Now that the race report is done, it’s time for a little reflection on my race at Ironman Lake Tahoe.
I am very proud of myself for finishing a race that was very difficult for me. I am not as happy that quoting seemed like such a viable option for so long on the bike. There are always dark places in an Ironman race (or so I am told) it’s unfortunate that my dark place lasted 6 hours during this particular race. I hope that no one takes my report or my personal experience as a negative reflection on this race. Ironman Lake Tahoe is a beautiful venue, it was well run, and I consider myself lucky to have gotten to be involved in the inaugural race. On the other hand this race should not be under estimated, if you want to complete an Ironman and want a challenge this is your race.
In case anyone is considering racing this in the future here is what worked well for me and few things I would do differently if I could.
Things I would do differently in the future:
- Work more on my climbing and descending skills, the bike course is very challenging, and at altitude. It would have been ideal to go out and train on the course. I am a fairly new cyclist and I worked hard this summer but I think I could have used more time. Also I would put more time into strength training to make sure my legs had plenty of strength to get up and over the long climbs.
- Really have my nutrition down before the race. I can’t really put my finger on the reason I felt so sick for so long on the bike. I was fine until the first set of climbs then my stomach went into revolt, my mood plummeted and I had a hard time eating anything. Soon after I stopped eating as much my energy started to sag, not surprisingly.
- Take more electrolytes. I was craving salt really badly at the beginning of the run which makes me think I was neglecting my salt on the bike. It was easy to forget about my salts when it was so cold.
- Get my metal game together before the race. I was pretty thrown by the cold and terrible weather the day before and I think it shook my confidence at little.
Things that worked for me:
- My swim training, I felt great on the swim, I sighted well and even was able to draft a little. I decided to wear two swim caps but not a neoprene cap or booties. I was happy and warm enough on the swim.
- When heading to Tahoe I packed every piece of cold weather gear I own and I wore all of it on the bike, I was still cold but I am not sure what else I could have put on.
- Switching to a compact cranks
- Full change in T1 and T2, I can’t imagine being wet on the bike or the run.
- Warm clothes on the run instead of a tri kit
- Having great support on the course from my family
- Deciding to never give up. I thought about quoting but I decided that as long as I was physically able I would keep moving forward and eventually I made it to the finish.
Even though my race was more of a challenge for me than I would have liked I still love Ironman, love that I took on this challenging race and look forward to doing it again in the future.
I’m so happy you didn’t quit either. That’s the beauty (or not!) of an Ironman- you never know what the day will bring!
That is super odd about your stomach; no wonder you felt like quitting with the lack of energy. Hopefully it doesn’t happen again!
I would love to do Tahoe one year!
What an amazing experience – such a tough race, both mentally and physically, but good for you for keeping on and finishing!
I wonder if the energy you used to try and stay warm/get warm after the swim caused you to need more calories. The year I did Coeur d’Alene the water was just over 50 degrees. I felt like poop for most of the bike too….