I’m a 2’er – A long walk in the Adirondack’s (with pictures!)

On Sunday, May 29th I had the pleasure of taking a long walk in the woods with Travis.  Travis has been hiking for almost 10 years and now has 22 peaks under his belt.  Obtaining a “peak” occurs when you climb to the summit of a high peak in the Adirondack’s.  Their are officially 46 peaks which when originally mapped were all above 4,000 feet.  However, modern technology has proved that some were lower than 4,000 and some higher than they thought.  In the end 46 peaks remain.  Travis explained to me that their is even a 46’er club for all those who have climbed to the top of each peak, check out the link to see visit their website (Their are about 6,000 members, living and deceased that have attained the 46’er status).  One gains access to this club by submitting a letter to the group via snail-mail (US Postal Service) upon the completion of each hiking trip.  In my case I will be submitting a letter to the 46’er club explaining my first hiking experience and letting them know that I am officially a 2’er.  Travis will likewise send them a letter with a 22’er in the top right hand corner letting them know that he know has achieved 22 peaks in his adirondack hiking career.  The 46’er club maintains a record of all these letters so that when a hiker finally achieves the distinction of having reached the peak of all 46 they will be recognized by the club.  Imagine, if I can climb a few peaks each year over the next 30-40 years I could have a documented trail of where I was, who I was with, and what the experiences were like.  It would be a little life-time journal of sorts.  Travis mentioned that even his (~7-10 years of letters) includes stories of past girlfriends, people he hasn’t seen in years, etc…  I can’t imagine where I will be or who I will be with in 10 years.  But it would be cool to see Travis in the 40’s (or done) and myself in the 20’s of peaks climbed in 10 years. Time will tell.

Here are some pictures (some with titles referencing what they are of) from our hike.  We ended up climbing both Phelps and Tabletop.  It took us about 7 hours and 15 minutes and that included about a 45-1hr detour because we are both horrible at directions:) Enjoy!

The American Triple T, Base Performance, and Much Much More!

First off let me catch you all up on where I am this weekend.  Yesterday was Saturday May 28th (My 25th Birthday…A QUARTER OF A CENTURY!) and I am in none other than the beautiful Lake Placid, NY with a bunch of good buddies.  Instead of the usual hotel/motel I am staying in a lovely townhouse that is right on the bike and run course as you head out of town.  It’s a perfect place to make camp for a long weekend.  Since I somewhat tired myself out last weekend at the Triple T, I am on a semi rest/recovery week which makes this trip very lovely as I have no specific objectives to meet in terms of training.  I can ride as long as I want to, go for a little jog if I feel like it…you know, just do as much as I feel like.  Yesterday I headed out with a couple buddies for a loop of the Ironman bike course and boy was I surprised at just how tired my legs actually were from last weekend.  During this past week I went out for a couple 1 hour easy rides and everything felt just fine.  However, the 3+ hours and significant climbing that the Lake Placid loop offers really exhausted the legs and had them pretty well cooked.  So anyway that brings me to the know.  It’s almost 6:30 AM on Saturday May 28th.  As usual everyone else is still in bed while I am awake and moving around.  I’ve got a really good cup of “Jamacian me Crazy by Finger Lakes Roasters” coffee by my side courtesy of Ms. Kim Ammon who brought it from home, its really tasty! (I just have to add that Kim just came downstairs after having woken up and just asked me if the contacts that were in the bathroom were mine.  I said “yep they are mine” and she goes “sh%*”…looks like she somehow managed to fit my contacts into her very own eyes..I don’ think I have ever heard of that happening before, I am actually quite impressed! Update: 1:08PM Just got back from a nice little morning workout here in Placid.  Really nothing like starting the day off with a bike ride in the scenic Adirondack Mountains.  I took it out for about 2 hours in super easy recovery mode and then once I was on the climb to Wilmington I started to push the pedals a bit.  Since I had no real schedule to keep I decided to climb at least part of the toll road to the top of Whiteface.  I made it to the toll booths (I have a picture on my iPhone to prove it) and I figured I’d just do the whole thing.

Well the wonderful toll guards came out and informed me that since I was a cyclist I must pay $6 dollars to subect myself to 4 more miles of 8% and higher grades of climbing.  Nothing like penalizing the fit and healthy of our country.  Wtf is this anyways a tax on being in shape or trying to get in shape?  Ok ok..I understand that they must take in money to maintain the roads, but common people, NYS spends enough money on other retarded stuff…let the cyclist climb a gosh darn hill if they want to!  So I played the “its my birthday card”…I said it something like, boy Im having a great birthday climbing all these wonderful hills…BUT NO DICE, the bi$%* wasn’t having it.  Please excuse my language but it really ticked me off.  So down I went at about Mach 5..well not really because I was stuck behind a couple cars who were moving quite slowly.  I made my way back to town and eventually to out townhouse.  Quickly changed my clothing, got some water and headed out for an easy 4 mile run.  Just a recovery run at a super slow (undisclosed to the public speed), It would shock and amaze most people the speed I run my recovery runs at.  In the comments section you can post your guesses.  No QT2 people are allowed to participate in this game because it would basically be cheating for you.  That leaves me where I am at right now..about to prepare a big salad, then maybe hit up Starbucks and read my latest book purchase “Im Here to Win” by Macca.  A must read for all triathletes!

THE AMERICAN TRIPLE T

(On the way to the 2nd Olympic Triathlon on Saturday afternoon)

Alright then!  Let’s get down to business.  Here is something that you all might actually find interesting and want to read.  Last weekend myself and three of my good friends (Mike C., Don and Ken) headed down to Southern Ohio (Portsmouth – Shawee State Park) for the American Triple T.  This is a stage race that includes four races in three days.  I went into the race weekend with no real expectation as to how my body would react.  I had a decent base of training under my belt but I just didn’t know how it was all going to go down since after 2 days of racing the third and final day (Sunday) was to include a half iron distance race on a significantly hilly course.

Some say that this race is harder than an Ironman, however I would beg to differ. They are not really comparable in that an Ironman is 8-12 hours (for most people) of time on your feet.  That is pretty much double the time you spend on your feet during a 1/2.  The simple fact that you are on your feet for that long of a time is signifigant.  The amount of fatigue and muscular damage that occurs from hours 4-12 of the Ironman is so much more intense that the first 4 hours of the race or during a 1/2 since during this time you are still relatively “fresh” and have proper glycogen stores.  I believe that as these stores are exhausted and you become more and more fatigued the damage that is being done is essentially multiplied at a significantly faster rate.  Therefore the simple fact that you are still racing above and beyond 5 hours does a lot more damage that just racing 3 days in a row.  During the 3 days you have time to get off your feet, refuel, hydrate, etc… With that said a stage race poses its own unique set of problems since you have to do so much preparation and restoration during those 3 days to ensure that you are adequately fueled and rested for the next race.  Especially on Day 2 when you have a hilly Olympic distance race at 7:30 AM and then another equally hilly and challenging Olympic race at 3PM.  The people who can race, then get off their feet and recover the quickest will not only have a good afternoon race but they will be setting themselves up to have the best possible half Iron race on Sunday.

Moving along; here is a summary of the races in the order they occurred:

Friday Evening Prologue Super Sprint : (22:44 – 20th OA)

This was a fast paced super sprint consisting of an approximate 300 yard swim, 4ish mile bike, and 1 mile run.  It was balls to the wall from the get go.  The swim was fast and furious, I ended up going 4:26, good enough for 19th overall.  After that a quick transition led to the bike leg which began with a short out flat section and a quick 180 turn.  After that it was flat for about 1/2 a mile before the big hill.  The hill was probably three quarters to a full mile.  I charged up the hill never sitting down.  Thinking back I think I could have dropped my gearing to one more harder gear and really cranked.  Instead I felt I left a little in reserve, but it didn’t matter to much since I was going pretty hard as it was.  I ended up backing off a bit as I made another 180 turn at the top of the hill.  Once that was done it was time to fly down the hill.  Luckily due to my seeding (80th, based on my best 1/2 IM performance) I had separated myself during the swim and the hill portion of the bike.  As I went down the hill I didn’t have anyone around me so I could really tuck and go fast (within reason).  I navigated the hill safely and jumped off my bike ready to sprint a mile.  The first part of the run really surprised me in its difficulty.  Looking back you can see that the first quarter of a mile is all uphill, something I didn’t really notice since its very slight.  Well I definitely felt it in my legs since I was basically red-lining.  Once I got over the initial hit to the system I settled in and started shuffling my feet at a high cadence.  I hit the turn around feeling good and started to mash it on the way home which was all downhill.  I ended up clocking a 5:48 (good enough for 18th overall in the run).  I hit the finish line and was GASPING FOR AIR!  I literally had to take the tight tri tank top off because it felt like it was restricting air flow.  I really went pretty hard and could feel it.  I remember that feeling and my only thought was “Damn, this is going to be a long weekend if I feel like that every race”.  Luckily I made it through and felt that I got stronger each time!  After the race we hung around the finish line for a while, met some people, put our legs in the cool lake, and then road our bikes back up the gigantic hill to our cabin.  After another feeding most of us (except the Canadians) were ready for bed.  I think the Canadians stayed up and drank like 15 beers a piece…then they proceeded to kick ass the next day…they are a different breed 🙂  I slept ok on Friday night but not great.  Anyways we were all up around 5am and the day began.  Two races were ahead of us:

Saturday –  Olympic # 1  (2:19 – 22nd Overall – 19:45 swim, 1:14 bike – 25 miles & 43:13 run – 6.55 miles)

This was a pretty good race for me.  My good friend Mike Corona usually passes me on the bike in just about everything race.  However, as I started a little before him due to the TT format I never saw him go by me.  This alone told me two things.  I was riding pretty good and Mike was saving himself for the races that remained.  Mike ended up having a solid AM race and it showed through when he negative split his two races that day.  He ended up going even faster in the PM race.  This goes to show you how proper pacing can lead to excellent results.  So as I came into T2 i knew I was moving right along and off the bike on the run I was still feel very good and the Heart Rate backed it up.  This was the first race on the 6.55 mile run course that we would all be traversing for the remaining races.  1 more time during the 2nd Olympic and twice during the half iron on Sunday.  I have got to say that I absolutely loved the run course!  It was like being back home in Mendon Ponds.  Lots of climbing for the first 3 miles and then basically a huge down hill all the way back to transition.  It provided lots of opportunities to really go after the downhills and pick up huge chunks of time.  After the race I was feeling good but definitely was thinking in the back of my head that I might have overcooked it a bit to much and it might come back to haunt me.  Maybe not on the PM Olympic, but on the half the next day.  Only time would tell.  Again we rode up the big hill and hit the cabin for a shower, food, and a little nap.  Before we knew it we were on our way back down the hill for race #3 and the second of the day!  What could be better!

Race #3: Olympic #2  (Bike, Swim Run – 2:25 – 15th Overall , 1:14 bike, 21:31 swim, 46:18 run)

Race #3 brought us all an out and back course that had great roads to ride on and a couple significant hills that were quite lengthy.  Just like the AM Olympic if it was yet again another great bike course.  This is truly a trademark of the Triple T event.  The bike course are phenomenal!  Mike and I started together in a TT format.  I let him take off from me at the start as its not a good plan for me to be chasing him right from the get go.  At that point in time that could have only led to a disastrous run.  He knows that, I know that.  The bike moved right along and before I knew it I was back on the 6.55 mile trail run.  I took it out a littler conservative and pretty much stayed their for the rest of the race.  I ran within myself and ended up catching up to Mike with about 2 miles to go.  From their I ran it in and quickly began refueling in preparation for the half on Sunday.  It was definitely a little difficult to get the food down on Saturday afternoon.  I had essentially been stuffing myself since Thursday morning.  I decided on less volume and more caloric dense food.  Got that stuff down the hatch and tried to fall asleep.  However sleep did not want to come on Saturday night.  I was really hot and uncomfortable in my bed, I think I could hear some snoring from one of my roommates and was just not able to drift into a nice peaceful sleep.  I ended up sitting and talking to Canadian Mike C (a very very fast dude who finished 6th Overall and who is probably the most analytical dude in the world, he looked at everything for every race that he did…he was like a walking encylopedia…whatever he is doing he is doing it right because HE’S FAST) Anyway, I chatted a little bit, drank some more water and then went back to lying in my bed staring at the ceiling.  I think I ultimately ended up getting like 4-4.5 hours of actual sleep.  This only enhanced my skepticism of how my body would react during the half on Sunday.  I really didn’t know if I was going to be able to bike at a sustainable race pace, or if I was going to hit the run and absolutely implode.  If nothing else, racing the TTT really taught me a lot about my body and where my fitness was at.  Never the less were were all up around 4:30 – 5am getting ready to get to transition and begin the half iron at 7am sharp.

Race #4 Half Iron (5:10 – 11th Overall, 29:16 swim – 2:59 bike – 1:39 run)

As expected at about 10 min before race time their was not a soul near the water.  That’s just how it goes in this type of race.  Everyone is pretty fatigued and putting off the fact that they have 70.3 mile left.  Its funny to see this because in most every other triathlon race (with all type A people) transitions are usually filled to the brim 3 hours before race time, no matter when the race is set to begin…its just the nature of triathletes.  Well eventually everyone got settled in and the race began.  Since no one really cared about proper seeding anymore Mike Corona and I started the swim together.  Now here is the funny thing (Mike talks about this on his blog to..which you can find–> here).  So Mike and I take off on the swim and as we exit the first loop I see that to my left, stroke for stroke, is none other than Mr Corona for himself, literally right next to me.  I didn’t say anything that time, just continued on the 2nd loop thinking how funny that was.  Again on the second loop I didn’t see Mike at all during the main portion of the swim but without fail right as we exited the water I turned to my right and there was Mike.  We literally swam the exact same time!  I’ve never seen that before.  I wasted no time and high tailed it to transition.  I was in and out pretty quickly and before I knew it I was rolling along on my bike.  About 15 minutes in Mike caught up to me and proceeded to leave me in the dust 🙂  The rest of the bike ride went really well.  Not only was the scenery outstandingly beautiful but the ride got better for me as it went on.  During the first loop about 4 people were around me the whole time.  At the beginning of the second loop the 4 others were still around, however at the first hill I began to separate from them.  I wasn’t trying to drop them or anything but as the second loop continued I felt stronger and stronger.  If nothing else I knew that I would at least have a respectable bike split and be within a couple of minutes of Mike, which meant that I would be chasing him as usual.  I was happy to see that as I entered T2 Mike had just begun his run which meant he’d have like 3-4 minutes on me.  I took the first loop of the run course very conservative staying in a relatively low HR (more or less my Ironman HR).  I managed the uphills and really worked the downhills, but was still staying conservative and eating as many clif bloks as possible.  Instead of spacing my clif bloks out every 2 miles or 15 minutes I began to eat them when I wanted them whether that be every mile or every 3 miles.  So at the beginning I had gone through about 3 blocks in the first 5 miles.  Looking back this was a good strategy for me and for this event in particular simply due to the fact that it was a whole weekend event and fatigue was growing by the minute.  At each turnaround I saw Mike, who was running exceptionally well as I really wasn’t putting much time into him.  However, on the second loop I started to open it up a little.  My heart rate was responding well and slowly began creeping up into a tempo pace.  I hit the 3/4 mark of the half marathon and saw that I had closed on Mike a bit, I was feeling very good at the time so as I passed him I just gave him a big shit eating grin.  Just ask him, he’ll tell you.  🙂  I ended up catching up to Mike with about 2-3 miles to go.  I really worked the downhills on the way home and came into the finish line a happy man having negative split both the bike and run loops.  I ended up running the Olympics and Half at run paces of 6:30, 7:00, and 7:30 respectively.  I really took a lot away from this half iron race because it was at the end of a long race weekend and my body responded VERY WELL.  I had so much fun seeing all my old and new friends on the run course in particular.  I would smile, give them a cheer, slap hands..all that good stuff.  And even to the people who I didn’t know I was smiling and cheering them on.  Everyone was just having such a good time.  The TTT is such a cool event that really gives you a great test of fitness.  To sum up the whole weekend I would say that:

The Triple T is held in an absolutely amazing location, we had stellar weather, awesome Mexican food, really neat cabins in the woods, I made some great new friends and had a blast with my three buddies that I went down their with, 4 grown men in 2 bunk beds.  Mike and I will be racing as a team next year.  And probably the best compliment an athlete can get was given to me by Mike while we were sitting in the lake after the last race and that was “you are fit”  those three words mean a lot to an athlete.  At least they meant a lot to me.  Funny though a week later and after 56 miles of the IMLP loop I feel very very far away from being fit (more like fat and lazy)…but that will fix itself over the next few weeks….hopefully 🙂

TTT OVERALL RESULTS:

Me: 8th Solo Racer Overall with a time of 10:17

Mike: 10th Solo Racer Overall with a time of 10:26

Shout out to Base Performance sports supplements (Who just so happen to have a Memorial Day Sale going on through Monday)

When I back a product or service I do so because I am actually using the product/service and really like it.  I will sometimes mention products that I think are cool and that I believe others will like as well.  However their are certain products that I really really like, and for those I feel that a proper review for everyone to read is the greatest show of respect that I can provide.  In regards to Base Performance I have nothing but good words about both their products and their people!  Let me start by saying that Base Performance is a brain child of Chris Lieto and his brother Paul (I am sure Matt has some hand in it as well).  Its no big surprise that I am a HUGE Chris Lieto fan.  He was the first pro I actually followed as his racing really captured my attention (especially on the bike).  Then when I raced my first Ironman 70.3 in Galveston last Spring I actually got to meet Chris and chat with him.  It was an absolutely unbelievable experience and one that I can’t believe I had at my very first half ironman.  With that said I must give you a very brief summary of my history with sports supplements.  When I was in college I was pretty big into weight lifting and took a lot of supplement.  I never took anything close to illegal, instead I took a combination of vitamins and other supplements that together created a toxic bomb.  I ended up having some significant health issues that took a good deal of time to figure out.  Ever since then I have been very hesitant to start taking any supplements.  I have taken protein but that was it.  No more glutamine, no more creatine, no more “extra” stuff.  Sure I might have been missing out on some of their benefits but at least I knew everything in my system would be alright and return to normal.  Well this brings me to Base Nutrition.  After I did some research on what actually was included in their supplements I decided that I could begin to introduce them to my system with minimal risk of having any bad side effects.  I have been using their Base Amino and Base Recovery Activator for the past month and I have only GREAT things to say.  I really believe that just these two products have enhanced my ability to recover and rebound much more quickly than usual. This product review is in this race report because I feel that the best test for these products came at the Triple T.  A stage race with 4 races in 3 days.  Their is no better test of a persons ability to recover than to race at full speed 3 days in a row, having the longest of the races be on the final day.  The Base products passed the test with flying colors.  I didn’t know how I was going to feel or how I was going to perform at the 1/2 Iron on Sunday and I can honestly say that I felt awesome and was able to really push myself (I ended up negative splitting the second bike and second run loops during the race).  Some might say that this was just due to my training base or whatever, but you know, I’d rather not take the chances.  For me Base Performance supplements are going to be a staple in my triathlon training.  Don’t take my word for it though, go to their site and try their product.  I won’t put any guarantee’s out their but I really do believe that these products can be very beneficial to all types of athletes who engage in training at intense levels for sustained periods of time.  The proof as they say is in the pudding.  So do yourself a favor and give these products a shot.  Tell them Turbeau sent you!

Alright, Turbeau the salesman is done.  Please take my thoughts and opinions with a grain of salt as these are my own feelings.  However, I share them because I really do believe in their product and I really do use it on a daily basis.  For me I find them to be extremely beneficial and for that reason alone I want to spread the word and give other people a change to at least try them out.  With that said I will give a final “Thank You” shoutout to Paul Lieto and the rest of the crew who make the Base Performance Team work.  I think you guys have a QUALITY product and are doing a great job of promoting and getting the word out.  The people at Base really take customer service seriously and I can personally attest to this as I have had some questions that caused me to email Paul, both in regards to their supplements and some other site login issues.  In each occasion Paul has gotten back to me very quickly and solved my problem.  In my books great customer service is IMPERATIVE to a successful business.  I am really happy to be a part of the Base Performance Team. Keep up the great work!

Quick Update with TTT Results

Well I am back home after a great weekend in Ohio with my good buddies Mike Corona, Don Ehinger, and Ken Koppenhaver.

Don’t have much time right now to do a proper race report but I will be sure to get one up this weekend.  I will be heading up to Lake Placid for some relaxation and a little bit of training.  Mostly easy stuff this week and I am letting the body recover from the onslaught that was the American Triple T!  But I do have a little hike set up with none other than Mr. Mountaineer himself Travis Earley.  We will be looking to traverse uncharted territory where no man has gone before.  It will be epic!

While I am up in LP with my feet up I will be sure to let you all know what went down at the Triple T!  For now I will leave you with some links to the results.  Check them out!

Triple T, Ohio (4 Races in 3 Days, OVERALL RESULTS HERE!)

10:17 Total Time, 8th Solo Overall

Super Sprint      Olympic # 1     Olympic #2      Half Iron

Ironman Lake Placid Part II – How to Nail the Run

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Here’s me, shortly before the swim start.  I’d wager to guess about 15 minutes before the gun went off since I’ve just about drained my powerbar bottle after taking in my last pre-race gel. (Nutrition tip: No need to OD on nutrition ride before the start, 15 minutes out pop one last gel and wash it down with some water and your good to go.  You should be well fueled because of the two previous days and the early morning breakfast you had, what you eat 1 hour before is only going to top you off or if you do it incorrectly put you over the edge and quite possibly into a porta-potty).  This brings up a good point, if you do have to go the bathroom right before the race I would say just pee in the lake somewhere, ya ya gross…whatever…everyone is doing it.  However if you need to take a #2 or just need some quite time if you head back towards transition and from mirror lake on the left end of transition there are a row of porta potties that can be utilized.  Their are a few others around that are closer to the lake but they will be mobbed!  You are better off walking a little further, going into transition and hitting those up.  You will still be close enough to use those 10-15 minutes before the race and still make it back for the start if an emergency hits.

One of the first thing that comes to my mind for the run, even before I talk about the actual course is that you want to be comfortable in the equipment you will be using.   This means running in your race day shorts and shoes before the race.  And when I say running I don’t mean a 45 minute or 1 hour run.  I mean a 2 + hour run before the big dance.  There is a reason that we have dress rehearsals for big events like weddings and graduations, and an Ironman race is no different.  This has made me thought of another point that I should have put in the bike section of the last post and that is to make sure all your gear is ready to go about 1 week prior to the race.  Hopefully you are all friends with your LBS, if your not you need to start being friendly because they can really save your butt.  I know that the guys and gals over at Towpath Bike Shop have helped me out big time on many occasions when something has gone wrong with the bike, or when i decide to try wrenching and totally screw stuff up, or when a race in fast approaching and I need the bike to get looked over.  Anyhow, I would suggest that you let your bike shop know that your doing Lake Placid this summer and set a date about a week to a week and a half before the race where you are going to drop the bike off for a tune up.  During this tune up I would highly suggest new tires (we want to minimize the chance of flatting), new tubes while were at it, have them check the chain to make sure its not stretched and if it is you might as well throw on a new chain (they are only like $20-30 bucks).  Those are the big things that come to mind, sure its more money that you are spending on your IM adventure but it is money well spend and really is small peanuts in the broad scheme of things.  You really must remember that these little things are important to take care of before the race because on race day a popped tube, or a slashed tired could lead to a sad outcome and one that could have been avoided.

“There is no good bike before a bad run”

That is a quote from Endurance Nation coach Patrick McCrann.  He usually gives a pre-race speech on Saturday down by Mirror Lake.  Its a pretty good talk ecspecially for those first time IM athletes, I would highly suggest keeping an eye out for that.  Since its on Saturday I would suggest that this should be your only outdoor activity for the day.  Things brings me to another random point that is not specifically aimed at the run split.  This point however is more important.  The number one thing you can do to screw up your race before it even starts is tiring yourself out by walking around the day before a race instead of getting your feet up off the ground and relaxing.  I know that super Ironman athlete Pat Wheeler, of QT2 Systems usually shoots for about 1.50 hours on his feet the day before a race.  Sure it sounds like you could do it too, but its freaking hard! (But is it worth it, well Pat ran a 3 hr marathon off the bike in Kona for a 9:23 last year…ummm yeah I think he may be onto something)  Real hard!  Just think how much time you spend on your feet to go the bathroom, shower, and make food everyday.  You will really need to have a plan in place to enable yourself to be off your feet as much as possible.  What I would do is wake up fairly early on Saturday and go to your planned breakfast, this is the breakfast of all breakfast’s.  It will probably be the most fun you’ve had all year.  EAT EAT EAT, stuff yourself full in the morning and then taper down from their during the day.   Your should end the day by going to bed a little hungry.  I would suggest that you be lying in bed at 6 or 7 o’clock regardless of if you are actually tired.  In my case I laid in bed all day.  Read some books, watched a little tv.  I only got up to go the bathroom, get water, and to get food from the fridge.  Other than the breakfast in the morning and walking to the speech that was my day!  And it should be yours too.  You’ve trained a lot for this race and you should do your best not to sabotage it by tiring your legs and body out with a lot of useless walking around.

…and the Run:

Here is the route–> IMLP Run Course Map

I left off on Part I at the part of the course where you begin running on River Road.  This portion of the run comes after some significant down hill running.  During the first loop I would advise to take it out easy.  Stay in control of yourself.  One you hit River Road start to really dig in.  Remember to keep eating.  My protocol is to have a clif blok every 2 miles and hit every aid station for some fluid.  Just remember that unless you train with coke on every run (which I seriously hope you don’t) than you should try to hold off on the special sauce until later in the race when the caffeine boost can really be used as a huge benefit.   The section of the run on River Road can be pretty boring and a little lonely.  Luckily during the first loop there is usually a good mix of people, those who biked like Hercules and who are showing the effects, those who are running like scud missiles, and the pro’s who are in various stages of the race.  I know that last year when I was on river road on my first loop I got to see the first place male (Ben Hoffman) fly by me going about 20 mph on foot 🙂  Then when I was back in town at the turn around section along Mirror Lake I was able to see a Tim Snow, professional triathlete part of the QT2 team motor by me.  I had met Tim earlier in the year so it was cool to wish him well and give him a quick “atta boy”.  Then on my second loop going down the big hill by the ski jumps I saw his wife Cait (who would go on to finish second in LP and then 8th in Kona last year) and cheered her on.  Even as she was giving it her all going up the hill she gave a smile and a cheer back to me.  Those are the special moments in our sport.  These were just to occurrences with a couple professionals who were cranking on the course but their were so many other exchanges between friends of mine that I had met either at training camps, or from people I knew from Rochester, etc.. etc.. I can say pretty much that without a doubt you will see someone close to you, someone that you know on course that day cheering you on either as a fan or spectator.  When that happens a shot of adrenaline will run through your veins and all will be good.  If only that feeling could last the whole race everyone would be running sub 3!  I will be on course that day so hopefully I can provide some energy boosts to all you that are reading this and who follow my blog.

Overall, I really don’t have many other tips for the run.  It’s going to be all about how your prepared for the run on race day that is going to make all the difference.  If you rode within yourself, remembered to keep the nutrition steady, and are mentally prepared you should have a great run.  I suppose the thing that sticks out in my mind the most is that the first loop is going to come and go, you will feel fresh and feel good.  Loop 2 is going to hurt at some point…it just will.  Focus on running the downhills hard, work them and bank some extra time, as you go down the hill with the ski jumps to your right you should be flying.  Use that hill as a guide, think about it as you begin your second loop.  Once you’ve worked the downhill successfully then its a pretty flat out and back on river road.  After your run the river road section you will begin to climb the hill by the ski jumps, this will be the longest hill remaining.  Really try and be efficient up this hill.  Now is not the time to give up, your soo close!  Get up the hill and try to fnd a rhythm over the section from the jumps to town.  You can start picking up the pace here becuse your around mile 20-22.  Then when you get into town their is going to be one short and nasty hill that ends with the Sunoco station on your right.  The hill plain sucks!  I was not ready for it last year and I really lost major time on it.  I was not prepared.  But you guys have a chance to know its coming and to deal with it.  Just remember that their is still work to do even when you can see and hear the crowds at the finish line.  If possible motor up the last big hill into town, its going to be the last big effort of the day.  The crowds will begin to grow and you will be able to feed off their energy a bit.  Your still have to make the right onto mirror lake drive and hit the short out and back section but once you do that you will be heading downhill with the lake to your right and the finish line just ahead.  Hopefully your family and friends will be lined up somewhere along that section.  You don’t want to look slow and beaten for them do you?  I didn’t think so.  Hammer as hard as possible.  If I was racing this year I would run as hard as I could from the bottom of the last hill when entering town until the end of the race.  If you blow up their, well its not that long of a death march.  My bet is that you won’t blow up and that you finish the race absolutely exhausted…just the way you should when racing for 9,10, 11+ hours.

As for the actual race that is all I’ve got left for you.  If you have any specific questions please feel free to post a comment or email them directly to me at matthew.curbeau@gmail.com

Other Random’s to stick in your cap:

  • When preparing for IMLP, if you have the chance to train on the course i would suggest riding the last part of the course in reverse all the way to the out and back section.  It’s about a 2-2.5 hour ride for me in an endurance mode so plan accordingly.  It will give you a good appreciation of just how much climbing you do on the back side of the course.  Riding it in reverse to the out and back section will have you flying, you’ll be easily averaging 20+ mph without doing to much work, this will definetly help your appreciate the effort that is required on these last 10-12 miles.
  • There is no need to charge any hills, I suggest spinning up them and conserving your energy.  Sit in that saddle and cruise, then once you crest hammer the downhills and utilize gravity.  You will be able to exert less energy and go faster on an overall basis.
  • If you look in the above picture you can see some things that I think might help you in your preparation.  Since LP can be chilly in the morning since its in the Adirondacks, I personally there some arm warmers rolled into little donut shaped things on my aero bars just in case it got cold and rainy.  It didn’t and I never put them on but they were on the bike just in case and didn’t do any harm because they were.  Just as an FYI I rode with arm warmers and a bike Jersey in Florida for the IM and was cold beyond belief, but thats for another post.  I also am wearing clear lens glasses since it was a cloudy morning, and I knew it would be for the better part of the bike since I was smart and checked the weather channel.  I know the weather channel is not 100% but its a pretty good bet.  I wore clear lens on the bike and then put on another pair of dark lens for the run, along with a visor.  With sunglasses and a visor you will never have to worry about feeling the pain of squinting through 26.2 miles.

Ironman Lake Placid – Turbeau’s Tips, Tricks & Other Random Thoughts

Let me preface this first.  I am going to speak for my own experiences as a first time Ironman athlete who went 10:56 on the day, (6th place in the 18-24 year old AG).  Please take my suggestions and experiences with a grain of salt as they are how I personally feel.  If you are faster or slower than me adjust for your own expectations.  However, I will first say that IMLP is a challenging course no matter how experienced or inexperienced you are.  You must go into the race respecting the course.  You must respect the course and in that respect you need to formulate a plan that fits you and execute that plan to a T, if you deviate or try to wing it I will say that you have a 95% of making your day hell.  So its easy to steer clear of this by coming in focused, trained, well rested and armed with a plan!  With that said lets get down to business.

Pre-Race:

Register as early as you can on Thursday.  Get it out of the way so you don’t waste anymore energy than you have to.  Go to the expo after that and then don’t go back until Monday morning when you go and get some finisher swag if thats your thing.  I’d suggest getting one of those cool finisher jackets if its your first IM, afterwards if you keeping doing IM its just kinda dorkey to keep getting stuff like that but if its your first by all means celebrate a little and pick up something decent..just please for the love of god don’t get one of the loud finisher jerseys to wear on your bike that is rainbow or american flag colored (depending on your race).  Take my word for it, the accomplishment of completing your first IM speaks for itself you don’t need to broadcast this to the world.  IMO there is nothing cooler than being an unassuming person who doesn’t appear to be a monster on the course…but when the cannon goes off they are a controlled maniac on a mission.

Nutrition:

Your nutrition should be consistent.  Get acclimated to the nutrition you are going to take in on race day.  Practicing nutrition is JUST as important as getting your yardage in at the pool or getting the miles on the bike.  If you screw up your nutrition in the half or full distance Ironman races you will be in a world of hurt.  For some perspective here is my basic nutrition strategy.  I train and race with the same stuff, Powergels, powerbars, powerbar endurance (now perform) powder mix drink, and clif bloks.  That is pretty much it.  Keeping the nutrition strategy simple is key since you do not want t encounter and GI issues that you have never had before on race day.  So by having your nutrition consistent and simple it allows you to truly get acclimated and create and “iron stomach”.  Once you have that knocked it all becomes about timing.  Eating on a normal basis is all about timing as well, so if you think of race nutrition on the same basis you can understand that you need to eat certain things at certain times.  For example the time to try and get some solids (a powerbar) in your stomach is during the first 2 hours of the IM bike.  This is when your stomach will be relatively stable as you are in 1 fixed position more or less.  Eating something solid on the run could lead to a heavy gut and GI distress. Therefore as you work into hour 3 and beyond on the ironman bike you should look to start taking your calories in liquid form.  Hit the gels and keep drinking.  Personally I will use gels and endurance drink all the way until t-2.  Once on the run I switch to clif blocks.  Basically popping 1 blok every ~2 miles.  This provides me with a consistent stream of calories and energy, and gives me something to hold onto when I run.  For some reason a clif blok package in my right hand balances out the weight of the garmin on my left.  And finally on the run I will usually take 2 powergels, 2x caffeine to take in at any point during the run when I feel like it.  These give a little extra “buzz” boost on the run.  Some people will drink redbull or other concoctions and thats great, but I warn you to try it out on your long brick workouts before the race.  Race day is not the time to try and “grow your wings” by hitting a redbull at mile 12 and then barfing your brains out at mile 14.  Just saying…So there it is, a simple strategy.  I for one like to have my nutrition available so I do not have to think about getting it from aid stations.  I will place my bike gels and bars on my bike before the race, I will place 2 clif blok packages and 2 gels in my t-2 bag, and I will place a few scattered in my special needs bag in case anything goes wrong.  This is my way of feeling comfortable.  However, the beauty of using the nutrition I have mentioned about is that with the exception of the clif bloks, you can get it all ON-COURSE on race day.  All the powergels, powerbars, perform drink will be available to your at the aid stations.  This brings me to another point about the powerbar perform drink and hydration strategies/setups in general…

Bring to pairs of sunglasses, clear and dark, most likely you will use the clear on the bike and the dark on the run, place accordingly in the bike and run special needs bags respectively.

Put a small jar of vasoline in your bike and run bag.  Take the time to grab a gob and put it down your shorts when you are changing in both T1 and T2, trust me its worth the time.  I can attest the issues that can arise from going sans vasoline.  I suffered near the end of the first loop with major chaffing down below.  It hurt bad and I was stuffing sponges down my pants to stop the pain (Like Macca, only down my pants).  This actually worked but it wasn’t the best option (so if in dire need use sponges to stop the burning, but vasoline is soo much better).

Before the race everyone and their brother will be milling around the lake, its a huge huge mess.  My advice is (if you can manage the logistics) get to transition and get your stuff in order as soon as it opens then get the heck out of their and either go find some place where you can chill by the lake or head back to your hotel if it is nearby.  Either way I would suggest getting into some sweats and a sweatshirt and just laying low for awhile.  If you are milling around talking to people and all that jazz you are just wasting energy that can be used at 7am when the cannon blasts.

THE SWIM:

It’s going to be a wetsuit swim!  Do not get caught up in the Slowtwitch and other internet sites that go all crazy in early July and start saying that the LP swim is going to be to warm for wetsuits.  Here is a tip, it never has been warm enough and I will say will never be for Age groupers.  So don’t go out and buy a new sleeveless wetsuit just because your scared you might overheat or something.  YOU WON’T.  EDIT: As most of you know in 2011 it was the first time, I am guessing ever that IMLP was non-wetsuit legal for the AG’ers looking to place and Kona Qualify.  I must eat my words due to the unseasonably warm temperatures that June and July brought upon us.  Not a bad thing though!  I will say that this really shouldn’t matter because if you are nervous about the swim and are relying on using a wetsuit to make it through then you most likely are not in the group of people looking to KQ.  So for those people, you by all means can wear your wetsuit.  What I think it all comes down to is that if you are looking to place high in your AG you should be swimming enough and have enough proficieny that it won’t matter either way.  Sure your time will be slower due to no wetsuit, but here’s the thing.  Everyone else’s swim will be slower to, and is it just so happens that you are a natural swimmer or have swimming background I bet the non-wetsuit swim will have you coming out a lot sooner than the others.  So again don’t worry about it either way.  Get your training yards in however you can and come race day you will be ready to rock in or out of a wetsuit.

Ok so what do you need to know to succeed?  Well first off is to make sure you are ready to get in the water at 6:30, before that you should be chilling and relaxing and visualizing the amazing day that you have in front of you.  As soon as the water opens up for the AG’ers go through the timing arch so you are “in” the race.  Once you’ve walked over the mats you can pretty much go anywhere you want.  You could go back to your room and sleep until 7:30 and then knock off a 1:30 swim and still be fine..but DON’T that would be stupid, unless you had explosive diarrhea or something.  Once your “checked in” I would advise you to start wading into the water.  If you are a 1:00 – 1:10 swimmer you will want to get in the water 10-15 minutes in advance to get a decent position.  For me that was about 2-3 rows back in the dead center of the group.  By center I mean I split the difference between the dock on the left and the shore on my right.  If you’ve been to LP you know what I mean, if not take a look at the setup online.

So there you go, now you have a video and a still picture of what it actually looks like.  Now that you know what its going to look and sound like let me tell you what it will feel like and the strategy that you might want to take (seemed to work for me).  I’d suggest that you break the race down into 3 parts.  Once the cannon blasts you freaking go!  Your go out hard for the first ~ 400 yards or to about the boat house which will be on your right as you start the swim.  Your going to want to go out hard for a couple reasons.  The main one is that you want to get yourself into a good place.  If you have been training and have a solid swim base you should have no difficulty with the swim and you should be ready to tackle it with vigor.  The thing is that many athletes who don’t have the endurance base that many others do will still attack the first 400 hard.  This ultimately leads to a large mass of people slowing down once they reach their point of exhaustion.  If you (the more consistent and endurance based swimmer) get stuck behind these people you are going to swim into a brick wall and be slowed down.  So its important to go out hard and try to get ahead of them so when they hit their “wall” you will be ahead of them and your swim will not be affected.  So thats part 1, go out hard and get yourself into position.  Once your past the boathouse and I advise you to aim towards the boathouse at the beginning, maybe not directly but split the difference between the turn around buoy and the boat house and shoot for that.  The reason I say this is because if you aim to get right on the rope that holds the buoys right off the bat you are going to be fighting your fellow swimmers the whole time and its better to just start by angling out a little bit and then as you get closer to the turn around buoy you again angle right towards the buoy and take that turn dead on so when you pass the buoy it is basically parallel to you.  This will help you stay out of the traffic and ensure you get a good start.  But lets get back to the boat house section for a second.  I would advise you at this point to get comfortable and find you race endurance pace and just go with it.  Go with that steady but fast pace for the whole first lap and most of the second lap.  When you get out of the water after the first lap many people will be walking to the other side, DON’T freaking walk (unless your dizzy) because at that point your not going to gain anything from a 3 second rest, instead jog over to the other side and do a couple dolphin dives and get on with it!  You now only have 1 more lap to go before the IM swim is over.  Onto the the third part of the swim.  You’ve swam approx 1.75 laps now, you should see the Golden Arrow hotel on your right, its the one with the beach front.  Once you’ve hit this apoint, approx 400 yards from the finish it is GO TIME, start picking up the pace and putting a little distance between you and your fellow swimmers.  Now is the time to push the pace and make it hurt a little, not a lot but a little. Then once you see the church and the toboggan slide on your right its really time to hammer those last few yards before your on the beach.   And thats it, the swim will be a blur, it will be the shortest swim your have done all year, (at least I would bet that it will feel like that for you, it sure did for me).  For perspective purposes I swam it in 1:03 in 2010.

T1:  Your now out of the water, you should immediately have your wetsuit stripped by the strippers and then continue on the fake grass mats, just follow the path, their will be soooo many people cheering that you will be carried by their energy all the way to the transition tents.  Use this energy, feed of it, because you will need it on those desolate roads ahead.  Ok, so here is how to execute the T1.  1. Get your suit stripped 2.  Immediately head to the t1 bag area and start yelling your number when you are close as the helpers will be there to help you find your bag (however you should already know where it is since you left it there yourself that morning, its important to remember where your bags and bike are as they will help you focus on where you need to go during transition). So once your close to the bags yell your number to ensure you find your stuff. Grab your bag and continue right on into the changing tent.  This is where you get into your bike gear.  I first advise you to immediately put on your helmet so you don’t forget, then your glasses, then your shoes, then try to sneak a gel in as you run to your bike.  This is a great time to start getting nutrition in if you can manage it.  Also if you can get some cream on your bits and pieces you may save yourself a lot of grief later on in the day.  So do you have that?  Get back, sit down, helmet on, glasses on, shoes on, whatever else you need to do, stuff everything extra in your T1 bag and just leave it right on the ground, the volunteers will take care of the rest, then get to your damn bike and pop a gel if you can.  Volunteers will be getting your bike ready for the most part so head to where you racked it.  Start yelling your number again and someone will get your bike for you.  But always remember exactly where your bike is because if you come out of the water in a huge pack their might just not be enough volunteers for everyone.

THE BIKE:

Alright, you’ve got your bike, get mounted over the line,clip in and start rolling down the hill.  Right from the start you are on a decent downhill.  So don’t try anything stupid, get yourself together, test the brakes and BE CAREFUL.  Whatever you do, don’t start mashing.  The hill comes to a T in the road at the bottom and you are going to head left before taking a quick right which will lead you towards the ski jumps.  The big take away here is to go slow on the downhill so you don’t wipe out on the turn at the bottom of the hill, once you make those turns and are on the main loop you should start getting yourself situation and get some nutrition in.  Take a gel, drink some water/endurance, and get rolling.  Remember the bike course is 112 miles and those last 5-10 miles are tough so take it conservative.  You are going to have so much energy coming out of town and its easy to fire all your bullets right at the start.  However, the cool thing about LP is that once you pass the ski jumps you immediately start climbing.  In one respect this can help hold you back and race smart but on the other if you attack the hill and get ticked off when people (old women) start passing you…well you might just ruin your day right from the start.  REMEMBER, this race begins in earnest at around miles 80-85 of the bike.  So until then keep yourself in check.  You want your legs to feel the same at mile 1 as they do at mile 80 (well just about the same, hehe).  I would say then when in doubt in the early stages of the race back off.  If you are questioning yourself about whether you should push the intensity or keep it mellow early on, always choose the mellow option.  The real game begins at mile 80-85.  If you make it to mile 85 and your still feeling fresh this is when you can start laying down the law.  Not Arnold Schwarzenegger style in Commando but you can start pushing the pace a bit.  Get into town and start spinning the legs out on mirror lake drive before you hit transition.  Heading into T2 you are going to go up and around the highschool and drop back down around the other side to the spot where you began the bike ride.  Just before you dismount you will be coming down a fairly steep hill so it is really important to slow down and make sure you dismount safely.  NO FLYING DISMOUNTS UNLESS YOUR ARE IN THE TOP 10 OVERALL!  I can see no purpose for this.  In my opinion the only outcome from this could be that you fall flat on your face and make an ass of yourself, fall and hurt yourself, or worse hurt your $8,000 bike and wheels.  Alright then, at this point if you’ve played the game the whole day you should be set up to run well in LP.  Your going to want to remember to be eating something about every 45 and drinking at least every 15 minutes.  Really you can take in as much fluid as you want (water, endurance, etc..) because the worst thing your going to do is have to pee and since its an IM event you have a free pass to turn into a 1 year old and pee yourself at will.  But I like to focus on every 15 minutes getting a good gulp of endurance drink while I sit up and stretch real quick…in LP the stretching part isn’t that crucial since you are going to be out of your seat so much on the climbs, however on a course like IMFL remembering to get up and stretch the upper body can be a crucial piece to the puzzle since it will help your stay somewhat flexible up top for the run…..So you’ve hydrated, you’ve ate, you have stayed relatively fresh..your in great shape.  And oh yeah, if you are using a garmin watch for the bike and run, and the watch has been on the bike the whole time, make sure when you are coasting in over the last parts of the bike that you take the garmin(or other brand) watch off so you have it for the marathon.  That’s actually a really good tip, I have forgotten mine in a race before and if you counting on it as a pace guide, or purely as a security blanket you will really miss the darn piece of technology.

T2:  After you dismount safely a nice volunteer is going to snag your bike from you.  No, they aren’t going to run off with it, they are doing your a huge favor by just getting rid of the thing for you.   Believe me I bet the majority of athletes when they get off the bike just want the damn thing out of their sight!  BRING ON THE RUN!  So they will take the bike and rack it for you.  Your job becomes getting through T2 as quick as possible.  So as soon as they take the bike you need to start booking it through the transition area into the changing tents.  Don’t bother taking your helmet off and as long as its not to muddy or nasty I would just leave your cleats on run with them.  As you get close to the Transition area remember to shout your number out so that the volunteers can help find your bag for you.  Once you get your bag head immediately into the tent, locate a seat, and change quickly.  Helmet off and by your feet, cycling shoes off, put visor/hat on, put socks on, put shoes on, grab nutrition and stuff in pocket, my personal suggestion – throw some butt butter or some type of lubricant down below to avoid chaffing, stuff everything in the bag, make sure the garmin is in run mode if your using it, TAKE OFF!!  But take off easily, don’t blow out of T2 crazy fast.  Your going to come out of the tent hang a right and begin making your way towards the Sunoco gas station.

TO BE CONTINUED: The next part will include a detailed analysis of the run segment with how I think it can be best executed with some retrospective provided by myself from my own experiences.  I will end this by saying that the RUN is by far the most important thing.  If I can say one thing about the bike-run sections in general its that when in doubt go easier.  If this is your first time doing an IM and you want to ensure a good day if you think you are going to hard on the bike, even just a little, I would say back off a little bit and save it for the run.  Its a very hard thing to do, with time I think that athletes develop their internal barometers to determine exactly how much effort they are putting out and what they have left in their tank but I know for me I am not there yet and most people racing their first IM aren’t either since its a completely different monster than many others races.  So for now keep that in the back of your mind “when in doubt back it off”.  All the hard work is done in training, their are no miracles.  If you go into this thing with a plan and the right mindset you will have an excellent day and know you really executed.  Which is great motivation towards the next one.

So for now I am off to the pool for a little bit.  The last piece of this article will be coming shortly.  I hope you all enjoy reading this, and please don’t think anything I have said is written in stone because its not.  But maybe it will help get you thinking!

I’ll be up in Placid on Memorial Day Week and the third weekend in June and on Race Weekend.  Please feel free to drop me a line if you’ll be around!

-Turbeau

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