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Race Report - Seth Chandler
This was my first Ironman however I hope that it is not my last. Some things in life unfortunately take a back seat and my family has reluctantly been there for the past 12 months and now it is there time. Some endeavors are extremely selfish and Ironman training may just take the cake.
I committed to sign up for Ironman Lake Placid the day after the race in 2006. I knew that I was going to be traveling and knew that I would not be near a computer that morning so I had Ali talk to her Active.com friends and get me the list of questions so that I could have Robin do the online registration in my absence. This proved to be just about as stressful as some of the training that I would do in the next 12 months. After 20 minutes of constant swearing into the cell phone as I drove through Bridgeport Ct, Arnold called me and said “I am in”. I had him call Robin and talk her through signing up. 5 minutes later she called me back and said “You owe me big time”.
Forward 12 months to Thursday before Race day:
Car is packed Wednesday night and I am looking to have a 9am departure from Duxbury. 8:30 and we are on the road, what a great way to start. Just into New York and the rain started and never let up until we got to Lake Placid. Arrive in lake placid and the place is alive with “fit” looking people. I am thinking that at this point, I am pretty calm, Robin may say otherwise but after 6hours in the car Robin, Brooke and I are ready to get out. I check in to Condo and get the keys. The place is great nice and big, clean and very close to downtown. I unpack the car and get things arranged and Arnold calls I ask if he wants to go for a swim, he declined and off I go to the lake for my swim. I am thinking this is going to be a piece of cake. One lap nice and easy, no one around me, cool off, relax and swim. About 500 yards into the swim I am hit with the first of about 10 foot cramps in the arch of my feet. Not good, how am I going to swim with these foot cramps. Anyway I am having a good time finish the loop in about 36 mins not bad with all the stretching I had to do from the cramps. I sighted of the famous “cable” that runs under the bouys and thought come race day that this is going to be such a huge help, as I am probably the worst sighter in the sport of Triathlon.
Friday Arnold and I do a short bike ride out the run course and out River road to the cherries and up the bears. Wow that was a piece of cake up those hills much easier than the time we went up in May to practice the bike and run. Back into town and go past the stadium lots of fit people around town.
Change and meet Arnold again this time to sign in for the Big Race. We go into the high school and there are lots of fit people waiting in lines so we give our names, weigh in (down to 208 still a Clydesdale) and proceed to purchase pictures of the finish (very optimistic). From that we go to the expo and purchase Ironman visors and other cool swag. Back to condo and make plans to go up and have dinner with Arnold, Lisa and Charlotte at the crown Plaza.
Saturday morning nice easy jog around the lake I had a 5 min run on schedule and it turned into a nice easy 4 mile (Lots of nervous energy). We ran into Beth and Cait who had just come from breakfast were they cleaned out the kitchen of a restaurant and were asked to leave after 3 hours of eating. Back to the Condo and Robin, Ali and Bob go play golf. Susan and Brooke are playing and I try and take a nap to rest. I think I do sleep but then Brooke wants to come and sleep with me so we just lay in bed and rest. Dinner that night is a big Pasta dinner that Susan and Robin and Ali make. Jenny and Greg and the “cousins” come over with my Mom and Arnold, Lisa and Charlotte come over. Dinner is great and I eat a ton of Pasta. 9pm and it is lights out for me.
Sunday morning 4am alarm goes off and I spring awake and go down stairs for breakfast. I have 1 ensure and 1 banana. I hit the head then take a shower. I make up all my Perpetuem drinks and put my special needs bag together. Another Ensure at about 4:45 and take a seat on the stairs of the condo. Robin comes down and sits next to me and I say to her that it is time to get into the car and go home. “Bullshit” she tells me that I am ready and that she has put up with my “bullshit” for 12 months and we are doing this together. Off I go to drop off my special needs bag put my drinks on my bike and get body marked. I check my tires and my front is flat. I consider a tire change but think that it may have just been the cold temp caused it to lose some air. I pump it up and hope for the best. I am very much at ease on this big morning. I know that I have done the hard part getting to the starting line healthy and now I just need to get through the day in one piece. Off to the swim start and Arnold and I see Mike Hardman on the lawn at the beginning of the Ladies Pro start. A few words with Mike and off we go to the water. We go out and sit on the dock with about 10 others and just chill out for the national anthem and then we dive in and get a good spot about 50 feet from the front and over about 50 feet from the dock.
Never once do I remember such a cool feeling of anticipation of sitting in the water floating waiting for the gun to go off. I knew that I needed to keep my head and that the swim is going to be rough. When the gun did go off I was never so uncomfortable than the next 33 minutes of the swim. I was in such a pack of people that I never saw the light of day. I was hit, punched, kicked, swam over, pulled, dragged, I swam on top of people, at one point A guy looks over at me and said “what the fuck” I thought that I was going to die more than 20 times. I never saw the “cable” the entire swim. When I was done with the first lap I needed to go wide to the right outside if I was going to get through the swim, not to mention the entire race. Out I went and I was very comfortable but slower. I am sure that I zig zagged a lot. I was 6 minutes slower on the second lap, but I needed it for me to maintain my sanity. I finished the swim in 1:12:46 a few minutes slower than I wanted but under the battle conditions I will take it. Out of the water to a wetsuit stripper and off to T1. I see Greg and give him High five and run to the oval. I find my bag go to the tent and find a seat. Get my self dressed and out I go. I see a guy putting on suntan lotion and he hooks me up. Out of the tent and there I see Susan and Robin I stop and give her a kiss and onto my bike which is waiting for me ($500 entry fee is money well spent for the quality volunteers). Out to the bike and feeling good to be alive. My watch is set to beep every 15 minutes and that is a blessing one last thing that I need to think about during the day when it beeps eat, drink and pop some pills. I took two bottles (4 hrs worth each) of perpetuem behind the seat, water in aero bottle up front and 25 endurolyte pills and 25 salt tablets. Beth had done sweat test several times and when she did my Nutrition plan I was to have 4 endurolytes and 3 salt pills every hour. At the first water stop I looked for Ali who in typical Ali fashion volunteered to give out water. I called her name she handed me a bottle and I dropped it. I grabbed another one and off I went. I got to the down hill and I was all over the place very squirrelly from the wind. I was not in the aero bars on the major downhill much this time. I felt it necessary to hold the horns so that I could get to the brakes if needed. The entire downhill sections I had visions of a front tire going flat but I managed to hit 49mph on the big downhill not sure what lap. I had a good group of riders around me the entire time this guy named Simon and some others. Only one annoying girl that kept saying “on your left”, pass then slow down only to do it again. From the down hill out to Hazelton road this girl did that. When I was about ½ mile from the turn around I saw Arnold and he was ahead of me. I thought wow he is ahead of me, the entire time I thought that I was ahead of him. I never once thought of trying to catch him as he was in his race and I was in my own race. I thought he was going to have a faster bike by about 10-15 minutes each lap. I came into the notch and Simon had a flat. Just past the notch it got HOT and windy but I was still having a good time. I saw Beth and Pam at the end of river road and said hello to them as I knew that they were going to be there. Up the two Cherries and up the three Bears to the top and I see the team Psycho guys yelling and cheering. I remember Shag and Eric, Tod and Christy. Eric yells out that Arnold is only 1 minute ahead of me and he is not looking good. Still I keep my head and don’t give chase as I know this is going to be a long day still. As I come into town and around the back of high school I saw Greg and Jenny cheering me like mad. I finish the first lap in 2:51 about 10 minutes ahead of what I planned on based on my May training ride.
Second loop and I felt great but much slower 3:24. I had made it a point to grab water early in the aid station as I did drop a few along the day. I only drank water as per my Nutrition Plan. As a result I had not a single problem with nutrition. I never had the need to eat anything other than maybe 4 banana half’s and 2 orange wedges.
Second loop was somewhat uneventful other than I wanted to pee. Maybe just to say I did but when I tried I just could not do it. I could not be pedaling so I had to coast down hill and as many people know Lake Placid has very little down hill sections. Back out Hazelton road and I see Rob Simms going the other way and I think that I am not too far behind him. I pass Arnold again before the turn and this time I think he saw me as we said hello. Back around through the notch and up the hills Psycho guys still cheering me on that was great (thanks again). This time Eric said I was still close to Arnold. Into town and saw some people running to the half way mark. Around high school again and saw Greg and Jenny on one side of street and Mom and some cousins on the other. Into T2 and give my bike to volunteer again $500 well spent. Total bike time 6:15:29 about what I thought I would do maybe a bit slower as I wanted to do a 6hr bike on my “Perfect race day”.
Quick change and out to the run. I see Bobo just before I leave the oval and pose for a picture that doesn’t come out well. Turn onto Main Street and see Robin, Ali and Brooke stop for another kiss and Brooke is crying from all the cheering. My first water stop I have already forgotten what to drink as my mind is not able to focus on anything. I remember looking at my watch as I started the run and I could not keep track of time. I wanted to keep my mile splits and was totally unable to this simple task. My plan was to run to aid station walk through as I drank liquid and then run again. I passed one woman squatting in the woods and I thought that for some reason this was funny, I may even have laughed out loud. I came to a porta-potty and decided to go in and pee. Surprisingly I had a lot to let out and it felt good. Back to the running and I remember seeing Beth in front of the Horse grounds on her bike she said that Arnold was just ahead and I looked strong. I thought to my self this is not a race with him as I expected to give up (not lose) about an hour to him. I remember seeing all the signs along river road and thought that I was running too fast to reed them. Just before the turn around I came up on Rafael Martinez a guy I race against a lot and always get beaten by. I said hello to him and that I thought that it was the first time I was ever in front of him. He looked to be in tough shape at this point. I saw Arnold going the other way and timed myself to the turn and I think I was down 4 minutes to him. Back to town and I still felt great. Walking bigger hills (not many) and all the water stops as planned. I could not keep track of Gatorade or coke so I think I was drinking both not the best plan but I couldn’t remember what to drink when. I got to the big hill in town and saw Greg again as I turned the corner at the light and he ran with me for a while. I remember telling him that I felt good but that I was COLD. Out to the turn around and at that point I had a huge burden lifted from my shoulders that no matter what I was going to get to the finish line even if I had to walk it was only 13 miles away and I would finally hear Mike Reilly say “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN”. I continued to keep up a good pace out river road then from behind me I heard Arnold say that he was not having a good day. Poor guy had been going from Porta-potty to the woods to the woods to the woods to porta-potty. We ran together for a mile or so and then he had to go into the woods again. I kept running putting 4 minutes on him. I ran great until about 18-19-20 miles then I hit the wall, my legs were hurting so much and my hamstrings were on the verge of cramping on every stride. I started to walk, and walk and walk. This is where my day got hard. I would say OK walk to the top of the hill then run to the next aid station. At the top of the hill I wanted to run I really did I just could not make my body do what I wanted. This is the time when the mental toughness comes to play. I walked for about an hour, during this time Arnold past me saying that he finally felt good for the first time all day. I walked out river road up the hill then at the Horse grounds this guy Luther White a big Clydesdale from NJ got me to start running again and I ran the rest of the way to the finish walking the hills and the aid stations of course. I made the turnaround and headed back to the oval and it was so awesome. Just before the oval I saw Ali and she said that Robin and Brooke were waiting for me to run the finish. She was running on the other side of the fence and I remember thinking that I am going faster than she is (very crowded). Turn the corner and there are the girls, I have visualized this moment on many long runs. I remember my hamstrings hurting so much at this point but when I grabbed their hands and started for the final 100 yards I did not think about anything else. I crossed the line with the two most important people in my life who have made such a sacrifice over the last year so that I never heard the words “Seth Chandler You are an IRONMAN”.
I finished in 12:32:01 for my first Ironman race. I think that I learned a lot and think that I would like to do it again in the future. I made a promise that it would not be for a while. Who knows if I get a lottery slot for Kona maybe things may change.
I would like to thank everyone who wished me well on this endeavor. This was the hardest physical day that I have endured and I can honesty say that I loved it. My training log from January 1, 2007 I did approximately 120K yards of swimming, 435 miles of running and 1,269 miles of biking all from January 1, 2007.