Lake Placid 2002
What an incredible experience. The whole
week b4 the race, the race, and after the race...It was an experience that I
will never forget. It was a very emotional time for me.
The race went great. I am VERY happy with
my results. My goal was to finish happy around 11:30 to 12hrs and I did
both. I finished 293 out of 1700. My time was 11hrs 20 minutes.
The day started sunny and 60 degrees. I slept so
well every night b4 the race even the night b4. I feel that that had a huge
roll in my success. I ate very well on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A
lot of water, salt and good carbs. I napped everyday for at least an hour. I
was very relaxed and confident...that helped. I enjoyed hanging out and meeting
other athletes...that was great! I really relaxed the whole
week b4 the race, hardly any workouts, and if I did, they were very small. By
the time race day came, I was so amped to race, I had so much energy stored
up...I was so psyched to let it all go.....slowly...throughout the day.
I had a huge lump in my throat and tears filled my eyes as I left my parents
and girl friend to walk to the water. So many emotions going through me at
that time. Seven months of hard work came down to this day.
Hearing the National Anthem was great. Waiting in the water for the gun
to go off, I was so anxious...so ready to just get it on! The gun went off, it
was a complete feeding frenzy for the first TEN MINUTES! It was absolutely
ridiculous. I was clobbered on the head so many times I lost count. There was
nowhere to go. I stopped and looked around for open space and there was NONE
ahead, behind or on either side of me, I just had to suck it up and try to
remain calm. I relaxed and didn't stress. Finally about 10 -12 minutes into
the swim, it started to space out. I began to find my rhythm and pace. I found
someone to draft off of for a bit. I began to feel good. I started to cruise
comfortably, staying relaxed (pulse was 157). I exited the first lap in
31:00...I was very psyched! The crowd was really loud as I exited to start the
second lap, that was great. My next loop was good as well. I really
concentrated on relaxing and pacing myself...IT'S A LONG SWIM. I found another
swimmer to draft off of. I lost him/her at the turn around, then found
another. I felt good, but was ready to get out of the water. I exited the swim
in 1:04. I was pumped! The stripers got the wetsuit off with one pull
and handed it to me. The run to T1 was great. The crowd support the
unbelievable!! I had so many fans. Then I saw my dad, I smiled, he cheered.
Then I saw my mom and Marci, they were cheering like crazy...that
got me SO pumped. I high-fived my mom and gave a huge smile to Marci. I felt
like a star! T1 was fine. I decided not to wear my arm warmers, (I'm glad).
The Bike: I came out of T1, feeling
great. I was 5 minutes ahead of schedule. There was Marci, my mom and dad
again. Again, that got me so psyched. I stayed calm. Checked my heart rate
constantly and kept it in check. The hills to the top b4 descending to Keene
where fine, I took my time, some people were hammering them....(I couldn't
believe my eyes, I hoped they finished the race??) The draft marshals
were out in force. They were pulling the drafters over constantly...I was so
glad! I kept it steady. I saw the leaders: Bolton, Bonney and Cleveland at
the out and back. They were moving! Then I saw Heather Fuhr, she looked
comfortable. There were a lot of flat tires. I kept praying for no flats.
The 12 mile climb back to Lake Placid was good, I felt great...nice and
steady. My nutrition was perfect...(Thanks Steve Fluet, coach) The chalked
road of my brothers initials got me psyched. (After all David was one of the
main reasons why I was doing this race). Then I saw Marci and my mom at
the top of the last climb...WOW it was so good to see them. Then up the
next small, but steep hill was Todd Wiley cheering me on then Dave (Elite
Bicycles) ran long with me screaming at the top of his lungs......"Ride
that bike Michael Snyder, you ride that bike!!!". I got to my special
needs bag, and there was my dad. He asked me how I was doing, he was making
sure I was o.k., (that made me feel good). I got my special needs and was off.
Going through town around the sweeping curves with the crowds five deep
screaming like I was a rock star, was an unforgettable experience. I felt like
Lance Armstrong (who was probably drinking champagne as he entered Paris
at around that exact time).I got close to the barricades and got out of my
saddle, I pretended to be Lance Armstrong going up Mont Ventoux...it was
great...I was on a high.
I came down the hill after going around the
Olympic Oval and there they were again...My mom and Marci...WOW they are fast!
That was great. Then about 5 minutes later the rain came. It felt like it was
coming down hard going 45 MPH down to Keene. Then at the bottom of the hill,
there was Rob and Heidi, Rob took a picture and Heidi yelled out " I love
you." Boy that made me feel so great!! The rain continued and was very
heavy at some points for the whole second lap. My nutrition was still perfect.
Then came the 12 mile climb back to Lake Placid. It was raining and it
felt as if the wind was pushing all of us back down the mountain. IT WAS
HARD. I THOUGHT OF DAVID A LOT! I got to the top...finally and couldn't
wait to get off my bike....I had enough of it. Just as I got to the top, (mile
110) it started to get sunny...I was glad for that. I entered T2 feeling
pretty good, but unsure as to how my legs were going to react. I just prayed
that they would work. The guy that helped me at T2 was so great, he couldn't
have been more helpful. I wish I had his name so I could thank him...he
I started the run out of T2. The crowd was unbelievable...again (I was a
rock star) I felt GREAT. I found my legs right away. I ran what felt
comfortable and kept my heart rate in check. I ran the first 10 miles in
7:50's. I was having a great day. I entered special needs feeling great, my
nutrition was perfect, no stomach problems. I began to back off a bit to
8:25's up to mile 19. I was on track for a 10:45 IM. I couldn't believe
it. THEN IT HIT, like a 2X4 to the back of the head. I My
legs began to feel weird. My hip flexors began to ache. I slowed to a 9 min
pace. I began to get really hard. By mile 21, it was one foot in front of the
other. It was HOT. It was a wasteland out there. People were throwing up
everywhere or going #2 in the woods...so many people were having a bad
day. I was one of the rare few that was still running albeit a 9:30 mile. I
was concentrating so hard. I was thinking of David constantly...He
was right there with me, keeping me going...I know he was. I
was at the point were I was ready to start walking. I was hurting SO BAD. It
was all I could do to hold it together. I used every ounce of energy NOT TO
WALK. I did not want to walk! I got to the hill at mile 22 and boy was that
hard...so hard, but not as hard as the one coming up. It was THE HILL, It was
at mile 24, the defining moment of the race for me. I was in such pain. Every
muscle in my legs were screaming in pain. I turned the corner
and looked up the hill one last time, everyone was walking. I prayed to David
and told myself...there was no way I was walking up this hill....no way. I
then put my head down, focused on my feet and the pavement ahead of me and forged
ahead. Halfway up the hill Sigi and Mark cheered me on. I couldn't look up.
Then came Marci. She ran along side of my saying.."you're almost there
honey, you can do it." Tears filled my eyes, I couldn't look up. Then
can my mom and dad. My dad cheered me on. Then my mom said, "David is
with you." That was all I needed to hear...I was NOT stopping. Crying,
but not stopping. The next two miles were the hardest, most emotional miles I
have ever run. It took every bit of energy for me to get to the finish
line. As I approached the oval everyone I was running with went left for their
second lap, I went right.....to the finish line. I heard Marci yelling my
name, tears filled my eyes. The announcer said: "Scoogie Snyder, you are
an ironman". I crossed the line hands in the air, one finger pointing up
to David. I then found my mom and dad, we hugged and cried. It was a feeling I
will never again have. I just did my first IM. Unbelievable.
I am still on my Ironman high. I hope it stays
with me till my next one I do...whenever that comes?
Thank you David.
Thank you Marci.
Thank you Mom and Dad.
Thank you Steve.
Thank you Rob.
Thanks for all of the great support from all of
my friends on the days leading up to the race.
I couldn't have done it with out ALL of you.