It has now been exactly 3 months since the 2006 Ironman Lake Placid race. But for me, since it was my first Ironman, it feels like yesterday. Even though the birth of this blog came less than a week ago, I figured the statute of limitations would still allow me to debrief the biggest race of my triathlon “career”. Over the next 4 or 5 posts, I’ll review how it all went. It’s now or never. Training for the 2007 race starts in a few weeks and the memories of 2006 will start to slowly fade away.
Part I. Our arrival in Lake Placid up to the start of the swim.
My family and I arrived in Lake Placid on Friday, two days before race day. I felt like I was jamming the entire pre-race warm ups in between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. We swam the entire race course, went for a short 10 mile bike ride, picked up the race numbers, packed my race bags, etc. Next time, I’ll try to arrive a day earlier. The weather on Friday was beautiful and the hope was that it would stay this way. Unfortunately, it didn’t. It rained hard and steady on Saturday afternoon. We had to rack our bikes in the rain. Plastic bags were placed over the seats and the aero bar pads. The transition area was already soaked and muddy. Special needs bag had to be tied air tight so our bike and run gear stayed dry. We spent the rest of Saturday praying for sun on race day. Dinner was at 6 and then the rest of the night was spent doing last minute checks, hydrating and just resting. The five of us were packed into a tiny hotel room so right away there was some friction between what I needed to do (Go to Sleep) and what the family wanted to do (Watch TV).
The alarm went off at 4 AM and I jumped out of bed. Since my wife and three daughters were still sleeping, I used the bathroom as my final staging area. I made some coffee so I could get the nature call thing out of the way. I ate 500 calories, dressed, grabbed my special needs bags and went to meet my buddy Jim in the lobby at precisely 5:20. There was a light rain falling outside which bummed us out but it was what it was. The weather was just something to deal with. I was nervous but glad that this day had FINALLY arrived.
We had a 5 minute walk down to the transition area, with bikes and special needs bags in hand. We got body marked and walked over to drop the bags off. Downtown was humming and Jim and I started to feel the Ironman buzz.
Back into transition to set up my two Gatorade bottles and pump up the tires. I forgot my pump so asked someone if I could borrow one. No problem. It was the calm before the battle. We were all facing the same challenge today and everyone was happy to help someone out. After setting up my food in my bento box for the first bike loop, Jim and I decided to head down to the water. We walked on the red carpeting that would be our path back to transition after we exited the swim. This was the first indication that Ironman was special. The carpet was red not green like most other races! The path was already lined with people and we felt like rock stars approaching the start.