Finally, my feet have hit the ground after finishing Ironman Lake Placid. It was great and it was awful. Here is my account of what I hope to be the first of many more to come.
Myself, like so many other athletes, left for Lake Placid on Wed. I guess just to be there. Joanne and I packed everything we could in the Rav. We stayed at my friend's house in Tupper Lake. She gave my friends and I the house to use for "the big event." I seemed less nervous up in Tupper than I was at work. At work I could not focus or concentrate and since I have to make life changing decisions for patients, it was best for me to be near Lake Placid.
O.K., on with the story but, I really was nervous. I registered for the race, rode the marathon course, swam a lap and felt better when I was doing something! Sitting around and waiting for the event to happen is difficult. I shopped, ate and spent time with friends. By Saturday night all my supporters had arrived at Tupper.
I organized my 5 bags and kissed my bike goodnight. Saturday I was nervous but not as bad as I thought I would be. The registration seemed surreal as did the bag dropping the big screen and all the people. Everything seemed so ceremonial as if it were for the last time.
Sunday arrived and I had actually slept a few hours. I awoke to my alarm at 4:30AM and I was off and running. I packed the little gear I had to put into my bag. The whether was overcast and looked like rain. I got to the staging area filled my tires with air and prepared my bike for the day ahead. The clouds looked ominous I was concerned about the potential rain. I saw Tritons in the bike lot who wished me well and assisted me by carrying my stuff and just being close. I was worried.
6:30 and everyone was moving down to the swim start. 6:45 and I was in the water warming up and at 6:55 we were singing the national anthem. We wished each other well then the gun went off and Mirror Lake exploded with bodies in motion. My strategy was to start on the right in the water but stay away from the crowd of swimmers. Since the swim course is two loops, my plan was to swim away from the underwater rowing lane for the first lap to avoid getting hit by other swimmers. The rowing line or lane is easy to follow under water and makes it easier to stay on course. I had planned to follow the rowing lane for the second lap.
The wind pushed from West to east and it began to rain. Much to my surprise after 12 minutes I was following the underwater rowing lane with no one fighting me for it. Wow, if this was an indication of how the day was going to go I liked it. Before I knew it I was turning back to the start. It went so quick. My right deltoid began to ache then my left one began to hurt. I guess I was doing something different. I may have been placing my arms further away from my body to avoid chafing from the wet suit. I thought oh, well I won't need my arms any more after the swim. The second loop went just as well, just not as fast. I was swimming with two women and we hung and swam together nicely. I was lapped on the swim by about 12 of the pros. I was only hit once. Not bad overall. I finished the swim in 1:51. I thought I would be faster but I was happy to be moving to the second event.
Out of the water and my friends were screaming, I sat down to have my wet suit stripped off me. I grabbed it and ran to the bike transition. I had made the first cut off with time to spare. I needed all the time I could get for the bike portion. Joanne was in the bike lot, she handed me my bike and affectionately said "your chariot madam". On my way out of the transition area Joanne yelled you have an extra 30 minutes, have fun. I was happy to be biking. I talked to myself the entire race. I Thanked God for not only the ability but the desire to do this Ironman.
The road was wet I had to be smart and careful. I was much slower going down the Keene down hill than I had been when I rode there a month earlier. I felt strong I ate, drank and changed my position frequently. My body was working well and I felt great. Then it began to rain and the wind picked up. I made the turn around and was glad to be heading back to town. I had made the second cut off of the day. My friends were there cheering for me which helped to go back out there. I thought only one more bike loop to go. The second time down the Keene hill I did get up to 48 miles pre hour. I was cooking! he roads had dried and I was moving well. It began to rain then it started to pour very heavy rain. The hills were next. The notch is a climb which is winding and windy. The bike course goes past the entrance to Whiteface Mountain where the Olympic skiing took place. The rain was persistent while the wind picked up even more. The rain began to come down side ways. I had difficulty seeing and I was worried about the second time cut off. I had become fatigued. The wind and rain were relentless. I pulled my helmet down and my glasses down to peek over them so I could see the road ahead.
The hills were extremely difficult the second time around. I had one burning thought, to arrive at transition by 5:30 p.m. and make the second bike cut off. If I did not make any cut off I would not be allowed to finish the race. One hour, then thirty minutes left before the cut off. Two miles left I should make it but "anything can happen during an Ironman anything." Twenty Two minutes before the cut off. I asked myself if I had a mechanical problem or had a flat could I carry my bike on my shoulder and run to the finish? I thought I could. I arrived at the finish and had to ask someone which way to go since there was no one there to guide me in. I made it with 15 minutes to spare. I had been on my bike for eight hours without getting off. Joanne was there to ask me how I was feeling. I could not speak I was so choked up that I would have lost it and started crying. Just then there were my faithful friends to cheer me on once again. I obtained my &! nbsp; bike to run bag and changed out of my wet clothes. Again there was no one to tell me which way to go out of the tent. I went out the same way for the run as I did for the bike and asked directions again. I was finally in some dry clothes. I felt great to be running. I made three of the four cut off's. I was finally doing what I did best. My pace was good. Then it began to rain again. Then it poured. I began to get cold so I walked and ran. I took in chicken broth to help me keep warm. I obtained a plastic garbage bag to help keep me warm. The miles were long and painful.
I was headed back to town and I felt better. I obtained my run special needs bag had my jacket and sandwich. The jacket was key to keeping me warm. There were those adoring fans waiting to see me again. Yvonne and Christine ran with me for a short time to say good by. They were going home soon. I met an athlete who asked me if it was my first or second loop. I told him it was my first and he said then I guess we will run and walk together. We did just that. It began to get dark we walked and ate and we were just there for each other. We did not talk very much. We just got thru the miles. Headed back to town my new best friend told me that if we walked we could make the midnight cut off. I was not all that sure. The miles came slow. Up the first hill then the second, I was headed to the lake, I could hear the announcer. As I rounded the lake people said congratulations. They spoke in a normal voice and I listened. I was moving a little better but I was not convinced ! I was going to finish until I was in the Olympic ice skating oval then I new I was going to be an Ironman! I have no words in my vocabulary to describe the feeling as I crossed the finish line. 16:29:38. Claudia, Audra, Evelyn, Ken, Donna, Lee and Joanne were all there to greet me. All I could say is "I am an Ironman" I was assured by all that was true. I was an Ironman. I felt good but a little out of sorts. Balance was difficult to maintain once I finished.
In the words I have heard uttered by Claudia and Audra "Ironman free in 2003", "I say one more in 2004". Two weeks after the Ironman I connected with a woman I had seen at the race and she was excited to hear from me. She proceeded to tell that she had looked for me at the awards banquet and that I had won third place Athena division women 45-49. Wow I guess it does not get better than that. Except Joanne and I have registered for Idaho next June. Thank you to all those people who helped me to achieve a life goal.