Ironman Lake Placid Goals + Woman Runs 366 Marathons in One Year

Although the big day is still 11 days away, I know that there will be little to no time to post here next week.  We are heading up to Lake Placid Wednesday evening until Monday afternoon. Those days will be filled with as much relaxation and family time as possible.  I am not even sure if we will bring the computer.

One of the reasons I jumped on the opportunity to race Lake Placid was proximity.  Yes, it is 5 1/2 hours away.  Not an easy drive.  But it is driving distance.  It is also considered to be one of the more spectator-friendly Ironman races.  I knew I wanted my family there.  They have supported me through so many challenges I’ve taken on and been at the finish line for some of the most important (my first marathon {Philadelphia – 2002}, my first NYC Marathon in 2007, winning the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge in 2011).  My cheering squad will be out in FULL FORCE for the race – my husband, sons, mom, dad, all 3 sisters, my grandmother, brother-in-law, and niece and nephew.  Not only that, but they will be supporting me in style.  It will be SO easy for me to spot them in the crowd!


Toe not included with the shirt =)

I began looking for a house to rent that could accommodate the whole family months ago.  We had a number in our head that we were willing to pay but we found nothing that was even close. Prices are jacked up for the Ironman (and require a 5-night minimum stay).  I was pretty bummed because there was no way we would be able to afford to rent a house for the week.  But as luck and good fortune would have it, parents of my husband’s good friend (his classmate at West Point and roommate when he lived in NYC) have a home about an hour south of Lake Placid.  They will be out of town for the last two weeks in July and offered their home to us and my family!  While the drive will surely get annoying (I have to head to Lake Placid Friday evening for a welcome dinner/mandatory briefing and again on Saturday for gear bag drop / bike check in), it will save us literally thousands of dollars.  Can’t argue with free.

So we head up Wednesday night (at the boy’s bedtime again) and will get to spend a few days with my family enjoying the lake and beautiful upstate weather before the race on Sunday.  Race morning will be an early day  – wakeup time for me is looking like 3am.  Plan right now is that my husband will bring me to the start while the boys sleep in {as much as they can} and come with the rest of the family.  It’s going to be a long day for everyone.

I guess it’s time to talk about goals for the race.  I’m having a hard time with this.  First, I’m really scared to share my goals.  I’m quite familiar with putting my goals out there.  And familiar with coming up short (I’m looking at you, NJ Marathon).  As much as I hate to admit it, I felt so stressed when I DNF’d that day because I knew everyone who reads this knew what my ambitious goals were.  And I was embarrassed to have failed.

I considered just posting about how I want/hope to finish.  But I feel like I’m not being truthful to everyone, most especially myself.  While I know that my overall goal should be {and is} to finish, I feel like I’m cutting myself short by doing this.  Yes, it’s my first Ironman.  So of course I want to finish and I’ll be happy when {if} I do.  But I don’t think that means I make my A goal 17 hours.  I’ve worked so hard the last few months and my times in the pool, on the bike, and on my runs tell me I can finish faster.  I mean, think about professional runners.  They have pretty specific time goals when they transition to a new race distance.  I’m certainly not putting myself in the same category as elite runners…but I think I can and should have a more realistic time goal for the race based on my training.


The two loop swim takes place in Mirror Lake, a calm, pristine lake right in the heart of Lake Placid. It’s an excellent spectator course. The water temperature is typically in the high 60s to low 70s. The swim is a rolling start keeping all swim buoys to your right. Each athlete will exit the water and run on the beach before entering swim entrance for second lap.  {from race website}

swim course

I hope to finish in/around 1:20-1:25.  I completed the half IM swim in 37:25.  Saturday’s 1.5 mile swim would have put me right around 1:20. I didn’t feel amazing but I didn’t feel exhausted.  But I was swimming alone, not drafting off of anyone, and was a bit tired from my 2.5 mile swim only a few days before.  If all goes well, I hope to be done with first loop close to 38 minutes and shoot for the 2nd loop to be 42.  But, in all honesty, I will be happy as can be when I get out of the water.  I couldn’t swim more than one lap 6 months ago.  I was starting from scratch.  So coming out of the water on the 28th is a victory in and of itself for me.  A goal: sub-1:20; B goal: sub-1:25; C-goal: sub-1:30.


The demanding two-loop bike course takes cyclists through the surrounding hills of the Adirondacks, each lap culminating with the 11-mile climb up “the notch” from Wilmington back to the transition area located at the famed speed skating oval. {from race website}

bike course

Prior to this weekend’s practice training ride, I was hoping to see a sub 6:30 on the course (was thinking 3:10 for 1st loop, 3:20 for 2nd loop).  I knew it was a tough course and felt that 3:10 would still be doable after my 3:18 on what I thought was a hillier, tougher Half Ironman course a few weeks earlier (that included a crash that took off a lot of time).  But after this weekend, I had to relook and change those goals. I did a single loop in about 3:27.  Yes, it was on super tired legs, I was running on little sleep and I wasn’t pushing the pace too hard, but it was SO far off my expected time goal that I was crushed.  But, there’s not much I can do about it now.  So rather than hold on to that 6:30 goal (and be crushed when I don’t even come close), I am being more realistic.  The mental game is HUGE for the Ironman. I want to get off the bike HAPPY.  Not heartbroken that I missed my time goal by 30, 45 minutes.  It will crush me and I will not be able to face the run with the mind that I want {need}.  So I think 3:25 is a realistic goal for the first loop and 3:35 for the 2nd loop.  I’ve heard a lot of people say to go “crazy easy” for the first loop.  My plan is to use my small chain ring for any decent incline to keep my legs as fresh as I can.  If it takes me double the amount of time to get up a hill, so be it.  At least I will {hopefully} have something left for the 2nd loop (and then the marathon).  A Goal: sub-7; B Goal: sub-7:15; C Goal: sub-7:30. {Note: my bike finish time will likely be about 10 minutes slower than these times because I will be pumping right after / before the 1st loop (depending on where my family is).  They will have my pump and cover and I will pull off to the side to pump. Life of a nursing mom! HA}


The two-loop course will challenge athletes with a tour through the city center four times. Runners head past the famed Olympic ski jumps, down to the turnaround on scenic River Road and then back up to the turnaround on the shores of Mirror Lake.{from race website}

run course

I know the course is going to be hilly and hard.  When I raced the half Ironman a few weeks ago, I didn’t taper and my legs felt fairly good for the run – when I was running, I was maintaining close to 8:30 pace.  The issue for the half was the heat/humidity (and I don’t think I fueled enough), so I was forced to walk through every water point from mile 3 on (there was one every mile).  I would love to see a sub-4 on the run, but I’m not going to push myself early on for that time.  Realistically, I am shooting for a bit slower. My goal is to run as much as I can.  If I need to walk up parts of that monster incline from miles 8.5-12 and again at the end, I’ll do it.  And I’ll do it with a smile.  A Goal: 4:15; B Goal: 4:30; C Goal: 4:45.

Transitions: I don’t plan on spending a lot of time in T1 – just enough time to get ready for the bike and take off.  T2 will be a different story since I will likely be pumping at this point.  So total time for transition and pumping will be close to 20-30 minutes (I’m estimating 10 minutes each time I have to pump).

So, if it’s a really, really good day, I’m hoping for sub-12:30.  I finished the hilly half in 6:07 and know that I would have been close to (or under 6) if it weren’t for the heat.  If things don’t go as well as I hope for all three, then I’m still shooting for sub-14.  Based on last year’s times, sub-12:30 would put me at 25th or so in my AG and sub-14 would put me at 53.

Truth be told, my initial goal when setting out for this Ironman was sub-12.  I’ve had that number in my head since early on in training.  It has pushed me through so much of my training.  But, after seeing the course, I know how hard it is to do that on this course.  The first place female in my AG completed it in 10:51 last year.  To put that into perspective, the 1st place female (in my AG) at Coeur d’Alene finished in 10:16 – so it’s clear how tough the Placid course is. That’s what I need to remember when I’m hurting on the bike and run.  Placid is considered the 3rd toughest Ironman course in the world.  So, time goals need to be adjusted.

PS. Upcoming post will include details on how to track me via website and Instagram and twitter {sisters will be updating these two while I am racing!}.


Did you see this article on the Competitor website?  Denmark’s Annette Fredskov ran 366 marathons in ONE year! The 41 yr old mom and wife began running only 3 years ago after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  She finished her year-long journey with two marathons on Sunday.  Amazing.  PS. In case you are wondering, 366 marathons equals 9589.2 miles.  PPS. She said most of her marathons took around 5 hours and took place around her hometown in Denmark.

If you run marathons, what is the most number you have run in a year?  

How do you set goals for yourself? A, B, C? 

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

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

    Related posts:

    29 thoughts on “Ironman Lake Placid Goals + Woman Runs 366 Marathons in One Year

    1. I am so, so excited for you Michele! And incredibly impressed that you’ll be pumping a couple times during the race — go mama!

      I love that you have specific goals for each segment. My husband did, too! But he’s so modest that I almost missed him coming off the bike b/c it took him 30min faster than expected. It wasn’t an Ironman sanctioned event though and they didn’t have athlete tracking, so I’m sure your fam will be able to find you easily.

      I’ll be signing up to track you and cheering you on from SC on Sunday! You are such an inspiration to me!
      Jen recently posted..Sneak Peek: Disney’s Senses Spa at Saratoga SpringsMy Profile

    2. Aww Michele, that is such a sweet comment from your mother!! How wonderful that your whole family will be there supporting you. Whatever your finish time, you already have so much to be proud of. I am still in awe of all the hours you put into training for this while taking care of your family AND you are going to pump?! Rock star :) I will be following along and cheering from CT!

    3. I am so so proud of you lady for even having gotten to this point. I know you are going to do an amazing job and I CANNOT wait to track you!

    4. Pingback: YORKSHIRE HALF MARATHONS 2014

    5. Sub 12!? Oh my!! Thats so awesome! I watched my best friend compete in Ironman St. George last year (insanely windy!) and it was awe inspiring! (I think he finished in 13:48.) He will be racing Ironman Arizona in Nov as well. I’m just so amazed by you triathletes! I hope you have a fantasic race! Regardless of your finish, you’re a rockstar!! I can’t wait to read all about it!
      Lindsay recently posted..Would You Wednesday?My Profile

    6. After reading your latest blog, Michele, as well as all of the wonderful, supportive comments, I am coming to terms with the fact that you are REALLY going to attempt this amazing feat. As your mother – and a non- runner, biker, or swimmer – I cannot conceive how the human body (your beautiful little human body in particular!) can endure all these hours of physical challenge. For me, just running a marathon is stressful enough, and I know how I worry for your well-being while you are “just” participating in one of these. I am grateful that I have been able to share several of these exciting moments with you, most recently, the 5 Borough Challenge in the 2011 New York City Marathon. You represented our borough of Staten Island with grace and dignity, and you succeeded in bringing home the “bragging rights” as you outran the three other men and one woman. As with everything you have attempted since you were a little girl, my hope was that you would be okay and that you would be satisfied with your results…..winning this was the “icing” on the cake…for you, as well as for all of us who love and support you. I couldn’t be more proud of how you handled yourself amid all the attention and pressure that day brought. You were so humble in victory, just as I know how gracious you would have been in “defeat”. And I know that for you, it was never about “beating” the other competitors – it was always about doing YOUR best…and in doing that, you happened to come in first place! It’s one of the things that I am most proud of …with you, as well as your sisters. Work hard, challenge yourself, take care of your own business – and good things will happen…and they HAVE!! You know how excited I am for you as you embark on this latest challenge in your beautiful young life…and you know how crazy worried I am for your well-being, especially because I cannot identify with how your body can withstand what you are about to put it through. I am just so grateful that, once again, we will all be together, loving and supporting you, every step – and pedal and stroke – of the way! Enjoy these last days of anticipation, as they will go quickly…and keep smiling that beautiful smile…..I love you…Mommy…xoxox

    7. I am so, so excited for you, Michele! And I am super goal oriented (like you) so I’m glad to see you mapped it all out. :) Looks very realistic for you, and awesome paces for such a challenging course. I can’t believe it’s actually here! And awesome to score a free house, even if it is an hour away- what a huge blessing! I’ll be tracking and cheering- enjoy the whole day as much as possible… this is what you’ve been working for!
      Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..Homemade Healthy Popsicles + WIAWMy Profile

    8. Thank you for linking to the article about the woman who ran all those marathons. I was diagnosed last year with MS and have continued to run marathons despite outsiders thinking it is risky or dangerous for my health. I feel great doing what I do, so I will continue as long as I can!

      Great goals for the IM. Wishing you all the best on race day!
      Beth @ Miles and Trials recently posted..Cross Training Anyone?My Profile

    9. I do ABC goals as well and it works really well for me. Your goals are smart and realistic and totally attainable. You have trained hard and smart and I know you can do this. I can’t even imagine pumping in general but doing it during IM, you are insane (in a good way)!
      Laura recently posted..Mussel-WeekendMy Profile

    10. Cant wait to hear all about it! A couple of thoughts to consider:
      – Not sure how it works with timing, but any chance you can pump in T1 and T2 instead of out on the course. Not sure how the officiating team will view it, but you could be flagged for outside assistance since you cannot receive any aid from anyone other than aid stations. Might want to talk to someone at LP to get clarification. Could you put the pump/gear in special needs bag for bike as another option?
      – Make sure to walk through EVERY aid station to ensure you are getting fuel. Even if it is 10-15 steps, you will be glad you do. Even elites slow down at aid stations so don’t get so caught up with time goals that you pass up nutrition. Staying on top of that costs a few seconds per mile but will save you minutes in the 2nd half of the marathon if you take care of yourself.

      Best of luck!
      LesserIsMore recently posted..Man Down – Finish Photos Tell The StoryMy Profile

    11. I do A B C goals too.. Its hard for me to admit them to anyone because then if I dont meet them, I feel embarrassed almost. But im starting to just be ok with the fact that every race cant go as perfectly as planned. The fact that you are even taking on IMLP is beyond AMAZING and MOTIVATING! I am soo looking forward to hearing all about it and will be waiting for updates/posts!!! YOU ARE GOING TO DO GREAT! And, whatever happens, your family friends and blog readers will be as proud as ever!!

    12. You are going to do so awesome!!!! I am so excited for you! I always have 3 goals. The first being ambitious but doable on my best day the second reasonable and what I have pretty much been training at and the third is not a good day for me but a finish. The third is always disappointing but then I regroup and focus on how blessed I am to be able to do what I do and all the support I have :).
      I am rooting for you from Iowa!!!!!!!
      Jen recently posted..Niggles make me nervous and peanut butter makes me happy!My Profile

    13. GOOD LUCK MICHELE!!! We’re all rooting for you to do an amazing job and I want you to never forget why you’re doing this! Have fun with it. Enjoy the pain, enjoy the struggle because WHEN you finish, you will be among a group of elite people that are called Iron(wo)men!
      michelle recently posted..Huma Gel on IndiegogoMy Profile

    14. Very, very excited for you! I think you will far surpass your goals…race day changes everything from a training day. There is SO much energy to soak up out there from the crowds. LP people really get behind the race. And the run course is really not too bad, w/ the exception of the climb back into town…otherwise, some nice flat stretches where you can cruise.

      Good luck and have an amazing day out there!!!
      misszippy1 recently posted..I didn’t know I could miss a dog so muchMy Profile

    15. You’re going to do great! I can’t wait to hear how you killed it :)
      I am going to start using your method of goals: the A, B, and C. I like that!
      Jill C. recently posted..Morphing CalvesMy Profile

    16. You are really going to rock this race! I think any time I race an unfamiliar distance, or an unusual race (see my last race, which was a wild and wooly Canyon run), I just have a goal to complete in a reasonable amount of time without being injured (close to my PR or wherever I’ve been training at).

      Sub 12 will be a fabulous finish! I wish you the very very best of everything at your event. LOVE the family support T shirts. Just so neat.
      Holly recently posted..BEST RACE EVERMy Profile

    17. Good luck at Lake Placid! I did IMLP as my first IM in 2010 – and it was the best day of my life. I loved it so much I did it again in 2011, and this year will be my third go-round at IMLP. (We did IMMT last year).

      Enjoy the day and celebrate your hard work. The crowd support is fantastic – and the finish line is incredible – in the Olympic Oval. So awesome to make that final turn into the Oval.

      Good luck and most importantly: have fun! An ironman is
      Maria Simone recently posted..Off the Plan: Does spontaneous dancing count as cross training?My Profile