Lake Placid

Ironman Lake Placid

I hate math, I have always hated math. I’m not good at it, and I wish we never had to use it. But we have to, and it’s the only way you can move on in school. You have to try it, you either like it or don’t like it, and then you learn how to solve it. You will use it again, somehow in life or in business. This is my introduction to telling you about my Ironman experience in Lake Placid, NY a couple of weeks ago.

Where do I start? Well let me just try to put it in a nice neat Ironman package. The swim was tough; I almost quit 5 minutes into the swim. I bet lots of people had that thought, I now know what it’s like to be in a fish factory pond, kicking, punching, people swimming over you, under you, next to you, and occasionally on top of you (how does that even work?). On the second loop the sky gave way to lightning, thunder, wind and rain; I could see it and feel it even while I was swimming. Before I knew it, boats and kayaks were pushing us sideways to the shore to get us out of the water. I was just about ten minutes from the finish, so close but so far away, especially when they tell you to walk back to the transition area, which was about a half mile away by road.

Once on the bike, it rained and stormed with some winds the entire first loop of the 112 mile bike ride. Once the sun broke out, you went from being cold to drying off and being warm, but some of the damage had already been done. On the second loop of the bike ride, going uphill at about mile 80, we noticed a big cloud coming over the mountain range, little did we know it had some wind, some rain, and who would have thought, hail, to make our ride complete. Luckily we were going uphill or that hail could have been a little more painful. On the ride just a few miles away from the finish, this one guy rode up to me and said, “a marathon, are you kidding me, who’s idea was that?”. My feelings exactly, but running was my strong suit, it’s what I do best, and I was finally off the bike.

The Ironman though, as it does a lot, had another idea on how my run, my specialty, would go. Bottom line, my legs were shot, I couldn’t get any lift, I couldn’t get any speed. Surprise? No surprise at all. Frustrating? Just a hair until you realize there is nothing you can do about it, you just keep moving forward. My goal was to finish under 14 hours, and to be done when the sun was still up, I did both of those. But man I was tired, no legs left, no nothing, but a really strong smile, with the announcers voice still in my head, “Robert Espinoza from Savannah Georgia, You are an Ironman!”. So at no point with the exception of the first 5 minutes of the swim was I beaten, dejected, or miserable. I kept thinking that this is not as much of a sport, as much as it is an art. It’s a process to learn what you can about your body and how far you can push it, and when to push it. All and every muscle group in your body is used, and you start the process of learning how to control that kind movement for that long to get the maximum performance out of your body. I quit the first marathon I ever ran as a young man and eventually ran some pretty good marathons, because I learned how to do it. I guess it’s a lot like math, in order to be good, you have to figure it out to understand it’s meaning. I still hate math, and oh yeah, I am already signed up for Ironman Whistler Canada next year July 26th 2015. Time to start training, and learning.

Robert Espinoza
"Keep Your Chin Up for Strength, and Down For Prayer"
Fleet Feet Sports Savannah

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