It seems that every time I post, which clearly isn’t often, I'm starting with "it's been awhile" or "apologies for the blogging hiatus". I’d like to jot some thoughts down about this summer since it’s labor Day already and summer is apparently over, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Let’s begin with IMLP. In fact, I’m going to break this summer up into a few posts since I have quite a few memories. Baker and I went up to coach and spectate and drink some Ubu. Besides some of the antics that make this annual event fun for us, like heading up without hotel reservations, it’s always fascinating to me observing the race and racers. Being in this sport for quite awhile, Rob Straz and I often joke that we are just bitter old bastards who are annoyed by the compression wearing, everyone-thinks-they-are-way-faster-than-they-are, talkin the talk present athletes. I happened to coach a group of 14 who raced LP and who proved Straz and I wrong for sure. One thing that I love about ironman racing is that IM racing is truth serum, just like over imbibing is. It shows who has done the work, who hasn’t, and it particularly shows this to the athlete themselves. When we finish an Ironman, we should be extremely proud. 99% of the population can’t even fathom what we have just done. An ironman is really hard! Yet, as we train, we begin to build expectations. Some of these expectations can be grandiose. But I’d rather see most swing for the fence than play it safe all the time. We also tend to hang around with other tri-geeks and so we take for granted the fact that what we are competing in is quite a feat. It’s a long day that will run you through the mill. It’ll show you fun parts, but it’ll definitely show you very hard, very low, very shitty parts of yourself. When we finish slower than we expected, 99% of the time we know exactly why. We can try to convince ourselves that it was nutrition, weather, or something… More than often when a race turns out slower than we’d like or when we don’t finish it, we either didn’t prepare properly or paced wrong, simple as that. As I said, the truth can be hard. I won’t turn this into a lecture on proper IM training but let’s just say that if you train at 16 mph on the bike all the time and run at 9 minute mile pace most of the time, how can you expect to ride at 20mph and run at 8 min/mi on race day? What I love about an IM is that it’s shown me exactly who I am, and I can tell exactly who others are by watching them race an IM. People often say this about a round of golf, but an IM shows your true personality that much more.
Two of the most memorable moments of IMLP 11’ however were the following:
The Molson family once again hosting a Friday night pre-race party/dinner for my athletes and friends. They have done this the past few years and it’s always a fun time – this year was exceptional. It wasn’t the food (which was awesome; tenderloin tips and grilled halibut with multiple pasta and rice salads), but more so the group of athletes, with their families, convening at Jeff’s lake house. It was just a very comfortable, genuine, fun group. The kids were paddle boarding and rowing on Mirror Lake and playing lacrosse while the adults relaxed and enjoyed some non-race-stress time. This sure beats any race carbo dinner that I’ve ever been to. Jeff and his wife Antoinette were way overgenerous. I do question their intelligence though as they even had Baker and I back the next night for dinner?. This night made me really appreciate the group of athletes that I worked with for this race this year.
The other was a small thing, but one that I loved. Baker has been out of it this year. He ebbs and flows with his training. I push him hard because I know that it’s not only good for him, but it spills over into his everyday life in a positive way. He was nervous about this trip because he was not in great shape and knew I was going to challenge him a bit. I mainly just advised him to get out there each day and do something on his own. Saturday, July 23rd was Baker’s birthday. I told him he should ride down 86 and up to the toll booth, then take these back roads we ride at camp which are beautiful – he felt this was a solid idea. We both headed out around the same time on our bikes but at different paces and with different goals for the day originally. Baker sends me a text a while later saying “I’m on top of whiteface” with a picture of the summit. On paper, he wasn’t in shape to do this climb, yet he did it, and I have to say I was not surprised yet quite proud of him. He’s mentally one of the toughest bastards I know yet at the same time doubts himself significantly. If you happen to read this Baker, don’t let it go to your head – but very well done! Way to walk the walk.
Lake Placid appears to be in a political turmoil with the future of this race. The bureaucratic WTC combined with bitter yet dependant local Lake placidites makes a sticky situation, one that I feel can be easily worked out and hopefully will be. It would be a real shame to see this race go away. I have been fortunate enough to witness most of the domestic Ironman’s and Lake Placid is the top of the food chain here, leaving Hawaii out.
Bye for now.