I've given myself a three year goal to attempt my first Ironman distance triathlon. An Ironman distance triathlon is a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike followed by a 26.2 mile run.I just started swimming one month ago, so it will take awhile for me to be able to do an Ironman distance swim. I have been running for 3 years and cycling for about 7 years, so I am less worried about the bike and run portions of an Ironman triathlon.
I am starting my first year of racing triathlons by participating in around 7-9 sprint distance events and hope to be able to do an International distance triathlon by the end of the year. During my second year of racing triathlons, I hope to be able to do a few Olympic distance events, and want to be able to do a half Ironman distance triathlon by the end of the second year. Then by the middle of my third year of racing triathlons, I hope to be able to participate in my first full Ironman distance event.
Above: Link to video showing part of Ironman Lake Placid bike course. 6 mile downhill section you ride through twice. Doesn't look too bad but most people get up to 40+ MPH doing the descent! I want to do IM LP in 3 years, guess it's time to get over my fear of going fast while descending.
Ironman Lake Placid
Ironman Lake Placid is also known as Ironman USA. In 1999 Lake Placid was chosen to host the first Ironman distance triathlon to take place in the United States. I've given a lot of thought as to which Ironman I want to attempt for my first event. I grew up in Lake Placid, which is located in the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York. My mom remarried and we moved there when I was 11 years old. I graduated from Lake Placid Central High School in 1981, the year after Lake Placid was host to the 1980 winter Olympics. It was a pretty cool place to grow up.
The transition zone of IM LP takes place on the speed skating oval in front of Lake Placid high school, yup, that's the high school where I went to school from grades 7-12. The speed skating oval used to be the high school track but was turned into the speed skating oval in time for the 1980 winter Olympics. I used to run track in high school so I wasn't too happy that they turned our track into a speed skating oval, I was never freaking any good at ice skating.
Above: White Face mountain in the summer. Ah, that's more like it!
The 1980 winter Olympics was the Olympic games where Eric Heiden won 5 speed skating gold medals. The speed skating oval is right next door to the 1932 and 1980 Olympic ice arena, the very same arena where the USA hockey team won the gold medal at the 1980 winter Olympics. So again I mention, Lake Placid was pretty cool area to grow up in. And yes, I used to go down hill skiing at White Face Mountain, part of the bike course of IM LP goes right by White Face ski resort - awesome!
Above: Ironman Lake Placid 2010 swim start. Mass start for approximately 2,700 triathletes. Quite a few triathletes waited by the shore, in knee deep water, after the starting gun went off to start their race. My kind of race, just start your swim after the fast people get out of the way, give yourself calm water to start your event, no worries, no pressure, ENJOY!
The swim portion of IM LP is two loops in Mirror Lake. Mirror Lake is a small lake which doesn't see any boat traffic. It's the perfect swim for someone that is a bit swim phobic. I definitely didn't want to choose an Ironman with an ocean swim, such as Ironman Florida which takes place in Panama City. I currently live in Florida, so you think I would choose a race which is nearby.
IM LP Book
Triathlete Raymond Britt has participated in Ironman Lake Placid 6 times, so you could say he is a bit of an expert when it comes to racing the course. Britt has written a book Ironman Lake Placid; Racing Tips and Strategies, which was published in 2010. You could say this book is going to become my go-to report on all things IM LP.
Britt raced Ironman Lake Placid in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007. Two of his IM LP times were fast enough to qualify for the Ironman Kona World Championships in Hawaii. Britt's fastest Lake Placid finishing time was in 2004 when he finished in 10:12:22. My goal for my first Ironman is to finish within the allotted time of 17 hours, without being swept off the course. Each section of the swim-bike-run has a specific time limit which you must meet in order to be allowed to continue with the rest of the race. So my main goal is to be able to complete the 2.4 mile swim in the allotted 2 hours and 20 minutes. That might not seem like a big deal to most people, but as a brand new swimmer, I just have no speed or endurance for swimming.
Above: Video showing Ford Ironman Lake Placid 2010 pre race show. Nice overview of the event. You have to watch this video to see how beautiful the Lake Placid area is, then you'll know why I want to do this event - it's freaking amazing!
Bike Diva to Triathlete
You can read more blog posts about my decision and journey towards becoming a triathlete on the Bike Diva blog:
- Bike Diva's Ironman Triathlon Plan
- Bike Diva's First Swim
- Bike Diva's Second Swim Practice
- Try a Triathlon with Team in Training
- Bike Diva's Triathlon Training Observations
- Bike Diva Tries Wetsuit
Lynn Smythe AKA the Bike Diva