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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pre Placid check in!

Well, somehow I turned into the world's worst blogger in the past month+!  At some point, I did intend to write up a Mooseman race report, but honestly, the race was fairly anti-climatic- I was in the middle of a build, and it was just...ok.  My swim wasn't what I wanted, my bike felt rough, and somehow, I still pulled a run out, long story short.  I threw a self pity party for a few hours, and then manned up, got back on the training horse, and felt better the week after than I had at any point during that race.  Anyways.  Life went on.  I survived my overload weeks, enjoyed some time at the QT2 Lake Placid camp, got very behind and finally caught up again on my work paperwork (minus the discharges, but that's always a losing battle), joined the smart phone world (I don't think I can ever go back), did the minimum amount of laundry required to be a non-disgusting person, and, in my rare moments of free time, pulled weeds  in my garden, picked raspberries, and planted flowers, because my social life solely includes plants these days.  I now find myself within the ten day forecast of IM Lake Placid; i.e., the "A" race that I shook and cried a bit after hitting the registration button for last year, before the whole pro thing was even on my radar. 
Photographic proof of the misery of my Mooseman bike I ready?  In the past several weeks, I've gone through the whole gamut of emotions and feelings-excitement, nervousness, happiness, misery, irritability, fatigue, flat-out exhaustion, satisfaction, and finally, acceptance.  Acceptance that this is going to happen, and that I've done everything I can to prepare myself physically.  I've done all the work I've been told to do, I've pushed, I've held back, I've spent longer on a bike than I spend at work some days, I've gotten up at 5am four days a week for months to drag myself to the pool and do something that I honestly still can't really get myself too excited for, I've learned how to dissociate and focus all in one, I've run more slowly to race more quickly, I've trained myself to stomach more Powerbar Perform and gels than I ever cared to consume, I've developed a taste for Powerbars, I've learned that as much as I think I've shelled myself on the bike, within five minutes of running, my legs are back, I've been close to crying at towards the end of long rides, because I was doing it, I was going to make it, and I've even sang more rounds of "99 bottles of beer on the wall" in my head than I care to admit.  

    During my overload weeks, my excitement and motivation seemed palpable, Placid seemed real (spending a few days at camp there during them helped, of course).  In the recovery week that followed, though, reality set in.  The fatigue I'd built up was not dissipating, I felt fat and sluggish, and my old enemy, the bad left hamstring and glute that had driven me into triathlons in the first place three years ago was flared, badly, to the point where I was dreading having to limp through runs, wincing a bit during rides, and grabbing the pull buoy during swims.  After 49 weeks of holding up, it decided to get me during the very last run of my overload week.  My excitement faded quickly.  Luckily, I can (tentatively) now say I'm feeling better, and I have confidence that next week's taper, along with other treatments will get me to the start line ready to roll.  My workouts haven't been spectacular lately, but they probably aren't supposed to be so, anyways.  I can't say that I feel rested yet, but I keep reminding myself that this has been the case for all of my best races- it'll take until race morning for me to wake up and have that snappy, ready to pop feeling.  Of course, I trust QT2 systems, and I trust my coaches.  And so, after a couple weeks off, Placid seems real again, and the excitement is returning.

   As for the emotional side of it, Lake Placid itself has always held some sort of mystique for me.  The town itself, to me, signifies athletic feats and the power of the underdog.  My first experience with Placid came back in 1998, when, as an inexperienced little 14 year old high school freshman, my cross country teammates and I set our sights on a sectional title, which would allow us to compete at the state championships in, of course, Lake Placid.  We then spent the entire season losing to Fairport, but we didn't give up hope at any point.  Sure enough, on a cold November Saturday, our little PXC family believed in ourselves enough to pull off the upset.  Somewhere, I still have a picture of us immediately after that race, wrapped in the Lake Placid scarf one of our parents had brought, laughing and crying all at once.  Of course, at the state meet itself, we performed, well, pretty horribly, but that hardly mattered.  I'd then return there twice that year (my parents fell in love with Placid when they came up to watch us and brought me back once; I then went up for a running camp over April break), and once again the next winter, each time having a fantastic visit.  
PXC '98, at Lake Placid States, after beating the pink section team (and only the pink section team, if I recall correctly).  Look how little and cute we all were!  I'm entirely unsure why I'm leaning so far forward.  But I do know why Christine is holding her stomach.  Awww....
    And then, I took a bunch of years off of Placid.  As I began my first full tri season in 2010, I recognized that there was an Ironman there, something that seemed totally incomprehensible to me at the time, as I had just finished my first half at that year's Musselman, running myself up to second place.  I watched the online coverage that year.  I couldn't tell you who won, but Cait Snow running herself up to second place left an imprint on my mind, for obvious reasons at the time.  A month later, with only a few days to enjoy off after our wedding (I had just started a new job), Dave and I headed there for what became our actual honeymoon (don't get Dave started on that story...I still owe him a Hawaii trip...hopefully someday...).  In Hansen style, we got in our first argument as a married couple when we rode a loop of that bike course.  Dave was still on one of his first long rides (back in the glory days when I could outbike him) and hadn't brought enough fluid; as usual, per my style, I got annoyed that we had to stop (he's always thirsty).  The loop included me riding the brakes in horror down into Keane, topping out at maybe 25mph, and Dave walking up Papa Bear (I will never, ever allow him to live this down.  When we were up there last weekend, he dropped his chain on Papa Bear, so I still got to give him a hard time that he again had to stop on the hill.  I take what I can get these days).  I became more intrigued that anyone could do that twice.  And yet, less than a year later, never having ridden more than 82 miles in my life, I again watched friends (and plenty of strangers) finish online, and found myself completely inspired and at the computer at noon the next day.  Of course, the rest is history.  (As an aside, even with the rest of the season playing out as it had and it wouldn't have mattered anyways, I'm glad that I had that sitting online at noon, taking my chances on registration experience for my first Ironman.  There's something to be said for the shaking hands and wondering "will I get in"? experience).  
Dave and I, all newlywed and happy and at the top of a mountain

Dave, in the middle of walking up a mountain, similar to how he had walked up Papa Bear earlier that day.  I will never let Dave live that moment down.  Ever.  
    So now, we're almost there.  Lake Placid represents my underdog experience, and it represents the marker of how far both Dave and I have come, with QT2 to guide and mold me along the way.  Having Placid as my first Ironman just seems natural, at this point.  I don't know what next weekend will bring; despite all of my preparation, there are no guarantees.  I'm in charge of controlling what I can control-my paces, my power, my heart rate, my nutrition, my effort (this includes getting my head out of my ass and freaking swimming).  The rest will come.  I'm in a good spot (or so I'm told).  Honestly, I'm most nervous about the darn bottle handoffs, at this point (ha!).  With that, I'm sure that every day this week will bring a further dose of nerves and reality, especially as we head up on Thursday.  Until then, rest and recovery (and continued caffeine deprivation!) will be key, as a year comes down to a single day!
Signs it's Ironman week-I impulse bought this.  Lots of good stuff to remember next Sunday in there, though.
Just thought that something from my garden should make it in here.  I try pretty hard at my garden.  It makes is that not rewarding?

Goodies for the race wheels (and my stomach) from're awesome, check out the site!


  1. I have been thinking about this for several years and I am taking a chance with this and I hope you understand. I live in Lake Placid, Pine Hills behind Lisa G's, and it is really difficult to relate to all of the thousands of people who come here and I'Man it and I've would like to experience the emotions of knowing someone who participates. I grew up in Lake Placid and the whole thing seems rather remote for me as everyone shows up and does there thing and I hear the "you are Ironman" announcements on the night of the event and I have been up to the finish at 11:00 PM and it is simply amamzing what the human body can do and i am would like to follow your progress thru the whole thing, either online thru friends and relatives or , well you get my drift in this. I think it would be really , cool? I just googled Ironman 2012 and picked your blog at random, although being your first I'man made it stand out.
    cell 802 839 9090
    work 518 891 5560
    home 518 891 9817

    and I hope I am not being to intusive.

    Russell LaHart

  2. Good luck in the race. You've got some great race times here.

  3. Kick some butt out there tomorrow- Jennie!!!! You will rock it! We will be cheering in front of the Courtyard Marriott. My daughter wants your autograph :) -Amy Aken

  4. I am not regeting finding this blog and you and am following you 7/22 at IMLP and man are you doing great and you even had a bio on the I'man blog just now whata great day for you and I am glad for you.

  5. were you aware of you status when you were closing in on 1st place ruunner?

  6. 12 to 16.5 was faster,what? good looking guy up ahead?

  7. oh watching on IM athelete tracker video

  8. I missed you crossing and that's to bad, anyways nice race!!!

  9. Thanks Russ! Many thanks to you and your town for putting on one heck of an event, and being so welcoming and supportive of all us athletes taking over-you guys know what you're doing, and made this a truly awesome adventure!

  10. I may play (I've found this with my runner patients, as well) I'm completely invested in their outcome.