Ironman Lake Placid 2011 Race Report
by Jay Fonseca on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 5:31pm
**Editor's Note: Jay is too lazy to read this over for spelling errors and typos**
It's been two days, I'm finally home from Lake Placid as of 10pm last night, and I still need to unpack. Therefore, it's a great time to write my race report so I can continue to put off unpacking! ^^d
The day started at 4:30am when I woke up. My coffee was ready for me and I made and ate a PB&J. I jumped in the shower as Kate woke up and we were ready to head out the door at 5:15. We parked at one of the shuttle stops at Lake Placid Elementary School and hopped on a bus. The shuttle service was great with many frequent buses all day. With me were my morning cloths bag, my run special needs bag, and my bike special needs bag. I also had my bike pump to top off my tires. Oh, and I had my profile water bottle for my aero-bottle while I had filled the night before.
So Kate and I walked around to transition and agreed on a place to meet. I (unintentionally) skipped the body markers and got into a slow moving line into transition. The place was packed, and I'm not sure what the bottle neck was all about, but it suddenly opened up and I was able to get to my bike. I loaded up my nutrition (3 hour Perpeteum concentrate I'd made the night before, Gu shots, fig newtons, and a spare water) and pumped my tires up to 125psi. I then took my wet suit out of the morning clothes bag, dumped my sandles into them, and headed to the transition bag rack.
There I put my two Hammer Med Canisters into my swim-to-bike bag (One had ibuprofen, the other endurolytes) and left my morning clothes bag there. I walked out, found Kate and she took my bike pump for me (She later took it back to the car after I had left on the bike) and we agreed to meet at the playground by the swim start. I got body marked (My number, 984, on both my arms and knees, and my age on my right calf) and headed to drop off my run and bike special needs bags.
After that was done I found a porta-john and waited in a 20 minute line - I can't pull the trigger in my wet suit (Or my tri-suit on the bike some the pros do). I knew I had plenty of time, but I was still anxious. I got to the beach and for the life of me couldn't find Kate or my Mom or brother who'd came a bit later. Just thousands of people around! So I chipped in, walking through the start arch for people wearing wetsuits (They'd put up two start arches cause people who wore wet suits were ineligible for awards - that's how they knew who did what) and put my wet suit on at the beach. I positioned myself about waist deep in the water well behind and to the left of the crowd.
I was in the water for the pro start at 6:50am. The cannon went off and so did the pros, just as fast it seemed. Then I just chilled and felt really mellow those last 10 minutes. I had on my goggles, swim cap, wet suit, and tri suit under that. I had picked up some foggle which did well keeping the lenses clear. They were blaring "Beautiful Day" when the cannon went off and I watched everyone go.
I stuck to my plan of entering late and swimming wide. I had minimal body contact with other swimmers and really enjoyed the 78 degree Mirror Lake swim. About 5 minutes into it I got crazy excited as what I was doing finally sunk in. I was actually competing in an Ironman!
The swim was a breeze. I let my mind wander a bit, thinking about what the finish would be like, work, and my family. The 1:41:23 really zoomed by for me. I mostly breathed every other stroke on the right, but felt good often and breathed bilaterally. I know that improving my technique enough to bilateral breath the whole way is key for me to improve, but today was about settling back and enjoying the experience.
It was a two lap swim, coming out of the water to a screaming crowd and running through an archway, over a timing mat, and back into the water. I felt good - not at all dizzy. Also, I had no cramping or nausea while I was swimming. Most importantly, I sat back enough to not get freaked out by being in the middle of the mash-pit. Ironmanlive.com doesn't have the swim split up, but if I remember my watch I got out of the water on my first lap at 47 minutes, 2 minutes behind my goal pace. Then I did the second lap in 55 minutes.
I was more then happy to let the wetsuit strippers do their thing, and they helped me up after yanking the suit off my feet (I had put vaseline on my ankles to help with that before the swim). Then I jogged through that huge crowd to transition where volunteers directed me to my swim-to-bike bag and then to the changing tent. There a volunteer helped me get my bike shoes ready while I dried my feet. He handed me my sunglasses, race belt and number, and helmet. I got my shoes and gloves on, and he pointed me to the sun-block. I put it everywhere I could reach (I'm sunburned on my medial scapulae [and I'm too lazy to think of how to say that in non-medical jargon]) and was surprised to see portable urinal troughs. Yes, I hate them too but I'm not stupid so I took care of business before being directed out the other side. Another volunteer saw my number on my helmet and radio'd ahead so as I ran into the large area with the bikes another volunteer was running down the row to grab my bike. It was waiting for my by the time I got to it. I continued on to the mount line, jumped on and I was off!
The start of the bike is awesome. Thousands of people are lining the streets behind those low fence things that are covered with sponsor posters. It felt crazy to think I was an athlete and not watching this from the outside! Anyway, people are going nuts for you as I road through town. My spare water bottle bounced out of my saddle cage just before the sharp turn with the hay bales and I hoped a volunteer could snag it out of the way before a cyclist behind me hit it.
My profile water bottle that sits on my aero bars has two chambers. A smaller 16oz I put water into, and a larger 32oz held my concentrated perpeteum. I quickly remembered my nutrition plan and started hydrating and eating. This is what I did to give me 250-300 calories/hour:
Eat one raspberry fig newton (50 cal) every 30 minutes.
Eat one Gu Shot (25 calories) every 20 minutes.
Sip Perpeteum every 15 minutes (Had a 3 hour bottle made up for a total of 600 calories).
Drink water everytime I did any of the above and as needed (ended up drinking about 32 ounces an hour).
**I kept enough Gu Shots and figs on my for 4 hours. At Bike Special Needs, after the first loop, I had more perpeteum in a bike bottle I just had to dilute and add to the profile bottle, and another 4 hours worth of Gu Shots and figs, which I kept in the Rocket Pocket [not pocket rocket] on my top tube. I grabbed only water from the aid-stations, slipping the bottle into my saddle cage and using that to fill my profile bottle as needed. I'd dump and remaining on myself before tossing it at the next aid station and grabbing a fresh bottle.**
That plan worked great. I felt great the whole time, but I had to make a change half way through the second lap. The Perpeteum just started tasting spoiled (It has protein and carbs in it) despite staying cool with the fresh water I was adding to the other chamber. So I stopped at a port-a-jon at the aid station just before the big climb and had a volunteer dump the perpeteum and replace it with Power-aid Perform that they were handing out. I wasn't sure how many calories it had, but I knew it was comparable. Also, I had stopped for a stretch break just after my first loop at an aid station before the big descent. A volunteer there did the diluting and mixing of my new perpeteum while I stretched. Another one came over and helped me stretch my shoulders. They were all so helpful and treated me like a rockstar!
So that was nutrition. It worked great for me and I had absolutly no GI issues on the bike. I felt strong the whole way! For my bike strategy, I kept it slow for the first two hours, but got a big wigged out when I realized I had actually biked the first 36 miles 15 minutes faster then I meant! I ran into Mandy at this point and she had the same worry! It is what it is though. The climb went fine and I felt strong all the way up. The same for the second loop! Although I was 30 minutes slower, I did stop more as well. However, I felt great through both loops. At the end I felt I could go more and I wasn't dieing to get off the bike at all! The inspiration stations that were all throughout the bike course rocked. There was blaring music, dancing volunteer, and random people out there cheering you on the whole way. Honestly, I got a little sick of saying thank-you to everyone who was out there but I did my best!
My favorite part of the bike? The chalk writing on the final big hills of the climb (Papa Bear is the name of the hill) and the out-of-control volunteers that were there to cheer you up the hill. I especially got a kick out of the writing that reminded me how I paid money ($615) to do this, so no bitching on the climb! Then my awesome wife who had set up her own little camp near the transition oval to wait for me. She got a few pictures as I rode by and I stopped the first time for a quick kiss. After she cheered me on she went and got ready for her volunteer stint in the athlete lounge - more on that later.
My time for the bike was 7:30:29. Good stuff and I'm very happy with that. I really enjoyed the ride! It was also great to feel how much more in shape I was from when I'd rode the course 6 weeks earlier.
I came back into transition and hopped off the bike, my legs feeling great, but my right ankle a touch sore. I knew that tendonitis I'd developed a few weeks earlier while running in MDI would probably flair back up, so after I changed into my run stuff in the tent (Again, great volunteers to help ya. He got out my sneakers and socks for me, handed me my spair laces which I tucked into a pocket, and packed up my helmet and gloves), I had a volunteer take me to the medical tent. I asked if someone could tape my ankle for some support and they found an athletic trainer to do just that... except not. He didn't have any kinisiology tape, so he wrapped it in curlex and paper tape. It did feel supported, but it also hurt more. Looking back I should've taken in off right there, but I tried it out. I was guided back to the run start and off I went at a 12 minute/mile pace as I planned to start with.
Because my tendonitis was flairing up, it was any stretching of that tendon that hurt. Dorsiflexion for instance. So having this wrap around my tendon squeezing it in only increased my discomfort on the back part of my stride. At mile 2 I removed half the tape. A cute little girl, maybe 8, was standing there trying desprately to get me to take some water she had to hand out as I unwrapped my ankle and as I ran off with the water she called out, "I hope your foot feels better!" :-) At mile 4 I removed the whole damn wrap and my ankle instantly felt better. Figures. It's what I get for trying to solve a problem that wasn't really there, but certainly there now!
Speaking of mile 4, that right at the intersection of River Road and Deerwood Trail, the road my rental apartment was on. My Mom was there waiting for my to come by and had made a bunch of signs for me! I stole her chair to unwrap my ankle and she took photos galore, lol. I'll be sure to post those once I get them from her.
After I hit mile 6, just after the first turn-around, I ran across a chip-mat which displayed messages to athletes. There were more crazy volunteers dancing to techo music here too, while was awesome as River Road is kinda lonely! I saw a message from my sister-in-law Sarah which was pretty damn cool and helped keep me going. After mile 6 I increased the pace a touch and began to walk every 10th minute, as well as walking the aid stations. I kept that up back into town and past the second turn-around. Just 1 mile past the second turn-around are two signs, one pointing left saying, "Lap 2," another pointing right which says, "finish."
Lets just say that taking that left sucked.
My attitude crashed while running out of town. The cheering crowds pissed me off and I started to feel nausous. I saw Steve West, a training buddy of mine, heading back with 4 miles to go and felt great as I gave him a high five, but then back to the dumps soon after.
A little voice remembered that I'd read somewhere, "If you start getting angry, eat something." I didn't really have a plan on the run for nutrition. It's hard to practice that. Mostly I do water or HEED in a hand-held bottle at home. I had been taking water or cola in no particular order so far on the run, so I decided I needed sugar. At the next 3 aid stations I had Poweraid Perform on ice and finally felt better. My attitude was happy again and while I was feeling tired, I was happy.
At 6pm the chicken broth came out and I hung up my vegetarian hat to have 2 cups at two aid stations. It really is good stuff at that point in the day, but my stomach wasn't handling any more so I went back to Perform. As sunset approached and I passed my Mom for the 3rd time I handed her my sunglasses, gave my brother a high-five and continued on.
Prior to this race, the furthest I'd run at one time was just under 15 miles. I've never told anyone that cause I didn't wanna deal with anyone telling me my training sucked and I wouldn't make it. Really, I consider myself a casual triathlete. My training wasn't anything hardcore, although it may look that way to a lay-person. Other triathetes may look at what I've done and chew up it. To them I give a polite ** you. :-) I knew I'd down enough to do this in 17 hours and enjoy it. That's what I did. So by the time I handed off my sunglasses I was down to a 5 minute run/5 minute walk. I'm glad it worked out the way it did, cause I met some of the coolest people on those walks out there on River Road!
There was John, the Vietnam Vet with the M-Dot tattoo advice for me, and Kevin the walker from Amsterdam who kept catching up to me (He was power walking, I was run/walking) and teasing me saying I couldn't let him beat me. There was Shawna, the vomiting massage therapist from Jersey who I walked with for half a mile to try to get her mind off the nausea, Mandy, fellow blogger and triathlete who I saw at the 2nd to last turn-around, and the other guys and gals who'se names I never got. Those twilight and after-dark walks were awesome. And at every mile I got closer to my goal. I'd look down at my watch and think, "I just need to go 3mph and I'll finish by midnight!" Then it was 2mph, then 1mph, then 1/4mph to finish!
After the final turn around I found myself with John again, who I first met on the bike. He trotted off and I soon followed. The crowds had thinned out a bit in town, but people who were there just kept saying things like, "You're amazing!" and "You can do it!" I smiled at them all and said thanks, but it's really nothing amazing. Just sticking to a plan I made 6 months ago and well, doing it.
Finally I came up on those signs again, except they'd taken down the one saying "2nd lap." I trotted to the right and it seemed like everyone wanted to give me a high five. Man I wish I had a camera to record those last 60 seconds. I turned right to the finish and trotted under the first arch and volunteers were there to make sure I didn't trip as I ran onto the carpet. It's a sweeping turn to the left and I crossed a timing mat. Then you see a Ford finish arch and behind that the actual finish line - the line that's 140.6 miles away from the beach where I had started - and I heard the announcer:
"FROM BANGOR, MAINE!
YOU! ARE! AN! IRONMAN!"
It was a blur crossing that line. The crowd was jammed in on the rails with bleachers on both sides. Music was pumping in loud and two volunteers stepped in to stop me. What had been a trot had suddenly become an all out sprint! They tossed a solar blanket around me and someone put a medal around my neck. A water bottle was put into my hand and someone said, "Get him a large," before a finisher's shirt and hat was given to me as well. The lady who had caught me decided I looked good and didn't need medical attention and walked me to the athlete lounge. I had finished my first marathon in 6:07:50, and my first Ironman in 15:44:44!
Kate found me then and said she'd seen my cross the finish line. She had her volunteer shirt on from helping athletes right where I was. I had water and a slice of pizza in front of me. She first made sure I was okay, then gave me a huge hug and told me how proud of me she was. God I love that girl, and was she ever a sight for sore eyes! I told her some of the day and she told me some of her's as I tried to eat the pizza. I wasn't feeling so hot anymore, not nauseous, just no appetite. Still, they had pizza so all I could think was that it was important to eat the pizza! Bad idea.
We got up and started to walk back to transition to get my stuff and figure out how we were gonna get my bike to the car when suddenly I was like, "Kate, I don't feel so hot." Kate first pulled a giant trashcan next to me, but the last thing I wanted to do was puke (I never want to puke, even if I know I'll feel better after.). Then a wave of dizziness hit me like I've never felt and Kate walked me to medical, which was smartly positioned right by the finish line and athlete lounge. We walked in and I said, "Hi, I'm going to pass out." I don't remember much here but Kate says no one really moved so she got me a chair and sat me down. I remember someone yelling at me, "Focus! Open your eyes! Breathe!" I never did pass out completely, the the world definitely closed in on me for a bit there. I heard them yelling my number and someone got my medical sheet. They weigh you at check in so they figured out I'd only lost 3.5 pounds over the course of the days. I say 'only' cause that's really not that bad considering! I was helped to a cot (a lawn chair with a blanket over it) and a nurse a doc came right over and asked me what I'd used for nutrition to determine if I was likely to be dehydrated and have too much or too little salt left in me, which are treated two different ways.
The doc had me try to drink more chicken brother and the nurse took my blood pressure which was 86/50's. After 10 minutes it came up to 90/something but I kept feeling nauseous. Kate finally spoke up after I was trying to tell her I was fine and had the nurse start an IV. I got a 500mL bolus of saline and some zofran. I did feel better a bit later, but it was prolly more the saline then the zofran that did it.
Kate left me to call my Mom to bring her car up, as that would make getting home easier and I met a nice guy who said he was a fight medic from Albany. We chatted for a bit then someone pulled my IV (I decided I didn't need it anymore so I asked a nurse to pull it - no one had actually said to me, "Jay, you look okay, let's send you home."). Kate helped me stand up in my blankets (I had been shivering pretty bad and my oral temp was 95.6 or something) and I started telling the same jokes I tell everyone (Chicken crossing the playground and two flies on poop) at which point Kate declared I was fine and could we leave now before I embarrass myself (and her) further. I should also mention I was now out of my tri-suit and in Kate's pink jogging shorts she had in her bag. You know, because my tri-suit was cold, not because I like wearing pink shorts. >.>
My Mom finally got there and we loaded my bike into the trunk and I sat in the front, slight nauseous with the heat blasting. I felt better by the time I got home. I finally took off my finisher's medal (I had to keep putting it on top of the blankets in medical cause people kept covering me up and no one could see it!) and took a shower and made my way to bed.
I then slept like a rock.
...a rock made of iron. :-)