No much to do but sleep in the rainy days before the race ala Chris Legh.
A Rainy Day in Lake Placid Brings #4 for Heather.RAIN, RAIN and more RAIN
This was the story of the day for the 5th Annual Ironman Lake Placid which took place on July 27, 2003. Racing under some of the worst conditions ever, I was lucky enough to take the title for the 4th time here in Lake Placid.
It really is amazing how Mother Nature can play such nasty tricks on us. Leading up to the race, the weather started to deteriorate. We spent a lot of time on weather.com trying to figure out what was going to be in store for us for race day. Everyday the forecast seemed to change (and not for the better). Race morning came and we were greeted with a nice strong wind and threatening showers. This is certainly not the way I wanted to spend the day but as they say, it is the same for everyone out there.
Throughout the week, the lake had been nice and warm, and there was the very real chance that the pro’s were not going to be able to wear wetsuits. This was an area of concern for many of the pros. If we weren’t allowed to wear wetsuits and the age groupers were, the swim was going to be even worse than normal. I guess that was the good thing about the windy conditions, it must have stirred up the lake because when the water temp was taken race morning, it was a couple of degrees colder and wetsuits were allowed for all – YIPEE!!!
Even though I have done a number of these races now, I can’t help but feel the emotion in the air at the swim start. It really is an incredible feeling – something that almost brings you to tears. This is of course until the gun goes off and you get the first strong whack across the side of the head bringing you back to reality pretty quickly. Fortunately, the swim start was relatively mellow in terms of how it can get. The swim in this race is one of the easiest to navigate and one of the smoothest around. As we started the swim, so did the rain start. You could feel the rain and wind pick up during the swim. Luckily the lake is very protected so that even in nasty conditions it stays calm. I was feeling pretty good in the swim and was just trying to minimize my losses to the girls up ahead. I came out of the water and heard that I was only under 5 minutes down from the lead – YAHOO we were still in single digits!!!!
Now it was off on the bike in the nice rainy, windy conditions. Riding along, I could feel that it was going to be a bit of a long day on the bike, but hopefully everyone was feeling the same way. I got to the long down hill on the course into KEENE and the rain was coming down pretty hard. I am sure that every time down that hill I lost a huge amount of time. I was very conservative – probably too much so but I figured it was better to keep the rubber side down!! It is a bit of a bummer when you can’t even enjoy the downhill. Throughout the ride, I was consistently losing a bit of time to the leaders. My hope was that the girls were riding too fast up front and that if I was patient, it would pay off. It is a little disheartening when you are riding along and with the wind and rain, it is a struggle to maintain 10 miles/hour. I was sure that by the time I came into the transition I would hear that I was 20 minutes down. Luckily for me, the wind was the same for everyone so I was ONLY 13 minutes down. (ONLY, yeah right).
Well off on the run, and it appeared that if I was going to have a shot at winning this thing, I was going to have to pull another rabbit out of the hat. So I headed out, knowing that I was going to have to have a very strong run to catch the girls ahead. In the first 5-6 miles, I wasn’t gaining time on the leaders as quickly as I would have liked but again I tried to remain patient. I was feeling relatively well throughout the first loop – even though there were 6 inch deep running down the road. I felt more sorry for the people watching – at least we were moving and staying warm. I came through town on my first lap of the run (half way) and had cut the deficit in half – I was now about 6 minutes behind. Of course the calculator in my head started working and realizing that over the next ˝ marathon, I am going to have to try and maintain 30 sec per mile faster than the girls I was chasing. This make life a little uncomfortable – there was definitely not going to be any letting up. Finally at about 18 miles, I moved into the lead passing Jo Lawn. Both she and Gina Kehr were running very well and even though I had finally passed them both I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to stay in front. With 8 miles to go, my legs started to seize up on me and I just tried to keep moving forward and hoping that it was going to be enough. The crowds were amazing as we entered town for the final couple of miles. Having all of the people cheering definitely helped me make it to the finish. I was very happy to cross the finish line and to be in the lead was even better. The long day was finally over and I was elated to win my 4th LP title and to make this a total of 13 Ironman Victories – who ever said that the number 13 isn’t lucky!!!
HSBC Ironman USA Lake Placid
Sunday, July 27, 2003
Lake Placid, N.Y.
1. Kirill Litovtsenko, Estonia, 8:46:15
2. Chris Lieto, Danville, Calif., 8:53:24
3. Jason Shortis, Australia, 8:56:56
4. Shingo Tani, Japan, 8:59:48
5. Ryan Bolton, Boulder, Colo., 9:09:54
6. Ryan Grote, Bernardsville, N.J., 9:14:44
7. Chad Hawker, Seaside, Calif., 9:18:17
8. Ken Glah, West Chester, Pa., 9:20:35
9. Chris Legh, Australia, 9:20:35
10. Todd Wiley, Doylestown, Pa., 9:28:44
1. Heather Fuhr, Canada, 9:51:55 (55:40\ 5:45:54\ 3:04:37)
2. Gina Kehr, Redwood City, Calif., 9:55:18 (50:50\ 5:43:49\ 3:15:09)
3. Joanna Lawn, New Zealand, 10:00:33 (52:00\ 5:38:11\ 3:24:16)
4. Carole Sharpless, Marietta, Ga., 10:19:34
5. Karen Holloway, Richmond, Va., 10:23:09
6. Kim Loeffler, Essex Junction, Vt., 10:28:36
7. Christine Dunnery, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., 10:35:29
8. Marie Danais, Canada, 10:40:31
9. Donna Phelan, Canada, 10:47:42
10. Angie Defilippi, Colchester, Vt., 10:54:21