Thursday, August 01, 2013

IMLP 2013 Race Report

Anh Dang
M35-39 AG
1st Iron Distance triathlon

Ironman Lake Placid 2013

Ironman Lake Placid 2013

Ironman Lake Placid 2013

I set my Ironman Lake Placid goal time by using my best result for a half distance times two plus 30 minutes for expected slow down due to the longer duration of the race. That goal time would be 12 hours for me.

I wrote about my Ironman path & my Lake Placid memories in other posts.

Swim 2.4 miles (1:20:58 vs goal of under 1:30 hours); AG: 188th; OA: 1,390th

First Loop: 39:37
Second Loop: 41:21

The lake water was 72 degrees F, and the weather was cloudy at swim start. I wore a sleeveless wetsuit.

I definitely benefited from the new rolling, self-seeded swim start. Fast age-groupers entered water at 6:30 am, while I started at 6:40 am. I aimed right for the cable line under the lake, and never lost sight of it. I expected physical contacts but it wasn't as bad as I had feared. Nevertheless, I got kicked, punched, and worst of all, my wetsuit zipper cord got pulled.

I managed to keep moving forward along the cable line, and the first turn appeared quicker than I had expected. The 2nd turn was just about 25 meters from the first turn, so naturally there were big flocks of swimmers stopping to sight. On the way back, I found more open space along the cable line so I picked up some speed.

There were less physical contacts, as fast swimmers were already ahead of me. I found myself passing many swimmers who must have slowed down a lot. I still stuck to the cable line and passed on the left, just like during cycling. As I finished the swim portion, I knew I had the best open water swim of my life.

Swim/Bike Transition (9:12 vs goal of under 10 minutes); AG: 147th; OA: 936th

I got my first wetsuit stripper, and it was amazing! I actually practiced barefoot running so it was a breeze. I had no problem finding my bike gear bag and ran into the male tent. I sat on the grass to put on my shoes, unwrapped a PP&J, put on my helmet and ran out to my bike.

Bike 112 miles (6:17:45 vs goal of under 6:30 hours)

First Loop: 3:01:48
Second Loop: 3:17:57

Once I got on the bike, I realized that it was lightly raining. I still had memories of a bike crash in similar conditions 2 years ago so I adjusted my plan to slow down. I had ridden this bike course 5 times prior to the race, so I was very aware of what gear I needed to ride at every point. I was on the little ring  during the climb out of town, the climb on 86, and pretty much the entire last 12 miles from Wilmington back to town.

I was slightly below my target power range of 150-155 watts (vs. my FTP of 220) during the first loop, and I was amazed to see that my bike time at midpoint was 3:02. The roads tried up by now, so I could have easily completed the second loop in 3:00.  However, I started second guessing myself and decided that I needed to slow down even more to save my legs for the run.

I kept a high cadence of 90 RMP, found an easy gear to allow my average normalized power to drop down. I was having fun. The only scary moment was when a dropped bottle rolled right in front of me. I thought I was going to crash but luckily, the bottle rolled & my bike avoided contacts.

Bike/Run Transition (3:36 vs goal of under 5 minutes)

Volunteers greeted me as soon as I came in. My bike was picked up, and my run gear bag was ready for me.

Run 26.2 miles (4:06:51 vs goal of under 3:45 hours); AG = 104th, OA: 617th

Split 1  3 miles (26:04) 8:41/mile
Split 2  5.2 mi (46:16) 8:53/mile
Split 3  3.8 mi (35.48) 9:25/mile
Split 4  4.1 mi (37:55) 9:14/mi
Split 5  5.2 mi (51.28) 9:53/mi
Split 6  3.8 mi (40:03) 10:32/mi
Split 7  1.1 mi (9:17) 8:26/mi
Total 26.2 mi (4:06:51) 9.25/mi

Running is my strongest part of the triathlon. Since my best stand-alone marathon time was under 3:10 and I ran well coming into this race, I thought I would have no problem running a 3:40 or 3:45 marathon at IMLP. I was wrong. I din't move as well as I thought I could. Even during the first loop of the run, I wasn't able to hold a 9:00 minute pace. Although I passed many runners, the distance between me and my faster Breakaway Racing teammates kept getting bigger & bigger.

I momentarily fell apart. The potential finish time of 11:30 hours was longer possible. My next goal was to keep my marathon time under 4 hours. That was no longer possible 18 miles into the run. I didn't walk at all but I barely moved at running pace. Numbers kept running in my head, and I decided that my next goal was to finish the race under 12 hours. To achieve this goal with 8 miles left, I needed to keep running under 10 min / mile pace until the end. With this more achievable goal in mind, I started to relax a little.  When it was time to eat my pack of gel, I ate a bag of Peanut M&M's that I stashed away in my pocket. These treats helped me to run up the last hill, passing Lisa G & Subway.

The cheering crowd definitely helped me to keep moving along into the finish area. I heard Mike Reilly announcing "Anh Dang, from Philadelphia. You're an Ironman!" I was chasing after the sub-12 hour finish, so I kept my focus and game face until I crossed the finish line.

I was happy with my overall result, finishing under 12 hours. I had the best open water swim of my life. I didn't overcook my bike portion. My run wasn't as fast as I expected but it was not a bad run.

I came away from the race with pride of what I have accomplished. I had amazing support from my family, friends, colleagues, Breakaway Racing teammates & coaches. I could not have asked for a better experience for my first Ironman.

Before the swim start
IMLP race day

Swim start
Ironman Lake Placid 2013

Ironman Lake Placid 2013

End of 1st loop
Ironman Lake Placid 2013

Ironman Lake Placid 2013

Ironman Lake Placid 2013

Ironman Lake Placid 2013

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