Friday, July 27, 2012

Ironman Lake Placid Race Report...One word for this race...FUN!

 3rd place in the Professional Women = One more step closer to success!

Ironman Lake Placid was a breathe of fresh air! It was JUST what I needed right now in my season!

It was not the most perfect race...but there were SO many things right about it!

After a rough start to the season...I switched around my schedule and decided to forgo a star studded Rev3 Portland or IM Frankfurt and instead head to one of my first loves in racing, IMLP!  This was a tough decision as I love being a part of anything Rev 3 but the closer Lake Placid got the more I wanted to be a part of it! This would be my 5th time on the start line there and I found great comfort in that!

  There are a couple places in the US that I just love...Lake Placid is one of those special places that I hold dear to my heart. It was my first Ironman that I entered into in 2004. I had no idea of the course and went into it totally blindly. I made the mistakes everyone makes by pushing too hard on the first loop of the bike and then paying for it the rest of the race!
But 8 years later I would now be toeing the line once again in my 20th Ironman and getting ready for the challenges that this course offers.

Race week arrived and I was so excited to race. Coach Jesse and I would be treating this Ironman as a hard build up leading into IM NYC 3 weeks later. The week before I had a full week of training with a 5.30 bike and  a 2 hour run day. The closer the race got though and hearing I was one of the girls favored to win I was wishing I had had more of a taper and was coming in with fresher legs!

But I put that all behind me and went into the pre race activities with enthusiasm and excitement! This was probably the first race I have done where there would not be an Ironman Champion already racing which meant a BIG opportunity to one of the pro girls racing!!! How much fun!

Race morning arrived and I felt calm and ready to go despite not a wink of sleep!  I really wish I could get a few hours of sleep the night before an IM...I really think it would help....although I know they say the night before does not matter. Adrenaline always seems to kick in!

I headed down to the start line feeling prepared and ready. I had a plan and was going to execute it no matter what!
One of my biggest goals for this race would be too have FUN!  Dave Erickson from IM laughed at me at my pro panel when I mentioned this. "Ironman is not fun" he said...but when you have a passion for something it really IS about having fun and being in the moment of loving what you do!
I really do love to race as I have mentioned many times before....hence ON that start line I felt excitement, passion, butterflies, focus, adrenaline..all those things that make you feel alive right before me.
It was my day...and I was going to do my best to enjoy every minute of it...WIN or lose!!

I can truly say that's what I did!

As the gun blasted...I pushed hard and was pleasantly surprised. I was with the group on the first buoy, second buoy, 3rd buoy 4th buoy..then OMG I thought  I was dying when are they going to slow down 5th buoy. They were pulling away but I thought I would try stay on this guys feet...Oh no he's lost the group and now I have to pull around him and chase the group. Well I tried hard to catch them but they just kept pulling away. I was left in no mans land...with no one in front of me. On the second loop Sarah Piampiano had caught me and knowing she was around an hour swimmer I welcomed a break and went on her feet for a bit. When you are swimming on your own it almost feels like you are swimming on a spot. I was glad to have Sarah there and I just enjoyed the open water we had. This would be the least confrontational IM swim I have ever been in.
Unfortunately as I exited the water and saw my split, this would not be my best swim here as I exited in 1.02.This was a bit slower than Coach Jesse and I were thinking! I smiled and high fived some friends on the way out. It always is such a crazy run from the water to T1.

Onto the bike and I was feeling good! I could hear Coach Jesse's voice....hold back..hold back on the first hills! So I settled some nutrition and was amazed at how the miles were ticking by on the bike. I was riding exactly where I wanted to be riding...which apparently was a little to hard. On the out and back I could see where I was....It looked like 5th with the lead girls riding a few minutes ahead.
I stayed focused and felt great riding the hills back into town.

I came into town with eventual winner, super strong biker and team mate Jessie Donovan. I believe we were 4th and 5th at that point. The next loop I could tell the age grouper guys that had passed earlier on were fatiguing but I felt strong. I pushed the 3rd section of the course trying to keep Jessie in sight. I knew for me to have a chance of winning I would have to come off the bike near her as she can run.

But when it came time to kick things up a notch on the last 30 minutes of climbs into town. I could not. I cursed my legs. I reached into my bento box for something with caffeine but I was out.. I had dropped a gel earlier on.  I would end up riding the exact same split...2.45 on the first loop 2.45 on the second loop. Yes, I am proud of that but I wish I had had a little extra left in the tank as I definitely lost 5 minutes to the lead.

LP is such a tricky bike course and the girls that had pushed to hard earlier on were now paying for it! On the last climbs I passed Ali Fitch to move into 3rd place.

I headed into T2 so happy and thankful to be in the position I was in. Running out through town I was feeling amazing! My legs felt solid and I was laughing as Coach Jesse always has me carrying so much food! I was stuffing my face with a banana while stuffing my pockets with Power gels. I was trying to head out calm and controlled but all I could think of was second is 1.30 up and 1st 4/5 minutes. I would have to go hard for as long as I could.  First mile came in at 6.37....slow it down I thought...second 7 min flat...I would see my family there and that gave me a big boost and I jumped back down to 6.45 pace. Then I could see second place girl just ahead of me. By mile 4 I moved into 2nd place. Boy I was having fun but was also worried as I was thinking I still got 22 miles to go. At the first turnaround I could see that I was not making up much tome on Jessie and then I saw my next concern Jennie Hansen another QT2 Team member charging on the run. She was looking great! I remember Coach Jesse telling me about how solid her running was. But this was her first IM. I was happy for her and was  wandering if she would beable to hold the pace. Sadly all being coached by the same coach I knew we were all capable and all striving for a solid second half of the marathon.

Jennie caught up quickly and charged ahead and I moved back into 3rd and continued on a pace that I thought I could handle for the remainder of the run. I was really enjoying the other athletes and spectators racing and was just so  appreciative of all the nice comments. The energy out there was amazing and seeing so many friends out on the course was awesome!

The last thirteen miles always seems to take forever and the sun was at full force with temps rising into the high 80's and the heat index being at 90%. It definitely took its toll on me but I just kept on.... I was getting a few cramps and really tried to stay on top of the hydration and even walked through two of the aid stations.  Dumping water over my head and getting full cups of sports drink in. I fought the cramps in my stomach and calves and finally I made it up  the steep hill in what felt like a snail pace and headed back into town. The out and back through town was a high point and I was thrilled to run through that Olympic Oval finishing my 5th Lake Placid in 3RD place. This was my best result since my 4th place in IMSA a few years ago and it felt great!
I took the time to stop and kiss my supportive family, really savoring the moment and the accomplishment and enjoying the finishline!

 This was a great podium of girls! Big congrats goes to Jessie Donovan on her first Ironman WIN!  So happy for you!

Big thanks goes to Coach Jesse Kropelnicki owner of QT2 Systems on the amazing day all his athletes had! It is such a reflection of the passion and hard work that goes into his coaching every day.
Thanks to my sponsors Rev 3,Pearl Izumi, Power Bar, Kestrel, Blue Seventy,Torhans Hydration Systems and Norma tec Recovery boots!
Thanks goes to Kristen for the awesome chats we have had the last few weeks too!
 I think I accomplished my goal of staying focused and in the moment the whole race!
Also big thanks to Charlie Abrahams for the stunning pics he took all day! Lastly I thank my friends and family for always understanding the commitment it takes to race at a pro level! Their support is everything!


Kim said...

What a great blog Jacqui!!! A great recount of the day! So excited to hear it in your words. Your smarts and experience paid off along with talent! Nice work my friend! Recover well!

Bre said...

I think I smiled the entire time I was reading this because you can feel your enthusiasm and passion in this post. LP looks beautiful and all your photos from there make me think that race is a must-do one day.
Congrats congrats congrats! You are amazing, and are going to rock IMNYC (and I bet you will have fun there too).
P.S. did you get to meet Miss Maya!?!

Kristin said...

Great job on your finish!! I loved reading this post! Such a happy moment!

Jacqui said...

Kim Thank you! I am still so upset for you on how your race went...but you know I have full confidence in the fact that you going to be incredible in your next one!!!
Hope you feeling better! Took a few days but I am finally feeling much better!

Jacqui said...

Bre... Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed the post! FUN FUN FUN! That it was and yes I plan on enjoying NYC too! You definitely have to do IMLP! Sadly I did not see Tara or little miss Maya!

Jacqui said...

Thank you Kristin!! I will post a photo of my finish with my family!! It truly expresses the fun I was having, support and passion and captures the finish perfectly!
All the best to you and your new baby!!!

Kelly Covert said...

Woot!! You looked so great out there, and I was so excited to be able to cheer you on! Congrats on a great race!!

Jacqui said...

Thank you Kelly!!! Nice to see you too! Thanks for cheering!