Part 1: The drive to Lake Placid

Hard to believe this whole Ironman experience has come to an end. A year in the making and the actual event itself was over in 13 hours.

It’s a surreal feeling and one I’m still having trouble coming to grips with, which is why this recap is slightly delayed! Oh and also because life has gotten in the way and things have been just a wee bit chaotic (understatement of the year).

I have a feeling this recap may be long, so I’ll probably break it into parts, so you can choose to read which parts interest you (none of them? That’s ok too – I forgive you.)

Grab a cup of coffee, sit in your favorite reading nook and settle in for a story, kids. I hope you enjoy reading this, because for me, this is therapeutic and helps me to truly grasp what just happened less than 2 weeks ago.

The Drive 

With all our bags packed, the car loaded up and the bikes on the car, we headed out Wednesday morning with Niagara Falls as our first destination. We figured it would be a good stopping point and we’d show the girls the true wonder of the Falls. Rob and I hadn’t been there in at least 12 or 13 years so it was fun to go back.

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The girls were overall great travelers – a few spats about one wanting what the other had but they got over it. I drove since Rob is a much better navigator!

We drove through Canada which was nice and shortened the drive a bit.

The Falls 

We got to Niagara just after 3pm Wednesday, checked into our hotel which was about a block from the Falls and headed out to walk around. We hit the State Park which was beautiful and had stunning views of both falls.

We opted for an easy dinner of pizza sitting outside near the park to keep things simple, since Emily had fallen asleep in her stroller! We then headed back to the hotel, had a beer and called it a day.

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The Next Day

I got up early to do an easy shake-out run and was greeted with some beautiful sites as the sun rose over the Falls. Truly breathtaking!

Rob then went for a longer run (since he’s in the height of his training for Ironman Ohio 70.3 which is coming up soon!) while I got the car packed and ready to go.

We hit the road at around 9:30am heading to Lake Placid! I started to get nervous and anxious and excited all at the same time. The day had finally arrived – we would be at my final destination in a few short hours, ready to face the Adirondack mountains and my goal of becoming a 2-time Ironman!

The drive was beautiful and through a lot of small towns, winding through the mountains. We started to see cars with bikes on the back and I found myself with butterflies in my stomach more and more, the closer we got.

I had given Rob the wrong landmark for our cabin location, so we had about a 20 minute detour but got back on track quickly. We drove through Saranac Lake (which we later found out is usually one of the coldest spots in the country during the winter!) which is a cute, sleepy town on a lake with some restaurants and shops. Several of the businesses had “Welcome Ironmen” signs on it which made me nervously smile.

The Cabin 

We arrived at our cabin, met the lovely owners (who are from Michigan!) and got all set up in cabin 4. (if you’re ever in Lake Placid, I highly recommend Moreno’s Cottages – they’re wonderful folks, family run and super cute www.morenoscottages.com)

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The girls were so excited about the cabin!

Once we got settled in, we packed up our beach stuff and headed into Lake Placid which was about a 5 mile drive. As we got closer, my excitement was building and it was hard to contain my emotions as I saw Mirror Lake and we turned onto Main Street in Lake Placid. It is stunningly beautiful, a typical mountain/resort town with shops, restaurants, bars and chainsaw bears (my favorite!).

The Town 

The Ironman banners on the flag poles, seeing more bikes on cars, athletes walking around with their compression socks on, families with their matching t-shirts…the whole atmosphere gave me goosebumps.

I was really here. I was really going to do this. Holy crap.

After I calmed myself down a bit, we found a parking space near Mirror Lake and let the girls play in the water which was awesome – they were thrilled to be free of the car (as were Rob and I).

The Scenery

Absolutely stunning. I loved taking it all in. The swim course was set up so I was able to get an idea of what I was going to face. Rob ended up swimming the course and gave me a report that it was one of the best open water swims he’s ever done, which made me smile. The lake is super clear and weed-free (awesome).

The Beer 

After playing for a bit, we headed just across the street to the Lake Placid Brewery, which is a super cute place we found ourselves going quite a few more times. The beers were great, the popcorn was good and it was nice to meet some other athletes and their families while we sat outside to take in the sights.

The Oval 

We then walked down to where Ironman Village was set up, which was on the Olympic speed skating oval (or as everyone calls it, The Oval). Even though it was closed for the day, I got chills walking up to it and seeing transition and all the tents set up. I knew this was the finish area as well and what an awesome sight. Overwhelming, in fact, to think what was to come in the next few days.

We walked back to the car, got some BBQ for dinner back near our cabin and called it a day. Friday would bring even more fun including Julia’s IronKids race, Rob’s experience riding the bike course, registration, etc.

Thanks for reading part 1 – I hope I didn’t bore you to sleep yet…if I did, WAKE UP!

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