I got so caught up in the training and fun in Lake Placid that I didn't have time to post so I'll catch it up over the next few days.
Friday was my birthday and it was by far one of the most unique ones I've ever had. I slept in and went for a short ride, 10 miles out and back on the end of the bike course. This is a hilly section so the first part was pretty much downhill with climbing on the return. I wasn't supposed to ride Friday, but since Thursday's swim was canceled and I did Friday's run early, I was able to add an easy bike as a substitution. I'm glad I did because my legs felt a little tired and afterward were much better. The course is stunning. I'm not sure I could ever get tired of riding on it. Since this was an easy ride and I was alone, I stopped and took a couple pictures. They don't really do it justice but give you an idea of what it's like there.
The highlight of Friday came in the afternoon. We did a group swim in Mirror Lake and I opted to do the full course - two loops, 2.4 miles. My longest open water swim prior to this was 1.3 miles and it was in the Hudson River with current assist. I was a little nervous. I was sure I could do one loop, but was prepared to call it quits if I felt tired or uneasy.
The water was a good temperature and really clear. The buoy line runs right down the middle of the lake and there is a rope about six feet below the surface that you can follow. I barely had to sight as a result, which was great with my terrible navigation skills. It took about a minute to settle into a comfortable breathing pattern and then I just let my mind wander. I knew I'd be in there for at least an hour and a half - that's a long time to be swimming. My pace was incredibly consistent, I reached the turnaround in 22 minutes and finished the first loop in 44. I didn't even consider stopping, I just turned and kept going. The group had thinned out a lot so I was mostly on my own except for a guy that drafted me for awhile. I'm so slow no one ever drafts me so that was a treat. I finished the swim in just under 1.5 hours, exactly the time I was aiming for. I was overjoyed. One of the reasons I decided to learn to swim last year was because my 33rd birthday was approaching and I felt like it was time to learn. And there I was on my 34th birthday doing an Ironman swim. I can't quite describe what that meant to me.
Friday night was low key. Our other roommate, Philip, arrived and we had a group dinner to attend. We went back to our room after and were chatting when Philip realized it was my birthday and insisted we do something. He got up and left and came back later with a brownie and a candle. They sang happy birthday to me. All last week I thought I was missing my birthday by spending the weekend training in Lake Placid. I didn't miss it at all, in fact it turned out to be the best way to celebrate it.
Distance - 20.53 miles
Time - 1:17:26
Distance - 4,224 yards (2.4 miles)
Time - 1:27:06