2015 IM Lake Placid - behind the scenes part 1

This race experience was extra special because we had all of our Trimarni athletes in one house (except for Heidi who was with her family/friends just a few houses down - super convenient!). 

With two of our athletes doing their first Ironman, we could not have asked for a better venue for our athletes to enjoy racing for 140.6 miles.

I rented a large house for our group of 10 which was off Greenwood, just about .6 mile from Main Street.  We had several side streets to walk on which was  nice to avoid any busy roads. 
We were less than 1/2 mile from the local grocery store (Hannaford) and it was easy for everyone in our group to get to downtown by foot. 

Our 3-floor rental home had a lot of character. There were a lot of updates inside the home but a lot of old features like claw foot tubs, creaky wood floors and lots of decorative features. Needless to say, we loved this house because it always was the topic of conversation for our group.
Campy, of course, loved his fenced-in backyard. 

Now I will say that our kitchen was amazing! We would all gather around the island and drink coffee/eat and chat in the morning and throughout the day.
We also had an industrial sized refrigerator and freezer which we had no problem filling up on a daily basis. 

It was great to be there with our athletes as a spectator. Although I was on the sidelines on race day, I still felt as if I was one of the group on the days leading up to the race. I had a great time training in Placid for my mini training camp and being around the positive energy from our crew. 

Adam, Mike, Karel, Joe and me before our first swim in Mirror Lake. 

Mirror Lake is unbelievable - not just because of it's backdrop but there is a cord under water that is visible while you are swimming so that you can just follow the line without getting off course. There are small buoys lined up in the lake so this makes for a very easy-to-navigate swim course. Plus, the rectangle swim has two turn buoys that are just about 25 meters from one another so the swim is literally and out and back course with little to no chop. The water temp was around 72 degrees but with a wetsuit, it was comfortable if not warm at times. By Tues, when the temperature increased from mid 70's race weekend to 90's, we swam with only our speedsuits. 

Another great feature of Lake Placid is the bike-friendly roads no matter where you are staying. With the course being a two loop course from Placid to Keene (from the ski jump side) to Jay/Upper Jay to Wilmington and back up to Placid on the Whiteface mountain side, you will always see athletes out on the course training or gearing up for the race. I rode the course twice (75 miles on Thurs and 56 miles on Saturday) and I never felt alone out there. 

It was great for Karel and I to help out our athletes as needed on the days leading up to the race. There is so much to do before an Ironman that it is easy to get overwhelmed to race for 140.6 miles. 

Our athletes were super prepared, physically, going into this race as Joe, Adam, Mike and Heidi put in the work and made huge gains in fitness over the past 8-9 months. 

As for the "sherpa's" we had fun helping out as needed. 

Campy enjoyed his vacation and although he was exhausted on a daily basis from all the excitement, he could always be found in the kitchen on his comfy chair. 

Taylor (Adam's wife), Erica (Joe's wife) and Erin (Mike Girlfriend) were amazing. Whereas I was out training or with our athletes, these ladies did an exceptional job feeding the group. The meals were outstanding! 

Best sherapas ever! And THANK YOU Taylor for all of these great pictures!! You are a great Trimarni photographer!

It was so fun to make so many memories with our group. 

And to share so many experiences together....especially for our first timer Ironman athletes, Adam and Mike. 

Saturday came quick and it was time for everyone to check in their bikes and Bike and Run gear bags. 

Later that evening, Taylor made Mdot sugar cookies...for our Ironman athletes to enjoy post race. 

Did I mention that we loved hanging out as a group in our house?

When the guys were in bed on Saturday evening, we had fun decorating signs. 

And doing our nails - Trimarni Jamberry nails! 

Oh I almost forgot - Friday night was Pizza and Pasta night! A tradition of mine - shared with the group at IM Lake Placid. 

Stay tuned for part 2 of the behind the scenes recap of 2015 IM Lake Placid - race day!!

Thank you again Taylor for these amazing pics!! 


Be strategic - quitting doesn't have to be an option

Hello Trimarni followers!!
We are back from Lake Placid!! What an amazing trip!

If you were not following along on my Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition Facebook page, I will catch you up on how race day went for our athletes in my next blog.

But for now, I want to share a few tips on how to approach race day when you are faced with a situation that makes you question your desire, ability or motivation to continue.
We have all been there when race day doesn't go as planned but I can assure you that most of the time, quitting will not make the outcome any better. 
You just need to learn how to be strategic with these tips:

1) Unless you are injured or health is compromised, quitting is not an option
Far too many times, I hear of athletes (not Trimarni athletes of course) who drop out of races because the race day is not going as planned. Perhaps the body feels flat, the weather is not ideal or an obstacle arises on race day. Whatever the case may be, I never want you to believe that quitting the race is the best option (unless health is compromised - then you must be smart enough to stop). These athletes assume that if they quit, that there will be another race in the near future that they can sign up for and that race will bring a better performance. Let me tell you that in long distance racing, there is so much out of our control on race day and it is not easy to arrive to the start line with a healthy body and mind. If you are ever in a position when your race day is not going as planned, do not convince yourself that quitting your race and signing up for another race will then give you the perfect race. You didn't train hard just to quit. 
You never know what can happen on race day and this includes even after the fact, when the race isn't going as planned. Many times, we remember the races where we didn't quit and those race make for inspiring and motivational performances. 
I can assure you that it is the races when you feel like there is no way that you can finish or the race is just not going as planned, that you will experience one of the most proudest moments of your life. You will never ever regret a finish but you will really remember the finish when you were once a second away from turning in your chip and calling it a day. 

2) Readjust your goals
How many times have you seen/heard athletes who had a perfect race? Karel and I may have looked like we had perfect races at IMWI because we both reached our Kona qualifying goal and placed top ten overall amateurs and 3rd AG but let me assure you that there were many behind the scene moments for us both that made the race extremely challenging, difficult and even impossible at times to continue to push on. 
As athletes, there will often be times when a place, performance or time goal will fade away as you are racing. When this happens, you have to readjust. Your only goal at that moment is to find a way to keep yourself motivated. Always have a secondary goal. It can be as simple as "just finish" or maybe the goal is to high five every child on the course, thank the volunteers at every aid station or cheer for every athlete that you see who is struggling... or come up with small immediate goals that only have you focusing on 10 minute segments at a time. Just because you are not going to achieve what you originally set out to achieve going into the race, this doesn't mean that your day is ruined. You must search really deep inside to find a way to continue to give a best effort to the finish line. 

3) Stop and figure it out. Now!
From my experience as a coach and as an athlete, the biggest mistake that an athlete can make on race day is not stopping to figure out issues right when they happen. Now I'm not talking about flat tires but instead, cramping, low moments, nutrition issues, breathing issues. Whatever the issue may be, there is no shame in stopping and figuring out the problem. The worst thing you can do is pushing through the issue because your ego won't let you stop because stopping is seen as "failing". Never assume that your issue will magically get better by ignoring it. You'd be surprised how much of a game changer (and life saver) it can be to stop and address an issue for 5-15 minutes than to carry on to find yourself struggling for 30-90+ minutes later in your race. 

4) Go to your happy place
You won't know this feeling until you do a long distance race but you will likely enter a dark, lonely place in your mind at some point (maybe more than once) during a long distance race. Sometimes you will be in this place and your effort is still strong whereas other times you may find yourself unraveling and questioning why you are even racing. Go to your happy place.
My happy place is Kona Hawaii. It is a place that I find myself very calm (even on race day) and I'm in my element surrounded by nature, the ocean and sea life. I just smile thinking about Kona.
Now think about the workout that you nailed in training and made you feel like a million bucks. Take your mind to your favorite bike or run route, where you no matter the workout, you are happy to train. How about friends and/or family who make you happy or your furry child who always makes you smile. We will all have highs and lows in races and they are very unpredictable. Visualizing a happy place will allow you to take your mind away from the moment as you continue to move your body forward and before you know it, you will be in a better place. 

5) Accept the situation - you don't have to like it
We will all experience a race where we wish for a different scenario. You may find yourself saying, "if only things were different." Well, sadly, the situation is what it is. You may not be able to change the situation, but you can change how you approach and handle the situation. 
No matter how sucky, horrible or miserable you are with your situation - whether it's not racing, not finishing, not having the race you imagined to have, having a flat tire (or two), dropping your nutrition or feeling off on race day - you have to come to the realization that life will go on. There will be more races. You will get through your situation and you will be OK. Many times, situations change a person for the worse. Athletes become bitter, mean and hostile. Whatever the situation may be, accept it. You don't have to like it but if are going to let it get to you, be sure that it makes you a better person in the long run. 


Ironman Lake Placid - Day 1-3

Day 1 - ThursdayIt was great to finally see Lake Placid. It was just 2 years ago when Karel and I shared our first Ironman race together in Lake Placid but now it's extra special as we have several athletes racing on Sunday. 

We started the morning with a 1 loop, 1.2 mile swim in the refreshing (72-degree) calm waters in Mirror Lake. It was nice to be able to settle into a rhythm and follow the cable under the small buoys. Several large buoys were set up which was great to be able to navigate on the actual Ironman race course. 

After the swim, it was time to get some food and Karel wasted no time to find the local European bakery. 

After we ate breakfast back in our rental home, Karel and I were off to ride 1 loop of the bike course minus the 2 out and back segments. Our ride was 44 miles and we averaged 19.4 (it was fun to sit on Karel's wheel for most of the ride - minus the descend into Keene in which Karel was nowhere in sight). 

After our ride, we picked up our athletes at the rental home as they just picked up their bikes via Tri Bike Transport and we were all off for a ride. 

We started the ride by showing the guys the run course and instead of making the turn around on River Road, we continued on and made a right onto 86 to head down to Wilmington. 

Karel gave a little talk about executing the 16+ mile "climb" (a mix of rollers) back to Lake Placid and then we all rode back up together. 

It's really important that our athletes have an opportunity to wake-up their legs a few days before the race so this was a welcomed ~90 minute ride for the group, following their morning swim. 

Karel and I ended up with 74 miles and a little over 4 hours of riding. 

Although I am not racing, our athletes have the best sherpas which prepared dinner...which was amazing in the evening. 

Roasted veggies and potatoes, orzo "pasta" salad, Greek yogurt and roasted carrots. YUM!

We just love our rental home. Plenty of room for our big group. 

And for dessert, banana raisin "cookies" - so good! Thanks Erica!!

Day 2 - Friday

The weather outlook from Thurs - Monday looked great in Placid but Friday was the only "off" day with the typical mountain weather mix of rain, clouds and sun. 
For day 2 of my mini Training camp, I started my morning with the guys at the lake for a swim. The guys were only doing 15-20 minutes and I had 2 loops planned. 
We started around 8am and the water was really comfortable despite a little crisp in the air. 

I just love swimming in this lake. I don't think I can compare it to anywhere else - the views, water conditions...just perfect. 

I settled into my rhythm rather quickly and enjoyed my 2.4 mile swim in 59.27 which was my fastest time for 2.4 miles in open water. But......it's not a PR until I can do it on race day :) 

After my swim, I met the guys at the expo and we all headed back to the house. 

As the guys were eating their post workout meal, I had a small snack before heading out on my long run for my second workout of the day. 

I ran 1 loop of the run course and finished with 12.5 miles in 1 hour and 45 minutes. I didn't have my phone so no pictures but I can assure you that the run is just as beautiful as the bike course. 

Later in the day, Karel gave a bike clinic for the guys and apparently, Campy was not impressed with all the bike talk. 

We had a little get-together of Trimarni nutrition and coaching athletes at our house from 4:30-6pm and it was fun to have everyone together, especially those who are doing their first IM in Lake Placid on Sunday. 

After our get-together and snacking all afternoon, it was time for our dinner at the house which was pasta and pizza and Caesar Salad.  Sorry no pics - we were so hungry! 

After our dinner, we walked .6 miles to Main Street for the athlete Opening Ceremony. 

By 9:30pm, everyone was ready for bed. 

Day 3 - Saturday

If you couldn't tell, I just love it here. I feel so relaxed in the mountains, especially when I am on my bike. I love the feeling of climbing, descending and taking in all of the scenery. 

Lake Placid provides plenty of beauty. Hopefully you can see why this race is so popular. 

For day 3 of my mini training camp, I rode 1 loop (including the 2 out and backs) for 56 miles on the race course. 

After the ride, I went for a transition run. I was only planning 6 miles or 45 minutes but I was really enjoying exploring some side roads so I ended up with 7 miles. My legs were happy so I didn't mind the extra mile. 

After a quick clean-up and food around 12:30pm when I finished my workout, it was time to walk downtown to the bike check-in. So excited for our athletes!! 

Now that is a great backdrop for a transition area!!

It was a bit warm out there so Campy found some shade in an expo booth. 

And to make sure us sherpa's are ready for Sunday, we did our nails - Trimarni-style!
(Thanks Trimarni athlete Kate for the customized Jamberry Trimarni nails)

So excited to be on the course tomorrow! 
It's going to be a special day for all of the athletes out there on the course.

As I always tell my athletes (and myself)...as long as you keep moving forward, you WILL get to the finish line!