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Ironman Wisconsin 2017

I never take an Ironman finish for granted. Before the race I won’t assume a finish, during the race I think “if I finish”, and when I come down that chute into the bright lights I am so grateful to finish.

Going into my fourth Ironman Wisconsin I wanted to improve from my past finishes. This was my fourth, I learned so many things in the last few years! All that knowledge, experience and my training had me set up for a PR–spoiler, I didn’t. Please, don’t ask if I PR’ed, I might squirt Gu into your eyeballs if you do. 😜

A run down of my past Ironman WI finish times:

2013:  14:18
2014:  14:23
2016:  14:38  *raced entire day with John, New bike course with Barlow Rd.
2017:  14:33

The funny part is before race day I would joke “I keep getting slower, every year! I am insanity. I keep doing the same thing, expecting different results!”

I. am. insanity.

And when you really look at the numbers above (numbers don’t define you, you are a beautiful, unique snowflake, but these numbers matter to me), I truly am getting slower. The 2016 year hardly counts since I stubbed and broke my toe coming out of the water. If I sign up for 2018 I could gamble that my finish time would be 14:48. Look at years ’13, ’14 and ’17, first it slows down by 5 minutes, then 10, so next year by 15 minutes. NUMBERS!!

On the flip side, more positive happy dance side. I did PR the following:

Morning transition & bike set up:  done by 5:30am
Swim:  PR by 1 minute and change from 2014

Moving on from the numbers, here’s a recap of the day…

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Swim – 1:21:40
Instead of the regular mass swim start, it was changed to an age group wave start of 500 per group. I started in wave 3 at 6:50am with females 35-39, males 35-39 and females 45-49. A lot of people were upset by the change but I think it went very smoothly and for the first Ironman swim I’ve ever had, I found a lot of clear space to actually put my face into the water and swim. I swam on the buoy line for the first time too! It was peaceful, chaotic, busy and beautiful all at the same time. I got punched in the head, pulled at the ankle, and I just kept swimming because this is how you Ironman.

gear: full sleeve wetsuit, Roka R1 amber mirror goggles
fuel:  breakfast 4:30am granola and a muffin top.  5:30am bannana. Cookie coming out of T1 at approximately 8:30am.

Bike – 7:19:36 
What an absolutely perfect day to ride 112 miles! I would pay for this weather for any race I do in the future. It was 72, sunny, gentle breeze and a party on wheels. The course was crowded for the first loop, making pacing a challenge. Do I push it to pass the person who isn’t going quite fast enough in front of me, or do I settle? This is always a challenge for me. I’m not aggressive on the bike and tend to settle.

It was a standard Ironman Wisconsin bike ride with awesome parties on big hills, more big hills, more spectator parties, music blasting, and just an all around fun time. I even rode up Barlow thanks to a screaming Coeur teammate running alongside me all the way up!

fuel:  fingerling potatoes, gummies, 4 Gu, NBS Nutrition, and a can of coke with a slice of cold pizza at special needs.

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 my favorite part of any Ironman day, starting the run!

Run (walk) – 5:33:13
Again, an absolutely perfect day to run 26.2! I love the first mile of this course, it’s all downhill and packed with screaming spectators. I heard my name yelled from so many different places. I waved, I smiled, I kept moving forward. At the first aid station I was surprised to see they didn’t have potato chips. I shrugged and thought maybe they would be at the next aid station.

Then at the next aid station there still wasn’t any potato chips. Hmph. This was kind of a conundrum for me. My fueling strategy for my past Ironmans have been coke and potato chips. It works for me. Instead I took my Gu and drank coke. As the miles tried to tick by I could feel the need for solid food getting stronger.

Seeing so many familiar faces on the course was a nice distraction from my fuel fail. I knew several first timers out there, who were all looking so strong and riding that first-time Ironman unicorn.

The second loop got tough for me. I tried to evaluate “Does anything hurt? No. Why are you walking? Because.” The more I walked, the more it hurt to start running again, a pain I’m familiar with. I did my best to distract myself by chatting with and encouraging others, and making jokes on every hill “At least this isn’t Barlow”

With the hope of a PR gone in my slowing pace, I walked a ton. Argh. I can do better than this! I want to do better than this.

gear: Coeur kit, Mizuno Wave Riders, Knuckle Lights for the dark
fuel:  4 Gu, coke, chicken broth, beef jerky, 1/2 a cookie, Base Salt

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Finish
That last mile is always emotional. I was fighting off tears running up State Street. Tears of frustration, joy, relief, and all the feels. People on patios yelled “Go Coeur girl!” and it helped turn those tears into more joyful ones. Also, it’s really hard to run when you’re crying. The other part about the last mile is I assess who is in front of me and who is behind me so that I can hog the finish chute. I passed a few people and hustled as quickly as I could to get ahead of them.

Down the finish chute it doesn’t matter how hard I trained, how little I trained, or how fast or slow I ran. The hundreds of people at the finish making loud noises, rattling cowbells, and screaming at the top of their lungs don’t care about any of that. All that matters that I got there.

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Thankful for
Coeur Sports – The most comfortable women’s triathlon clothing I’ve ever worn. Knowing I’m representing a company full of heart and courage keeps me racing happy and strong.
John – He devoted his entire Friday through Monday to me, changing up his long run plans, chasing me around the course, being my Iron Spouse. There is no way I could get to the starting or finish line without his support.
Friends – Those who were out there screaming my name, running up a big hill alongside me on the bike, tracking me all day make my heart full. Thank you.
Volunteers – They are so kind and enthusiastic. They make every part of the day go smoother.

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