My goal for Lake Placid was to get a Hawaii spot! I knew entering this race that we had three spots which would mean top 3 to 5th place finish based on who showed up.
Unlike my last three IM which have had 30 pros at each race this was turning out to be a small pro field. Thus the day before the race they had already taken one of our spots away leaving us with only 2 spots. Right away the race changes to knowing you have to make top 2 or three if you lucky to qualify...NO PRESSURE!
My training had gone well and I was feeling ready for a great breakthrough race!
The days leading up to LP I was focused despite trying to get over a sinus and ear infection that would bother me up to race day.
Due to the impending storms in LP they had warned us at the pro meeting that there was a possibility that the race would become a bike/run if there were thunderstorms in the am. But as the day would turn out we had no thunder only HUGE amounts of rain ALL day.
Race morning went perfectly and I was calm and ready for what would come my way...or that is what I thought. Nothing quite prepared me for the day that was too come at all!
The pro's would start 10 minutes before the age groupers. We funnelled into the water and I was excited to get the race going. I got next to a small group of women and swam hard as the gun went off. Within seconds I was getting kicked and arms were over my head. My goggles got knocked off...it was rather hectic and I tried to keep calm waiting for the guys to spread out. I was left behind two pro guys who were swimming at a comfortable pace. I decided to try swim around them as the group had split up and we were getting left behind but I could not make up the gap. I decided it was better to try swim in a small group than to do a whole Ironman swim by myself. I could not get on anyones feet though and swam next to my friend Danielle.At the turn around I saw my split was around 29 and I knew it was going to be hard to go under an hour. I swam quick around the Pier to get on the guys feet so I would beable to draft the second loop. It was a very comfortable effort and at the turn around I felt like the pace was slowing so I decided to swim up front and push the last 800 meters.
I exited at an hour and was ok with that. My friends Bernadette and Amy were there to strip me of my wetsuit. I felt great heading up to T1 and transition went smoothly. It felt awesome to be on the bike except it was now raining pretty steadily. This was not how I wanted to be racing the LP bike course. All I COULD DO WAS LAUGH AND SMILE ALOT! I was really trying to keep a great attitude. The bike was feeling good and the watts were comfortable to ride. The first section of hills went quickly and the downhill was a little scary and slower than usual. I however got extremely cold on the downhill and developed a rather big headache. Anyone that knows me knows I do not like to be cold! I passed Marie Danais on the straight away and she too was freezing. We both were shaking and she ended up dropping out. At the turn around I got to see that I was holding 5th place and I was pretty excited about that as the girls were not to far ahead. I was feeling very strong just super cold. Going up WhiteFace Mountain was a breeze and I had the guys on motorbikes filming me and we were joking back and forth. I was asking them for warm clothes and telling them that I needed to wear something more than a sportsbra when racing. I was also asking if everyone had dropped out of the race as I was constantly alone on the course. I was still smiling! The hills went by so quickly and I was excited to ride through town. My half way split was right where I wanted it to be and my watts were on target. I headed out of town and the reality hit that I had to stay cold again for another loop. There was no sign of sun. The rain came down so HARD and I had to put my sunglasses on as it was stinging my eyes. I did the second downhill and at that point my body got so cold and stiffened up so badly. My head, arms,chest,neck even stomach ached. The age groupers were starting to go by in small groups and I did not respond. I saw an awful accident on the out and back. A guy came down a hill and skidded off the road and flipped right over his bars and hit a tree. He disappeared into the bushes and I prayed for him and myself. I was torn as I really felt like I should stop and see how he was. Mentally that really tore me up and I yelled at the next aid station that they needed medical back a mile. I had seen that I was really right near Desiree Ficker at the turn around but I totally lost my focus. I rode the hills staying within myself and was happy to come back into town.
At T2 the girls told me that Desiree was a few minutes in front of me. I ran out HARD and my first few miles were 6.45,6.55,7.15. I could not feel my feet but my legs actually felt very good. I had seen Paulo and he was yelling to go get Desiree. I had a renewed energy and I pushed. I knew I had to get calories as my nutrition on the bike was very low. I grabbed a gel and my stomach did not want it. I had to stop at the bathroom. When I came out Caitlin Snow ran by me. She was really moving and I tried to stay close but she pulled away. She was running 6.50's and my next two miles were 7.35.and 7.20 and she was still pulling away. At this point it started raining again and my body was not happy. I had hit the hills and I had seen that Danielle Sullivan was running pretty well and was right behind me. My energy was very low but every time I tried to take a gel I felt lousy. I saw Paulo again and he yelled at me to push. I held 7.45's through town and saw that Desiree was pretty close to me. I would have normally been very excited to pass her but I knew that she was battling the cold just like I was. The last ten miles would be a mental struggle. With very tight cold muscles, a very short stride and a stomach that had shut down...my brain was starting to fry too. My focus had switched from racing to just finishing. I just wanted to be warm again.
I ran into the finsh chute and was happy to be the 5th women pro. I got to hug my kids and I was then taken straight to the medical tent. I had a body temperature of 91 and was shivering uncontrollably. I had lost 7 pounds and they started a warm fluid IV right away. The guys in medical were awesome. They fed me warm chicken broth and after 3 IV's I started to feel much better.
This is the third race of my season that I have been mentally tested with crazy weather conditions. Both Arizona and Eagleman with temps in the high 90's and now this cold crazy rain in LP. I hope to get a normal race day soon!
Thanks to all my friends out there on the course for the good support. Congrads to Will Ronco,Tom O Neil and Laura Demeo for qualifying for Hawaii. You guys really deserve it! Congrads too to Danielle Sullivan,Mike Villane, Jason Gehrs, Grace M, Barry, Eugene, Betsy, Mike and all those who stuck it out on that tough day!