26 July 2013

Lake Placid - Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Last year at mile 20 of the IMLP marathon, I was SO MAD at myself for signing up for IMLP 2013 on the Saturday before the 2012 race - I was feeling terrible and less than thrilled with the prospect of doing the race (or any Ironman, for that matter) ever again. But of course those feelings changed within a day of being done with the 2012 race - especially when I found out that SO many of my friends from all corners of my triathlon world would be doing IMLP 2013. My Ignite teammates, friends from Team Z, DC Tri, my Tucson Tri camp friends, work, and the list goes on. This has literally become a town where everybody knows your name - I've run into people I know every time I've left our hotel room. It's awesome. We're staying a stone's throw away from the Olympic speedskating oval (aka T1, T2, and the finish) thanks to Mel Yu who booked us a room at her hotel from last year - THANK YOU MEL! Being able to walk wherever I need to go is a priceless convenience. AND we have a view of the Olympic ski jump ramps framed by the Adirondacks from our window.

We got in on Wednesday night and it was CHILLY!
From swimming to snowpile in 5 minutes. Someone is not impressed.
Fake snow - from the zamboni that scrapes the indoor skating rink. Looks pretty convincing though, and with temperatures at 33 degrees on Thursday morning (the Weather Channel repeatedly called attention to this during their AM broadcast - thanks guys for the reminder that I should've packed more warm stuff). And actually, once the sun came out, it warmed up to the perfect temps you would expect for summertime in the mountains. This is the first time I've been up to Lake Placid for this race and it wasn't sweltering hot with added humidity. Temps on race day look like they will be in the 70s but a chance of rain - hopefully scattered rain but it will be nice not to have temps near 90 like last year.

Our dog has really taken a liking to the water. He made 4 trips to the lake on Thursday (plus he got a bonus trip on Wednesday night when we first arrived) and today Mr. Sweetie took him for a 3 mile run around the lake/town and then a 60 minute swim. Then this afternoon I took him for a walk around town before spending an additional 2+ hours at the lake swimming - he was shivering because he was so cold by the end but I still needed to drag him out. His favorite game was fetch the ball and then swim it halfway down the shore and leave it there, ignoring my commands to bring the ball back to me. Needless to say, I spent alot of time in the water retrieving the ball. There is something wrong with that picture. He also chewed on the tennis ball so much that he punctured holes in it and it sank. I retrieved it that time too. I think he is finally worn out now because he can't keep his eyes open. This is a good sign.
Image of a happy dog
Things have been low-key, getting here a day or two earlier than usual has allowed me to be really relaxed in the whole race prep thing. I still need to put a bottle holder on my bike, which I will do tomorrow, and pack my race bags, which will also happen tomorrow, and find a tube and valve extenders (I really have no idea what I am talking about but I know I will need some sort of device to pump up my fancy rented wheels if I get a flat). I did packet pickup with my friend Michaela yesterday, got my rented race wheels put on, met up with Sarah and Katie once they arrived in town, stopped in at the Smashfest Queen event and picked up a fun tank top and saw more Ignite and Team Z friends. Then this morning I did a swim with Meg and her Boston Tri club teammates and did my bike with Stacey. It's fantastic to always have a training buddy around!

Stacey and I. Please note the impeccably-timed photobomb in the background from a man we do not know.
I'm really looking forward to Ironman on Sunday. Normally I'm counting down the hours until it will be over and I can breathe a sigh of relief that I survived (and yes, I am counting down to when I get to enjoy the cake that has been ordered and champagne in a solo cup with one Jenny Gephart) but I am looking forward to doing the race itself and executing a smart day out there. This means not overriding the bike (I'm VERY good at overriding the bike. See: all of my most recent Ironman race reports) so I can have a decent run. The cooler temperatures will also work in my favor - I remember last year coming through town after my first loop and feeling absolutely cooked. Not the way you want to feel halfway through the bike on a very long day. I've also been thinking about the first time I learned about Ironman. I had just joined Team Z back in October/November 2007 and attended the holiday party that December where they showed a video they had made during the team's 2007 Ironman out in Coeur d'Alene. I cannot adequately describe all the feelings that video elicited, but I immediately got butterflies in my stomach and the idea of doing one of these races was planted in my head. Seeing the mass start, listening to the athletes' pre-race thoughts, seeing them race around the bike course and run around town and then cross the finish line. When I think about Ironman and why I want to do it, my mind always goes back to that video. I want to see what I am made of. I want to have an extraordinary day. Ironman is special and commands respect for the distance, breaks down barriers amongst competitors, and forces you to look inside yourself for motivation to keep putting one foot in front of the other and be your best self on this one day of the year.


Beth said...

Miles is the best!! :)

You WILL have an extraordinary day Caroline!! So excited for you and I can tell that you are so very excited too. Can't wait to hear all about your successes! :)

Caroline said...

Beth!!!! Thank you so much for thinking of me and wishing me the best - knowing that I was in people's thoughts was enough to lift me up through any low points during the race! And it WAS such a magical day, and as much as my legs were hurting me, I didn't want it to end because such perfection is so rare! Miles is a swimming machine, I think he'd be able to complete a 2.4 mile swim no problem!