Completed my first Ironman this year. The following was my race report. Those that don’t know Ironman, it’s a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run all within cutoff time limits
The event that 20 weeks of training finally came to be. While it would have been nice to relax the entire weekend up until Sunday, there was way too much that I wanted to see in the Ironman village to rest. Most of the days were spent walking around, taking it in, and spending money!!
Saturday night we all were in agreement to try to get to bed early and get as good of a night of sleep as you can before a big event. Alarm was set for 3:45 so we could get ready and on the shuttle by 4:45 to get to transition when it opened at 5. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits, but nerves were definitely there. I've been checking the weather that entire week, and it wasn't really improving. There were decent size winds and the direction they were coming from was going to make this 2.4 mile swim really rough.
The bike tires get blown up, double check we have everything, get our wetsuits on and then it's a waiting game. The water is choppy as can be. So much that after I found out the the best pro female at this even said it's the worst swim conditions she's ever had in an event. We slowly make our way to the water and before you know it the timer beeps and in we go. As I"m swimming the first 400 yards I see people grabbing onto kayaks and calling it quits already. I just kept my swimming pace and carried on. Just kept swimming from one bouy to the next, swimming 500 yards at a time. When I made the final turn I had about 500 yards to go and this is when I started visualizing everything I needed to do to get ready for the bike. I finished the swim in 1:26 which was about 4 minutes faster than I had planned.
Ran to the wetsuit strippers, tried to take in the 1000's of fans cheering us on and then ran up the helix into the changing rooms. The volunteers were amazing. Grabbing my bike bag instantly, helping me put my bike clothes on and wishing me luck. I run out to my bike, carry it to bike out, and out I go on 112 miles of fun. Transition 1 took 11:10, about 4 minutes faster than I planned
I knew the first 15 miles I had to dial in my nutrition. I needed to get fluids in me and eat some food. I was on point. I'm not the fastest swimmer, but I am a good biker so I was blowing by people on the bike. In fact I'd say I had to have passed 500 people over these 112 miles and probably only was passed a dozen times.
Made it to the loop and up to Mount Horeb were the people were lining the streets cheering us on. I was feeling really good and was killing it with pace. Made it cross plains where the "3 bitches" are. These are 3 huge incline hills. I've trained on these a few times, but today they were filled with people, music, costumes, and party's. It was like I was in the tour de France. Finished this area, made it to Verona which was lined with people and then had to do it all over again as this bike route is a double loop. The second loop was just as good as the first. I was making sure I was drinking a ton of water between aid stations (the volunteers were awesome, I'd fly by around 18-23 mph and they'd hand off bottles without me stopping). Made it through the hills and the parties and at this point I was ready to head back. There was a fairly strong wind out of the east and the entire ride back (12 miles) would be into the wind and up some decent long hills). After 100 miles, those final 12 miles are a bear. Finally made it back to Madison and then had to ride UP the helix into transition. Ugh!! Just then it started to rain. Thankfully I wouldn't be biking in that, although a lot of other athletes would still be out there on the course. Finished in 6:10 for a 18.16 mph. I was hoping for a 6 hour bike, but wasn't too upset with this time. Not bad for 6000 feet of elevation gain.
A volunteer grabs my bike and I run into the T2 to to get ready for the run. Not nearly as much to do as I would be running in the clothes I biked in and only had to put my running shoes and bib on. T2 took 5:26. About 5 minutes faster than I was planning.
Now onto the run. Ugh, you mean you have to run a marathon after swimming 2.4 and biking 112? Thankfully I had a bunch of team members volunteering at the first aid station .75 miles in and they gave me a boost. My plan was to walk the aid stations (25 in total that are about .05 miles long) and run the rest of the course. That plan was carried out perfectly for the first 8 miles. Then I started to hit a wall. Mentally I was starting to get flustered. I was so tired and I still had 18.2 miles to go. My pace went from a 8:30 for the first 8 miles to a 9:30 and then to a 10. Like the bike, this is a double loop run course. So you started the second loop RIGHT AT THE FINISH LINE. So disheartening getting there and knowing you still have a HALF MARATHON left. The support on the course and the thousands of cheering fans gave me motivation, though. That and when I got to an aid station at mile 20 and a teammate said I was still about 1.5 miles in front of cori, who everyone knows we always try to beat each other. The problem was I was starting to cramp and I didn't have any salt left. Luckily with 4.5 miles to go I passed a teammate who was doing his first lap on the run who gave me some of his salt and water. Saved me otherewise the final 4.5 miles would have been all walking.
I made it back to state street with everyone lining the streets cheering us all on. Made the turn around the capital and then ran down the red carpet to cross that finish line and have Mike Reilly call me and Ironman. I get into the tent to grab some food and it started POURING rain out. Could I have been this lucky? I missed the rain on the bike and the run?
Final run time was 4:33 which was about 15-30 minutes slower than I wanted. But overall I finished in 12:27:42 and I was more than happy with that time.
Awesome experience. The support was great. Huge shoutout to everyone that was there. And those that can't I realized how many were following online as when I got to my phone I had about 30 text messages waiting for me.
Will I do this again? I don't know. Ask me in a few days when I don't walk like I"m 95 years old with prosthetic legs.
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