There really isn’t anything like Lake Placid. Each year, as my family loads up our silver minivan (with a million bumper stickers of course), I look forward to driving through the Adirondack-lined roads up to beautiful Lake Placid. There’s something about the town that, besides its stark contrast to my New Jersey hometown, is sort of magical. It has a peaceful, rustic quality that I am lucky enough to share with the myriad other triathletes who spend the week in LP before Ironman.

As soon as my family arrived at the Golden Arrow, the memories rushed back. The feeling when you return to a familiar place after an extended period of time is like nothing else. What I was looking forward most to that week was watching my cousin Erin complete Ironman.

My cousin Erin has been my best friend since birth. She has always been a positive influence in my life. Sometimes I can get too stressed or high strung about situations… but when I am around Erin I feel a lot more relaxed. I was so excited to be able to be there to watch her achieve something so tremendous.

The week prior to Ironman was filled with tons of fun activities. My cousins and I went cliff diving (I didn’t actually jump this year due to foot issues, haha), out to a dinner/dance place, went shopping, running, swimming… you name it.

When the time for the athlete dinner came, I could sense the excitement amongst my family. I met Erin there with my dad. She was all dressed up and looked gorgeous, ready to be called up on stage as the youngest athlete completing the race. The athlete dinner at Lake Placid is a truly inspirational event. Through athlete videos, I was informed of countless inspirational stories.

Once Erin’s video was shown, she was called up on stage. Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman, spoke to her about her thoughts for the race. She was humble (as always) and seemed really excited. The whole crowd was cheering for her. I was so happy to see her so happy and ready to race!

People kept coming up to me after the dinner telling me to wish my sister good luck. I decided not to correct them. Cousin is close enough 🙂

… In part two I’ll share the story about Erin’s race and the rest of the Lake Placid trip!