I don’t know about you, but it felt like last week just flew by!! And, it definitely didn’t hurt that I took off Thursday and Friday so that I could head up to Lake Placid for a weekend of training with the T2 Team!
My workouts Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday all went really well, with my run on Wednesday finally being semi-enjoyable. I’m not sure why, but for the past 3 weeks, running has felt like a complete chore. Biking has been fun due to my new ride and new milestones reached, and my swim workouts during this round of training has been an absolute blast! Essentially, my attitude toward each individual of the three sports has reversed from last year’s experience – it’s interesting to think how things can change, shift, and evolve through each experience with the individual sports!
It has been truly frustrating that running, which has brought me so much joy over the past 5 years, suddenly has felt so awful for the past month. Having a decent run last week felt especially good!
Thursday was a day of travel, running a few last minute errands to prep for Placid, and cooking more recipes from my new cookbook for the weekend! I made rice cakes, oatmeal wraps and peanut butter protein balls. I swear, having real food to grab for snacks and food on the bike helps SO much – to avoid the gut rot that can come with eating gels, chews, and other “food” for hours on end during training and endurance events. Needless to say, a few of my teammates ended up being pretty jealous of my food about half way through our long training day on Saturday!
On Friday, I was up bright and early to make the trek from Saratoga to Lake Placid. We were all meeting up at Mirror Lake for a swim at 9:30. On the drive up to LP, there were blue skies and sun – about 10 miles out, the cloud cover rolled over and it started to rain. You’ve just got to love the high peaks region – the weather can change in an instant! The overcast skies made it all the worse to get in the water, after putting on our wetsuits, we had to jump in and I swear the temperature stole your breath for a few seconds – which was not a welcome experience for me since I was already nervous about my first open water swim of the season.
I had never had any major issues with open water swims until last year, then suddenly during the Oswego Triathlon (a week before the Syracuse 70.3) I experienced my first panic attack in the water. It was a mixture of swimming with the masses, dealing with sizable waves, and feeling like the neck of my wetsuit was choking me. I spent the entire following week trying to tell myself the swim the following weekend at 70.3 would be fine, and even went for 3 open water swims to try and settle myself down, but again had panic attacks during the race. Needless to say, after the 70.3, I was ready for a break from triathlon and swimming and didn’t go near the water again last year. Fast forward to this year, and I’ve really enjoyed the pool swimming but have been dreading gearing up to go back into open water swimming and the washing machine of race day swims.
Friday’s swim in mirror lake with a group of about 15 athletes was a good first experience for open water. I did experience my panic attacks again, but was able to get through the swim. It also didn’t hurt that the buoys/course markers in Mirror Lake are all laid out with a yellow rope under the water which makes staying on course pretty easy! I just had to deal with swimming in a group. I stayed near the back, but that backfired on me since I kept catching up to the group, despite feeling like my wetsuit was choking me and I couldn’t really breathe like I was used to. So on the turn, I went toward the front of the group, but then kept having the same issue with my wetsuit. My takeaway, I need to find a wetsuit with a lower neckline. I’m not letting this thing hold me back for race day.
After the swim, we headed to the coaches house to grab a quick bite to eat and get ready to head out for a shorter ride. We all headed out to bike the back portion of the LP IM bike course which climbs from Wilmington back into LP. It was a lot of fun heading out there since the road was all down hill (despite the fact that the black flies felt like rain hitting your face…), the less fun part was turning around and heading back into Placid (where we then had to be careful not to have your mouth open for fear of unintentionally eating aforementioned black flies). The road along the cascades is beautiful, and almost distracts you from the fact that you are climbing about 800 feet in elevation over 10 miles. However, all in all, I was surprised that the climb really didn’t seem that bad. Some of the climbs in the Syracuse 70.3 course are definitely more intense!
The rest of Friday was fairly uneventful/low-key, checked into the hotel, cleaned up, went to dinner at the coaches house where they surprised myself and M with a birthday cake! (Her birthday was on Thursday, mine on Sunday – yes, I appropriately rang in the next decade of my life swimming, biking and running my heart out this weekend). We then had some race-day strategy sessions and a few of us caught a beverage at the LP Pub and Brewery before crashing for the evening. We had to rest up for Saturday – it was the major training day of the weekend!
Saturday brought about a 7 am departure on the bike course. Those of us doing the Syracuse 70.3 were set to complete 1 loop of the course, and those training for a full Ironman were headed out for 2 loops. We were all warned multiple times to take the first part of the course VERY easy since we would be heading out from LP to Keene which involves following Route 73 where you drop over 1200 feet in about 7 miles, oh and the road is in desperate need of repaving/repair. Seriously, your entire bike wheel could fit in some of the potholes, there is little to no shoulder and going over your handlebars would not be out of the question. Several people in our group lost water bottles as they rattled out of their holders, and a number of people said their hands hurt from gripping the handlebars so tight as we decended. It really is time for a little road repair, I had been warned several times prior to my LP trip that the roads were bad up there – and people were not kidding!! In fact, the warnings were almost understated!
After the trip to Keene, we headed up to Jay. Through some rolling hills, the roads improved, and then we followed the road along Ausable River which was gorgeous! We hit the turn around in Ausable Forks, headed back toward Upper Jay, climbed to Wilmington and then headed up the climbs to bring us back to LP. I will admit, the climbs from Wilmington to LP felt much more intense after biking the course than they did the day before! By the time I reached LP, I was definitely happy that I did not have to head out for a second loop! Especially since the sun was shining down, the temps were in the 80s, and the crew that had to continue on would definitely be baking in the afternoon heat! (However, I also realized that next year, there is a 95% likelihood that I will in fact be in the group heading out for loop #2…).
After we finished up the bike, one of my teammates, K and I headed out for a 6 mile run to complete our Brick workout. Originally I was going to hit up the Northwoods Loop, but not knowing the hill profile, and felling a bit tired due to messing up my nutrition on the bike, I stuck with Kristin and opted for 2 loops around Mirror Lake. Loop 1 went fairly well, but loop 2 was more of a just-survive-this-loop-and-you’ll-be-done-with-this-workout type of run. By the start of loop 2, all I could talk and think about was jumping in the lake upon finish of the run. I just wanted to go stand in the cold weather and cool off!!! So we muscled through and did just that! I swear, there is nothing better than wading in cold water after a hot run!! (Makes me wish I lived on a lake!)
After cooling off, it was back to the hotel to shower, and we headed to grab sandwiches in town. There is an amazing sandwich shop that serves 46 different sandwiches – one named after each of the 46 high peaks (plus crepes, breakfast sandwiches, salads, etc.). The sandwiches are AMAZING. If you’re ever in LP, you have to head to Main Street and go to Big Mountain Deli.
Post lunch, it was food coma time – I’m pretty sure we all crashed. Around 4 pm, it was back to the lake for another open water swim. One of the coaches gave me some more mental tips to help me through the swim and I had a much stronger swim (although only a few of us were out there, so no crowds to deal with on this one…). I finished the 1.2 mile swim in 32 minutes despite a few leg cramps. 32 minutes! (Last year it took me 42-45 minutes to cover 1.2 miles, 10 minutes off your time is HUGE for triathlon.) After swimming, we cleaned up again, hit up happy hour at the hotel and I was able to meet up with my friends R and P for a birthday beverage. Then it was off to the coaches house to grab our race packets for the LP Half Marathon the following day!
After grabbing our T2 Shirts and Race Packets, we headed back to the pub for dinner and more beverages. Beer = carb-loading right?! (Unfortunately, due to my poor hydration/nutrition it also led to my own paranoia all night about trying to catch up on electrolytes, and my failure to actually get things corrected… but live and learn…?). After a great dinner with about 10 of the group of T2-ers we all headed back to crash for the race the next day. Errr. I mean “catered long run” as the coaches were telling us to think of it.
The next morning, we were told to meet up around 7:15 at the olympic oval. We all stood around and chatted, made a few trips back and forth for last minute items – which in my case included a run to my car 10 minutes before the start to change sneakers since my shoelace conveniently decided to break right before the start… and we were off at 8am! K and I ended up falling in line with each other after the run up the hill on main street, and paced each other for the entire race. Our first three (flat) miles were at 8:15 (too fast considering we were running 13 miles, and had trained so hard the prior day), after this point, K and I finally were able to slow down and settle into a more reasonable pace of 8:45 for the next six miles. At mile eight, K knew she was closing in on a serious PR – not having run 13 miles sun-two hours before. At mile nine, I started to run into trouble – feeling light headed and all that fun stuff. We slowed back to a 9 minute pace, grabbed some food and then prepped for the hills back into LP and the finish line. Three miles and 300 feet of hills later, K and I were entering the olympic speed skating oval to finish the race! We crossed the line in 1 hour 54 minutes for an 8:42 pace, running the entire course together – it’s awesome when you find a training buddy that you can perfectly match pace with! …especially when they help keep you going for the final few miles when you’re feeling pretty tired – thanks K!!!!! I definitely owe you!
It’s going to be fun to see how we line up at the 70.3 – K will enter the water 5 minutes before me on race day, but we bike and run approximately the same pace. If all goes well with my swim, there is a decent chance we may exit the water around the same time and eventually fall in with each other for the remainder of the race!
After crossing the finish line, I saw R and P for a few minutes (they left quickly due to black flies), then headed to meet up with the T2 crew, cheer on our remaining teammates and finish out the weekend. After our goodbyes and good wishes for the next two weeks of training, I was packing up, cleaning up, and heading out of town. It wasn’t until I got back to Saratoga and researching my prior 13.1 time that I realized that I actually PR’ed the race too! ….yes, I am now one of those people who does something crazy like not taper for a race, have an intense training day, not eat or hydrate properly, and yet still PR a race. – Makes me want to actually taper, rest, eat and hydrate properly then run a half marathon to truly find out what my PR pace would be!
All in all, it was a great weekend in LP! I met a ton of great people, swam, biked, and ran my heart out, enjoyed some delicious food, and all-in-all had an awesome time. I decided that even if I wasn’t training for a specific event, I would love to head up to LP with T2 just to enjoy the weekend in the ADK!
Now, I have two weeks to fix the few issues that I did find over the weekend – (1) my wetsuit, (2) my bike seat – swapping back out to my road bike seat, I just won’t have the new seat broken in before the race!, (3) staying on top of electrolytes/food intake during the race.
By adjusting these few things, staying on-top of the food/hydration/electrolytes, and with cooperation of the weather on race day, the Syracuse 70.3 could be an amazing race for me. I feel like all the pieces are falling into place just in time for June 22nd!
- Monday – 1 Hour Recovery Ride – Yes, after biking 100 the day before…
- Tuesday – 2300 yard swim – Time Trial Pace
- Wednesday – 1 Hour Criss Cross Run – aka Speed Intervals
- Thursday – Rest/Travel/Vacation Day
- Friday – Lake Placid Training Day 1: 1.3 Mile Swim, 26 Mile Bike
- Saturday – Lake Placid Training Day 2: 56 Mile Bike, 6 Mile Run, 1.2 Mile Swim
- Sunday – Lake Placid Training Day 3: Lake Placid Half Marathon
- Swim – 1 hour, 50 minutes – 6664 yards/3.78 Miles
- Bike – 2 hours – 42 Miles
- Run – 2 hours, 56 minutes – 20 miles
- Brick – 4 hours, 15 minutes – 56 mile Bike/6 mile Run
- Total Time – 11 hours, 43 minutes
Weekly Photo Recap//
Wednesday’s Track Workout – Happy National Running Day!
Notes for my criss-cross run. (By the end of the day, I don’t like having to memorize things… or maybe all the working out is turning my brain to mush… 🙂 )
Outfitting the bike so I don’t die in LP. (aka water bottle system and spare tire kit…)
My food adventures continue. Good news, I can eat oatmeal – and when prepared burrito style with blueberries and yogurt, it’s amazing.)
Happy Birthday to ME!
Mirror Lake – Day 1. Was not excited about cold water on an overcast day…
Lake Placid Pub & Brewery Deck… and our hotel.
If you ever find yourself in Lake Placid, hit up the Big Mountain Deli & Creperie (aka 46 Sandwiches) – you can thank me later.
(Also, don’t judge by my poor photographing skills of my sandwich below, I was too hungry to do this any justice.)
Sunday we ran the Lake Placid Half Marathon – per the coaches “this is a catered run, not a race” – due to the fact we were all running on tired legs… they gave us our packets the night before and told us to take it easy.
A shot from the LP Half – generally, I’m not a fan of race photos, but knowing what was going on in this one, I love it!
race catered run, it was discovered that our group had 4 people PR the race… (including me!)
An appropriate quote for my weekend and my training thus far for the season. Couldn’t be happier with how things are panning out. Two weeks until race day, let’s hope for the best!
The cutest birthday wish I received by far on Sunday. Too cute not to share!
I hope you all had a fantastic week and weekend!
P.S. – I hope you all saw my post about the Ragnar Fun Run! I’d love to run with anyone that is in the Syracuse area on Thursday! We’re going to have 3, 4 and 5 mile run options AND I’ll be handing out some sweet Ragnar and Nuun swag!