July 26, 2010, 2:30 AM-I head to the volunteer registration line in Lake Placid with Kathi Cover after volunteering the day before in the Women’s Changing tent for T-1, then taking pictures all day of all of my MMTC friends in the race and cheering them through the finish…so excited! We aren’t really prepared, but make do with the towels and blankets I have in the car and sleep on the asphalt lot next to lots of others hoping to register for next year’s IMLP event. We meet several others, including Tom from Reston, Va. who I will stay in touch with throughout the year.
We get registered…Wow! I’m excited, yet I think…am I crazy? A few years ago, I didn’t even know what a triathlon was until a friend convinced me to try Irongirl. Now I’m going to do an Ironman? Yes, I’m going to do an Ironman!
Up to this point, the races I signed up for were on a whim, or because someone said hey you should do this, or will you do this race with me? …and my training followed accordingly. I decided for this one, I probably needed some structure and direction so I took the plunge and got a coach. Ok, so I wasn’t the perfect student…but I actually followed the plan pretty well---at least for me. I’m sure I made my coach crazy at times…I tend to have a mind of my own and training is only part of my life. With two girls playing D-1 lacrosse, working full-time and multiple volunteer committments, life is a bit hectic and training often was the thing that got missed or modified. I do appreciate everything I learned from the coaching over the year though, and the guidance through IM training…it was all part of this amazing experience!
I arrived in Lake Placid late Tuesday night. I was able to rent a place from a college friend that was perfect. It was a couple blocks from Main Street and within walking distance from everything. I drove up alone and got settled. Stocked up at the grocery on Wednesday morning with everything I would need, touched base with Sadj and got my pre-race workouts in-OWS in Mirror Lake. Went to Mark Yost’s house for dinner that night--great to share dinner and conversation with such a great group. Rode part of the bike course Thursday, went to Athlete check-in, then back to Mark’s that night…more MMTC fun as everyone starts to arrive-Susie, Dawn, Lisa F., George and Family, James Bettis, Mike Petersen, Mike Matney…. Loretta and my son Patrick arrive late Thursday night to stay with me. Friday Alice and I drive the bike course together then off to the Athlete Welcome Dinner…a bit chaotic, not great food, but glad I went. And Matt Long was the keynote speaker! Incredible and inspirational person whom I have been following for a long time, so very special that he was the speaker for my first IM! (Bonus-he was doing a book signing the next day in Lake Placid and I was able to talk to him, get a picture with him and a book signed by him!) Pat and George MacNabb arrive late Friday night…so happy to have Pat there! Saturday was a short S-B-R, get transition bags ready and deliver them and rack my bike. Once again, the awesomeness of my MMTC family—Mark Y offers to go over Transition bags and race nutrition/strategy with me---I head right over! Mark and Tom Kish along with several others gather to share thoughts and review how things work in an IM race-invaluable and just what I needed…thanks, Mark-you are truly special! Bike racked, transition bags delivered…time for food and rest. I head to the lake Placid Brewery with Loretta, Patrick, James B and Mike Petersen for a great pre-race meal. Perfect! I stay up a bit later than I had planned, but it’s ok…I had a special e-mail to send to some very special people, and wanted to touch base with all my family and friends who made my year and race experience so wonderful.
Up at 3:30 AM and have an egg sandwich for breakfast. Make a PB&J sandwich for the race, along with my First Endurance drink in bottles. Gather my Special Needs bags, nutrition, etc. and head to transition with Loretta, Patrick and Pat M. James heads to Starbucks for coffee for me—my friends are amazing! Get things set up in transition and realize my Garmin 405(for the run) is frozen---I work on it and finally get it to respond only to find that although it was fully charged when I left the house, it is now showing 30% charge—uugghh. That will never last! I head out and find Loretta, Patrick, Pat and James---with coffee in hand---and we walk to the MMTC tent---so happy to see everyone! I am trying to figure out what to do about my run Garmin when Marla S offers me her watch---wow, another incredible act of kindness…I love this sport and this club! I take it, and am glad I did by end of race. Off to the swim start and the beginning of a crazy and amazing day…. I am surrounded by friends as I walk and wait (Thank you bunches Loretta, Pat, James, Patrick!!) …it is here my friend Tom finds me (yes, Tom that I met a year earlier waiting in line-so cool!) for a quick hug and we wish each other good luck!
I feel the most confident and calm I ever have before a swim start. Interesting, because the swim is always my challenge in every race. I start off strong and feel good most of the first loop, and ahead of my time goal…then it hits. Out of nowhere, horrible GI issues. I am in a wet suit, in a lake, with 2500 other people, no porta-potty’s, no options. Well unless you consider abandoning the swim and the race an option---which I did not. Painful, yes…horrifying, yes…. The worst situation I could imagine other than drowning or getting pulled from the swim…let’s just leave it at that. I finish the swim.
I get to the changing tent later than I wanted and end up with a longer than planned T-1 after the swim disaster.
I head out on the bike and work hard to make up some lost time. The first 30 miles are still a bit of a challenge as I am working hard to recover from the GI issues and get a good start on the bike leg. I am excited to be on my bike and the GI issues seem to settle down a bit, although at this point I am concerned about how my nutrition will work. I am trying to work through things but know I need to stop and get resituated. I think through my strategy and know that my friend Mike Petersen is working the Jay water stop. I make that my goal-get to the jay water stop, take a quick break for porta-potty and re-group. I know Mike will help. I see Mike as I’m approaching the water stop and he’s cheering for me. I pull in just past him and he runs right over---he’s there for me, to hold my bike, get water, give me a quick hug---all which made a huge difference! I head out for the rest of the first loop feeling much better and decide to just keep working my nutrition plan and race strategy and see how things go. I pass a few people and as I am heading back into Lake Placid I see Amy Krupka (banana costume and all!) and Melinda on Papa Bear cheering like crazy! I am smiling all the way up the climb with Melinda running alongside me “pushing” me right up…awesome! I head around and past the MMTC tent and see Loretta and Patrick and so many friends…so happy! My second bike loop is better than the first…I am energized and pass several people along the way. My nutrition seems to be working---First Endurance sports drink, First Endurance gel flask, S-Caps and PB&J sandwich (just like Mark suggested-in ¼’s in the Bento box-worked great!) I did add a ½ banana on each loop to help with the GI issues (being a Mom helps—I remembered the BRAT diet, B=bananas)
I grab by T-2 bag and head into the tent…first person I see is Aldona. She is with someone else, but trades quickly and runs right over to me---awesome! So glad to see her…and my extra shorts in my T-2 bag. Change quickly…new shorts, running shoes, visor, Garmin. Hugs and happy words from Aldona before I leave the tent, then I’m off on the run.
I continue to feel better as the race goes on…my day is amazing! It feels good to run and I see so many friends as I run through town. I stick with my plan to run the marathon, slowing to a quick walk through each aid station for hydration. This seems to be working and I feel pretty good. I am smiling…lots. It is on the run that I get to see my friends that are racing and say hi, good luck, enjoy…so awesome! I see Tom Kish, Alice, Tom B, Joe B, George O and George S, Kathi, Dawn…. The first loop is great (except as expected, my Garmin dies---oh well) and I alternate water and cola through the aid stations. I’m coming up the hill back to town and someone comes running up to me, introduces herself and says she’s Marla Shapiro’s friend and that Marla told her to look for me and cheer for me for her—she runs with me up the hill cheering all the way! I round the corner to Mirror Lake Drive and there are Pat and George Mac Nabb, volunteering as pointers and watching for me, taking pictures and cheering---WOW, am I so lucky!!! As I approach the Mirror Lake Drive water stop nearing the end of loop 1, I see Susie…been looking forward to that big smile and a quick hug…Dawn R sees me from across the water stop and comes running over as I jog through-she picks me up and spins me around right in the middle of the road---it was awesome! Ha ha—we have both laughed about the fact that I was actually running a marathon at the time but it was one of the coolest parts of my day and made me feel so happy to have so much support and such great friends in my life! Like the bike, loop two of the run was even better than the first. As I headed out of town, I passed Kathi and stopped for a moment to give her a big hug…we had been in this together for a whole year. I continued to run with only brief walks through the aid stations. My stomach started feeling a bit sloshy—I had experienced this a bit at Eagleman and knew I needed to fix this. I skipped the water and cola for a stop and took some pretzels instead along with ice chips. It seemed to work and I got back on track. I added a cookie a few stops later, then back to just water. (Ok, I did eat a few M&M’s late in the run and they were awesome!!) By this time it was getting dark and a lot of people—most people---were walking. I just kept running, passing more and more, and smiling. I was having so much fun! I am close now….last hill back into town is approaching and there I see Aldona…cheering and running up the hill with me….about 3 miles to go.
Finishing an Ironman in Lake Placid is an incredible experience. This place is so awesome! As I come down Mirror Lake drive towards Main Street it is dark and the crowds are light…its is pretty calm, yet I can hear the crowds, the announcer, the music ahead in the distance. I cherish this moment and take it all in….then pick up my pace and turn the corner on Main then a quick left into the Olympic Oval. The crowds get louder, the music is playing…I know my friends are all there somewhere but I can’t see them yet. As I come around the last turn I can see the finish arch and right on the other side of that arch I see Bob and Sadj waiting for me…how cool is that? I don’t think I have stopped smiling for several hours now! I run through the finish as I hear Mike Reilly saying “Kim Sheridan, You are an Ironman” right in to the waiting arms of Bob and Sadj. They walk me through, give me my medal, my shirt and hat, get my picture taken then make sure I get water and a slice of pizza. I quickly find Loretta, Patrick, Pat M, Mike P and James---they have been an incredible support crew for me throughout my IM experience!
One of my goals for this race was to feel good at the end of the race and to stay until all my friends finished and to be there at midnight for the finish line party---and that’s exactly what I did. As soon as Kathi was coming through I snuck back into the finish line area so I could be there to give her a hug and we could celebrate together. Then I went back out with the group and we hung out, watched the finishers, sang along to songs, and cheered until the last finisher crossed the line.
This was by far one of the most incredible life experiences for me in so many ways, and I am so fortunate for the opportunity to participate and grateful for the ability to complete it. Most importantly, I am incredibly blessed with and surrounded by such special friends in my life who truly made my IMLP experience extraordinary. A very special thank you Loretta, my bestest training partner and friend, who was there for me through it all… to my son, Patrick, Pat MacNabb and her husband George, James Bettis and Mike Petersen, Bob and Sadj---you guys are the best! …and to my daughters, Kaitlin and Christina, my brother Jeff, my sister Sheri, my friends Meg, Jeff, Mike C who couldn’t be in Lake Placid but have supported me so much…. thank you to all who offered friendship and support in Lake Placid-Aldona, Dawn S & Susan, Kathi, Susie M, Dawn R, Mark Y, George, Tom & Colleen K, Tom B, Joe B, Marla, Mike Lombardo, Marla, Suzy S, Lisa, Greg, Melinda, Amy, Alice….. And to all of you who sent texts, e-mails and FB messages with love and support! I am so very lucky…Life is Good!