If my favorite place in the world is the beach, upstate NY definitely ranks second. Over the years I have spent a great deal of time in the area, and fall more in love with it each time I am up there. The scenery, atmosphere, people, and summer weather (God knows the winter weather is miserable unless you are snowboarding!) are all spectacular. Every time someone mentions hitting the Northway I am all over it. After completing both Ironman Lake Placid and Syracuse 70.3 in 2014, my love for the area only grew. It was a no-brainer to sign up for Lake Placid 2015. So when the opportunity arose to spend an extra weekend in Lake Placid for a training camp, I jumped all over it.

Training is not something that I pride myself in—I believe that less truly is more, and honestly finding the time to fit in every workout can be more than a challenge. In fact, over the past three weeks I’ve gone from working out 5 or 6 days a week to 0 days a week; yes, that was not a typo— zero, as in no workouts…at all. The exception was this past weekend’s training camp in Lake Placid where, after looking at what my coach had put in for daily workouts, I joked “I deserve a f****** medal for just surviving to this camp!”

There is probably not a swim in all of triathlon that surpasses that of the double loop swim in Mirror Lake. With the water temperature during tri season ranging from the 60s-70s it is a comfortable swim with a sleeveless wetsuit. The water quality and clarity is pristine. Blows every other race I have ever done out of the water. There is just no competition. The yellow line that runs along the bottom of the lake is visible from up to 10 feet away and, coupled with the buoys every 25 meters, there is very little out-of-water sighting that needs to be done. The 2.4 miles I swam last weekend definitely exceeded my expectations for some serious open water swimming.

Riding 168 miles over two days brought back oh so many memories from last year’s race. From the wicked thunder, lightning and torrential down pours during the 6 mile decent, to the meeting of a new friend the last 10 miles of the bike, last year’s ride was definitely memorable and scary. I had forgotten just how truly breathtaking the mountain views can be along the bike course on a beautiful early summer morning. I also had conveniently forgotten how grueling the bike course is the second time around! Two packages of Clif Shot Blocks and what seemed like gallons of Infinit Go Far carried me through my two-loop practice ride and totally exhausted me…I am not used to all that physical activity in a weekend! Even on my longest brick workouts my ADD kicks in after about 4 or 5 hours, so 7 hours of straight cycling really stretches my attention span.

I must admit that after all that swimming and cycling I had to slack off on the run, squeezing in only a total of 8.5 miles the entire weekend. Although I nearly died, I managed to make it through at least half of one loop and up both major hills. In fact, death would have been a sweet release from that miserable run after 168 miles on the bike.

With IMLP just over 4 weeks away, I am both eagerly awaiting the start line and dreading it. The course is more beautiful and challenging than any others I have done. It’s going to be a long day—I am sure I will shed a tear somewhere along the 140.6 mile course…likely on the second loop of the bike, just thinking about the marathon that I still need to complete. But at least at the end I will get a medal, t-shirt, and a hat. Not to mention my celebratory beer. Volunteers may now sign up for this premier assignment.