Ironman Lake Placid 2014
When we left Tucson it was 109 degrees and upon arrival in New York we were shocked by the freezing cold!! Well it really was only in the 70’s but it sure felt cold to me! I knew going into this race that I was not going to be in my comfort zone (hot weather and a flat course) but I want to be good in all conditions and on any terrain and this course seemed like a leap in that direction. After driving the bike and run course I knew my poor legs were in for some punishment.
Going into this race I knew there was a chance it would rain, and the weather on race morning didn’t disappoint! At the start of the swim it was in the low 60’s and some pretty serious thunder storms were rolling in.
I knew the fast swimmers would try and get away early and I was going to get on their feet and stay there at all cost(that’s what I told myself). Reality was not so kind! The cannon went off and and the all out sprint was on. I was at the back of the front back until about 200 meters where a gap began to open up (like usual). This time I told myself I would close it down at all cost! It turns out the cost was going extremely anaerobic which led to the worst swim implosion of my pro career. I watched the leaders swim away while I couldn’t seem to catch my breath. The feeling didn’t go away until the 2nd lap(2 loop swim). I finally started to feel better and the new challenge was dealing with the negative thoughts that where generated by the lack of oxygen debacle I had just dealt with. I focused on my mantra “smooth, fast, efficient, fun” and pushed to get to the bike!
Coming out of the water I was told I was 7 minutes down from first place. I thought, Man I really did blow up. By the time I got on the bike the rain was coming down hard. I had decided if I came out of the water alone I would control my pacing for the first loop(2 loop bike) and try to push the second half. The rain was torrential and the wind and lightning had me riding scared. There were two out and back sections each loop so I could gauge were I was in relation to the guys ahead of me(7th after the swim). I felt strong and I was moving up. 6th, 5th, 4th, and nearing the end of the second loop the storms moved on and I moved into 3rd. For the first time in an Ironman I was coming off the bike feeling only sort of smashed(strange new territory).
Beautiful views everywhere you look! This picture was taken on another day! Nice and sunny!
Starting the run I was 14 minutes back from the leader and 10 from second place. I was feeling good right out of transition, just some tightness in my quads but you don’t run with your quads, right? Well, it turns out on this run course there are two steep long hills(two loop run). Early in the run I decided I would let it all hang out and it just so happened that the down hill section started in town where the cheers from the throngs of supportive spectators created a large release of adrenalin. I was running down hill really fast, would this come back to haunt me later in the run? I was feeling good and making up time on second place and the sun even decided to come out for a while. I laughed when I heard someone complaining about how hot it was(since at this point my toes were still numb). Around mile 20 the good feelings went away as my quads began to protest, arguing that now would be a good time to stop and sit down. Unfortunately for them stopping wasn’t an option, so at this point “SHUT UP LEGS” became my new mantra. At least I can just shuffle in the last six miles, right? Not on this course, I still had a long steep 2 mile hill back up to the finish. It took everything I had not to walk up that those last hills but ironically it was the adrenaline from the cheering crowds that made the last few miles of running possible!
Though the course and the conditions were very tough Lake Placid’s beauty and the amazing volunteers and spectators made this a very special race for me. A big congratulations is in order for Kyle Buckingham(1st overall) and Balazs Csoke(2nd overall) who both raced well all day and in the end were stronger than me.
A BIG thanks to my coach Paul Thomas who has helped me make some huge gains so far this year(the best is still yet to come). I also would like to thank Troy and Linda(our homestay) for making us feel like we never left home, you guy’s are the best!! Now it’s time to recover as my sights are set firmly on the top step of the podium at Ironman Chattanooga in a little under 8 weeks. Thanks for reading and if you haven’t followed me on twitter please do, it will help in the never ending pursuit of potential sponsorships https://twitter.com/JonShearon.