I don’t even remember what unimportant difference of opinion John and I were bickering about on Saturday evening in front of our house guests, but one of them said, “You two really need to do an Ironman tomorrow”
So we did!
Swim – 1:19:38, 2:04/100
Morning fuel: one cup of coffee, one Bai water, one coconut water, granola & almond milk at 6:00am.
Gear: full-sleeve wetsuit with Coeur Sports bra and tri shorts under and Roka R1 goggles.
I have nothing but gratitude for the swim! I’m grateful that we had a swim and the water quality was okay. With the self-seeded rolling start I was able to start next to John and my friend Nicole near the front of the 1:11-1:20 sign. During the swim, I savored the Madison skyline and spectator-filled Monona Terrace views. It was a picture-perfect morning with blue skies and a sunshine sprinkled Lake Monona. To top it off I came out of the water with a two-minute swim PR!
Gear: Put an aero top on over my wet sports bra & tri shorts that I swam in. Also put on arm warmers, spare tube and C02 in back pocket. Air temp was 55 in the morning.
Bike – 6:52:24, 16.27mph
Fuel: One Nutroll candy bar, Welches gummi fruit snacks, one bottle pre-mixed TailWind and then switched to on-course Gatorade when I ran out. Packed some Gu but only took one. Took a half a banana at an aid station twice.
Besides being assaulted by the wind for much of this ride, it was a blast! It always is. The crowds, the cows, the giant hills, the fast downhills, the views, and the camaraderie that comes with being on a bike for 112 miles are what keeps me coming back year after year.
My first loop was strong, averaging over 17mph, but the wind got to me on the second loop. I’ve always been a wimp in the wind! I did my best to keep my head in a good place and kept pedaling. I told a clown next to a cornfield that he was my favorite. He honked his clown horn at me. Around mile 80 I started to do triathlon-math and realized I would be cutting it close to breaking seven hours on the bike. I had to get into discomfort mode and go!
With just a few miles to go I thought I had it in the bag, and then because this is triathlon and nothing goes as planned, the top screw in my water cage fell out causing the cage to fall horizontally in front of my pedal stroke. Shit, shit, shit. I pulled over and tried to yank it off with no success. I got back on my bike with one hand down holding the cage in place so I could pedal, and the other hand steering me down bumpy John Nolan Drive back to T2. I found a way and got it done, under seven hours and with a 27 minute PR!
T2 – 4:45
Gear: Changed out of aero top into a singlet. Filled singlet pockets with Gu thanks to Kecia, because I would have left the Gu behind not wanting anything sweet for the rest of the day!
Run – 4:59:25, 11:26 min/mile
Fuel: On course chips, cola, Gatorade, chicken broth and Gu.
(Note to self, take the Gu earlier than mile 13!–even if you don’t want it!)
After having success running with very disciplined friends who follow their plans and heart rate training I started slow. It was slow and mentally I disappeared somewhere into the abyss. I had some awesome friends out cheering and screaming my name from every direction. I did my best to give a thumbs-up and smile acknowledging them, but I didn’t feel like I was fully there. My presence was hollow. I kind of wanted a nap.
At the halfway turn around I forced airplane arms around the turn and checked my Garmin, 2:29. Shoot! I wanted to break five hours but I knew I didn’t have enough wiggle room for a sub 5 marathon finish. It was possible, but not likely for me. I grabbed my Bai water and Knuckle Lights from my special needs and attempted to pick up my pace a bit feeling more purposeful for the second half of the run.
Purposeful, yet still hollow and on autopilot. A friend ran alongside me for a few seconds asking how I was doing, and all I could respond with was a thumbs up. Cat had my tongue! A couple miles later I got to the State Street out and back where I was admiring the view of runners and crowds ahead of me and looked up at the beautiful Wisconsin Capitol building.
I noticed something.
The sky was blue, sky blue. It was still light out. I had never been this far in the Ironman marathon in daylight before. That was the moment I remembered the message from my Coeur teammate Becca, amaze yourself. Amazed at the color of the sky I ran up State Street bewildered, telling random spectators, “There’s still daylight out! Look at this! It’s light out!”
After State Street, I was on the lakeside path which is normally pitch black darkness for me. This time I was running it in daylight. I didn’t need my Knuckle Lights. I could see the waves crashing onto the shore, the boats parked in the lake, the people running ahead of me. It was a new experience, I was in awe of these miles. Have I mentioned I love daylight?
I peeked at my Garmin, feeling wildly amazing at mile 20 of the Ironman marathon and saw that a sub 5 marathon was more possible than I thought. I kept moving steady even with a literal oh-shit moment at mile 23 that forced me into the porta-potty.
In the last mile I remembered how disappointed I was in myself last year. If I could tell my past self anything it would be to start now, put action behind your words. If you want to accomplish anything, nobody is going to do it for you. Be patient and it’s okay to do it your way. There is no catch-all plan for anything.
Running down the red carpet is everything everyone says it is. Bright lights, loud noises, screaming spectators, friends, and Mike Reilly confirming, “You are an Ironman!”
When I saw the 13 on the clock I truly did amaze myself.
And I broke that damn 5 in the Ironman marathon! 4:59:25!
I am so proud, happy and content with this Ironman. It could not happen without the support of my love John. The amazing tribe of women behind Coeur Sports inspired me all season long. It was a joy to train with Ironworx Multisport this season as well.
Looking at my finish photo, I can finally say that I see me.
Finish time – 13:25:40
PR – 53 minutes under my first Ironman finish in 2013