2013 Lake Placid Ironman [Race Report]

Ironman / Race Reports

Lake Placid Race Report

My fiancé, Jeff Mack and I traveled to Lake Placid, New York (with the help of Guy Chemical) early during the week of the race so that we could be very familiar with the course. It is a beautiful course in the backyard of the Adirondacks. The swim is a two-lap swim in Mirror Lake. It is a very clean lake with a nylon rope marking the entire swim course on the bottom of the lake making it very easy to stay on course. The bike is also a two-lap course that takes you through several little towns. It starts out with a technical down hill out of transition and takes you up a climb right out of town before a major decent into the town of Keene. Once you hit this point the road becomes slightly undulating, as you ride beside the river up to Au Sable Forks. This is the first out and back section of the bike. Once you turn around you head back down to the town of Jay and make a sharp turn uphill, past ‘Danielle Road’ to the town of Wilmington. This is the second out and back section of the course. Finally, you head back to Lake Placid though a section that resembles scenery in Colorado. The last six miles are uphill, where spectators line the road and cheer for you as if you were in the Tour De France.  As you hit transition you either continue onto your second loop or turn in to start your run.

The run also is a two-loop course and starts out downhill for about the first 10k. Once you hit the bottom of the big hill you can see the incredible Olympic ski jumps off to your right.  Then you head down river road which consists of undulating terrain before making a U-turn at about mile six and heading back into town on the same road. Once you hit transition you make a right hand turn up Lake Placid Club Drive, this is the second out and back section of the run. Just past mile 12 you make a U-turn and head back down to transition and again you are sent left for your second lap or right to the finish line, which is located on the Olympic Oval (the outdoor speed skating track).

The week prior to the race, I was feeling really good. I knew that my training leading up to the race was right on track. Thank you to Boulder Coaching! I just couldn’t wait to race my first Ironman as a professional.

However, it only takes one bad decision to override all the preparation in the world!

The night before the race, my amazing Uncle Kevin (who came to watch my race), Jeff and I wanted to get out of town to eat in a quieter setting, so we drove 15 minutes out of town and ate at a Chinese restaurant. I was hoping to have a good stir-fry but instead ended up with a not-so-appetizing dish. I should have not eaten it and gone elsewhere but I felt bad not eating what I had ordered.

That night I could tell I had made a mistake but I tried to stay positive and woke up the next day feeling slightly better. I had my traditional Core 4 Nutrition drinks and made my way to transition. Once I got to the start line, I was so excited to race that I actually was feeling pretty dang good. As I stood in my Blueseventy wetsuit I did some Z-Health drills. I visualized the race one last time and I was feeling really good about things.

The canon went off for the men and three minutes later the professional women were started, then two minutes later the age-groupers canon was fired. This meant I had two minutes to get as far as I could without getting caught by the age-groupers. As you can imagine, it didn’t take them long.

At the beginning of the swim I was able to stay with some of the professional women a lot longer then normal which made me super excited. However, by the second lap I got my first wave of nausea, which I have never experienced in the water before. After a few more strokes I ended up vomiting in the water and I knew it was going to be a long grueling day.  I exited the water in 1 hour 3 minutes, which I was very happy about. Bob Mckeown, (who was super nice to me prior to the race) helped strip my wetsuit of as quickly as possible.

I raced down the long transition passing several age groupers before hitting the women’s changing tent. I had a wonderful volunteer help me get my biking gear on as quickly as possible before running to my bike. At this point, it was raining pretty hard. I had been praying for rain so I was very excited. I had a great first bike lap making up significant amounts of time on the entire field.

My Cervelo P3 was riding flawlessly (thank you Wheat Ridge Cyclery), the shifting was perfect with my Friction Facts chain, and I loved my new Rotor cranks.  However, the start of the second lap I completely came unraveled. I could hear my stomach growling and rumbling. I slowed down and backed off my Watts on my SRM in hopes to make it settle down before I had to run a marathon but it only got worse.

I had a great T2 time, fueled up with a GU energy gel, grabbed my Smith Optics sunglasses and I felt ok for the first 3 miles of the run but, again, I was stopped in my tracks only this time with endless trips to the porta potties that lined the course.

I struggled through the marathon with a slow jog and was just relieved to hear Mike Reilly voice announce that I had made it to the finish line.

I was extremely disappointed with my performance and irritated that one bad choice made for a miserable day. However, the love and support I felt out on the course was absolutely incredible and I will never forget it! I especially appreciated the love and cheers that I got from the Wattie Ink. Family. I am so blessed to be a part of such wonderful and inspirational athletes. Thank you so very much to everyone for your unending support!

Danielle Mack is professional Triathlete residing in Boulder, Colorado. She found her passion for triathlons at a young age. However, it wasn’t until she turned sixteen did she really start training strictly for triathlons. Through various paths God has lead her through the years including Xterra’s and Adventure Racing she discovered her ultimate love, long course triathlons, especially Ironman’s!


  1. Katy
    19 August 13, 4:50pm

    I have 3 comments 🙂
    1- (This is superficial)- I’m really glad to see you out of the aerobars in the photo in the meadow. It looks flat and when I looked at my pictures, I was totally disappointed in myself for not being in my aerobars for such a flat section of the race. It’s obviously steeper than it looks!

    2- (More important)- I think you (and your blog readers) should know how classy you are! Many people are very quick to let their competitors know all the things that went wrong with their days and why they would have won if only ______. I saw you after the race, at the awards ceremony and a week later, and you never mentioned that you were feeling sick during the race! I think that’s really respectful and respectable. You had every right to be standing on the podium thinking, “I would have crushed you all and won this if I didn’t eat that stupid dinner,” but instead you hugged everyone and genuinely wished us all congratulations. It was just good old fashioned sportsmanship and I appreciate it. Thanks!
    3- I’m not sure a 3:24 marathon counts as a “slow jog.” Hehe.

    Next race is sure to be wonderful! Good Luck and congrats on toughing it out in LP!

    • 19 August 13, 7:31pm

      Talk about classy! Thank you so much for all your kind words. It really means the world to me. I am so proud of you for the race you had. It was truly inspiring to see you out on the course having an incredible performance with your huge smile. I must say your cheers on the run was one of my highlights. I can’t wait to see your career keep blossoming! =) Keep up the great work!


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