Wow, what a race! That’s all I have to say!
Sunday July 27 was my 11th start at Ironman Lake Placid and will be one to remember, for sure.
The weather in this village in this upstate New York Adirondack region is always unpredictable. On this day, it was no different.
Over the past 5 years, the lake water in Mirror Lake where the swim portion of Ironman is held has been gradually been getting warmer, especially on race day. However, given the colder winter of 2013-14, race morning water temperature was ’71. This makes it “wet suit” legal. The air temperature was ’61. You do the math. A bit brisk, no doubt. The forecast for the day, at least during the morning, were thunderstorms until 8-ish. After which, the sun was to come out. I can say, Mother Nature did not let us down.
I lined up on the beach for the “rolling swim start” for a swim time of :60 to 1:10. Our wave left the beach and hit the water between 6:35 and 6:40 am. The skies where overcast and a bit threatening. The first 1.2 mile loop was uneventful. I exited the water, ran through the TYR archway, over the beach and jumped back into Mirror Lake for the second loop. With about 900 meters to go I felt the rain. I thought ok, I’m wet already, no big deal.
How bad can it get?
Mike Reilly (The Voice of Ironman) stated on the speaker that the fire companies in Keene, Jay and Upper Jay have opened their doors for cyclist to take cover – this cannot be good, I thought? Just then I heard a loud rumble – THUNDER!! For me, the first 30 miles on the bike where horrific – LIGHTNING, THUNDER, RAIN, WIND, DRIVING RAIN, more LIGHTNING, THUNDER and of course more RAIN. Did I mention the air temperature? BRRRRRRRR! I was so cold that my body began to uncontrollably shake as I descended down through the Cascade Lakes into Keene. The weather did not cease through Upper Jay, Jay or Ausable Forks. I had already decided that if I make it back to Lake Placid, unscathed, and it was still raining, I would call it a day. During the run, the consensus was the same with a lot of triathletes.
As I made my way toward Wilmington, the skies began to part. The RAIN has stopped. The air temperature began to climb, as did my emotions. All I wanted was to get warm…I did. I came through town and felt great. The second 56 mile loop was a lot better. Well, almost?!? The sun came out. The humidity rose as did the winds. I said to myself, SELF, this is a lot better than a few hours ago….deal with it. My bike times where not the greatest, but as I rode back into town for the second time, I was surely relieved to get off the bike.
I began the marathon – nice and steady. I was running every mile and walked through each aid station. It worked for me. Then with about 10 miles to go I met up with Jack Basile. At mile 18 Jack and I were greeted by Rob Baran. He was having some stomach issues. The three of us ran and walked with 5 miles to go when Jack said he wanted to make a try and finish strong. I stayed with Rob until mile 25 when I said I am going to make a try to finish this race.
I finished. A bit confused, but finished.
The confusion – I questioned my finishing time and the time on my watch 11:43:16 vs 12:22:58. That night I was informed that about 700 triathletes were removed from Mirror Lake due to the THUNDER and LIGHTNING. To make the race fair, Ironman decided only to record the first loop of the swim (1.2 miles) and removed T-1.
To me the times don’t matter. I am thankful I finished the race.
I want to send out kudos to Brian Lovett, Kenrick Smith, John Parks, Jack Basile, Rob Baran, Terry Fenoff, Ashley Stumpp, Brian Schwind, Tom Roberts, Garret Persing and David Marks.
Lastly, I am very thankful for my family who are always there for me…Michele, Garrett and Haley….thank you so much!! Love you guys!
Until next year….Scott