Saturday, September 03, 2005

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Ironman Lake Placid - July 24, 2005 - Race Report

“Sport is about adapting to the unexpected and being able to modify plans at the last minute” – Roger Bannister

Thursday - July 21st - Arrived Lake Placid, 88F Humid, went for a 40 min run. Felt good.

Friday -22nd – Overcast conditions – cooler

Finished with the check in & weigh-in at Ironman – drove the bike course. The start had a 6 mile down hill & the last 15 miles of the 56 mile loop was a relentless series of gentle climbs. The entire route was gorgeous – I felt good there were no serious hills except for a 3 mile stretch in between which would need some low gears. Decided to ride 12-15 miles mostly the down hill section. It had been 13 days since I rode my bike!! Legs felt sluggish – Renuka was to pick me up 15 miles down the road – as she drove by me she saw the pain on my face (there was a climb before the down hill portion) she parked 5 miles ahead just incase…:-) I hit the down hills averaging 33-35mph – high clocked at 44mph. It was pouring rain so I slowed down as the roads were slick & I could not see very far. Another biker zooms past me!!! Crazy bugger!! Note to self: stay on the right on race day let these “type As” go by. – Most important night: got to bed early & slept well.

Saturday -23rd – Warm day – high 80s, humid.

Checked in the bike at the transition (Bikes are checked in a day early). Walked across the road to Mirror Lake (that is where the swim was) and went in for a 15 min swim without my wetsuit, the water was warm (65-68F) & I had a relaxed swim – My friend had driven in from Boston, we all had an early dinner & tried to get to bed early but could not sleep – the body, mind (and stomachJ) were already in race mode…

Sunday 24th –RACE DAY – Up at 3:30 a.m. cool day (low 50s) (thank god!) – bit of mist – Had my Coffee, Oats & Banana – I was feeling good
5:00 a.m. Renuka dropped me off at the transition area. Went in checked my bike (good idea for all future triathletes as the heat on Saturday had caused a lot to flat tires) my bike was fine, I put in the Cytomax bottles & checked in my “special needs bags” for the half way point of the bike & run. Walked to the lake…
6:30 a.m. the place was crowded, thousands of spectators. As the lake was warmer than the ambient temp there was steam rising off the water – it was a surreal scene.
6:55 a.m. looked around could not see Renuka or Shiraz the crowd was going wild as all of us were jumping into the water 1900+ swimmers (the Pro Women were on their 2nd loop of the swim as they had started at 6:30 a.m.)
7:00 a.m. “The Start” the craziest scene in sports – almost 8000 limbs churning the water into froth – it was madness, I hung back, protecting myself from blows. I start and in seconds I am in the middle of this feeding frenzy as no one is moving – people pushing, kicking, pulling at your feet, it was NUTS!! – I feel my timing chip coming off (someone pulls at it) I stop to secure it – still looking around to make sure there are no limbs coming at me…10-12 mins later I get into a slow rhythm still being bumped around & in turn bumping people. The second loop was better & had time to wave at the SCUBA diver below us and the helicopter hovering a few feet above us…Amazing! I was loving every moment…
8:30a.m the swim is done – a volunteer pushes me to the floor, & strips off my wetsuit…hands it to me & I am off to the changing tent for the grueling 112 miles on the iron horse. I see Renuka, Shiraz & further down Mike & Lisa friends I have not met in years…I was feeling good.

BIKE: The start was nice, weather was still cool – since I was way back in the swim I had missed the crowds on the bike start – The down hill was great, high 45 mph – at the 40 mile mark I was at average 18.5mph (too fast I tell myself – slow down, calm down) – then the up hills start – I was still feeling good, there was good music all around people on guitars, boom-boxes, drums, it was all good – Nutrition on the first loop - GU gel every 45 mins with Cytomax & water & 2 bananas. I stop at mile 56 switch my empty bottles for fresh Cytomax (I had forgotten to put bananas in the pack – First mistake of the day). I see Renuka & Shiraz cheering – huge crowd cheering, so much for calming down! I take off. Mile 85 it is getting hot – the water stops have run out of bananas – I try a raw green one handed to me – yuk! That’s it no more eating. The climbs start I feel like I am riding in sand…my chain pops off (bad gear changing) I get off & in my hurry I drop my bike!! Finally the ride is over…someone grabs my bike & I am off to the changing tent.

RUN: I start off the first mile at 9.44 pace…”too fast, slow down” I tell my self. The plan was to walk/run a 4:40 marathon…mile 6 I am chugging along at a 10:15 pace feeling good – still the same routine GU gel every 40 mins with Cytomax/Gatorade…mile 8,9,10 are uphill the pace slows. Mile 13.1 I dig into my “special needs” re-fill cytomax – and take off the crowds are cheering, Mike & Lisa are at the turnaround it was great to see familiar faces, a mile down Renuka is out there, my pace picks up (2nd mistake) Mile 15 the first inkling of trouble...a bit of strange fatigue comes over me…Oh! Oh! I have been here before & it’s not a nice place to be…I slow down. Mile 16 I look at the watch it’s been 3 hours – I start calculating my “what ifs” but instead of calculating for 10 miles I calculate for 8 miles!!! Mile 17 & I am wondering why I still have 9 miles left when I should have 7!! – well the mind is playing tricks…”Slow down Rajeev” says a voice inside me "walk 15 min/miles & you can finish." Mile 18-19 fatigue gets worse – I look for company (I wish Rajeev P was around) I find another person walking & I step along and we start a conversation…another person joins us on the up hill, It is bad but finally I get some cola at mile 22…Phew!! Sugar is goooood!!! We get into Lake Placid, the town is still out ringing bells, screaming & cheering and handing out glow sticks as it is getting dark...mile 25 I turn in for the final mile & I almost fall (No sudden turns buddy!!)…Mike & Lisa cheer me on - I start jogging again…I can hear the names of the finishers being announced “John XX from Tempe Arizona – YOU are an Ironman” – Rush of energy, I pick up the pace – I enter the stadium, the crowds are cheering…I run in to finish…14:50:52…just under the European cut-off of 15 hours…an hour slower than my previous Ironman - but I am happy…It was a great day! I fought the beast and just about beat it….!

As John Milton said “The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a heaven of hell, and a hell of heaven” – so true…so very true…

Thank you Renuka, Shiraz, Renuka, Mike, Renuka, Lisa, Renuka….Thank god for Renuka...she is a true champion...