REGISTERED FOR IRONMAN LAKE PLACID 2017!!!

I haven’t written anything new here for a while, but I decided to come back and write about my journey leading up to my first full Ironman.  I am sure there are many of you out there like me, who would love to attempt their first full, but have many questions and fears about the commitment it takes in order to get there.  My hope is that by documenting my journey for you, it will help those like me decide to take on the ultimate challenge of completing my first Ironman.

Many people ask me, “why did you pick Lake Placid as your first race?”  Many of them have “heard” at one point and some have even said from experience that this is one of the hardest Ironman Courses in the world.  This is in part because of the bike course, which I believe provides around 7,000 feet of climb, or elevation.  My reasoning for choosing this race was more for personal and timing reasons than it is the course itself.  For starters, I have 2 children, a 5 year old daughter, and a 3 year old son.  My 5 year old started kindegarten this past Monday, and I didn’t want to pick a race during the school year that would cause her to miss school.  Second, I wanted to make sure I had ample time to prepare.  I have run at least a dozen or more sprint triathlons, 4 or 5 olympics, 1 International, and a Half.  I have also run several Marathons over the past few years as well.  2015 however was a light year for me in terms of racing so I know it will take me a few extra months to be properly prepared.

I hired a coach last week using the Coach Matching service on Training Peaks.  I spoke with several coaches before ultimately finding a level of comfort with a coach who seemed to really understand that while I have a goal to finish with a respectable time, my family at home still takes top priority it my life.  My training schedule will absolutely revolve around that.  I would lying however while doing you a huge disservice if I told you that training for an Ironman is possible without effecting your family life.  This is most definitely a family decision  just as much as it is a personal one.  My coach’s name is Jeff Lukich of Drive Multi-Sports LLC.  We haven’t officially started working together (this starts Sept 1), so I can’t say much about him aside from that he has a genuine interest in helping first time Ironman finish with a respectable time.  In his own words, “if your goal is just to simply finish, then I am probably not your guy!”

My biggest fear in this event is the swim.  No matter how many races I have completed I always find myself anxious about a crowded swim start.  It will be interesting to see what this a coach can teach to help overcome this fear.  The more and more photos I google of the Lake Placid Swim Start, the more anxious I get!

Once my regimine beings on September 1st, I will begin blogging more frequently!  That’s for taking the time to reach my post.  I would love to hear stories from others who have raced LP, or any tips from IM finishers for a first timer!!!

 

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IRONMAN 70.3 COMPLETE

FINISH LINE AT IRONMAN PRINCETON

FINISH LINE AT IRONMAN PRINCETON

Ironman Princeton 70.3 is now in the books!  My goal for my first 70.3 was to finish around 6:30 to 7 hours and I came in at 6 hours 52 minutes.  Now with the experience of my first race, I have a much better understanding of the things I need to work on!

SWIM LEG

I was so so so worried about getting through the swim.  I can swim all day in the pool, for hours, literally.  But my fear of the open water was tough to get past.  I have competed in many Sprint Tris, and the swim was always me weakest leg.  In my ironman, not only was I facing the longest open water swim I have ever attempted, but I found out when we arrived that the starting line was about 150 yards out on the other side of the lake… and we were going to need to swim out and tread water for several minutes until the started my wave!!  As soon as they called my wave into the water, I immediately began to hyperventilate.  My nervousness combined with the cold water (I chose not to wear my wetsuit) was to blame.  About half way over to the finish line I stopped swimming and began to side stroke the rest of the way.  Once I got to the starting area I noticed a few rocks near the bank wear several other athletes were standing, instead of treading water.  THANK GOD!  It was at this point I was able to stand up, calm back down, and prepare myself mentally for the swim.  About 2 minutes later they fired the air horn and we were off.  There were 12 buoys all kept to our left hand side.  I told myself mentally, let’s just get to the first buoy and take it one at a time.  Once the initial chaos calmed, and we began to spread out, I knew I would be OK.  Aside from the occasional slower swimmers form the early waves that I had to pass, and the more often faster swimmer running into me from behind, it was a pretty good swim!  I can now honestly say I am completely confident and over my fear of open water swimming.  My suggestion to new triathletes is to try and visualize the swim start, this will help calm your nerves.  I also STRONGLY suggest to get your body used to the water temp.  The initial shock of colder water can be overwhelming when your nervous!  I was out of the water in 50:01 (My goal was 50 minutes).

BIKE LEG

My biking is certainly where I have the most room for improvement.  I was able to maintain an approximate 16 MPH average speed, which was what I was shooting for.  The course however was extremely rugged, and I was very lucky to escape with no flat tires.  I passed at least 50 people throughout the bike course changing a flat!  The first 8 and last 8 miles were relatively flat, with rolling hills throughout the middle.  With my wave starting 3rd to last in this event, I definitely found myself passing many more athletes during the bike leg over any other leg.  I was able to carry a 17.8 MPH average through the first 32 miles (first and only split during the bike leg).  It was towards the end where I began to Bonk a good bit.  I thought that overall my nutrition was on track during this leg.  I began with a pack of block shots right out of transition, and then had a banana, 2 stinger waffler, and a protein bar.  Looking back I think I would have added a little more to eat during this leg.  I was able to finish the bike leg in about 3 and half hours (this was about 20 minutes slower than my goal).  Biking is certainly where I have the most time to gain, and will be working the trainer hard over the winter.  My goal is to get my bike time down under 3 hours next year in my next 70.3.

RUN LEG

By the time I hit the run leg I could really start to feel my body wearing down.  Running is most definitely my strongest leg, however I am certainly not accustomed to running a half marathon after a 56 mile bike and 1.2 mile swim!  My hope was to carry an 8:30 – 9:00 average pace through the run and I was no-where near this. I came out of transition eating another stinger waffle and running relatively strong, around a 9:30 pace.  I was able to maintain this pace for the first 5-6 miles, and I started becoming VERY hungry, and cramping up a good bit.  I was consuming salt pills towards the end of the bike, and probably swallowed about 20-25 of them throughout the run (they really do help with cramps).  I walked through the water and nutrition station at mile 6 and drank a little perform, and had a break the bonk bar (first I had ever seen these).  It seemed to help a little bit and I was back off.  From miles 6-10 I carried about a 10:45 pace.  I was still passing people from the age groups ahead of me at this point however by this point it was very obvious when separating the first timers from the vets.  The run course was a 2 loop course, and during my first loop is when the people who had done this before had started to pull away.  From this experience I can obviously take away the need for even more work on my long distance endurance, however my nutrition is where I need some help.  As soon as I became increasingly hungry I began to run out of energy.  I will be working on this throughout the winter for next year as well!  The last 3 miles (with excepting of the last half mile) were tough.  I was running at about a 12:30 pace just gunning for the finish.  I think I even tried red bull at the last water station in hopes that the sugar would provide the added boost that I needed.  But it wasn’t until I could hear the music at the finish line, about a half mile away, when my adrenaline started to take over.  For those of who have competed in these types of event, you can all relate that there is not a feeling in the world that can compare to the tingling sensation that takes over when you about to hit the finish line.  The ultimate feeling of self accomplishment, the excited and supporting family waiting for you at the finish, and yes, the bad@ss (sorry) music blaring can provide a boost of adrenaline that makes one feel more inspired then ever before.  This very moment I thought to myself, as I became teary eyed and experience shortness in breathing due to exciting, is exactly what I am a triathlete.  I can only hope that anyone reading this can experience this feeling if they never have before!  My run time was 2 hours and 15 minutes approximately.

SUMMARY

If you look back to one of my first posts, when I traveled up to New Hampshire to watch my sister compete in the Timberman 70.3, I talked about how standing at the finish line and watching the athletes experience the ultimate feeling of accomplishment is what inspired me to keep it going.  Having now been able to experience this for myself, I am addicted!  Triathlon is now a big part of my life, and I am determined to get faster!  I would also highly recommend Ironman Princeton next year, and it was a very professional, impressive, and well put together event.  My only complaints were the rough terrain in parts of the bike course, and the fact that the bike course was about 2 miles longer than 56 miles!

REGISTERED FOR MY FIRST IRONMAN 70.3 PRINCETON

O boy… Time to hit the pool, hit the pool again, hit the pool some more, and after that… o yea, hit the pool!  I am confident I can get through the bike and run segments(maybe not as fast as I’d like), but am nervous about the 1.2 mile swim.  While I certainly have some time to train between now and September, I have much work to do.  I have relaxed just a tad in my training after my Marathon this year, and now plan to pick it back up, starting with with a heavy swim, moderate bike (trainer this time of year due to the weather), and moderate run workout plan.

I am competing in this event with my Sister and Brother-in-law, which makes it all the more exciting!  I will begin posting weekly recaps of my training at the end of this week.  My goal for my first half is 5 and half hours… we will see!  While I have the most time to gain during the bike segment, the swim segment is most certainly my biggest weakness.  Anyone have any suggestions on how to properly train in a pool for this type of event?  I often find myself in triathlons becoming overly excited during the swim, and needing to calm down before I can continue on.  I believe that’s much easier to do during a .5 mile swim, as opposed to a 1.2 mile swim, on a much bigger stage as well!

Suggestions????  Anyone else out there register for Princeton??? Registration just opened today!!!!

MARATHON COMPLETE!!!

MY FIRST MARATHON IS IN THE BOOKS!!!!  And I might add, at a much faster pace/time than I anticipated.  I ran the Monster Mash Marathon in Dover Delaware on this past weekend, and finished 5th in my AG, completing the race in 3 hours and 50 minutes at an 8:48 pace.  If you remember any of my earlier posts, my goal was run a 9:30 pace so I am totally stoked about this!!!  Below I have included a Mile by Mile Pace breakdown!

Mile 1:  7:58

The first mile was a lap around the inside of the Nascar Track at Dover.  It was pretty awesome lit up as it was still pretty dark at 7:00 am in the morning!

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Mile 2: 8:07

Mile 3: 8:13

Mile 4: 8:20

Mile 5: 8:04

By this point all my early run aches and pains have numbed away and I began to pick up the pace bit.  I was also in the historic downtown Dover area at this point and the scenery was really nice!

Mike

Mile 6: 7:56

Mile 7: 7:43

At mile 7.5 we split off from the Half Marathon runners.  At this point the crowd thinned out a great bit, and it became quite lonely!  My pace also appears as if I slowed a bit in the next two miles, however, I was trying to eat my Stinger Gummies, and did slow down a bit through one of the water stations!

Mile 8: 8:10

Mile 9: 8:15

Mile 10: 8:15

Mile 11: 8:07

Mile 12: 8:27

Almost at the half way point!!!  There were quite a few spectators in this area, including my awesome family!

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Mile 13: 8:31

HALF WAY POINT!  Still felt pretty strong at this point!  No aches, pains or stiffness to speak of yet!  I think the Electrolyte tablets I took really helped!

Mile 14: 8:21

Mile 15: 8:47

Mile 16: 8:55

I slowed up a bit here to eat again!  I started to feel a little swelling in my right foot at this point.  I actually came to a complete stop and loosened the laces a bit!

Mile 17: 8:21

Mile 18: 8:24

Mile 19: 8:58

O boy…. Here comes the GREAT WALL!  I could really feel myself starting to cramp up at this point.  I am not sure if this was due to lack of the correct nutrition, hydration, or simply because I had been training at a 9:30 pace, and was averaging more than a minute faster per mile during the race, but I was definitely winded at this point!

Mile 20: 9:24

Something really neat happened for the next mile, as a really nice runner girl caught up to me here and we began to talk for a while about running, the scenery, even a really low flying airplane that was landing at Dover Air Force Base near by.  Before I knew it, my pace was back in line as my mind again was totally not thinking about running.  I was only able to hold her pace for about a mile and half before I became winded again!

Mile 21: 9:41

Mile 22: 10:22

Really hitting the wall at this point!!!!

Mile 23:  9:58

At mile 23, I caught up to a runner guy and we began chatting over the next several miles.  Turns out he was in the Navy, stationed nearby, and has run quite a few Marathons in his day.  We chatted for the next two miles and again my pace had sped up without even knowing!

Mile 24: 9:21

Mile 25: 9:32

Down the home stretch!!!!  As we rounded the last turn, I could finally see the race track again.  At this point I thanked my running companion for chatting the last several miles and then sped past him to the finish!!!!

Mile 26: 8:48

Mile 26.2 total time: 3:50:40

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What a totally awesome feeling to complete my first ever marathon.  The only injury sustained during my run aside from the normal soreness was that my right foot, small toe was a bit bruised and it hurt to walk on the past few days.  I have been using my trainer this week to stay active, and plan to start running again tomorrow!  I hope to be ready again in time to run the Philly Marathon in November!

Anyone else here planning to run Philly?

 

 

Picking up the Pace – Marathon Training

Well, I’m about 4 weeks into my Marathon training and everything is running smooth to date.  I’ve managed to log every run thus far from the Hal Higdon training plan, with only missing one scheduled day.  I have also started working back in some swim workouts, as I have been running so much lately, I have forgotten how much I love to swim.

Throughout the past 4 weeks my pace has generally been anywhere between 9:30 and 10:00 miles for runs longer than 10 miles.  I do still try to work some speed into shorter workouts, however very carefully as I have been afraid to re-injure the Arch of my left foot.  This morning I took it easy the first few miles, and then picked it up as much as I could for the last 2.  It was nice to know that I still had the gas left in the tank when I needed it!

(this mornings short WORKOUT RECAP)

Mile One:  9:45

Mile Two: 9:31

Mile Three: 9:44

Mile Four: 8:58

Mile Five: 8:15

Mile Six: 6:44

I am going to pick my pace up a bit in the long runs, and see if I can hold a 9:00 to 9:30 pace over 16 miles this weekend… Stay tuned for the results!

48 Miles in 48 Hours

After a 2nd full week of Marathon training in the books, I am definitely beginning to notice my endurance building, as well my recovery time improving significantly!  Last week I had made mentioned that I began implementing Tart Cherry Juice intro my pre and post workout nutrition and it seems to be helping thus far!  I have experienced absolute zero pain in the Arch of my foot (common injury for me), and have been able to run on subsequent days without soreness!

My week began Tuesday with a short 4 Mile run, at an 8:15 pace.  Wednesday I then logged 8 miles, at a slower 9:30 pace.  I shuffled my rest day this week to Thursday, and took my daughter to Lake Tobias (Zoo) on a day trip!  Friday, I then logged 5 miles, in what felt to be 150 degree heat, at a snails pace, 9:48 minute miles… I was dehydrated!  Saturday, I returned to work for the first time since the birth of my son last weekend, and also used this day as my second rest day for the week!  Sunday, my sister was in town from Jersey, and together we logged a 16 MILE run, at a 9:50 pace.  It may have been slightly faster, however, we stopped twice to eat/refuel along the way.  Monday (Labor Day) my sister and I also logged a 32 + mile bike ride.  Needless to say I was tanked by this point, and struggled to even hold a 16 MPH pace!

There was nothing greater than the 2 hours and 30 + minutes of bonding time spent with my sister while running Saturday.  In fact, while it was no doubt the farthest distance I have ever logged at one time, yet it didn’t feel like it was long enough.  It has been quite a while since I have had the opportunity to spend some good old one on one time with my little sister and it was great.  I look forward to this again in the future!

Not only did I log my longest run even on Saturday, when running a total o 16 miles, but Sunday I logged my farthest bike ride every, at 32 miles.  This explains my Post Title, “48 Miles in 48 Hours!”