RACE REPORT from Neil Withington
Ironman Lake Placid 2010
2.4 mile swim • 112 mile bike • 26.2 mile run
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- I stopped running in 2001 because it hurt. I decided my body had enough pounding from the tennis I was playing 24/7. While looking for an alternative form of aerobic exercise I discovered indoor spin classes. I dragged Tucker (who had already had the sense to give up running after his marathon days) along and he liked spinning, too. In particular, I discovered Beth Lamie's and Eric Snyder's classes and I was hooked. Hour classes evolved into 3 hour progressive spin classes and it was all good.
- I met wonderful people in spinning who told me to get a bike - that I would love riding. I got a bike and they were right. I love riding! Tucker got a bike and we both love riding.
- I was encouraged to try a triathlon and tried some Aqua/Bike races so I could avoid running. I felt like I was missing out on the full experience and started running again so I could do full triathlons. It still hurts to run and I am still very bad at it, but I enjoy swimming in open water and I love biking.
- I met the "irongirls" (Kathleen, Carol, Molly) who run like the wind and had done ironman triathlons and I was in total awe of them. I thought they were real-life superheros. Kathleen told me I would do an ironman and I vehemently denied it.
- I went to watch the 2009 Lake Placid Ironman. I had been thinking about how much I wished I could do an ironman. Watching an ironman is inspiring. You can get caught up in it... I decided to sign up for 2010 because it seemed like a good 60th birthday present to give to myself. The Lake Placid website said there would not be online sign up for 2010, so I had to camp out on the sidewalk by the registration building in order to get a spot. I got in line at 2am with my sleeping bag, pillow and book. I had to wait in the morning while 600+ ironman race volunteers went through the line first, before I was finally able to register at noon. Just after I signed up, my daughter Whitney called to say they had opened online registration for 20 minutes and that she got in after trying for 5 minutes! (at least it didn't rain like it usually does in Lake Placid while I was in line)
- With the help of Coach Beth Lamie, I began a year-long training program to get ready for the ironman.
- I signed up for an ironman.
- In January 2010, I pretty much quit playing tennis. I found I was too overwhelmed trying to juggle work, training, tennis and life. Something had to give.
- After not worrying about the race for the year leading up (unprecedented for those of you who know that worrying is what I do best), I suddenly became a nervous wreck the weekend prior. (Tucker can tell you about my melt downs, precipitated by stupid things like pouring my coffee on my computer keyboard)
- The Monday before the race Tucker discovered that my bike headset was loose and we had to take a quick trip to Todd Kenyon/TTBikeFit in Rhode Island for some emergency mechanical repair (BTW, Todd and TTBikeFit are wonderful and I love the Kestral bike that I purchased from him)
- In transition the morning of the race, the presta valve broke off in my Zip wheel extender tube with very few minutes left before I was due to leave for the swim start. I rushed my bike to the mechanics in a panic. They were able to fix it, but I was not confident about their work and I was one of the last people to leave transition for the swim start (technically leaving after transition was closed). My heart rate was about as high as it could get!
- The swim was not as bad as I anticipated. I would have to say I was terrified of the start after some of the race reports I had read (in particular: Seth Chandler). Whitney and I started way back near the end of the pack (it was great to have her there to talk with) - still able to stand up in shallow water. Not only did I start way back, I swam way to the right of the swim buoys and very wide around the turn buoys. I'm sure I swam at least 2/10 mile more than needed!
- About 100 feet before the swim finish, someone behind me hit my left little toe and dislocated it. This has happened to me numerous times from tripping, running into something or just putting on pants, and usually results in me falling to the floor in agony while I pull and twist my toe to relocate it. In this case, I had to sink under the water and fix my toe while swimmers passed over me. So I got to start my run back to transition with pain in my foot, wondering how much it was going to bother me the remainder of the race.
- At mile 80 on the bike, I had to go to the bathroom so badly that I stopped at the aid station porta-potty (and yes, I know, I should not have had to stop for this event, but I was unable to do anything else... something I need to practice for the future...). When I got off the bike I could barely walk. So, having had a preview of how I was going to feel when I finished the bike portion of the race, I had to ride the next 32 miles wondering how the hell I was going to run a marathon.
- In the bike to run transition, a wonderful volunteer put my socks on for me. The race volunteers are some of the best people in the world.
- The first 4 miles of the run were the hardest miles I've ever run. I'm afraid that my only thoughts during that time were that I was going to DNF. I somehow made it past mile 4.
- By mile 10 I was pretty sure I would drop out at the end of 13 miles. My walk/run plan was already falling apart.
- I don't know how I ended up continuing after the 13 mile point. I just sort of discovered that I was still on the course! I'm sort of foggy about that part of the run. I think the spectators cheer you on and somehow you just end up starting the second lap.
- My mind was still functioning enough at mile 18 to do the math and figure out that if necessary, I could WALK the entire rest of the marathon and still finish before midnight and not drop out!
- When I got back into town for the last two miles, I needed a bathroom break again, but I also realized that if I kept going I could beat the course record for my age group. I kept going. (I had no idea the entire race if any other women in my age group were ahead of me, so I didn't know where I would place)
- I didn't have a ticket for Tucker for the awards banquet because I never dreamed I would be getting an award.
- I ran a marathon.
- I won my age group.
- I broke the age group course record.
- I was excited about doing another ironman the minute the race was over.
- Going to Kona costs an absurd amount of money.
- I am an ironman.
- I signed up for an ironman.
- I signed up for Ironman Lake Placid 2011.
- I got cuts on my ankle and my forearm during the race.
- After the race, my right thigh was much, much more sore than my left. My right bicep was very sore.
- The food and service in Lake Placid are very poor.
- I am an ironman.
- Tucker. He was my constant training partner and my constant support throughout the journey. This journey has not been easy or all fun. Tucker has continued to give more than expected in support of my training. He has been nothing short of amazing.
- Whitney. My daughter Whitney and I did our first ironman race together. I got to see my daughter several times during the race: she was my anchor prior to the swim start, I saw her numerous times on the bike course as we played leapfrog after the turn home in the last lap from Jay, and I saw her twice on the run. Whitney had an amazing performance with very little training. I think it will be the last time I beat my daughter.
- Beth. Thank you for being my coach. Thank you for spin classes. Thank you for Progressive Spin. Thank you for good music and Mike in your classes. Thank you for encouraging me to get a bike.
- Eric. Your gentle goading and words of wisdom from the beginning have made me want to excel.
- My friends. Thank you to all of you who encouraged me, put up with my crazy endeavor, gave me advice along the way and cheered for me from near and far. Your support has been invaluable and overwhelming.
- Tom and Deborah. Thank you for putting up with all of this. Sorry about England. I never expected Hawaii.
- Sue. Thank you for taking care of Salem.
- Golden Arrow. I have a room for next year with a KITCHEN. I won't have to cook in an electric skillet in my room, wash dishes in the bathroom sink, or eat out in Lake Placid.
- I ran a marathon.
- I am an ironman.
Read Tucker's report >>
2010 Competitors W60-64
| ||ATHLETE ||RANK ||AGE/DIV ||SWIM ||BIKE ||RUN ||TOTAL
|1 ||Houbolt, Mary (Neil Withington) ||2/1/1 ||60/W60-64 ||01:18:54 ||06:18:15 ||05:07:28 ||13:00:34
|2 ||Peck, Kathleen ||1/2/2 ||60/W60-64 ||01:14:28 ||07:05:50 ||04:29:54 ||13:06:59
|3 ||Gonzales, Valerie ||5/3/3 ||64/W60-64 ||01:32:54 ||07:17:05 ||04:46:49 ||14:00:31
|4 ||Maples, Marijane ||6/5/4 ||61/W60-64 ||01:38:44 ||07:26:42 ||04:48:13 ||14:08:19
|5 ||Wagner, Mary ||4/6/5 ||60/W60-64 ||01:31:41 ||07:28:06 ||04:49:30 ||14:18:04
|6 ||Schaff, Annette ||3/4/6 ||60/W60-64 ||01:22:29 ||07:39:25 ||05:32:48 ||14:50:23
|7 ||Schanbacker, Sharon ||7/--/-- ||60/W60-64 ||01:43:24 ||00:00:00 ||00:00:00 ||00:00:00
|8 ||Barron, Charlene ||--/--/-- ||61/W60-64 ||00:00:00 ||00:00:00 ||00:00:00 ||00:00:00
|9 ||Dondero, Joanne ||--/--/-- ||63/W60-64 ||00:00:00 ||00:00:00 ||00:00:00 ||00:00:00
In honor of PopPop and Debbie G. because their road is much, much harder than mine.