A few months ago, Stephen Patterson, who attended my undergraduate university -- Saint Lawrence - contacted me for some advice for his first Ironman in Lake Placid, I sent him some thoughts and tips - here is the e-mail he sent me after the event...
Wow...is the only way to describe this past Sunday's race. I'm not sure if it has actually hit me that I completed an Ironman, but the way my legs feel is a pretty good indication of it. The few days leading up to race day were incredible and very stressful from all the meetings and check-ins to even studying the weather map with fingers crossed.
The weather Saturday before the race didn't help the stress level - frantically constructing a makeshift rain coat for my bike in the pouring rain and running around in the "swamp" that the transition area had become; plus it was hard to check out everyone's bikes hidden under tarps. Surprisingly, I had a great night of sleep the night before the race but woke up to continued drizzle. I was nervous for the first time as I walked from the transition area to the start of the swim, but once I put on my wetsuit and headed into the water I became quite calm despite everything around me.
Once I was in the water I was very excited and couldn't help the big smile that came across my face. I was so psyched! I finished the first lap in 32 minutes without too many issues, one kick in the face and a punch in the eye, and was out of the water for good in 1:08.
The rain stopped and the sun came out half way through the bike, and by the time the bike portion was finished it had become a truly great day for racing. By the time I hit the marathon I was feeling pretty good - I think I nailed my pacing and nutrition perfectly and I was faster than I had expected on the first lap, but I was starting to hurt pretty good.
The second lap was a grind and I slowed down some, but kept a fairly steady pace. The last mile and a half was torture but I pushed through and finished in 11:52. Like almost everyone I'm sure there are places and times where I could have gone harder but I was really happy with my performance for my first Ironman.
Thanks so much for your positive wishes and advice leading up to my race, I really appreciate it. I hope all is well.