Another day; another race. The more of these I do, the less I seem to have to write about them. I had never raced Lake Placid until this past weekend, but I have known plenty of athletes that have. I have often been told its a course "that suits me" so I decided to give it a try this year. Having trained on the course a bit before the race, I would tend to agree with other folks' thought process; it is a course that suits me: flat lake swim, balanced (and fair) bike course with a difficult finish, and a run course with some real hills in it. Coupled with a solid training block in June; I felt I was ready.
Race day turned out to be slightly different (as is often the case) and I found myself battling some unfriendly demons throughout the day. After a decent swim and first loop of the bike I just started to feel pretty wiped out and tired, but I did my best to hold the position I had been riding most of the day in (5th) until T2. Even though I was light years behind the two leaders (Twelsiek and Hoffman crushed the bike and I was 20+ minutes down), I was still within 7 minutes of 3rd and one minute of 4th at the start of the run so a position move (or two) was hopefully still possible.
Running out of T2 I could tell I was missing a pep in my step so I threw all concerns about mile splits out the window and just tried to find a zen place to run. I did move into 4th place within about a mile, but 3rd was nowhere to be seen. By the time I hit the first turnaround (around mile 6) I could see I was nearly 10 minutes off of third, but fortunately 5th place was still about 6 minutes behind. I kept myself motivated for the remainder of the marathon by trying to hold a solid gap on 5th place. I was really struggling to hold myself together on the run, but my position was holding and I did not concede; finishing the race in 4th place.
I know I didn't really convey the message above, but this was one of the most challenging days I have had in racing. My body just did not seem to want to race an Ironman that day, but unfortunately WTC wouldn't postpone the race to another day. Just getting to the finish line seemed like enough of a challenge on Sunday and I took a lot away from that experience (and was proud to finish 4th). I hope to push myself that hard on a day my body does want to race.
Congratulations to Ben on his first Ironman win. He raced like a champion from start to finish.