Athlete Race Recap: Lake George Open Water Swim, IRONMAN 70.3 Timberman, & North East Triathlon
Despite odd and less-than-ideal weather brought on by Hurricane Henri, several athletes still raced this weekend on the East Coast of the United States!
Lake George 5K Open Water Swim - Hague, New York
On Saturday, August 21, Yvonne Brown tackled something she’s never done before: a long-course open water swim event. She swam the 5K event of the Lake George Open Water Swim in Hague, NY.
Open water swims are notoriously difficult to train for, for many reasons. Fueling is a major consideration, but the actual training for these events has been more challenging since the COVID-19 Pandemic has been going on; opportunities to swim for the amount of time needed to adequately prepare for a swim of this length have been limited since aquatics facilities have altered their operating procedures (many of them limiting users to 45-60 minutes total in the pool) and since open water swim opportunities have been fewer due to a lack of lifeguards and concerns about larger groups of people gathering together.
Despite this adversity in training, Yvonne Brown set her sights on this event, as it represents a BIG step from where she has previously trained to on her swims. Along the way, Yvonne encountered her own adversity in the form of medical challenges and logistical challenges to get her key workouts in.
But come Saturday, Yvonne toed the water armed with a full set of tools to take with her on the swim, and she was ready to implement those tools depending on what adversity she encountered in the swim. She ended up having to manage several things, including full leg cramping on her second loop and folks telling her that she wouldn’t be able to finish the race.
Yvonne didn’t let these other voices rest in her head. She KNEW she was within reach of finishing, so onward she kept going. And finish she did!! FIVE KILOMETERS of swimming, and she did it. I am so proud of her for her perseverance.
Way to go, Yvonne!
IRONMAN 70.3 Timberman - Laconia, New Hampshire
After a five-year hiatus, this year marked the return of IRONMAN 70.3 Timberman to New Hampshire! Featuring new swim and run courses and a modified bike course, this race asked athletes to rise to the occasion in a scenic and beautiful place! Zach DeLany decided that he was going to take on this challenge.
Hurricane Henri arrived midday, which added some layers of adversity to an already tough course. Here is Zach’s experience in his own words:
I felt very confident and sighted well the entire swim. I never got tired, and was even able to finish the back half faster. This was my redemption swim, after the Silver Lake debacle! I came out of the water so happy! It was the high point of my entire race.
These were the steepest mountains I have ever climbed on a bike. I fueled on the long slow climbs and just did my best to survive the crazy bumpy rough road downhills where people were crashing and losing bottles and gear. A Gatorade bottle that was nearly empty in my front bottle cage bounced out; I ran over it and almost went down at high speed. It was a white knuckle “Oh shit!” moment that could have gone badly, but my trusty Shiv crushed it since it was (luckily) empty.
Country hill folk were out on these two mountains cheering and talking us up their mountain. Beautiful pine filled the air as I kept my mind positive that I could handle this “adversity.”
After the second slow slogging climb it started to rain, which made my sweaty grips slippery on a terrifying descent back to the town of Laconia. So many people including my sweet family were there to cheer me on. I knew what was ahead was familiar and attainable. I was happy to have made it unscathed, compared to many fellow racers. So many big guys cramped so badly they had to get off the bike and walk. I did not want that to be me! Dismount was not in my playbook. Lots of prayers to God on this one, and he answered once again.
The tough bike course caused some serious cramping issues in glutes, hamstrings and calves, especially in my right leg. I began the run to the first aid station where I fueled, salted, and got my only bathroom break. At this point on the course, everyone out there is in the same boat. Everyone was positive and supportive in a comical fashion, which I really love about these races. It helps to embrace the suck, and I met some really cool people at every stage of this race. The rain and wind from Hurricane Henri really came down on us.
Zach has been consistent and dedicated to his training for many years now. When I first started coaching him, his goal was to finish a 70.3-distance triathlon in under seven hours. What started off as a big goal became something very attainable for him as he kept up the work over time.
I think we can all agree that this race was not completed in anything close to ideal conditions. Even with that, on Sunday, he finished IRONMAN 70.3 Timberman in 7:00:41. That’s right - even with ALL of the adversity Zach encountered on the course, he finished the race in a time that used to be a reach goal for him. Zach’s experience at IRONMAN 70.3 Timberman is a true celebration of how much he’s grown as an athlete.
I am so proud of Zach for his execution of Sunday’s race and for all he has accomplished in our time working together. Congratulations, Zach!
North East Triathlon - North East, Maryland
On Sunday, August 21, Jen Zanni raced at the North East Triathlon in North East, MD. Jen loves to race, and this was a wonderful opportunity to be out on a race course and to embrace that experience that she loves so much!
After working on the front lines of the COVID-19 Pandemic in a field hospital for more than a year after the pandemic was declared, Jen has been working on taking care of herself and getting some fitness back this summer.
Sunday’s race was a great chance for us to check-in to see where she is at and to set some goals for the rest of this season. She still has a couple of races on the horizon, and we can’t wait to see where she goes! I am very proud of Jen for what she’s done for others, and now what she’s doing for herself. As you’ve all heard and know, it’s important to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Jen has certainly earned this opportunity to take some time for herself after serving others so tirelessly throughout the pandemic!
Coach Laura Henry
Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.