This was my first year making the trip out to Ironman Lake Placid (LP) and it did not disappoint. I chose this Ironman not only for the right timing in the season, but also because of all of the great things I’ve heard about it. The drive went relatively quick and was super nice in the Timex Ford Edge. The town of Lake Placid is nestled in the woods, surrounded by the Adirondack Mountains, is extremely welcoming, and seems to Love Ironman!
The weather worked out perfectly for race day. Early race morning, for the first time in LP history, the call was made for a non-wetsuit swim with the water temperature up to 77 degrees F. I ditched the wetsuit for a speedsuit and was ready to go! I had a plan for the swim to take it pretty easy and stay with the front women. With ~40 pro’s at the swim start I thought it would be a fairly gentle swim start, but I was seriously wrong. This was by far the most vicious first 500m I have ever dealt with. It seemed that everyone was out for blood (for some reason) and battling to get into the perfect position. After having to stop a couple times to choke, I decided to put in a little effort to bust out of this crazy battle zone and try and get out in front to connect with the lead group that was pulling away. The effort was a mostly a success and I lead out a chase group for most of the first loop until catching a straggler from the lead group to draft the rest of the way in. The rest of the swim continued pretty steady. I came out on the feet of Heather W with a decent non-wetsuit swim time. 0: 57:20
T1: This was a little messy….When the call was made for a non-wetsuit swim I threw my calf sleeves into my T1 bag since I had never swam with them on. In hindsight, I would probably swim with them since putting on tight calf sleeves on wet legs is incredibly difficult. They went on (finally) and I ran out of there, frustrated that I had been passed in transition, but ready to have a good bike ride. I looked down on the way to my bike, and oh yeah, still had my speed suit around my waist!! Ahhh. Epic transition fail.
My goal for the bike ride was to ride my own race, not go out too hard, and stay on top of nutrition. My biking still needs some work and is not at the level it needs to be to stick with or pass the leaders. Anyhow, even with this in mind I still went out relatively hard knowing Tyler Stewart would eventually pass, but determined not to let anyone else past me. I finished the first loop still in 3rd place, but was very soon passed and into 4th. My legs felt ok, not amazing, so I was very worried about the second half of the ride. I saw a couple girls within minutes on those little out and backs on the ride and was riding scared and in damage control the rest of the way. I will be adding more long rides to my training so I can stay with it better those last 20 miles rather than just hanging on. I was still climbing well the last bit into LP, but I was out of power for the flats. I came into T2 in 5th, not far off 4th. 5:30
T2: nothing exciting here. Put on some shoes and a visor, shoved a couple things in my pockets, and put on a race belt. Done.
I took off on the run feeling great; not really thinking at the time it was because the first 6 miles are slightly downhill. I was running well, thinking about a high cadence and before long made a pass to move back into 4th. I worked the rest of the run to stay there and keep up a decent pace. I could have probably used another gel or two on the run to keep the steam a bit higher the last 6 miles or so, but luckily I had enough juice to hang on. 3:22
Overall: 9:56, 4th woman. I’m happy with my time, staying steady most of the day, and to be able to easily see areas where I can make up more time in the next IM. This placing moved me up in the Kona Pro rankings, but I am still just a few places away from qualifying for Kona this year. I’m not sure if I’ll throw in another IM in hopes of qualifying this year still or just rest up and make a plan for next year….gotta see how recovery goes. Motivation is higher than ever and I can’t wait for my legs to get back to normal and get working on that bike!