Five weeks post Ironman Mont Tremblant, I tackled the CyMan Sprint Triathlon. There is a HUGE difference in pain level between Ironman racing and Sprint Triathlon racing! The sprint hurt…a LOT! Way more than Ironman!
We arrived early, set up transition, and then waited for over 2 hours for the start of the sprint race.
Since the race was in small town Iowa, one of my colleagues (who is also a dear friend) came to cheer us on. It was so nice to have her spectating! She was in all of the right places! 🙂
Swim: 16:45 for 750 yards
This was the most DISGUSTING water I’ve EVER swam in! It was so thick and dark that I couldn’t see anything. The water was wetsuit legal, but only by a few degrees, so I opted to swim in my Roka Viper Elite Swim Skin which was the prefect decision for this water.
We started with a floating start. There was no real place to “start” so all of the ladies in the water were chatting (as we waited for the air horn to go off) about moving closer and closer to the first turn buoy and see just when the announcers called us back, but no one was brave enough to lead the way. 😉 There were very few ladies, so I had zero physical contact in the water. I got in a groove and just kept swimming. My swim time was slower than I’d hoped for, but I also think the swim distance may have been longer than the advertised 750 yards.
I quickly transitioned to the bike. Mojo and I were off before I knew it!
Bike: 46:51 for 12 miles (my Garmin said 13.9 miles for actual distance)
Uh Oh! My legs decided to not show up for the party right from the beginning. This was going to be a challenge, but thankfully it would be a short challenge! I had made the decision to go as hard as I could and hold on for as long as I could. Since my legs weren’t having it, going hard wasn’t as hard as I’d hoped. The plus side…my Coeur Sports one pice racing suit was SO comfortable! Smooth as butter + #noangrykitty = WIN!
As the temperatures climbed, I drank my NBS hydration, thanked all of the volunteers, pushed past people, and just kept riding as hard as I could!
T2: 52 seconds
I quickly changed into my run shoes and was out on the run.
Run: 29:13 for a 5K run
Yep! The legs decided they weren’t showing up for the run either. It was already close to 90*F heat index when I started the run, and I just couldn’t get the legs to turn over like I wanted. I kept running and doing what I could to keep moving forward, but my legs were in full on protest mode! At about 1.5 miles into the run, I saw a friend in passing who should have been in front of me, so I asked him how it was going only to learn he had been stung by a bee and had to sit in the ditch on the bike waiting for an epipen (the one triathlon he didn’t carry his own with him). Grateful he was ok!
Shortly before mile 2, I saw Rachel and was so happy to be that much closer to done! Now to get back around the lake and to the finish line!
This was not the performance I had hoped for, but any day I *get* to swim/bike/run is a great day! I’m grateful this was a short distance event so I didn’t have to feel *off* all day long! Apparently my body needed a bit more time to recover from Ironman Mont Tremblant before trying to go hard at the sprint distance!
I have so much to be grateful for!! I am beyond grateful that my body is healthy and allows me to push it to limits I would have never thought possible 5 years ago, but I can’t do it alone!! People often think of Ironman racing as an individual sport, but there are SO many people who have helped me on my journey and I couldn’t do it without their support!!
Family and Friends…
I am so blessed to have the most amazing and supportive family! Dad made the trip to Madison to cheer us on since he was in the area for work earlier in the week. He has kayaked beside me while I swim (both in training and swim racing), keeping me safe and on track. My sister and twin nieces cheered me on at the finish line of the Okoboji Triathlon earlier this year as well. Mom has had many tasty meals ready for us to consume after workouts and has cheered me on to 2 Ironman finish lines over the years. My sole sister has joined me on bike rides and runs throughout my training and has encouraged and motivated me to do and be my best! Our girlfriends Sue and Michele are amazing! I’m so grateful for their support and encouragement of us and our crazy lifestyle! My Coeur Sports Teammies have been inspiring and motivating me virtually for 2 years now. I was super lucky to have a few of them out on the course cheering me on (and many others on) in person…so much fun to see them all over the course! My family and friends are always inquiring about how my training is going and what race I am doing next. I am a lucky girl to have their support!!
Coeur Sports is hands down the best women’s SBR (swim/bike/run) brand on the market!! They have created #stylishspeed that keeps my girly bits happy…even while covering 140.6 miles. #noangrykitty here!! As a Coeur Sports ambassador, I get the privilege of being a part of an AMAZING team of women who are supportive, inspirational and genuinely full of #heartandcourage! I am so lucky to get the opportunity to enCOEURage more women in endurance sport, experience the ups and downs they encounter while on their journey and witness their joy when they reach new finish lines!! Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!
I am forever grateful for Kyle and the Kyle’s Bikes crew, who have kept Mojo happy throughout training and on race day! You are always there for me when I frantically call or text, so thank you for talking me off a ledge and immediately getting Mojo fixed up when she has a mechanical issue!! Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!
Sound Probiotics has been keeping me healthy and on track for almost 2 years. Before taking Sound Probiotics, I would end up sick during the taper and often times once or twice during training…especially since I teach middle schoolers and am always surrounded by germs. Thanks to Sound Probiotics for my #happygut, enhanced immunity and better recovery throughout my training and racing experience!! After all, #winningtakesguts!
Karma Kombucha has been a daily staple in my diet since it’s birth…5 years now! They help keep my gut happy and healthy everyday! Drinking my booch before starting the marathon during Ironman Wisconsin definitely helped set me up for a great run!
One of the many perks of being a Coeur Sports ambassador is getting support from other amazing companies as well. Roka Sports, Smith Optics and Base Performance are three of the companies that have helped make my training and race experience so awesome!! Ironman Wisconsin was a wetsuit legal swim, so I donned my Maverick Elite wetsuit and my X1 goggles!! The Roka wetsuit works with my body instead of against it, making each swim stroke feel easy!! I absolutely LOVE the Roka goggles!! If you haven’t tried them, you definitely should…they are the BEST!! This year I tried the Smith Optics PivLock Arena sunnies and ABSOLUTELY love them!! What a game changer on the bike and run!! Speaking of game changer…Base Salt has definitely helped me better prevent hyponatremia (which I’ve experienced during 2 of my 5 Ironman races). Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU to you all!!
My Triathlon Peeps…
I am one of the luckiest ladies around! I have a slew of support, inspiration, and motivation from my triathlon people…both in person and virtually! Thank you to all of the people who called, texted, emailed, Facebook messaged me, tweeted me, commented on my blog posts, commented on my Instagram pictures and tracked my progress both while training and on race day! You all ROCK!!
Nick has been keeping my body well recovered through massage for almost 3 years. He knows all of my problem areas and knows just what to do to keep my body (and ultimately my mind) happy and healthy! Thank you Nick for restoring the damage I do as I swim/bike/run my way to countless finish lines! Vitality Massage is definitely where recovery is at!!
The Iron Hippie…
My fave has been by my side for millions of swim strokes and the countless views as we’ve covered thousands and thousands of miles on two wheels and pounding the pavement. You are my #1 cheerleader and have supported me on this crazy journey of life and the even crazier journey of triathlon. I love you and am forever grateful for your love and support. What crazy journey should we take on next?!?!?!?
Wow! Just Wow! This pretty much sums up my race! It was exactly 5 years after my first Ironman race, which also happened to be 9/11 and at Wisconsin. The tribute to those first responders and military personnel who have sacrificed their lives and continue to risk their lives is always special at Ironman Wisconsin on 9/11. This year was no different, but the weather surely was…it was PR weather and that is just what I had on this course, by over 40 minutes! Here’s how my day unfolded…
Swim // 1:23:10
I made my way into the water with plenty of time to float in my wetsuit, listen to the sounds of race morning, and enjoy the sunrise over Lake Monona. While the National Anthem was being sung, a fire boat was spraying water in salute to the 9/11 victims + first responders and military personnel…both past and present.
When the canon went off, the most brutal swim I’ve ever participated in ensued. There was a lot of contact, there was some very unsportsmanlike conduct from participants, and many athletes who struggled to hold a straight line on the swim course. I got kicked so hard in the goggles at one point, that I was convinced I would have a black eye…I didn’t even know I was on anyone’s feet when I got hit. I saw many familiar sites while swimming that warm my heart…Monona Terrace, the condo we stay in 2 blocks from the Terrace, The Capitol Building, John Nolan Drive…so much love. As I rounded the first turn buoy, I could clearly hear lots of athletes “moo” as they rounded the corner. For those new to IMWI, this is a tradition. I was hoping the contact would subside after the first turn buoy, but it didn’t. It was present throughout the entire swim. As I eventually came into the swim finish, I was super happy to be leaving the rugby game behind me!
Swim Nutrition: Motts fruit chews and water 40 minutes before the race start
T1 // 10:32
I quickly had my wetsuit down to my butt and two AMAZING volunteers pulled it off the rest of the way. Having done this race twice before, I knew to keep my heart rate low as I ran up the helix and into transition. It was SO AWESOME to see my tribe cheering for me as I ran up the helix and into transition…Doree at wetsuit stripping, Dad, our girlfriends Sue and Michele, fellow Coeur Sports Ambassadors Erin, Kendra, and Megan, and Nick (Erin’s man)…so much love!! After quickly putting on my triathlon aero top, socks, bike shoes, helmet, and sunnies, and kissing our girlfriend Kari on the cheek, I was out the door and through transition to spend the next few hours with Mojo!
Bike // 7:28:31
The first few miles of the bike course at Ironman Wisconsin are always crowded…lots of turning, some rolling hills, and tons of spectators. I felt great as I left Madison and headed out on the stem toward Verona. I felt strong for the first loop of the bike course, but also knew I should conserve a bit as the IMWI is challenging and it can bite you on the run if you push too hard early on during the bike. I decided to ride slightly under my goal watts into Mt. Horeb and pick it up from there. I was very grateful for all of the spectators on the long climb into Mt. Horeb!! They were cheering and partying as we climbed into town!! Leaving town meant riding on Ribbon Road (Witte Road)…weeeeee!! I love this road!! So much fun!! After descending Garfoot, the course changed a bit from the well known Ironman Wisconsin loop because of road construction. This meant we missed a REALLY rough stretch of road, but we encountered a new challenge…Barlow hill. Thankfully we had climbed this in training and I knew what I was getting into. With the top of the hill tapping out at ~21% grade, I wasn’t sure if I would walk the hill because of the potential for falling off my bike due to other athletes walking/going slowly up the hill, or ride nice and STEADY up the hill to the top while trying not to let my power output get too high. With my Coeur Sports tribe hanging out on the hill and cheering us on, as well as lots of other spectators, I knew I would make it to the top sitting in my saddle and riding nice and SLOW to the top!
Shortly after Barlow, I dropped my chain on Mineral Point Road. I quickly fixed it and continued my ride through Pine Bluff and back into Verona. I was lucky to high five Dad before stopping for my bike special needs at about mile 60 and making my way back into Mt. Horeb with some headwinds fighting me a bit. This was when I stopped to regroup and refill my bike nutrition bottles for the rest of the bike ride. Next up…Ribbon Road (Witte Road)…weeee…down, up, down, up, down, up!! The second loop was different from the first…thankfully we didn’t have to relive Barlow Hill on this loop. Aside from lots of athletes screaming too quickly down hills and crashing (many getting hauled off into ambulances), the second bike loop was uneventful…well, except for getting passed by the Iron Hippie at mile 87. This is a HUGE feat for me…two years ago he passed me at mile 35 and in 2011 he passed me at mile 58. I was super pumped to have held him off this long!! He is a much stronger climber than I and with over 6000 feet of climbing, this course is ideal for hims strengths!! Returning to Verona for the second time felt so good…it was time to return to Madison with a tailwind. WAHOO!! Climbing the helix back into transition is one of the best feelings…it is time to run!! Oh wait a minute…hello bike PR on this course…you are a welcome sight!
Bike Nutrition: Osmo Hydration (3 bottles with 210 calories per bottle), Chex only from Chex mix, Motts fruit Chews, water
T2 // 6:06
The volunteers in Madison are AMAZING!! Have I mentioned this already?! After hearing Dad cheer me on and handing Mojo over to a volunteer, I ran into transition to grab my run bag and then was blessed to get to hug our girlfriend Michele (she was directing men and women to different changing rooms) as I ran into T2. My blessings didn’t end here, our girlfriend Sue helped me quickly strip off my aero top, switch my socks and shoes, drink my Karma Kombucha Ginger Orange, and sent me out the door to run.
Run // 5:25:52
My run started off great! I felt good, strong, relaxed, and ready to rock this course! I love this run course and was so pumped to get to cheer my Coeur Sports teammie on to 3rd place pro female as I was approaching mile 2. Way to go Katie…so proud of you!! As I entered Camp Randall shortly before mile 3, the Iron Hippie was leaving, so I knew I was only about 0.25 miles behind him. Could I catch him?! I have before! He also noticed I wasn’t far behind him and we both stepped on the gas…apparently his gas was a bit more than mine, because I didn’t catch him. Other than walking through the aid stations, I kept cruising to Observatory Hill, where I had intentionally planned to walk. I chatted with a few other athletes as we climbed to the top and then I started running again down the other side. I ran up State Street receiving lots of love from people I didn’t even know, and headed back out toward Lake Mendota. The Base Performance tent that was along the lake shore trail was loud and amazing!! So full of energy and kept me going strong!! At about mile 10, I was headed back toward the finish area (only to have to go back out for loop 2). This is when my stomach decided to start cramping up. I wished I had more Karma Kombucha Ginger Orange to help settle my stomach, but I had to settle for Coca-Cola and orange slices to break up the mess. I gave Dad a quick hug on State Street, saw Erin and Nick by the Capitol, headed into the finish shoot, only to turn around a cone and head back out for loop #2.
I stopped briefly at my run special needs bag long enough to wipe my face off with a wet rag and then keep moving. Ahhh…it feels so good to wipe the salt and sweat from my face at the halfway point of the marathon!! It wasn’t nearly as fast as the first few miles, but I was still moving forward…running when I could and walking when I had to. Finally by about mile 17 my stomach started to come around and I finally felt like I could run a bit more than I had been the last 7 miles. That is the good part about Ironman…when things go bad, they will eventually turn around and become good again at some point….even if it happens when you cross the finish line. As I came back toward the Capitol for the last time, I knew my goal of breaking 14 hours was not going to happen, but I also knew I would PR this course and not just by a little bit!
Run Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, top, visor, and race belt, Brooks Pure Flow shoes
Run Nutrition: grapes, orange slices, Coca-Cola, chicken broth, water, Base Salt
Overall Finish // 14:34:11
Seeing Dad, our girlfriends Sue and Michele, and my college friend Chris at the finish line was priceless! I blew them all kisses and was in tears as I crossed the finish line of Ironman #4. Hello Ironman Wisconsin PR by 41:45 🙂 Being caught by a good friend (thank you Doug) at the finish line, who escorted me through the finish area and made sure I found my family and friends made my day complete!
The Okoboji 3.5 mile open water swim event is the perfect lead up to Ironman Wisconsin. With only 5 weeks until race day, this is a good test of our swim fitness and mental strength since it is a point to point swim.
5 am alarm clock so we could get this swim party started! We immediately dropped a car off at Pikes Point State Park at 5:15 am, came home, ate breakfast, changed into our swim gear, and went to pick up Tom on our way to Gull Point State Park.
When we got to Gull Point State Park, Dad and Tom had to do some minor kayak repair so the vessel will stay afloat and hopefully not take on too much water.
We then hauled the kayaks to the beach, picked up our race packets, and went back to the truck to leave any gear we wouldn’t need for the swim. Mom graciously drove the truck around the lake to Pikes Point State Park so we would be able to load the kayaks at the end of our event and not have to drive back over to Gull Point State Park to get the truck before loading the kayaks (this is what we did in 2014…while it worked, it took a lot longer).
We listened to the race announcements, put the kayaks into the water, did a little pre-race swimming, and waited for the “go” so we could swim to our kayak.
For the first half mile, I could easily see the bottom of the lake and was so grateful that I wasn’t swimming in the sludge in the lake in Rio. I had leaky goggles and had to occasionally flip over onto my back and adjust them. Dad and I would chat a bit before I would flip back over and continue swimming. I knew the half way point would be when we got to the 3rd buoy (there were 5 total) which was off the point by Manhattan Beach Resort.
When we got to the 5th swim buoy, I did some breast stroke swimming so I could chat with Dad for a minute.
Me: “Dad, did you know that if you fart in your swimskin the bubbles get trapped and rotate from one hip to the other as you swim?”
Dad: “No, I didn’t know that,” as he chuckled.
From this point on, I pushed myself and kept telling myself “courage over comfort” is how you get the job done! Dad said I did pass a few swimmers in this stretch and he could tell my pace had picked up a bit because he had to paddle a bit more. Finishing strong is a great way to finish! Such a fun morning…3.5 miles is a LONG way to swim!
Finish time: 2:07:13
What is the farthest you’ve swam in open water? Have you ever done a point to point swim?
After having just completed the Shoreline 2.4 mile swim in Madison last Saturday and gearing up for the Okoboji 3.5 Mile Open Water Swim tomorrow, I thought it would be fitting to share with you my swim essentials.
- Roka Sports X1 Goggles…these fit my face just perfectly, don’t leak and protect my eyes as the sun rises over the water. The light vermilion color is perfect for sighting the orange and yellow buoys!
- Roka Sports Wetsuit…this is my open water swim preference if the water temperature is below 76F. The sleeves are super comfortable and allow for a nice, fluid swim stroke.
- Roka Sports Swimskin…if the water temperature is not wetsuit legal, I will opt for the swimskin so that I can wear my tri suit underneath it with minimal drag. The bright colors on the backside of the swimskin also make it super easy for others to see me when swimming! So much better than just the typical black color!
- Body Glide and Tri Slide…you can’t have enough antichaffing lube to keep you happy!
- New Wave Swim Buoy…this is awesome for open water swim practice! You not only improve your visibility with it, but you also can carry flip flops, car keys, cell phone, etc. in the dry bag compartment instead of leaving them on the shore.
- Swim Tools…Pull Buoy, Fins, Paddles, Kickboard, ankle band
- Swim Ear…I refer to this as ear dry and for me it is a MUST! My ear canals are shaped just
rightwrong to prevent water from draining from them and instead allow the water to sit in my ears and cause ear infections if I don’t get the water out shortly after my swim.
What are your swim essentials?
Saturday the Iron Hippie and I celebrated our 6th Anniversary like we did on our wedding weekend…racing the Okoboji Triathlon!! We love this event for many reasons…small town fun, short and fast, not regulated by USAT, and we get to go home and stay with my parents (unfortunately they were gone this trip).
We woke up at 4:30 am, ate some breakfast (though not my typical pre-race meal since I forgot the cream of rice cereal and beet powder back in Ames…UGH!!), put on my tri kit, finished loading the car, and drove the 2 miles to the race start. It is so nice to sleep at “home” and be so close to the race site! We arrived to the transition area at about 5:30 am…just in time to quickly pick our transition spot by the bike in/out, set up our transition area, and make our way to the Okoboji Marathon start at 6 am to cheer on the marathon runners. The Okoboji events include the marathon starting at 6 am, the triathlon starting at 7 am, the 1/2 marathon starting at 8 am, and the 10K starting at 9 am. The triathlon and marathon both start at Arnolds Park Amusement Park, but the 1/2 marathon and 10K start at other locations around West Okoboji Lake so the athletes can all finish at the Amusement Park at about the same time (though the super fast people throw the timing off a bit). After cheering on the marathon runners as they started their day, we went back to the transition area, checked over our set up, donned our wetsuits, and made our way down to the swim start for a pre-race swim. The weather was perfect!! It was cool, low humidity, low winds, and the complete opposite of most years for these events. Because of low winds, the water was like glass…super flat!! The Okoboji Triathlon is what I refer to as an “Olynt” distance tri because each distance is between that of a sprint and Olympic distance triathlon.
Swim: 960 yard swim in 18:22 (1:55/100 yards)
The women ages 39 and under were all in the same swim wave, which started at 7:06 am. I lined up at the front, but a bit farther to the right from the line of
buoys black rubber floating tires that we would swim out and around. As the gun went off, I ran a few steps before diving into the water…HOLY ROCKY BEACH!! OUCH!! I think I seriously bruised the bottom of my left foot, but I wouldn’t know this until later. I immediately found traffic free water, got in my groove, and just swam. Swimming out to the turn buoy (which was orange) was pretty uneventful, but as I rounded that turn buoy, things changed a bit. We now had to look into the sun to see the black rubber floating tires to sight off of, which was a bit of a challenge. Thankfully during my pre-race swim, I found a building at the finish with a big yellow sign to sight off of. This worked much better than the black tires. About 300 yards from the finish, I started to throw-up burp my breakfast oatmeal…GROSS!! Note to self…don’t forget your cream of rice for future races!! I continued to have a contact free swim all the way to the swim exit. Knowing the beach was rocky, I swam as far as I could (even shortening my stroke to that of a T-Rex) before standing up to run out of the water. It was a rather lengthy run to transition, but I worked my wetsuit down below my hips during this time, and removed my swim cap and goggles so I was ready for a fairly quick transition…or so I thought.
After removing my wetsuit, putting on my socks, cycling shoes, sunglasses, and helmet, I was ready to ride. How did this take me 2:20?!?!?!
Bike: 18 miles in 54:30 (average speed = 19.8 mph)
As I left the Amusement Park, I quickly learned that my bike was in the WRONG gear…hello hardest gear I own! How did I miss that this morning?! After some quick shifting to find my “happy gear,” I was off and flying…well, for me I was flying! This bike course has some small rolling hills, but I was determined to ride the whole thing in my big ring and hammer as hard as I could on the bike. Since it is not USAT sanctioned, I saw a few packs of people drafting on the bike, I tried to hold on to each of them as long as I could, but they were much faster than I was. That’s ok, this meant I got to spend a lot of solo time with my main girl…Mojo!! Thankfully the beautiful weather with little wind made for an easy bike ride that was very uneventful!
Bike Nutrition: 1 bottle of water, 1 bottle of Osmo Hydration (4 scoops)
I quickly racked Mojo, swapped my cycling shoes for running shoes, dropped my helmet, and grabbed my visor and race belt. As I ran toward run out, I put on my visor and race belt trying to save as much time as possible.
Run: 4.5 miles in 38:27 (8:33/mile)
Since there is no body marking at this event (yes, you read this correctly…what triathlon doesn’t have body marking?!), you don’t know the ages of the people around you. I decided early on that I was going to give this my best effort…go hard and have fun! At about mile 1, I was nearly hit by a car when the volunteer at the intersection was unable to get the truck to stop and wait for us. There are signs posted EVERYWHERE telling drivers that there is a race in progress, but apparently this guy was in a BIG hurry and just couldn’t wait for one
slow super fast runner. This run course has lots of rolling hills, and at about mile 2 I started wishing I would have taken my fruit snacks on the bike. (Not taking them on the bike was a purposeful decision…I wanted to see how far I would get before I wished I had nutrition.) With just over 2 miles to go, I knew I’d be fine and could push hard to the end…that was exactly what I did! As I came back into the Amusement Park, my sister and twin nieces were there cheering me on to a PR at this event.
Run Nutrition: water at the aid stations
Overall: 1:54:44 (4th out of 21 in 30-39 age group, 11th out of 61 women, and 64th out of 158 overall)
Originally I was bummed that I missed the podium by 1 minute, but I am pleased that I pushed hard, gave it my all on this day, and managed a PR by 23 seconds. After all, a PR is a PR…even if it is by 23 seconds 😉