Sunday, 10 June 2012

Lake Placid Half Marathon Race Recap

Outside of Lake Placid. The Olympics seems to be the town's only claim to fame.
Some race mornings are warm, some are cold, some loud, others quiet, but somehow they are always perfect. This morning, I found myself in Lake Placid, New York, at just after 6:30 in the morning. Packet pickup was quick and painless, since most participants had picked it up the day before. The morning air was still chilly, so I stayed in the sun as I went through everything I would need for the race; gels and bib on my race belt, changed into my race jersey, and applied sport sunscreen. The race was only set to start at 8AM, so I had a bit of time to wait. I walked around the race setup area, stretching lightly, sipping on water, and generally taking it easy.

Wearing my Team in Training Tri-tank, I was easily recognised by current TNT as an alumni, so chatted with athletes from various chapters, mostly from the New York and Northern PA region. The race directors did a good job of herding athletes to the starting line with about 15 minutes to go, and had great music pumping to keep everyone energised. We were treated to a wonderful rendition of God Bless America, with Pro Triathlete Caitlin Snow holding the US flag.

The race started at exactly 8, and we were off! The course itself was fairly hilly, with the Half-Marathon comprising of a 7 mile switchback. Long downhill stretched on the run out were met with scepticism, since we all realised we would be running back up before too long.  "What goes down, must come up" seemed to be the joke of the race.

With all the TNT'ers, and other friendly racers, there was plenty of words of encouragement and the occasional chit-chat. I actually pulled alongside a TNT alumni and ran with him for what must have been at least half of the race. It was great for me, since he pushed me a bit, forcing my pace up a bit from what I would have probably otherwise ran.

The temperate was fairly hot, and breaks from the direct heat were welcomed, as the forested shade was easily a few degrees cooler than when exposed. Aid stations were spread out every mile or so, and the friendly volunteers handed up an assortment of gels, water, Gatorade, and the occasional orange wedge or halved banana.

The last mile or two of the race were the hardest, with long uphills to get back to the Olympic Oval. Honestly whoever designed the race must be a sadist, because the uphill stretches were cruel, long, and torturous. Nonetheless, the hills crested, and we finished the race by running a lap around the Olympic Oval inner track.

My final time was 1:49:13, a personal best for me by over 20 minutes. I came 27/89 in my division, and 191/1250 overall. I guess triathlon training helps!
I'll add race photos as they come up, and also post the GPS data from my watch shortly, so check back.

Thanks for reading,and keep Tri-ing!


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