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Race Result

Racer: Brady DeHoust
Race: Ironman USA
Date: Sunday, July 27, 2003
Location: Lake Placid, NY
Race Type: Triathlon - Ironman
Age Group: Male 25 - 29
Time: 11:39:20

Race Report:

RR – Lake Placid Ironman

The short of it
I finished, and it was certainly in question at some points of the marathon (if you want to know why, read the long of it. The numbers go like this: swim 1:15:33; bike 5:50; run 4:23; final time 11:39:20.

The long of it
Deidre and I left at 5:30am Thursday morning to make the nine hour drive to Lake Placid, NY, located in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains. To make the drive as quick and efficient as possible, we packed all our food and only made the stops that were absolutely necessary (gas and bathroom). We arrived in the Lake Placid Village at 2:30, which was already packed and crowded with very fit people and expensive bikes. Everyone I saw looked like they were going to post a 9:30 on Sunday. We rented a house right in the Village with Mike Guzek and his girlfriend Melanie, Marc Nester, and Howard Curtis.

Friday morning the four of us hit Mirror Lake for the scheduled pre-race swim. The water temperature was perfect, right about 68 degrees. Mirror Lake is definitely the cleanest and clearest water I’ve ever swum in for an open water swim. Later that day, we drove the 56-mile bike course, and had Guzek commentate, as he was the only one of the four of us who had done the course before. It was clear, that patience was key during the first loop -- don’t hammer, ‘cause you’ll pay the price later. After getting out of the Lake Placid Village, about 6-8 miles into the bike and after one climb, there is a long 9k decent that blasts you by the Olympic ski jumps – very cool! After getting the bike course preview, we hit the carbo dinner and loaded up for Sunday. At the dinner, our area was represented well by Daniel Labarca and his unprecedented 30 ironman finishes.

Saturday we rode the run course then checked the bikes and transition bags. We got home at a reasonable time and whipped up a home cooked dose of pasta for the last meal. Then, it was off to the rooms to finalize the transition and special needs bags.

Race morning, the alarm went off at 4:15am. I had not been feeling 100% the few days leading up to the race. I seemed to have some type of upper respiratory something or other and a constant headache. I hoped that it wouldn’t get any worse for race day. Well, at 4:15, it was apparent that the headache would be with my for the race, and my lungs had some weird, tired feeling when I took deep breaths -- not great heading into an Ironman. I topped off the tanks with some oatmeal, a banana, and a peanut butter sandwich. On race morning, we were all ready to finally get the long day started. The forecast all week called for moderate temperatures with potential of a scattered storm. We headed out at 5am to finalize our transition bags and allow some time for a swim warm-up. The transition bags were a nightmare. Thankfully, Deidre had notice that I had checked in the wrong bags with the wrong stuff on Saturday. This could have been detrimental on race day. So, I had to get to my bags, switch contents, replace some bags, etc…it was a pain, but better than getting my bike special needs stuff for the swim to bike.

6:45AM, I eased into Mirror Lake. I had said my “good lucks” and “be strong” to the guys I was staying with. After a quick warm up, I stood in some shallower waters and noticed quite a bit of shaking -- I was nervous. I thought, “In seven minutes, all these people around will be fighting for the same spot…oh boy”. With about five minutes ‘til 7am, I merged into the group and immediately began the game of tread water footsies. The cannon blasted, and chaos ensued. For the first 1000m, I was either getting swum over, kicked, hit with a stroke, or swimming over someone else. The second half of the first loop was a little smoother and offered more space. Shortly after the turn, my left calf cramped up bad – similar to those ones you get in the middle of the night that shoot your leg straight out as you grimace in pain. I continued to swim with my leg extended, then let it relax, which seemed to make the cramp go away. This happened about three more times before the end of the swim. I was hoping for a 1:10 swim, and I exited the first loop at 36 and some change. We had a very short little out of the water section to begin the second loop. The second loop had much less contact. At one point, I felt like I was the last swimmer out there. No one seemed to be around me at all…at least I wasn’t getting passed! I exited the swim at 1:15:33.

I tried to run “hard” from the swim exit to the transition area -- roughly ¼ of a mile. I grabbed my swim-to-bike bag and one of the volunteers helped as I quickly prepared for the bike. I had a pair of arm warmers in my bag just in case, and decided to wear them with the potential of cool weather with the overcast skies and rain. The helpful volunteer loaded up my jersey pockets with a couple cliff bars, and I was off…

I didn’t drink or eat for about ten minutes to let all the lake water I had ingested settle. I was a little nervous with the wet roads, knowing of the 9k descent approaching. It would be a shame to have to give away some of that “free” speed due to the conditions. The descent was great, but not near as pretty as the day we drove the course. Through my sunglasses, it looked like a gloomy hell. Immediately following the descent, the course turns left and has a great section where you can really keep speeds high. My odometer ranged between 23-27 mph on this section. I was feeling good, but knew the challenge of the bike was yet to come. After a pretty decent climb turning back on Rt. 86, there’s an out-and-back section of about fourteen total miles. This is great, because you can see people you know and gauge where you are in the race -- I was far, far back. The pros were making their exit soon after I entered this section. It was more of rolling terrain, with a couple out-of-the-saddle hills. I saw Guzek for the first time on his way back, about twenty minutes ahead of me. Very close to the turn around of the out-and-back, I saw my other “roomies”, Howard then Marc. “Okay, guess I had the worst swim of the group”. Right at end of this section, I caught Marc. The wind was picking up at this point, and seemed to be coming right at us. After the out-and-back, the bike really got tough. The headwind was brutal to compliment some good climbs. You descend for nearly 9k leaving town, so you need to make up that elevation at some point. Well, it’s the last ten miles of the loop. It rained, it was windy, and people were moving ever so slow -- lots of riders out of the saddle for more reasons than comfort. At one point in the last ten miles, I attempted to wipe the inside of my lenses so I could see better, and my lens popped right out of the frame…”damn!”. I stuck it in my jersey pocket and continued with my glasses on the edge of my nose ‘til I could get to special needs and pop it back in. At that point, the only reason I was wearing them was to prevent my contacts from blowing out of my eyes. Going into the race, I had a bike goal of 5:30 (2:40 first loop, 2:50 second loop). With five miles remaining of the first loop, I knew 2:40 wasn’t doable. Fortunately, as you get back into town, the crowds pick up and give you a little boost to finally get over those last hills. First bike loop was 2:47:51. Just beginning the second loop, I finally caught Howard right as we were about to start the long descent. We were both pretty worked from the last ten miles of the first loop, but looking forward to some “easier” riding ahead. But it seemed as if we even had headwinds on the descents. When was the break? At one point, I was pedaling downhill at 19mph. Again, on the out and back, I saw Guzek still riding strong. I had closed the gap a little on the first loop, so I felt good about my efforts. I felt very well fueled, with a couple bottles of Accelerade, lots of Gatorade, fig newtons, 2 cliff bars, a gel flask, and water…oh, and the ham sammy at special needs! Shortly after the out and back on the second loop, my back really began to ache. It was really uncomfortable to ride in the aero bars for extended periods of time. But that was soon to end, as the last turn was made to begin the final ten, grueling, rainy, windy, legs on fire, tired, exhausted miles back into town. Finally, after a 3:02:26 second loop and a 5:50 bike, it was time to run…or so I thought.

I normally jump off the bike and welcome the run. If I were to rank my abilities (worst to best) in the three triathlon events, they’d go just as they are run. I look at the run as an opportunity to make up some more spots…but not this day. The first thing I did out of transition was take two Tylenol to ease my aching back and my pounding head. Of course, they have water in transition and I blew right past that, so I had to take them dry. I was about to run back and get the water, but realized it was on the other side of the timing mat and that my cause problems with my chip. I was now about seven minutes behind Guzek. He is my duck on the pond. It’s often the little internal competition that helps me push my pace to ensure his swim pummeling doesn’t hold until the finish line. Within the first mile…no, within the first twenty steps, I knew it was going to be a long marathon, and Guzek would have his day and not get caught by his friend with the little skinny legs. The first mile is downhill, and I did all I could to run a 9-minute mile -- I felt bad. It wasn’t muscle pain or cramps, but more so a lack of energy and strength. Questions quickly ran through my head of not finishing. How could I possibly suffer like this for so long? It was a battle. Every step of every mile was a battle. At first, I hoped I could hold that 9 minute mile. Then, it became 9:15, then, 9:30. I started to feel worse. Shortly into the valley section of the run, my buddy Howard who I had passed on the bike caught me. This very same thing happened at the Great Floridian last year, but the result was the opposite. At GFT, Howard and I ran six or seven miles together until I was able to pick it up and Howard finished a few minutes behind me. On this day, we’d run no more than six or seven strides together. I acknowledged that he looked great and to keep running strong. I felt bad, and didn’t want to weigh any negativity his way. He pushed on, and I continued to suffer. Approaching the turn around, I got a blurry glimpse of Guzek still running strong. There were about ten top notch Clydesdales out there and they all wore white jerseys with black shorts. We did the customary high-five in the center of the road and continued on. At that point, he had probably pushed the lead back to ten or eleven minutes. After about eight miles, things really started going sour for me. I couldn’t seem to hold anything down…not from vomiting, so you know what I mean (5 different times on the run). It was really frustrating, and just another obstacle of the day. The only thing that seemed to work were pretzels, so I cleaned out every aid station. After the first loop, I finally started to think positively about being able to finish. Time goals were left out on the bike course somewhere -- a total non-issue. Coming out of the town from the first loop, I started to get emotional. It was very strange and uncontrollable. I think it was a combination of the suffering, and the fact that I now had some feeling of being able to “conquer” this day. It was around this time when I saw Aaron at his station. He had a hand full of Gu and was holding it out. As I scooted by with my shuffle, I wacked his hand like he was there, not to pass out fuel, but to give me some skin for suffering on…sorry ‘bout that! The rest of the run was much of the same -- port-o-jons, pretzels, and high-fives to friends running well. I got into that rut where I’d forget whether I was on mile eighteen or nineteen -- mile after mile, I’d question which one I was on. I suffered up the last long hill, trying to keep running form but probably could have walked faster. It was great to finally get back into town and hear the crowd. I entered the oval and was never so happy. I think I even picked it back up to my 9-minute pace for the final 200 meters! I crossed the line with a 4:24 marathon and an 11:39:20 total time.

My wife, Deidre, quickly found me… I hugged her, and cried. It was the hardest day of my life…no doubt -- mentally, physically, and emotionally. She was as happy as I was to see me finish…I think I gave her some doubts along the way.

The volunteers and support were absolutely amazing. Of course, Deidre is there for every race, rain or shine, making sure I’m in good spirits. She rules! Deidre and Melanie (Guzek’s girlfriend) were up as long as we were, and gutted out the same conditions, although inside a local pub during the torrential downpour -- they really do make it easier to race. And other local support can’t go unnamed in this report: Amy Smith and Eric Stanley were phenomenal. I saw/heard them multiple times, and even caught up to them post race. They said I looked great the entire day -- must have still been in “volunteer mode”. Aaron always had something to yell…whether it made any sense, I have no idea. I just know at one point I mistakenly took a hand full of Gu as “hey Brady, give me five”. Also, great encouragement and shouts from Eric Sorensen. And all the other volunteers and support were amazing.

Last year, I completed my first ironman at the Great Floridian. I made all my time goals, on an almost perfect race day. It was sweeter than sweet. I can say that my finish Sunday meant more.

The two days that followed the race, I continued to feel pretty bad with terrible headaches and fevers at night. I finally got to the doctor on Wednesday and he informed me I had some sort of virus that affects the meningi (sp?) -- something associated, but not actually, viral meningitis. So, lots of Advil, fluids, and rest, and it’ll be back to the swim, bike, and run… Ironman rules!

Thanks for reading,
--Brady DeHoust