Beautiful Sunrise race morning
Ironman Lake Placid 2001 Race ReportRACE DAY!!!
Well it was finally here – Ironman Lake Placid. The day arrived with what could be considered “perfect” racing conditions. Luckily the morning temperatures were considerably warmer than they had been making it much more comfortable waiting for the race start.
With the bang of the start gun, we were off. Joanna led out of the water – exiting with the lead pack in 47 mins – YIKES!!! I had a good solid swim coming out in 55:45 – I felt good and didn’t get beat up too much at all.
Then it was off on the bike. I was feeling pretty good on the bike, but knowing how tough the course is, I didn’t want to leave it all out there on the first lap. I was getting reports along the course and was pretty much holding my own to Joanna. I was somewhat concerned before hand as I had one 5 hour ride under my belt in preparation for the race but honestly the bike felt the easiest that it has in a long time. Going into the second lap of the bike, I was still feeling good and with the great conditions was able to keep a steady pace. Coming into transition, I was 7 minutes down from Joanna, with Mary-Ellen Powers, Andrea Fisher, Julianna Nevergielt and Lauren Maule in the mix.
The men’s race was heating up as Steve Larsen was blistering through the field. He went by me near the beginning of the first lap and it was like a freight train going by – very impressive. Ryan Bolton was holding tough as well. Larsen came off the bike with a 14+ minute lead over Ryan. Things were looking interesting for the run.
I knew the running credentials of Joanna (she ran a 3:06 in Hawaii in 2000) and I figured that the only way to catch her was to lay it on the line. I headed out on the marathon running a very optimistic 6:30/mile pace – it felt good though. I was slowly chipping away at here lead and then finally just after the 13 mile mark, I went by here. Hoping that she was not going to respond to my pass, I went by at a good strong pace. Well now I was in the lead and all I had to do was try and hold it together. This was going to prove to be harder than I thought. I was building a slight lead on Joanna – up to about 2:45 at one point. By the time that I hit the 21 mile mark, I started to pay the price for my “overly optimistic” pace early on. I was running on pure adrenaline and Joanna was starting to bring back some time on me by about 5-10 sec per mile. The course in Lake Placid is quite cruel, with just about 1.5 miles to go, you re-enter town and up the killer hill. I was not sure that I was going to be able to keep running up the hill but with the great crowds, I had not choice. Once I got to the top of the hill, I was still about 2 mins ahead of Joanna. Now I just had to do the out and back section and then to the finish. Once I got on flat ground, I was able to get back into some sort of a rhythm and maintain the 2 min lead to the finish. I can tell you that the finish line did not come too soon. Joanna finished strong 2 mins behind and then Laura Drake ran herself through the field into 3rd, with Andrea Fisher 4th and Lauren Maule rounding up the top 5.
Steve Larsen proved that not only can he ride like a bat out of hell, his running isn’t so bad either. He held off a fast running Bolton to take his first Ironman title – a little scary considering he is just getting into the sport. Bolton was 2nd with Cam Widoff 3rd.
This was a very special win for me as I feel like I have been on a mental and physical roller coaster for the past year and it feels good to be up on the top again. I competed in this race in the memory of my MOM and it was very emotional crossing the finish line but I know that she was out there with me.
Now it is time for some R&R and bon-bon eating – YIPEE!!!