Monday, October 22, 2018

Ironman Louisville 139.1 {2018 Race Recap}

Swim: .9 mile*  18:30, 1:17/100 yards 84th AG/504th Women/ 1781 OA
T1: 10:53
Bike: 112 Miles 7:43.03 avg 14.41mph, 76th AG/460th Women/ 1766 OA
T2: 19:36 (TFW your transition is longer than your IM swim. lolz)
Run: 26.2 miles 5:50:10 avg 13:17/mile, 70th AG/ 426th Women/ 1548 OA

Total: 14:22.09, 72nd/93 AG, 448/601  Women, 1687/2034 OA

The DNF rate at this race was around  17.9%.

Spoiler alert, I finished my second Ironman. And my first 139.1 distance race!

Also my first triathlon outside of Wisconsin. Pleasant Prairie Sprint, IM Racine 70.3, and IM WI- all in Wisconsin.


We drove to Indianapolis right after work. I loaded Mortadella and friends into the rental and we hit the road. We dropped the boys at the pet hotel for their spa weekend in the morning. Ze loves day care, CB wanted to murder us.

We stopped in Indy for the night so we could all get some rest for the weekend. Mortadella was especially happy to sleep in.


As luck would have it, there was a Waffle House close by. So breakfast was a no brainer.

Look at that spread!

We drove the remaining 1.5ish hours to Louisville. It was our first time visiting Kentucky. I was excited because I had heard it was a cool city, full of bourbon (my fav, YUM), and the IM was there.

We checked into the hotel and walked over to the athlete village. It was way less crowded/busy than IM Wisconsin. I walked right in and got everything I needed for race day- swim cap, timing chip, bags, bib in no time. Unlike IMWI which took hours to walk from end to end of the convention center.

Selfie at the village.

I don't even know what is going on here.

Obligatory bib photo.

We ran into Jill at the village. (A theme for the weekend)

We dropped off all the IM stuff and then went to Against the Grain Brewery for Lunch were we ran into Nick.

I had a vegan burger and it was delicious. I also had a whisky drink and beer which were really good.

Post lunch at ATG, we went to Angel's Envy for a tour. We've done many beer tours, but never a distillery. 

Proper hydration was key.

We learned a lot about Bourbon making, and what exactly a bourbon is, and what makes Angels Envy so special (finished in port barrels). The facility was gorgeous.

We had to stop at their new bar to have one more cocktail before dinner.

For dinner Friday night, we went to 610 Magnolia. We have been huge fans of Edward Lee after seeing him on Top Chef a few years ago- so I was incredibly pumped to book the tasting menu while in Louisville.

We had many delicious things- mainly seafood based for me- per my choices. The star for me was definitely the Grouper.

We got to share this meal with J&G and it was just amazing.


We wanted to go to the brunch place everyone talked about, but didn't want to wait an hour, so we went across the street to Please and Thank you. We ran into Nick randomly again. I had a bagel/Egg sandwich. It was really good. 

While in line, I saw that their cookies are famous and supposed to be really good, so I decided to buy one for my special needs bag. I usually don't eat chocolate chip cookies (I'm more of a sugar cookie fan) but it sounded good. 

Then we went back to the hotel to collect Mortadella and everything I would need to complete the 139.1* journey. SO. MANY. THINGS.

Dropping off Mortadella and friends was uneventful. I just hoped I had packed everything. I hate leaving my stuff out of my sight.

We went to Bluegrass Brewing for lunch and ran into Nick randomly, again.

Special Needs Bag: Cookie from Please Thanks, and IPA from Monica, a local brewery.

I am convinced 140.6 is better with friends. We signed up for this a year ago, after many beers and Malort at Lone Wolf. Note to self: don't make decisions like this after drinking.

We went to Pesto for dinner and I had eggplant parmigiana and it was good.  


I put my TriTats on. I went for the sharpie in IM WI, but decided it would be cool to have these for my last IM for a while.

The weather was not good race morning. Predictions were for low 50's and rain most of the day. I struggled a ton with what to wear but was confident in my choices which were already in my T1, T2 bags. AKA I was stuck with my choices from Saturday when I dropped off the bags.

I checked on Mortadella, borrowed a pump and inflated her tires and met L outside of the secure zone. I saw a beautiful Aussie named Sage, and gave her lots of love before we started heading to the swim start a mile up the road.

I also met this cool guy on the walk to swim start.

It was cold and rainy.

Going into the swim, My goal was to be around 1:30. I knew that even with the portion against the current, that I would fly when we turned around. I felt good about everything. I lined up at 1:30 pace group and ran into Jill. L, Jill and I hung out for a while and then L needed to go get food so he would see me finish the swim. We said our good byes and took a photo.

We waited in the cold rain for a while and then the news came that the swim would be shortened to .9 mile due to the extreme current. (I cannot say I was sad to hear this at all).  But this also meant waiting around much longer than anticipated. The original start was to begin at 7:30, Now the pros would start after 8am. Luckily Jill had her phone and texted G who told L about the new plans. 

Thumbs up for fitting into my wetsuit for the first time in 2 years- since my last IM.

We waited and waited and eventually our 1:30 group began the walk towards the dock. We heard that they were only letting one person in at a time because the swim exit ladders were backing up, as well as T1. at 9:30am , we finally jumped in. The water was so warm- like 70 degrees, compared to the air temp of around 47 which we had been freezing in for 2+hours.

I swam out of the harbor and into the river towards the bridge and was flying.

It got crazy shortly after getting into the river. The current was so strong, and the volunteers on kayaks were yelling at us (with a very serious intensity) to swim right so we would make it around the bridge. I swam as hard as I could so I would make it around the bridge. Nailed it.

And pretty much as soon as we got around the bridge, the finish was in sight. Now the volunteers were yelling with intensity to swim hard left. I went as hard as I could to head towards the exit. The current was insane.  I got to the ladder and grabbed a volunteer who helped me up the stairs.

I don't think there would have been a way to fully prepare for something like this swim without swimming in a river with a powerful current. Overall I was happy swimming nearly 1 minute faster per 100 yards than my normal swims. That pace will never happen again.

I unzipped my wetsuit and the wetsuit stripper yanked my wetsuit off with ease. Then I slogged to transition. I was frozen and happy to be done.

T1 tent was ridiculously packed with women. Since I wasn't completely changing, I added my jersey/vest/helmet/shoes  outside the tent in the grass with a few other women. I weaved through the crowded tent and went to the racks and found Mortadella. I put my Garmin on the adapter and grabbed Della from the rack and headed towards bike exit.

Goals for the bike included: Finish 6:30-7 hours, and push my comfort zone.

I was in a great mood starting the bike despite being cold and riding in light rain. I hammed it up when I saw course photographers- I wanted my pictures to be good since I would be buying them, and this would be the last IM for a while.

Less than 20 miles into the 112 mile ride, I noticed my neck and shoulders were completely tense and full of pain. The cold and rain was making me hold my head in a certain way which was quite painful. I tried to readjust, but it hurt so much. I started to worry. 

The course was beautiful- rolling country roads with horse farms. The horses had on jackets like CB has, and that made me smile. I missed my big dog.  As the miles went by, I noticed my hands were completely frozen, yay reynauds! I was growing colder and colder. In T1 I put a plastic shopping bag under my jersey to help conserve heat. It was helping, but overall I was frozen. I was starting to shake and felt numb. I also had to pee multiple times (sorry Della!) despite not taking in enough liquids to warrant it. (Cold Diuresis)

When I got to the mile 50ish aid station, I had to ask the volunteers to help me open the water bottle and pour my Maurten inside of it. My hands were so numb and I was shaking, that it made this simple task impossible. I went to the port o potty and while waiting in the short line, I heard a girl talking to one of the volunteers saying how cold she was- that she was disoriented. As the medical volunteer asked her more questions, I started thinking that I was basically feeling the same as her. I had thought about when was too much for me regarding the weather- and I was nearly to the point where I thought it was not good for me to carry on. I could barely do basic functions in my current state- how could I possibly ride another 60 miles safely with all the hills?

I decided I couldn't DNF myself at 50. That I must go to one more aid station and decide. The rain let up a little and I felt marginally better. But during those miles- way too many than I care to admit, I became very ok with the possibility of DNF. I had so many negative thoughts- that I would never sign up for a race again- I love working out but do not need races. That I remembered I vowed I wouldn't participate in another shitty cold weather race after Boston- and then IM Lou was all "hold my beer." I was so down and wanted to be done. I felt that continuing would be unsafe- that I would lose concentration and crash on a descent. My hands/fingers were so numb that I couldn't bend them. Eventually I got back to the same aid station where I seriously considered DNF, now mile 80ish - and I kept going. I couldn't quit now.   I cycled hard back into town and was so happy to hand my bike off to the volunteer. I might have uttered "burn it down" about Mortadella. 

I finished slower than I had anticipated. I wanted 6:30-7ish and finished 7:4x. I know the cold and rain slowed me considerably. 

T2 was less crowded than T1, and I got a chair inside the tent. I tried to unclip my helmet and was unsuccessful so I decided to change as much as I could before a volunteer came to help me. The volunteer unclipped my helmet because even after 15 minutes, my hands were still frozen. I decided to leave my flip belt and fuel behind in my bag as the thought of sports gel didn't sound good- I was looking forward to eating all the chips and Coca Cola. I took a bunch of my orange chewable salt pills while walking to run out because I had not consumed any salt due to not being able to open anything on the bike. 

Goal for the run: 4:00. Or Faster than 4:45, from IM WI.

I saw G right after the run out. He said Jill was close behind and said L would be around mile 2. I was so excited to see L- since the lat time I saw him was before the swim start. I gave him a hug and kiss and kept running. I was super concerned I was dehydrated because I had consumed less than 1.5liters of maurten on the bike so I made it a point to stop at every aid station and get water/coke/broth and eat chips for salt. I grew very disinterested in running a few miles into the marathon. I was still so cold and wanted to be done. I decided to run .4/walk .1 and walk through all aid stations.  I saw Jill for the first time a little after the first turnaround- mile 6-7.  I kept my run/walk schedule for a while and hit the portolet more times. I decided around this time, that I could care less about my time (obviously wanted to finish before the cutoff) and that I wanted to feel good the rest of the night- and not feel like crap Monday. Around mile 10-11 Jill caught up to me and we ran together for a while.  At mile 13 we ran past the finish. We heard the announcer saying "you are an Ironman" as we ran by. 

We turned the corner and I picked up my special needs bag. I unwrapped my cookie and waited for Jill to get her items together. I said hi to G and the rest of Jill's family and he snapped a pic of me with my cookie and beverage of choice.

We decided to run a little and walk more and more as the miles went by. We talked non stop for hours about life, the race and everything. We had conversations with fellow participants about what drove them to register, and how they were feeling. We marveled at all the spectators. There was a guy with a sign which read "tell me your name, I'll cheer for you." I told him my name as I walked by and he yelled "GO CHAR!"  

Eventually we grew closer to finishing. The last few miles we walked with a guy from Michigan who was also about to complete his first IM. He told us his story of how he ended up registering. It was so nice hearing the stories of the people we walked with.

Once we were a mile away, I ditched my garbage bag, because I wanted my finish pictures to look good. We spoke logistics- whether to finish together, or to go separately. We were so close!

We saw G and Jill's family 200 m or so before the finish. We saw L right after. We were so incredibly elated to finally be at the end of this journey, a year in the making. 

We grabbed hands and ran towards the light. I high fived everyone I could as we ran towards the finish. It was the most awesome party ever! I heard the announcer- the voice of the Chicago marathon say that Jill and I were Ironmen. I was full of emotion-  the last time I didn't remember anything about the finish. 

The emotions you feel when finishing something of this magnitude- its not just about the Raceday, but everything leading up to it. To make it to the start healthy, to remember all those early mornings, long workout days, sacrifices, and to be moments away from completing something you've worked so hard for- it's overwhelming. 

To be able to share this whole process with Jill made it so much better. We texted regularly about our training and encouraged each other along the way. This was Jill's first Ironman and I am so very proud of her. 

It was pure icing on the cake of this cycle to be able to finish with Jill. 

Best. Day. Ever.

139.1 miles. DONE! 

So thankful for my biggest support.

L got Mortadella and my T1-T2 bags and brought them back to the hotel while I was on the run so when I was done, we could go straight for food. Since I was feeling so good, I had a local beer to celebrate and a salad (they were out of sandwiches.) I told L about the past 14.5 hours.

The next morning we walked by the merch tent but didn't wait in line for finisher gear. I hope some of it gets posted in the online store soon, I'd probably buy a hoodie or jacket. We had to get back to Chicago to get our boys and go to a concert.

Post race stuff: 


Pre Race:2 packs of bel vita biscuits and apple sauce 

Bike: 3 servings of Maurten. 1.5 liters of liquid. Not enough. But somehow worked for this day. 

Run: All the chips/Coca Cola, broth I could eat, plus my cookie and half my Monnik Beer.


I should have worn my good nike jacket on the bike. I should have learned my lesson post Boston. The forecast saturday said no rain so I thought I would be ok. I wasn't. This is my reminder that I need to wear my good jacket if I ever find myself in similar weather like this again.

I loved the course. The swim would have been challenging in a good way had it been the full distance. The bike course was gorgeous. Especially when the fog started rolling in in the afternoon. I felt really good on the hills and had fun on the descents when I wasn't worried about crashing. The first loop of the bike was a little scary with the semi Pros passing while on their second loop + all the people on their first loop passing. The second loop I encountered vehicle traffic which was also a little scary. The run course was ok- typical out and back and not many spectators due to the weather. If I were to do another IM, I'd consider this one due to ease of logistics, but would rather do one in a new location. 

The volunteers. Cannot say enough about how awesome they were. From the folks at the swim, to the volunteers out on the bike course in La Grange, the changing tent ladies, and run course volunteers- I seriously could not have finished without them. They are saints and have banked a lot of good karma after helping out for hours in the cold rain in this race. Thank you so much. 

Monday night we picked up the brothers and then went to see Simple Minds. It was an awesome show! Being on my feet for several hours at the concert killed me. The blisters on my heels were worse than I could have imagined, but we had a ton of fun. Simple Minds is a great band. 

I missed them a lot. They missed us too.

For most of the week post race, I was so positive about the result. I know it wasn't the time goals I had in mind- but something of this insane distance- it's not always about time- but how you deal with adversity- there's just so many variables present that are not in simply only running races. Asides from convincing myself that DNF was ok, I was generally happy. Towards the end of the week I felt really bummed about the race. Why couldn't I cycle faster (the cold/being frozen/scared of potential crash on wet roads- I hit over 30mph multiple times) why didn't I run faster? (The cold and being dehydrated/hypothermic, and not wanting to feel crappy post race) I'm over that now and attribute it to post IM blues. I decided to take the entire week off and not set my alarm on the weekend. It was so nice to sleep 8+ hours. I'm now going into the week fresh and ready to start some elliptical again before getting back into a good running routine.

I'm so incredibly thankful that I had the support of L to chase this goal again for the second time. Marathon training is a piece of cake compared to this. Im grateful that Jill and I were able to share this training cycle together, and to finish together, just crazy awesome. 

Looking Forward.

Take running easy/cycle some and start up some speed work again in a few weeks. No more IM for a long time since I want to chase more running PRs.

Kentucky rain keeps pouring down
And up ahead's another town that I'll go walking through
With the rain in my shoes (rain in my shoes)
Searchin' for you
In the cold Kentucky rain
In the cold Kentucky rain” - Elvis