If you had asked me 2 years ago if I would ever do an Ironman, my answer would have been hell no.. that is the craziest event ever!!! Last August my good friend and training buddy Alberto wanted to do his third Ironman, and was thinking of Cozumel. The idea of an Ironman, scared me, but at the same time really excited me. The challenge seemed like something I could take on. We ended up deciding on Lake Placid, the timing was great, the venue is beautiful, and we didn’t have to worry about flying with our bikes.
After signing up at the end of August, I thought about this race every day. It seemed so far away, and that it would never come. It sounds so corny, but I loved the journey of training for this race. I’m definitely a type A person, and I love setting goals and working towards them. Every early alarm and workout before work was getting me one step closer to the big day!
We drove up on Wednesday morning, happy to leave the DC heat and humidity behind! We are expert road trippers, and always have a blast!
The days before the race were stress free, we had no lines at packet pick up and got in a few easy workouts. I was feeling such a mix of emotions, I was extremely excited, nervous, and anxious for the big day. Since it was my first Ironman, I had no idea what to expect and all of the what if’s and things that were out of my control were making me the most stressed out. After a phone call with my amazing coach Debi, I was feeling so much better about the big day!
On Friday I had the chance to meet up with some of the amazing Coeur Sports ladies. It was awesome to meet them in person!
On Saturday we racked out bikes, packed our bags and I couldn’t believe that I would be doing an Ironman the next day!
After tossing and turning and barely getting any sleep, my alarm went off at 3:30. I had my breakfast and we left for the race at 4:45. The morning was stress free, and before I knew it was pushing my way through the crowds to get my spot in the 1:00-1:10 swim wave.
It was a really anti-climatic start. I’m used to treading water anxiously awaiting the horn to go off. I calmly walked through the timing mat into the water and began swimming toward the first buoy. Lake Placid is known for the underwater cable, and if you follow it, you stay on course and there is no need to sight the buoys. Of course everyone wants to get on the cable!
I started to the left of it, but after the first buoy I was able to get on that cable and stick with it the entire first loop. It definitely got aggressive, people kicking me in the face, getting punched a few times, I never got annoyed by it, but just laughed in my head and stayed positive. It was all part of the experience!
After the first loop I checked my watch and I had swam the 1.2 miles in 33 mins, which is the time I usually swim for 70.3’s. I ran up the beach, and jumped in the water for more fun! The 2nd loop wasn’t as crowded. In order to keep my mind occupied I counted my strokes to 100, and then started over and over again.
Before I knew it I had two more buoys to go. I was feeling great, and in no time the swim was done! I looked at my watch.. holy crap.. 1:06! I couldn’t believe it! I ran down the carpet and through the crowds. I was screaming, cheering, and smiling, which made the spectators go crazy and cheer even louder! I was easily able to find my bag, ran into the changing tent, had a quick transition and started my bike ride.
What a beautiful bike course! It started with about 6 miles worth of climbing out of town.I kept it easy and tried my best to bring my heart rate down. I let tons of people just fly right by me. This was my race, and my day. In the 70.3 distance and shorter I get really caught up in the competition, and if someone in my age group passes me I try my best to speed up and pass them back. Not today, I didn’t want to risk or ruin my race doing that.
I was so at peace and in such a zen mode, which is very unlike me on race day. I am usually very high strung, competitive and can get anxious at times. I had many mantra’s going through my head. During my last long run 2 weeks before the race, I was repeating the word “patience.” I knew that is what the Ironman distance requires, and I definitely lack it at times.
My word of the day was patience, and I kept reminding myself of that. I then started thinking of other P words, which kept my mind occupied- positivity, powerful, perseverance, prepared, pumped up.
Before I knew it the first loop was over. I stopped at the special needs bag to grab another concentrated bottle of infinit. I spotted Marc and Sandra, and was screaming and cheering.
I could feel that it was getting warmer, so I made sure to continue to stay hydrated, and at every aid station I grabbed an extra bottle of water to pour on myself. Throughout the bike course I spotted the Coeur Sports ladies and screamed and cheered them on!
I didn’t go too crazy on the bike because I knew I had a marathon to run, and didn’t know what to expect. It would be my first marathon ever!! Sorry if this is TMI, but I definitely stayed hydrated and peed 8 or 9 times on my bike.. I lost count! The bike course was a blast, I loved flying down the Keane descent, and climbing the 3 bears with tons of people cheering on the side of the road.
I couldn’t wait to get on the run course, it is my favorite part of the race! When I got off my bike the insides of my legs were very tight and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to run. I calmly grabbed my transition bag, and went towards the changing tent. The volunteers were super awesome and put my socks on for me!
I walked out the changing tent, and over the timing mat and started to run. The energy in town was awesome! The first couple of miles are down hill with people cheering. I tried my best to start easy and not get too excited and run too fast. It was all about patience! I spotted Marc and Sandra and high-fived them.
I walked every aid station, table to table, stayed hydrated and shoved ice in my hat and in my sports bra. I was constantly monitoring my pace and heart race, and assessing how I was feeling. I was checking in with myself, and had mile 18 on my mind. I really wanted to have a strong finish and didn’t want to go too fast and end up blowing up or ruining my race.
I was cheering on the ladies of Coeur, saying great job as I passed people, and I was so grateful to be running and working towards my goal of finishing. I’ve never had so much fun in a race before! I felt really great and was laughing in my head at the men walking and talking about their amazing bike splits.I thanked all the volunteers at every aid station.
This was my day, my race, and I was in complete control. I ran back into town and spotted Marc and Sandra again, the energy was incredible. Running along Mirror Lake people were calling my name (it is written on my race number), and I was smiling and high-fiving people. The more energy and positivity you show, the more you get back from the crowds.
Before I knew it, I hit mile 18… game on! My longest run ever was 18.5 miles, and this was my first marathon. I was feeling great and started going a bit faster. I didn’t want to push too much and blow up.
At mile 23 I was still feeling strong and energetic and started pushing the pace, I skipped the aid stations. I was doing math in my head, and I knew I was close to breaking the 12 hour mark, and the 4 hour mark for the marathon. My last 5k I hit the fastest splits of the marathon.
When I hit mile 25 it was go time. I ran down Mirror Lake Drive for the last time, a flood of emotions came over me, and I definitely shed some tears of pure joy and excitement. I thought about all of my hard work and dedication training for this race, and how a year ago finishing felt like it would be an impossible goal to reach.
I ran the final .2 around the oval and just took it all in. While I should have slowed down to enjoy the moment, I knew that I would be close to breaking 12 hours. I threw my arms up and was screaming and bursting with excitement and joy!!!!
As I’m writing this, I am realizing how hard it is to put into words how I felt crossing that finish line. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced!
I ended up with a 12:00:24, and a 4:02 marathon, with negative splits! I was given my medal, took a photo, and sat down and shed some more tears. Just like that it was over. My wedding was the best day of my life, and this experience was #2. I didn’t expect to have so much fun and love this distance. The entire day was so epic!! I will definitely be signing up for another ironman at some point.
I found Marc pretty quickly after the race and he gave me a huge hug!! We got some photos together and I told him all about the day. Shortly after Alberto finished and we went back to the house. I was so sore and tight, walking was difficult. I got a double scoop of ice cream before leaving Main Street… so good! We shared our stories from the day, and went back to watch some of the final finishers. We got to see Annette cross the finish line– she has so much grit and determination!
I barely slept that night due to all the caffeine I consumed, and I woke up at 4 am to eat some more. The next day I bought some finisher gear, and we had a delicious huge breakfast. We spent the day relaxing and walking around town, and ended the day with a dinner outside at the Lake Placid Brewery.
The journey of training and completing an Ironman will never be forgotten. It sounds so incredibly cheesy and cliche, but my whole journey the past year really taught me some valuable life lessons. To set goals that seem impossible, but exciting. Patience (which I lack at times), and to appreciate the journey. The race was the reward for all of my hard work.
I want to give a HUGE shout out to my coach Debi. She was always there to answer my questions throughout this journey, and her advice leading up to the race really stuck with me on race day. The training was perfect, and I stayed injury free and happy throughout. Her experience and advice were spot on. I couldn’t have done it with out her!
Another shout out to Coeur Sports! I’ve loved being an ambassador and representing such an amazing brand who believes in empowering women! I was so proud to be wearing my kit, and cheering on my teammates and competitors. It was so fun to meet my teammates in person, it felt like we had been friends for years! Everyone was so warm and friendly! I look forward to seeing everyone again at some point, and continuing to meet others. They also sent me an awesome t-shirt and note.. THANKS!
Lastly, a MEGA HUGE shout out to my husband Marc.Before signing up for this race I double checked with him, and made sure he was aware of the time commitment it would take to train for this race. He was completely cool with it, and SO supportive. He knows how much joy this sport brings to my life, and how happy it makes me. He never complained about my alarm going off at 4:15 during the week, or me being gone on Saturday morning/afternoon. He drove by himself for 8 hours to be there for me and cheer me on! He is the best ! ❤
Thanks also to Sandra for being out there all day cheering me on, taking photos, and being so supportive! Your sense of humor and jokes kept me so calm in the days leading up to the race! Congrats to my training buddies Alberto for completing his 3rd Ironman and Annette for completing her 1st!
I will never forget this day, and I’m looking forward to my next Ironman! It was EPIC!!!