Sunday, February 3, 2013

Ironman Decision

Throughout most of early 2012, I repeatedly told everyone and anyone who would listen that I would do one Ironman and only one. "One and done", I would say.

By about mid-August, I changed my tune as I began to actually believe I could cross the IMLOU finish line in under 17 hours. I started to wonder where my next Ironman would be. Members of T3 threw out Lake Placid, Wisconsin and even the beautiful location of Cozumel.

But as is my way I procrastinated thinking about it. I mean we are talking July of 2014 at the earliest. I have plenty of time. However, one of the best ways to get a spot in a fast selling Ironman race is to volunteer at the race the year prior to when you want to race. But still....I had plenty of time.

Cheryl would send me texts asking if I had looked at the race venue. I'll look later. I was in complete denial. When asking Cheryl about Cozumel, she was a pretty solid NO. Why? Sharks, salt water, no access to the race course before race day, expense. So it seemed the decision was between Lake Placid, NY and Madison, WI.

Then Chris, the Intimidator, posted the link saying the volunteer registration for Lake Placid was open. Umm, holy crap. I posted a quick poll on the T3 Facebook page asking anyone considering a 2014 Ironman which destination they were choosing. It was fairly even split between Lake Placid, WI and Cozumel.

I wanted to know who was going where for a few reasons. First, part of the reason I enjoyed IMLOU was because of the number of T3 members who were participating in the race. I was constantly looking for a T3 jersey to cheer them on. It helped to pass the time by distracting my mind away from any discomfort I felt.

So, who is going where?
Lake Placid: Chris, James, Pat, Eric, Gene
WI: Joe, Kelly, Tony, Todd, Kim
Cozumel: Christy, Mike, Preston, Jennifer

Strong presence of T3 at IMLOU
The choice of destination seemed fairly well split. A few people were still deciding between 1 of 2 destinations. Obvisously, we were not going to have 21 members participating in one race again. That was a once in a lifetime chance. What will Cheryl & I do?

Hmmm, let's consider the options.

Ironman Lake Placid
Ironman Lake Placid is the longest running American Ironman event beside Kona. Lake Placid was the host city for the 1980 Winter Olympics. The transition and finish line for IMLP are located in the Olympic Speed Skating Oval. Now that is cool!

  1. Kona qualifier. Bahahahah. I know, I know. Have a good laugh. I had to put it out there. 
  2. Two lap mass swim in Mirror Lake with water temperatures in the 60-70s. 
  3. The swim course is lined by a cable about 5 feet below the surface of the water. 
  4. Scenic run course past Olympic ski jumps, along scenic River Road and then along the shore of Mirror Lake. 

Can you say: Mercy? 

  1. Mass swim start.
  2. Two lap swim - must exit water after 1st loop and run on beach for about 10 meters before starting the second loop. Oh my word. One blogger advises spending time learning how to Dolphin Dive. Yah, you think?
  3. When the Ironman site says the bike course is demanding, alarm bells should ring in your head. A two lap course through the Adirondacks with each lap culminating in a 11-mile climb up the "notch" from Wilmington.
  4. AGAIN: Ironman Lake Placid says the run course will "challenge" the athletes. Oh great. More awesome elevation changes.  
  5. July 26, 2014 - A date I don't like. July. Heat. Summer. Blech. 

Ironman Wisconsin
Hosted in Madison, Wisconsin the capitol building is a great backdrop for the incredible finish down State Street. Again, IMWI (otherwise known as IMMOO) qualifies 50 athletes for Kona.


  1. One lap mass swim start in Lake Monona. 
  2. Awesome spectator view from the Monona Terrace. 
  3. Incredible crowd support during the bike course in Verona. 
  4. Two loop run course through downtown Madison makes for a great spectator venue. 
  5. The closest race location...easy access to preview the race course throughout the year and best location for family to accompany us. 
Which is worse: A few big hills or many smaller climbs? 

  1. Extremely hilly bike course with many tough climbs and turns on each lap. 
  2. Challenging run course with multiple hills throughout. 

Ironman Cozumel

Cozumel: One of the top 5 Ironman Swims

  1. Beautiful swim location: 1 lap mass swim start with the first portion of the swim against the current, but ending with current. Water is 84 degrees and will not be wet suit legal. 
  2. Three laps on a flat, paved bike course. 
  3. Three laps on a flat, paved run course past signature Cozumel sites. (I laugh that they point out the course is PAVED.)
  4. Beautiful location to spend a week's vacation after the race. I'm hoping lots of family will want to spend the week after Thanksgiving in Cozumel. November in Mexico...Ole'.
  5. Margaritas. There. Had to say it. You know I will imbibe if I am not in the hospital. 
  6. I've been to Chankanaab National Park twice. It's a beautiful location with clear water to see all of the ocean life. 
  1. Salt water: Do you realize how much water I drink when I swim???? I need to learn to swim like a fish if I'm going to do Cozumel.
  2. In some years the current has been quite an issue for swimmers. 
  3. Not wet suit legal. 
  4. Strong cross winds on bike course. 
  5. Can I really drink the water provided on the course? I do not want to have tummy issues ruin my 2nd Ironman attempt. 
  6. On top of the astronomical registration fee for an Ironman, I am looking at approximately $400 to ship my bike internationally. 
After reading all of the different aspects of each Ironman event, I am still in a quandry. I think IMWI will hold for another year. The big question comes down to: IMLP in July or IMCoz in November. Because I could not decide, I went ahead and volunteered for IMLP at a run station from 5-10 pm which will allow me to see the swim start and still be at the finish line for the late night finishers. I am so excited. I almost can't stand myself. 

So I've bought myself a little more time to decide between LP & Cozumel. I love the idea of Cozumel; however, it would take a major financial commitment as well as dedication to working on my swim for the next two years. 

Someone, please? Help. Take this decision out my hands. Tell me what to do. Coin flip? I can't decide which event I want to do. 

1 comment:

  1. Lake Placid gets my vote. Even though it's in July, the temps are pretty cold. Here are some question/answers about LP:
    The bike course is a lot like Wisconsin. Wisconsin has the hills known as the "three bitches" and LP has the "three bears". Baby Bear, Mama Bear, Papa Bear... hills.
    Cozumel will be more if your family wants a vacation after cheering you on.