A couple of years ago, I heard that one of my coworkers was training for an Ironman. I would see her outside running on super hot afternoons, working out all hours of the day, and always eating the healthiest of healthy meals at lunch. I remember thinking…”I think something is wrong with her. Like, I seriously think she has a problem. This is crazy.” I actually don’t know if she ever completed it, and I never spoke to her about it. But I was convinced that she had to be mentally unstable if she was trying all that nonsense.
Funny how things change, isn’t it?
Now, a few years later, I’m the one with a problem. A problem that can only be described as “being overly infatuated with swimming-biking-running and doing things that seem utterly ridiculous to most people to satisfy the obsession”.
I. AM. AN. IRONMAN! (!!!!) Mike Reilly told me so.
It’s still a little hard to believe. ME?! An Ironman! Crazy talk.
Backing up to the beginning of the trip…
My parents and I arrived in Lake Placid early on Friday afternoon. I immediately became stressed out with picking up everything I needed, checking into the hotel, navigating the parking/traffic situation, getting in a practice swim, eating the right foods, and getting to the athlete’s dinner on time. What I REALLY wanted was the coveted Ironman backpack that all participants get and I was ecstatic to finally have it in my possession. Seriously, I’m incredibly motivated by free t-shirts and gear. It’s almost worrisome what I’ll do for a free backpack.
Regardless, everything got checked off my “Friday List” successfully. (Yes, I had a binder with a full agenda for each day, down to the minute, complete with notes and addresses and inspirational factoids. And yes, I’m available for hire for all your agenda-creating needs. I accept payment in Brooks running shoes and tri gear.)
Lake Placid is an incredible town. An amazingly inspiring sports town with a ton of history and beautiful scenery. Driving by the ski jumps from the 1980 Winter Olympics made me think of the amazing stories and athletes that competed there, and it gave me goosebumps. (Not to mention, that was where our Ragnar Relay finish line was!)
The Ironman athlete’s dinner was actually in the ice skating rink where the “Miracle on Ice” game was played. We sat right in the rink with the ice below our feet and the scoreboard showing the score of that game above our heads. It inspired me to honor those athletes by leaving everything I had on the roads of LP.
First thing on the agenda for Saturday morning? Eat. I’ve learned that breakfast the morning before an endurance race is super important and should be very carb-heavy; even more so than dinner the night before the race. So, since physiology told me so, I ate a lot of pancakes on Saturday morning. My parents, Brendan’s parents and I went to a pancake breakfast hosted by North Country Ministries; we ate right on the finish line! (After eating at all these amazing venues, eating at my kitchen table just isn’t satisfactory anymore.) The volunteers were absolutely amazing; friendly, helpful, and kind. I can’t say enough good things about them.
The rest of the day was spent packing my gear bags, dropping off my bike and said gear bags, driving the bike course, eating, hydrating, sitting as much as possible, and visiting with family.
I had an early dinner (of pasta, of course) with my absolutely amazing support crew (my parents, Brendan and his parents, and two friends, Tommy and Sam) right at our hotel. I felt so blessed to have them all there. Not to mention, it was super convenient because I was able to walk right upstairs to my room immediately after dinner.
I got into bed around 9PM (a little later than I wanted) and fell asleep within an hour or so. I still remember my first half marathon – I could NOT fall asleep and maybe got an hour or two of shut-eye. Although for IMLP I woke up every couple hours, I still felt like I got a good-enough amount of rest. As I laid in bed, I listened to this amazing podcast to help myself visualize in a bit of a different way than I have in the past.
Wake up time?
I woke up and read through some supportive text messages and tweets (thanks so much, all!!) and then watched the best video ever from Tommy and Sam.
They sent it to me after dinner and told me to wait to watch it until the morning. I think this video – one quote in particular – is solely responsible for my mental strength through the race. Can you guess which one?
More details on that to come…
I met my teammate who was also staying at the same inn, and at 4AM, we walked to the starting line of our first Ironman. I wish I had my camera to document getting body marked, setting up my bike, dropping off my special needs bags, talking to my team, reading motivational letters from friends, putting on my wetsuit, getting to the starting line…but I left it nestled in a bag in my room, not knowing I would come back to it over 20 hours later and be brought to tears upon seeing all the messages of love and support. Thankfully, I have a wonderful boyfriend who agreed to be my personal photographer documenting every aspect of the day. “IT’S FOR THE BLOG!” he would say.
Before the day started for most people in other parts of the country, the atmosphere in the village of Lake Placid was already electric. I excitedly stepped onto the grass at Mirror Lake with two of my teammates, donned my pink swim cap and goggles, took a deep breath…
…and listened to the cannon go off for my very first 140.6.