Monday, July 30, 2007

Ironman Lake Placid Report - Part 1: Pre-race

The week leading up to the race I was busy. Afterall this is a BIG race and I want to make sure I have everything ready. I am pretty much packing all my tri and backup gears.

Here is my to-do list:

i) Get insurance (blue cross) [mon] ()
ii) Approve days off (July 23) ()
iii) Let everyone (fellowship) i won't be here on July 22nd [Wed] ()
iv) Prepare all gears and check everything to ensure it is in good order [thurs] ()
v) Prepare race plan/strategy (my perfect race) [mon] ()
vi) Arrange ride with len and family, give family addy to motel [tues] ()
vii) Call hotel to confirm booked date [tues] ()
viii) get helmet [tues] ()
viiii) arrange w/ Darren, Jeremy, Shelley to what day to get there [wed] ()
x) prepare leadership notes and reposniblities ()
xi) Get US Dollars!! [wed] ()
xii) Cancel specailist [tues] ()
xiii) talk to remy see if they can look at the jumping gears [tues] ()
xiiii) Booked cornhall motel [wed]
xv) buy food/stuff [today]
xvi) map for cornwall motel + race course + LP [today] ()

I headed to a motel in Cornwall on Thurs night at 7 pm. Cornwall is in the Canada/US border. About an hour drive from Lake Placid. With traffic jam and what not, I didn't get to the motel till midnight. I checked in and went to straight to bed.

On Fri, I got up at 4:45 am and headed out. The drive to Lake Placid wasn't bad or difficult. Pretty soon I was in the Adriondack park.

The weather was foggy and it had a light drizzle. I am going to meet the tri bloggers (Darren, Shelley, Sheila, Jeremy and Aaron) at the Gatorade swim at 7:30 am.

This will be my second open water swim this year. Despite my tore shoulder, I am calm. In my first open water swim at Muskoka Long Course, I freaked out. I thought about that and kicked my own butt.

Cliff, you spent two years in learning to swim. Don't amount that to nothing. You can do this.

Once at the beach, I spotted Sheila and Shelley immediately. Jeremy, Darren and Aaron joined us a few minutes later. I also bumped into Stuart (a fella that I met in my community pool).
"It's a crime" - Sheila making reference to my unshaved legs :)

What's under my hood :)

After a few greeting, we put on our wetsuit and took the plunge.

The lake was calm, the water was warm and I felt like home. I swim passed three buoys (about 200 meter) before turning back. My right shoulder was working fine. No pain. No nothing. Best of all, I can 'feel' the water. I got back on shore and smiling. I can't wait till Sun.

I spent the day hanging out with Darren, his dad, his sis and his wife. It was great. We had breakfast, walked through the expo and registered.

In the registration, they weight me. I was 145 lbs. My bathroom scale was showing me as 149. Guess my scale was off. I am in shape and ready to go.

At the expo, we walked around. I wasn't interest in the new products. I did picked up a IM race cap. We bumped into Coach Richard. Darren and him chatted and I picked up a last minute race tip. Take the first lap of the bike easy. Take it so easy that you switch down on gear what you normally ride. If you can get your second lap time 10-20 min from your first lap, that's very good.

After grabbing grocery with Darren, I was off. I booked a motel along the bike course (Upper Jay). While driving the course, I was astonished by how beautiful the place is.

I love this part of the bike course. There is a slow moving river on the left and the mountains on the right.

Wow. I can't believe I will be riding on this course. Sweet.

I checked myself in and started unpacking. By the time I got everything in the motel, I was pretty tired. There is a creek behind the motel which is really nice. I open the back door, hear the sound of the running water and take a nap.

Gear bags

My nutrition on race day. (Notice the amount of cocaine [Infinit Nutrition] I packed)

There were many possible scenarios popped up in my mind.

What if you packed the wrong gears?
What if you don't have enough Infinit powder?
What if you don't drink enough?

What if you miss one of the instructions?

I reminded myself that to treat it like a long training day and I will be fine.
We had a pasta dinner at 5 pm and a mandatory meeting after The pasta dinner was ok. I met Matthew and Ivey (I met them from Runningroom forum). They brought up the oldest and the youngest person doing the Ironman. They had the pros discussing their strategies. In my mind, all I can think about is going back to the motel and sleep.

Ivey, Matt and me at the pasta dinner

I woke up on Sat without setting an alarm. I let my body get as much rest as it wants. I got up feeling very refresh. Good.

I checked my bike and re-duct tape my extra tubes and tire levers. When I pumped my tires, I broke a valve. No sweat, just go to the shop and picked up an extra tubes. I went out for a 20 min spin and a 10 min run afterwards. Body felt ok.

I checked my bike in and set up my gear bags. I stayed in the motel relaxing. I sat by the creek, ate cherries and shaved my legs :). I spent a lot of time talking with God. My family and Len got to the motel by 6 pm. I brought them to Lake Placid, showed them the route, picked up some dinner and headed back to the motel.

Sitting at the porch facing the river.

I went to bed by 8 pm. I am very glad to see my family here. Super supportive.

My mind is focus on one thing, Ironman.

In the bed, I realized that everytime my mind made up a 'hard' session, I just do it:

- ride Hockley valley 3 times
- 6 hr brick (4 hr bike + 2 hr run) and 2 hr run the day after
- 6 hr brick (5 hr bike + 1 hr run) and 3 hr run the day after
- hill repeats on Mt Nemo (not really a mountain)
- swim 80 laps
- gone through every hardest hill/route I can think of

Yup, I am as ready as I can be. I had never back down. If tomorrow I do not finish, at least I gave it all. 100%. Recalling my previous sessions made me very confident for tomorrow.

I fell asleep hearing the sound of the creek. Tomorrow, up at 3:30 am. Race is on!

Piston shot. All shaved and ready to go...


Thomas said...

You sure left us wait, but that's a very good start to a (long) report. I can't wait for the rest.

I hope the shoulder is feeling ok by now.

Unknown said...

Great first installment! (Really enjoyed the photos.)

Brent Buckner said...

Good lead-in. Gives a sense of the many logistical details and a feeling of rising determination.

Robin said...

it IS a beautiful area, and bike course, isn't it? I also have the pics i mailed to you today on a disk...I will email them tonight.

Afternoon Tea With Oranges said...

Wow...nice report...I'll be waiting for the next part!

brendaj said...

Great post. This line cracked me up - "I sat by the creek, ate cherries and shaved my legs"!

Steve Stenzel said...

Nice SMOOTH legs! I just did that myself....

Aaron said...

Hard core Cliff! Shavin the legs!

"I love this part of the bike course" - what you forgot to mention is that's the last 3K uphill back into town - killer.

Love it - can't wait for the rest of the report.

Dances with Corgis said...

This is an awesome prelim... and you helped me make a list of things I need to do before IMLOU. Thanks, Cliff! Excited to read the next installment.

Mike said...

Great start Cliff..."what's under my hood" - hilarious!

Hurry up with part 2!

Anonymous said...

Hey Cliff . I don't think you remember me, but i cam across your xanga from the xara fellowship page. We played volleyball for a bit one saturday in MCAC . Anyway, i read your entry and i was soo amazed. i never knew you did all this stuff! its really cool that you're all into keeping fit and such. i hope you had fun . God bless (:


Tri-Dummy said...

Looking forward to the rest.

I appreciated seeing all the photos...the bags and nutrition.

It got me thinking...that's dangerous!

Rae said...

Goodness gracious! You could put someone's eye out with those muscles!! Chilling out the day before sounds like the way to a perfect race!