Athlete Spotlight Double Feature!

2023 is simply turning out to be a fantastic race year so far for CZC Athletes!

These two athletes started training back in 2022 to race the 2023 Ironman Lake Placid. Following are some tidbits of their races and a few key take aways for athletes looking to step up to their first Ironman, or those looking to become more competitive.

Amelia is an experienced triathlete and runner.  After stepping up to Chattanooga Ironman in 2021, Amelia set her sights on Ironman Lake Placid 2023.  Originally she planned to do IMLP in 2021 and transferred after attending a training camp where I keynoted, and we met, in Lake Placid.  With her sights first on running the Portland Marathon in 2022, she was able to build more confidence in her marathon running and work on running speed.  Already a comfortable swimmer, and the only athlete I know that puts spare goggles down her wetsuit, we turned the focus toward the bike and keeping up that running speed. All those cold, rainy weekends this spring Amelia was out on the Massachusetts 70.3 course training for that race, and it was perfect being so similar to Lake Placid’s course. Setting power targets, pacing and working through nutritional combos for the perfect race day plan, she got stronger and faster.

In addition to her solo training weekends, Amelia went back up to Lake Placid and attended camp again.  She met a woman who both inspired her, and ran with her for her entire, in the rain, 20 mile training run! That is dedication, on both their parts.  After her training weekend we analyzed her power profiles of the bike, broke down again the sections of the run and reviewed actual race day strategy and Amelia executed on all counts!

Amelia race her plan! That being said, all CZC athletes have their “A” plan, but in racing, we must always have Plan B, Plan C, etc. for when things go sideways.  In this case, a stomach bug attacked her and her family the night before the race and continued through the race.  Being a medical professional, and having listened to me over and over about hydration and hyponatremia and fueling, she was able to get through the entire race, with the stomach bug, and still came to smiling finish.  AND Ameila was chosen as an Ironman Featured Athlete!! Wait til the video comes out and we’ll share it with you to see even more of Amelia’s Journey.  We are so proud of you Amelia! And I for one can’t wait to see what this amazing woman does next.

Amelia running down the finishing chute of Ironman Lake Placid

Tim Murray is a great guy, a solid family man to his wife and two sons, an incredible athlete and former D1 baseball player.  Coaching Tim was so much fun this year because he responded 100% to everything I threw at him.  Apparently, that’s the D1 baseball player in him.

His post-race report was exactly what I wanted to read. He followed his race plan and had a perfectly executed day, but you’ll see that just like all athletes there were times when anxiety crept in (tire pressure) and times when he wanted to exceed plan (but held back to a successful finish).  In this words, this is how his race day went.

Breakfast - as planned precisely.

Transition Set Up. I pumped tires up Saturday afternoon before bike drop. I don't have a good finger feel for tire pressure but it was colder overnight and rained a bit so when I first got to transition (without a bike pump) I was nervous about my tires having lost some pressure (in my head :), not in reality). They hadn't, and I figured as the weather warmed during the day/ride if that had lost a little pressure I would be fine. I actually came back to my hotel room (0.25 miles) to put my wetsuit on. I was freaking out a bit with my wife and debating if I should run down with my pump. She said "If Clare pumps her tires up the night before, and if they weren't clearly flat, you're fine. Didn't you say she's been doing this for 30 years or something." so the mantra for the day became (appropriately) - listen to Clare and I feel like I did that very effectively today.

Swim - got in with the 1:10 to 1:21 group so I'm glad I was appropriately placed. I found a rhythm pretty early (breathing every 3rd stroke from alternate sides). I held the cable pretty much the whole time (maybe my size had folks respecting my space :)). It never really opened up completely, always felt like I was in a crowd. I shot 2 Gels (1 Maurten, 1 Gu Roctane) about 7 min before entering the water - was good to have garbage there for my poland spring bottle and wrappers). I also kept a Maurten gel in my wetsuit and shot it in between laps. That one could have been more placebo effect, but for the longer swims a Gel or swig of sports drink seemed to revitalize me. Overall, the swim was beautiful. There is a lot of room for growth in my swim stroke, but happy with where this landed. I felt fine coming out of the water - felt like the pacing was great for a full IM. Didn't feel tired coming out of the water. Felt ready to take on the bike.

T1 - wetsuit stripper stripped me down (thanks to you and Amelia for the tip. I got down like a baby right away and it was off in no time. Decent run over to the Oval for the changing tent (I had a great bag location at the end of a row) and proceeded to a chair in change tent. I think Men's tent volunteers are more passive (and fewer) so I just sat down and took my time drying off and getting situated. Nutrition in back pockets of tri kit and away we went.

Bike - followed the "break it into 4 parts" guidance pretty well. Was thinking 200 to 210 avg power. Started below that for the first stretch (Keene descent helps) and brought it up to the 210 neighborhood for the second and third quarters, and basically just held it for Q4. Got some pretty heavy rain for about 20 or 30 minutes on the second lap. On the Keene Descent I saw some dangerous activity with folks passing and 1 guy nearly losing control (wobble wobble), so I was particularly cautious on the second lap in the descent. Probably gave up some speed but was relieved to get there. Was good to hang with George for a while on the bike. I was very focused on not feeling leg burn on the hills, or breathing heavy. So to be honest the bike never felt terrible. Sure, my butt was sore at times so I gave myself a break from time to time, but I didn't have the moment of "get me off this thing." That might have been because the rain came on the second lap when I would have had that sentiment, but I was locked in to making sure I didn't slip/do anything stupid and before you know it I was within 20 miles or so of finishing. Peed twice on the bike (rain was a nice real-time rinse for one of the pees).

Bike Nutrition - executed plan almost exactly (had bottles pre-packed in Special Needs which helped), but dropped my first uncrustable after a few bites so I replaced it (later on) with a Gu Waffle.

T2 - Again didn't set any records, just went about my business in a calm way. Run bag got wet in the rain too, but fortunately socks and shoes stayed dry.

Run - Mostly executed exactly as planned - run from aid station to aid station and relentlessly tell myself one mile at a time. 2 pees in Porta Pottys (run was congested so wasn't quite comfortable peeing in the tri suit). I walked for maybe 20 or 30 yards up the final hill into town, but then started running again, telling myself this is the last one. Cheers from the crowd when I started running again affirmed the decision.

Run Nutrition - Roughly on plan, with some Coke mixed in last 5 or 7 miles (just wanted it). Belly started to feel it sporadically but was never a significant issue.

I used 2 Glukos tablets on the run. Started feeling light headed around mile 5. I sucked on a Glukos tablet for prob 5 miles and felt better (was also following regular nutrition plan during that).

Don't get me wrong, it was a battle out there, but I didn't feel overwhelmed or hopeless at any point on the run. I was focused on staying within myself. Perhaps I could have turned it up a bit last 5 or 6 miles but was a mental struggle to kick it in. Easy to say now in retrospect that I had more in the tank :), but I think I do have some.

Obviously an epic day. And I believe I raced smart (because I did what you told me to do). While I am coachable, (Note – Tim mentions here that his past as a D1 baseball player encourages his to push his limits because “that is necessary in baseball given it's a game of failing effectively.”)

 I am also a "gamer" - blame the baseball days which breeds irrational confidence - so sometimes I can get a little too optimistic about my capabilities. (This is Coach Clare here: What’s so incredible is that he was able to execute this event with its unique demands and hold back his baseball tendencies, but yet used them for all his training to be mindful of his body, his training, his adaptations and to communicate those so effectively.  Tim is the second former D1 baseball player I’ve worked with, both with a CrossFit background, and it was tremendously rewarding).

For an "A" race there would theoretically be some risk of me overdoing it/doing for broke. I think I learned today that trusting in your experience and knowledge, and recognizing that IM distance was an unknown for me, paid off.

It Sure Did Pay Off Tim!  You Crushed It!!  Well done! Folks you’re going to see some blistering performances at shorter distances from Tim in 2024, and I for one can’t wait!

George (3 Time Ironman Lake Placid Finisher (Go George!!)) and Tim at the finish line.
Tim crossing the finish line of the 2023 Lake Placid Ironman
Amelia, Knox her dog, George and Tim the day before the race at Mirror Lake

We do want to mention that George, formerly featured athlete you’ll remember as the one who swims year round in the Long Island Sound! He successfully completed his 3rd Ironman Lake Placid, turned around a week later to race the Macedonia Gravel Race, is racing the upcoming Vermont Overland all while training for New York 70.3!  Voted “the nicest guy ever” by our December Florida 70.3 crew, he’s also the fastest guy on the bike we know! Congratulations George on your 3peat at Ironman Lake Placid!

Are you considering a big event for 2024?  Now is the time to start training.  Contact Coach Clare and let’s get you started!

Let's Get Started!