I did it. After 20 weeks of dedicated training and nearly 11 months after I registered, and 10+ years of day dreaming, I am an Ironman!
Woke up at 3:30am to stuff my face full of my trusty Belvita biscuits and applesauce. I braided my hair and got changed into my tri shorts and top and went back to bed for an hour.
We took the hotel shuttle over to Monona terrace and once there, I went straight to Mortadella. I put my hydration (bottle of Osmo and bottle of Glukos) on my bike and also stuffed the bento box (which Lauren so kindly let me borrow) full of gummy bears, salt pills, and other random food. I borrowed a pump and got Mortadella up to 110psi and went to get body marked.
I was calm. Like too calm. I thought I'd be nervous, or emotional, but instead I was going though my checklists like this was no big deal. It was weird and almost felt like an out of body experience. After body marking, I found L and my Daad and we hung out inside the terrace for a bit. I decided to get in line to get into the water about 20 min before the race- it was super slow moving as if people were scared to get in the warm, flat as glass water of lake Monona.
Swim: 1:33:08 101 ag/573 women/ 1918 OA
Transition 1- 12:55
I unzipped my wetsuit and let the wetsuit strippers do their thing and then ran up the helix where I gave L, my Daad and Lauren all stinky lake hugs. I got my T1 bag and headed into the changing room. A volunteer came right to my side and helped me put on my shoes, jersey and gather my things. (She was awesome and I thanked her for helping me) I took a few steps with Mortadella and stopped to put my watch on my handlebars and another volunteer came over and held my bike and asked if everything was ok. The enthusiasm of the volunteers carried me through many dark times during the day. I walked to the bike out, clipped in and rode down the helix to start my 112 mile bike ride.
I was pretty pumped to start the bike portion, especially after nailing my swim. I cruised out of town and by mile 10 I had seen the aftermath of a bad crash with multiple cyclists laying on the ground and no less than 8 people changing flats at random places along the road. What the hell was going on!? Seeing all of this craziness got me feeling nervous for a while. The last thing I wanted to do was change a flat during the race or crash.
Luckily the remainder of my 112 mile journey was uneventful. I rode up and down hills, I walked up Barlow hill because there was no way I could ride up it. During that walk during the cycle portion, I talked about beer and Hop Cat with a guy from Illinois and marveled at the 2 people (both women) who rode up this monster hill while we all walked. I broke 40mph on a large hill and decided on the second loop that I would try to break 45mph- I only got to 42.5 (Garmin) and 43.x on Strava. I felt so good during the first loop. But then when I started the second loop, the reality set in. I would be on my bike for another 4 hours.
I saw L and my Daad in Verona. They had taken the shuttle provided by Ironman out to the Loop Festival to come cheer for me. They hung out another 3.5 hours to see me pass a second time. IronSpectators for sure! It was so nice to see them out there and gave me a boost of energy to zoom back into town.
•Zooming past the cows in the early miles with the smell of manure in the air thinking "holy shit! I'm actually doing this. I'm going to be an Ironman!"
•How amazing the volunteers were at each aid station. They would come over and tell me they would hold my bike if I was going to the portalet, or just ask if I needed anything while I stopped to put my hydration in the water.
•Nearly busting my ass in a portalet. I got in the handicapped stall which was on a slight incline. Plastic bike shoes + plastic floor + incline don't mix. Nice little jolt of adrenaline.
•Saying hi to the cows. I saw a CB colored cow laying in the grass eating while all the others were standing. It reminded me of CB and how weird he is. It made me laugh.
•How the other cyclists would ask if someone was ok when they saw someone stopped on the side of the road.
•How it got unexpectedly windy AF for the second loop.
•Seeing Lauren during the second loop and chatting for a second. I think I muttered something like "im so ready to be done with this" and it was only around mile 60.
•Making games like - pedal as hard as possible on the downhill to see how far up the next hill I could get, or try to break 45mph on a hill. Didn't achieve that one, but came close.
•Seeing my L and Daad again in Verona before heading back into town. Family is the best.
I started singing to myself "I want to be done done done done done" and kept it up for way too long. As I approached the last set of large hills there was a creepy ass clown standing on the side of the road. I yelled at him (while huffing and puffing all out of breath up a hill) that he was going to give me nightmares. He said "good!" I zoomed into town and rode up the helix and saw L and my Daad again. I stopped my bike at the line and a volunteer steadied my bike as I unclipped and then they whisked Mortadella back to transition while I hobbled off to T2. I just completed my longest ride ever and was more than half way to becoming an Ironman.
BIKE- 7:58.41 100 ag/ 616 women/ 2094 OA
In T2 I changed into my running clothes- I was so happy to have fresh shorts and my MRC tank on. The volunteers were amazing in T2- constantly asking how they could help- could they help put my shoes on, do I need this item or not? Or would I wear my arm warmers? I couldn't thank them enough. I hobbled out of the room towards the run out and stopped for a second to give the "Mikkeller Salute" to L. I was now just 26.2 miles away from becoming an Ironman.
Before heading out for the run I stopped for sunscreen. The volunteer told me my neck would sting, and I yelped when the sunscreen hit my skin. My wetsuit must have chaffed my neck a bit. Whoa.
TRANSITION 2- 7:33
I savored the final miles in downtown until I saw the creepy ass clown again waiting with his arm outstretched for a high 5. I gestured "NO WAY" and everyone laughed. But then the clown started running after me honking is horn. I couldnt stop laughing. 14.5 hours into the day I still had a huge smile on my face.
RUN- 4:47.10 77ag/464 women/ 1578 OA
I was surprised at how numb I felt towards the whole race. I was surprised at how apathetic I felt once I finished since I usually get weepy or feel something a the end of most races I complete. This was my freaking "A" goal, bucket list, life long goal and I was so incredibly calm. The whole day felt like an out of body experience. I also think I was just done. Emotionally and physically done with nothing left to give.
Sunday September 11, 2016 is a day I'l never forget. It was the day that I achieved my ultimate goal with my family close by. It was the moment that I played over and over in my day dreams for the past 10+ years and never thought I would actually accomplish. It was the celebration of more than just "finish an Ironman", it was a celebration of seeing a seemingly impossible goal through even when I wanted to quit due to fatigue and due to stress from a new job and life. It was about overcoming so many of the demons in my life that have held me back in the past. I put in a ton of work and experienced the greatest day ever.