Hey! Fit Old Dogs! Do You Want To Do An Ironman?

Hi folks,

I just received my photos for the Lake Placid Ironman 2011 from Action Sports International, and they did a great job (Thanks!). It was my slowest time ever at Lake Placid, but it was the fastest anyone has ever finished that race with an abdominal aortic aneurysm-stent graft in their belly. If you want to do one, this is how it goes. It started with the usual gentle swim when the gun went off at 7:00 am (you’ve been up since 4:00 am carboloading and getting ready).

First a refreshing dip in Mirror Lake with 2900 other crazy people.

After the 2.4-mile maelstrom, working to keep up with the younger guys, you head for the bikes.


Then you clamber out of the water and run the carpet to the swim-bike transition area, picking up your bike gear-bag on the way by. It is a funny feeling coming out of the water onto dry land again. Your legs feel a bit like jelly, but you are certainly refreshed and wide awake. If you have a wet suit (this year we didn’t if we wanted to place) the ‘strippers’ pull it off and then throw it to you. Then into your bike gear ASAP and, following the mounting rules carefully (easy to be disqualified!), off you go on a beautiful 112 mile spin through the hills around Lake Placid.

You get to ride through some beautiful countryside.


This is one of the nicest parts of the day. And what is the first thing you do as soon as you’re over the mounting line and off on the bike? YOU EAT!!! And you keep on eating, with plenty of water and electrolyte tablets, according to the plan you’ve worked out over the preceding winter. You also check that all is well with your bike, and settle in for that first long hill climb before the 8.5-mile descent into Keene (that part is a blast, but I keep below 45 mph because I’m chicken). Then a steady pull at a load that you can handle, as you don’t want to blow up on the run.

Stopping to sort out my Power Bars (stuck to my Bento box!) and visit with two of my supporters, Nick and Myles.



At the end of the first 56-mile loop I stopped briefly to talk to my supporters and to sort out the Power Bars that had stuck to the inside of my Bento Box. I’m not in hurry this year as I know that I’m not going to place (under trained). So I am just enjoying the day.


After the second 56-mile loop you head back to the bike-run transition area, feeling your legs from the bike but you’ll be really glad to get off of that saddle.

After the second loop of the bike you are starting to feel it.

You then run a marathon as best you can.

Then you run a marathon, which if you are under trained is somewhat uncomfortable, but it is great mental training anyway. You meet all sorts of people out there at this stage of the race. Very fit looking people sitting on the side of the road looking ill. Other folks are running in groups and chatting as they go, comparing notes on how they feel. Then as it gets dark the field thins out, and you go by more and more people walking. WARNING: if you start to walk you’re doomed, because it becomes almost impossible to start running again, so don’t do that. Finally, you hear all the noises from the finish line, where people stay up until midnight to see the stragglers come in, which usually includes quite a few of us older ‘age groupers.’

I never thought that I would ever come in that late again, but then I didn’t expect an aortic aneurysm last year. Finishing becomes your only goal as evening settles into night.

Then you finally finish, in the daylight if you're lucky (only did that once, in 2010).

If you want to hear the energy of the crowd at the end watch this video (also from ASI).

And then what?

Eat some pizza, see your family and friends to celebrate over some nice meals (plus lots of sleep of course) and start thinking about your training strategy for next year.

-k @Your Medical Mind


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.