Ironman 70.3 Wisconsin

They say comparison is the thief of joy, but after my 10th half ironman triathlon I’m finding relief in comparison, maybe even some pride.

I raced in Ironman 70.3 Wisconsin on Sunday. Going into the day I knew we would have wind, 90 degrees, and a challenging course to combat. When asked how I was feeling going in I gave my honest response “neutral”. Neutral for me meant ready.

I opted for my sleeveless wetsuit morning of. The water temperature was 67, and flat conditions. We were supposed to get some warm up swim time at 6:30am but the Ironman staff wouldn’t let anyone in, because a few people decided they were the exception to the rules got in and robbed the rest of us from a chance to get in. This was my first experience with the rolling start. I expected it to be chaotic, but it went so smoothly and resulted in the best, clearest spacious triathlon swim I’ve ever experienced. Contact was minimal, I found fast feet, and felt like I was flying through the water.

It took me 10 miles before I realized that John left my gears in the big ring after he cleaned my chain on Saturday. On some small hills I thought “Gee, I thought I had more gears than this? This is going to be rough if I’m already feeling fatigue in these little rollers” Once I noticed that, I was cruising really well. Then the relentless uphill, downhill followed by a sharp left turn began. It was that on repeat for the second half of the ride. I wanted to pick up the pace for the last 20 miles but I just couldn’t fight this course.
Fuel: inhaled Bonk Breaker in T1, 5 fingerling potatoes, 1 bottle pre-mix NBS hydration, on-course Gatorade, Gummi Snacks.

Just a little lake loop, just a regular training run is how I saw it. The course is the lake loop, my go-to long run route. The only thing about the lake loop is that I didn’t get to see friends on out and back portions, because they were probably on the other side of the lake. Instead of looking for friends I just made a point to encourage others as I passed them, or as they passed me. It was hot, I dumped ice in my bra and my pants. I drank coke, hoarded ice. Ran, walked, ran, walked. Thanked volunteers. It was tough, but relentless forward motion is my strategy in the run.
Fuel: Coke at every other aid station, 1 Gu at mile 4, 1 Gu at mile 7, salt tab every 40 minutes.

When I finished I was a little discouraged that I finished in a Steena-average standard time of 6:31:35. My first half ironman finish time in 2012 was 6:31:20. But here’s where comparison finds me a sense of accomplishment in the day. This event last year, (formerly known as Milkman Triathlon), had 1000 feet less in elevation gain on the bike course. I finished my bike a few minutes faster with more elevation gain, see below:

2017 Ironman 70.3 Wisconsin
Swim  – 37:18
Bike    – 3:21:35

2016 Milkman Triathlon
Swim  – 40:22
Bike    – 3:25:35

Other past finish times: 6:31, 6:29, 6:21, 6:33, 6:40, 6:15, and 4:10*.

The fact that I finished in my average standard finish time on what has been labeled “the toughest half Ironman course I have ever done” by a lot of other finishers helps. In most cases it’s best not to compare, but in this case I found a sense of accomplishment.

I rallied through with the support of Coeur Sports, NBS Nutrition, and Roka. The gear by these supporters helps make a smooth and courageous race day.



*4:10 finish time at Ironman 70.3 Racine 2016 when swim portion was canceled.


  1. Congrats on putting together a solid race on a tough course (with tougher conditions!). Well done! Can’t wait to see what’s next for you.


  2. Congrats! It was a tough day out there with the heat! And I’ve heard the bike course is super super tough!
    What happened with the swim warm up? Did people get in too early and then they decided to cancel it or were they not allowing people to get in and people did anyways? Did anyone get DQ’ed? It’s tough to just run into cold water and start swimming without a warm up!!!


    • They only allowed practice swim from 6:30-6:45, but people got in early, and they wouldn’t let anyone else in. So basically 5 people ruined it for thousands of others who followed the rules. Pretty frustrating.


  3. Great job, Steena! It was a brutal day with the heat. My brother was also a finisher, but went straight to the medical tent and then off by ambulance to the ER. Fortunately he is okay, but I missed getting a photo of him with his medal. I’d like to surprise him with a photo book of the race and was wondering if I might have permission to use your photo of the medal. Thanks for considering and best wishes for continued IronMan success!


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