The Journey to IRONMAN Lake Placid

My triathlon journey began last year with the New York Road Runners Sprint tri. My tri fitness was solidify last week, July 18th, with my absolutely satisfying performance in the Nautica New York City Triathlon. My tri goal was always to ascend progressively to the Ironman distance. Going through the M-dot Iron distances I wanted to choose one that’s closer to the city. Voila! IRONMAM Lake Placid. This year the IMLP sold out within minutes of going live online. After some google research I found out the best way to get yourself a guaranteed spot is to volunteer (4 hours shift to help out your fellow triathlete, sure!). Upon gaining this information and getting permission from Anh (#1 fan) I immediately signed up to volunteer for Lake Placid 2010. It would also be an opportunity to visit the Adirondacks which was a new adventure for the both of us. We signed up because it would keep us together while supporting and assisting the triathletes with whatever task designated to us.

Upon receiving confirmation from our volunteer captain, the next step was to book a hotel. This was at least 2 months in advance of the race. However most hotels were already booked. The only few remaining required a 5 night stay minimum with a hefty price tag. Our plans were to arrive Friday, volunteer on Sunday and return home on Monday after registration. Lodging in Lake George, one and a half hours away (south of Lake Placid) made this possible.

We arrived in Lake George on Friday around 2:30pm. We drove around Lake George Village which was 5 miles from our hotel and did a bit of sightseeing. I was craving lobster bisque, so we had lunch at the Seaside Restaurant. (Lobster Pot, which was recommended by a local was closed at the time; opening hours 4pm – 10pm). That evening we did dine at the Lobster Pot, we had the Fisherman’s platter.

(Lake George, 32 miles long)

(Lobster Bisque at Seaside Restaurant)

Saturday morning I went out for a long ride from our hotel (Super 8) in Warrensburg to the Chestertown, next town North. My bike route was along Route 9. I wanted to put at least a 40-50 mile bike ride in as per my Half Iron training, but encountered a flat tire at mile 15. Culprit a wired hook. After changing the tube I decided the best option was to return to Super 8, especially the fact that I didn’t have a patch kit or a 2nd tube (made a patch kit my first purchase when I returned to NYC). Also there wasn’t a bike store in sight of our hotel North or South. Anh also went out for a 4 mler that morning along Main Street. When we both returned, we showered, had some Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast from across the hotel and headed North to Lake Placid. Upon entering Lake Placid you know instantly why this venue makes for a great race. Rolling hills, magnificent view, what appears to be smooth roads (although I didn’t ride my bike on the course). We saw many triathletes training on the course.

(Got off the bike on Route 9 in Warrensburg to take some pics)

(Welcome to Ford IRONMAN Lake Placid)

(Transition: Approximately 2600 triathletes registered in 2010)

Sunday, race day. I did a long run in Lake George before we left for Lake Placid. We got to Lake Placid at 10:30am. We had some breakfast and met our volunteer captain. We were assigned “sponges”at our water aid station. Water aid station #1. The task was to hand athletes wet sponges as they run by to keep them cool. Earlier in the day around 1-2pm it was fine without ice in the water, but later when the heat emerged, ice would be a must. Our shift was from 12-4pm. So we would be able to see the Pros start and finish the run. This is the first triathlon I’ve spectated and not participated in, had a bit of tri/IRONMAN envy at some points. It was fun to cheer the participants on. Hand them sponges to cool off. Ice when needed. Anh was having the most fun. She cheered the hardest for the athletes. I remember seeing her red palm and going, baby, maybe clap a bit softer? lol The shift went quick because you are so engaged, working your shift, supporting the athletes, having conversations with fellow volunteers, who most of which are signing up for next year’s race as well. We saw Amy March, the female winner run to the finish. We may have missed the male. I saw John Hirsh, who I am following on twitter pass by. He finished 19th overall, 12th in the pro division.

(Our assigned volunteer task: Sponges)

(Triathletes completing their first of 2 loops of the bike course)

(Finishers at the Olympic Speed Skating Oval)

Monday morning, we got to Lake Placid High School at 8:30am. Registration for volunteers and the general public was from 9am – 11. Volunteering gave us priority over the general public. After standing on line for roughly 3 and 1/2 hours – 4 hours we made it to the registration terminals. “Identification and credit card please?”, asked the volunteer registrar. After 3-5 minutes of inputing my information. I was unofficially registered for IRONMAN Lake Placid 2011, still not officially. On-site registrants still had to wait for and email on Wednesday to complete the registration process.

(Swedish Hill Winery, Lake Placid, where we purchased two wine bottles on our way back to NYC)

Wednesday morning. I received the email from reminding me to complete my IRONMAN registration. No hesitation there. With couple clicks and filled out query forms I was officially registered for IRONMAN Lake Placid 2011. The journey continues…………..

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