an early walk. It must be those big brown eyes following me around all morning.
It wasn’t totally a wash though. Sunday ended up being a decent day and I had a nice 1:40 run at the Ironton Rail Trail (IRT). I really like that trail since it is mostly flat, except for the gradual climb near the kilns, and protected. Sunday afternoon became a bit of sloth-fest though and my quads were a bit tanked. I might have pushed a little bit more than usual on my run knowing it was a recovery week approaching.
The training volumes are now starting to approach the higher volumes of last years half-ironman training weeks. Hopefully the weather will coincide with those long bike and runs coming soon. Also looking forward to the long swims at Dutch Springs too.
Playing Around With New Race Wheels
My new Reynolds carbon fiber clincher wheels arrived a week ago and I finally got around to putting them together this weekend. I wasn’t in a huge rush to get these on since I haven’t been able to ride outside much. Everything started out smoothly putting the rear cassette on. I thought this would be the more complicated. The problem came with the inner tube in believe it or not. I purchased tubes with 60mm presta valves, which was the largest they had. The tip was just barely visible in the hole opening in the rim. They provide you with these black “valve extenders” which are basically useless. You have to unscrew the base valve so you can get air in them and then screw on the extenders. The problem is that when you pump air in through the extenders it just comes back out again since the valve is just open. WTF???!!!
I did some searching online and found some that said to put plumbers tape on the valve and screw extension back on. This still did nothing since the valve is just open. So ridiculous. I did find some Continental valve extensions that have you unscrew the inner valve on the original valve stem, screw in the extension and then screw the original valve into the extension. This makes a bit more sense. Why would Reynolds provide such a lame solution? They didn’t even provide any instructions with the wheels on how things should be assembled. I went to their website but that was equally void of any helpful information as well. There also wasn’t even an email or support forum to ask them a question. What great customer service! Stay tuned for a more definitive blog post on this once I get it working.
The weather report for this Saturday indicated a day clear of any precipitation and a high of around 40 deg F. Armed with my new Pearl Izumi Thermal cycling jacket and Craft windproof gloves, I thought I could finally get a long ride outdoors instead of hunkering down in the basement on the trainer. Unfortunately, that 40 degrees was a high that would never be reached even during the warmest part of the day. The 12 MPH breeze didn’t provide any help either.
The one part of my cold-weather cycling wardrobe I seemed to have overlooked was my feet. I had some neoprene covers for my shoes, but they are pretty meager in covering the feet. I remembered some friends had mentioned a tip of putting plastic bags over my feet to block the wind that steadily blows in the triathlon specific cycling shoes with all their numerous holes for keeping your feet cool in the warm temps. Not very beneficial when the temperatures is in the 30’s. My feet tend to sweat a bit and I feared that the sweat would cool and end up making my toes even colder. This was remedied by a good pair of SmartWool socks since wool keeps you warm even when wet. I covered the bags with a light liner sock so I didn’t look like too much of a dork with bags coming out my shoes.
I set off on my ride and it was a bit chilly. The breeze was out of the Northwest and it provide a nice added resistance. It felt good to ride outside and see all the familiar views again on my regular route out through Pennsylvania Amish country farmlands. It is a truly spectacular place to ride bike. The majority of my cold-weather gear was working great. My new jacket was toasty and my toes were not totally freezing. My fingers were another story! The new Craft gloves with fingers failed in the cool air. I tried to curl a few digits back into my palm, but it provided only limited relief. I had the choice to buy mitten-style gloves when I bought these and I was really wishing I did right now.
An hour and forty-two minutes and 27 miles later, I eventually made my way home. I spent a 15 minutes in excruciating pain thawing out my digits. That hurt like hell! I didn’t realize what time it was while riding and when I got home I went into panic mode since I only had 30 minutes to eat and thaw out before heading over to the Rodale Institute for a Seed Planting seminar.
Vegetable Gardening 101
My first attempt at a garden last year was a bit of a disaster. When I came across a class on Seed Planting & Propagation over at Rodale Institute I jumped on it. We are pretty lucky to have the cutting edge of organic gardening right at our back door. The class was taught by a lady named April who had worked at Rodale for 35 years(since she was 16). I have to admit I was a bit overwhelmed during the class. It seemed that there was a bit of gardening knowledge that was assumed and I apparently didn’t have it. Most of the people in the class seemed to have been experienced with gardening, but I asked my basic questions in an effort to dumb thing down a bit.
I find gardening very overwhelming. There is so many things to remember with all these different plants requiring different things at different times. I think I just need to push through it, make my mistakes and learn from them. It is how I learn best anyway.
After the presentation, we walked over to the greenhouses and April showed us some of the plants and seeds they had going at different stages. We then headed back and separated out some starter plants and replant them individually. I was pretty psyched to find that we could take home as much as we wanted. I got starter plants of Kale, Cabbage, Lettuce, Tomatoes and Peppers. I was pretty excited about that. Hopefully I can get them to the garden in May.
The class ended up going until 2:30PM. I got home and had just enough time for Denise to give me a haircut and then shower and shave. We were heading over to Horn’s in Bethlehem to meet up with one of my old hockey buddies and his wife who we hadn’t seen in like 10 years. We enjoyed a nice dinner and chatted away for a few hours. Turns out my friends’ wife and his son are vegan, so we had a lot to talk about. Good times.
A Moment of Weakness
The topic of Vegan Treats Bakery came up in conversation and we stopped by there afterwards since I had never been there. The stuff in there was amazing looking. I got three things that were all some sort of combination of peanut butter and chocolate. When I got home I devoured the one treat that looked like a little chocolate cake. It was decadent. Hard to believe there was no dairy in it. Although all the sugar in it was not exactly healthy. This is the kind of thing that differentiates “vegans” and plant-based people. Vegans are just looking to substitute possibly unhealthy things for animal-based products and plant-based people just want healthy options that do not include animal proteins. I guess I crossed the line here. That will have repercussions tomorrow.
On Sunday I headed down to the Lehigh Parkway for my 1:30 long run of the week. It was actually colder than Saturday, but running surely warms you up more than cycling. Later in the day, after lunch, I ate one of the other vegan treats from the night before. Not long after, I crashed hard. It was like I could not move. I fell asleep on the sofa and had trouble getting up. I even had a headache for most of the evening. The sugar had taken its toll. My pancreas was not happy.
I really timed this wrong since I have my yearly blood tests done for our work health program. I am sure all this sugar will do wonders for my triglycerides. We shall see how that goes. Until next week.
The day started off at -12 F. Cold, but only just the beginning. We enjoyed a healthy breakfast in and relaxed a bit. We took a walk down the road to the nearest trailhead, popped on the snowshoes and headed into the woods for a quick jaunt. Nothing too crazy, but just enough to get our fix in the woods. I brought my DSLR and tripod along with hopes of getting a couple images. There was a mostly-frozen stream that paralleled the trail and I managed to get some images of that. Nothing amazing, but something to wet the whistle a bit.
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We had lunch at the apartment and I headed down to Mt. Van Hoevenberg for my afternoon skate-ski. Denise decided to hang in and catch up on some reading in lieu of skiing. When got to the ski lodge the wind was whipping and the snow was falling. The snow was very tiny dense flakes that almost resembled a mist. By the time I got out to ski it had calmed a bit. I made my way across the large stadium field towards the East Mt. Trail. The large puffs of my breath that eminated from my mouth resembled that of a large locomotive rolling across the plains.
The stiffness from the previous days exertion was very present and I pushed on with the hope that eventually it would go away. The cold disappeared on the uphills, but made its reappearance on the downhills. It was like I had just ingested a large bowl of ice cream very quickly and my sinus passages in my screamed for mercy. I retraced the previous days course with the exception of the Ladies 5k trail which I added this day. Most of it was closed, but it added an additional 1.5 miles. I stayed out the entire time, fearing that going in would cause much of my clothing to get wet with sweat and returning out would freeze up. I ended up doing about 9 miles in an hour and a half, which was plenty.
We headed over to Cafe Rustica for dinner. I ordered the Bruschetta appetizer which was a meal in itself. It also had a Red Pepper Hummus which was a nice addition. For dinner, I broke the rules a bit and had a pizza. I got a Magherita pie, light on the cheese, and added some Arugula to help oxygenate the blood a bit. All-in-all a good day out despite the cold. Supposed to be colder tomorrow, so I may need to make it a rest day.
Some photos of the local aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Managed to escape without any issues and power & internet still on. Some homes around are without power. I got lucky on this one. Rough night of sleeping with major winds/gusts and occasional blue flashes from transformers exploding. Temperatures dropping into 40’s which could be rough for those without power.
Nov 3, 2012 Update – Headed over to Rodale Fitness Park this afternoon for a short run. Many of the tall timbers that shade the back half of the track were snapped off. Pretty sad scene.
7:30 PM EST – Winds have slowed up for the time being. Not sure how long that will last.
7:10 PM EST – Lights flickered off for a few seconds but came back on again. Still got power, cable and internet.
6:36 PM EST – Rain has decreased but the winds have picked up a bit. Power and Internet still going. Houses across the street appear dark and I can hear some generators running. Strange looking light coming from Mr. Grumpy’s house across the street. Was able to cook dinner on stove and wash dishes. Time to catch up on my Turtleman episodes.
3:00 PM EST – Water beginning to trickle in the cellar door. Wetvac ready to go.
2:00 PM EST – Wind gusts start picking up a bit. Rain coming down pretty heavy.
1:00 PM EST – Work announced that they closing the office. Working from home today so I could not use that as an excuse not to work. As long as I have electric and Internet…still working.