Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ironman Wisconsin

Ironman Wisconsin 2009

If someone told me a year ago this was going to be the year I did Ironman, I would not have believed it. I had just moved to Boulder last summer and didn't have a pot to piss in. I would take 2009 to do "cheap" races and check out the ultra running scene. I told myself after deciding not to compete in Clearwater 70.3 Worlds last fall and doing the less expensive Moab Ultimate XC 50k trail run instead. My plan was going well until I developed some tendonitis during a 5 hour trail run with a friend on one of the sections of the Colorado trail in late May. As much as I was liking the long distance trail running I freaked about the possibility of getting further injured if I continued to run strictly ultras. During the short amount of time that I had this injury, I began to start swimming again. After about a week I was able to bike pain free. 3 weeks later I was running again and found myself triathlon training. While out on an easy getting back into it run, the idea of Ironman popped in my head. Knowing that almost all of these races fill up in hours if not minutes, I would have to wait over a year to compete in one. I knew it would be a long shot but I was able to have a good friend pull some strings and she got me a slot to Ironman Wisconsin for 2009! A couple days later I got the word that I was able to register and pulled the trigger. From that day on, I had been training to the best of my ability with thehelp of my wonderful coach Lauren Smith. All of this prepared me to get to the starting line of my first full Ironman race.


If anyone knows my racing history, it usually involves some pre-race issues including forgeting my timing chip, ripped wetsuits, and zippers breaking off my front zip tri-suit minutes before the race start. Just like my other big races, Ironman provided to be no exception.

It started on Thursday on my way to the airport. I was flying out of Colorado Springs in effort to save $200.00 on a plane ticket. Thinking I was totally on top of things, I got to the counter and realized I booked my ticket for Friday the 11th instead of the 10th! I started to freak but told myself to stay calm. The woman at the desk told me there would be a $150.00 flight change and I was willing to pay it because I had to be there Thursday night! On top of that, the airline was not excepting my bike coupon for a $125.00 fee waive ( perhaps I'm sounding cheap but this stuff adds up!!) So, I did pay the stinking bike fee but the woman forgot to charge for the flight change. Hopefully, US Air will reimburse me for the bike charge. I had to tell myself to focus on the race and not let anything get in my way...

Ironman Expo and Registration

I am so glad that I decided stay away from the race hotel and expo area. I love triathlon and triahtletes but sometimes they can drive me nuts! "what's your PR? ..."how many Ironman's have you done?" blah, blah, blah!!!! After waiting in line forever to get my race packet I was sooo happy to get back to the wonderful home of Barb Karlen, my friend Casey's great aunt!

Barb Karlen

As mentioned above, Barb is my friend Casey's Aunt. She was a wonderful hostess and treated me like a family member. She even had a plethora of of fresh fruits and veggies for me which was perfectly Paleo diet friendly! I know staying there aided in great sleep and minimal pre race anxiety.


Sorry to gross you out guys but ladies you can truly relate to this! I will keep this simple and brief. The night before the race I got my period. I wasn't going to let it freak me out but I did have to text my coach to get some positive reassurance that I wasn't going to have a busted race because Aunt Flow wanted to do Ironman too!

The Race (finally)

One the greatest parts (and biggest fears) for first time IM triathletes is the mass start swim with over 2200 athletes. Even more so for us mid to back packer swimmers. The biggest reason I never got to the starting line at IM Lake Placid in 2005 was the fact that I believed I couldn't do the swim. I most likely could have but I freaked the night before and had a full blown panic attack. This time however, things were different. I had a healthy amount of nerves and actually felt good to be at the start treading water along side a couple thousand swimmers. In all honesty, that swim was my longest this year. I did a few Masters workouts that were a bit over an hour but I never swam a straight 2.4 miles in my life. I guess I had the mindset that when you train for a marathon you don't have to run the full 26.2 in training. Anyway, first lap was chaotic as my pack got around the first bout to turn left it was like hundreds of cattle trying to get through a small gate. Appropriately enough, swimmers started treading water as there was a complete standstill while making a mooing noise... Now I know why they call it Ironman Moo!!!
The second lap was decent and I feel that the joy and encouragement of getting that far pushed me through the second and out of the water.
Swim time: 1:15:25 This is decent for me....

The first transition was lengthy because it involved running and twisting up a parking garage and in to the changing room. Despite the time involved it was sort of a fun process.

There's not too much to say about the bike. When I was living in Florida my bike was a lot stronger but spending so much time running this year has taken away from it. My main goal was to be super conservative on he first loop. It's always so hard when people start passing you that you know you can hang with. It payed off though, the second loop felt relatively easy on this super duper rolley hill course.

Hitting T2 was nice and all I could think about was eating my chocolate Power Bar on the last ten miles of the bike. Funny how something so icky can be ultra appealing after 7 hours. As I started my run I noticed that my glutes were so tight that it felt as though someone had wrapped duct tape around my ass. I had a similar experience to this back in 2007 when I did Musselman in Geneva, NY where the bike course was also rolling hills. At this point I had to give myself a little pep talk that the gluts and hammys would stretch out the more I ran and especially when I hit some of the uphills. Sure enough, they started to loosen up but only after about 45 minutes of pain. At about mile 2 I attempted to reach down to tighten my way too tight running shoes and almost fell over because I couldn't stretch down that far!

After getting through the pain of my ass, ( literally) and accepting the fact that I was going to have lost a toe nail and wicked blisters; my stride picked up. I dealt with the discomfort that I feel I am fairly good at doing and ran my marathon. Passing one person after another, I knew that I could keep this up. I felt great until about mile 23 when Aunt Flow and her baggage caught me ( cramps). Knowing there was only 3 miles left I was really using all my mental energy not to slow down too much. Playing off as a purist, I did not race with a watch and had to ask a few people about the total time (OK, I forgot my watch at home). Therefore, I knew I. Those last few miles that I was in the high 10:30's range.

It has been my dream to get to Kona since I was a kid. I even named my dog Kona who I had to put to sleep this summer! Running with all this pain I looked over around mile 24 and saw a golden Retriever that looked identical to Kona!! Red hair, a bit bulky and the same face. At the expense of sounding cheesy, I knew it was a sign! I stopped my bitchin and finished strong. Taking that turn to the final stretch was one of the greatest moments of my life!!! Christi was there to give me my metal. What a great friend!
I did it! Now I can fill in my damn tattoo and head to Kona next year!!!


Bike 5:41:19
Run 3:30 :25

Total time 10:39:49

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