We drove to Lake Placid on Tuesday. From Ajax, ON, it is a 500 Km ride, which took us approximately 6 hours. That was pretty good, considering that we have two small kids, a small dog and a small car.
We arrived at our motel - Prague Motor Inn - in the evening.
Lake Placid is a beautiful, little town. Kind of expensive though. Being surrounded my mountains, it brought me good memories of Poiana Brasov, Romania.
On Wednesday I went for a quick run to test my new Saucony Kinvara running shoes. These shoes are the best I have used so far. The only problem was that I bought them just before going to Lake Placid and I was a little bit afraid that I might have problems using new shoes for my first Ironman. After doing a quick 50 minute run I knew that I won't have any issues with them.
I also did a 1.2 mile swim in Mirror Lake. Swimming is my weakest leg, by far. So I was quite happy when I managed to finish the 1.2 mile swim in 40.36 minutes, which was pretty close to my PR.
In the evening we all went to the local cinema and watched "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" with Nicolas Cage. It was a funny and entertaining movie and the good thing was that the kids enjoyed it as much as Miha and I did.
One good thing about our motel was that it was located on the bike and the run course and it was only 0.9 Km from the transition area. Another equally good thing was that it was located next to a Wine Store. So, almost every evening we stopped there and bought our customary bottle of Port wine. Both, my wife and I love this wine very much.
On Thursday we went to the Ironman check-in and expo. Right at the entrance there was a large tent full of signs that the spectators could use for encouraging their dearest ones in the race. My kids stopped there and used their creativity to design some awesome signs to help me finish the race faster.
On Friday I went for another swim in Mirror Lake. This time I managed to swim 1.2 miles in 38:20 minutes which was a personal best for me. There's nothing like PB before a major race to boost your confidence. After that PB I just knew it that I was going to have a good swim on Sunday. Until then I was really scared of the swimming leg. Most of my swim training was during lunch time, when I had only 35 minutes available, which translated into approx. 1.5 Km. I managed to swim 2.4 miles only 3 times before this race.
After the swim we all went to check-in my bike and my transition bags. I had never participated before in a race with transition bags and I was a little bit confused of how to use them. I went to the info kiosk an there was a nice lady who answered all my questions and told me to relax. I guess that I was quite stressed out considering that she noticed it.
Actually, I know I was very stressed out. Just ask Miha and the kids. You can actually see in the pictures above that there was no smile on my face and I usually try to smile when I am in a picture. Miha and the kids, but especially Miha, had to put up with me snapping out at them most of the time. At some point Miha said that we need to talk and from her face expression I knew what we were going to talk about. She told me that she understands that it is my first Ironman and it is normal to be a little bit stressed out but that does not give me the right to be a jerk. I knew she was right and I promised that I'll do my best to calm down and try to actually enjoy my time in Lake Placid. Once in a while Miha gives me"The Talk" and it helps, even though I do not like it at the time. After "The Talk" I kept repeating to myself that I need to relax and just enjoy my time in Lake Placid. It actually worked and even though there were a few times when I snapped out at the kids, those were the exceptions. After that I actually started to enjoy my time in Lake Placid and stop thinking about the race.
On Saturday it was Miha's turn to go swimming in Mirror Lake. She has registered for the Ironman 70.3 Muskoka on September and, as in my case, swimming is her weakest leg. She also panicked in every race that she participated so far and felt very constricted by the wetsuit, ending up swimming breast stroke. This time in Mirror Lake she managed to swim 1.2 miles in 51 minutes which is personal best for her by far. Last year at Ironman 70.3 Muskoka it took her 1:05 hours to swim the same distance. She was very, very excited by her record and I am sure that it will give her the confidence that she needs to not be scared of swimming in open waters anymore.
After Miha's swim, we registered the kids in the Ironman Kids Fun Run. I think it was 0.5 miles run for Stefan, who is 4 and 1 mile for Maria, who is 6. Stefan as usual, enjoyed his race, giving high five to everybody, without worrying about his performance. Maria, was exactly the opposite, she tried her best to run as fast as she could. This was a fun run with no time chips. Anyway, Maria treated it as a real race and finished with the first group, passing lots of 7 and 8 year old kids, including boys. She was barely able to breath after passing the finish line.
Both, Maria and Stefan, were very proud of their Ironman M-DOT medals. The kids fun race and the medals were another nice surprises from the organizers.
In the afternoon we went to the High Falls Gorge. It is a pretty nice place to visit, although kind of expensive. The kids enjoyed every minute of it and kept running up and down on the boardwalk.
That is pretty much it for my pre-race report. We had a very good time in Lake Placid, but it could have been even better. The lesson that I learned was that for my next Ironman I am going to take more time-off after the race and not before. Before the race I am too stressed out and mostly thinking about what can go wrong in the race, instead of enjoying my vacation. Lesson learned!