Heather’s Ironman Lake Placid Race Report

So, I wanted to write a cool, funny, super-enjoyable-to-read race report, filled with funny stories, but, well… a boring and/or lame one will just have to do! For a pretty important event in my life, it was rather uneventful.

Ironman Lake Placid – race day – was a bit of a blur for me.  Some of my goals going into the race were to stop comparing, doubting, evaluating myself, and to avoid thinking negatively, or thinking about outcomes. A few days before the race I was in a bit of a funk – got to love the pre-race blahs – but I knew that if I could just go out there and focus fully on doing my job,  everything else would take care of itself. I have heard great tales of how when you are totally engaged in the process of doing, you become what you are doing, and in those moments nothing else in the word exists for you. It was pretty cool to have that happen. It was definitely the most “in the zone” I have ever been.

Several friendly spectators talked to me after the race and said things like “I was cheering for you, but I don’t think you heard, you were so focused”. It’s odd. I am definitely peripherally aware of people yelling my name and cheering (love it! thank-you!), for example:  When I went by this one guy each loop he kept saying “I talked to Paulo and you need to HTFU” (to which I responded, in my mind, – “No. Paulo would actually tell me to relax my arms right now”)… but these moments of detail are sort of overridden by a sense of flow. I honestly had no idea what my overall run time was at the end, just that the rhythm I was maintaining was solid. There were large patches of no mindedness.

I just sort of did my thing.  Even now, I have this funny feeling of “wow, so all that happened. Just a couple days ago I won my 4th Ironman and set a new course record. Me. I did that. Huh. Fancy that.”

So, some race details:

It was a non-wetsuit swim, 77oF, which was great, because the water felt really warm. With some super strong swimmers out front I missed the break of the lead group, bridged to a couple others, but was determined to not just pull my usual move of getting to the front of the second/third group and pulling people around. I just chilled on some feet for most of the first loop, but a quick look at my watch on the run-out to start the second loop had me a bit shocked at the time so I moved to the front to try to push the pace a bit. There was a fair bit of age-grouper dodging to be had on the way in so I was happy to pick my own line, and got out of the water in the lead of the women’s race, but with Jackie and Tine right on my heels.

For the first time ever, I wasn’t super dizzy in T1 and other than running past where my bag was on the rack, and dropping a liquid shot flask that I had to stop and grab on my way to my bike, I had a nice smooth bike mount. I thought “hydrate”, and then “race your own race”, and I just rode.

On the ~6 mile out and back section near Jay, I noted where here the other girls were, but so unemotionally that I surprised myself. I looked at my watts, I raced my own race. When Tine went past me on the climb into town on the first loop it was the same. I stayed with her, not because it was like “oh my goodness I can’t let her open up a gap” but because it was within my plan (i.e. I think that her effort to get by me was probably a bit too much and I just kept holding steady).  I didn’t know that the line for the bike prime was right near town or maybe I would have made an effort to re-pass sooner! Bummer. Onto the second loop I still felt strong and was happy to see that the gap was growing. I made some adjustments to my position with the guys from Blue Competition Cycles in the A2 wind tunnel after St. George and I was super comfortable all day and more aerodynamic – bonus!! Zero watts drag from my new TorHans aero bottle out front too.

Onto the run I felt awesome. My stomach was a little unhappy b/c I missed my bike special needs bag and had to rely on on-course drinks instead of EFS, but the legs were GOOD. At the far turnaround I realised that it was pretty much downhill the whole way out so that may have been part of it! Still, I just thought about ticking it over, staying cool… got lots of water at each aid station, sipped on liquid shot, and just ran. It is amazing how daunting an Ironman marathon can seem in training but on race day it just happens. There was a nasty steep grade going into town, and the course continued uphill for quite awhile from there, but the massive crowds yelling UP! UP! UP! and Heather! Heather! sure helped. There were so many people out on Main street cheering over the last miles that it was actually bit quiet in the finishing shoot.

Interviews, drug testing, chatting with folks in the food tent, collecting my race bags, riding home. bam. all done.


The Lake Placid area was beautiful and it awesome to have family there cheering. My brother Jeff was a big hit as one of the few people in the world that make me look short, and it was so much fun to have him, Kathleen and their kids Abbey, Sadie, and Isaac both at the race and  the awards banquet.  The kids even seemed to find it entertaining, thank goodness!

I was also lucky to be able to attend the volunteer awards banquet on Monday evening to say thanks, in person, to the many awesome people that really make it possible for all of us to do our thing on race day. It was a pretty fun time – Elvis sang the national anthem, for instance – and it was really nice to hear the reasons people had for getting out there and giving their time. Giving back. Gratification. Inspiration. Fun.

Thanks so much to all my sponsors: AVIA. Blue Competition Cycles, Rolf Prima Wheels, Aqua Sphere, First Endurance Nutrition, CycleOps Power, UltrAspire, TorHans and my countless supporters, friends, family (you know who you are!) for helping me reach my goals. Could not do this without you.

I am very much enjoying some chill time in Ottawa, and being Auntie Heather is super fun. I do however, miss Trevor so much I ache inside (and yes, the RV and our cat Manah too!).  Maybe that’s why the race is a blur. He tethers me to the world. I will miss his Calgary 70.3 race this weekend, but we will be reunited in the Okanagan next week. Yipee!! He’s in his last big training block to Ironman Canada. Watch out people!


~ by trevorandheather on July 27, 2011.

4 Responses to “Heather’s Ironman Lake Placid Race Report”

  1. Nothing “boring” or “lame” about that post!
    Would like to see even more!

  2. congrats, what a stellar day! I agree sometimes when I see ya in a race your very focused, even when I say something silly, your like a Royal Guard keeping it focused! great work, keep up the impressive season!

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