This year certainly started slowly - if you read any of my earlier blogs this year it was a long process getting back into 'race' shape and getting my run back up to speed. Winning an Ironman was the farthest thing from my mind in February, where I could barely run a 7 minute mile! I put in a lot of work this year, day in and day out, and even though I was tempted to try a earlier IM, I waited until Ironman Mont Tremblant (IMMT) in August. At that race I felt it, I was ready. My run was back and I my mind was strong to push through an Ironman.
This was my first time racing Ironman WI since 2010 (where I was an age-grouper and raced in prep for Kona that year) and it was just 3 weeks after IMMT, which would make it my shortest time between Ironman races. In 2011 I raced Ironman Lake Placid and then 4 weeks later went on to have one of my best races at Ironman Louisville - putting up my fastest run (at the time) and somehow nabbing 2nd place. So with that in mind, I was hopeful for this short turn around between races!
Ok- so I have a TON to say....but I'll go through the race quick here!
SWIM: Love the 1 loop. Don't mind the chop, as it favors 'swimmers' and usually leads to a larger gap from the 'non-swimmers'. I got out hard (too hard) and was quickly in recovery mode - reminding myself I was in an Ironman and not a swim race :) I settled it as much as I could w/the choppy conditions and found myself behind some feet that were just swimming all over the place!! We did not swim straight AT ALL...BUT it's pretty crazy how swimming alone in a straight line is just way harder and no faster than drafting easy on some feet that just happen to be swimming a little whacky. So I just went with it and had a fine swim. At the last turn bouy I bailed on my crazy lead train and took a beeline to the finish, in hopes of losing as little time as possible to the lead girls. Time: 57:00
BIKE: I headed out 3rd female on the bike and was on a (controlled) mission to ride smart and not lose time on the ride. I ride on feel, and the plan was to just push the bike harder than I normally do in Ironman. I was feeling great, loved the support on the course, and knew it was going well when I was nearing the end of the first lap and wasn't getting passed by any women! YAY! So I kept on with the 'harder than usual' effort and stayed on the hydration/nutrition, just trusting that if I kept the fuel going in no matter how spent I felt at the end of the bike my fitness would take me through the run. I certainly had some low points in the ride, like everyone, but just pushed them away and kept on the mission of finishing the ride strong. Time: 5:27:30
RUN: This is where you find out what you're made of. This run happened to be one of the toughest IM runs I have had. I thought I was coming off the bike in 3rd, but someone dropped out either at the end of the ride or in transition, so I was in 2nd, only 5-ish minutes down! At that moment I was thinking 'oh man, I think I can do this!'. So this run was interesting because I was pretty sure I would catch Malaika, however I knew there were strong runners coming from behind...and for the first part of the run I really didn't know how much space I had. So goal 1 was to catch Malaika, then it was to maintain so I didn't get caught!! It was a serious mind/body struggle, with my body wanting to stop SO BAD. My legs have never felt that awful during a race. I kept my mind from wandering and just kept at it, concentrating on nutrition and keeping 'steady'. My newest saying is "just like this, all day long" which seems to work :) Wow, so here is where I was SO THANKFUL to know so many people! I took in each and every cheer and tried to truly BELIEVE what people were saying. Each time someone told me I could do it, I tried to take that and literally run with it. The last few miles were a mix of amazing and painful. The crowd support was UNREAL and my legs were each like 50lb cement blocks :) I was convinced I was running 11 minute miles (turns out I wasn't, but geeeez)!! Time: 3:16
FINISH: AMAZING!!! I was told I had a 5 min lead on 2nd, but still found myself looking back in the finish shoot in complete disbelief that this was actually happening!! I was greeted at the finish line by my Grandma Mary, Aunt Kiki and Mark :) I was interviewed by Dave Erikson, the Madison Newspaper and taken to drug testing.
THANK YOU!!! Friends, family, training partners for loving me and keeping me motivated!
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Thanks for reading....more to come :)