Lake Placid Ironman 2011
33rd age group place out of 113
Just 6 years ago I was not a swimmer, I was not a cyclist, I was not a runner; I was just a ICU RN and a Mom who was using kick boxing classes to get back into shape after raising 3 great kids. I was getting pretty good at kick boxing at the Baltimore Martial Arts when my friends wanted me to do the Iron Girl with them, they would not take no for an answer. As a group, we decided to do a small triathlon in South Carolina as a warm up for the Iron Girl. My only goal at that time was that I did not walk the race – I met my goal.
Somewhere along the way I fell in love with triathlons and exchanged my antique bike for a road bike and joined MMTC; a great decision. I also joined a swim team at the YMCA and started getting interested in longer races, about the same time two of my swim team members did Ironman Lake Placid. The next year I did Eagleman and yes, no wetsuit on a hot and humid day. I did okay at that race and had a great experience training with some of those who were doing Placid in 2010; Melinda Peters, Aldona, Linda , George Orlean (all of them great triathletes). I was convinced I should volunteer in 2010 and sign up for 2011. My friend Danyelle, who teaches Russian kettle bells at the Baltimore Martial Arts, had been getting me in good core shape when she out of the blue told me to do an Ironman before I had signed up. How did she know I was interested?
I followed through and volunteered in the transition tent during the Lake Placid Ironman 2010. It was awesome experience, I was there all day for both swim to bike and bike to run and got to help Amy Marsh, who won for women that year.
After watching Melinda and Aldona train with a coach I realized I would need the help of a coach or risk overtraining. I was recommended Mike Matney by Marcos O. who was using him as a coach. I did not know him so I did a little research. It did come down to Mike and one other coach but I went with my gut feeling and am extremely happy with my choice. If you don’t know me, I am very strong willed and am a survivor from a tough childhood. I have to credit Mike for putting up with me and even more for challenging my weaknesses. I am a great hill climber but was a chicken on the down hills he took the time to figure out why and giving me guidance to tackle the down hills. The next thing I know I was loving the down hills.
Right from the start, in January, I was faced with a mammogram that showed possible cancer and as a ICU RN who only sees the worst outcomes from news like this. I was numbed by the news but determined to do the race even if I was bald and on chemo. I had to endure two biopsies and the surgeon bandaged me tighter because he knew I was only going to take at most 1 day off for training rather than the week that he wanted me too. After the 1st biopsy the next day I ran 6 miles on the treadmill and trained on a vasa trainer at the base, since I was unable to get in the pool. Mike Matney, who was unbelievably supportive, showed me how to use the equipment so I could keep in some kind of swim shape. The great news was that it was not cancer but atypical cells high risk but not cancer. Back to full training which I did every workout assigned.
Forced to rest except for a few small workouts. It was easier when my son, daughter and two of their friends came up to stay with us.
Slept well, unusual for me but got up 0330 at 2 hardboiled eggs. Banana, ½ bagel got ready and headed up to transition body marking and special needs area. It was really great to see Pat McNabb my old high school PE teacher and three time Ironman – she gave me a card to encourage me on my race.
Swim (place 82 out of 113)
Nutrition was one serving of infinite before swim.
This is where I went wrong.
It became 77 degrees in the Lake, which means wetsuit optional. If you wore the wetsuit, then no option for Kona or awards, being rule oriented and not wanting to close doors I went with no wetsuit. However, I do not regret this choice. Positioning at the start was rough, I had planned starting at the center of the start line, behind the fast group counting to 20 and then going. At 5 ft 4 inches and 115 lbs, I got cold fast in the water went against my plan – feeling as if getting out in the middle would make me hypothermic. My positioning was with the majority of swimmers, and looking out to the middle of the swim start and low in the water, it looked no different than where I was. My husband showed me on video I should have braved the cold and swam out to execute my plan; there wasn’t as many people where my plan would have put me. Instead I got caught in the biggest washing machine I have ever been in and I could not breathe and ended up swimming wide and wasting all kinds of energy and getting hypothermic to a small degree. Lesson learned stick with your plan. I should have finished in 1 hr 15 m. I think I swam 2.5 or 2.6 miles overall, what a waste. I got out of the water and realized how far behind that mistake had put me after I saw all the bikes were gone. I was in trouble. This is where you find out a lot about yourself I knew I had a lot to make up on the bike and run.
Shivered a lot called out for Melinda Peters who was volunteering in the transition tent, an angel, a great friend to help me.
Off to bike.
Bike: (place 52 out of 113)
Nutrition infinite every 30 mins ½ serving with salt tablet(1 on the odd hr and 2 on the even hr) every hour.
Another problem – Heart rate monitor is only reading 45 to 50 beats per minute – shifting to using perception of exertion, like Mike M. taught me. One more problem – notice cadence monitor isn’t working, magnet knocked off in transition – trained well to know what a high cadence should feel like. I was complemented on my high cadence by the Tri-to-win guys watching from the side of road. I would have been faster on my bike time, but had to go to the bathroom four times. The volunteers are great and they hold your bike and fill water bottles as per your instruction, they are the best. See Melinda again, what a great cheerleader, at the top of Papa Bear. I love my bike should have been 6 ½ hrs but I guess that swim really dictated my race and my energy level. Love hills which were nothing after all the Cotactins and Deep Creek training. I really must say Mike really had me trained well.
T- 2 (6:59)
My daughter, Becca helped me in transition and Aldona whom I loved seeing in the transition.
Run (33 place out of 113)
Nutrition gel every 30 minutes and sodium tablet every hour – had to force myself to take them with the nausea.
My plans were a 3:50 to 4 hr marathon and started off well downhill in the 6 min pace then settled into my zone 2 heart rate at 8:30 to 9 min pace but after 1st lap I started to get really nauseous a common theme with those who went without a wet suit. I also felt weak with the nausea. I saw Mike M on his mountain bike encouraging me he knew I was struggling and slowing down. Struggle to keep up my nutrition watch was set to do 30 min, had to force myself with the nausea . I was determined not to walk and even used the port-o-pot once. This is where you dig deep and find out what you are made of, I loved learning that. I saw MMTC tent, my husband, kids, Melinda and Jaime C. and even great volunteers like Dawn. I only walked very briefly through 3 water stops; I was discouraged I knew I should be doing better. I saw a great friend from the FEXY group also struggling; we ran together encouraging each other (she made KONA even with struggling). I remember seeing Amy Krupka, that also encouraged me; that same group lined up and high fived me in to the shoot to the finish line; I so appreciated that. Running down the shoot to the finish line, I summoned whatever energy I had in me and ran fast, I passed 3 more people. I want to thank God has been a huge influence in my life. My family was all there at the finish line, it felt crazy to be done. I really enjoyed two pieces of pizza (helped the nausea) and three cokes with George Orlean. It was like I was at a outdoor café. My family all got my stuff and my youngest son, a football lineman, was so protective of his mom. I felt he would have carried me back to our condo, I felt spoiled.
I can’t thank God enough for what I learned about myself and my husband for being there every step. I really need to thank Mike Matney, even with that poor swim, for being proud of me when I know I went off plan - but kept fighting to do well. I really appreciated my husband for being honest and showing me where I went wrong; Then laughing telling me that between the bike and run, I passed 903 people (he counted) and said I must have gotten tired of saying, “On your left”. I love competing and I am already signed up for next year. I am sure Mike Matney has his work cut out for him. An Ironman really shows you where you get your strength from and forces you to make tough choices. I take full responsibility for my success and my short comings. I am so glad I did not let it destroy me. I am an Ironman!
P.S. I want to thank the people I have gotten to know along the way Mike Barone, Mike Ogden, Mark Yost, Lisa Farias… are all amazing and I am really happy to know them! To my co-Ironman virgins Kathi Cover and Kim Sheridan - You girls rock! It is interesting that there was only 13 people in my age group that went without a wetsuit and I was 10th in roll down for a Kona slot; Only missed it by 6 people imagine where I would be if I had followed my plan. Like I said an Ironman is more than the race - It tests you physically - It teaches you how to deal with adversity - It tests your character when things don’t go as planned.