The laces in my running shoes are all tied the same. I put my pants on right leg first. I floss my teeth bottom to top every day – I consider myself not at all superstitious. However, every year of doing Ironman Lake Placid (LP) since 2003, I have finished ONLY on the EVEN years. Everyone knew this. Reminded me of this. I just took it as “crap happens” and paid no attention to it. Was it a “curse”?
Hence the story – a few days before leaving for Lake Placid I had the Durango checked out at the garage for a problem I have been procrastinating on getting fixed for a while. After picking up the Durango, they mentioned to me that it may be a bit rough putting the truck into gear from park due to the “upgrade” in the computer system. Mind you, there were no issues with this before I took it in to the garage. Did I know that “rough” meant not at all on the Interstate in upstate NY after getting gas. After a few tries, it worked again and off we went. Upon our arrival to LP, we unloaded our belongings at the condo and went for pizza at Mr. Mikes. When we were finished and walking out to the Durango, I notice a puddle of fluid under the front of the truck. Ok, I thought? Maybe someone parked there first and leaked something. After parking at the condo, the leak was from the Durango. I’m thinking – no @#$#$@%$ way!!! My father-in-law and I looked it over. We know it’s leaking. Leaking something, but what and from where? We determine it to be antifreeze from the radiator. We called AAA for a garage in LP. Mind you, we are in the middle of a 6 million acre Adirondack park in upstate New York. This is going to be expensive and take forever to get fixed. That it did!
The next day I took my Cervelo to Placid Planet for a “peak performance” tune-up. The are open 24 hrs from Wednesday through Saturday evening of Ironman week. I get a phone call the following morning, as promised that it would be finished – nope! It needs a new cassette and chain because of wear, new bearings in the front hub and a new brake cable. Needless to say, my $89 peak performance tune-up was just a bit more expensive than I expected.
The next few days were relatively uneventful. Spent a lot of time at the lake fishing, swimming and kayaking.
Race morning – all good! Well? Nope! I get down to the transition area at almost 5 am for body marking. Find a line with only 2 triathletes in front of me. I’m thinking, awesome! Get this done, then in to check my bike and gear bags I had to drop off the day before. I’m standing at my bike unloading all my stuff – water bottles, nutrition and such. I decided to pump up my tires one last time before the race. I connect the pump to the valve of my front tire and begin pumping and pumping and pumping. No air going in. I’m like – bad connection. I released the pump and did it again. Pumped and pumped and pumped – no air going in again. My pump is broke. Really? Great! I ask a fellow triathlete next to me to borrow his. All good. Over to the transition gear bag racks I go. I begin with my bike to run bag so I don’t forget my orthotics for my running shoes. I know it’s going to shower so I want to make sure I lightly knot the top of the bag before hanging it back up so the water stays out. Upon drawing closed the bag, the twine draws tear from the bag leaving only one side intact. Really? Great!! I spent the next 5 minutes trying to do this correctly to keep the water out and so I don’t spend time upon my return from the bike trying to open the bag. Yes, I know I could just rip it apart, but then no bag and loss of personal items.
All good now. I walk over to find Michele and Haley. We walk over to place my nutrition bags on Mirror Lake Drive. As we are walking, I am thinking, one last porta-potty stop before the race would be nice. The lines from the Mirror Lake Drive look short. Nope! As I walk around, there must have been 100 triathletes in line. Forget this I thinking, I’ll pee in the lake.
This year at Ironman Lake Placid they began a self-seeding staggered swim start. You as the triathlete placed yourself according to your projected swim time finish. I remained open and optimistic to the entire concept and placed myself in the 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minute section. At 6:35 am or there about, we were motioned into the water. I didn’t get to pee! Damn!!! The swim actually was really smooth. The last leg of the swim was a bit choppy and turbulent because I was catching the last self-seeded swimmers finishing their first lap.
Out of the water I go 1:04 and change – I am happy!
It had rained during the swim. Roads were wet. I knew this might happen and prepared accordingly.
The 112 mile bike was great. The first 56 miles I was conservative. The second 56 miles I opened up a bit. The sun came out and the winds picked up, but it was still all good. However, on the second loop, I noticed my right foot was not secured in my pedal. I pulled my shoe out of the pedal and checked the cleat. Not loose. I knew that I could really do nothing but keep riding. I made it. 112 miles – 6:02 and change. Fastest bike split ever!
I hand my Cervelo off to the volunteer and run to the transition gear bag racks and grab my bag. You know the one? The one I tore 8 hours earlier. Into the changing tent I go.
I’m all dressed and only have to put on my Fuel belt which I attached my race number to earlier. My thought was unvelcro the belt, slip it on and revelcro the belt and go. Great idea, right? Nope! Tore one side of my race bib number. Now what? Anyone have a scissors? A knife? A key? Something to put a hole into the race number bib. I finally remove my Timex watch and use the little metal piece from the strap. Off I go.
The marathon was uneventful. IN the back of my mind though, was “will I bonk? I finish the marathon in 4:35 and change.
In the end, I break 12 hours with a 11:54:56. A PR (personal record) of 35 minutes from 2012.
A perfect ending to an eventful day!
Am I superstitious? Was there a curse? One will never know!