If you are jumping in now and haven’t read Part 1 you may want to go check it out. It will tell you how the swim and bike portion of Ironman Lake Placid went for me. This post contains the finale of Ironman Lake Placid, THE RUN!
T2 (bike-to-run transition)
Time: 5mins. 36secs.
I opted in T2 to make a complete outfit change out of my triathlon shorts and into a clean pair of running shorts. I was afraid of chaffing issues from the tri shorts that were drenched in sweat and covered in salt my body had poured out.
The changing tent this time was a lot less crowded than during T1. I ran in and found a plethora of empty seats so I sat down and started to do my thing. As soon as my butt hit that seat I had a wonderful volunteer there asking me if I wanted help and what she could do for me. I explained that I was making a complete outfit change and so she started to grab out my clean clothes and hand me things as I asked for them. I opted to take off my calf sleeves due to the heat and she even helped pull those off! The volunteers were so amazing! I toweled off my sweaty self, threw on clean shorts, my Multiple Myeloma tech shirt, a hat and my race belt and I was off! I chatted with a friend who had sat down next to me in transition and we wished each other well. I told her she’d see me again as I was sure she would be passing me on the run. The volunteer took care of my stuff even going as far as putting all the clean stuff that I didn’t use back in my giant Ziploc to keep it separate from the dirty bike stuff I had just taken off. Again, THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS!
Distance: 26.2 miles
Time: 5hrs. 29mins. 18secs.
Average Pace: 12:34 mins/mile
The run was brutal, especially the first loop. The sun was bright, there wasn’t enough shade and I was miserable. While my splits may not show it I was hurting the first 3 miles of the run and I knew if I didn’t figure out what my body needed I was going to be spending a really long time out there on the marathon course (as if 5.5 hours isn’t long!). After doing a full scan of how I was feeling I concluded that I needed to take in more calories and more electrolytes so I grabbed oranges at the first water stop and Base salt from the tent and ice cold water. From there on that was my pattern. Orange slices saved my day, they tasted so amazingly good and were the perfect amount of sugar to keep me going. I’m not a huge Gatorade fan so I didn’t take Gatorade very often, only when I really felt like I had maybe drank too much water and needed to replace electrolytes. My run was a pattern of run when I can, walk through the water stops, walk up the hills, and walk just because when I couldn’t fathom running. I had my watch set to show me my average run pace so I just aimed to keep that under 12:30minutes/mile if possible. The hills going back into Lake Placid are brutal, and I knew they would be, and I had absolutely no shame in walking up those bad boys.
When finishing the first loop of the run you have to pass by the chute where finishers enter the oval. What a tease to have to keep going when there were already people finishing and who had been finished for 2 hours already! Luckily, Harrison & Jason were at that juncture so I stopped for a quick pep talk from them. And my friend Allison was just across the way from the boys so after chatting with them I talked to her for a minute as well. I figured it wasn’t going to hurt my time that much to get a good mental kick in the butt that I needed to go back out there for round 2.
Luckily on the second loop the sun was starting to set and it was cooling down a bit. Unfortunately the humidity did not dissipate and the air felt thick. I continued my run/walk/walk/walk pattern and was still feeling OK. I’m happy to say that throughout the entire run I never had the stomach issues that I kind of expected. I figured I was going to be running from porta potty to porta potty on the race and that never became an issue, (thank god!). I did stop a few times to use the bathroom but I think that was more because I knew I’d get to sit down!
The worst part of the run for me was between miles 19- 23. It’s odd to me that it was there as those miles are relatively flat along River Rd. but it had nothing to do with elevation at that point and all just had to do with my body being so ready to be done.
I stopped constantly to stretch out my hamstrings and made sure to take my time through the rest stops to get what I needed. They had started handing out Chicken Broth at this point and it was heaven! It was the best thing I had ever tasted during a run. Why don’t more races have chicken broth available?? I also started sipping coke through some of the rest stops during these miles thinking the caffeine could help me get to that finish line, and while I don’t know physically if it helped, it tasted great!
About 4 miles from the finish, just past the horse show grounds, I heard cheering coming from a car waiting in a line of traffic. It was my friends Ed & Kait! They had to leave before I could finish but it was honestly a great spirit boost to see them at that point as some of the spectators had packed up and moved to the finish line to see their athletes become Ironmen. As we neared town I kept on trucking along and then we hit the hills, again. One. Last. Time. At the base of the steep hill I started chatting with a nice guy about the charity team and what not. It was a great distraction as we walked up the hill. Once we turned onto Main Street I said my goodbyes and picked up the pace again. I was determined to run to that finish line. I still had the out and back to do but it was only 2 miles and the cheering coming from the oval for all those finishing lifted my spirits. A group of my friends (including Harrison) were cheering for me as I turned onto Mirror Lake Drive for that last out and back which gave me some energy to get through that section with a HUGE smile on my face.
I think adrenaline definitely kicked in at the end. I was flying (relative to how I felt for the first 24 miles!) and soon enough I was entering the oval. I originally thought I was going to cry all the way to the finish line (tears of joy of course) but I just felt awesome. I was grinning from ear to ear and feeling good. It was such an amazing experience to cross that finish line with the crowds of people cheering you on. I can’t relate it to anything I’ve ever experienced before.
As I crossed the line 2 wonderful volunteers were there to “catch” me and make sure I was steady on my own 2 feet. And then out of the blue appeared Jason who took over! It was so so awesome to have a friendly face at the finish line to help me along. I collected my finishers gear and headed back towards the food to figure out what my body wanted. I saw a can of coke, which looked great, so I grabbed that and a piece of pizza and sat down to chill. Being off my feet was the best feeling in the world! I met up at the fence edge with Harrison and chatted for a bit before heading over to the massage tent to see how bad a line there was.
I must admit, I was shocked that there was barely any line at all. Those people were amazing! If you do Ironman, please take advantage of the massage tent. I really think that it helped immensely with how I felt the days after the race. I had a very kind woman who took great care of me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
When that was over I met up with Harrison outside the fence and we made our way back to the MMRF spectator’s tent to watch some friends come in. At that point I was getting cold and so Jason gave me a fleece he had and I wrapped my lower half in a space blanket and took a seat on the hill to watch people come in. After our last friend crossed the line I called it a night. As much as I wanted to stay to cheer everyone in I couldn’t (it was already 11:30PM, I was tired!). We still had to walk back to the apartment and shower and I needed to find some more food. And that’s exactly what I did. Harrison had grabbed all my gear while I was still out on the run so I didn’t have to worry about any of that which was great. All I had to do was get myself home!
I showered, I ate and I hit the sack!
It was a great day. Congratulations to all those who finished Ironman Lake Placid on Sunday July 26th. It is a day I will NEVER forget. I’m still riding high on the feeling.
Did I sign up again to do it next year? Hell no. But not because I don’t want to do another Ironman distance race. I don’t see myself ever wanting to race long races like Ironman in consecutive years. The training is so time consuming and I want to be able to spend time with my family. I have my eyes on 2017, but until then I’m planning on focusing on short distances, speed and getting my body stronger.
I’ll be back with some follow up thoughts on my race experience, but until then, thanks for following me on this journey!