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Race Report Ironman Lake Placid

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  • Race Report Ironman Lake Placid

    My race report, the report is fairly long but so was the day
    It was pitch dark in the Adirondacks and I was in my car heading the .9 miles to the start. Heck I didn’t want to go any further on my own energy that day than I had too. As I was getting my body marked it was starting to hit me: This is it! One way or another it will be done today. I finished setting up my bike then headed down to the swim area, put on my wet suit, then headed to the beach, where I saw the scuba divers putting their gear on. So I stopped, introduced myself, and said, “If you see me down under, please push me back up because I need to breathe.” Then I had my picture taken with them. Very friendly bunch.
    Once down on the beach with my wetsuit on I heard a voice. I knew the voice, not the face. I said “Are you Mike Reilly?” I asked if I could give him a hug and I told him please say my name loud and clear and I would see him much later tonight.
    My daughter had written a pre-race plan for me, as she was going to be away at soccer camp. She broke the race down into section. For the swim she said to just think of the song from Nemo: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming, swimming. So I did. I have to say the swim was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I have never been in a mass start like that. Three quarters of the way through the first loop I felt a large hand on my back that pushed me down under. I swallowed some water and was starting to panic, but when I popped back up I was right by a big inflated orange buoy. So I acted like a trout hiding behind a rock and stopped there to try to stop my panic. I entered the stream again but that feeling that I was going to die had not left me. Getting out of the water at the turn I was way off balance and kind of stood knee deep in the water for a few seconds before I started on loop two. I went way wide but I never want to swim with 2,700 people again!
    Lake Placid has a very long transition from swim to bike. I am sure it was miles or felt like miles to me. I grabbed my bag and into the changing tent I went. I didn’t realize how tired and thirsty I would be I downed an entire bottle of Gatorade and some water. Man, do people cheer for you. It is wild.
    So there I am at the mount line and I hear my doctor (many time ironman) crazy cheering yelling for me. So off I went for the first loop. I knew the first loop would be ok--it was the second that challenged me. So I tried to take a mental picture to remember how beautiful it is along the course. Big mistake on my part: I got a John Denver song stuck in my head. Yeah almost 8 hours of John Denver. I tried everything to get rid of it, even tried to sing Happy Birthday, but No. John Denver stuck. Heading back into town for the second loop I kept thinking, “Yuck, I have to do this again.” But I did stop to see my family. My husband yelled at me for stopping. “Keep going -you better not miss the cut off by these two minutes!” I also stopped to use the port-a-pottie (Yes, unlike many of my competitors, I will take the extra minute or two to stop.) Apparently, while stopping I lost the top part of my straw to my areo bottle; it would be harder to drink this time around. I had taped my salt tabs with duck tape to my handle bars and it had worked very well in training, but the roads in Placid are much rougher and the sponge in my aero bottle had sunk down so water keep splashing out and all the tabs were melted into the tape and broke apart when I tried to get them off. I had extra in my bike repair kit but that would require a stop. Well ¾ into the last loop is a long climb. The wind had really picked up and it was sunny and hot. I thought a dryer vent was blowing on me. I was feeling really bad and really slowing down. I saw other riders stopped everywhere. So after much internal dialog I decided to stop at the last aid station. The little tent was over crowed with others trying to get out of the sun, so I went to the volunteer tent and sat on a cooler. Man it felt good--too good. I looked at my watch and said, “OK, I can stay here until the next ¼ hour, I think it was about 11 minutes. I had something to drink and even a slice of watermelon. I also got out my extra salt tabs. When I stood up I was wobbly and knew I wouldn’t be able to get back on my bike without help. But I didn’t want to be pulled off for medical reasons. I had seen countless ambulances go by. So I saw what looked like the aid station caption and said I need help back onto my bike. He was great: he held the front of my bike and handle bars while someone held the back then said, “OK, how do we let go?” I said, “Just let go,” and away I went. Back in town the crowds were wild. Even better, I was finally off that bike! I actually had a full hour before the bike cut off. Not making the bike cut off was my biggest worry. My daughters prediction was the first loop will be fine, “But you will have to dig deep to finish the second.” One smart kid.
    It was like a million degrees in the changing tent and I began to feel nauseous. So my run started as a walk and I found out I love small pretzels and ice water. I love ice. Ice is the best thing I had ever had. I had it in my shirt. I had a bandana filled with ice around my neck. It was wonderful. I began to feel better. But every time I started to run, I think my body temp went up again and then I did not feel so well. I started doing the math: I could walk the rest of the way and still make the finish line before the midnight closing. That made me feel a lot better. I was enjoying myself: smiling, talking with the crowds. It is a two loop course and it was depressing to be coming in on your first loop when most are getting done. My son, who was cheering wildly, yelled, “You need to run, Mom”. Easy for him to say. But you know I didn’t feel bad; I was still smiling and I was getting it done. Yeah, they hand you a glow stick on your way back out of town. They handed out a lot of those glow sticks. Some athletes threw theirs out, but I wore my glows stick proudly. I still couldn’t let myself believe that I was actually going to be an ironman. It is really kind of beautiful seeing the glow stick necklaces in the darkness. On your way back into town you can hear the crowd going nuts, but unfortunately you have a crazy little mile out and a mile in to complete before you get to the Olympic speed skating oval where the finish line is. I really think it was more of a 10K but they say it is only a mile. I could hear the crowd and “Tonight is going to a good good night” was blasting. Yes John Denver had finally left me. I started to enter the Olympic oval and the guy said when you get to that line RUN because you have to be running on the jumbotron. I hear Mike Reilly saying Jill Walsh you are an Ironman. I give him a high five and run to that line. My daughter had said that the announcer man would see my glow stick shinning bright in the night and everyone who loves me and a lot of random people would be cheering for me. Boy, was she right. Her last line was “Hit it out of the park kid”

    I had never swung so hard.

    I really can’t explain how that felt.

  • #2
    Jill, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN! Damn, girl. I claim first congrats.
    Dave Bexfield


    • #3
      Fantastic report Jill, love the detail. And congratulations, You Are an Ironman and you deserve it!



      • #4
        That is amazing Jill, congratulations!!


        • #5
          Jill, Congratulations! I have chills and tears for you. What an amazing accomplishment. Great recap. Enjoy these next few weeks of recovery, you deserve it!


          • #6
            So I'm about 2 1/2 months late to tell you but here goes: "You are a BEAST!!" Way to go Jill. Wear your finisher shirt to your next MRI or neuro visit. And the big question is what race are you doing next year?


            • #7
              Wow I'm impressed. Great job.