First Ironman - Lake Placid - long post

Since 2005 I have been intrigued with the Ironman. That was around the time I actually figured out what the race consisted of.  A 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run. 

Along with having an awesome coach from the PBM outfit (Carrie) I was lucky enough to have found little support wagons along the way.

For starters - Kathy has been very supportive and encouraging. I did not expect this to be. But it is to be and I am grateful.  She understands that I like to do this sort of thing even if it's not what she had in mind. Somehow we have morphed my races into unique vacation spots. This strategy does seem to work for us.

Secondly my triathlon swim class. Kim Goodwin runs this class and it is fantastic.  She has helped my swim go from very bad to mediocre in about a years time. I'm more than thrilled to be a mediocre swimmer at this point in my life. That said I do plan to get a lot better.

Through swim class I met up with Team Infintri. They are a nice triathlon club who rides right out of my own town! Can it get any better?  I road on Saturdays with this group of fine people and they were so welcoming. There I met Derek who also participated in Lake Placid and totally rocked the course in 11:39.

Fellow first timers and friends Mel B and Kelly Gill and I met up for rides and open water swims several times. These open water swims were priceless in preparing for Lake Placid. We also got to enjoy the company of Moira, Lisa and Michelle. I hope we can continue our group swims in the open water.

One of the hardest parts of training was figuring out what to eat for the race.  This is the plan I followed:

·         No Fiber in the days leading up to the race. I did not eat veggies or fruits for 3 days before the race.
·         Plain whites in those days as well. English muffins, pasta, potatoes, pretzels. I ate a half bag pretzels (big bag) day before. I was instructed to eat the entire bag.
·         Snack:  fig Newton’s
·         Reduce or zero dairy in those days as well.
·         Bland, lien, protein: Chicken, Chicken and more chicken.
·         And of course hydrate very well for the week leading up to the race.
·         The morning of the race I had 2 pieces of white bread with jam and a tiny bit of peanut butter. Coach does not advise eating peanut butter the day of or even the days leading up but I felt I needed something more than just jam on my bread to get it down at 5:am.
·         Recovery drink every day for a week leading up to the race.
  •      On the bike I ate Lara bar, Luna bar, power bar, bananas and chomps.  5.5 bottles of perform.

  •      On the run I drank only water. I could not drink any more perform. First loop I ate one bag of powerbar energy blasts. Those were so yummy.  2ND loop I ate whatever tasted good. Soup, pretzels, flat coke. Could not eat any more manufactured crap.

So getting down to the nitty gritty.  

We arrived on Thursday and had a nice 40 minute swim. It felt SO good to get out of the car and just swim. The water was beautiful accept for a little choppy. We then had dinner and off to bed.

Friday came and I was supposed to bike 45 minutes however I quickly found out that my rented 808 wheel did not want to take in any air. Thankfully I found this out on Friday and had time to drop off the bike for the entire day while the mechanic fixed it. A little stress, yes. I was further stressed out when my buddy Mel decides that on that particular day she should inform me that I do not match. Thanks Mel. I almost lost it on her. I don't think she will ever do that again.

Saturday was filled with last minute preps. Line up the clothing, fill the bags, have breakfast ready to go, set alarm clock, rest, eat, drink, rack the bike, shop just a bit, try to rest more.

Race day I woke in a frenzy. The alarm clock had inadvertently been shut off in my half-sleep-half-awake race evening state of mind. I did TRY to line up a back up call however the Golden Arrow Resort would not answer the phone. I was pissed off.  

A 4:AM wake up time is highly recommended for racers to allow time to digest a moderately large breakfast allowing 3 hours before the cannon ball goes off at 7 am. Unfortunately due to my limited time I could only get down a cup of regular coffee, P&B sandwich (light on the P). That was it. I believe this was the cause of my constant stitch in my upper right side. Probably the result of my trying to poop on demand when my body was not really ready to do so.

Mel B. and I walked down to the start with Kathy, Dan, Sara and Susan. I waited for the announcer to tell us we could go line up before entering the mayhem. A hug and a kiss and soon I was walking into the chute. What a feeling I had at that moment.  It was finally time. Thank GOD!  I got to meet up with Jocelyn and Alex from team infintri along the sidelines.

The cannon went off   -  at first I was able to swim steadily but soon thereafter the chaos ensued. After about  400 yards a group of swimmers were yelling "help". Apparently a swimmer was in big trouble. I don't know what actually happened but I certainly hope they are OK.  I could only keep going straight. Several times I had people pulling on my side, my legs, my shoulders. I kept my arms wide to protect my head.  The first lap was faster than my second lap even though I was CERTAIN I was swimming faster on the 2nd lap.

T1 - After the wetsuit strippers were done I did a light jog to the baggage, grabbed my bag and went to the tent. Grabbed all of my STUFF and asked for sunscreen. I was told the sunscreen was outside on your way to your bike. Well that didn't work for me because I quickly forgot where it was and jumped on my bike with no sunscreen for 6 plus hours.  Oops.

Bike - The first loop of 56 miles went well. It was easy to stay within my watts but I did notice that my heart rate was up higher than I had wanted. I ignored it. I believe my HR was up because of the heat and wind.  I ate my nutrition, fluids, salt tabs, bananas as mentioned above.

By the 2nd loop I could feel fatigue in my legs. I was kind of surprised seeing I was going so easy but I guess the hills got to me. I saw one poor guy crash, accidentally hit a volunteer with my banana peel, stopped to do a real poop, and picked up some sunscreen THANK GOD.

On top of that Kelly Gill and I ended up finishing the bike together. We came into transition at the exact same time.

T2 - I noticed a few people in the changing tent that I knew but was way to busy to chit chat. Of course. I changed my shorts, grabbed my STUFF, sneakers, visor and off I went.

Run - I did not tell myself I had a marathon to run. I simply told myself I had 2 loops to run. The first loop was to be easy peasy. The 2nd loop, although painful, will be the march home. You will then be an Ironman. On the first loop I ate one full bag of powerbar energy blasts with coke flavor. They were the BOMB. I could not drink anymore perform AT ALL.  I only took in water and flat coke. One the 2nd loop I ate what was on the course. Soup, pretzels, oranges, a GU here and there. I also poured water over my head at every stop and drank at every stop. 

At one point I felt I needed salt and had forgotten my baggy of salt tabs that I had previously stashed in my back pocket. So I started to ask everyone I saw for salt but there was none. Then, upon climbing the hill at mile 12 or so I came upon - none other than - a pile of salt on the ground. Just waiting for me. I quickly bent over and blatantly gobbled down at least 2 of someone Else's salt tabs.  Upon my decent - coach Carrie was also able to get me some salt and I am forever grateful. 

Along the course I got to see many supporters including Rose, Linda, Dan and Kathy. Melissa B. had an entourage of people that came up from Medfield and they acted as though they were actually there for me as well. My honey was running her butt off trying to see me all day.  She is HEAD SHERPA, Dan is Assistant Head Sherpa and they have the experience to back that up. 

On the last 6 miles of the run I did feel a bit of nausea and had to slow a bit but still tried to keep a decent pace.  I finished my first Ironman in 12:29 to the cheers of the crowd and the announcer yelling my name. What a great day I had. 

In Closing: - Do I recommend this? HELL YA.  Would I do another? HELL YA. Over all am I satisfied? HELL YA.

I totally recommend training for and completing an Ironman. The experience is like no other. I am definitely hooked already and am planning out my next two years of racing very soon to include my 2nd Ironman.

Thank you to my spouse Kathy for all her support and love. Thank you to my main coach Carrie McCusker and Kurt. I am so grateful to have found you through Mary. Thank you for all of my blogger friends for encouraging me and leaving your awesome comments. And thank you for the Medfield crew for cheering us on and having a blast with us. Happy training!


Carrie said...

Totally awesome race report and a really killer race. You were great and your support crew was too. Now the sweetness of recovery!

cheryl said...

Awesome - congrats!

The Rhyme and Reason said...

First of all... you rocked it! And I must say that you make running look so good and easy. I always look like hell no matter how slow and easy I'm moving! I love the picture of all of us after you finished! Kathy's expression is priceless! I've very inspired by your race and I'm super glad I got to meet you at camp this year! Hopefully I'll see you again soon! And what's up with the PBM love of fig newtons? Enjoy recovery!

Anonymous said...

Mel, I am so proud of you! You put your mind and body to it and rocked it hard girl! I so look forward to more swims and runs with you and maybe even chasing you around on a bike ride!! A hearty congratulations my friend!

Michele said...

The last comment was from Michele Sinotte...I don't know hoe to post my name :)

Bert said...

Fantastic, congratulations!

derek said...

Great race report,you paint quiet a picture, i feel like i was there racing with you !hehehehehehe

Linda said...

You were awesome - seriously you were an inspiration! So happy for you. And your Head Sherpa is #1 - so glad I got to hang with you both! Best quote of the weekend - "Sherpa down!" :)

Jocelyn said...

Awesome race report! I am so glad that you had an awesome day! Jocelyn

Jennifer Harrison said...

WHAT a great race for you, Melissa! CONGRATS AGAIN AND AGAIN!

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