September 25, 2017

IRONMAN WISCONSIN 2017 RECAP: THE SWIM

 

I’m back after a two week mental and physical break post Ironman, and I am ready for reality again! I took some much needed time off from working out and any type of structured schedule to spend some time with an amazing group of people in Asheville, NC, Breckenridge and Denver, CO (more on that to come!), but I am here today to finally recap how Ironaman Wisconsin went!

The morning started off at 4AM after a surprisingly decent night of sleep. I immediately got out of bed, turned the coffee on and started preparing breakfast #1 of the day which consisted of the typical two pieces of sourdough toast topped with peanut butter and banana.

I was feeling great, mostly anxious knowing how fast the morning always goes prior to race start. Before I knew it, it was time to head downtown, right on time at 5:00AM. On the way down, I snacked on breakfast #2 of homemade sweet potato cookies as we swung by the VRBO to pick up Scott’s mom and brother (also racing). Parking was surprisingly easy and we arrived at Monona Terrace around 5:20.

First thing on the list was to drop off our special needs bags just outside of the Terrace, and second was double checking our transition bags were set to go.

After those tasks were checked off, I walked into the bike transition area where I had Trek pump up my tires, performed a quick overall bike check and added all of my fuel. Everything was good to go!

By now it was hitting just after 6AM and I walked down the helix to join my tri team for a quick photo. Right after the photo, it was time to put on my wetsuit, and take in one last bit of fuel (an energy gel) before lining up in my corral!

This years swim was a little different than the years past. Instead of a mass swim start, there were five waves of around 500 athletes total and I was in the first wave after the pros at 6:45AM which sure came quickly. We didn’t have a ton of time between entering the water and the gun going off, so I tried my  best to swim as close as I could get towards the buoy line.

Although the swim felt busy and crowded, it was not nearly as bad as last years mass start. The first 800m stretch or so of the swim was noticeably more chaotic than the rest of the swim, but we were blessed with calm water and there were plenty of buoys to help keep us on course. I don’t really think it ever thinned out completely and my mindset and attitude at the time was to just keep calm and keep swimming.

My goal for the swim was 1:13 so I was pretty happy when I saw I came in at 1:13:54. After a volunteer stripped off my wetsuit, I ran the .6 miles up the helix of the parking garage (which is one of my favorite things about IMWI!) inside to the transition area.

A volunteer quickly grabbed my bag and walked me into the women’s changing area. There, another volunteer helped me put on all of the necessary items I needed for my bike, and replaced those items in my bag with all of my swim gear. It was time for the bike!


Total Time: 1:13:54
1:54/100m
Division Rank: 31
Gender Rank: 122
Overall Rank: 533
Transition 1: 7:46

 

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September 28, 2016

Ironman Wisconsin Recap: The Run

 

Transition 2 was faster than the first which was expected. A volunteer helped with my bag and I changed into a fresh pair of socks (which felt like a million bucks) and my running shoes before I was off to run a little ol’ marathon!

For the most part, I felt okay coming out of transition. It took my legs a few minutes to realize I was off the bike, but didn’t necessarily feel all too heavy or tired. My coach warned me about being too happy and anxious to get off the bike to start running which would result in some faster than normal miles, and he was so right. With sooo many fans screaming your name and feeling way too excited I could see how this would happen very easily, but I kept myself in check and tried to slow myself down which I think really helped me in the long run (no pun intended).

Going into the marathon portion of the Ironman, my goal was to run at a steady 9:30ish pace (keeping my heart rate around 140-145) the first half and see how I felt when it came to the second half. I felt okay through the first 10 miles, plugging along and drinking water and eating a bite of food (a pretzel, orange, potato chip, anything) at each aid station. At around mile 12, I saw my friends and family on the crowded State Street which was the BEST feeling ever. I seriously think I smiled the entire run because of them.
At the turnaround you could grab anything out of your special needs back but I didn’t feel the need for anything so I bypassed the area and just kept trucking.  As I told Scott the next day, in races people will talk about getting a 2nd wind, but in the Ironman, you get 2nd, 3rd, 20th, and 30th winds.  You have high moments where you feel good and low moments where you feel terrible but you just need to keep going until you feel good again and do your best to pull yourself out of those low moments. For me, knowing I would see my rockstar fan club again was all I needed.
I saw them once again around mile 20, waved and said I was feeling good, but in reality I thought I was going to be slowing down a ton and even told Scott that it might be awhile until the finish. But, all of a sudden I got my last and final wind, looked at my watch, and realized I was going to finish this marathon under 4:15 whether my mind and body liked it or not. Here we gooo!
The toughest miles for me were miles 21-24, which seemed to take forever. But with two miles to go, I became pretty emotional and thinking about the finish line made those miles go by extremely fast for me. Coming around that last corner and seeing the bright lights of the finisher’s chute ahead felt amazing.
Nothing compares to the finish line of an Ironman. Nothing. 
Immediately after crossing the finish line, I was caught by the finish line catchers (they were actually two of my teammates!) who reminded me to stop my watch and helped me get my medal, tshirt, remove my timing chip, and get in line for the picture.  I was on cloud 9 and felt really really good. Before I even hugged my family and friends, I made my way to the food tent and loaded up a plate with pizza. Real food, yes!
 Thank you, thank you, thank you to ALL the volunteers, spectators, fellow athletes for all your help and encouraging words–you make this race possible. Thank you to my family and friends for coming to watch a whole day of Ironman–it wouldn’t be the same without you. Thank you Scott–I wouldn’t have made it to the start line without your encouragement and support. And thank you to my triathlon tribe–you make the training fun, remind me I’m not insane and keep me going.
Total Run Time:
  • T2: 5:46
  • Run: 4:10
  • 9:32/mile
  • (I think the coolest thing about these stats is the fact that I managed to pass over 516 people on the run!)
Overall Time: 12:31:58
Division Rank: 25
Gender Rank: 139
Overall Rank: 635
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