Last year I competed in Lake Placid, but DNF’d (Did Not Finish) due to missing the bike cutoff for the second loop. You could imagine my excitement and my anticipation (patiently plotting my revenge on the Lake Placid course) to this year’s race. I made sure I practiced more hill climbs (Central Park loops, 9W & Bear Mountain) and added leg work in the gym to help on climbs.
I will finish this time… Well, at least make the bike cutoff.
For the impatient, please skip to race day.
My wife and I arrived in LP on Thursday afternoon and checked in the Crowne Plaza. I completed athlete checkin (weigh in 190lbs – 5’11”). I was five pounds lighter than last year, which was good.
I was in a been there, done that mood, so I saved Iron village for the next day.
I was very happy to see some familiar faces before the race.
From previous experience, I made a point to sleep in (as much as I could) Friday and Saturday mornings. Saturday night would be a crap shoot and I knew I would not get a great night’s sleep. Throughout the week I noticed a lot of athletes riding their bikes, running or swimming in Mirror Lake. I took an easy run on Friday; there was nothing I could do at this point to improve my times on Sunday.
3:15 AM and my alarm went off. I got up and ate some mini bagels with peanut butter. I stretched got myself mentally ready. By 4:45 AM I got body markings and went into transition. It was very chilly and I regret not packing warmer clothes.
I got my tires inflated by volunteers and used a porta potty. The lines were very long, but I had plenty of time.
This year I decided to take a few minutes and warm up in the water. I did not want the nausea or butterflies to deter from my swim. The water was nice and warm.
I seeded myself in the 1:20 – 1:30 line. After the singing of the national anthem, the canon went off and we were under way.
On the first loop, I took it easy. I did not spend a lot of time following the underwater cable. I collided with a few swimmers and I did my best to avoid them. I breathed on the right and kept an eye out for a swimmer and/or buoy to indicate I was going “straight.” I got grabbed in areas I won’t mention but I was doing my best to stay away from everyone. I got hit on my left wrist a few times (my watch arm) and was nervous the timer was stopped (fortunately it was not).
SWIM TIME – 1:29:08 As I expected. I have at least 10 more minutes for the bike course this time.
T1 (Transition One)
I found wetsuit strippers and they got me on my way. I grabbed my bike bag and dried as best as I could (It is really hard to put on Injini toe socks with wet feet). Then I got changed and rushed to grab my bike.
T1 TIME – 12:05 Not bad. On to the next one.
As I hobbled with my bike (it is awkward to walk, moreover run with my bike shoes), my wife called out and gave me a kiss for encouragement.
I got on my bike and slowly started the course. I immediately heard the cacophonous, “ON YOUR LEFT! ON YOUR LEFT!” and was passed by triathletes young and old, small and large. It was ok. I left my ego in T1. I was self-aware and knew that I was a weak hill climber.
There were ONLY three areas where I passed bikers.
- Within the first 10 miles, the out and back section on Bob Runs Road.
- I love the descent into Keene (max speed of 46 MPH).
- The out and back section in Jay, before Wilmington.
These were the only flats or declines I could remember. I smiled as I passed them, and turned those smiles upside down as they passed me on the next hill.
Everywhere else on the course, were moderate to difficult climbs; I was slow as a turtle. I kept peddling and saying to myself, “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.” I chose to hydrate with water and nuun tablets. I ate muffins that I packed in my bento box. I also stopped at aid stations and ate bananas and cliff shot blocks to avoid cramping.
My legs felt good and I made the first bike cutoff with good time (it was before 1 PM – cutoff was 1:30 PM). I completed the first loop at 4:05.
After mile 60 I was feeling the need to hit every aid station for a bathroom break. I drank too much (sorry coach Agnies, I can not pee on the bike).
I started to feel flashbacks from the previous year.
I monitored my bike computer and kept pedaling. I have to make the bike cutoff.
The last 20 miles of the course were torture for weak hill climbers: the scenic highway, the three bears and the last hill. I suffered in silence.
When I passed the area I was stopped last year, I felt relieved. I knew I was in good shape to finish the bike course.
I passed the last aid station (before 5 PM). By the time I got to the oval, a motorcycle was tailing me. I may have been the last cyclist coming in (it was a little after 5 PM). I saw the dismount line and smiled.
BIKE TIME – 8:32:43 Not great, but who cares? I made the bike cutoff!
T2 (Transition Two)
I was ready to throw my bike away so thank goodness there were handlers. I grabbed my run bag and changed into my run gear.
T2 TIME – 9:12 Good enough. I am ready to run!
I was still in a state of euphoria since I made the bike cutoff. I got this in the bag, right?
As I left the transition, I saw my wife, I gave her a kiss and was ready to go. I jogged first three miles and walked through the aid stations for nutrition. I felt bloated though, and walked during mile 4. I tried a Hot Shot and that was a bad idea. Not only did it taste horrible, I had to wash it down with water and Gatorade.
I summoned the strength to jog again through miles 5 to 8. I was not feeling as good as I hoped. I had to walk. And like the bike course, I was getting passed by many triathletes, young and old, small and large. I did not care. I am going to finish this course.
I had walked a lot but by this time I was in no danger of not completing the run course. I was on my second loop by 9:30 PM. At 3+ miles an hour, this was a cake walk. Sadly my watch complained about low battery. So much for keeping track of pace. I just needed to finish.
By mile 14 I started jogging again, at least with the downhills. Even as I walked, I focused on moving forward. By now I was drinking chicken broth, chased down by coke or red bull. In hindsight, these were disgusting concoctions.
By mile 18, the sun had set. A lot of the spectators were gone and moved to the finisher corrals. Some areas were pitch black and volunteers handed out glow stick necklaces. It was hard to see, but I kept moving. There were carts driving back and forth to provide light.
By mile 20, all you heard from volunteers, “You’re almost there!”
I kept moving forward. The path was better lit once I got back into town. I performed the last turnaround and felt a sense of urgency.
I started jogging again. I saw my wife right before the finisher chute and smiled.
Adrenaline kicked in as I entered the finisher chute and I picked up the pace. The lights, the energy, the noise were contagious.
And then Mike Reilly said my name…
PETER KIM YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!
RUN TIME – 6:32:16
Ironman Lake Placid – Total Time: 16:55:24
I felt pretty good. It was obvious I did not push myself too hard on the run. I posed for my race photo, then ate some pizza and took out my bike bags and gear. The hill up to the plaza was a little tough. =)
The next morning, it was raining. Thank goodness for Sunday’s weather.
My wife and I ate breakfast then drove to meet friends in Vermont… then we drove home.
Now that Lake Placid has been completed, I will look into seeing if I will do a running race later this year. Also I will research a flatter course for my next IM in 2018 where I hope I will run most of the marathon.
So who wants to sign up for an Ironman?