Friday, July 25, 2008

A wet and wild time in Lake Placid

What a weekend. Hard to focus and get all the pertinent details out. I guess I'll start at the end. No, I didn't qualify for Hawaii this year, but I only missed by 2 minutes and 23 seconds. My friend/coach Tim came up to me after the finished and asked in amazement how I did that. His estimates had me going at least 30 minutes slower. My finish was 10:21:56, a personal best by 37 minutes. I placed 113 out of 2345 competitors and 17 out of 369 men aged 40-44. So I've raced Lake Placid 3 times, and have improved almost 2 hours in those attempts. Not too bad. The following pictures are from the three years: 2003, 2005, and 2008. In 2003 I did not have kids. In 2005 I had Alexandra. This year, well you know the deal...



Before I get into the race report, let me tell you a little bit about the weekend. Everything was normal: registration, pre-race workouts, focus...focus...focus. And then on Friday, while eating pizza at Mr. Mike's on Main St. in Lake Placid, I got a text message from Tim. It said to meet at Mirror Lake at 3:00 pm. Okay, we're all doing our pre-race swim together. Well 3:00pm rolls around and I jog over to the lake with my bag of gear. When I get there I don't see anyone I know getting ready to swim. What I do see is a group congregating by the "water slide" on the edge of the lake. As I near I hear a mother shush her son, "shhhh...it's a wedding." And then it hits me, holy SH-T! Tim and his long time girlfriend (and also a pro triathlete) Cait are finally getting married. It had been kept a secret from everyone, including the parents. Nobody knew until that day, well, nobody but the race registrar and the town of Lake Placid. It was a huge surprise and served to really level my head and relax before the race. I'm really, really happy for them.


And lest you think they're just a "good look'n" couple. Tim finished 10th overall and Cait won the women's race with a new course record on the run.


So what about my race? Well it was wet. I mean really wet. I joked with one of the locals, "I guess your definition of scattered showers is that there was a brief break between the two raindrops that just hit me." 2003 was wet also, but was more of the windy squall variety. This was just a steady, sometimes crazy heavy, rain. The good news is that there was no wind, but boy there was enough water to make one of my bike brakes stop working. That's lots of fun (I'm being sarcastic) when the course features a 6 mile 40+ mph decent.
The rain started literally as we stepped into the water for the start of the race. As there was no lightening it wasn't a big deal during the swim. My swim time was slow, slower than the 1st two years, but at least I met my goal of not expending any real energy. Leaving the water in 1 hour 10 minutes did mean I was firmly mired in the thick of "the pack." I had to wait ~2 minutes in a line just to mount my bike (recall I said I missed Hawaii by 2:23). My "official" time for the bike was 5:32. My actual time (kept on my watch) was just under 5:30.
I felt great on my bike. In fact I didn't even feel like I was going that fast. I was spinning easily and thought that everyone else was just really slow. I knew I wasn't going too hard because I was keeping tabs on things with my heart rate monitor. The pulse was low so I was good. On course I saw my mates a few times, and also had a few "enjoyable" encounters in the "fittest CEO" division. I guess it goes with being a CEO triathlete, but to a man they all seemed to be a--holes.
My run went well. Once again I saw my mates on the road, and to a man they all warned me to take it easy and not blow up, but I was good to go. I did hit a rough patch at mile 14, but even that wasn't as bad as I'd been through in other years. Absolutely no cramping this year. Oh, I had to pee every couple of miles. At ~40 seconds per pee (3 on the run alone), I literally pissed away my trip to Hawaii. As it turns out peeing was a common problem for many racers. Everyone had planned for hot and humid, so our nutrition plans were all based on fluid intake. Well now it was cool and rainy, but you still need the calories, so...
When I hit the oval I was really happy. Usually my races end up with my 'A' goal being missed, and me being happy with hitting the 'B' goal. Today I had hit my 'A' goal (10:20ish). It was a good day. I am happy. Hell I think I'll do it again next year. I know Tim will be there as well.