Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ironman Lake Placid

2012 has not been my year for triathlon.....breaking my leg Feb 8th wrecked all hopes for Oceanside and Wildflower...so it was lots of recovering, frustrating running after 11 weeks off but it seemed like it all came together.  I was feeling strong the last few weeks- my run was a bit shy but I was thinking underdone is okay vs overdone.

I felt great race AM and was up and fed and off to my 8th Ironman..
SWIM: crazy how 2500 people can fit in Mirror Lake- it is not a big lake.   It is a water start and people started getting in 25 minutes before the start..I''m sorry I am not treading water for 25 minutes.  I stood in the water for a while- 74, felt really warm with a wetsuit on.  I met a woman that would inspire me throughout the day.  She is 47, stage 4 cancer and hopes to be around for 6 more months.  She has 13yo daughter and devoted husband and her dream before she goes it to complete an Ironman.  My eyes welled with tears and I hugged her luck...I wish I had gotten her name to see if she completed her journey.  She is done with chemo, did not help and she "is feeling strong" but was worried about finishing in 17 hours. 
So the cannon goes off and it is the usual dog fight.  I found my own line on the inside and sprinted hard and soon settled into a good pace (or so I thought)  I was working hard and swimming alongside another female.  We pushed each other and I was feeling okay, not great, but okay.  LP is a 2 loop swim so you exit the water round the corner and dive in for loop 2. I glanced at the clock looking for 26 and say 27:54...ugh...knowing I would slow some on the 2nd loop I was worried.  I tried to pick it up and just did not have it.  So I settled and fought with the girl next to me. I was on the cable and she gave me zero room so every few yards I would whack a buoy with my hand.  It was like whack a mole but was not nearly as fun and there were no prizes.  Swim seemed long. Finally the golden  red arches that saw SWIM OUT and we are on land.  I see 59....crap, slow, slow, slow....

BIKE: I don't rush transition I try to be calm and methodical.  I am out and on my way out of town.... computer is on and power is reading 24, 35, 41 watts.  I am confused.  I am climbing a small hill at 47 watts, this is the hill where I am suppose to keep it at 195.  I am so distracted. I nearly hit someone and realize I need to focus on the road. I hope that somehow it will "fix"  Well it did NOT - it went from low to really high. I was seeing 276, 301 which is an all out effort for me- so not likely.  I am trying to calibrate, reset, figure out what the heck is going on..... I realize I will not have power and will need to race with HR an PE (perceived effort)  Not a big deal but we did not talk about racing this way.  Okay, Julie get it together and race..
So I focus and race.  I realize that I am 1 hour in and not feeling great - my legs are not tired but not feeling great. I am not feeling great.   My attitude is crappy and then we hit the major descent and I focus and go down fast... really fast - 47mph was my top speed - holy crap I got the speed wobbles and hung on. I figured I needed as much time on the downhill as I could get- it was exciting.  I was struggling after that and without complaining for too long- it was not fun.  70 miles of no fun, is NO fun.  The bike is usually the most fun for me in an Ironman, sure there are low points, but this was low most of the time.  Climbing the 3 Bears into a headwind was even less fun.  I love to climb!  I don't like wind but climbing in the wind I can usually get in a positive space that I am stronger than others and I rock....but today was all about self doubt and pity.

RUN: As I am finishing the bike I am wondering how I am going to run.... usually I am excited to get off the bike and began the final leg.  I sat in T2 head in my hands mustering the will to start the run.  I headed out and was not making any decisions, judgements at that time as the 1st few miles can be rough.  These were rough indeed and with each mile it was getting worse.   I tried the positive talk and there was none of it. I debated stopping, what do I have to prove? I have done 7 Ironmans.  What is the point of drudging through this....well the point is not quitting.  I could have justified stopping but I decided to finish for the woman who may not be able to finish and may not have the chance to start one again, I decided to finish because of all the people following me in San Diego- I owe it to them to and I finished because my husband traveled this far and was out on the course for this long and he deserved to have me finish.  It was not pretty, I shed some tears of pity, some tears of pain and I met some cool people who were suffering as much as I.   It was a slow run and at points I would run 100 steps and walk 25.  The last 3 miles I decided I would just walk, I was done, it hurt too much and my time no longer mattered.  And then John comes running down the hill, cheering and supporting me and slowly jogging along side me and so I started.  He did this for 3 long and painful miles - getting the crowds to cheer and getting me to the finish line.  He should get 1/2 the medal.
And I finished.... not with the victory and elation of my others but with a feeling of accomplishment.  
I look like death...and felt that way too!
Recovery....a huge plate of nachos with guacamole and a really scary blue vodka drink.  Not really performance food but it tasted darn good....add the dark chocolate with cherries and I was ready for bed.


  1. Well I, for one, am very impressed. Good job.

  2. Hi, I live here in LP and I am always amazed at the grit and grunt you and all the Im folks put forth. Followed you and several other IM bloggers Sunday and it just...well I don't know, floors me at the effort it takes. Thank you I applaud your efforts.

  3. Hey Julie,
    I had the same race as you did. I wish I had felt spry enough to see if it was really you on the run. We could've suffered together. I finished in 12:02, and we pretty much started the run together--and stayed together--the whole way.

  4. I have so much respect for you, Julie. To quit would have been easier, but you dug deep and held on and found the strength and will and reason to finish. This is what continues to make you, and will always make you, an Ironman. Thanks for sharing your amazing journey. I am proud to be your friend.