IRONMAN Wisconsin 2019 was a fantastic day, one that I am incredibly proud of. IRONMAN is when you find out what you are made of. IRONMAN is when you discover if you are out there for the right reasons.
Leading into race day, I was feeling the most relaxed and confident in quite some time. When people would ask me how I was feeling, I could confidently say “excellent”.
The changes I made into this IRONMAN
My long runs, I never emptied the tank. The sessions were steady but rarely insane. The final six weeks to race day I made sure never to test myself and put in stress that would haunt me on race day. The last eight weeks are the most stressful on the body as your volume is at its peak, and inserting too much intensity is hard to shed on race day. Commonly when you see people underperforming on race day, it can be pinpointed to the run training into the race.
I didn’t taper the bike or swim volume into the race. The weekend before the race I still rode 4 hours with 2 hours of quality. Monday I again swam 4k in open water. The only tapering I did was Monday-Wednesday. These three days were enough to shed the fatigue in my legs and by Thursday I was doing my standard Thursday/Friday bike block of tempo work. I didn’t do the same level of volume of intensity, but it was enough to make me feel like I was building into the race.
Standing at the swim start, I was excited to go. The training is done; my body felt great; my mind was ready. I noticed that the paddle boarders and kayakers were having a hard time staying in one place; they were continually pushing backward. This was the sign that our swim was going to be rough. Every Tuesday we have open water swim practice and I’ve never seen Lake Monona like this. Where there are waves in Lake Monona, there will be wind for the bike. I’ve never felt stronger and confident in the swim. I felt strong until the finish.
The bike was challenging with the wind and nutrition changes. My original plan was to consume smaller bottles early as I knew it would be cold then settle into 24-30oz of fluid for the rest of the bike. By 30 miles into the bike, I had already peed twice. I went through 16oz of liquid and peed twice more. Luckily I don’t consume calories through fluid, only electrolytes. I was able to get in my planned 400 calories per hour of gel. When I got to Cross Plains, I hit the train tracks and my front tire exploded. IMWI was the 2nd triathlon this year I’ve flatted in, and it never gets easier. I changed the tire quickly only to have my tube explode when inflating it. When the bike support got to me, we found a gash in my front tire which would explain my 2nd tube blowing. Thankfully they put a new tire on and I was off.
I was off my bike for 24 minutes. It felt like forever. All I could do was watch everyone ride by me. But I never thought about quitting. I didn’t train this hard to stop. What was I expecting? To have no adversity on race day? My legs were not injured; my body was fine. No excuses. Yes, I was disappointed. I saw Cindi on Old Sauk and let out some good tears. However, after that moment I was back on track.
At the Athlete Dinner, one of the messages delivered was “Only you decide if you are having a bad day,” and this was in my mind after my mechanical. I have no reason to have a bad day. I could make this a good day if I wanted. I didn’t spend my Saturday’s away from my family to quit. They allowed me to have a great day and I set out to do precisely that.
The run went phenomenal. It was my faster IRONMAN Marathon at 3:24. I couldn’t have been happier.
The whole race I felt grateful for the opportunity to be challenging myself. I felt grateful for everyone who was cheering for me and offering support. To everyone who encouraged me, thank you.
To Madison Multisport for being so supportive and uplifting. Having such an encouraging and balanced team to train with keeps me balanced. I wouldn’t have gotten to the starting line without you all. Grateful.
To Amanda Marek for achieving her dream of qualifying for Kona. Winning her age group and winning the entire female AG race. I was getting so much inspiration from hearing her updates.
To Ken and Michael for being everywhere on the bike and run course. Grateful.
To my family for being out there all day cheering me on. Grateful
To Cindi and Lucy for the constant love and support. For pushing me out the door to train more when I didn’t want to. For providing me with the desire to become better. I am so fortunate to have a family that supports my goals. I completely lost it when Lucy ran up to me on the run, looking for a hug. My eyes were filled with tears. Grateful.
Sunday was a great day.