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Ironman Lake Placid 2012: The Run – Geek Turned Athlete

Ironman Lake Placid 2012: The Run

I added more pictures to my swim and bike posts!!  Plus, here they are just in case you missed them the first time around. 😉

The Swim
The Bike

T2: 6:04

The volunteers took my bike from me, and I ran off to the porta potty for a quick pee before the run. Nothing came out. I was starting to get worried about my hydration. It was hot. Sweat was dripping off of me. I was happy to be off the bike though!!! I decided to change into my running shorts and my Team Blaze running singlet. I thought that I would be more comfortable this way. It turns out that after sweating salty nastiness for 112 miles on the bike, then running in running shorts is NOT a good idea. Case in point:


Yes, folks. This was the inside of my thighs the next day. Gross. And it hurt like a mofo during the race with the salt continuing to do its friction thing. I’m NEVER doing that again. I’m sticking with my tri shorts from now on! But I digress.

I told the volunteer in the changing tent that I wasn’t allowed to talk too much since the hubs was going to give me crap if my transition times were too long! He sounds like my coach, doesn’t he? I know if Coach Scott was alive, he would be giving me crap too so I tried to hurry along. Six minutes is still a little ridiculous. I changed, grabbed my Shot Bloks, and ran out the door.

The Run



My legs were H-A-P-P-Y to be running instead of on that bike! I took off at a 6:30 min/mile pace down the first hill. Yippie!!! That only lasted about 3 minutes until my legs remembered that they just got done cycling for 112 miles. Ha!

This was the run profile:


Can you say “hilly”? Yikes. My time at the 3 mile mark was around 29 minutes. I was excited about keeping this pace throughout. It seemed doable for 23 more miles.


Then, the leg cramps started up at mile 5. In fact, everyone seemed to be cramping.  I passed a few guys who were literally grabbing their legs and letting out screams of pain. It was a little dramatic, but to tell you the truth I kinda wanted to scream myself.

My pace slowed to an 11 min/mile pace. I was pissed. I kept telling my legs to go, but they wouldn’t. I told myself that I wasn’t allowed to walk unless I passed through an aid station, and those walks felt so good! The first few aid stations that I passed, I ate a few bananas in order to help with the cramps. They didn’t. My stomach starting getting really pissed off at me instead. Too much fructose.  I realized that I probably needed more sodium. The aid stations offered chicken broth, but I wasn’t sure if it was gluten free, and I didn’t need to be balled up on the side of the road in excruciating pain as well. So I skipped it. I was cursing the fact that I did not take any salt pills.

I walked up the horrible hill on my way back into town in tears. I was in pain and my mental state was slowing unraveling. I knew that I could run better than this. The cramps in legs were getting worse, and my left knee out of nowhere was starting to throb. My feet hurt. I saw Leah making her way down the hill starting her run.  She asked how I was doing looking very concerned, and I literally just sobbed out an answer.  I guess I looked pretty bad from the look on her face.

I walked some more at mile 12 with no aid station in sight. I DON’T normally walk where there are no aid stations. This killed me. I have never been in that much pain before. Living in Germany and Washington state where the highs in the summer rarely reach the 80’s did not prepare me for this weather in the 90’s. I’d never experienced muscle cramps like that before, and I don’t ever want to again. It was like permanent charlie horses for hours.  Lesson learned: Need to experiment with salt pills.

I felt like I had to go to the bathroom, so I sat in the porta potty for 7 minutes with lackluster results. When I returned to the road, my run was the “Ironman Shuffle.” This race was nothing like my IMAZ run!

I saw my husband on mile 13 and ran towards him. I was in a dark abyss-like hole dug so deep by my own personal berating that I hugged him and started crying. I whispered in his ear, “I’m SO slow right now. My legs aren’t working the way they are supposed to. My stomach hurts. My legs are cramping so badly. My knee hurts. I don’t want to do this anymore.”  If my husband would have said that it was alright to quit then and there, I just might of.

He whispered back in my ear, “Babe, you are doing fine! You are going to finish this thing. I love you so much. You can do this.”

I kissed him on the cheek, wiped the tears off my cheeks, and continued on my journey half limping, half shuffling, and more crying. After having some time to digest what my husband had said about a mile later, my spirits were lifted.

Survival mode began. Okay, so I can’t run, but I NEED to keep moving. A shuffle is better than a walk. Keep eating. Keep drinking.

I was passing groups of people walking (mostly men–Sorry guys, but you still are the majority at these races) with my 12 min/mile shuffle pace. There was a guy in front of me who was walking. I passed him with my shuffle, then he tried to run. Once he passed me, he started walking. I was still shuffling (no change in pace) when I passed him again. Then, he decided to run to past me again and start walking. Oh geez, are we going to do this again?? After about 4 rounds of this, he finally gave up and just walked. I saw him at the turnaround on my way back into town around mile 19, and he was waving one of the volunteers on a go cart down. He quit. I really don’t know what his deal was, but I thought to myself: I’m NOT quitting!!!


At around mile 20, I saw the “annoying draft boys” walking together about 5 miles behind me!!! It was an out and back course so you ran on opposite sides of the street going in opposite directions. I heard one of them say, “It doesn’t seem like she should be in front of us!!” Ha!!! It is really the small victories in a race like this that you can choose to give you a moral boost. A huge smile spread across my face as I shuffled along. Screw you, suckas!!!!!! Haha! And with that, I shuffled/hobbled up that horrendous hill that I walked up on the first loop. I’m not sure if it was faster at that point because my legs were cramping and felt like they weighed about 100 pounds each, but I didn’t walk.

About 2 miles from the finish, I was still hurting, but excited that this thing was going to be over with soon. I was trying to “Enjoy the Journey” as my coach preached, but goodness, what a day so far. Suddenly, the runner ahead of me let out a few toots, and I started laughing in my head.  I’m immature.  I’ll admit it.  Farts are funny.

Tooter: “Ope! Sorry, I don’t know who is behind me, and I can’t help it!”

Me: “No worries! This is an Ironman. It happens! Do you feel better?” Why do I have to be so awkward? haha

Tooter: “Actually, I do. Thanks!”

We wished each other good luck as I passed him. Ironman is funny like that. It is YOU against your body. You are telling your body to do crazy things, and sometimes it actually does them! Plus, triathletes can talk about poop all day long. It happens. Plus, it’s a long race. You shouldn’t be holding that in!

Anyway, a half a mile out, the cheers from the finish line got louder. I started crying again. Gosh dangit! Why can’t I be one of those people who don’t cry if they are happy, mad, or sad?

This day was different than IMAZ. I didn’t coast through the run portion here like I did in November. Granted this was a much harder course, but I’m a perfectionist, and all my training suggested at least a 13:15 time.

The cheers got even louder as I stepped foot on the finishing chute path. Chills took over my body. All the pain seemed to disappear for these few minutes. I was going to be an Ironman AGAIN. I needed to remember this.

All the training this year.

All the stress from moving across the country 2 weeks before this race.

All the “life changes” that I made/still making this year.

All the heartache with my coach passing away a few months ago had culminated into this one very moment…


I gave a kiss to Coach Scott up in the sky. This race was for him.


Obviously, my mind and body were done.


Run Time: 5:01

I gave everything I had on that day. Even though it didn’t turn out how I wanted it to or how my training predicted it would, I am proud of what I accomplished. And more importantly, I learned a lot from this race that I can apply to the next.


Of course, the next day I was very happy I didn’t quit at mile 13. Leah’s run didn’t go well either, but she became an Ironman that night too!


We are dorks!

Thank You’s

My Husband
As always, you are my rock. I’m so happy that I met you, and you agreed to marry me. I don’t know how that happened, but I’m grateful. 😉 Thank you for reminding me how strong I actually am!  I love you, babe!

You little planner, you! Thank you for suggesting that we do this race a few years ago while we were all living in Germany. I had fun hanging out with you and your friends the week before the race. Next time, we need to pick an easier race though! lol

Cheering Squad
Liz, Leah’s parents, Brenda, Linda, Patricia, Adam, Paige, and my beautiful niece and nephew, you all rock! You not only had to put up with one nervous bitchy triathlete, but two! It was so nice to see your smiling faces out there on the course. You all had no idea what you were getting into spectating for an Ironman, but you handled it very well! Thank you for believing in us!

Team Blaze
Thank you for believing in me and molding me into a better triathlete. I feel so honored to have met every one of you. You took me in like I was family, and you have no idea how wonderful that is considering how often my husband and I move. I love you guys!

Coach Scott
I know you aren’t here on earth anymore, but you still have an impact in other people’s lives. I’m hoping that I can spread the word of “enjoying the journey” to others. Life is too short to never get out of your comfort zone. Thank you for coming into my life. You have forever changed it.

My Readers!
I know that I lost touch with a lot of you over the last year, but I’m hoping you will still stick around for some new adventures ahead. Thank you for reading! I love and value your feedback, the good and the bad.  :)

{ 17 comments… add one }

  • Tiffany @ The TexAthlete August 14, 2012, 11:56 am

    Ugh. You made me cry. Lol I’m in love with your finisher’s photo. I think it’s perfect, with your spirit and intentions for this race.
    Tiffany @ The TexAthlete recently posted..A Rest Day, and A’ Shufflin’

  • Lisa August 14, 2012, 11:57 am

    OMG, what a great experience! I’ve been a little “off” on commenting so I hadn’t read about your coach passing – I’m sorry to hear that.

    It sounds like your coach did a great job though. You pushed yourself in the swim, you took risks, and of course, you had pain. But you finished!!! And what a great hubby to tell you exactly what you needed to hear at that moment.

    Well done :)
    Lisa recently posted..Clerk of the Works

  • Amy August 14, 2012, 12:32 pm

    What a great recap-i got weepy reading it :)

  • donna August 14, 2012, 2:05 pm

    Well look at that! You’ve gone and made me cry! That finishline photo made me so weepy. I’m going to have to steal it and put it on the Team Blaze facebook page :-) Another great job. Making it to the finishline is what it’s all about, and you managed to overcome so many obstacles along the way. So proud of you.
    donna recently posted..Catching up

  • Jess August 14, 2012, 2:17 pm

    You are nothing short of amazing. I cannot even begin to fathom what that run must’ve felt like alone, let alone back to back with a killer swim and bike before that. You seriously are incredible, I hope you know that!! I totally teared up too when I read what your husband whispered to you during your breakdown moment during the run. Just a beautiful testament to your relationship. I love it!! Congrats girl!
    Jess recently posted..We did this (18).

  • Quix August 14, 2012, 2:45 pm

    Thank you for another awesome IM recap. I love that you took chances on the swim (I am working on getting into the thick of it myself instead of hanging back). Love the finisher pic.

    And…farts are funny. I get incredibly loopy on long races too! :)
    Quix recently posted..Emerging

  • marisa August 14, 2012, 11:31 pm

    As always, I love reading your blog. Girl you are AMAZING in my book! Thanks for sharing your life with us, it always motivates me to keep running. BTW it’s in the high 80s all this week here…and it’s humid!! Not sure where this “Summer” weather is coming from.

    • Nicole August 16, 2012, 8:39 am

      Wow. That sucks! And you guys don’t have air conditioning over there! Go to the commissary to stick your head in the freezer. That is what I did on hot days!

  • Linda August 15, 2012, 5:54 pm

    Congratulations , on your finish at the Lake Placid Ironman, I cannot believe what you put your
    self thru to compete in one of these races. I am so in Aw on how you persevered to keep going
    even tho your body was shredded from the swim, bike and then that intense 26.2 run.
    I am so looking forward to what ever you are going to do next, I find it very interesting to learn
    about your training as you get ready, or just how you enjoy your New home and life in general,
    take care hope to see a blog soon.

  • Brian August 16, 2012, 5:17 am

    I think that was the best IMLP race story I have read so far. Great job and perserverance! Sorry to hear about your coach. Sounds like he is still pushing you anyway.
    Brian recently posted..Race Report: Steelman Olympic 2012

  • Carolina August 16, 2012, 8:06 am


    This is the first post I found on your blog and I loved it. It made me cry, made me feel your pain and boosted my self esteem with your words. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. I just started running half marathons in 2011 and I’m slowly working up the courage to try an IronMan.. this makes me feel like I really can do it. So thanks again.

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) August 17, 2012, 7:28 pm

    Congratulations! I’l admit that I teared up a little while reading your recaps. I know that Coach Scott would be incredibly proud of you.
    Katy (The Singing Runner) recently posted..From Runner To Triathlete?

  • Rachel Baumann August 22, 2012, 10:28 pm

    Nicole, I was finally just able to read your whole recap. You made me cry, you made me laugh…I miss you and am so sad we didn’t get to know each other more while you lived in Spokane. I will continue to follow your inspiring stories. Thank you!!

    P.S. How is the Paleo diet going?

    • Nicole August 23, 2012, 7:46 am

      Awe, thank you! I know, we moved just when those friendships were finally starting to come together unfortunately. As for the Paleo, I’m just about to post another recap this morning. 😉

  • steena October 28, 2012, 6:53 pm

    Congratulations! I’m signed up for my first Ironman in September 2013, I’m trying to read a lot of blog recaps, to prepare for the mental part of the day.
    That’s really sweet that you blew your coach a kiss at the finish. Amazing race you had!!
    steena recently posted..Training Tweaks and Observations

    • Nicole October 31, 2012, 7:05 pm

      Thanks, Steena!! You are going to do great! What Ironman are you doing?

      • steena November 6, 2012, 4:43 pm

        I’m doing Ironman Wisconsin… I live 2 miles from the start and finish, so, I kind of HAVE TO, right?
        steena recently posted..Tyranena Beer Run


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