I have been training for the Ironman distance since 2008. I lived in Colorado while training for my first two Ironman races. Living at 8,000 feet while training really helped my race day at lower elevations. In 2016 I finished two Ironman races in a year: Arizona and Lake Placid; my last finish to date. I DNF’d my last two Ironman races in Florida and Mont Tremblant, coincidently while living back in New Hampshire.
I’m currently training for Mont Tremblant despite it being rescheduled to 2021.
Below is my ranking of my favorite Ironman races based on finishing time, fun with friends on race weekend and all around venue enjoyment.
#1 Lake Placid, New York, July 2016, age 45
Swim: 1:32, Bike 7:08, Run 5:30. Total: 14:24
Division Rank: 53
My all time favorite race day. My family and Mark’s family came to support us racing. It was hot and humid. It was my worst race time-wise despite coming from elevation in Colorado. Ironman Lake Placid was a tough day but a great race experience. I loved the town of Lake Placid and driving to the top of Whiteface the day before the race. Swimming in the lake was refreshing, I actually biked a little bit with Mark on the bike course but then never saw him again and the run was pure hell in the humidity. Ironman Lake Placid is a race weekend I will never forget. Best Support Team Ever.
#2 Ironman Arizona, Tempe, November 2010, age 39
Swim: 1:24, Bike 6:18, Run 4:46 Total: 12:42 – PR
Division Rank 33
My best race ever. My PR. I was lean and ready to race. Coming from elevation, I could breath in Tempe and felt like a million bucks. Race day brought favorable conditions all day long. The swim was a mass start treading water in Tempe Town Lake. The bike was pretty flat with a few long hills and a bit of wind but not bad. The run was loops and loops and finishing in the dark. It was a good race day.
#3 Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 2009, age 38
Swim: 1:29, Bike 6:50, Run 5:00. Total: 13:34
Division Rank 58
My first Ironman. My parents flew out to Idaho to cheer me on. Perfect conditions and a great race day that I will always remember. It’s one of those races that you sign up for when you live in Colorado so you can drive to it; so many friends in Colorado do this race. It was a gorgeous drive through Wyoming and Montana; and a great place to race. I met my BFF Mark Nash on race morning and we’ve been racing together ever since.
#4 The Woodlands, Texas, May 2015, age 44
Swim: 1:40, Bike 6:42, Run 4:59. Total: 13:37
Division Rank: 31
Training for Ironman Texas was the best training to date. I lived in Tucson and I put in the training time. I finished well despite the heat and humidity. Placing 31st in my division group was my best placement to date. Looking back I see the progress that is possible when you put in the time and train well without distractions.
#5 Ironman Arizona, Tempe, November 2016, age 45
Swim: 1:37, Bike 6:50, Run 4:58. Total: 13:41
Division Rank: 56
I was hoping for a PR but it was not to be had. I was living in Colorado, hoping the elevation training would help. This was a tougher race than I remembered. The wind on the bike was leg-deadening, and running in the dark was sucky. But I had great support from friends and that made it memorable. I raced with Mark who did much better than I did, as always. Thank you to the support team: Than, Kathy, Mary, Scott, Kassandra.
#6 Ironman Wisconsin, Madison, September 2013 age 42
Swim: 1:33, Bike 6:48, Run 5:128. Total: 13:50
The months leading up to Ironman Wisconsin turned out to be the worst training blocks ever. I lived in Tucson and didn’t have altitude training to help me on race day. Injuries and adopting Winnie three months before the race were contributing factors to a less than stellar performance. But I LOVED Madison; a great place to visit and a great race venue. Swimming in the Lake Monona was a treat. Mark and I were interviewed by a local news crew while we practice swam. I had a great time racing with Mark and trying to find him on the course (I never did). Another great support team: Than and Pat.
Florida and Mont Tremblant – I will finish your race before I die. Note: both were awesome vacation races despite the DNF. Florida especially was so fun swimming in the ocean and eating seafood everyday. Of course, both with Mark.