Celebrating 5 years of Ironman participation

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They’re off!

Best-friend Mona here serving as your guest blogger for the day! I’ll be trying to update periodically.

First and foremost let’s talk weather. The weather situation is a bit tentative at best. Forecast calls for rain in the afternoon through the evening. This is starting to remind me of spectating at the 2008 IMLP! I’m still hopeful the rain will hold off. This was the view this morning as Sara was getting marked.

Sunrise over Lake Placid

Sunrise over Lake Placid

That’s about all for now. Sara has shared some of her racing goals with you all, and again I’ll be updating as I can. If I can make one recommendation to any of you tracking more than one athlete – you MUST download IronTrac ($0.99) for the iPhone. You can input several bib numbers and track to your heart’s content.

I will leave you with a few pictures for now.

Snow in Lake Placid... always...

Snow in Lake Placid… always…

The bike transition yesterday

The bike transition yesterday

This morning en route to drop off special needs bag

This morning en route to drop off special needs bag

Sara, Sara and Daphne

Sara, Sara and Daphne

Swim Start

Swim Start

Off they go!

Off they go!

See you all in a few hours! Race strong!



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Participating vs. Racing

Typical Conversation with Triathlete Friends:

Me: Are you racing the Monte Rio Olympic?

Tri Friend: “I’m participating!”

Participating vs. Racing – why do we make such a clear distinction?  It’s a signal to whether we feel we’ve trained enough, what our goals are, and how we think we measure up to the competition.  Sometimes a race is just for fun – an excuse to hang out with friends.  Other times, you’ve been training hard and want to push it. For years, I’ve been in the “participating” camp.   Next week at IMLP, I will be racing.

I’m planning to race against myself.  Can I beat the younger, yet rather inexperienced, version of me who participated in the 2008 race?  Have I honed in on that competitive spirit a little more?  Can I hold that edge, and even push it a little more?

I put forth some goals at the start of this training season and asked you to help keep me accountable.  Thanks to a great group of friends (Ironminxes!), I think I’ve done the work on the bike and run.  

So, here’s the comparison to watch on race day – Sunday, July 28th

Sara @IMLP 2008 Sara’s Goals @IMLP 2013
Swim 1:06:00 1:10:00
Bike 7:13:47 6:45:00
Run 5:17:46 4:55:00

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The Art of Being an Ironman Spectator

Guest Post by Miriam Strope!IMLP 2008_Parents

I will be watching my daughter Sara compete in her fourth IM race this July in Lake Placid, NY.  As a seasoned Ironman spectator (IMLP 2008, IM MOO 2009, and IM Canada 2011), and as a principal cheering team member I’d like to share some tips I have learned:

  • Be ready for ANY TYPE of WEATHER, regardless of what tourist information says is average for the host city!
  • Read the Ironman Athlete’s Guide – posted on the race website.
  • Find the “Getting Around on Race Day” information. Each sponsoring community usually publishes a little newspaper with details
  • Plan ahead and pick viewing spots based on maps and your participant’s expectations of the course.
    IMLP Rain Crewabout traffic, parking, and more.

        • You want to see your racer  – and they want to hear and see you! [Yes, that is usually my mom with the cowbell and school bell]
        • See if the host city encourages signs along the route. In Madison, they encouraged spectators to write chalk messages along specific streets. [you might be able to make signs the day or two before the race in the athlete village]
        • Pick the spot where you will meet your “finisher” after the race.

    IMLP Final Crew

    • Have a copy of all of your racer’s important information.
    • Study the host city and scout where you will be parking your car, eating, resting, and sight -seeing or just hanging out while your athlete is on the course. Madison had a great Farmers Market, and so did Penticton. Lake Placid has a vibrant Main Street with lots of shops and restaurants as well as Olympic village museums and sites to see. Who expects ice on the street in front of the Olympic Ice Hockey rink?
    • Why the above is important – Spectators may be spending the same 12 – 14 hour day outside and on your feet.  You won’t have stations along the way for hydration or snacks, so be prepared and bring some water, sun screen, snacks –  or know where you can go to get food, water, snacks or cool off. Remember the race is on Sunday, so check what is usually open and when things usually close. Some merchants extend their hours during the IM race or as in Penticton encouraged us to stay and simply stayed open longer. Sometimes costs are high.
    • Be ready to do a lot of walking. If our support team can, we try to stay within walking distance of the start and finish lines.
    • Be sure that your cameras, Smart phones, battery chargers (yes bring more than one) are working.
    • Ability to text really improved our participation and communication with others, and with those supporters who could not get to the IM race location.


4th of July – Ironman Style

We escaped to Napa/Sonoma for some 4th of July celebrating.  Here’s how to celebrate the 4th like an Ironman in Training!

1. 40 mile bike ride along the Silverado Trail.  90+ degrees.  Paceline for 20 miles, average speed 19-20 mph.



2. Swim in a Lake. New find: Spring Lake Regional Park!  

Spring Lake Park

3. FEAST!  Family style picnic at SpoonBar!, music by Easy Leaves Duo, Fireworks – Healdsburg Plaza.  Done!

Easy Leaves Duo








Fourth of July Menu

1st course
Chilled watermelon + verbena
Chopped salad
Corn bread + smoked honey

2nd course
Slow roasted spare ribs, sesame, BBQ sauce, scallions
Crispy fried chicken, jalapeno mash
Baked Rancho Gordo beans, roasted + picked pigs head, herbs
Roasted corn on the cob, lime, queso fresco, arbol chili
Fingerling potato salad, pickled onions, mustard, aioli

3rd course
A picnic basket of cheese, sour dough, summer fruit preserves
Chilled berries


Ride Report: Giro di Pacifica

10,000 ft of climbing + 100 miles + 106 degrees = Giro di Pacifica Century Ride.

I joined my friend Katya (also racing LP – and she also lived in Delmar!), a few of her friends, and my friend Rachel for this organized bike ride around the South Bay.  The ride started in Pacifica, went down the coast along Rt.1 to Pescadero, then climbed over the mountains towards Palo Alto (view full route).  While we’ve cycled these roads before, this was a new overall route and we were excited about a fully supported ride (aid stations, SAG support).

The Highlights:

Not only did we go through the new Lantos “Devil’s Slide” Tunnel on Rt. 1, but Katya’s friends won the “First Through the Tunnel” option and the small group of us got the whole tunnel to ourselves.

I discovered POTATOES.  When you cannot stomach another cliff bar or Gu, try a boiled potato!  White potatoes have a high glycemic index so they provide a quick energy burst and are easy to digest.  They even keep in your jersey pocket.   I’m thinking about adding some to my special needs bag for IMLP.  Overall potato intake: Roughly 7 halves of small white potatoes.

I remembered to DRINK while climbing.  I made it up Alpine road – the toughest 7 mile climb on the route – with no trouble, thanks to my consumption of nearly 2 bottles of sports drink.  Much better than my attempt at Brockway Summit in Lake Tahoe with half a bottle of GuBrew that left me ready to vomit.

The Challenges:

The HILLS… never… ended.  There was a climb on Pescadero Creek Road leading up to Alpine.  There was a good climb between the aid stations at miles 65 and 80.  Oh, and just when we thought we were done – in Pacifica, turning back onto Rt. 1 with a mile to go – yup, you got it, one more little hill.

The heat.  Seriously.  106 degrees?  As one other cyclist said after our major descent, “It felt like I was cycling straight into a hot hairdryer.”  Most of the aid stations had no shade or tents.  I don’t know why I keep cycling in this heat.  Right now, it’s close to flooding in the Lake Placid region.

Finally, the organizers did a pretty good job, but I do have to say it was disappointing that one aid station was not set up as planned and the aid station at mile 80 had run out of sports drink.

I’m hoping I can get in another 100 miles+ this coming weekend, with a lot less heat and hills!

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30 Days until IMLP 2013

I went to Lake Placid over Memorial Day Weekend and picked up a few tips that will be good to know for race weekend – just a month away!

1. The road conditions on Rt. 73 heading out of LP towards Keene are a little rough, but the rest of the roads on the bike route are in good shape.

2. There’s a new hotel going up next door to the Lake Placid Brewery. It’s a Hampton Inn and is open for the race weekend.

3. Lake Placid Brewery now has a third floor! With a kids play room and a big room for private parties

4. Bluesberry Bakery on Main St will make things (like maple walnut scones) special order if you call ahead!

5. There’s a new grocery store in town. Hannaford is across the street from Price Chopper now.

6. Placid Planet Bicycle shop will be open 24 hours a day during race week

And, hopefully, we won’t see any of this weather we saw in May:

Snowy May Lake Placid