Ironman Lake Placid 2016: The Mystery that Never Unfolded

 

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Heading into this race, I had a plan which culminated in a projected finish time. Based on training, I thought I could do the swim in 1:00, the bike in 5:45, and the run in 3:30. Add in some extra time for transitions and miscellaneous other miscues, so sure, maybe I could finish in 10:30. Did I expect the race to unfold this way? Absolutely not! I know that in ironman racing there are so many uncontrollable factors that can and often do interfere with your race plan. I expected this interference to come into play. I was prepared for it.

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The Taper, Two Weeks to Go, and a Twelve-Mile Run

 

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I’ve made it. Made it to the coveted ironman taper. I’m happy to say I’m still married (thanks to my husband Sam for his unwavering support! J), my kids and dog are still alive and thriving, and my body doesn’t seem to despise me for all that I’ve put it through over the past 8 months. I’ve survived. The very long rides, the runs, the hard swims, and the 5:00 AM (or earlier) daily wakeup calls are slowly winding down. It’s taper time. From here, it’s all downhill until race day. Two more weeks until I toe that starting line at Mirror Lake. Until I line up with all the other hopeful ironman athletes. It all seems so surreal. The event that I have been targeting for months on end is just around the corner. And I feel an odd sense of relief.

 

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The Ironman Nightmares

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The J-months are upon us. We hit the month of June. June leads to July. The ironman is on July 24. It’s amazing how 7 weeks feels like such a short amount of time when you have been thinking about an event and training for it for so many months. The other night I woke up in a panic — my first real ironman nightmare was playing out in my mind. It was race morning. I was casually sitting around with some triathlete friends, when it finally struck me that the race that I had spent the whole year training for was about to start.  At that point I realized my Garmin was almost dead, I hadn’t checked in my bike and I hadn’t packed my gear bags. And everyone was heading down to the water to get ready to start the swim. I found myself madly racing around — plugging in my watch to try to give it a bit more juice; stuffing my gear bags with socks, gels, bars, shoes, anything that remotely resembled a triathlon product; and then slinging my gear bags over my shoulder and racing over to the bike check in, just as I heard that gun go off signifying the start of the race. “NOOO!!!!” I exclaimed and shot out of bed. I knew it couldn’t be true. Me. The one who fills her water bottles and lays out her nutrition the night before a ride. The one who wakes up 3 minutes before her alarm goes off almost every day. The one who arrives to a race 2 hours before the start.   The one who is never late to anything. And here I am dreaming that I am late to the race I have been thinking about and training for the last 9 months of my life.

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Slow Down – Take your Sweet Time

 

FullSizeRenderLast week as I was scurrying around prepping for my LONG ride, my husband stopped me in my tracks and casually said, “How’s it going?” My immediate reaction (which stayed in my head fortunately) was something like “Why are you talking to me right now? I need to get ready for my ride. The sooner I start my ride, the sooner I finish my ride and I have so many other things to do, so I need to start my ride ASAP!” I later looked back at this reaction with disdain. My husband was stopping me to fondly ask me how I was doing and my reaction was one of “don’t bother me, as I have to get ready for my ride.” Wrong. This was just wrong in so many ways. It almost made me sick to my stomach. I quickly realized I needed to take a step back and put things into perspective.

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1oo Days and Counting…

IRONMAN-Lake-PlacidApril 14, 2016 – 100 days until IM Lake Placid. Many athletes competing in this race react to this declaration with thoughts such as “100 days?! I’ll never be ready!” On the flip side, my reaction is “100 days? Can I survive this training for that long?” 100 days. The questions start to invade my brain. The questions of why – why am I doing this? And is this worth it? Is this journey worth the sacrifices? During the winter and early spring months, I embraced the workouts. I welcomed and looked forward to them – each and every one. I could train for a couple of hours while the kids were asleep or take at most an hour or two out of the day while they spent some QT with dad. I would get a quick break, get my workouts in and get back to the kids without feeling like I missed a beat. The training didn’t interfere with my life.

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The Quest for the Magic Formula and the Social Media Demons

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Just a couple of weeks ago, I was having a conversation with my mom about my ironman training. I expressed concern with regards to how I would be able to fit it all in with teaching, coaching, the kids, and the rest of life’s challenges. She asked me “well, how much do you really have to do?” I paused for a minute to ponder this question. How much do I have to do? Well, I don’t necessarily have to do any of it. It’s more a question of how much I think I should be doing to accomplish the goals that I have set out for myself.

If only there were a book that provided the answers to questions such as these. If I want to accomplish x, I need to do y and z. Period. Done. A magic formula revealed. It could work for anything. You set a goal. You look up the formula in the book. You follow the plan. You reach your goal. Life would be so much easier if that was the case.

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Success or Failure? You Decide!

28ae5ecWe’ve all had those days. You established certain targets or goals that you sought to meet. And when push came to shove, you were unable to reach them. As athletes, this happens to us with regularity (at least with me!). On paper, your effort might look like a failure, as you did not meet the targets you set out for yourself. But I’ve learned that every workout, every day, every moment can be viewed as a success. It’s all a matter of the mindset with which you approach the situation and how you adjust your expectations when things don’t go according to plan.

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