This year’s IMLP journey started while I was spectating the 2012 edition. I was trying to decide on an Ironman for 2013 and after experiencing the energy that Lake Placid exudes on race week as well as race day I knew that I wanted to race this course again. Come Monday morning after the race I jumped on my computer and secured my 2013 slot.
In 2010 Lake Placid was my first Ironman and since then triathlon has evolved from simply a fun outlet to a true passion and way of life. Thus, racing the 2013 edition really meant a lot to me as it was a bit of a culmination of almost 4 years of hard work dating back to the summer of 2009. I’ve made decisions in my life and chose certain routes to allow me to make triathlon a priority and having something validate those decisions means a lot to me personally. So leading into this years race I really afforded myself the opportunity to train hard and train focused. I was able to have a solid start to the year in Texas and continued improving through May and June. After an early June race at the REV 3 Quassy half, the rest of the month was more or less spent in Lake Placid where swam, rode and ran a bunch. Getting to know the course on a very personal level…and also spending some quality camping time with the one and only Tim Snow aka “The Pride of Brockton, MA”. After the time in LP and a few solid weeks of busting my hump in Brockton, MA, I headed back to LP to prepare for race day.
Race week went by quickly with a few decent workouts to get the body ready to really put out on Sunday. Once Friday afternoon hit, it was time to eat and rest. Oh yeah, as you can see in the above photo from Saturdays “Big Breakfast” my buddies (The Strater Brothers) and I got the clippers out on Wednesday night and did some creative work on each others heads. Don’t worry though, my head is back to normal now.
After breakfast on Saturday I spent most of the day laying in bed along with the quick trip down to transition to drop my bike off. Sometime that night I drifted off to sleep until 3am. Race morning went by quickly and before I knew it I was laying on the beach listening to Mike Reilly give pre-race directions. With 15 minutes to go until the AG start I popped my Powergel and swam over to the swim start line. This year’s race incorporated a new rolling swim start whereby each competitor assembled into a line that was determined by their approximate swim pace. I made my way to the 60 minute and under group and started asking around as to what people were going to swim. I ended up being surrounded by 58-60 min swimmers. In reality it didn’t matter that much as there were only about 20-25 of us at the front of the swim start line, so once the gun went off I was in the water within 3 seconds. In fact I was taken by surprise since I thought I’d have a good 30 seconds cushion from when the gun went off and I’d get in the water. None the less I hustled in the water, running around a few people who were gingerly getting into the water and began my day. The first loop was nice. With the new rolling swim start a decent pace line of sub 1 hour swimmers was formed and we moved through the first 1.2 miles pretty quickly. Coming in around 29 minutes flat. The second loop ended up being a but slower due to the fact that we had caught up to the slower swimmers, who had entered the water about 17 minutes after we did. That loop ended up feeling like we were swimming through a minefield. Constant dodging and weaving to avoid the masses of people swimming. In the end I exited the water right around 59 minutes.
Swim: 59:22 – 8th in AG, 92nd Overall
Transition went by smoothly as I was able to locate my bags, change in a relatively clear tent and my bike was waiting for me as I ran through transition thanks to an astute volunteer. Once I was on the bike some muscle near in the vicinity of my butt was really agitated. Maybe it was a cramp or something…and it HURT! With 112 miles ahead of me I wasn’t to happy to find it hard to pedal at mile 1. I put down a couple salt tablets and drank a bottle as I soft peddled the first 4-5 miles. By the time I was climbing my way towards Keene things began to feel a bit better and I was able to start putting down some power. The muscle tightness never really went away all day but it got to a point where it was manageable to race, so it ended up being all good.
On the bike with the cramp more or less behind me I felt very comfortable. I knew that the climbing and descents were where I could really make up time. The first descent was a little dicey due to the wet roads and rain coming down. Glasses were a must to protect the eyes against the rain drops that felt like little pebbles hitting me. The glasses made it hard to see the road, so a little caution was used while going down the hill. Even backing off a little bit I was able to pass a few racers and even went by a couple Pro racers who had an 8 minute head start on me. After the descent it was onto the flat section towards Jay and Ausable Forks. During both loops this section was pretty quick as we had a slight tailwind, which was nice. Heading towards Ausable Forks on the out and back I was able to see where I was in relation to the pro field as well as where I was in the amateur race too. Since I started so close to the swim start (within 5-10 seconds) I knew that I was truly racing those in front of me for the most part. For reference on where I was in relation to the big guys, Andy Potts was coming up on the right hand turn to the climb up to Wilmington as I was stating the out and back section.
The first loop went by very well and I was feeling good and strong as I went through town. I held myself in check as I went through town among the masses of cheering people and began the climb for the second time. The descent on the second loop was much better as the roads had dried out and the rain had stopped. I worked the downhill as best as possible and hit the flats again. The last 28 miles coming back from Ausable Forks and along 86 which passes by Whiteface Mtn and finishes with the infamous “bear” hills definitely got a bit tougher and I had to dig a little deeper than the previous loop. In any case I knew I was in a good position overall and I wanted to get back to T2 and start running.
Bike: 5:06 – 1st in AG, 14th Overall
T2 like the first went very smoothly. Coming in when I did off the bike allowed me to have the whole changing tent to myself. I had two volunteers catering to my every need. After the change it was onto the run course to try and keep the good times rolling. The first loop was absolutely lovely. I felt great and for the first 8 miles I had the whole course to myself. It was really an awesome experience to be in the race and running solo along River Rd to the turn around. I was in the void between the PROs battling it out for the win and the Age Groupers chasing them. I knew I had a few AG’ers out in front of me so I was very interested to get to the out and back at mile 6 and see where I was. I ended up learning that I was in 4th place with 20 miles to go. A LONG TIME! Which was good and bad. Heading back into town the first time I was still feeling good, seeing more and more people as you get closer to town is a great feeling and really makes those hills not feel as steep. However, once I made the turn in town to head back out on my 2nd loop I knew something wasn’t exactly right. The best way I can explain it is that I was losing energy and just didn’t have that same pep in my step as I had during the first loop. It was right around mile 14 when Tim Snow, my training partner of late came by me. I had passed him on the second loop and been ahead ever since. It was definitely a motivating factor for me to try and stay ahead of him as long as possible since he’s a crusty veteran who can never be counted out when it comes to the run. I tried my best to keep him in sight as we made our way out onto River Rd., but eventually he turned a corner and that was that. I suffered a good deal on that second loop, the miles 14-22 were really rough. It’s something I have to work on in order to be truly competitive. Luckily, I will have another shot at 26.2 off the bike in a couple months.
Run: 3:14 – 2nd in AG, 16th Overall
I ended up finishing in 9:26 which put me in 16th place overall and 2nd in my Age Group. I accepted my Kona Qualifying spot and thus will be focusing on getting ready to compete in Kona this October. I can’t wait to get back to the big island and try for some redemption on the Queen K.
I want to take thank all those who have helped make this day possible. First off my parents for helping me along on this adventure. They support me fully and completely, always come and cheer for me and I absolutely could not do any of this without them. Next is QT2 Systems for all their coaching and support. In particular I have to give a big thank you to QT2 Coach, Tim Snow who ended up training me into shape during June and July. Also, all the QT2 Team Sponsors that allow me to train, race and recover with the best products possible. Normatec and their boots keep my legs and body feeling as fresh as possible, and I have to say that getting right in the boots immediately post race in Lake Placid has made a tremendous difference on my recovery. No cankels for this guy! Rudy Project for the sunglasses and helmets that keep me looking good (and safe) while training and racing. Pearl Izumi for our race day kits and all the other apparel for daily training. Dr. Sears Omega Rx Fish Oil for keeping all the inflammation in my body down. And of course Towpath Bikes for equipping me with some really fast gear.
Before I left Lake Placid I had to stop in to one of the nicest coffee shops in the world. This little place in the Alpine Mall (the one connected to the Golden Arrow) has one of the nicest views you can get while enjoying a delicious cup of coffee. Here, check it out!