Thursday, July 31, 2014

2014 Ironman Lake Placid Race Report

Before heading to Lake Placid I went through my massive pile of checklists to make sure that I had everything that I would need to complete my first Ironman. Nutrition, check. Bike, check. Wetsuit, check. On and on it went. With everything packed, Amy asked me if I had included my cycling rain jacket. I had not. I thought about it and decided to toss it in the bag along with my cold weather swimming gloves. They do not take up much room, and you never know. I loaded the car, put the bike on the roof, and headed towards Lake Placid, New York.

I wanted to check into registration early on Thursday to avoid long lines and attend the 2:00 athletes briefing so we left home at 7:30 in the morning and arrived in Lake Placid (LP) at 1:00 with only a stop for breakfast in Woodstock, VT and gas in Rutland, VT. We found a place to park and headed into registration, which is held in the conference center attached to the 1932 and 1980 Olympic hockey rinks. After going from station to station filling out forms, getting weighed, and confirming my identity I had my Ironman wristband affixed to my right wrist, was given a welcome kit, told to go to the Ironman store, which was located on the skating oval, to get my competitor back pack and was then shown the exit. While the operations were very efficient and business like, the volunteers manning the stations were very friendly and welcoming.

Once at the oval I went to the store, got my backpack and then on the way to the 2:00 briefing stopped by the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) tent. I was competing under the MMRF banner (you can read about that in previous posts) and I was greeted like an old friend. I had met most of the MMRF team last year (Alicia and Jane) and had been exchanging e-mails with Kelley for months. We caught up and then when it was 2:00 I attended the athletes briefing which was mandatory. After hearing the rules and updates the meeting was over and Amy and I got the keys to the condo and headed down to unpack, relax, and then I got ready for dinner with friends from Endurance Nation, my training team. That evening the Dreyer family arrived. I was doing the race in honor of Jeanne Dreyer who is living with Multiple Myeloma.

MMRF Power Team

The next morning I got up early and headed to Mirror Lake with Mike Dreyer to get a final swim in.  At 7:00 the lake was packed and I ran into many friends, as well as those I had gotten to know on various online Facebook groups over the past year. The water was perfect and I had my fastest swim to date. I was ready.


That afternoon I laid out the five plastic bags that I received at registrations. The bags are different colors and have different labels. The first was for race morning. You put what you will need the morning of the race as well as after the race in this bag.  The second bag is for your transition from swimming to cycling. The third bag is for cycling to running. The fourth bag is your bike special needs bag. In this bag you put anything you think you may need for the second loop of the bike. The fifth bag is your run special needs bag. In this bag you put anything you may need for the second loop of the run. To fill these bags I had created checklists so that as I put an item in the bag it could be checked off. Simple. The two things I had not put on the list were the rain jacket and swim gloves. After much internal debate I decided to put them in my swim to bike bag. This bag was already tightly packed due to my oversize “Darth Helmet” yet somehow I found room in there. The weather report indicated that even though it may be in the low 70’s there was a 70% chance of some rain. With the bags packed I then decided to put all the contents into 2-gallon zip lock bags to keep the items dry in the event of overnight rain. I then unpacked and re-packed each bag.

On Saturday I took the bike and the transition bags to the check in and tried to relax. Everyone kept asking if I was nervous, and I was not. I was a bit concerned that I was not. All I can chalk that up to is the belief that I had done everything I could to get ready for the race. I had trained hard. I had a nutrition plan. I had a race strategy. There was nothing more I could do so why worry about it. I can only control me and how I react to the chaos around me. After eating dinner at our friend John and Katie’s annual Ironman party I headed home and went to bed.

My alarm went off at 3:00 am and I got right out of bed. Time to start executing the plan. I ate 3.25 cups of applesauce, 1 banana, 8-ounce protein shake, 16 ounces of Gatorade and 16 ounces of coffee. I then showered, got my bathing suit on, grabbed my wetsuit and race day bag and got a ride to the transition area from Amy. While I was eating breakfast I heard some heavy rain yet by the time I got to transition the sky was lightening. It was overcast however it did not have that pre-storm look about it. Excellent! Perfect race weather. In transition I checked over my bike, pumped my tires, said hello to friends going through their pre-race routines, and headed out of transition. I joined my Endurance Nation training partners for a pre-race photo and then got into my wetsuit. By this time Amy and Mike had made their way over from the condo. I handed Amy the few things I still had with me, said my goodbyes and walked to the swim start area.

The swim start is done in waves by anticipated swim time. I was estimating a swim time of 90 minutes and here is where I made my first mistake. I seeded myself at the front of the 1:31-1:40 swim group. I should have seeded my self in the 1:21-1:30 group. The cannon was shot and the male Pro racers started. Five minutes later the cannon again was shot and the female Pro’s started. Five more minutes past and the cannon fired one last time. The first age groupers entered the water and the race was on. I finally got into the water at 6:45 or so. I felt great. I had a nice pace going despite the crowd. I kept finding open pockets and would pass groups of swimmers. Only a couple of times was I hit in the head and just hard enough to jar my goggles loose. I was able to fix them quickly and kept swimming. I am not one for confrontation in the water so if I feel that someone wants to pass me I let him or her go by. Only a couple of times did I feel that I was having trouble getting by swimmers and then I just used my patience and when I found an opening a few power strokes and kicks got me back into open water. I followed the under water cable for approximately 50% of the first lap however I still felt the need to site since there were so many people swimming on the cable. I will say that if you are just doing the breaststroke I wish you would go to the sides, as the frog kicks are hard to avoid. If doing the backstroke moving to the side would probably be the courteous thing. Before I knew my hand touched the mud at the bottom of the lake. I stood up, ran through the arch and glanced at my watch. 1.2 miles in 41 minutes! So much faster than planned. I felt like I was playing with house money going into lap two.

Just before I got out of the water I noticed that it was raining fairly hard and I hoped that the spectators had raincoats and umbrellas with them. I did not give it another thought. I was still feeling great and the throng of swimmers had thinned out a bit. I found plenty of open water and I was able to stay on the line. I kept powering through and was shocked when it was time to make the turn back to finish the swim. I kept thinking only ¼ of the swim left. That’s it. All those hours of swimming and now I was about to finish my first Ironman swim. I kept counting my strokes and started to think about the upcoming transition and what I needed to do when suddenly everything changed. The flow of swimmers had stopped. It was like a wall of people had dropped into the lake ahead of me. There was no fighting through since these people were swimming in the wrong direction. I stopped swimming looked up and heard the shouts to swim to shore. Lifeguards were blowing whistles. People were yelling. It was chaos. I looked at my watch and it showed 2.1 miles and 1:13. As I joined the crowd that was headed towards the nearest shore I was frustrated. It was just rain. About 50 yards from shore I saw an enormous bolt of lightning to my right followed immediately by a loud clap of thunder. Frustration over. I swam as fast as I could to the shore and took shelter in someone’s lakeside cabana. It reminded me of a ¾ shed where firewood is stored however this one was much nicer. As a large group of swimmers sat there we discussed what now. Well over five minutes later, through word of mouth, we heard that we should head to the transition area.

After tromping through someone’s yard I started walking down Mirror Lake Drive in the pouring rain. Some people were running. I chose to walk at first then go at a slow jog down road. I alternated between the road and the sidewalk, as none of it was comfortable in bare wet feet. As I approached the Lake Placid Brewery I heard volunteers asking if we wanted help getting our wet suits off. I wanted that so I laid down in the middle of the road and a woman pulled my wet suit off me. The entire thing was very surreal and not at all how I pictured this happening.  I gathered up my wetsuit, and after a few more steps I was able to enter the normal area for the run to the transition area. Thankfully this was carpeted, as my feet were not happy with the rough roads. I saw Amy and gave her a quick kiss and continued my journey to the transition area.

My plan in transition was to grab my swim to bike bag, head into the tent and go all the way to the back. I grabbed my bag, ran into the tent and stopped. The tent was packed. With so many people being pulled off the swim course at once they had all come into the tent at once. There were no empty spots near the front so I slowly made my way to the back of the tent as planned and there were no spots. People were changing everywhere. I was about to start changing in the aisle when a person next to me got up so I grabbed his spot. I had planned on doing a full clothing change during each leg of the race so I did this and I then pulled out the rain jacket and swim gloves I had packed. I was so happy I did this. I made my way out of the tent grabbed my bike and headed towards the bike mount line.

When I got to the mount line I realized there was no way to get on the bike there. Far too many people were walking their bikes down the steep initial incline. Not that I blame them. When I could finally get onto my bike I started down the hill and tried my brakes. Not too much happened. They were not very effective in all of that water. Good to know. I continued on the course and as I approached the first steep downhill by the ski jumps I again tried my brakes and again I received minimal braking. The only time this really concerned me was in this one place. Towards the bottom of the hill there were some large puddles and the bike felt a little squirrely as I went through the puddles. Up next was the first climb out of town and I noticed that I was passing a lot of people. I looked at my power meter numbers and I was exactly where I wanted to be.  It was then that I became very grateful for my jacket as I noticed many riders were shaking and shivering from the cold rain. I think they were just focused on moving forward and getting warm.

After the initial climb the descent into Keene begins. The descent is long and fast. In the rain it also becomes treacherous. I enjoy going fast and as the descent began I continued to pass other riders. The Keene descent uses two of the three travel lanes (There are 2 up lanes and one down lane during normal driving usage) and the shoulder during the race. Due to the driving rain most people were on the far right side of the course so I stayed a bit to the left and focused on the line I was riding and avoiding the painted lines in the road which become very slick when wet. The road had just been paved and was very smooth. I stayed out of the aero position and would test the brakes every so often. They did not have much, if any, effect so I kept moving forward at a fairly high rate of travel. Since there were no puddles and I had new tires on I felt comfortable with the speed. The miles passed and I was in Keene where there was a large group of people cheering us on. I pedaled on, settled into a groove and made my way towards the out and back section in Ausable. This is a fast section of the course and at some point the rain stopped. Nothing too exciting happened for the rest of the ride until I was finishing the climb back into Lake Placid, other than an internal debate about wearing my raincoat on lap two.

Darth Helmet in my rain gear

During training I had climbed the bears (three hills in a row that are called Mama, Baby and Papa Bear) at the top of Papa Bear the crowd of people was 4 – 5 deep and they were screaming and cheering you on. It was amazing. If you were feeling a bit tired at that point I am sure that they helped restore your energy. So much fun. I then took the turn onto Northwood Rd. where there were more fans cheering. A left at the end of Northwood puts you onto Mirror Lake Rd. and you head back to town. Mirror Lake Rd. is lined with tents and fans and they keep the energy going that started back on the bears. I started to hear my name being yelled by the fans in the MMRF area and I gave them a fist pump as I rode past. Next up was the special needs area where I reloaded my nutrition supplies, applied more chamois crème to my undercarriage, and dropped of my raincoat and long finger gloves. It was now fairly nice out and I was getting hot with those items. I thanked the volunteers and pedaled on towards Main Street, which was just packed. People everywhere held back by waist high fences. It’s just overwhelming to ride through there and have people cheering for you like that. I continued on and started loop two. This time there was no rain and the sun had dried the roads. I again pedaled out of town and I was really looking forward to the Keene descent. As I passed by the fairgrounds I saw the Fit Werx tent and Marty was there DJ’ing and keeping the crowd entertained. We waved and I pedaled on.

Climbing Papa Bear and having FUN!
As I arrived at the descent I was happy to see that the road looked great. Nice and dry. I got as aero as I could, pedaled on and started to go faster and faster. I glanced at my Garmin and I saw it was reading 51.1 MPH. Woo Hoo! I had been hoping to hit 50 at some point. This time the descent ended even faster than the first time. I must have had an enormous grin on my face. The rest of lap two was mostly uneventful. As I began the climb towards Wilmington I saw a NorthEast MultiSport jersey ahead of me. I now had a target since I wanted to see who it was. I slowly closed the gap and I eventually caught the rider on Haselton Road. I was happy to see that it was Chris Kaminaris. This was Chris’ second Ironman and I remembered being amazed when he was training for his first since the concept of doing an Ironman was so foreign to me. It no longer is. Chris and I caught up on how we were doing and when he headed into the aid station I kept chugging along. By the time I reached Papa Bear again I was ready to get off the bike. I heard my name being yelled again and I saw Amy, Holly Golden and others wearing MMRF orange cheering me on. I pedaled on, and on Main Street I kept hearing congratulations for finishing the bike portion of the race. I wheeled into transition, handed a volunteer my bike, grabbed my bike to run bag and headed into the changing tent.

The tent was much emptier this time and I had no problem finding a space to change. I was grateful that I had packed a towel so I could wipe my self down before changing. Since I ride for Fit Werx I had worn their kit on the bike and since I was doing this race as a fundraiser for the MMRF I wore their kit on the run. I dried my feet, got my shoes on, ran out the door, then ran right back as I had forgotten my sunglasses. I then headed to the station where volunteers applied sunblock and got myself slathered in a thick coating of the stuff. It was time for the final leg, the marathon.

The beginning of the marathon course is downhill so I worked to maintain a slow pace and stayed in control. Mike Dreyer ran alongside me and asked if I was ok. I said I was other than a sore knee while on the bike. (As I ran that soreness went away). As I approached the first aid station I again saw someone wearing the NorthEast MultiSport kit so again I had a target. My plan was to walk every aid station as well as the ski jump hill and the hill back to Main Street. The person from NorthEast apparently had the same plan and by mile three I had caught up to him. It was Chris again. I guess he had a great transition while I was forgetting things and doing a full change. We started running together and stuck together the rest of the way. It was great having someone to run with and we talked and motivated each other. During the run we saw many NorthEast runners on the course including Chris Stevenson, Craig Thomas, Ashley Blake, and Scott Golden. I also saw many other people I knew. Every mile or so brought more and more familiar faced either from NorthEast, MMRF, Endurance Nation, local friends (Katie and John), friends from my REI days (Jane, Toby, Samantha), luge friends, or even friends who were up volunteering (Laura, and among others Amy Hage who I hugged before I realized how sweaty I was). I think Chris was amused with all of this.

Lap two of the run was very similar to lap one. Chris and I had the same run plan and stuck to it. At every aid station I also drank the Perform and had a little chicken broth. At the final aid station I tried the flat coke. We kept a fairly steady pace and Chris let me know he was setting a new PR for the marathon. I let him know how impressive that is considering all the work he had done before the marathon. Since this was my first Ironman Chris said I should enter the finish area first. I thanked him, gave him a quick fist bump, and took off for the finish. I picked up my pace, waved at my supporters in front of the Lake Placid Brewery and Pub, and excitedly ran for the oval.

The finish of the race is on the Olympic oval. You run about 1/3 of the way around it and there are barriers on both side of the oval. There were crowds of people against the barriers and arms were thrust forward for high fives. I ran along slapping palms. I was taking it all in and not rushing the experience. I looked at the filled bleachers, listened to the music, and approached the finish line. I threw my arms out wide, smiled at the skies, and crossed. Mike Reilly, the longtime Ironman announcer said, “Larry Rodman, you are an Ironman” and Kelley from the MMRF placed my finishers medal around my neck and gave me a hug. I felt great.

High Fives!

I saw Chris, congratulated him, and then we had our official finishers photos taken. After that I found Amy and the Dreyers and received congratulations from them. What an amazing feeling. All the work had paid off. I had never felt such satisfaction at completing a sporting event as I did when I crossed that finish line. After walking around in the finish area a bit and eating some hot salty French fries I grabbed my morning bag (Amy and Mike had previously taken my transition bags and bike back to the condo) and got in the car, which Amy had parked close by. We headed to the Condo where I was able to shower; change, then headed back to the center of town and the festivities.

Smile of Satisfaction

I walked to the brewpub while Amy went to get my special needs bags. I found the Dreyers where Mike handed me a post race beer. It was delicious. I posed for a photo with Mike, Jeanne, and their kids and then got a hug from Jeanne. I would not have even entered this race if it were not for the encouragement of a few people and a great cause such as the MMRF. All my fundraising was in Jeanne’s honor and I was so happy that she could be there to witness it. I then headed to the pub where Katie, Jane, John, Toby and now Amy waited for me. I climbed the stairs to the third floor, received more hugs, and had a favorite beer, an Ubu. We talked, I described the race, I finished my beer, and then Amy and I said it was time to head back to the Oval for the midnight finish. Along the way I talked with Sam an old friend from REI and with her husband Jeff, who once again dominated in this race. I ran into Marty again and received a congratulatory hug. More hugs from Brenda Ross and a great conversation with her husband and fellow racer Steve. We then entered the oval, made our way to the MMRF tent at the finish line, and cheered on my fellow Ironman competitors as the clock ticked down to midnight, the official end of the race. What a scene. There is no way to describe it other than to say energy, music, cheering, Mike Reilly calling out “You are an Ironman”, and looks of joy on the racers faces as they heard that call. Finally the countdown began and it was midnight. There was still one racer on the course who we cheered for to encourage her across the line. At a couple of minutes past midnight she appeared in the oval and the place just exploded. She ran across the finish line and like that it was over. Ironman Lake Placid 2014 had concluded.

With the Dreyer Family

I started off July 27th as a triathlete. I finished as an Ironman.

Division: 207 out of 404
Gender: 1060/1732
Overall: 1292/2764
Swim: 41:16 Division: 243/404 Gender:1265/1732 Overall: 1593/2764
Bike: 7:01:05  Division: 243/404 Gender: 1186/1732 Overall: 1430/2764
Run: 4:48:29 2 Division: 207/404 Gender: 1060/1732 Overall: 1292/2764

Finish: 12:53:51

Link to photo gallery

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Packed and Ready To Travel

My bags are packed. My car is loaded. My bike is tuned. I am ready to head to Lake Placid.

It is astonishing how much is needed for one race. I guess needed is the wrong word. All you need is a swim suit, a bike, a helmet, and running shoes. If you want to increase your odds of finishing an Ironman you want more. Wetsuit, aero helmet, arm warmers, arm coolers, race belt (for your race number), your nutrition, etc. The list of items can be amazing. Plus all of the non-race gear that you need for your time at an Ironman.

I mentioned lists. I have a ridiculous number of lists. I have a checklist that I completed a week ago to make sure I had everything I will need. I have a packing checklist. I have an unpacking checklist. I have a checklist for my transition bags. I have a checklist for my special needs bags. I have a checklist to put in my transition bags to make sure I put on everything that I should when I am caught up in the moment of racing. I have a checklist to make sure I have my checklists. Even when I have all of these checklists I know that I will forget something. All I can do is hope it is not something critical. Like my bike.

A couple of weeks ago after doing an open water swim training I met another athlete who was getting ready for Ironman Lake Placid. I will not say he was freaking out, however he was starting to question his ability to complete the race. I asked him if he had been training and he had. I asked him if he had a race plan and he did. I asked him if he had a nutrition plan and he did. I said it sounded to me like he had done everything he could to get himself ready for the race and if he executed his plans then he should be fine. Coaches generally know what they are doing. He asked how I could be so calm about it and I said I had trained, I have a race plan and I have a nutrition plan. I also have faith that the system works - that having done the work and preparing I will be able to complete a 140.6 mile race. Until I finish the race I have to just have faith.

While my goal is to finish the race I also have time goals. I would like to complete the swim in 90 minutes, the bike in 7 to 7-½ hours, and the run in 5 hours. Will I? I have no way of knowing. There are so many factors that I cannot control. Other people, road conditions, weather, even animals. Who knows what is out there. I have trained, I have planned. I am ready.
A bear crossing the course may slow me down.
For those who were wondering, yes, that was an article in the Telegraph about me and no, it is not too late to make a donation to the MMRF.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ironman Lake Placid 2015, You CAN do it with the support of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

In June of 2013 I headed to Lake Placid with my Triathlon club, NorthEast MultiSport, for a training weekend. I had just completed my first 70.3 (Half-Iron Distance) race and I had another scheduled for August. I thought it would be fun to train on the Ironman Lake Placid (IMLP) course, and to see if it was something to put on the “must do someday when I have a few years’ experience” list. I rode the course. One Loop.   It was very challenging. I swam the course. One Loop. I ran the course. One Loop. Ironman Lake Placid has you do each leg twice. It is great for the spectators since they get to see the athletes multiple times.

On the team were a few athletes training for that year’s IMLP. I was in awe of the dedication and commitment to training that they showed. When I finished my one loop of the bike course, they headed out on a second. While I was exhausted and drinking my recovery drink, they were pounding the pavement. While I relaxed, they worked. They were machines. Maybe. Someday. Me.

During that weekend as I thought about a future Ironman, Colin Cook (who later that summer won his age group at the Ironman North American Championship) gave me some great advice to think about. He pointed out that if you take two hours to complete the swim and eight hours to complete the bike then you still have seven hours to complete the run portion. You can walk 26.2 miles in seven hours. Broken down like that me doing an Ironman actually seemed reasonable.

The next day I had dinner at the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery with my longtime friends Katie and John Million. The two of them live in Lake Placid and over the years have seen their fair share of Ironman competitors. They have seen their fair share of Olympians. Suffice it to say they know athletes. Over the course of dinner (and an Ubu Ale or two) they managed to complete the job that Colin had started. They convinced me that I could indeed finish Ironman Lake Placid. They invited me back up so I could watch the Ironman that, somehow, I had agreed to enter. When I came back I saw that indeed an Ironman comes in many shapes and sizes. That all I needed to do was work, and I too could be ready to compete.

Back at home, after getting approval from my family, I signed up for the 2014 Ironman Lake Placid. There are three primary ways to sign up for this race. The first way is to be in the previous year’s race. If you are you then get priority to sign up for the next year’s race. The second way is to volunteer at the race and then get in line the morning after the race and signup for the next year’s race. The third way is to try and grab one of the few remaining slots when registration opens up online. Registration costs $750.00. There is a fourth way however, and it is the way I chose to enter the race. I signed up for a charity slot with the exclusive charity for the race, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

The MMRF as they are known is a game changing organization in the fight to beat cancer. (You can read my entire story about the MMRF Here) By signing up for a charity slot I did not have to fight for one of the few slots available. I could go to Lake Placid, see what I had gotten myself into, and just enjoy the experience. More importantly by committing to raise $5000 for the MMRF I knew that I was helping to save lives. While that seemed like a lot of money, and it is, I also knew that the MMRF team would help me with the fundraising. They would provide tools, communication, and any possible advice I could need. They also would provide a training plan and a kit (race clothing) for me to use. I have gotten to know people at the MMRF over the past year and have been moved by their commitment.
So, if you are like me and thinking about signing up for an Ironman yet have hesitated like I did, just remember the advice Colin gave me. You can do it. If you are going to do it make about more than just yourself. Be inspired by being part of the MMRF team. If you ask around Multiple Myeloma has affected people around you even if you did not know it. Join the team for 2015. With the MMRF, your registration fee is reduced from $750 to $250. You could apply that $500 difference to your fundraising commitment. That will give you a year to raise $4500. That is $375 per month. You can do it. Just click on this link.

Be sure to watch this video that will get you excited to be a part of this adventure!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Lake Placid Training Camp - 2014

My 2014 Lake Placid training camp has come and gone and I cannot believe what a difference a year makes.  I thought I was in good shape in 2013 however in 2014 I am clearly in a far better place. Hopefully 2015 will be even better than 2014. Mentally there was also a huge leap forward for me at training camp. In 2013 I was in awe of those training for an Ironman and could not imagine heading out for a 112 mile ride of the Ironman Lake Placid bike course when I had struggled to complete one loop, a shortened loop of 52.5 miles at that. Here I was a year later and I was one of those athletes heading out for a 112 mile ride.

In 2013 on the bike course I set myself up for failure. I did not stick with a nutrition plan as I should have, I only had a wind jacket to wear during a torrential downpour, I had not trained on hills a lot prior to the weekend and I had not done any back to back long rides. This year I have done many back to back long rides, I have trained on many hills, I have proper rain gear, and I practice my race nutrition on every ride. I felt prepared when I started out for my 112 mile IMLP bike course ride. Over the winter I had thought a lot about this ride and in my head the climbs out of town and back into town were enormous. It appears that my head made these a lot worse than they were. I am not saying they were easy, because they are not; they just were not the monsters I had made them out to be. The ride out of town was a steady climb and I just stayed to my race plan.(I was treating this as a race rehearsal). For the first 30 minutes of the ride I went very easy and when that time period ended I was near the long descent into the town of Keene.

The Keene descent is about eight miles long with a false flat in the middle and is something either loved or hated. It is very fast, the road is in poor condition, and during training there are many cars in the road. This year the road is being re-paved so there are some fantastic sections. There are also some sections that are much worse than in the past as there are large cuts in the pavement that appear to be related to the paving effort. I love going fast and the only time I touched my brakes was to slow as I approached the cuts. Too soon for my liking, I was at the bottom. I continued on the course for the next 20 miles or so and then began the climb back into Lake Placid. It was not too bad. I have had longer climbs in training and I have had steeper climbs in training. There are some long sections however they have some downhills afterwards. Again I kept looking at my power meter and just spun easily up the hills not burning myself out. Surprisingly I was back at the beginning of the first loop and felt very good. Yes, there was some fatigue however it was not overwhelming. I could go onto loop two. I reloaded my nutrition supplies (I drank 96 ounces of perform on each loop and had my gels every 40 minutes) and headed back out. The second loop was very similar to the first with the addition of a headwind on the 20 miles from Keene to the turnaround in Ausable. It was very warm, hitting a high of 91 during the day.

In 2013 I rode one short loop at an average of 3:54 per mile and felt burned out. In 2014 I rode two long loops (118 miles) at an average of 3:45 per mile. My goal during the race is 3:45 per mile. I could not have done better in training. I suspect that with my race wheels, race tires, and aero helmet I might even beat my race goal. I just need to stick with the plan that worked so well to get me here.

The next day I swam the course in Mirror Lake. Again what a difference a year makes. In 2013 I swam 1.2 miles at a pace of 39:52 per mile. In 2014 I swam 2.4 miles at a pace of 38:52. So I swam twice as far and was faster per mile. While I did not swim much during the winter the 63 miles I have put in during the spring and summer are paying off.  My goal during the race is to complete the swim in 90 minutes which is a pace of 37:30 per mile. I think that being fresher going into the race will help me meet that goal. I had already gone swimming twice this week, and I had both biked and run the day before. When I got out of the water I was very happy with what my watch showed me. Swimming may not be my favorite event and I may not be the fastest out there though it is now something that I can feel comfortable with and happy with my abilities.
Heading Into Mirror Lake
 After the swim I headed out to the Descente Lodge where we were staying and went out for another loop on the bike course. Shockingly I was faster than the day before despite the 118 miles (and a post ride 4 mile run) on my legs. This time I rode 57.8 miles at an average pace of 3:45 per mile. The only part of my body that was screaming at me to stop riding was my rear. 176.1 miles was a long time to be sitting on a bike seat. It was good to get off the bike and stand.

Day three of training camp started off with another swim in Mirror Lake. This time I was faster than the day before despite feeling the fatigue that two full days of training can bring on. For the 2.4 miles I averaged 38:42 per mile. For the 1.2 miles the next day I average 35:34. Granted it was half the distance still, that is a huge gain. I was certain while swimming that I was slower and was blown away that I was not. Good things are on the horizon with my swimming.

Once out of the lake I changed into my MMRF tri kit and running shoes to take a lap on the Ironman Marathon course. The course is  13.1 miles long and during the race you run it twice. On the second loop you finish at the Olympic Oval. I was just doing one loop. The reason the marathon course is so tough is a very steep hill that takes you back into town and does not end until you are on the portion near Mirror Lake.  I headed out on my run with the plan of taking it easy for the first three miles, go harder the next seven, and then see what was left in the take for the final three. In general this worked out well. The run was mostly uneventful and the climb back into town is very similar to the climb back to my house. The only thing that seemed to go wrong is where I turned around on the out and back portions. Somehow I ended up running 14.3 miles instead of 13.1. So it goes. The really positive part is my comparison to last year. In 2013 I ran 12.5 miles at an average pace of 9:29 per mile. In 2014 I ran at an average pace of 8:46 per mile.

In my last post I wrote about the Unknown. The Unknown is now much more Known. I have come away from this training weekend knowing that I can ride the 112 mile course. I can swim the 2.4 miles. I have run marathons in the past at a slower pace than I run now so I know I can run the 26.2 miles. I know I can run, swim, and bike on fatigued legs with a fatigued body. I know that my nutrition plan works. I know the course. Now I need to stay healthy and put it all together on July 27th.

What was especially gratifying about the weekend was the support I received from all of my teammates. My NorthEast MultiSports team that I stayed with, ate with, trained with and bonded with was spectacular. What a group of athletes’. I am proud to be a part of the team. 

NorthEast MultiSports Ready To Roll In Lake Placid!

I also got great support from my cycling team, Fit Werx. I wore my Fit Werx kit on my 118 mile ride and got many shouts from athletes yelling things such as “Fit Werx Rocks”. The support that I get from Marty, Mike and the entire crew at Fit Werx is unbelievable. It was fun seeing Marty’s brother Vinnie on the course, and getting a high five as he rode past me. 

Most importantly I got to spend time training with my MMRF team mates Ashley Blake and Scott Golden.
Scott, Ashley, Larry (L-R)

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation so not only are we (and 107 others) training for an Ironman; we are also raising money for this game changing organization. On the course while wearing the MMRF kit I even got to meet some other team mates. It is truly an honor to represent the MMRF and to have gotten to train with Scott and Ashley. Please consider donating to the MMRF through this link. You will be making a difference. Thank You.