Michael "Scoogie" Snyder

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.
The Race: 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 was great.
The Run: 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.
-Michael (Ironman)