It has been a few weeks since Lake Placid and I have been thinking about how to summarize everything that happened during that event and have not been able to find the words to describe it. Exciting. Exhausting. Inspiring. All are things that come to mind when I think about the days that lead up to the IronMan as well as the event itself.
To start, I did the event as a fund raiser for the Multiple Myeloma Research foundation. I wanted a little bit of extra incentive to help push myself and force me to commit to being prepared for this event. I am proud to say, that I reached my $5,000 fund raising goal and as a team we raised over $300,000.
I am really glad that I did my first IronMan as part of this MMRF Team, the help and support they gave definitely reduced the stress in getting things lined up and knowing my family that came up to watch would be well taken care of while I was on the course racing.
We were lucky and got into town a few days before the race. We were staying right in Lake Placid, so it made it very easy to get accustomed to the Lake and the “cable”. It took me a couple of swims to get comfortable with the cable. Getting close to it at first really freaked me out. But after getting to swim the course for a couple of days it actually became quite comforting and I didn’t have to sight much at all.
The race itself was the well oiled machine that is IronMan. Checking in was a piece of cake.
I did it! 70.3 miles in 6:06:10. I was shooting for sub-6 hours, but given the heat during the run I am more than happy with that time.
This event was hard, but I got such a kick out of it. The run was probably the most brutal run I have ever completed. I have done some long, hot hilly runs. But this one seemed particularly hard. Half was uphill, half was downhill, and all was in full sunlight. I have never been that uncomfortable, but in the same breath, it has been a long time since I have had the mental strength to say – I’ve got this.
There were many experiences through the race that made me reach back to things I have learned along the way, whether directly through training or from previous endeavors, but all helped me deal with some of the madness I found out there.
The morning greeted me with an amazing sunrise. All athletes took shuttles from the center of town out to the race start. I was listening to music on the ride, thinking about all the work that has led to this event and wondering if I was going to be able to pull it off. Actually be able to justify all of the time I have taken from being with family and friends. I was nervous if I could actually do it.
The first was the swim. If you have never done an open water swim, it can get pretty spooky. Murky water, knowing it is deep, lots of people churning around you. It is amazing the way your mind can take over and makes a controlled event seem really sketchy. I was about .1 miles into the swim when my mind started questioning what I was doing. Thinking I couldn’t breath and I had SO FAR to go. I immediately started questioning this endeavor. A close friend’s lesson popped into my head – a story around deep water and thinking too much about something (Thank You Jerry!). Right around this time, I saw someone swim over to one of the safety boats and pull the plug on their swim and end their attempt. I kept thinking about his story and honestly laughed while swimming and quickly got my head refocused on the task at hand. I finished the swim in 46 minutes, getting out of the water feeling elated. Now I could get onto my strong events.
I have been a cyclist my whole life, and I couldn’t wait to get on the bike. There aren’t many places I feel more comfortable in than on a bike seat, and yesterday was no different. I went in with the mindset of not having to mash on the pedals all the time, just stay consistent. My comfort also let me switch my head off and just move.
The heat started to increase and I knew I had to stay on top of my eating and drinking or else I would never finish this thing. There were aid stations every 14 miles and I took full advantage of them. The volunteers were so awesome. The one I stopped at (not just rolled through grabbing what they had to offer), a woman ran up to me and asked me what I needed and made sure I was taken care of. I was in and out of there in less than a minute with full bottles. I found myself doing well where others were struggling and made up time on people when going uphill. They may have passed me on the downhills, but I would pass them on the next climb and would give me distance on them.
The other thing about the ride that was entertaining were the signs people had along the course to cheer us on. Here are a few of my favorites:
It is called an IronMan because it is hard. If it were easy, it would be called your Mom
Leading up to the run, I was not too concerned about it. In hind sight, I should have been. It was brutal! The course consisted of two six mile loops, three miles uphill and three miles down with very limited shade in 90+ degree temperatures. That run beat the shit out of me. I drank as much liquid as I could, but did not feel like I could get anymore in me without getting sick. It was a weird balance I was trying to do…
The Town of Raleigh came out in full force and rooted every runner on. A few of the businesses set up their own cheering sections and it definitely made it easier to push on when I was feeling low. I have to admit that having your name on your race number is nice. Having people call out your name and root you on is a very empowering thing when you don’t want to continue. The finish for the IronMan is another amazing event I find difficult to explain. The cheering noise and the announcer really got my adrenaline pumping. I felt like I had nothing left in my tank, but when hearing the muffled announcements and the growing sound of the crowd I got a surge of energy to push me through the finish.
In all it was an amazing experience and I cannot wait for Lake Placid in seven weeks!
Whenever I have an event, I get so excited in the morning that I wake up really early and don’t go back to sleep because I am afraid my alarm won’t go off and I am going to miss it. Today was no different, the Marine Corps 17.75k has a 7a start and requires a shuttle ride after parking, but still there was no real reason for me to be up at 3:00a.
Felt pretty with my results from today. I was much faster than last year, dropping more than 30 seconds a mile. I am really happy with my overall results and placed much better than I expected I would:
Overall: 239 out of 2,834
Males: 188 out of 1,423
40-44 y/o Males: 27 out of 248
So I have gotten guaranteed access into the Marine Corps Marathon this fall, hopefully it is cooler than last years. Can’t believe last year was my first marathon and this year I will be running two in two weeks of one another. Going to be a busy year!
I am not going to try and BS anyone, that was DIFFICULT. It has been two days and I am still taking stairs one step at a time.
Here are the stats for the day:
Total Number of Marathon Participants: 24,982 Overall Finishing Place: 4004 Division (Males 40-44): 423/1691 Gender: 2818/10641 Gel Packets Eaten: 8 Pieces of Candy from Strangers: 5 Toenails Lost: 2 Chafing Spots: 0 (Thank you Body Glide)
For my first marathon, I am really happy. When people started dropping, literally falling over and hitting the ground, between miles 22 and 23 I started thinking about how nice it would be to walk for awhile I was able to push on through.
So my first challenge has been accomplished! Now it is time to really start focusing on the Lake Placid Ironman. I am comfortable with the training part, because I am 100% in control of that. I am going to need your help to raise the money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. So please click the link below and give whatever you can. Every donation is tax deductible and it is helping me get one step closer to my goal.
Less than 10 hours ago, I was finishing up the Nation’s Tri and came in 42nd (out of 107) in my age group and 482 (out of 1349). I will take it! Right now, I am more than 29,000’ in the air flying to Switzerland thinking about how today went and am really happy. One thing I was really stoked about was my bike section, averaging over 21 mph for 40k.
Thank you to everyone for all of the encouragement and support in the postings today. It definitely makes it easier to stay excited. Today was just the first step in the process towards next year’s IronMan Lake Placid. I have done a lot of work over the past year just to get myself here. In just under one year, I have lost over 45 pounds, run over 850 miles and am not sure how many miles I have put in on a bike (not as many as I should have to be honest).
But as I mentioned, this is only the start. I still have a lot of serious work lined up ahead of me, not only physically, but I also have a ways to go with my fund raising efforts. I have raised $300 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, which is a good start. But I still have another $4700 to go until I can actually toe the line in Lake Placid. So please donate and help me get there.