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Rockin’ Out the LP

August 3, 2013

Ironman Lake Placid 2013 Race Report


Warming up on the beach of Mirror Lake minutes before the start of Ironman Lake Placid, the loudspeaker blared “Someone Like You” by Adele.  Not exactly the adrenaline-inducing music one would expect at a major athletic event.  I looked around quizzically at my fellow competitors, uncertain if I was the only one who found the song selection odd.  After Adele we heard the unplugged version of “Hotel California”.  At this rate I anticipated a somber set of Morrissey would take us to the start line.

Fortunately, my race soundtrack was defined four days prior.  During my solo 10 hour drive to Lake Placid, I utilized the full range of my SiriusXM channels to keep the trip interesting.  The 90s on 9 station really got my blood pumping.  Though I tried to fight the urge, I couldn’t resist.  The music that permeated the airwaves during my high school and college years – Cyprus Hill, Sir Mix-a-Lot, STP, Snoop Dogg (now Snoop Lion), Ace of Base – came back to life.  I wasn’t sure if I should be proud or ashamed that I was able to sing along most of the time.  These earworms came along for the race experience and continue to stay with me as I write.  Get out of my head, Collective Soul!


How’s this for a 90s earworm?

Right Here, Right Now

Back at Lake Placid, the corrals began to fill according to the new self-seeding format.  Although many were not fond of the new swim start, I enjoyed it.  Instead of getting mowed over by the dolphins, I could start out with people roughly my speed.  Through two laps, I managed to stay with the same pack of 4-5 people.  I hung out in the back as the pack leaders did the work.  Breastrokers in our path were quickly pushed aside and discarded.  Nobody messed with my swim crew.  We were the underwater Jets.  Instead of snapping, our gang noise was bilateral breathing.

My Heart Will Go On

My effort on the swim never broke beyond a comfortable pace, just as I had hoped.  All strokes were smooth, relaxed, and controlled.   My only sense of urgency was to stay with the bubbles emerging from the pack leader’s feet.   I came out of the water very close to my target time, and most importantly, with a barely elevated heart rate.

Underwater cable = swimming in straight lines

Swim Map: Underwater cable = swimming in straight lines

Swim Time: 1:04:22

Standing After Swim: 35 age group, 247 overall

I Wish it Would Rain Down

At the beginning of the bike I was greeted by a rain shower.  Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but the sketchiness factor of the initial descents increased significantly.  I was told one could simply tuck down into aero position at full speed without a care in the world.  Reality didn’t quite match this description.  “This is BULLSHIT” I remember thinking, as my brakes squeaked loudly against my wet carbon rims with white knuckles hugging my brake levers.  Staying far to the right so the braver competitors could dive bomb down the mountain, I continued my cautious glide to the bottom.

You Oughta Know

A long rolling stretch at the base signified the beginning of Hammer Time.  Overtaking several of the kamikazes, I settled into a strong groove.  My legs felt so good, and the scenery was so breathtaking, that I hardly realized my power output was significantly over target.  I tried to simma’ down, but every five minutes or so I noticed my watts were still too high.  Despite my best intentions, my legs just did what they wanted to do. The final three hills of the first loop were named Mama Bear, Baby Bear, and Papa Bear, respective to their size and grade.  The crowds lining Papa Bear inspired me to close the first lap with a bang.  The porridge was just right.


Am I on the bear, or is the bear on me?

Baby One More Time

The second loop of the bike leg was mercifully drier, though I adopted the same conservative approach to the descents and again was passed like the lone Beltway driver going 55.  Like the previous loop, I reeled in the Evel Knievels at the bottom, including a male pro.  Approaching the turnaround, in the opposite direction I saw fellow Igniters Kelly and Mike.  Kelly was KILLING the bike, and Mike was way ahead with a strong swim.  My competitive nature was starting to get the best of me.  I kept fighting the urge to close the gap on my teammates (or at least keep the gap from widening further, in Kelly’s case).   Based on my power numbers, I was still riding well above target.  I needed to stop, collaborate, and listen.  But I did not come back with a brand new edition.  Instead, I kept riding hard.

Killing Me Softly

By mile 100 the tone of the ride changed.  No longer relaxed and carefree, my legs were tired.  Trips out of the saddle became more frequent.  I coasted downhill without pedaling.   By the time I hit the Bears again, my body was screaming louder than the hundreds of spectators along the road.  Rolling into T2, I was angry at myself for letting my power get out of control, and scared for what lied ahead.

Bears not shown to scale

Bike Map: Bears not shown to scale

Bike Time: 5:17:26

Standing After Bike: 7 AG, 53 OA

Good Vibrations

The first mile of every Ironman run feels weird, as one’s feet hits dry land for the first time in several hours.  Fortunately, I was able to establish my target pace comfortably.  Slowly reeling in the folks ahead of me while maintaining a relaxed stride, things were rosy.  I felt like I stole minutes from the bike and got away with it.  The perfect crime?

I do legitimately fear mustaches

My fear of mustaches pushed me through the first loop

Man in the Box

By mile 9, a vicious #2 loomed in the horizon.  As the Cleveland Browns surged towards the Super Bowl, I stormed to the first port-o-potty I came across.  Occupied.  I sprinted ahead to the next one, almost a mile away.  Though sitting felt good, I knew this would make it even harder to resume at my previous pace.  Even worse, the kids weren’t going into the pool without a fight.  Four minutes later, I emerge from the throne slightly refreshed and a tad lighter.

I Want it that Way

Onward and upward, I hit two hills in succession that were steep and long.  It was a nice changeup from the rolling terrain, and I enjoyed the crowds at the top – particularly the gentleman on loudspeaker encouraging everyone to keep running.  The encouragement continued through Mirror Lake Drive, which was a madhouse of tri club tents.  The Team Z tent was particularly awesome.  Paul yelled out that I was holding 4th place.  Sweet!  I completed the first loop of the run very close to my target (after taking away the time I lost in the potty).   I kept rolling down the street, smokin’ kilo(meters), sippin’ on coke and gels.   With my mind on my Garmin and my Garmin on my mind.


Reality slapped me in the face by the second loop.  My legs felt heavy.  My feet hurt.  I wasn’t able to flow down the hills as I did the first time.  My pace took a hit on the straightaways.  I helplessly watched a few folks pass me.  I walked through an aid station at mile 18.  I had pissed off the triathlon gods for biking too hard, and they were smiting me.

Mama Said Knock You Out

At mile 22 another competitor motored by me.  He wasn’t in my age group so the pass wasn’t particularly meaningful, but something inside me said ENOUGH.  I picked up the pace and hung onto his hip.  We went stride for stride the next 3 miles.  In a brief exchange, he told me he was going for a Kona slot in the 30-34 age group.  We passed his wife who shouted that he was 6th.  His age group had four slots.  “Go fishing, baby!! Reel ‘em in!!” she yelled.  We both caught a second wind.  “Let’s catch these guys” I proclaim as we continued side by side.  We charged towards the hills.  The large crowds helped distract me from the burning in my legs.  “You’re in 3rd place!” Jenny shouted.  Looking around, my friend was nowhere in sight.  Adreneline and crowd energy took me to the finishers chute.  Mike Reilly took me the rest of the way.

Run Map:

Run Map:  The course somewhat resembles an evil grin

Run Time: 3:12:54

Final Time: 9:42:07

Final Standing: 3 AG, 28 OA


Insane in the Brain

My friend crossed the finish line a minute after me.  After proper introductions, we commiserated over pizza and I wished him good luck at rolldown.  Before I knew it I was shivering uncontrollably.  A volunteer took quick note of my condition and escorted me to the med tent.  A warm blanket and several cups of chicken broth later, my condition improved considerably.  Hypothermia was the diagnosis.  After the motor stopped at the finish line, cool temps and wet clothes brought my core temperature down considerably.  Lesson learned – after finishing a race, immediately get out of my wet clothes and into a dry martini.

Come to Lake Placid for the ironman, stay for the chicken broth

Come to Lake Placid for the ironman, stay for the chicken broth


At the awards ceremony next day, I was happy to celebrate my first Ironman age group award!  I was also happy to see my Ignite teammates Kelly and Kasha Williamson win awards, as well as other DC-area studs Katie Thomas (1st Female Am), Kendra Goffredo (2nd Female Am), Ben Winterroth (3rd Male Am), and Chris Wren (multiple course record holder).  As for my new friend Eric, he received a roll-down slot and will be joining me in Kona.

Nothing Compares 2U

Though triathlon is technically an individual sport, nobody gets to the finish line without a little help.  In my case, I’ve received a TREMENDOUS amount of support from my coach, team, family, and sponsors.  Many thanks are in order for:

  • Coach Eric for continuing to embrace my crazy ambitions and showing me the path towards my goals.
  • Paul, Sarah, and family for taking me in as an honorary Shin during race week.  Big congrats to Sarah on her first Ironman!  Paul went way above and beyond his call of duty by helping me out before, during, and especially after the race.  He deserves a medal alone for handling my bike post-contamination.
  • Ignite Endurance, my good friends and training partners all wrapped into one, for their support and encouragement.  Big congrats to everyone who finished this difficult race: Kelly, Kasha, Mike, Sarah, and Caroline.  Also thanks to Dawn for being a super Sherpa for essentially the whole team.
  • All my friends, family, and well-wishers who reached out to me this past week – each note, no matter how small, means a lot.
  • Jenn for driving my broken body back to DC after a crash course in stick shift operation.
  • Karen for fantastic massages that bring me back to life after ridiculous amounts of training volume.
  • Tri360 for accommodating lots of last minute bike tweaking prior to the race, helping me amass all my triathlon needs, and for being the best tri shop in the DC area.
  • BlueSeventy – the Helix wetsuit is a rare combination of “snug” and “flexible”, which helped me crank out a fast yet comfortable swim split.
  • CycleOps Power – training with the Powerbeam Pro made biking the hills of Placid seem easy.
  • Skratch Labs – I am quite literally drinking their Kool-aid.  I train exclusively with Skratch hydration, and would also race exclusively with them if aid stations provided Skratch as an option.  C’mon Ironman, hook us up with Skratch!!
  • Gu – Roctane kept the engine revving strong from start to finish.
  • Rudy Project – can’t do much better than the Wingspan helmet – simple, light, and aero.
  • Zoca – my tri suit was super comfy, felt like an extension of my skin, and generated ZERO chaffing after an ironman race.


Finally, a look at the numbers:

Bike data

Bike data

Run splits

Run splits (watch stopped during poo break)

Run data
Run data

12 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2013 6:29 pm

    Big congrats on this race, but a HUGE congrats on a supremely awesome race report! Loved ow-ow-owing with you out there. Way to make Lexi proud! –Kendra

    • August 3, 2013 7:40 pm

      Thanks Kgo! Your race (particularly your swim) was astounding. You’ve given me hope that one can become a dolphin in their 30s. BTW, those were actual howls of pain.

  2. August 3, 2013 7:53 pm

    Awesome report Andy. You are a MACHINE! 🙂 Enjoy the recovery before the next push to Kona. So happy you are going back to the big island. It’s awesome! Well done.

    • August 3, 2013 8:32 pm

      Thanks Fabrice! Vegas and Kona won’t be the same this year without you around. Are you going to the Xterra WC instead?

  3. Bob permalink
    August 3, 2013 8:24 pm

    Hard for us mortals to comprehend!

  4. August 3, 2013 9:18 pm

    Entertaining read, way to push through the pain cave! Stellar race, so fun to track you!

  5. rene5160 permalink
    August 3, 2013 9:45 pm

    Really nice work, Lippy 🙂

    My ADD keeps my OCD in check


  6. Rick permalink
    August 4, 2013 7:31 am

    Congrats Lippy! I knew you would do awesome. And thanks for the play by play. I felt like I was there running the race with you (even though I was sitting on a couch in Virginia). Although, now I got a couple songs stuck in my head. I do not thank you for that. “…Unbelievable, Oh!”

  7. Shelly permalink
    August 5, 2013 5:45 pm

    Great race Andy! I really enjoyed your race report.. I will be spectating at Kona.. Look forward to cheering you on!


  1. Kona 2013: Do You Think This is a Game? | The Pain Cave

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