Lake Placid Training Weekend

It was bound to happen.  Up until this point, most of my Ironman training recaps have been successful.  They may not have been perfect, but I’ve hit the distance or time I wanted.  Well, I didn’t this weekend. While our weekend trip to Lake Placid was great for so many reasons (I’ll explain below), I am not entirely thrilled with how my training went down. It seemed like nothing went according to plan and I didn’t manage to reach any of my goals for the 3 disciplines.  And it was my last training weekend.  Not the way I wanted to enter the taper.

We left at the boys bedtime on Friday night.


The plan made sense – in theory.  For whatever reason, my husband and I were thinking it would take just over 4 hours but in reality, it took us 5.  We left at 8pm.  We go to bed early…we get up early.  So you can imagine how the drive felt by 10pm. Brutal. Slapping the face, drinking coffee trying-to-stay awake brutal.  I dozed in and out of sleep for the first 2 hours while my husband drove solo.  We checked in to the hotel just after 1am.  Carried the boys up to the room and guess what?  They were both WIDE awake for the next hour.  Happy as can be.  But wide awake.

So my initial idea of starting the bike by 5am was scraped because doing a long bike ride (on unfamiliar roads) on two hours of sleep is not smart.  Instead, I got up at 515am (amazing what just one extra hour of sleep can do for you) and was on the road by 615am.  Things were going fine until just before the 15th mile (right after the flying descent into Keene) when I blew my front tire.  In the haste of packing up everything for the ride (in the dark room), I forgot my bike kit.  I took out my cell phone to call my husband.  No service.  Are you kidding me? Every curse word I knew came out of my mouth at this point. Luckily, after about a mile walk into Keene, I found a bakery that was already open and the sweet girl behind the counter let me use the store phone – husband and boys were on the way to the rescue!



I made the decision to scrap the ride for the day and try again on Sunday.  So instead of a long swim and long run on Sunday, I would swim on Saturday and run on Monday. It was still early (9am) by this point so we walked around town a bit, went out for breakfast, and returned to the room so the boys could nap.


Once they were asleep, I grabbed my wetsuit and made my way to the lake.


The lake is absolutely gorgeous. Breathtaking. The mountain views in the distance made me feel like it was something in a painting.  I hopped in the lake at the hotel’s beach entrance, swam over to the start area, did one full loop of the course, and returned to the hotel.  It ended up being about 1.5 miles. My initial plan was to do two loops, but I just didn’t have the motivation.  I think the flat tire, lack of sleep, and desire to go back to room to be with my boys all contributed. I know 1.5 miles is better than nothing but I hate myself when I just quit mid-workout.  I was just so unmotivated. Couple of thoughts on the swim course:

  • LOVE the cable under the water.  I mostly stayed on track the whole loop and didn’t have to sight much at all.  At times I felt like I was in the pool swimming laps.  
  • The water is pretty warm already.  But I do not plan on placing in my age group, so even if it is over 76 degrees, I have every intention of wearing my wetsuit. 
  • Calm and clear.  Perfect swimming conditions.
  • 1.2 miles looks SO far when it’s out in front of you.  I have swam 2.5 miles before, so 1.2 shouldn’t seem like a lot – but seeing how far away the turnaround is from the start line is mentally challenging.  And then knowing you have to do the whole loop again…UGH.
  • I have a full-body wetsuit but I’m looking into renting a sleeveless one for the Ironman.  My shoulders feel really constricted in the suit that I have (maybe it’s a size too small?) and I never feel like I can fully extend my arms.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in Mirror Lake – just swimming, playing with the sand, and relaxing.




We had plans to go out to dinner but after sitting down in the restaurant, neither boy seemed very happy to be sitting, so we ordered the food-to-go and returned to our rooms to eat. By 830pm, we were all exhausted.  I got into bed with my youngest to nurse and my husband got into bed with the oldest.  I think we were all asleep before 9pm.

I woke up at 3:45am the following morning, feeling slightly more rested and ready to try the course again.  I had already decided to just do one loop of the course instead of the planned two.  Having already biked a tough 15 miles the day before + being so close to race day, I didn’t want to do too much and not be able to reap the benefits of taper.   Thoughts on the bike course:

  • The first 10 miles are UPHILL.  It doesn’t look like much from elevation profile on website, but it is tough.  Since I knew I was only doing one loop, I decided to stay in my big chain ring to practice spinning on the hills. I was thankful when I saw the downhill into Keene approaching.  Averaged about 15.8 mph through the first 10. 
  • The downhill into Keene is crazy fast.  Although there weren’t that many cars on the road, I was cautious to go too fast since I was riding on the shoulder (there were some potholes and debris on the shoulder – the roads are fine!).  The roads seemed a bit slick (maybe from the morning dew?) so I used the break more than I would have liked.  I averaged 25.4 mph over the next 5 miles and even got up to speeds of 32 mph!
  • The next 15 miles are rolling hills in a general downhill direction – nothing crazy or fast.  I felt strong and in control.  5 mile splits of 18.5, 17.5 and 17.9.  Came through 30 miles averaging close to 18.2 mph.
  • And then things got tough. The last 26 miles are uphill, with a handful of steep, painful climbs.  My splits went something like this: 16.4, 14.4, 14.3, 14.2, 14.2. I averaged 14.6 mph the last 26 miles. BRUTAL.
  • Garmin calculated elevation gain to be 3,038 feet (way higher than 2,400 website indicates).  I’m not sure why my Garmin is so off.  6oo feet is a lot.  And it makes me second guess the elevation I had been assuming I was climbing on all my long rides.  Was I not climbing as much as I thought? Ugh.
  • I tried to enjoy the scenery because it is gorgeous up in the Adirondacks, but it’s hard to take in the beauty of the hills and mountains when you know you will be climbing up them shortly. placid11
  • The elevation chart on the website doesn’t do the course justice.  It’s much harder than it appears.


Honestly, there were points during the last 26 miles where I was close to just stopping.  Throwing in the towel on my Ironman plans.  Finding a race that doesn’t have as many hills.  I cursed.  Almost cried.  Yelled.  Seeing my pace plummet the way it did was really, really tough.  But I finished.  Hit the 56 miles in 3:27 or so.  Not anywhere near the time I was expecting {hoping} to see.  Reality can be a real b$$ch, you know?  I know I wasn’t pushing the pace all out for the ride, but I was surprised at how drained I felt. I’m hoping {praying} it’s from a few hard weeks of training coupled with very little sleep the previous few days.


The drive home was a nightmare because of traffic.  We stopped just outside of Albany for lunch and to let the boys get out of carseats for a bit.  Total trip was 8 {long} hours.

My plan was to do my final long run yesterday.  My legs felt fairly fresh which was a welcome surprise given the 56 hilly miles the day before, but I didn’t get the chance to test them out.  My youngest was up most of the night with a fever and the only way he was consolable was nursing or laying in my arms…My husband took over duties around 3am but I sleptthrough the alarm.  It kind of follows with how the previous two days of training went. Certainly not what I was hoping for.


I had thoughts of getting up today to run but I know that the taper is more important than one last long run {which is my strongest of the 3 disciplines}.  So now it’s time to ease up, catch up on sleep, and rest as much as possible before the 28th.

While a lot went wrong this weekend, I am really, REALLY glad we went.  Riding the course, while tough, will only help me on race day.  I know what to expect.  I know the turns. I know what those hills look like.  I know I can get up them. I know I probably need to go a bit slower the first loop to save my legs for the 2nd loop.  I got my longest open water swim in.  I know what to expect in Mirror Lake.  I saw the run route (even though I didn’t run it).  And most importantly, I know I need to relook my goals for the race {post coming soon on this!}.

Lake Placid is such a beautiful town – the views are indescribable (the pictures do not do it justice!).


And there is already a buzz and excitement in town for the upcoming race.  There were several Ironman trucks staged in the oval (site of the transitions and finish area), tons of cyclists and triathletes, and signs welcoming us!  12 days, friends…12 DAYS!


I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}.

Have you been to Lake Placid? 

Full wetsuit or sleeveless?

Any words of advice for staying positive after a bad training weekend?

For More NYC Running Mama training updates, pictures and ramblings, check out:

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    25 thoughts on “Lake Placid Training Weekend

    1. You’ve got this. You have done the training and you have mental toughness like no other. My husband swims in a sleeveless. He will be volunteering the finishing chute at IMLP. We have been following your training so I told him to keep an eye out for you!

    2. Less than 2wks, how exciting!! I can’t wait to hear how you do…is there an app or way we can follow your progress while you are racing? If I lived close by I’d come cheer you on!

      So sorry your little guy got sick it always happens when you have plans. Our drives out of town always take twice as long because Izzy is not a car seat kind of toddler. She does not fall asleep!! It’s so exhausting just traveling, I can’t imagine doing all that work you did with little sleep. You really do amaze me!
      Adriana @Laced Up With Lipstick recently posted..Friday Feature Profile: Meet Laced Up With Lipstick Reader KimberleeMy Profile

    3. I’m glad you made it up there to see the course. Don’t be discouraged! Your circumstances (rest, sleep etc) will be so different in 12 days. you’ve put in the training, time to trust it and do you best! I know you will!
      Sarah @RunFarGirl recently posted..Why I RunMy Profile

    4. We are SO close!! You’ll feel so much better next time around, now that you know the bike course. It helps a ton. I got a flat tire on my ride this weekend too; I’m so bummed I wasn’t able to finish, but you’re right when you say it’s better to just go into the taper and not push it. “The hay is in the barn.” I’m sooo excited!!!
      Kara recently posted..The Beauty of RunningMy Profile

    5. My words of advice for you come from the music world – a bad dress rehearsal leads to an awesome performance!! You’ve done the training; you’ve got the miles in. You will be awesome at your “performance”!!
      Lani (@armytbonegirl) recently posted..Training TuesdayMy Profile

    6. 12 days! Holy cow! I’m so excited for you. I’m sorry that the weekend didn’t go quite as you planned but better this weekend than on race day, right? Plus, like you said, it gave you a chance to see and experience the course so now you have a sense of what to expect. Traffic and the kiddos are totally unpredictable. I hope that Ryan feels better. PS I used a sleeveless wetsuit for my tri for exactly that reason – I didn’t like my arms and shoulders feeling constricted. I’M SO EXCITED FOR YOU!
      Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Old School Blogging – List of FivesMy Profile

    7. You still had a good weekend of training. All of the time and energy that you’ve put into the training plan is going to pay off for you. And, like you said, you didn’t want to overtrain heading into taper. I think sometimes these things happen randomly to try to throw us off our game and make us doubt ourselves, but you have only reason to be confident and sure of yourself. You saw the course, you rode the course, and you’ve ridden 100+ miles multiple times and are a strong runner. You’ve done MORE than enough, and it’s going to pay off! I’m so excited to track you! It’s the day after my first (albeit sprint) triathlon! It’ll be a good weekend. I can feel it.
      meghan @ little girl in the big world recently posted..What I’ve been…{summer}My Profile

      • UGH. I hope so. I keep looking back on my training thinking “I wish I did this” or “I wish I did that”…and I see others training for this race and start comparing myself (which I know I shouldn’t!). Good weekend for both of us! Eeek! Good luck with your FIRST triathlon!!!

    8. Oh girl. I am so so sorry that the training weekend didn’t go well. I just wish I could give you a big hug. I don’t know how you even get out of bed with having such little sleep. You are (and always will be) one of my biggest inspirations and I am glad you know the course now so you can rock the IM. GET the sleeveless wetsuit (I don’t know anything about this;) but it just sounds like it would work so much better for swimming! LOVE YOU!

    9. I know this wasn’t the training week you were hoping for, but you still did great and more importantly, got to enjoy your life! The balance of the two can be so hard sometimes, but all we can do is the best we can do. I have to remind myself that all the time. As for the wetsuit, I did my first 70.3 in a sleeveless. I have yet to swim in a full wetsuit but I like the sleeveless. If it is going to be warmer weather, I’d just go with the sleeveless. I was able to borrow one from a friend, so that might be something you want to look into if you know someone who is the same size. I think I am going to need a full suit for Beach2Battleship since it is at the end of October in NC and could be chilly. Wishing you the best of luck as training is almost wrapped up!!!
      Jesica @rUnladylike recently posted..Half Ironman Training: Week #5My Profile

    10. It all sounds like a good weekend for 2 weeks before the race. Don’t beat yourself up too much. Just remember all the adrenaline will keep you going on race day and what seemed hard the first time around may not be as difficult the second time and while you have plenty of crowd support or race energy.

      Your boys in the sand and water are adorable. I would want to get back to them, too if I were out training.
      Amy @ Writing While Running recently posted..Duke City Training Week 4My Profile

    11. 12 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhh!!! The kiddos always know when to not sleep well through the night, don’t they? Even though your training didn’t go quite as planned, you know you will rock the race. I think it helps us have a better outlook sometimes when the training isn’t quite what we hoped for. Love ya!
      STUFT Mama recently posted..This Silly Girl I Know and Her PT ExercisesMy Profile

    12. The best laid plans! Kids and traffic have a way of foiling that, unfortunately. I was really feeling for you reading that. And I could SO relate to that pull back to the family when you were out training. I definitely have struggled with it over the years and it can be a real training buzzkill.

      All that said, you did get a lot out of the weekend and it will pay off on race day. You will be happy with how fast the swim feels. I won’t lie-second loop on bike is mentally tough, but then you get off and RUN, and you will shine there for certain! Enjoy the rest now–you are ready!
      Miss zippy recently posted..MAF test day bluesMy Profile

    13. I’ve been following your IM journey and you are doing great! I did LP as my first ironman in 2011. I despised the last 25 miles of the course! Those false flats leading up to the bears can be demoralizing, but as you know, take the first loop ridiculously easy, the second loop as easy and let your legs rip on the run. You’ll see a ton of bikers flying past during the bike. Don’t let that discourage you! Race your own race and stay on top of your nutrition. Treat the bike like a buffet so you have all that fuel for a little 26.2 mile run! Have a great race! That weekend will also be very special to me in 2013… I’m getting married on the 27th! I may ask my fiance for 2014 IMLP registration as a wedding gift :)

    14. I know it’s tough to have a rough last weekend of hard training, but you have put in SO MUCH WORK! Your body is ready, it’s tired, and now it’s time to let taper do it’s thing. You are going to be an Ironman!!!!

      12 days, Michele, soak it all in and rest up, you are going to do great!!!
      Steph recently posted..The Monday Blues + Weekly WorkoutsMy Profile

    15. 12 days?!!! Wow- I love you pics of Lake Placid. I’ve never been there but that is actually the IM I hope to do with my sister in 2020 so I will be reading your recap to learn some tips! It looks gorgeous there!!

      Enjoy your taper and try not to let worry or doubt creep in. You’ve got this and we are all cheering you on every step of the way!
      Tia @ Arkansas Runner Mom recently posted..The Fast Firecracker 5K {Breaking 18!!}My Profile

      • I know! It kind of crept up on me =) HA. I’m so glad to finally be in the taper!!
        That’s so awesome that you and your sister are going to do it! Is 2020 a special year for you guys? I can already tell you two things: practice hills as often as you can on the bike and try to get up there for a training ride if you can (I know it’s a super long way for you!). There are a few IM training camps up there in May/June that you may want to consider signing up for as well…riding the course though was a huge eye opener for me. I’ve studied the elevation chart but it doesn’t compare to riding it =)
        nycrunningmama recently posted..Lake Placid Training WeekendMy Profile

    16. Crazy to read about your training weekend, having been there to spectate my husband twice for Ironman Lake Placid – chasing him ALL OVER THE COURSE!:) The second time he did it, I handed him, our now almost 7 year old (she was 9 months) right before the finish line and he crossed with her. So fun. Mirror lake is gorgeous and the swim is pretty crazy to watch. Such a fun experience, even just to spectate. You will have so much extra energy on race day, it will be nothing like training solo on the course. Good luck!
      Katie @ msfitrunner recently posted..The Rent – Rentschler Airfield 5k and a TempoMy Profile

    17. You still got some solid training in, and a weekend with the family. 12 days, home stretch, you got this!!

      I use sleeveless because I am already a slow swimmer and I feel restricted in anything else and don’t need another thing slowing me down.

      I LOVE Lake Placid, it holds a lot of special meaning to my fiance and I :) It’s incredible up there!
      Laura recently posted..Mussel-WeekendMy Profile

    18. I say think of all the positive training you have had and focus on that! Don’t focus on the 1 negative one no matter how close to the race it is.
      Go into this knowing that you trained hard and you put in all that you could and do your best. Your best is what matters and you have so much support! I am sure they just want to see you do your best and have fun!(well as much fun as an ironman can be). When it is over you should be proud of yourself for such an amazing accomplishment!
      You are still just amazing. I have no idea how you do it! We had a lot going on the last 10 days or so and I have only been getting about 6 hours of sleep and having the hardest time getting in a good run and feeling good after it.
      It amazes me that you have the physical energy to do this all with small kids too! You are awesome!
      Jen recently posted..A great speed runMy Profile

    19. I used a sleeveless wetsuit for my Half IM and loved it. Although, if you’re going to switch this close to race day, make sure you get a trial swim in the pool to make sure you like the fit/feel.

      Don’t beat yourself up on a rough training weekend. You are training for an IM with two little boys while nursing! Perfect training doesn’t exist for anyone, much less in your situation. Trust your training. You are going to do great.
      Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..Sturdy Girl Sports Bra GiveawayMy Profile