My First Ironman – A Race Report

Ironman Lake Placid 2010


I had a race week/race day plan – a seriously in-depth plan that started on the Wednesday before the race and culminated on race day. I executed against that plan and had a great race.

Since IMLP was my first, my goals for the day were simple:
  1. Finish the race: Anything under 14:00:00 would be great. Conservative estimates were (1:45/6:30/5:30) with a dream day of 11:45 (1:30/5:45/4:30)
  2. Top 1/3 Bike Split
I shattered my goals. I finished at 12:23:43 and was 834 out of 2551 on the bike. Okay, so I didn’t so much shatter goal two, but I did break it – which was good enough for me!

This is how it went…

I woke up on race morning at 4:35 a.m. feeling…refreshed? Really? Is that possible? Had I slept through the night? I had and I think it can be attributed to Coach Martha, the planning and the detailed plan I had laid out. I digress…

I followed my plan to the letter. Thankfully, my wife and one of our best friends got up with me to start making up all my nutrition. It was classic – too bad no photos exist of this – two lovely, sleep-deprived women following a crazy triathlete’s instructions on how to make enough Hammer Perpetuem paste that will last him through the bike. I was the director, eating my PB & Honey on an English muffin, with a banana, water and a cup of strong coffee, while they took care of me.

Once all of the bottles/flasks were made up and packed, we woke my father-in-law so that he could drive us as close to the Olympic Oval as possible. We were only a mile away from Transition (yeah, I got to pass my cheering section a total of six times!), but I wasn’t about to do the walk that early… Once on site, I got marked, dropped off my nutrition and made a bee-line for the Portables.

Everything was still going according to plan…I was stunned. So, I decided to make it interesting. It was just a little overcast before race start, but the clouds did look pretty ominous coming over the mountains. I began to stress about biking in the rain…thanks to my wife, I got that under control pretty quick.

We said our goodbyes and I headed over to swim start. Wow, there were a lot of people gathered in the water and around the beach…only a few more minutes. The pros went off…getting closer. I waded out and found a boulder to stand out while I waited (not really patiently). I was ready to go. The horn…
The horn went off and I gave it a few minutes, more accurately, I gave it a few seconds, before I started swimming toward the start line. It was crazy, an absolute churn. I tried to find my own space, difficult to do, I know, but I tried. I found a rhythm and off I went. For the first half-mile, I pretty much was making contact…was that someone’s butt? Yep… Anyway, I kept at it, again, finding a rhythm and feeling great. I made the turns and was headed back in on the first loop. I came out of the water and couldn’t believe my eyes. 33 minutes. WHAT!?!? I was shocked and scared. Had I gone out too fast, was I going to blow up? Well, I made the beach, made the turn and was back in the water. Loop two. I tried to slow down a bit and just do my own thing and for the most part I did. I found some empty space just inside the buoy line, made my turns and headed for home. I came out of the water really stoked – 1:08:56!
Peeling off the wet suit, I get it down to my waist, and immediately seek out a stripper (no, not that kind), make eye contact, pointed at him and said, “you and me baby” and dropped onto my back and put my legs in the air. 1.4 seconds later, I was up, wetsuit in arms, giving him a high-five and I was off through the chute to the Oval. Bonus – saw the wife and friend cheering me on as I ran by!

I grabbed my bag, ran into the changing tent and got all my stuff together. I came out of my tent, ran around and through the chutes and much to my surprise, my bike was waiting for me – held up by a volunteer who patted me on the back and wished me luck as I ran out.
I was told to be gentle on the first loop. So, off I went on the bike, passed by the cheering section – hollered out, “see ya in a few hours,” and really tried to get into my own head with the rain. Thankfully, I recalled what Coach Martha told me, “you can only control what you can control.” Focus. I looked at my watch, calculated out my nutrition schedule and took off. The first loop was fun – really. I had fun chatting with the other racers and found the course to be as I expected – rolling, but nothing that I wasn’t prepared for. First 56 miles – 2:55:43 – 19.3 mph.

Second loop started out okay. I felt like I was pedaling through sand, though. I felt sluggish. I made it through the descents and the flats without much fanfare, before I hit a minor wall on the climbs back into town. With six miles left to go, my left hamstring cramped up – so bad that I didn’t think I was going to be able to keep my wheels spinning. Thankfully, I found a brief flat section, got into easiest gear and did my best to spin it out. Second 56 – 3:13:40 – 17.74 mph.

Overall on the bike – great ride. 112 miles – 6:09:23 – 18.19 mph

Coming into transition, I dismount, leave my bike with a volunteer (love this feature) and hustle off to grab my bike-to-run transition bag. Once in the tent, I stripped off my nasty socks, slipped on some clean and my Newton’s (love Yankz!), donned my Dynamic Training hat and sunglasses and I was out the door. This transition took a third of the time as T1!
 I quickly found my legs. Whatever had happened to cramp me up on the bike was no where to be found. I felt fresh and alive. The crowds, come on, the crowds are amazing! They can really get you pumped! I was in a rhythm – cadence was good, nutrition was on target. But…I went out too fast. Lesson learned here. First six miles were at a 9:30 pace. By Mile 12, I was dropped my average pace to 10:45. By the time it was all said and done, though, I didn’t lose too much and finished at 4:52:39 for an 11:10/mile pace.

Out there on the run, I did hit a pretty good wall and really needed to find myself, remind myself why I was out there and just remember my training. While I did walk more than just the aid stations, I do think that I was able to pull out of any funk I was feeling pretty well. I met some great people out on the run. We had some pretty interesting discussions.

Also, whatever nutrition plan that I thought I could keep while out on the run – by mile 18, it was long gone. I made a few of the aid stations buffets. Pieces of cookie, chicken stock, cookie dipped in chicken stock, Powerbar Perform, water, flat cola, you name it, I ate it. Except pretzels. I couldn’t eat pretzels. Weird. By mile 20, though, I started feeling it again. The crowd was picking up and I knew that I was going to make it – I was going to be an Ironman! I made it back through town and got butterflies as I was coming into the Olympic Oval. It was still daylight and I was finishing. I’m emotional just writing this. It was such an amazing feeling. Crossing the finish line, arms in the air, hearing, “Jeffrey Weir from Northampton, Massachusetts, you are an Ironman.” It doesn’t get much better than that in sports.
I was lucky, too, to have my wife and our good friend right there to greet me. What an experience. I took the finisher photos, hugged my wife over the railing and immediately tried to figure out how to get over to her. I made my way out – but not before grabbing two slices of cheese pizza and a coke. And let me tell you, that was THE BEST PIZZA I have ever tasted.
And that’s that. I am an Ironman. I’ll never get to do my first one ever again. It was a great experience and one that I will cherish forever.

This was not a brief report/recap. I hope that you enjoyed!

Statistics:
TOTAL SWIM: 1:08:56
TOTAL BIKE: 6:09:23
TOTAL RUN: 4:52:39
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OVERALL TIME: 12:23:43
1031 overall - 147/291 age group

3 comments:

  1. Dude. You are my hero. Hope I can do as well as you did in my first IM, which will be Lake Placid!

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  2. That is awesome!!!! x 10! Way to go! awesome race and amazing report! brings shivers to my spine!

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