Thursday, September 29, 2011

Help Me Decide

I need your help.  

2012 will be my first full Ironman and I can't make up my mind.

Racecation or home field advantage?

Cheap entry and expensive travel or cheap travel and expensive registration?

Can I recover and prep in 1 month?!

Ironman Lake Placid was my original goal, but as many of you know, that's quite a popular event and it sold out almost immediately.  I wanted to do that race because of a few reasons.
  1. Cheap travel costs.  I live in CT and my mother lives about 1 hour north of Albany, NY.  I can easily drive to the race saving on flight costs and save a night or two on hotel costs as well.
  2. In my triathlon group, there are a good number of people that train for that race and it would be nice to have some companionship for training.
  3. Climate.  If I'm going to race for upwards of 12 hours, I'd like to do it at a temperature I'm used to.  Going to AZ or UT might be tricky.

However, there are some negatives to this race as well...
  1. Registration is only Ironman Foundation slots; $1250 instead of the normal $625.
  2. Lake Placid is in July and I will be racing Ironman 70.3 Syracuse in June.  Can I recover and prep in one month?
  3. Training is going to have to start EARLY in the year, which means winter training and most likely a membership to a gym with a pool.  More $$.

So as you can tell, I have no idea what to do.  My other options are Utah in May (that'd mean starting training even earlier), Louisville in August, and Florida or Arizona in November.  Wisconsin is out because it also is now restricted to Ironman Foundation slots. 

I have no idea what to do, but I'm strongly leaning towards the Lake Placid race given the convenience of location. 



1.  What Ironman races have you done and what were your thoughts on them?  Good races?, need some changes?, never do them again?
I know Lake Placid is considered a brutal course b/c of the hills and the weather doesn't always cooperate (it usually rains).

2.  Have you set up races for next year yet?
I'll sign up for Ironman 70.3 Syracuse this week and then the full Ironman (whichever one I choose) soon.

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard.


SupermomE13 said...

I vote Utah. The weather in May will be awesome, plus I can come cheer for you. :) $1250 registration is NUTS.

Karen said...

I may be crazy but... I would go with Lake Placid. You actually will probably pay more in the end going to UT or AZ by the time you add in travel and the cost of shipping your bike. There is something to be said for being able to train in the same general type of climate. There is even more to be said for training with a group and going through the experience together.

As far as racing and recovering, not an expert there but I did a 70.3 this past weekend and am doing a full on 10/29. I think 5 weeks might be extreme but I do know of other people racing IM FL who did a 70.3 6-7 weeks out. I would assume you wouldn't want to "all out" race the 70.3 but maybe use it as a training event.

Meaghan said...

We're in similar boats.. I'm going to do my first IM in 2012, and originally thought Placid. I refuse to pay $1250 for a slot, so now I'm focused on IMAZ. Thats supposed to be a kick ass race for 1st timers, and an awesome course. I was also worried about the heat, but apparently that race is never wicked hot.

Utah is supposed to be SUPER hard course, and for me, it's the early start to training that shies me away from it.

Decisions, decisions :)

Anonymous said...

I've heard great things about AZ and my friend who raced it last year said it was only 70 at race time. Could be alright! You would be ok with Lake Placid too even after your 70.3 I think...but wow that is a LOT of money. I hear Utah is extremely difficult so I know I'm scared of that one :)
Can't wait to hear which one you decide! I'm thinking 2013 for my first one!

Matthew Smith said...

If you think that you can raise that much money, I say go for it. Your 70.3 will only be a training event in the middle of training for IM. I think it would work out really well. Go for it!

RockStarTri said...

I chose IMFL over IMLP due to schedule conflicts with the kid's end of school activities and heavy lifting training. Also, there is significant climbing in Placid - fat guys like flat.That being said:

Placid proximity provides opportunities to recon the course beforehand either solo or in a low cost camp. Even though I haven't raced placid I've been up there 4 times training.

The Placid swim is the fastest IM swim. Really. Also, you'll never forget the descent into Keene.

During race week placid ain't cheap. Most hotels require 5 day minimums. More cost for ironman is found outside of the registration. Airfare, bike shipping, etc. add up.

PS: I think the new date for Syracuse is a little close to do placid. Optimal is a dry run HIM 6 or 7 weeks before to give one last training block before taper. A better schedule choice is Rev3 Quassy. Course is perfect prep too.

ajh said...

As a spectator of Lake Placid I would say go with it. My daughter chose it for the Home Team advantage. She doesn't live as close to it but we do and we were there!

Michael said...

Holy smokes that's an insane entrance fee. I thought $250 was bad for a race. I would have to say though home field advantage would probably be worth it.

Samantha said...

racecation for sure!! it's so much fun to combine vacations and races! :)

Ransick said...

I would go LP. Convenience means less stress and between flights, hotels, and bike shipping it's probably worth $625.

My Boring Triathlon Blog said...

i'd go with LP as its close and you can drive. The extra cost is nothing compared to flight/hotel to a race in another state

Another option is Mont-Tremblant north of Montreal in August. I'll be there for my first one. you can drive but its sold out so only foundation spots open

Jenny Davidson said...

Yes, LP seems pretty clearly the best for you. Just being able to drive your bike there rather than flying it will be a huge advantage. Costs add up so quickly for IM training and racing that I truly don't think the foundation slot cost is an obstacle (plus, the difference between that and regular fee is tax-deductible if you take individual deductions). Utah bike course is very challenging given you might not have been able to ride outside much that early; Louisville is IMO way too hot!

One other thing to consider: there are some great non-WTC, non-branded iron-distance races out there too. I'm looking at "the Canadian" for next year: it is under $300 registration, it's in Ottawa which is much easier to get to than many other places, and you can register even up to a week or so in advance of the race, giving considerable flexibility. I've lost 2 registration fees now for IM races that I couldn't race due to family circumstances or illness - it's a lot of dollars very far out when you don't really know how your season will go.

gina said...

Have you considered IM Canada? I just did my first IM this past August and absolutely loved it! Gonna do a few 70.3's next year and another full in 2013! :)