What an awesome weekend I had in Lake Placid – I honestly hated to come home! But I learned a lot and feel mentally I am ready to hit the course with confidence, which was the primary goal of heading there. Here’s the low-down!
I rolled into town after an 8 hour drive, checked in to the place I was staying, and found an illegal parking spot near Mirror Lake.
Hey, everyone else was doing it.
I waited for 4 runners and 2 bikers to pass by before I opened my door. A group of 3 bikers whizzed by me as I reached in the back to grab my wetsuit. Another 2-3 runners passed me before I could close the door.
I looked into the lake to see groups of swimmers stroking along the buoy line.
God I love this place, especially in June, when seemingly everyone you run into is wearing spandex and training for IMLP. Or something else that is epic.
It is the only place I have ever felt “normal” outside of Ironman day. No one here looks at you like you have 3 heads when you say you are doing a 112 mile ride followed by a 40 minute run.
Around here this time of year, that is completely normal.
Talking with a bunch of dripping future Ironmen peeling off their wetsuits as I got into mine, I realized that the major buzz was about the swim change. No one knows what to really expect – a few people had done Ironman Louisville and thought it would be like that, which doesn’t sound terrible.
Others basically thought they would die in the massive scrum of people they were being forced into.
I dove in and swam out to the end of the buoy line, and smiled as I watched the sun start to set in the Adirondacks from the middle of the lake. I turned and followed the buoy line back, reaching shore as dusk set in.
Not a bad way to start my long weekend in Lake Placid.
Friday (1 loop bike + swim)
My plan was to do 1 easy loop of the bike, taking note of things I wanted to remember for the race, then swim later in the day.
I am writing my (much abbreviated) notes here just because I don’t want to lose them and also maybe it will help someone else doing the race who can’t get there.
IMLP Bike Course…
I hopped on my bike, rode through town, and worked my way on the rollers that sort of surprise you as you are leaving town. They surprise you because what you hear about IMLP when you leave Lake Placid on the bike is the screaming downhill.
I scream anyway.
But before that, you have a good 6-8ish miles of rollers – I think that’s a good thing. It gives you time to settle in, take nutrition, and get your legs going – but it seems like if you are smart, you won’t push it too hard here because the back half of this course is tough, and tougher the second time around.
The screaming downhill is just that. I reached 38 mph and I was feathering the breaks and 4 bikes passed me like I wasn’t moving. The pavement here is crappy, but on race day there is no traffic and you can use the road more so I think that will make it better.
Once down to Keene, you make a left turn and ride to Jay. This section is fairly flat. You ride through Jay, Upper Jay, and then to the 6ish mile out-and-back to Au Sable Forks.
It is pretty and has a few small hills on it. Mostly it is flat. But the thing to remember is on the way back, there is usually an aid station just before a right hand turn to Wilmington.
Drop into a lower gear, because you are going to start climbing as soon as you make that turn. Be ready, it’s about a 1 mile climb, not bad, but the steepest on the course. You have a series of rollers after this, ending in a nice descent into Wilmington.
As you bomb down into Wilmington, be ready for a right turn onto Hazelton Road – a 1 mile fairly flat out and back.
Once off the Hazelton Road, you come back into Wilmington and take a right toward Whiteface.
From here on out, it is like 1/2 mile up and 1/4 mile down. That is what it feels like. You are basically gaining elevation, but you get a few downgrades, but overall you are gaining elevation, so here is when your speed just drops out of sight.
There is a series of 3 hills that you climb to get back into town, known as baby, mama, and papa bear. As hills go, I don’t think they are that bad, they are a welcome sight because you know you are at the end of the loop. Generally during the race, Papa Bear is lined with people cheering you on, at least that is what I remember from 2011.
So yeah, I did that. Then I ate some food and took a nap.
I woke up and saw that Joe sent me a message – he is one of my favorite blog buddies, I was excited to get to see him again. He said that a bunch of his friends were going to be swimming soon. I met them at the lake and we did a lap – and to my surprise, I hung with the mid pack of the group – usually I am waaaayyy in back. This was an improvement for me!
On the beach, I ran into someone who knew me from Twitter. “Hey, are you the one who hashtags IMLP all the time?”
Yeah, that’s me I guess. I am the obnoxious one.
But I never got his handle, so I am not sure who he was – nice to meet you dude!
It was great meeting Joe‘s crew of tri-buddies, and I think I am forever known to them as “Mandy from the internet.”
That still makes me laugh.
We also went to this place for BBQ – Tail O’ The Pup which is FREAKING AWESOME.
Saturday (2 loops bike + 4 mile run)
I did the bike course twice as part of the Fireman Ironman Camp – it was great to have support and Larry and crew run a really fun camp.
While waiting in the Olympic Oval with everyone that is part of the camp, I was talking to this woman and she asked where I was from – I told her Maine, and she goes, “Are you Mandy? I stalk you on the internet!”
Which totally threw Joe’s friends into fits of laughter. Like I said, I am now “Mandy from the internet.”
Practiced fueling (Thank you AMRITA!!) and had a great ride. My fuel was 1 Amrita bar/hr, macadamia nuts, water, and Salt Stick. I kept some sugary crap on board in case I needed it but I didn’t here. My energy level was really good, I had a good breakfast of full fat greek yogurt, berries, walnuts, and a hard-boiled egg, this fat-fueled thing works for me.
I have a few fit problems I think, but I am working those out. The other thing I really plan on doing is adding 2 hill repeat workouts/week to my training from here on out – what I am calling fine-tuning.
I got off the bike, complained about my crotch with everyone else, changed into my run clothes, and made my way around Mirror Lake for a 40 minute run.
Honestly, I was dreading this – I remember 2 years ago at this camp, I barely made it a mile without walking.
But not this time. My legs felt pretty darn good for just beating them up on the bike like I had the past 2 days, and I finished my run feeling great about the upcoming race. I also was lucky enough to meet up with the fabulously awesome Maria – I wish I could have spent more time talking to her but she is awesome, I hope to see her during race week.
Reluctantly, I got up early and caught the first ferry across the lake and made my way home. I really loved having a weekend where my only responsibility was to swim, bike, run, sleep, and eat.
Only 31 more days until Ironman Lake Placid!!!!!
Thanks for reading!