Ironman Lake Placid Race Recap

Get comfortable, friends.  This recap will probably take you as long to read as the Ironman took me to finish.

When the alarm went off at 3:25am, I wanted nothing more than to go back to bed. I was exhausted. I got up, pulled my youngest out of the pack ‘n’ play and into bed with me to nurse.  (I had to nurse him since my pump was already packed in my transition bag and I wouldn’t pump until after the swim.)  I was thankful that he went right back to bed!

I drank a small cup of coffee, got changed, and my husband and I were in the car on our way to Lake Placid by 4:10am.  I tried to eat a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter, but race day nerves was making it hard to keep anything down.  We made awesome time and found a super close parking spot by 5am. I think I did things a bit backwards because I first dropped off my special needs bags which were right by the swim start (I think it would have been a lot easier / less walking to go to transition first then head to special needs then the start). Once the bags were dropped we made our way to transition to get body marked.

At this point, I said goodbye to my husband.  It was incredibly emotional. I started crying. I think the nerves finally caught up to me. And although he was trying to hide it, I could tell he was nervous – the worry was written all over his face.

Race Morning

Race Morning

After setting up my nutrition and fluids on my bike, throwing my clothes / shoes into my gear bag and putting on my wetsuit, I left transition and began the walk over to the swim start. I was happy that I had the stomach to eat 3/4 of a Cliff Bar and was ecstatic to run into Robin – it was still early (5:45) so it was great to have someone to chat with while the time ticked by.  I decided to not do a warm-up swim and save all my energy for the next 13+ hours.

Before I knew it, the corrals were opened, I said goodbye to Robin, wished her luck, and made my way to my corral.  This was the first year Lake Placid was having a wave start based on your projected swim finish time. In years past, it has been a mass start.  Looking back, I clearly chose the wrong corral. Based on my half Ironman swim time, I was shooting for 1:25 but decided to dream big and go for 1:20 (I did the half ironman swim in :37). So I put myself in the 1:11-1:20 corral.  I can {somewhat happily} say that this was one of my only mistakes of the day. I should’ve gone into the next corral (1:21-1:30). Live and learn.

As I’m standing at the start waiting on the pros and then the age groupers to begin, I struck up a conversation with several friendly-females around me (chatting calms my nerves).  One of the girls, Maria, realized that we follow one another on Instagram! I truly love how social media makes the world a bit smaller.

My husband had a great viewing spot because of his VIP status (thank you Team Refuel!!) and was able to take a bunch of pics of everyone lined up ready for the swim.

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I’m right in front of the 1:21-1:30 sign (there’s a blue strip on my wetsuit)

And then it was time. My group got the okay to begin the swim. Hit start on my watch, took a deep breath and began.

I am not going to sugar coat this. The swim sucked. It was hard. I never got into a groove. I never had a straight line to swim. I never felt comfortable or in control.  I knew it was going to be tough – it’s my weakest discipline and I’m a back-of-the-pack swimmer.  I think part of the problem was that I put myself in the wrong corral. So every couple of minutes, a group of swimmers behind me would catch me and pass me. Those few minutes was pure chaos. I was pushed, kicked, grabbed, elbowed. I wanted to stay on the cable line (there’s a cable that runs the entire course and if you stay on it you do not have to site) but after a few instances of getting trampled, I realized it was probably better for me to move off of it and stay out of the faster swimmers way. I tried to draft off of other swimmers but they were all still too fast for me to hang on.  First loop: 43:46. 

Coming out of water after 1st loop

Coming out of water after 1st loop

After the first loop, you run a few seconds on the beach and then hop back in the water. That was the first time I had the chance to see my time. I knew I was going slow, but I didn’t realize it was that slow.  I wanted to cry because I couldn’t understand why I was so much slower then I had been in previous races. It took every bit of self talk to get back in the water and do it all over again. The pushing and shoving was a bit better the second loop, but I was tired. And the negative talk in my head had begun.  I was doubting myself.  Telling myself I didn’t train enough in the pool.  That I didn’t belong.  I was really mad at myself for the negative talk. I have gotten pretty good at staying positive even when things don’t go as planned and I hated that I was letting myself get to that place already.

I forced myself to repeat “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming” in my head.  I started counting down the buoys until I was finished (there were 9 going out and 9 on the way back). Told myself to get to turnaround. Then to the next buoy. It managed to preoccupy my mind and make the remaining 20 or so minutes go a bit faster.

I was ECSTATIC when I was able to stand up in the water.  2nd loop: 48:33 (wanna hear something crazy – Andy Potts did the entire course in 46 minutes – so he swam twice as fast as I did – HA)

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Total Swim: 1:32:19 (slightly slower than my C-goal but I was SUPER happy when I was finished) When I got out of the water, I was greeted by a wetsuit stripper.  It was AMAZING to not have to fumble with the wetsuit.

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Transition #1

From the swim exit, you run about 1/5th of mile to the transition point. It was incredible. Both sides of the lane were lined 2-3 deep with spectators cheering for us. I made my way into the transition area, grabbed my bike gear bag and headed into the tent. I wasn’t changing but had to pump so I found a chair in the corner, took out all my supplies and started the process.  Unfortunately, one of the (8) batteries must have been almost dead because it was barely working. UGH. It had already been 4+ hours since I last nursed and I knew it would be 7+ more so I had to hand express into the bags to relieve some of the building pressure. Finished up, handed my bag to a volunteer and ran over to the bikes where a volunteer was waiting with Black Beauty (aka my bike).  Grabbed it and ran over to the Bike Out area. T1: 9:27

Bike

Immediately upon leaving transition, there is a huge decline with two sharp turns, so I easy pedaled and focused on getting my legs warmed up.  Once through that section, we had a few short rollers before the real work was going to happen.  The current view on my watch was showing total race time and distance (not pace for the bike) and I decided to not change it until I was through the descent into Keene so that I would take it easy and not worry about pace.

My plan for the first loop was simple. Keep it in an easy gear on the flats, go steady on the descents, and use the easiest gear on the hills.  There were some people who were blowing by me on parts of the course, but I forced myself to ride my own race. I think it was a huge advantage that I had already ridden the course. I knew what the hills looked like, I felt comfortable going at a decent pace on the descents.

The weather was PERFECT. It was cool and overcast for a good portion of the whole ride. The only negative thing was that it had rained during the swim so the roads were wet (puddles in some areas) which forced me to slow down a bit more than I wanted on the descent into Keene.

After that screaming descent (miles 10-15 where I averaged 28.3 mph for that 5 mile stretch!!), I changed my watch to show my pace and was happy to see 17.9 average pace – it was a bit slower than my training ride but I knew I was taking it easy.  For the next 15 miles, I pedaled easy and concentrated on my nutrition.  My plan was to eat 1-2 pieces of a cliff bar every 15 minutes (goal was 1 Cliff Bar per hour).  I had already broken the cliff bars into bit size pieces and had them stored in my bento box on my bike for easy access.  Additionally, I sipped Cytomax and Perpetuem every 10 minutes (Cytomax a bit more often).

I hit the 30 mile mark (it’s at a turnaround point) in 1:35:11 which was almost a 19 mph pace. This was the fastest I had ever rode in my life.  I knew when the timing mat beeped that my husband was going to panic and think I pushed it too hard, but I knew that I hadn’t. I think three things were factors for why I rode WAY faster than my training ride:

  • Racing Wheels: the Zipp wheels were rented from Racingwheels.com (thank you to Glenn for this information!).  I hadn’t done much riding with them and was amazed (terrified?) at how shaky the bike felt when a sidewind came rumbling through.  
  • Rested Legs: I did the one-loop training ride right before I started taper (and one week after a 105 miler)
  • More aero-dynamic: I got refitted for my bike last week and had them drop my aero bars a couple of inches + I was sitting more forward on my bike so I was getting more power with each pedal

I knew the next 26 miles were going to suck.  And they did. It’s basically 26 miles straight uphill.  You get to painfully watch the pace you worked hard for plummet. But, I was ready for that to happen and so mentally, it didn’t knock me down.

It’s funny. Everyone talks about how rough the 3 “bears” are at the end of the first loop – Mama, Baby, and Papa Bear (they are even permanently marked on the asphalt with paint).  They are tough but in my opinion, they are not nearly as bad as some of the hills you face leading up to the them (like the killer at mile 37 and the heart-breaking one at mile 45).  Plus, the crowd support along and on top of Papa Bear was INSANE. I felt like I was part of the Tour with people lining both sides of the ride cheering, ringing their cowbells, and holding signs. It was incredible.  And once I saw the “bears”, I knew I was almost done with the first loop. So they were a welcome sight. Bring on the bears!

People were going nuts because I was grinning ear to ear as I pushed up Papa Bear. The adrenaline rush I got is indescribable and I couldn’t stop smiling. Before I knew it, I was on Mirror Lake Drive and experiencing / soaking in the crowds there. Tents and people were on both sides of the road. I kept an eye out for my family, hoping that I would get to see them (even though I knew they were probably not there yet).  Loop #1: 1:21:23 (over 6 minutes faster than my training ride)

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Made it to the special needs area and refilled my cliff bars, perpetuem and cytomax from my bag. The volunteers, again, were amazing. I didn’t have to even get off my bike. They did it all for me (as I drank and ate). And then off I went for loop #2.

The first 15 miles of the 2nd loop went by fairly quickly. I was amazed at how some of the riders around me were dying on the early hills and although I felt bad they were already hurting, it made me feel a bit better about how I paced myself the first loop.

After the descent into Keene, things got ugly for a while.  Miles 15-30 are mostly flat and immediately, my back, shoulders, and legs were on fire.  I know it’s because I had just drastically changed the position of my bike and my body wasn’t used to being in that position yet.  Honestly, I went back and forth about making the change but ultimately I decided to because I felt like the bike didn’t fit me properly and it was affecting my mental state.  Anyway, every couple of minutes, I had to come out of my aero bars and stretch my back for 15-20 seconds and then get back into the aero position. The miles seemed to drag on and I was worried my pace was beginning to drop so I was amazed that I was averaging between 19.1-20.2 mph during these 15 miles.  I was actually looking forward to the 26 miles of hills because I knew it would give me upper body a break.

The thought of riding another 25 miles though was exhausting. I was already beginning to dream of putting on my shoes for the run.  My legs were getting fatigued and my groin area was hurting.  To alleviate both, I would stand up (not pedal, just stand) every couple of minutes and let myself coast for 5-10 seconds to allow both areas a break.

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But I also knew that it was looking good that I could go sub-7 (my A goal) so my mood picked up.  I reminded myself to still not go all out BUT that I could push a bit more this time around. The hills were tough the 2nd loop, but I was happily surprised that I wasn’t dead.  I actually felt strong at times going up some of the hills (strong is relative since my pace was sub-15 for the last 26).

The moment I saw Mama Bear in front of me, I started crying…tears of happiness. I fist pumped, said a few mantras to myself…and for the first time all day, realized that unless something terrible happened on the run, I was going to be an Ironman.  That moment…that realization was indescribable.

I made it up the hills smiling once again, headed down Mirror Lake Drive and was heartbroken. My family was nowhere to be seen.  I kept my eyes out for their light-blue shirts but it was tough because I guess a lot of families got the memo that light blue was the in-color this year.

I turned onto the road behind the Olympic Oval…and then I saw them. First my mom, dad, younger sister and youngest son…and then further up the road my husband, oldest son, older sister, niece, nephew and brother-in-law.

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My littlest cheerleader, my godson!

I could NOT smile any bigger. I was SO happy. The people that have supported me every step of the way. The people that mean more to me than an Ironman race. The people that would love me whether I crossed the finish line or not. They were all there cheering and going bonkers for me! Little did I know that they were in a state of panic – athlete tracking hadn’t been updating and so they had no idea I had even gotten to the 30 mile turnaround (on the 2nd loop)! Loop #2: 3:23:03 (my 2nd loop was only 90 seconds slower than the first loop – talk about EVEN splitting!)

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I may be just a tad excited to finally see my family!

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5-mile Bike splits

Transition #2

I reached the transition area, hopped off my bike, a volunteer grabbed my bike, another took off my shoes, and I ran off to get my run gear bag.  As I was making my way into the transition tent, Donna jumped out and started screaming…we follow one another on Instagram and I knew she would be volunteering – but I had never expected to see her.  She grabbed my bag and helped me into the tent.  It was AWESOME. She sat with me while I pumped (I was lucky that my older sister was getting all new attachments/accessories for her pump and since I wasn’t keeping the milk I pumped, I could use all her old gear!) and we chatted about the morning – the swim, bike, Andy Potts…it made the 10 min it took to pump fly by! She had helped changed my socks, put on my shoes, visor and belt.  We took a quick picture before I left to run. Transition #2: 12:00

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Run

I made the turn out of transition and immediately saw some of my family on the left side of the road. I. Could. Not. Contain. My. Excitement.

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I started running and then saw the rest of my family on the other side of the road!

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This is PURE happiness on my face

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And then just like that, it was time to run a marathon. Despite the 8+ hours I had already been moving, my legs were ready to run. My first 3 miles were 7:58, 8:18, and 8:09 so clearly I got too caught up in the excitement of the crowd and finally being on the run.  After the 3rd mile, I began forcing myself to walk through water points to ensure I was drinking enough water.

But, I felt fantastic. Eerily good. Miles 4-9: 8:58, 8:31, 8:51, 8:57, 8:38, 9:02. Basically all at or just under 9 which was well under my goal pace for the race.  I was still running about an 8:30 pace for those miles (while I was running).  I was eating a few energy blasts every 10 minutes or so and felt fueled and hydrated. I felt awesome.

Mile 10 is a pretty steep climb and I was bummed that I had to walk for the first time but my heart rate just seemed to get a bit too high trying to run. I was back in town and ready to see my family!

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Enjoying the support from the crowd!

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One more kiss for my son, husband, and mom!

I was LOVING life. I have never enjoyed a marathon or race, for that matter, as much as I did on Sunday. I high-fived spectators, smiled for people cheering for me, and waved and thanked the volunteers. It was incredible and I’ll never be able to fully describe how happy and excited I was.

Unfortunately, things got ugly quick. Right after I saw my family (around mile 10), my stomach began cramping – badly. I had to stop just after I saw them and spent a bit of time just hunched over on the side of the road.  I tried to drink gatorade, eat pretzels and energy blasts – but I gagged them all back up. The nausea was worse than I have ever experienced. UGH. The next stretch of miles was tough. I alternated between walking and running (more like jogging). I’d run as long as I could before the pain came back and then I would walk until my stomach felt better. It was a morale killer. My legs felt good but my stomach was just not cooperating.  Miles 11-15:  10:13, 11:16, 10:51, 10:10, 11:46. 

I ran by my family again around mile 13 and tried to smile for them. I didn’t want them to see the pain I was in. I didn’t want them to worry.

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My husband ran alongside me for a few minutes and I told him what was going on. He told me to not freak out…that I should walk when I felt pain. I knew he was trying to make me feel better.  But all I wanted to do at that moment was hug him and stay in his arms.

The breaking point for me was mile 16. I basically had to walk the entire mile from the pain. Mile 16: 16:33. I was dejected. I couldn’t imagine having to walk the final 10 miles. I wanted to run more than anything.  I stopped at the next aid station and asked an older man (who looked like he was a triathlete) what I should do. He recommended drinking warm chicken broth. So that’s what I did.  At each aid station from mile 16 until the finish, I drank 1 full cup of salty chicken broth.  It started working almost immediately.  I still couldn’t eat anything, but at least the pain and nausea was beginning to subside. YES!

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Miles 17-24 went like this: Walk through aid station, drink chicken broth and water, run until the next aid station or a hill (which I walked up).  I felt stronger and stronger after each aid station. But man, it was lonely out there.  That stretch of miles (miles 2-9 and 15-22) is along a road where there’s basically no support other than an aid station every mile or so. No screaming fans. Nothing to preoccupy your mind.  I found support from the other runners. Almost every person I passed or was passed by offered words of strength and support.  No one was racing each other. We were all fighting our own fight, our own physical and mental battles.  And we were all each other’s biggest supporters during those miles. It was something I’ve never felt during a race before.  Miles 17-24: 10:10, 10:54, 11:06, 10:58, 11:53, 10:29, 11:13, 10:47

I saw my family again just around mile 24. I was 2 miles from the finish. From being an Ironman.

This was the first moment when it really, truly sank in.  A lot can go wrong during an Ironman. I knew I had trained the way I wanted.  But you always question things. Yourself. Your training. It’s normal.  I mean, I had never raced more than 6 hours before.  I had swam and run the distance and biked almost the full distance – but never on the same day.  And I knew things could take a turn for the worse quick.  I saw way too many ambulances whizzing by and fellow athletes on the side of the road getting medical help to think otherwise.  So until I hit those final few miles, I still hadn’t fully accepted the fact that it was going to happen. For the first 23, 24 miles of the marathon, my heart wanted to believe that I would finish.  But my mind was forcing me to not celebrate yet.  The celebration started sometime during mile 25.  I knew it was going to happen.  And despite my stomach beginning to hurt pretty badly, my emotions were masking the pain and becoming my fuel. I slowly started running faster. It was amazing to feel. My body was exhausted but I had this unexplained surge of energy. I was no longer running with my body. My heart and soul had taken over and were pushing, propelling me forward. Hills and all, I ran some of the fastest miles of the day. Miles 25-26: 9:47, 9:32.

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I hit mile 26 and started crying. Balling is probably a better term to use.  I was smiling AND crying.  And I was flying. I felt like I couldn’t slow down. And I didn’t force myself to. Last .26 miles: 7:21 pace =) 

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Making that turn into the Olympic Oval will be a memory, a moment that I will never, ever forget.  The months of early wakeups, training rides, runs, swims began flashing before my eyes.  Everything I’ve done to prepare myself for that moment finally meant something. I felt like I was coming in for a victory lap.

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And then I heard Mike Reilly’s voice. “From Staten Island, NY.  Michele Gonzalez. You ARE an Ironman”. 

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But then things got ugly. I needed medical attention for almost 90 minutes after crossing the finish line.  I was nauseous, cramping again, dizzy, lightheaded, cold.  My temp was super low (they took my temp after I was already in a heated tent under a few blankets and it was still 96.8).  My sodium levels were insanely low as well.  The doctor that was in charge of me during that period said I was borderline hypothermic and that my stomach was also on the verge of shutting down (I didn’t have enough salt in my body).  I hadn’t used the bathroom since before the race started at 6am. It was now after 7pm.  I was given an IV with fluids and started to feel better which allowed me to eat some food (pizza never tasted so good). They wouldn’t let me leave until I used the bathroom and thankfully soon after the IV, was able to.

My final stats:

  • Swim: 1:32:19  91 /479 / 2049 (AG/Gender/OA)
  • Bike: 6:44:16 47 / 259 / 1464
  • Run: 4:26:48 35 / 200 / 1135
  • T1: 9:27
  • T2: 12:00
  • Total Time: 13:04:50
  • Age Group Rank: 35 out of 100+
  • Overall: 1135 out of 2700+

I’ve heard from a handful of Ironman friends that completing your first Ironman is a life-changing event. I didn’t really understand or get what they meant…until Sunday evening. I am a different person. Just like my life can be broken into pre / post-children and pre / post Army, I will always view my athletic endeavors as pre / post Ironman. It’s hard to put into words.  Sunday was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Without question.  There were moments of discomfort, pain, and not understanding how I would make it another 30 miles on the bike or 10 miles on the run.  But, in those moments, I found a strength in me that I had never used before, let alone even knew existed. Despite being so tired at the end, I have never felt stronger. Mentally and physically strong.

Today is 4 days post Ironman. I feel refreshed. Recovered. Ready for the next challenge (although I’m making myself rest a few more days). I am excited about what lies ahead.  I have some pretty big goals for the next 3 months, 6 months and year (post will be coming soon).  I am proud of myself. I am not saying this in a boastful way. But it’s the truth.  I know that Sunday was a result of hard work. Many early night bedtimes. Even more early morning wakeups.  I’m 100% content with how the day progressed and what my finish time was (and I know I would have gone sub-13 if I didn’t have to pump!).

But more than anything, I’m thankful.  Thankful for SO many things. So many that I need to dedicate a whole post to it {coming soon!}.

If you are still reading this, then you deserve your own medal. HA. Thank you for coming along with me on my journey. And I’ll leave you with this…if you stick around, you will be in for another fun journey soon! =) =)

And a HUGE congrats to two of my girlfriends who finished on Sunday as well – Go Robin and Kara!

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    146 thoughts on “Ironman Lake Placid Race Recap

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    3. Pingback: Preparing for Ironman Lake Placid - Family Sport Life

    4. So inspirational!!! i hope to race there one day as i grew up in NY and now live in jakarta. Just finished my first 70.3 in australia and wanted to have my whole family (some in NY and NJ) to support me when i do my first IM. Thank you for a very detail and emotional sharing of IM experience.

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    6. Hi Michele:

      You recently liked a few of my photos on Instagram & I was star struck. I am a lurker on your blog but have never commented before. You are truly awesome! I am training for my 1st marathon…Philadelphia on 11/17 & you are an inspiration to me during this time!
      Thanks,
      Jenn

      • Jenn,
        Thanks for your sweet words =) It’s nice to “meet” you! I would love to try to meet up – maybe at the expo for Philly – I will be there!!
        Good luck with the last few weeks of training for your first! Hope it goes smoothly =)

    7. Hi Michele:

      You recently liked a few of my photos on instagram & I was almost star struck. I am a lurker on your blog but have never commented. This is truly awesome. I am training for my first marathon, Philadelphia on 11/17 & you are so inspirational to me during this time!

      Jenn

    8. WOW. Just WOW. You are amazing!! Way to GO!!

      I did a half ironman last year & that stomach cramping thing you talked about happened to me on the run too (and a part of the bike) –it was horrid & so sad. But I finished!

      Way to race through the pain & finish! SO proud of you!

    9. Michele! I have been meaning to comment on this post forever. First, congratulations again for an amazing accomplishment! I know it was a little while ago now, but I hope you’re still riding the Ironman high :)

      Secondly, I loved reading every bit of this recap and seeing the joy on your face in the pictures. I could feel all those highs and lows you experienced through your writing. And I am in awe. I can’t even imagine the physical AND mental strength it requires to complete an Ironman…especially when everything starts to go wrong with your stomach, etc. You did an incredible job!! And I’m excited to see what other great things are in store for you this year! Congrats again!
      Lauren recently posted..Pregnancy ConfessionsMy Profile

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    11. I have been meaning to post a response to this for a while — you are such an inspiration — this was an incredible recap of your ironman experience. I got emotional along with you reading your report of your feelings as you finished the run. Enjoy your time off for marathon training, and good luck with your next ironman training cycle!

    12. congratulations!! i loved reading the recap and it’s really inspiring to me. i’m planning to do my 2nd IM next May. it will be 7 months post-pregnancy if all goes as planned and it really helps to read about pumping in transition and just managing, haha. awesome job!
      christa recently posted..Week 27 – LAST TRIMESTER!My Profile

    13. I finally had the time to sit and enjoy this post. First, I need to say that this is absolutely one of the best race recaps I have ever read. It was so well-written and deep that it brought me to tears. What you accomplished is truly incredible. Reading this really gives you the feeling that, through hard work and passion, everything is achievable in life. CONGRATULATIONS! PS: you might have been in serious pain but you looked so strong!!!
      MartinaNYC recently posted..Team Championships recapMy Profile

    14. I finally had a chance to sit and read this, to give it my full attention and I’m so glad I did. I’m honestly speechless. Michele, you seem to always have a way to leave me without words, whether it’s a picture on instagram after one of your workouts or a post or tweet, I’m constantly and irrevocably in awe of you.

      You are a hero to me and so many others. You are the epitome of what I aspire to be as a woman. Superhuman? I can’t find another way to describe you. You do it all and you give everything your all, you dream big and you achieve those dreams, yet you’re so humble and kind, you’re an incredible wife and mother, you have a great career…and you’re an Ironman.

      I felt like I was right there with you as I read, witnessing your struggle and your incredible strength to keep going. I now have no excuse to fear the unknown, or to get hung up on bad runs/struggles/obstacles during training because I’ll have you and this in the back of my mind pushing me forward.

      Thank you for just being you, and for sharing your story. You have no idea how much you’ve inspired me. You just have this incredible spirit I wish could be bottled up and distributed to the world, if everyone lived like this the world wouldn’t know sadness or despair, they wouldn’t know ‘I can’t’ but only joy in dedication to hard work and “I can” in attaining happiness.
      Can’t wait to follow your next training adventure!! 😀

    15. You are my freaking hero. I love the image of you hand expressing milk in the middle of an Ironman.

      On the salt issue, I’m surprised that you don’t use salt pills? Is that just an ultramarathoner thing? They are really easy to swallow and I take one every ~1.5hours of running. It’s sodium, potassium, and magnesium so it keeps all your electrolytes up. I like the Salt Stick brand, but S-caps are good too. It’s like chicken broth you can keep in your pocket :)

      Congratulations on your finish!!
      Kara recently posted..This is your brain on childrenMy Profile

    16. Man, you got me with that post. I started getting all emotional and remembering how it feels to see the first lady in the middle of a tough race… although my tough race is just a marathon and fails in comparison to what you accomplished.

      Amazing. Simply amazing. So happy for you.
      Pavement Runner recently posted..Giant Race Half Marathon RecapMy Profile

    17. Don’t ask me why, but tears are streaming down my face as I read this and all I want to do now is an Ironman! Add it to my bucket list when I’m done bearing and nursing children. I cannot tell you how amazing it is that you did all of this with two young ones and still prioritized breastfeeding. I’m training for my first marathon with a 5-month-old now (my first child), and I can’t even imagine having a toddler around and also swimming and biking. Incredible.
      Laura H recently posted..Weekly Recap: July 7My Profile

    18. You are a very good writer. There is a lot of emotion in this story. I run, and always admire people who train for multiple events, training for running races alone takes a lot of time. Nice accomplishment there!

      @dsandley

    19. Thank you for being so inspiring! You are amazing!!! Congrats on your Ironman finish! That was an emotional read.

    20. What an inspirational race recap! I’m so impressed with your dedication to being a mommy as well. As someone who pumped for all 3 kids of my own (none of them were able to latch due to tongue ties) I completely understand the hard work it is. I hated pumping before and after my first half marathon, I can’t imagine pumping DURING an Ironman!!! Great job! (and you have an awesome first name if I say so myself!!!)
      Michele @micheleontherun recently posted..A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Becoming a TriathleteMy Profile

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    22. Since I have now been a breastfeeding mom for almost 3 weeks, my husband totally understood when I explained the dedication you have to sport, to pump in Ironman transition. Very inspiring. I have always said it would be very unlikely I’d ever do an Ironman, but in the last few months, I started considering going full monty. After reading this…I just don’t know how I couldn’t!!!!
      Crystal@TheFastFitRunner recently posted..Post Partum Body & FitnessMy Profile

    23. congrats times a million!!! YOU are an amazing inspiration :) :) The sheer emotion from your recap alone is inspiring, so thank YOU for taking us on this journey, I felt like I was right there in Lake Placid along with you and your family. Can’t wait to read all about your next big endeavors!!
      Heidi recently posted..August Goals & July RecapMy Profile

    24. I have to admit, I took some breaks in-between reading about your Ironman experience but read through the entire thing and am even more inspired! Way to go! That stomach cramping sounded totally like sodium depletion! Good thing you had the chicken broth. I heard salted boiled potatoes helps too 😉

      Anyway, thanks again for sharing your experience! As mentioned, I’m even more inspired to do one someday… You are a constant source of “can do” attitude and I’m grateful to have found your blog/twitter feed. Congratulations, Ms. Ironmama!!

    25. Michele, I recently found your blog as I, too, did IMLP last weekend. Congratulations on becoming an Ironman! It is super impressive how you fit in the training, raising a family, and life in general. I’m so glad you had an amazing day out there, Ironman is such a special event and I really do believe it changes a person for the better. You pretty much can do anything if you can do the training and the race! Congrats again and enjoy the recovery time!

    26. You are seriously an AMAZING athlete, friend, mother & wife. You are such an inspiration to people everywhere, especially MOTHERS! Nursing in the middle of an IRONMAN, who even FREAKING DOES THAT?! Seriously you inspire me daily more than you could EVER realize. Please never stop, you are made for this!

    27. you are amazing. this def made me set an IRONMAN as a long-term goal! congrats on all the hard work you’ve put into this, i’ve felt inspired by you from the first post. you’re a real person that puts dedication into perspective for me, thanks!!!!
      congratulations!!!! i’m feeling emotional and living vicariously through you the high (hehe).

    28. Congrats Michele! I am crying and just so in awe of you. I’m so glad you had a successful race and enjoyed the experience so much. You truly are an inspiration. I can’t wait to follow along with what you do next!
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    29. Congrats on such an amazing accomplishment. You are in inspiration to so many people. I just cried in Panera reading your post! I love the details and reading about the highs and the lows! My goal is an IM one day! Thanks for the real experience
      Genna recently posted..Summer of Fun..Oh I mean RUM!!!My Profile

    30. Great recap!! I teared up a bit reading this. I could only imagine your excitement. What a wonderful feeling of accomplishment you must have felt crossing that finish line. You are amazing!!
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    31. Smiling from ear to ear (with goosebumps!) It has been a pleasure following your journey to Ironman. It is certainly a moment you will remember for the rest of your life. Congrats on all your accomplishments! Here’s to many more!

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    33. I have been following you on Instagram for a while and just started to follow your blog. Wow! Your Ironman experience is so inspiring! It’s truly amazing what the human body can do. I look forward to following you on your next adventure!

    34. Great job!! What an amazing experience!! You are an inspiraiton!! I’m sure the nursing didn’t help with your sodium levels either. Glad you were ok after the med tent. Look forward to hearing your new goals ahead. :)
      Kristie recently posted..10 Reasons to RunMy Profile

    35. That was incredibly inspirational! Thank you for sharing all of those moments. All of your hard work paid off, congratulations IRONMAN!

    36. What an absolutely amazing accompishment!!! You are truly inspiring…and what a beautifully written recap!! I felt like I was right there with you!!!

    37. Oh my goodness. I am literally speechless!!! Reading this, I felt so many emotions. Nervous. Excited. Proud. AMAZED. INSPIRED. You are so incredible and I’m so thankful you share your journey with all of us. Way to go Iron Mama!!!!!

    38. Michele!! This was such an awesome recap! You are an Ironman!!! An Ironman THAT EVEN PUMPED during the race :) Sorry, I love that you did that! I’m so sorry you had stomach difficulties but am amazed how you were able to push through them and still have the biggest smile probably of anyone out there on the course last Sunday. You have done amazing things and inspire so many. Congratulations mama!!

    39. This was amazing. I am so happy for you. I was reading this and started to cry. You are an inspiration to me. Keep up the good work and positive attitude because you are an IRONMAN. How freakin’ awesome is that!

    40. What a fantastic race and recap!! Congrats to you again!! You did amazing! I got emotional just reading this. Although I’ve never raced in an Ironman I’ve supported friends and had the opportunity to volunteer and there is just nothing else like it!! It’s the best sporting event I’ve ever been a part of! I cant wait to hear what you have in store for the future!
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    41. Ugh this just made me cry the big ugly cry! I am in awe of you, I really can’t think of any other words to describe it. You have every right to feel insanely proud of yourself!
      I’m pretty slow runner but have done 7 half marathons, but this year I’m doing my first full marathon. I get choked up at the thought of crossing the finish line at the marathon so I can only imagine how THIS must feel for you! Congratulations and enjoy your MUCH deserved ironman high!

    42. This report put a big old grin on my face! But not as big as your grins, which are just fantastic! I am sorry you had stomach issues, but so proud of you for fighting through (but not surprised!). And you definitely deserve some sort of special award for stopping to pump in T1–that has to be a first!

      Very, very happy for you. You should be proud–you worked hard and it paid off. Rest and enjoy the bliss!
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    43. this post made me get a little teary-eyed! i’m doing my first triathlon (a sprint!) on Sunday and this is the ultimate motivation. i’m hoping that i’m a future Ironman too, and your journey is SO inspiring to me. rock on michele!

    44. Michele you are SO amazing. Especially coming from a FTM. That recap made me totally tear up. You are incredible, congratulations!! And pumping mid-Ironman? You should get an award strictly for that. BF is a full-time commitment, and even in that circumstance, you STILL made the time to pump. Awesome, way to go girl!!
      Kylie Carlson recently posted..Britax Marathon 70-G3 First Impression & Review!My Profile

    45. My eyes filled with tears so many times reading this. I want to read it again! WOW WOW WOW! You are incredible and what a huge accomplishment. I can’t even imagine doing something this difficult! You are an incredible fighter to pull yourself through so many tough and emotional moments during this race! I can’t even imagine what your plans are for the future. Can’t wait to hear about them though! CONGRATULATIONS MICHELE! YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

    46. Awesome recap indeed!! Those pictures are truly helped me to understand how much fun and tough situation you’ve went through in the lake placid race. You’re an Ironman because running 26 miles at a time without any long break is pretty tough and glad to learn finally you’ve made an adventurous race finished. Congratulations for great race participation!!
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    47. Amazing recap!! I teared up reading this and am so happy for you!! Completely in awe of you, your training, your dedication and your achievement!! I can’t believe you pumped during your transitions too – seriously awesome!

    48. I love reading Ironman recaps, you are just amazing! You look so happy in every single one of those pictures. The end miles sound very tough and very happy to hear you are feeling better and recovered from the very tough end. Sounds like you really pushed your body. Congratulations!!
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    49. I am SO SO SO proud of you!!! Seriously, I felt like a little bit of a stalker on Sunday. I think crossing an Ironman finish line is ridiculously awesome, but to train and do one WHILE BREASTFEEDING is another. You definitely are such an inspiration to women everywhere!!

    50. You have every right in the world to be proud of yourself! YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!! That is so amazing!

      I loved every minute of your recap… scared me FOR you on how close to dangerous your body was getting. Thank goodness you started with the chicken broth. That’s at least good sodium – if you didn’t have that, I’d be afraid what would’ve happened.

      I love all your pictures – so SMILEY! :) … & am so amazed that you did this WHILE needing to pump. Every mom in the world has their mouth dropped in awe…

      One last question – where can I get a wet suit stripper? I just want one for myself for the end of every night for regular clothes :)
      Rebecca Jo recently posted..Doctor’s appintment left me depressed….& fat…My Profile

    51. SO happy for you Michele!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! And haha I think it’s pretty universal, there were tears and goosebumps reading your race recap!! I felt like I was there!!!! And it made me soo happy for you! I can’t stop smiling being so happy for you! :) CONGRATULATIONS on being an IRONMAN!!!!

    52. I don’t even have words to say how incredible that was!! Reading your story made me emotional – by the time you finished the Ironman, I was crying with you!!! I applaud your hard-work, drive, determination – all of it!! You are amazing!!!
      Thank you for sharing the recap in it’s entirety – I loved every word!!
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    53. Wow! Congrats! I did get a little choked up while reading this…truly an inspiration…especially for all female athletes out there! Can’t wait to hear about what is next!

    54. I have no issue stating that I cried while reading this. You are a true inspiration and have enjoyed following your journey. While I completed my first 70.3 next year and will be doing my first 140.6 next year….reading your training and race experiences was incredibly motivational and helpful for me. Congrats on an amazing feat- never cease to amaze.

      And for the record, I’m glad I am not the only one who had issues going to the bathroom. Even though it was only a 70.3, I couldn’t force myself to go the bathroom throughout the race and even after for some reason it just hurt and couldn’t make it happen.
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    55. Wow, Michele… I loved every word of this! I felt like I was right there with you- and I’m amazed how many details you can remember from the day! The swim would have been the worst for me, too… I’ll make a note of that to not be too optimistic about my swim time! I got trampled a bit in my first tri too and it was scary!
      You were AMAZING- huge congratulations!! All your training paid off and I’m so glad to hear you say you were proud of yourself- you’d better be! :-) Enjoy the extra rest this week!
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    56. Congratulations!! I read some other comments and totally agree-what a great race recap! I felt like I was right there experiencing the emotions with you thanks to your great detail and pictures! You are so very inspiring, thanks for sharing your hard work, training, and race!
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    57. You are an IRONMAN! Congratulations Michele! You are so amazing. I think I teared up a little reading your race recap. After following you on Instagram these past few months and seeing all the hard hard work you put into your training, you inspire me to keep going with my dreams no matter how hard they get. Congrats again and can’t wait to keep following you on your next journey!!

      Sara

    58. YOU are amazing!!!! I just cried reading this, as I am sure so many did. I love all of the pictures and the look of elation on your face in all of these pictures. This runs through your blood and I admire that so so much!! You conquered something so FEW do and did an incredible job. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for you next and I hope you enjoy every minute of rest you are taking :) XO
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    59. Congratulations!! What an amazing accomplishment this is!! You are truly an inspiration for me and you have motivated me to work harder and dig deeper. I LOVE reading your blog and following along on your journey! Enjoy this IRONMAN high, you absolutely deserve it! I’m not sure I’ll ever be a triathlete but I do plan on being a marathoner in 2014. I am currently training for my second half marathon and plan to complete a marathon next year.

      Good luck with your next adventure and I look forward to following along!
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    60. Thank you for posting this, I loved it! You’re such an inspiration. I admire your discipline and positivity! Also, thank you for proving that being a mom doesn’t mean you can’t pursue and achieve your personal goals. Can’t wait to hear about your next endeavor!

    61. Michelle – you are such an inspiration! You are a friggin’ Ironman!!!! That’s so incredible. And I can’t believe you did it AND pumped! You are an amazing woman and I’m so happy to hear how much you enjoyed the race. You earned that title of Ironman. Be as proud as you want! Go girl!
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    62. All I can say is best post ever! I teared up so many times with what you wrote!! You are an inspiration!!!

    63. Thank you for sharing your journey. I never thought I could be so proud of someone over the internet! You are an inspiration to me! Also…thanks for making me tear up/cry at work. 😉

    64. Congratulations Ironman! Great job in pacing and working through the pain. This is something you will never forget. Enjoy it.

      No problem on the wheels :)

      Glenm

    65. You hot mama! So proud of your accomplishments and managing to have a smile on your face through 13 HOURS of intense grueling physical activity!
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    66. Wow!!! I’m about to start bawling myself here at work! Haha, this was absolutely amazing, Michele! I am incredibly proud of you and you are so amazing!!! Be proud, rest up, you’ll be high on this for a very long time.

      YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!
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    67. This made me tear up at work! Congrats, you completely earned it and you are an IRONMAN! How awesome to say! This was seriously the best race recap I’ve ever read. You are freaking awesome.

    68. Michelle, what a great post! I cried at least 3 times reading this post. You are such an inspiration to me and to so many others! Congrats on such an awesome accomplishment and I am sure it does change you! I can’t wait to read more about your future goals!

    69. This is SUCH a beautiful and inspiring post. An iron man is absolutely in the books for me someday, but for now, I keep looking up to people like you and hustling the ultramarathons until I am ready to take the big step.

      Exceptional work, lady…you are an inspiration!

    70. Congrats! This was an amazing recap. I’m so happy for you and proud in my own way.

      Don’t ever shy away from being proud of yourself and all your accomplishments! You’re an ironman!
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    71. I honestly have a lump in my throat right now – I am SO happy for you Michele! Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment. I hope to see you and the boys soon!

    72. Congratulations on your Ironman, Michele. I completed my first one last weekend too (Midnight Man in the UK) and can relate to many of the emotions you describe here. I have one extra emotion now – total ENVY that you had people to take off your wetsuits! What a job! 😉
      Great race report – mine to follow soon…
      K x

    73. I’ve been impatiently waiting for this race report!!! I hung onto every word!!! This post is almost as good as watching every athlete coming through the finish line!!! Congratulations on becoming an IRONMAN!!! The fact that you completed it while the sun was still up is just AMAZING!!! You’re story and triumph is soooo inspiring!!! I signed up for IMLP 2014 and I have not completed a tri yet!!! *falls out* My first tri is in September and I’m hoping to complete Augusta Half Ironman this year. I’m going to remember your mental strength tips when I doubt begins to creep in! Thanks for being such an inspiration! P.S. you’re boys are sooooo cute!
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    74. Michelle, what an amazing post and even more amazing accomplishment. I clearly only know you from following your blog/instagram, but here I am reading this post with tears in my eyes. You are such a strong and inspiring woman. Thank you for letting the rest of us follow you on your journey.

    75. Michele – this post left me speechless. I don’t even know you, but I’ve been following your training via IG and your blog, and I’m SO proud of you. The perseverance, determination, and strength you’ve shown in accomplishing this goal is amazing. You truly are an inspiration to me. Thank you so much for sharing your journey….you DESERVE to be proud of yourself and bask in the glory of this accomplishment! You make me feel like I, too, could be an Ironman someday :-) Can’t wait to see what you’re up to next!

    76. Wow IronMama….I’m completely choked up reading your post! What an amazing accomplishment. Your hard work and determination are unbelievable! So proud of you!

    77. And the tears are flowing! Here are my two absolute favorite parts:

      1.) “I stopped at the next aid station and asked an older man that looked athletic what I should do. He recommended drinking warm chicken broth. So that’s what I did. At each aid station from mile 16 until the finish, I drank 1 full cup of salty chicken broth. It started working almost immediately. ”

      I love the wisdom that can be gained from older, experienced runners. Both of my grandfathers were marathoners through their 50s, and I have learned so much from them. The wisdom that they have is EARNED, and when they pass it on, it’s like they are gifting it to us, a new, younger generation of athletes. Someday you will be able to give that same piece of advice to a younger runner fighting to become an ironman. I love this community!

      2.) ” I’m 100% content with how the day progressed and what my finish time was (and I know I would have gone sub-13 if I didn’t have to pump!).”

      Yes, of course you would have been faster if you didn’t pump, but you DID pump. Despite being in the midst of your most difficult physical challenge of your life, you still put “being a mom” first. That is something to be proud of, and I bet you can count on one hand the other competitors that were in the tents pumping during the race! HA!

      Thanks again for sharing your inspiring journey, and can’t wait to hear what is next!

      • Tara, I agree with what you said about wisdom the older generation has. That’s why I looked for someone who seemed “seasoned”. HA. Without hesitation, he directed me to chicken broth. I’m thankful he did b/c I am not sure what would have happened to me if I didn’t start get that into my system.
        Thank you for your sweet, sweet words, Tara. I hope to have the post up sometime next week =)
        nycrunningmama recently posted..Ironman Lake Placid Race RecapMy Profile

    78. I have been following your achievements from here in the UK and I have to send a huge congratulations on your latest accomplishment.

      I may only read your blog and follow your twitter, but I think I speak for many when I say you’re an inspiration to many, myself included.

    79. AWESOME Michele! I was in tears just reading how happy you are!!! Such an accomplishment! You have every right to be proud! CONGRATULATIONS!

    80. Congrats!! I loved reading this recap. What an amazing day & accomplishment! I still can’t get over you pumping in transition – you are one AWESOME mama! A full IM is on my bucket list, but it will have to wait a few more years until my girls are a little older. There is no way I can handle the training load right now with full-time work + two little ones.

      And I hope you shout your joy from the rooftops! You’ve earned it and deserve the bragging rights!
      Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..Marathon Update: FIRST to the FinishMy Profile

      • A lot of females gave me some funny looks while I was in there – HA =) YES! So excited that you want to tackle a full – honestly, other than the birth of my boys, I have never felt emotion like I felt that day. You will LOVE it! Thanks for all of your support, Nicole! xo
        nycrunningmama recently posted..Ironman Lake Placid Race RecapMy Profile

    81. Congrats Michelle! This was one of the best race recaps I have read because you can just feel your emotions coming off the page. I loved seeing all your pictures, esp the ones of you seeing your family at the beginning of the run and your victory pictures at the end. I almost teared up at some of them. The joy you must have felt after you got through mile 25 and being in pain and knowing you had made it. What an incredible time and performance. There are so many of us who don’t even know you but who feel a connection to you and have been cheering you on. You are a rock star! So happy for you (and glad you were ok after the med tent!)! Thanks for sharing the journey with us! Enjoy the IRONMAN high!