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IM Lake Placid RR - Travel and Pre-Race


We left our house on Wednesday morning around 4:20am and arrived to the GSP airport just before 5am. It was a smooth check-in with our two suitcases and two Scicon hard cases w/ our bikes inside. Each bike case weighed ~50lbs so we were able to check those items for free on Delta and then just pay $40 each for our suitcases. We felt a bit rusty with the entire airport process as the last time we traveled via plane for a race was October 2019 for the Ironman World Championship.

We flew to Detroit, had a ~2 hour layover and then flew to Albany. Both flights were smooth and went by quickly (we napped on both flights). It was fun to meet up with a few Trimarnis in the Detroit airport before they made their way to Burlington. 

Since we flew into Burlington in 2013 for IM Lake Placid, I decided to try out the Albany airport and ~2:15 hr drive. It was an easy process from luggage pick-up to getting our rental car (right across the street from the airport - no shuttle needed) and then a straightforward drive to Lake Placid. I rented a SUV but all they had left was a Jeep Wrangler for us. I was a bit worried but it actually worked out great as we could place our bike cases in the Jeep upright and there was still room for our suitcases.


We made a quick stop at Chipotle for lunch in route to Lake Placid. The last part of the drive into town is always so beautiful. Even though the weather was cloudy and a bit rainy, the scenery is just incredible. 

We arrived to our rental home around 3pm and checked out our home away from home. I booked this rental home two years ago and thankfully the owner allowed us to carry over our rental to this year. The 3-story house was huge so we shared it with 8 of our athletes. And it was in the perfect location - just a a block from Mainstreet (and close to the Bluesberry Bakery - Karel's favorite place in Placid) and less than a mile to the new transition area at the high school (the layout of the course/transitions/expo was a bit different this year due to construction at the Oval). 

As Karel and the other Trimarni's put together their bikes, our groceries arrived just after 4pm. I ordered our first big batch of groceries from Hannafords by using Instacart. Although there was an extra fee including, this delivery grocery service worked out perfect as we didn't have to spend 60+ minutes shopping for food after a long day of travel. Throughout the rest of the week, others made quick stops to the store as needed. 

After unloading groceries and making a large salad, we all headed out for a shake-out spin by heading down the back part of the course (the "three bears) and then making our way to River Road to ride the run course and then back into town. It was a nice 45-minute spin to shake out the fatigue from traveling and sitting all day. 

By 8:30pm we were all pretty exhausted and headed off to bed. 

I tried to sleep in as long as I could on Thursday morning to ensure a restful night of sleep. I made it until almost 8am so it was a solid 10.5 hours of sleep. I was so excited to get into Mirror Lake as it's been several years since I've swam in that picture-perfect lake. 

After eating a pre-workout meal, we walked down to the swim start at the lake for a one-loop swim of the course. Some of the buoys were out and along with the cable under the water, it was easy to stay on course. We all regrouped at the turn buoys so that we could scope out the landmarks along the course. 

After the swim there was a well-needed stop at the bakery before heading back to the house to change before the bike ride. We all headed out on the bike course and descended down to Wilmington before making our way back up to town. It was nice to be out on the course and to get the body back to a familiar place of exercising. After our ~90-minute ride, a few of us went for a short 20-min run. It was a triathlon type of day! We finished all of our training for the day before 1:30pm which worked out perfect as we checked in for the race around 2:30pm (at the equestrian center - we drove there). 

It was fun to share the entire pre-race experience with our athletes, especially our two first timer Ironman athletes. We had 8 female and 1 male athletes racing Lake Placid which made for a great group filled with a lot of positive energy. 

After checking in, the rest of the day was pretty chill. We watched the Olympics, ate and relaxed. There was a lot of laughing which helped keep the nerves away. Karel did a longer ride on Thurs (~4 hours and 77 miles) after he swam with us, and then finished off the day with an evening run (37 min, 5 miles). Karel's hand is still weak and numb after he broke it from his MTB crash 9 weeks ago, but overall it's getting better. 

Friday was a pretty chillax day. We went for another swim and I had to resist the urge to swim two loops as I was feeling so good in the water. I was really happy with how I was swimming and most of all, how I felt in the water. I had been dealing with some niggles in my left bicep for a few weeks but thankfully it didn't affect me once I got to Placid. 

After the swim, I went for an easy 30-minute run around the lake and checked out the transition area, logistics of going from swim to bike and bike to run, as well as orienting myself with how we started loop two of the bike. Today was all about familiarity and getting to know the ins and outs of the course. 

I spent a little time laying out my gear for my gear bags and filling my bottles. I had my sport nutrition powder in baggies (which I filled in advance) so it was easy to just pour each baggy into a bottle or flask without second guessing or overthinking (I also brought extra nutrition just in case). I also labeled my bottles so it would be easy to know what was what and what goes where on race day morning. I waited until Sat late afternoon to fill with water and then put the bottles/flasks in the fridge. 

On Friday evening we had our traditional pizza party with pizza from Bazzis. We finished the evening with a course talk and tips discussion for our athletes. I just love sharing these experiences with our athletes as I can take the focus off myself. Plus, I love our athletes because they are really cool humans. And we have a lot of fun together. Add in Karel and his witty sense of humor and I assure you that you will be laughing a lot when you stay in a Trimarni team house. :)

After another good night of sleep, it was finally here. One more day before the race. 

I went out on my own for my ride and headed to the transition area. I first rode the start of the bike course as it was all marked on the ground. I then carried on to the run course to get more familiar with the equestrian park loops (inbound and outbound).  I then headed down to River Road (run course out and back) and did some intervals out there. I just rode until I felt good and then headed back (~75 minutes). I did a quick 5-min jog off the bike just to test out my shoes, hat and hydration band one last time to ensure that everything was fitting like I wanted it to for race day. Overall I didn't feel great on the bike and felt a bit flat on the run but I didn't let it get to me. I knew my body would show up on race day. I couldn't stop smiling because of the beauty of this course. I kept thinking, we get to race here. I never felt nervous but instead, I was really excited to train all day for 140.6 miles.  

After my morning shake out workout, it was time to eat. I repacked my bags and around 1pm, we biked our gear to the transition area, dropped off our bikes (most of us Trimarnis were together since we all checked in together), walked through the transition area so that we knew where all the ins and outs where, and then walked back to the house. We also timed how long it took us to walk from the transition area to the swim start (~21 minutes) as we would be doing the same on race morning and wanted to know how much time to give ourselves. Due to COVID precautions, there was no gear bag rack but instead we put our bags by our bikes. I kinda liked this as I could keep everything right by my bike and access it easily on race day morning. Because of the predicted rain, I put my running shoes and socks in a large ziplock bag and folded my bags down tight overnight. 

The weather had been perfect all week - in the 70's for the high and into the mid 50's at night. The water temp was hoovering around 68-70 degrees, which was also perfect. However, there was a 90% chance of rain on race day so we all prepared ourselves for a wet start to race morning. 

After eating my last big meal of no chicken noodle soup (Amy's brand) and a bag of Basmati rice around 3pm, I watched the Olympics in bed on my Ipad, ate almost a full bag of granola around 5pm, did a little more foam rolling to loosen out and I was ready to fall asleep around 7:30pm. I expected a light night of sleeping and I had a solid few hours of sleep until 1pm and then it was a few hours of tossing and turning to the sound of rain outside our basement windows, until the alarm went off at 3:45am. 

To be continued......