Ironman Lake Placid Race Report – Part 3 – The Run

Read Ironman Lake Placid Race Report – Swim HERE

Read Ironman Lake Placid Race Report – Bike HERE

Run ~ 26.2 miles ~ 5:36:44

I have run 5 marathons, and I totally respect the distance.  I wasn’t sure where this one was going to take me, and I was a little nervous about it to be honest.

I walked out of transition and I wasn’t feeling great.  My legs were tight, I had a little headache, and I probably needed some nutrition.

Not. Feeling. It.

But my friends and family were right there cheering like crazy as I came out of the tent.  They had been there all day waiting for me and cheering me on, I didn’t want them to think I wasn’t having fun so I flashed them a smile, gave a thumbs up, and started running.

The hot afternoon sun beat down on me as I ran down IGA hill, keeping my eye out for those running up the hill, looking for friends who were running up.  The crowds were wild, all calling out your name and cheering as you went by.  I kept smiling, but I wasn’t feeling great at all, I just had no pick-up, and I think I kind of mentally had screwed myself by joking around about walking most of the marathon.

Heading out on First Loop

I kept moving along, smiling at people, encouraging those I passed and that passed me, knowing at some point it would turn around and I would feel good again.   I had to pee and the chafing from my torn shorts was hurting, I was thinking peeing on that would really make it sting.

So I stopped at a porta potty to pee.  I have never done this before, I usually just pee, but the chaffing was pretty deep and sore, and it made sense to me to stop.  I get in, and the door hardly locked.

Whatever.  I drop my shorts, pee, stand up, struggling with the shorts because of the stupid tape I had on them to keep them together when the door flys open and this guy is staring at me, mouth agape.

Yup, he totally got flashed.  “Sorry. Sorry. So Sorry.” I heard him muttering outside the door.  I got my pants pulled up and got out.  “I am so sorry.” He said again, obviously embarrassed.  I put my hand on his shoulder, flashed him a smile, and told him not to worry about it because “I was a stripper in college.”

Coming in from first loop

The whole porta potty incident screwed up my tape patch job.  Either that or my shorts were ripping more.  So wrapped more tape around my leg, hoping the shorts didn’t just disintegrate.

I made the turn onto River Road (officially the longest road I have ever run on) and started walking.  I decided that I would run the downhill and flats and walk uphill for the rest of the race.

I made the mistake of taking some warm chicken broth on the run.  The salty sounded good, but it just wasn’t.  My stomach churned after the second cup, my perfectly executed nutrition plan shot.  Why the heck did I do that?  Ange told me not to try anything new, I should have just taken a salt pill if I wanted salty.   I took water at the next few aid stations, knowing it was way too early for Coke.

The nausea passed eventually, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to throw up or not for a solid 3 miles.

I was running and talking to this girl who was walking as fast as I was running (talk about depressing), so I started walking too.  She was awesome, totally positive and we hit it off right away.  We talked about potato chips, pizza, and beer, about the bike and swim, and about the sweet, sweet finish line.

That first 6 miles really killed my time, I walked a lot more than I should have.  I didn’t really NEED to walk, I just did.

Then I saw Jon.  I was returning to town from the turnaround, he was heading to the turnaround.  He said he would catch up to me.

He did, and he and I walked together and talked about the race.  He was on mile 20, finding that dark place that can hit you in those miles.  I was on mile 6, just coming out of my bad place. We ran together and then walked up the ski jump hill.  He looked great, and I decided to run on ahead, we wished each other luck and just like that, I was back to running and feeling good.

Heading back out for second loop

I got into town and saw Jon’s girlfriend Kelly, and told her he was coming.  She has some video of that, and now that I watch it, I realize I did not sound as cool and mellow as I thought when I hollered to her.  I thought I was all cool and calm, “Yo, Kelly, what’s up chika! Your man Jon is behind me!”  I was more like a screaming banshee, “JON. BEEEEHIIIIIND. MEEE!”  Here it is:

Alexa found me and started cheering, and Joe hollered to me as well.  I told him that I was just finishing my first lap, he shouted back, “Just do a victory lap, and you are done!”

The hardest part of running down Mirror Lake Drive was all the people telling me I was only a mile from the finish.   In reality, I was 14 miles from the finish.

This super fun group of guys were really cheering everyone on, one guy said, “You are almost done 312!” I smiled and said, “I wish!”  He laughed, held up his beer, and said, “OK good, you have another loop.  We wanted to see you again anyway.  We will be here when you get  back! GO GO GO.“

I kept running and saw my crew at some point, hugged them and said, “I feel OK, but it might be a midnight finish.” They laughed and said “No! You are doing great, just keep moving!”

So I did, running pretty much all the way to the River Road.  It is here I got stronger, the chicken broth finally settled I guess.

It is in this place, the back of the pack, that some amazing stories are told.  I don’t mean that there are not great stories everywhere in the field.  I just think that back here, we learn a little more about them during the race, and take a piece of them with us to the finish.

It is this part of the marathon that I love, the place where I thrive and am at my strongest.

There was the guy with 70 on the back of his leg, who grunted loudly in pain with each step, making relentless forward progress.

The other guy whose knee quit working but his heart and drive wouldn’t quit.

The two girls who were best friends, running an walking together, blaming each other for this crazy idea of Ironman.

The man who fell off his bike 2 weeks ago, separating his shoulder, stepping up to the start line anyway.  He told me, “I have no business being here, but damn it, I am going to finish this thing.”

There are the people you encourage, you smile at, joke around with.  There are the people you leave alone as they work through their darkness.

I passed one guy who was walking and I as I passed and said “good job” he just said, “This is the stupidest thing I have ever done. I had no idea it would be this hard.”  I encouraged him and told him telephone pole by telephone pole, he would get there.

Then I moved on, counting my own telephone poles.

I passed this guy who told me as I ran past, “Nice run!  Where did you get that energy?”  I hollered back to him that I only run downhill.  He burst out laughing and said, “Still, you look strong!”

As I neared the end of River Road, I looked up at the ski jumps and smiled.  I was getting close.  4 miles to go.

I saw my friend Jay, heading out toward the turn around.  “Is that my friend Jay?” I called.

“MANDY!”  We hugged, I told him, “You are doing awesome Jay, just keep moving!”

I quickly walked up the steep ski jump hill and started running again.

Darkness had settled in, a volunteer on a 4-wheeler handed me a glow stick.  I hate carrying things, so I stuck it in my visor.  I had started drinking cola at around mile 20, and it was really like crack.

As I got into town, I started getting into people again.  It was awesome.  A man started running with me, he asked if it was OK and I said, “Sure!”  He wasn’t racing, he was a spectator.  He asked how I was feeling and I told him good.  He said, “You look good, keep up this pace.  No more walking, you can do it!”  I mentioned walking up the IGA hill and he said, “OK maybe that one, but just bring it home.”  He touched my shoulder and said, “Do it for Bailey.”

I almost stopped dead in my tracks, but kept running.  I asked, “Do I know you?”  He said, “I just know you, Mandy.  Good luck.”  It was my coaches father, and it was such a sweet thing to say because he does understand how hard it has been for me, losing Bailey.  And in truth, I had thought about Bailey so many times that day, and this was just a really nice moment for me.

And I kept running.

I continued to run into town, and at the bottom of IGA hill, my friends Cindy and Beth were there waiting for me.  They started screaming and ran towards me.

They ran with me up the hill, both hollering and cheering.  They got the whole crowd cheering for me (They were hollering “Caratunk Girl Rocks!”) as they ran with me up the hill, around the corner, and to Mirror Lake Drive.

It. Was. Awesome.   I tear up just writing about this.

They told me they would meet me at the finish.

I ran down Mirror Lake Drive, and the guys who I had talked to on the first loop started hollering.  “There’s my girl!! 312, Mandy! You are looking good!! Keep that smile!”

The crowds and volunteers were all so amazing.  I ran by a little girl who said, “You are my hero!” to all the athletes passing by.  A little boy was jumping up and down saying, “You’re gonna be an Ironman! You’re gonna be an Ironman!”

I am sure the parents were not thrilled with all their energy, but I loved it.  I made the turn around and headed back towards the finish.

Entering the Olympic Oval is like nothing I have ever experienced.  There were people everywhere hollering my name, just saying the most amazing things.

I saw the finish and I was so stoked.  I ran it in and heard Mike Reilly say, “Mandy Farrar you are an Ironman!”  just before I crossed the line.

Bringing it home

I gave a little fist pump when I heard it, but I can’t describe how happy I was at that moment.

I came across and the volunteers were immediately wrapping me in a space blanket, taking off my chip, handing me my medal and shirt.  They said, “Congratulations!! You need anything?  You want some pizza?”

I found Cindy, Beth, and Mom…well they found me and they were so excited for me.  We all were laughing and crying as I told them about me exposing myself multiple times on the course.  I found out then that Ironman.com had crashed and all kinds of friends and family were worried about me, not sure what happened.

I asked Cindy to call John to post on Facebook that I was good, and Kevin tracked me down and posted my finish video on Twitter.  I can’t figure out how to embed that video, but the link is HERE.  That was really awesome, it helped get the word out that all was well – thank you so much Kevin!

I am not sure how to end this exactly.

I am so thankful.  This was my best day ever.  I loved the experience, the volunteers were amazing, this day would not be possible without their help, thoughtfulness, and kindness.

Most of all I want to thank my friends and family who supported me, through training and through the race, with a special thanks to those who came to Lake Placid to cheer me on in person.   That is one thing that makes a huge difference, and I am so appreciative, I can’t describe it.  I am one lucky girl to have such amazing friends, family (including my blog family!), and supporters.

Ironman Lake Placid Race Report – The Bike

Read Ironman Lake Placid Race Report – Swim HERE

112 Mile Bike ~ 7:35:45

1st loop

I rode out of transition and through town, the streets were lined with people hollering.  It is just the coolest, most amazing feeling, I couldn’t quit smiling.

Heading out for the first bike loop

I worked hard on taking it easy through the climb out of town, and I got passed by a ton of people.   My plan was to try to keep it reigned in, and I stuck to it the best I could.

I bombed down the Keene descent (maximum speed 44 mph), across the flats, and down the out and back before the climb to Wilmington.  There were people everywhere cheering us on, playing music, playing bagpipes, walking goats (???), singing and dancing.  It was pretty amazing.

The ride was pretty uneventful, and I made the turn to climb to Wilmington.  I heard this flapping and looked down to see my bib falling off.  I was climbing, going pretty slow, so I unclipped to stop and tried to grab the bib.  Then I tipped over in slow motion.

It was all pretty comical.

Except that I had to get going again on the steepest part of the climb.  First I picked my bib off the ground and somehow the belt had worked its way out of the buckle.  I worked it back through the buckle and tied it off.

I climbed on my bike, clipped one foot in, and kicked, kicked, kicked to get up some speed and then started pedaling with one foot not clipped in.  It took me a while but I finally clipped in and got up the climb.

I was happy to see the bears (set of 3 hills) come, I knew I was almost done with the first loop and I started running into crowds again.  I stopped at special needs and a volunteer had my bag all ready and helped me restock my nutrition.

Have I mentioned how incredible the volunteers are?

2nd loop

I rode through town and the partying crowds, I saw my crew again and waved, smiled, and gave them the thumbs up.  It was fun riding by the Olympic stadium, there were a lot of people and I hollered and pumped my fist as I went by and the crowd all cheered.

One random guy hollered to me “You still have time to make the cutoff!”

Yeah, thanks buddy.

I looked at my watch and saw that it had quit working.  I had hit stop instead of lap when I left transition, so my first loops time wasn’t on there.

Great.  Someday I hope to actually use the multisport mode successfully with my Garmin 310xt.

I had my bike computer though, and I knew I was pretty much on my mark.

I rode for a little while, and around mile 70ish I started feeling rubbing on my right inside thigh.  I didn’t think a lot of it, just that I was going to be chaffed there, ah well.

But it kept getting worse, so I finally looked down to see…my thigh.

The inside seam of my tri shorts had ripped from crotch to leg seam.

Oh crap.  I planned for lots of mechanical issues on the bike, but not for a wardrobe malfunction.  How the heck am I going to run a marathon with my crotch hanging out?

I dropped back into aero and rode, thinking about what to do.  I took the small piece of duct tape I had on my aerobars to cover the Velcro that held my water bottle on, and tried to stick it to my shorts.

It went flying off.   Oops, I hope the Ironman cops didn’t see that.

I saw bike support helping someone and I stopped and asked if they had any tape.  The girl handed me a 1 inch piece of packing tape.

Thanks, my issues are much bigger than your little piece of tape can handle.  I got back on the bike.

I rode through 2 aid stations asking for duct tape, no one had anything.   I kept thinking and thinking about what to do, slowing down a lot because I was no longer focused on the bike, I was focused on my crotch creeping out of my tri shorts.

After the second aid station, some guy rode up to me and asked if I needed tape, he had heard me asking for tape and he had some athletic tape.  YES!  We did a hand-off while riding, I pocketed it, and I took off, deciding to deal with it in transition.

I was pretty excited about the tape and was thinking about how I was going to doctor my shorts as I turned up the climb to Wilmington.

And I dropped my chain.

You have to be kidding me.

A guy behind me did the same thing, the two of us laughed, and I forgot about my little “issue” as I bent over in front of him to fix the chain.    He said, “Um…” and I looked up at him, questioning.   “Sorry, but did you know your shorts are ripped?  It isn’t that bad.  Yet, but um…it might get bad.”

Which I think is a polite way of saying my crotch was almost hanging out.  “Yeah, I know.  Thanks, I am trying to get to transition.  You all set? Have a great day!”

I hopped on my bike really quickly and climbed the hill and tried to get away from him.

The last 9-12 miles back to town were a slog, but I actually was in an awesome group of people who were all passing and re-passing each other and talking, laughing, commiserating, as we were doing it.

There was a lot of talk about throwing our bikes in Mirror Lake and joking about how really we were the smart ones, taking our time on the bike so we could have a cooler run when the sun goes down.

I climbed the bears quickly with the most amazing crowd support the whole way, lots of people saying that I looked like I was having fun.

“No one smiles on the bears!!” someone shouted at me.

“I DO!” I hollered back and everyone hooted and hollered.

I made the turn back to transition and my bike computer read 7:35.  Sweet.

T2 – 5:39

I hopped off my bike and a volunteer took it away from me.

“Good.” I thought, “I don’t want to see that thing again for a while.”

I ran to the changing tent and again was met by a volunteer.  Again water was put in my hand, I was sat down, and all of a sudden my bike shoes were off, my socks and running shoes were out.

I looked at her and just said, “My shorts are ripped and I am afraid of my crotch coming out on the run.  You think this will keep it in check?”  I held up the roll of athletic tape.  She burst out laughing and said, “Well, let’s get your shoes on first.”

We did a quick tape job, and she said that it wasn’t “that” bad.  So I grabbed my visor and walked quickly out of the tent to start my run.

Ironman Lake Placid – Part 1 – The Swim

My race at Ironman Lake Placid was amazing.

Best. Day. Ever.

I have to post this in 3 parts because it would be way too long otherwise.

I want to say from the start that I couldn’t have done it without the tremendous support of my friends and family – but I want to espeshally thank Mom, Adam, Shelby, Beth, Cindy, and Mike (IMLP 2012 entrant!)  for coming to the race to cheer me on in person.  Without you guys, this wouldn’t have been possible.   Or at least it would have been a heck of a lot harder.  Thank you so much.

My Awesome Cheering Crew!

Race Morning

I got up and ate at 3:30am.  I have such a hard time eating that early!  I had a banana, and Ensure, and a waffle then laid back down until 4:30am.

I got up and mixed up what I needed for nutrition on the bike and checked all of my bags to make sure I had everything.  I left my carefully prepared nutrition on the counter and headed out the door.

I know, what a dope!

Transition on race morning

Getting down to the transition area for body marking was crazy, there was already a huge crowd gathered.  I found someone to mark me and wandered into transition to put my nutrition on my bike.

I filled up my water bottle and started digging in my bag for my nutrition… I know I have it here somewhere…What did I…

Crap.  What a bonehead.

I ran out of transition (not an easy thing to do on IM morning – talk about crowds!) and just happened to find my friends Adam, Shelby, Cindy, and Beth.  I took my nutrition out of my bike special needs bag (turned into my I need now bag) and asked them to get the stuff I left in the room into the same bag and then run the bag down Mirror Lake Drive to special needs for me.

Uh..guys...I forgot my stuff

That was so clutch, thank you guys!

At some point it was officially announced that the swim was wetsuit optional.  If you were gunning for a Kona slot or for Age Group Awards, then the swim was not wetsuit legal.  This was no real surprise, but it was also a non-issue for me because I was certainly in no danger of qualifying for Kona or for getting an age group award.

The benefits of being a back of mid-packer just keep piling up.

Darn tootin I am wearing a wetsuit!

There was this palpable nervous buzz in the air as I walked toward Mirror Lake.  It was such an amazing feeling, walking through the tunnels of spectators, everyone wishing you good luck, chatting with the other athletes, and just sort of taking it all in.

I ran into Joe who was volunteering.  Once down on the beach I ran into first Jason then Derek.  We wished each other good luck and went our separate ways.  I went through the timing mat, entered the water, and made my way to the far right shore.

I stood in the knee-deep water and watched the 2700 people pile in.  About 500 people seemed to have my plan, to start far right and angle toward the buoys (which were on your left), about 500 more were in the center on shore, and the others all seemed to be scattered in the middle, trying to find a place on the famous buoy line.

No freaking way was I getting in the mosh pit in the middle.  Screw the buoy line, I know how to site.

As I stared out at the mountains at the edge of the lake listening to the National Anthem, my nervousness completely melted away and this amazing calmness came over me.

I knew I was ready.

Swim~ 2.4 miles ~ 1:35:36

I didn’t hear the crowds or anything, I was focused on the valley between the mountains that lined up with the first turn buoy out in the distance.  That was what I was sighting on.

After the anthem the gun went off, and I walked into the water, did a few breast strokes and then just started swimming.  I was under the flags that hang at the start line in less than 10 seconds from the start.

No mosh pit.  Lots of swimmers, swimming straight.  I caught a pair of feet within 5 minutes and held onto them to the first turn buoy.  I got some light contact from the sides and behind there, but it wasn’t at all aggressive, just some bumps.  I started touching the feet I was following, so I tarzaned around him and suddenly I was at the second buoy.

There were more people this time, a kind of pile-up of sorts, but I was sighting and saw it, so I easily weaved around it.  I realized that I was much closer to the buoy line than I had planned, but was kind of stuck where I was.

Then I saw it.

THE.

FREAKING.

BUOY LINE.

Yeah, that thing!

I smiled! I laughed even.  I couldn’t freaking believe it.

I swam the line for the rest of the second loop, giving up sighting except to get around or away from people who I didn’t want to be near, but mostly I just put my head down and swam like I was at the pool.

It was awesome.

I came out from the first loop and walked into the water waving at the crowd then dolphin dived a few times and got right back on the line.

Unfreaking believable.  2700 people and I am on the line with minimal contact?  I mean, I realize I am not fast, but at the same time, I was baffled by this.

As I approached the turn buoy I really started sighting more, and I started to get pushed around a little there.  I just sighted and swam aggressively around people, not wanting to expend unneeded energy, but wanting to get away from the mosh pit.

After I passed some dude in a too tight pink speedo (yes I said dude and pink speedo in the same sentence) I got right back on the line and stayed there until I started seeing the bottom of the lake.

Which meant the swim was done.

Holy crap. The thing I was scared of the most was over, and it was so spectacular.

I came out of the water smiling.  The sun was shining and I finished my Ironman Swim comfortably.

I took off my swim cap and unzipped my suit as I ran through the strippers, looking for the biggest guy I could find.  I picked out a big dude with popeye arms.  I jumped on the ground, put my feet in the air and said “strip me baby!” He said, “My pleasure!” and ripped my suit off and wished me good luck as he handed to me.

I thanked him and ran the 800 yards to the amazing cheering crowd to transition, waving to my friends and family on the way by.

T1~ 8:26

The volunteers are so awesome. I will probably say this about 100 more times because really, they just are amazing.

As I got to transition the volunteers pointed me towards my bike bags and the women’s changing tent.  The second I entered the tent a volunteer took my bag and sat me down, handing me some water.

I drank it, and my bike shoes seemingly magically appeared on my feet.   I tightened them up and she handed me my helmet and the few other things in my bag.  I thanked her profusely as I clipped on my race belt and ran out to find my bike…and it was handed to me by another volunteer as I approached the rack.

I freaking love you guys.

Feeling very much the rockstar, I ran out of transition and mounted my bike.