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Race Result

Racer: Mike Tine
Race: Ironman USA
Date: Sunday, July 25, 2004
Location: Lake Placid, NY
Race Type: Triathlon - Ironman
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 12:17:17
Overall Place: 797 / 1961
Age Group Place: 161 / 329
Comment: Awesome swim and bike (keeping up and even passing 2 of the women pros), joint trouble on the run.

Race Report:

Swim Time: 1:00:52
T1: 0:07:43
Bike Time: 5:55:14
T2: 0:03:26
Run Time: 5:10:04


I AM AN IRONMAN! Yes, a much slower one than I anticipated, but an Ironman nonetheless.

***Skip the first 2 paragraphs if you don't care about the week leading up to the Ironman***
Let me begin this report by saying that if you have never visited Lake Placid before, do it. It is an absolutely gorgeous place, with some of the nicest people I have ever met. Mirror Lake is a non-motor lake, so great for swimming (especially with a rope off of which to sight the course!). The mountains are gorgeous in the surrounding area. The town is surprisingly small, and not overly commercial. The superb weather probably had something to do with it, but I had an incredible week in Lake Placid. My wife is recovering from surgery, so it took us 3 days to drive from Virginia to Lake Placid, but that made for a very leisurely trip with no stress. Karen, my mother, and I arrived in Lake Placid on Monday the 19th - the first of many gorgeous days. Monday through Thursday were perfectly relaxing weather, in the 80's, and sunny. I swam a little, biked a little, ran a little just to stay ready and finish the taper. Friday poured, but only to bring in the cooler weather for the race. Overall, though, I lounged around and caught up on my pleasure reading! A great way to prepare for the Ironman, if I do say so! I watched the Tour de France at Placid Planet Bike Shop most days - great shop if you are ever in LP.

Saturday arrived, and it was time for bike check-in, and the mandatory athletes' meeting. The bike/bag check was very uneventful, although I hated leaving my brand new Colnago bicycle overnight! Oh well, with that depression over with, I proceeded on to the bleachers for the athletes' meeting. Bumped into a sorority sister of Karen's and her husband (also Ironvirgins) and Dave Cascio (very much the experienced Ironman). Very entertaining meeting, although I got a bit of sunburn because Saturday and Sunday were absolutely gorgeous. I remembered the sunblock for the race, but not for the meeting. The race officials harped on not drafting, an issue which you will read about soon.

Race morning arrived. I woke up at 4am, ate my breakfast of Smart Start cereal, and walked the 0.8 mile to transition. Once there, I delivered my Special Needs bags to their designated places, and put my PB&J in the respective bags (swim-bike and Bike special needs). Then I got numbered by one of the amazing and friendly volunteers. Thanks to Dave for his bit of advice of sitting in the change tent prior to the race. Much warmer (on a 50-degree morning), and a place to sit to put on the wetsuit. Since it was only 5:15 at this point, I had plenty of time to listen to music, relax, eat more breakfast (applesauce, banana, PB&J), and get ready. At about 6am, I put on my wetsuit and made my way to transition with a slight stopover in the bathroom at the gas station across the street (no line, and very clean!). I was able to see my brother who had just arrived from a mission to Ecuador - very exciting!

I did about 100m of warmup swimming at 6:45 and then stood by the far side of the lake (in the water) until 4 minutes to 7. At that point, I made my way out into the mass of bodies, to start about 3/4 of the way out from the dock at about the 1hour designator. Suddenly, with seemingly no warning, the gun went off. We all took off in the water. Surprisingly, there was nobody around me! I guess I should have started closer to the buoy line, but I was warned about the mass churning of bodies. Oh well, I eventually found some feet, and a small group of us swam most of the way around the lake together. I didn't draft for much of it, but that is often easier for me. Very uneventful. At around 29:30, I got out of the first lap, ran across the beach, drained my goggles, dove back in the water, dove again, stopped diving since my legs started to inexplicably cramp, swam around the dock, started the second loop. Relatively uneventful loop, although there were some very "weavy" swimmers towards the end. I got out at about an hour, exactly as hoped. The wetsuit "strippers" easily pulled off my wetsuit, and I jogged the 300m to the transition area. I grabbed my bag with no problem, headed into the change tent, started chomping on my PB&J, and put on my helmet/shoes/gloves.

I headed out, ran through the bike transition, grabbed my bike with more spectacular help from the volunteers, and headed out to the bike course. It was a bit chilly, but I was so pumped up I didn't notice it, even without my arm warmers. My mantra was "don't be a first lap hero." Well, that went out the window with the surge of adrenaline pumping through me. Actually, I cranked the first few miles because I'm better than most on the turns, so I was whipping around the first few turns at breakneck speed. Also, I felt really good, so I was spinning/hammering up the hills. When I got to the long Keene downhills, I coasted, but in a very aero position, getting up to 48 mph! The entire first lap until about mile 45 felt great! However, then I realized I was a bit tired on the hills back into town, so I decided to spin more. My 19.6mph average the first loop became a respectable 18.2mph average for the second loop, averaging out to 18.9mph, almost 1mph faster than I planned! That being said, on the second loop, my quads seemed to cramp periodically, so I was a bit worried for the run. I want to also point out that the ride through town ending the first loop and starting the second was INCREDIBLE! Thousands of people lining the street cheering for us as we weaved our way through town. What an adrenaline rush!!!

Additionally, please remember my comment earlier about the officials harping on us about drafting. Well, I was ticked after the first "peloton" passed me, and infuriated at the 10+ other "pelotons" that I saw subsequent to that (some behind me due to the 7-mile out/back section). As well as the smaller groups of 2 and 3 riders all helping each other out in drafting lines. I went into this to prove to myself that I was an Ironman, not that I could ride well in a pack. I guess others decided that cheating was okay. And don't be mistaken; drafting in these non-draft triathlons is as much cheating as taking steroids or cutting the course. Needless to say, I'm pissed! Especially since not many of these guys got penalties, even when the race officials decided to show up, which was very infrequently. They just rode by, and easily 3/4 of the cheaters that I saw, many in the presence of race officials, didn't receive any penalties. Often times, due to the large numbers of athletes in this race, I had to stop pedaling for a few seconds to drop back legally before either attempting a re-pass or just falling behind. I was legal the whole way and proud of it. Shame on those who cheated. A special mention to Fr. Tom (yes, that's FATHER Tom) who felt the need to draft on my tail towards the end of lap two, and then complained to the official when he got caught. Admittedly, he seemed as frustrated as me about the pelotons passing us, but that's no excuse, especially for a priest! Oh well, he'll have to answer to God too.

Well, now that I'm off of my soap box, let's get to T2. I got off the bike with no problem, and a volunteer took my bike as I made my way to my bag. I grabbed my bag with no problem, and headed into the changing tent. Another excellent volunteer grabbed me, sat me down, emptied my bag, and helped me get changed. Very helpful. I went running towards the door, stopped to lather myself with sunscreen, realized I still had on my bike gloves, ripped them off (get back to this later), and headed out for the run.

I saw my wife in the large crowd as I left and gave her a kiss as promised. My legs felt pretty good, but I was rightfully worried about quad cramping on the way down the first big hill out of town. They did, but I stopped and stretched for about 30 seconds and went on my way. I was feeling good. Even with the walks through the water stops (planned), I was averaging about 9 minute pace. However, remember my ripping off my bike gloves while coated in slippery sun screen? Well, I must have ripped off my wedding ring at the same time. I noticed this at around mile 2, but nothing I could do about it then. As it turns out, I never found it. There's a small chance it fell off in the water, or when the "strippers" got to me (wetsuit strippers for those of you with dirty minds!), but it most likely came off in T2. Well, my wife has been very understanding, and for that I'd like to thank her!!! Then mile 7 hit, and the pain in my right knee followed by pain in my right ankle. In hindsight, I think it might have been an IT band issue that caused me to change my stride which then affected my ankle, but at the time it just seemed like a very painful knee. I had to walk it off. I could only run about 1/4 mile at a time before it started hurting. Then 1/8 mile. Then 150 steps. Then 100 steps. Unfortunately, my 11-hour goal "ultimate" goal was now well out the window. So was my 12 hour "happy" goal. The most disappointing part about this was that I had enough fitness to run this marathon, but my tendons gave out on me. Oh well. Run when I can. Walk when I can't. Cheer on others. When I got to the top of the large hill with about 2 miles to go, I grunted to grit out as much as I could and started running again. Well, let me tell you, the crowd absolutely erupted! This was easily the highlight of the race for me. I get chills thinking about it now. People yelling "Go Tine! Way to grit it out!" and "That's the spirit! You da man!" Etc. etc. The fans were awesome! Unfortunately, I again had to stop running after about 400m due to pain, but it was further than I could run for the past 10 miles. And I was able to walk less before the next painful run. Then, with about 400m to go to the finish, I put in one last push. Chanting "no pain, no pain" I ran onto the skating oval, down the final chute, and through the finish line to become an Ironman.