Ironman Wisconsin: The Run and Post Race

After setting a PR on the 2.4 mile swim and then cycling 112+ miles, it was time to run.  Who’s ready to run a marathon?!?!?!?!?!  I AM!!

I had been training with the hopes that I would be able to run (at a slower than normal pace) almost the whole marathon.  We were about to test just how well that training paid off.  The Ironman Wisconsin run course is two 13.1 mile loops that take you through the area around the Capitol, State Street, Camp Randall and through the University.

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As I was leaving T2, there were many athletes finishing their race and most of the professionals were already done, but I did NOT let that get me down.  I was not hyponatremic (like I was in 2011), I was able to run, I didn’t have severe stomach cramps and I was still having fun and smiling.  What more could a girl ask for?!?!?!?!

While the stomach cramps had drastically subsided, they never completely disappeared.  After leaving the “run out” and meandering my way around the Capitol, down State Street (party central) and past the fire station, I met up with Sue and Michele.  Michele asked me how my stomach was holding up as she briefly jogged beside me.  I told her I could really use some Kombucha and as luck would have it, there was some strategically placed on the run course.  I downed almost a full bottle of Booch and my stomach felt happy almost immediately.  Kombucha should DEFINITELY be served on the run course to alleviate stomach cramps!!

I continued to sip water at every aid station that I passed.  As I ran through Camp Randall Field, I felt pure joy…I am doing this and feeling tired, but good. 🙂  Shortly after I left Camp Randall, I saw Erin on University coming back for a strong, solid finish…little did I know she would get 4th place in our age group…CONGRATULATIONS ERIN!!  YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR!!

Almost immediately after turning right onto Walnut Street, there is an aid station under the bridge.  At this point, I saw Ryan (a friend from Des Moines) struggling and decided to walk with him for a bit.  We also saw Lora and Allen just past the aid station…

I'm behind the gal in pink and Ryan is in the Zoom kit on the left.  Photo courtesy of Lora Bierbaum
I’m behind the gal in pink and Ryan is in the Zoom kit on the left. Photo courtesy of Lora Bierbaum

Ryan was on his second loop and having gut issues, so he was walking most of the second loop.  While walking with Ryan, we crossed paths with the Iron Hippie before climbing Observatory Hill, so I knew the Iron Hippie was feeling good.  This would put him about 2 miles in front of me.  Could I catch him????  Only time would tell.

As we got to the top of Observatory Hill, I let Ryan know that I was going to pick up the pace again and start running.  I congratulated him on becoming an Ironman and went on my way.  State Street was still hopping (like it does all night long) as I approached the short stretch and the turn around.  I took in one package of Honey Stinger Chews at the next aid station (about mile 6.5) and had to choke them down.  I knew I needed the calories (I really hadn’t had much all day), but they did not taste good…my body was sick of sports nutrition and wanted real food.

After leaving State Street, I headed to the cinder path along Lake Mendota and I still felt good.  I knew this stretch would most likely be really dark on my next loop through here, so I savored the daylight and the calming lake sounds as I jogged past the boats and down the path.

Still running and smiling... Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.
Still running and smiling…
Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.

This part of the run course is rather deserted.  It is only about a 2 mile stretch, but it feels like an eternity when you are by yourself.  Thankfully I saw Chris close to the turn around (mile 9) cheering me on and encouraging me to continue to run strong.  Thanks Chris for your positive words and encouragement!!

Heading back toward the capitol on University was a good feeling.  I was almost done with the first 13.1 miles and I was still running and smiling.  This was SO much better than my race in 2011!! 🙂

As I approached the fire station, I handed my water bottle off to Michele…I was tired of drinking Osmo and wasn’t planning on eating any more Honey Stinger Chews for the remainder of the race.  After making my way down State Street and back around the Capitol, it was time for the turn around.  They make you run down the finish shoot a little ways before turning around and heading back out for the second loop.  Most people think this is extremely cruel and normally I would agree, but I was mentally prepared for this and happy to still be running and smiling.  🙂

Immediately after the turn around was our run special needs bag.  I didn’t need much out of it, but wanted to use the wet cloth I had packed to wipe the sweat and salt from my face.  Boy did that feel good!!  As I headed out on loop #2, I noticed that I was passing many athletes.  This made me smile.  I was still running.

Heading out for loop #2 with Allen jogging beside me.  Photo courtesy of Lora Bierbaum.
Heading out for loop #2 with Allen jogging beside me. Photo courtesy of Lora Bierbaum.

I continued on through Camp Randall, down University Avenue and back through the University.  On this loop I started to drink the warm chicken broth, which tasted AH-MAZ-ING!!  I also started to consume the grapes and orange slices that they were serving at the aid stations…real food = YUMMY!!  Shortly before climbing Observatory Hill, I saw the Iron Hippie for the second time.  He was still about the same distance in front of me, so I knew I wouldn’t catch him before he would cross the finish line.  I congratulated him on a great race and continued to move forward.

State Street was still hopping, which makes it easy to run a little faster than one might otherwise do this late in the race.  As I got back to the path along Lake Mendota, it was really dark and I decided that for my safety I should probably walk.  I didn’t want to step down wrong and twist an ankle at mile 19.5…that would be awful!!  I walked for about a mile before I encountered some lights and an aid station.  After this aid station, I saw Allen and he walked with me for a bit before I turned around a cone at mile 22.  Chris and Jim were also out cheering me on at this point for the final push back home to the finish line.

After leaving the path around the lake, I decided it was time to jog it home.  I saw Allen a couple more times and Lora and Michele out cheering me on before I made it back to State Street for the home stretch around the Capitol and down the finish shoot.  I was so excited!!  I did it!!  I felt good and I remembered the whole race!!  Who could ask for more?!?!?!?!?!

Running so fast I'm a blur toward the finish shoot.  Photo courtesy of Lora Bierbaum.
Running so fast I’m a blur toward the finish shoot. Photo courtesy of Lora Bierbaum.
Feeling good as I run down the finish shoot.  Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.
Feeling good as I run down the finish shoot. Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.
Yahoo!!  Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.
Yahoo!! Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.

Run:  5:15:32…this was a run PR for Ironman by 1:11:10 and I passed 317 athletes (who finished the race) just on the run 🙂

Race Finish Time:  15:15:56…this was a PR by 59:04

Post Race:

As I crossed the finish line, two AMAZING volunteers caught me.  I immediately apologized to them, “I’m so sorry.  I STINK!!”  They both laughed and said they knew what they were getting into when they signed up for this volunteer shift.  They repeatedly asked me how I was feeling, escorted me to the volunteer who put my medal around my neck, then to the volunteer who removed my timing chip, then to the volunteer who give me my finisher’s shirt and cap and finally to the finisher’s photo booth.

All done and still smiling.  Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.
All done and still smiling. Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.

After getting my finisher’s photo, I met up with the Iron Hippie.  We chatted with Sue, Michele, Allen and Lora before heading to the food station where I ate 1.5 small pieces of pepperoni pizza…boy did that taste good!!  Thanks Allen for sharing a bite of your spicy Asian food with me before I ate pizza…it was VERY tasty!!

Sue and Michele with me shortly after I finished.  Photo courtesy of Lora Bierbaum.
Sue and Michele with me shortly after I finished. Photo courtesy of Lora Bierbaum.

We meandered back to Monona Terrace to pick up our bikes and race gear before heading to the condo to drop off our gear and take a quick shower.  After a nice hot shower, we each grabbed a Karma Kombucha and went back to the finish line to cheer on the athletes finishing close to the time cutoff (17 hours) at midnight.  It was a near perfect day!!

Drinking our Karma Kombucha while we wait for the last Ironman finishers to come down the finish shoot.
Drinking our Karma Kombucha while we wait for the last Ironman finishers to come down the finish shoot.


29 thoughts on “Ironman Wisconsin: The Run and Post Race

  1. What.A.Day!! Congrats! Huge PR!! Awesome day! Awesome run!! IMWI sounds like an amazing race! It sounds like you took in the entire race and finished strong!! I think smiling totally helps helped!! Congrats again on an amazing race! Are you itching for the next one yet?! 🙂

    1. Thanks Leslie!! I am itching for the next one and trying to convince the Iron Hippie that we can do one in 2015…he thinks we need to take a year off. We’ll see if I can convince him 😉

  2. Congratulations on a great run. I packed a headlamp in SN for the trail, and I still walked it to be safe (well, I walked the last 7 miles, but that is another story…). Glad that you had a better experience then last time. You trained so hard and you certainly deserved your PR. Congratulations!

    Have you signed up for another one yet? 😉

    1. Thanks Raymond!! It was a great run and I was really happy I was in a much better physical (and mental) state than last time. I haven’t signed up for the next one yet, but I have it on my radar…just trying to convince the Iron Hippie that we should do it in 2015 while we are conditioned instead of waiting ’til 2016 🙂

  3. What a fantastic day you had-congratulations!! Hopefully I can have a race every bit as fun and successful as yours someday.

    1. Thanks Abby!! Now that I’ve had a great race where I remember it all and physically was in a good state most of the day, I am ready to go for Ironman #3 and get faster on the bike and run 🙂

  4. AMAZING job out there!! I am finally getting to your race reports and I am super proud of you! You had almost an HOUR PR, that is crazy! Shows that hard work pays off. I also had to turn around for loop #2 near the finish chute at IMMT, so cruel! How awesome that you get to experience all of this with your hubby, you are so lucky. I can’t wait to see which IM you decide on for 2015!

    1. Thanks Kristin!! I am hoping to have an even better race next time where I don’t have a slower than normal bike split due to stomach cramps, which will hopefully allow me to be sub 14 hours…only time, training and the “Gods” of race day will tell 😉

      I’m super excited to see how IMMT 2015 treats you this year!!

  5. I think I would struggle a lot if I had to deal with stomach cramps during a race. Mentally I think it would shut me down. Major kudos to you for powering through and staying positive. I love all the smiles in your pictures and thought it was so funny how worried you were for the volunteers who caught you at the finish. That would be a fun, but sweaty job. 😉 So fun that you were able to stay until the end and watch the last finishers come in – I’ve heard it’s a must! Congratulations again on an amazing race!!

    1. Thanks Kristen!! I have been a volunteer many times in the past. Every volunteer experience has provided me with new lessons learned and race day tips to help make my race day experiences more enjoyable. If you haven’t had a chance to volunteer at a big race (70.3 or 140.6), I would highly recommend it 😉

  6. I smiled the entire time reading this! The joy in all your photos… so awesome 🙂 CONGRATS on your HUGE PR! An hour is incredible! Hard work and dedication always pay off. Though I drink booch daily (and am gonna brew my own soon), I never would have thought to drink it during the race! Glad it helped you! It was such a treat to finally meet you in person at the race, too! Looking forward to crossing paths again 🙂

    1. Thanks Erin! I am definitely looking forward to IM #3 😉 It was AWESOME to finally meet you in person and I can’t wait to cheer you on at IMWI 2015 🙂

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