Of course, sometimes a longer/short swim course, tough course or weather can slightly affect the overall time but in short distance racing, athletes often find it easy to chase a time goal and often times, can train and race hard enough to beat that goal.
All of our athletes (including Karel - who raced only the swim and bike...more on that soon) had a successful day. It may not have been the day that they envisioned but that's all part of the fun of being a long distance athlete. If you can't handle the unknowns and uncontrollables that happen during a 140.6 mile, all day event, then long distance racing is probably not the best event for your body and mind.
It is a special gift to call yourself a long distance athlete and I firmly believe that to be a successful long distance athlete, you don't need to be fast or chase a time goal but instead, be the smartest athlete you can be on race day.
Thank you Xterra Wetsuits for sponsoring the Trimarni team!! Our athletes just LOVE the comfort and speed that comes with their Xterra wetsuits
It's been a while since my mom has seen me race in an IM (last race was Kona 2011) so it was great to have her at the venue to watch Karel's 114.4 mile race (this was the first time she saw Karel race in an Ironman). She is a great spectator and sherpa. She was out all day cheering for everyone!
It's not the same without my dad being present with us but we always feel like he is watching us on race day.
Aside from this amazing race venue, I just LOVE the rolling start at IM Lake Placid. It took about 20 minutes for everyone to get in the water but with the self seeding based on anticipated swim times (ex. 1:05-1:10, 1:10-1:20, etc.), it made for a very smooth start to the race.
The water was calm and the weather was perfect. Although it did sprinkle on us spectators near the end of the swim, it wasn't too hot or too cold in the morning. Of course, the weather always changes in the mountains.
At 6:30am, the athletes were off, starting with the sub 1-hour swimmers.
All of our athletes did great in this 2 loop (get out of the water for a few seconds) course. I managed to squeeze my way to the barricades after the swim suit peelers so I could cheer for our athletes after they exited the swim.
Karel was the first from our group out of the water and my watch said 1:07....well, he ended up swimming 1:05 which is a GREAT time for him (and a PR swim)!!
Looks like I need to step up my game because as I try to drop seconds as a life long swimmer, Karel is dropping minutes as a newer swimmer!
After I saw Joe and Adam, I biked my way up the climbs to the cheering section at "Papa Bear" and then cheered for Heidi and Mike.
Our athletes were easy to spot on the course in their Custom Canari Trimarni outfits.
Karel - Kona edition short sleeve tri suit
Joe - Green short sleeve tri suit
Adam - Green tri top and tri bottoms
Mike - Green cycling bibs and cycling jersey (changed into tri shorts and tri top for the run)
Thanks Trimarni athlete Dan for this great pic!
So now a behind the scenes moment (actually two of them!):
When Karel returned home (he had his run shoes in T2 so he could walk home after he turned in his chip) from his 114.4 mile "race", I wasn't sure what emotions Karel would be feeling. I stayed at home hoping to see Karel before I headed out to cheer for our athletes on the run.
Karel said he thought he was 8th overall at that point and was continuing to move himself up. Karel and Dave stopped to help the guy on the ground and Karel told Dave to continue on with the race since he wasn't running and he would wait until help arrived.
After Karel got back on the bike, he had a hard time getting his rhythm back after the long stop. His body was cramping from the stop and it was a tough effort to get himself back to the transition area.
Karel said he waited about ten minutes for the ambulance to come. He was very happy with his swim and was on course to ride around five hours which he was also happy about.
With his long stop, Karel rode 5:16 (21.24 mph average) and moved himself up to 2nd place AG and I think top 10 overall. Karel said if he was racing the run, he would not have biked as hard as he did.
It's a bummer that Karel couldn't run but Karel's ability to remove himself from competition to help out another athlete was very thoughtful.
In the end, Karel was happy with his decision not to run, even though it was a very hard one to make before the race and even in the moment during the race.
Joe finally got help from bike tech support and they gave Joe a new tire so he could get back into town. Despite the major setback, Joe still started the run.
It was so awesome to be on the "climb" into town because we knew our athletes needed us at that point. It's a heartbreak of a hill in that it is long and then there are still ~2 more miles of running before making the descend and then running 2 miles toward River Road (which is a lonely road of 4 miles out and 4 miles back before heading back into town, climbing back up to town and then 2 miles before reaching the finish on the second loop).
Karel and I talked about the situation and we both came to the conclusion (it was not a hard decision) that we did not want Joe to quit. It is so easy to just say "there will be another race" but not always is it that easy to get the body and mind ready for another Ironman (even if the race is on the race schedule already). Joe invested too much time, effort and money into this race and although his feet were hurting, he was still able to keep good form and his overall fitness was there.
Joe was ok with both of the options but certainly it took him a few miles to go from the mindset of "I'm quitting at mile 13" to "I still have 13 more miles to go."
Then it was time for Heidi to make her way in. This was her 10th Ironman so experience was in full force as she knew how to adjust her plan with the warm temps and a few minor tummy grumbles.
Our Trimarni photographer Taylor finally gets to be on the other side of the camera with her Ironhubby Adam!!
We waited on the grass for a little bit before Karel and I headed back out on the course to bring in Joe. Nearly 5 hours on this feet after being out on the bike course 1+ hours more than planned.....it was finally time for Joe to finish his day. He absolutely earned his Ironman medal!!
Much later that evening (around 10:30pm), our athletes went out to celebrate and by 11pm, Karel and I were passed out in bed, exhausted from all the excitement and emotions.
It's one thing to see a time on a piece of paper but it isn't until you hear the details from the athlete (or see them in action) that you really understand what happened on race day and what the athlete had to overcome to make it a successful day to earn a finish medal.