I dropped off my morning clothes bag, my special needs bag, and made my way to the swim start with my wetsuit and goggles in hand. I worked my way through the massive crowds, saw my parents and got good luck hugs before heading to the water where the music was blaring. I put on my wetsuit looked out over the water wondering what this day would bring me. The day was going to be beautiful a high in the low 80's, little humidity, and mostly sunny. With about twenty minutes left till the start, I put my cap and goggles on and made my way into the cool water. I eventually worked my way over to the front line of the swim start about 15yards off the dock. I looked behind me at the mass of bright green and pink caps and took a deep breath. I saw the sun glistening off the water and off the reflection of the triathletes goggles next to me. It is upon me, this is what all the training was for be smart, race hard and have fun, I thought to myself. "Its a Beautiful Day" by U2 came on, I took a deep breath, the cannon went off, and the long day starts.
The first loop of the swim went really well. I found clean water right from the start and made my way towards the buoys. I felt the surge of 2500 people swimming all at once come from behind me so I rode it for as long as it lasted. I kept a great line not veering too far to either side. I felt strong the entire first loop until we had about 200 meters to go I got clocked in the face by another swimmer and it knocked my left goggle loose and I could barely see. Luckily I could make out the red archway that we had to run through to start the second loop. I made my way to the shore, adjusted my goggles, and was off to the second loop. The second loop was so different, I got boxed in from three sides - left, right, and in front. It felt like a pack of twenty people but it was probably only like four or five. I decided to just stay the course and just deal with it. I felt like I was getting beat up pretty good, I just kept telling myself to relax and just stay strong. I stayed right with this small pack and headed to the bike.
I headed into T1 and directly to the changing tent after grabbing my bike bag. A volunteer helped me unload my bag, got me ready to go and I was off. I made my way to my bike where another volunteer had my bike ready to go, I grabbed it and headed to the course. I cruised out of town and up the first big hill. I kept telling myself for the whole bike section - take it easy you still have a marathon. I set my timer for eight minutes as a reminder to keep drinking and stay hydrated. My nutrition plan was to eat every half hour rotating back and forth between Gels and solid food: Fig Newtons, Honey Stinger Waffles and Protein Bars. Then, depending on how much I was sweating and how much water I was drinking, my plan was to take salt tablets as needed. On the backside of the first loop at about mile 45 of the bike I came up on my second road block of the race. I dropped my chain. OH NO I thought. I kept my composure tried to shift it back on but that didn't work, so I hopped off quick fumbled with it for a second then got back on. My fingers now covered in gear oil, and I'm off. I decided to just keep the same pace I was going instead of trying to catch back up to where I was. I didn't want to burn excess fuel and energy busting my hump to catch back up. I figured I will slowly reel them back in. My favorite part of the race occurred with about 2 miles to go on each of the laps when I came up on "Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and Baby Bear." This is the last major climb of the bike course loops. The amount of crowd support was amazing. The crowd was about 5 people deep on both sides and they are screaming at you. Exhilarating!!! Busted through that hill on the first loop and made my way into town were I passed my screaming parents and a mass of other screaming spectators. At the start of the second loop I passed my family who were screaming my name and my fellow Fine Line Racing Team Members who were rooting me on. I had so much support from so many people for this race it was great. The second lap was pretty uneventful. I just stuck to the same plan and tried to keep the same pace. As I was checking my splits on this loop I was starting to think that maybe I could finish around 10 hours and about 10 minutes or so. Wasn't sure though because I had never done a marathon before, so I wasn't getting caught up in the numbers, it was basically just a passing thought. I made my way into Transition 2 and passed my bike off to a volunteer then grabbed my run bag and headed straight to the changing tent. I quickly switched out of my bike gear and swiftly into my run gear and I was off to the marathon.
I quickly got into a groove but tried to just stay loose. I was trying to keep an upbeat tone by joking with fellow racers, giving high fives to youngsters cheering me on, and talking with people BBQing while watching the race. I think this helped block out any negative thoughts throughout the first 13 miles. I had a solid first loop and was anticipating a tough struggle through the second loop. I was waiting for the mental demons to enter my head but they never showed up to the race, maybe they were dealing with too many other athletes on the course that they forgot about me. Trust me, I'm not complaining. I was feeling good except for the fact that I was getting so hungry, to the point where I was getting nauseous. Every time I felt nauseous I ate a gummy shot which helped delay the hunger feeling. At every aid station I would drink as much as I could get my hands on (water, flat coke, and perform energy drink), I would pour ice in my suit and take sponges and squeeze them over my head. About 4 miles into the second loop I started to get myself in a very focused and determined state of mind. I tuned everything out except for the racers I knew I was close to and the inner feelings my body was dealing with. I had such tunnel vision, that the other racers were just bodies on the course and cheering crowds were mute noise. I stayed so focused to save every ounce of energy possible and allow my body to tell me exactly what it needed when. It was quite an experience, one like I have never had before. I locked into gear and just tried to keep pace. This was my first marathon and wasn't sure how my body and mind would hold up during the duration of the race. It definitely did not let me down. I tried to utilize every inch of the run course, hugging every turn possible and embracing every inch of shade. I felt confident, strong, and relaxed for about 99% of the race. I was passed by two people from my age group but figured I was comfortable so I was just going to stay the course, and hopefully they will come back to me later on. They never did but I was glad I stuck to my game plan. I headed off of the rolling hills on River Rd and headed up to town with the steepest part of the course ahead of me. I knew they were going to be tough so I blocked out the pain and grinded them out. I came up on the last set of hills coming into town and started to feel a twinge in my left hamstring. I shortened up my stride knowing that there was just about a mile and a half to go with one more aid station and I only had one more salt tablet. I made it up to the top of the hill and decided to stop to stretch it out. I knew at this point I was going to come in under 10 hours and I needed to take care of my hamstring before I was hopping to the finish line. I stopped briefly stretched it out and took my last salt tablet at the last aid station. This move seemed to work because the knot seemed to work its way out and I picked up my pace again as I entered the skating oval. I was overwhelmed with crowd support, and the fact that I was about to finish my first Ironman. I came down the final straight away waving my arms in the air to get the crowd going and crossed the line in 9:55 and some change. I felt great, I got my shirt and hat, then quickly located my family. My three kids came running over to me smiling from ear to ear and gave me huge hugs. Then shortly behind my wife came over with tears in her eyes and gave me a big hug. I told her I think we did it, I think we should have a shot to go to Kona. Then my parents came over and congratulated me with hugs and kisses and I started to recap the race.
This race was an amazing experience with so much support and energy. I exceeded all my expectations and learned a lot about myself during this race. I want to thank my family for supporting me through all my training while I try to attain my goals along with all the sacrifices and life changing decisions we have made to chase a DREAM. I want to thank my parents for all of their support and sacrifices they have made to help me reach my goals. I want to thank Todd Wiley my coach of TWiley Sports for preparing me mentally and physically for this race. Todd had me zeroed in and had me in a great place for this race. My Fine Line Racing Team played an integral part in my success in preparing me mentally for this course and thanks to the Lovett Family for housing all of us for this race. I want to thank my sponsors for supporting me this season: Walabax Construction Services, Popeye21, Bridgeton Group, Gatorade, Honey Stinger, Champ Systems, and PXT Triathlon. I want to thank all my training partners, family and friends for their support. Finally thank you to all the Lake Placid volunteers, this race would not be possible without the 4,000 plus volunteers.
Oh Yeah I got an Ironman World Championship spot in Kona, Hawaii on October 13th.
I am officially an:
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