Ironman Lake Placid: The Run
I made my way back through town and rode by the Olympic Center as I headed to the “Bike In”. The “bike catchers” were there and I unclipped my pedals as two people helped me balance as I got off my bike. One of the volunteers asked me if I needed anything from it and I took a second trying to figure out if I did. My brain was feeling fuzzy and my body felt like it had been twisted into a pretzel after being glued to my bike for over 7 1/2 hours. I must have looked bad because I had 3 people ask me if I needed help getting into T2. I told everyone “no” as I slowly made my way to get my bike bag and head to the changing tent.
Once again, the changing tent was a flurry of activity and I was just trying to wrap my ahead around what I needed to do. I sat down in a chair and a volunteer helped me as I took off my bike shoes and put on my socks and running sneakers. She asked if she could get me water or anything and I said “I could use some coke if you have it please.” She was so wonderful and helpful and brought some right over! I took off my aero top and put on my visor and fuel belt. Then I looked down in my running gear bag and saw a few Twix bite size bars and a bag of salt-n-vinegar chips. I had put them in there as a treat if I needed something after my ride. Well, I definitely needed something, but I didn’t know what!! So, I opened the chips and got up out of the chair and put one foot in front of the other until I made it out of the changing tent.
I was supposed to be running, but I was just walking through the transition area with coke in one hand and my chips in the other. I crossed the timing mat out of T2 in a daze and kept walking with my chips and coke. For a moment, it was like I had forgotten I was doing the race and was just wondering around. Then, I looked around and heard people yelling and cheering, and it hit me that I needed to ditch the chips and get moving!! So I started my watch and began to run. It hurt really bad right from the get go, but I had a plan to run for 12 minutes, then walk for a minute.
I made my way through town and down the giant hill that I would later be crawling back up. My legs were moving and I was just trying to focus. I came to the first aid station where my family was volunteering and I was so thrilled to see them! My kids and husband were manning the water area of the station, so I stopped and gave everyone a big hug and they walked with me for a bit while I drank my water and talked a little bit about my ride. Then, my son told me how he was strategically able to hold 4 cups of water at a time to pass to runners. I laughed and told them how thankful I was that they were there to help everyone! Next, I told my husband that I was not feeling well and he told me to “just stick with your plan, you’re doing great!” Then, I was off and started running again, but I was seriously not feeling well.
I managed to stick with the walk/run plan for the first 3 miles, but then was overcome with nausea. I tried to run through it, but it became worse and I was fighting off the urge to vomit. My nutrition plan was pretty much out the window as I was afraid to put anything in my stomach. So I walked for a while until it subsided, then started running again. Unfortunately within a few minutes, I felt ill again. I had to come up with a strategy because at this point I still had a good 18 miles to get through. I decided to just do one minute run/ one minute walk, which worked ok for a bit and it was a good distraction as well.
I continued on and off like this, with the exception of walking up the 2 giant hills at the end of the loop into town. Once I got back into town, I saw my family again and it was a huge boost! However, the thought of heading out to River Road for a second time was almost unbearable to me. I had been fighting off the urge to toss my cookies for over 2 hours. I just did not know if I could hold it together for another 13+ miles. I seriously thought about stopping, it was such a weird thing because I have done a ton of races and have had my fair share of crappy ones, but not once had I ever seriously thought “Ya know, I don’t really need to finish this today”. However, that was where I was at, but I continued to put one foot in front of the other and made my way back out of town again for the final lap.
I was not well, but I did not know what to do, my brain was definitely clouded so I just kept trying to refocus. I drank coke at every aid station and I also had chicken broth where they had it. There was nothing else that was going into my stomach at this point. As the sun began to set on River Road, my “I don’t want to do this anymore” attitude turned into “I am so damn lucky to be doing this”. There is just something so magical about the beauty of Lake Placid and I was finally able to soak it all in. Here I was in one of my favorite places in the world doing what I love with the people that I love alongside me.
I smiled as much as I could and ran as much as I could. I can not express how much it helped me to have so many spectators cheering, it lifted me up and helped me run when I would have otherwise continued walking. I loved when people would see my bib and yell “Nice pace Angela!” although I was barely shuffling along. Everyone was just amazing on the sidelines, it warmed my heart and made me laugh and cry.
As I approached that monster hill into town the second time around, there were people cheering and yelling on both sides and I could not help but have a huge smile on my face as I trudged up it. At the top, there was a guy with a megaphone yelling “Angela…you are in a race…I don’t know how to tell you this, but it’s time to run!” So, that is what I did! I made it into the Olympic Oval and I was overwhelmed by the enormous cheers and people giving me “High Fives” and pounding on the gates as I ran by them. I felt like a giant celebrity and I smiled and cried as I heard Mike Reilly say “Angela Campos you are an Ironman!”