Saturday, July 30, 2016

Ironman Lake Placid Race Report, what does it all mean?


Now that six days have passed I can finally process what race day 2016 meant to me - what this 14 plus hours of swimming, biking and running meant to me.

First, I finally met Than’s wife, Kathy. Than has been Mark’s Ironman Sherpa since 2009. And he was both Mark and my Sherpa at Ironman Wisconsin in 2013. Kathy was my sherpa meaning that she would help me during race weekend (carrying bags, etc) and on race day would be responsible for getting my bike from transition to TriBike tranport.

Second,  going to New York I was on Nash and Oren turf since they grew up near Albany and both attended college in New York. This would be Mark’s third Ironman Lake Placid.
I knew I was going to be in good hands and would get all the pre-race prep done efficiently and on time. This reduced every bit of stress. 

I wasn’t nervous since they took care of everything.
I was in awe of the place.
I grew up one hour north of Lake Placid in Plattsburg so it was a bit of a coming home for me. 
All the history of the Olympics was inspiring, being in the Olympic Oval and knowing I would finish in it, was pretty emotional.
The day before the race was the Nash Family Reunion and I got to meet Mark’s family. They were so happy to be there and I felt a part of the family instantly.
Mark handed out shirts to everyone (every year he designs a shirt for all the sherpas and spectators) and thanked them for coming out to cheer.

Race Day:
The swim was fantastic. No fighting for space, no kicks in the gut or face, just swimming my race. The water was a perfect temperature – 73 degrees, clear and calm. I didn’t have to sight as much since I could see people next to me and just followed them in the right direction. After the first lap I felt pretty good and didn't pushed the pace.
The wetsuit strippers were amazing. Since I have such back pain after swimming I asked them to help me up after they got my wetsuit off and the one man just grabbed my torso and I was up. Amazing.
In the shoot I saw many of our group cheering and it felt so good!
The bike was challenging. I knew I needed to pace myself for the hills so I tried to recover on the downhills.  The uphills were intense, especially the 10 miles heading back to Lake Placid but I felt okay on the first loop. The second loop my left foot started bothering me, thinking it was from my inserts. But looking back I think that is when the swelling started from the heat and dehydration. 
The course is really beautiful and everyone said to be sure to look around, but I didn’t really look around. I just biked like I always do. I was happy to see Mark a few times and I tried to keep up with him, but he took off and I didn’t see him again until the run.
I saw my Mom, Dad and Carol, my mom’s sister from Pennsylvania, a few times. I was so happy they came to see me.
The run did me in. I knew it was going to be slow. My feet hurt and it was hot. The crowd cheering was amazing. Knowing I would see our team made me run more than I wanted, which is a good thing. I started to walk a lot and knew I was never going to make my goal and I was going to be closer to a 14 hour finish. I was completely bummed out. 
I just kept moving forward. I started to talk to people. 
I started talking to a man who was wearing a shirt that said “Cancer survivor”. At first we talked about our race and other races we had finished. Then, I knew I couldn’t keep walking. I asked him if he would play my running game with me. I would pick a spot ahead and we would run to it. He was game. Then he told me about cancer. This race was his redemption race. He would finish; even if it took him 17 hours despite having 11 and 12-hour Ironman races in the past. We knew we had to run more so I started picking objects farther in the distance.
Finally after the last out and back we ran to the finish. I heard my Dad yell – Go Kristen – as I dropped my wings cover shirt and almost tripped. I saw my Mom and Carol just before the finish. I saw Than and Kathy.
I finished and got my medal.
I went into the food area and Than pointed out where Mark was sitting. Mark and I sat and talked about our race. My slowest Ironman ever – Mark’s too. We were happy to finish, but.


 I got up to go meet our team and I looked over to people cheering and a sea of green shirts were cheering wildly! Mark looked over and I was happy again. Wow. 
My sadness of my time slipped away and the accomplishment set in.
We sat and talked to everyone. Than grabbed my mother’s arm from the finishing area and guided her to sit next to me. She was so proud of me. We talked and took a photo.

This is what matters.

Family and friends sharing an important day.

I will always remember this day. Always.

What does it all mean?
I didn’t achieve the time goal I set out for myself on July 24.
But I didn’t do the training I set for myself either.

This is the all-important Life/Career/Sport take-away:

I cannot expect to the have the results I want when I don't put in the time required to reach a goal. 

However, I was able to toe the start line and finish a race in one of the most beautiful places in the US – Lake Placid, New York.

I got to meet an amazing group of people from Mark’s family who reminded me how important it is that family supports family.

My Mom and Dad got to see me finish an Ironman for the second time.

I got to spend time with Mark who shares so many of the same goals that I have. I simply enjoy being with him for a few days a year for a Racecation. He is able to calm me just with his presence. I’m so thankful he is in my life. 

Mostly I am grateful. I am grateful for my health so I can do these races. And, I am grateful for my family and friends who support me in my endurance goals.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you Kassandra. What a day. Knowing you and so many were following me kept me going too!

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  2. I am so happy to have met you. You are such a real person...so down to earth. You inspire; I am only one of many you inspire. WTG, Ironman!

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  3. Awesome write-up!

    Kathy & Than

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  4. Great writing! Loved reading it...

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  5. I will have you in my thoughts for 14+ hours next weekend, Kristin. I know you had a time time goal for this race and I know how you must have felt when you saw it slipping away from you, but in that moment you did what an Ironman does, you kept moving forward. I can't tell you how much inspiration you will bring to me in Boulder. Congratulations on this Lake Placid achievement!!!

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