What’s Up?! – July 2018

I want my July back!! August is flying by and I’m not ready to go back to school just yet!! I could definitely use a few more weeks of summer break before the daily grind begins back up, but alas, that isn’t going to happen. Thankfully I still have 12 days of summer break left and I’m going to soak up every moment that I can!!

Training:

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy!!
My happy place!! Life on two wheels!!
Stride for stride! Side by side! So grateful to have Steena by my side throughout the 13.1 miles at Ironman Ohio 70.3!!

Swim: 34,332 yards (19.5 miles)
Bike: 320 miles
Run: 92.3 miles
Monthly Totals: 53 hours & 51 minutes

Racing:

Ironman Ohio 70.3 was nearly perfect! Incase you missed it, my goal was to go sub 6 hours. I’m happy to report that I FINALLY achieved this goal!! Thanks to Coach Kelly for designing a plan to help me achieve this. Thanks to Steena for running the 13.1 miles with me and pushing me the last 2 miles. Thanks to my fave for being the most supportive, encouraging, motivating, loving friend and life partner I could ask for!!

I’m riding cloud nine after setting a PR at Ironman Ohio 70.3 and finally breaking 6 hours, but I’m not sure it would have happened without Steena by my side. This girl is the definition of #heartandcourage and I’m so grateful for her!! Her strength, positivity, selflessness, and uplifting spirit are just a few of the wonderful things about her!! Thank you Steena for all you did to help me achieve my dream!! Love you girl!! “PRs are better with friends!!”

Reading:

Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea is a great mystery! I typically figure out the ending before I get there, but I really didn’t see this ending coming! “Becca Eckersley was a first-year law student and daughter of a powerful attorney was brutally murdered in Summit Lake. There are no suspects. No persons of interest. Just a girl who was alive one day and dead the next. Kelsey Castle is an investigative reporter who thinks this assignment is a fluff piece at first. As Kelsey digs deeper, despite danger and warnings, she feels a growing connection to the dead girl. And the more she learns about Becca’s friendships, her love life—and her secrets—the more convinced she becomes that walking in Becca’s footsteps could lead her out of her own dark past…”

The Girl Who was Taken by Charlie Donlea is another great mystery! “The night they go missing, high school seniors Nicole Cutty and Megan McDonald are at a beach party in their small town of Emerson Bay, North Carolina. Police launch a massive search, but hope is almost lost—until Megan escapes from a bunker deep in the woods. . . . A year later, the bestselling account of her ordeal has made Megan a celebrity. It’s a triumphant story, except for one inconvenient detail: Nicole is still missing. Nicole’s older sister, Livia, a fellow in forensic pathology, expects that one day soon Nicole’s body will be found and her sister’s fate determined. Instead, the first clue comes from another body—that of a young man connected to Nicole’s past. Livia reaches out to Megan to learn more about that fateful night. Other girls have disappeared, and she’s increasingly sure the cases are connected. Megan knows more than she revealed in her book. Flashes of memory are pointing to something more monstrous than she described. And the deeper she and Livia dig, the more they realize that sometimes true terror lies in finding exactly what you’ve been looking for . . .”

Listening to:

The Coeur Sports EarSplitz Podcast interviewed Kebby Holden, Founder of Coeur Sports. This company has my heart…not simply because of the amazing clothing, but because of what they represent. I love that they encourage us to try to get more women in sport!! ❤

Grateful for:

New Roka Sports wetsuit day!! So grateful to have Roka support this crazy journey and help us #findfaster!!
So grateful that I got to spend the morning with my colleague at the Accel Triathlon cheering on my fave and friends!!
Love these peeps!! So grateful to have them in my life!!
So grateful Dr. Feil pulls out all the stops to help me achieve my goals!! Dry needling + electrolysis + electric shock treatment = progress towards #sub6orbust next week!!
So grateful for Kyle at Kyle’s Bikes!! His race day blessing means Mojo is ready to roll!!
My Coeur runneth over!! I got to meet some of the most inspirational, determined, loving ladies today!! #happycoeur
These three ladies hold a special place in my heart!!
Our Air BNB hosts were spectacular!! I’m so grateful for their hospitality, openness, and friendship!!
This lady (and her friend) were two of the most AMAZING volunteers!! So grateful for the volunteers, meeting new people, and the triathlon community!!
This guy! There aren’t enough words! Thank you for your support! Thank you for believing in me! Thank you for encouraging me to chase my dreams! Thank you for motivating me when I lack self-motivation! Thank you for pushing me to do and be my best! Thank you for loving and choosing me! Thank you! I’m so blessed and grateful to have you by my side on this journey! Love you!
So grateful to have Steena by my side as I broke 6 hours, crushed goals, and achieved dreams at Ironman Ohio 70.3!! Thank you Steena for being such a strong, motivating, awesome BADASS!!

How was your month of July?! What were you grateful for last month?!

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“PRs are better with friends!”

Wow!! Where to begin?!?! I guess I’ll start with the short version…

Now for the full race report…Ironman Ohio 70.3 was more than I could have hoped for!! If you’ve been following my journey, you’ll know that #sub6orbust was my goal for Ohio. I knew I could break 6 hours, but everything had to fall together. Ironman Ohio 70.3 was about exploring! After 5+ years of dreaming about breaking 6 hours at the 70.3 distance, it was time to turn that dream into a reality! I felt strong, ready, and willing to give it my all!

“Of course we all have our limits, but how can you possibly find your boundaries unless you EXPLORE as far and as wide as you possibly can? I would rather fail in an attempt at something new and uncharted than safely succeed in a repeat of something I have done.”

This guy!! I don’t even know where to begin!! He is my biggest supporter, favorite person, and my rock!! Love him beyond words!! Photo credit: ME!

Swim: 43:19 (2:03/100 yards)

Good morning Delaware Lake!! Photo credit: FinisherPix

The water was 79.25*F, which made it wetsuit optional. It was DEFINITELY too warm for a wetsuit…swimming in murky bath water isn’t ideal, but it is what we were all given. I LOVE the self seeding swim starts!! This was my second race of this format and it is so much cleaner in the water. My Coeur Sports teammate, Steena, her friend Jodi, and I all lined up in the corrals together, but I somehow ended up in the water about 7 seconds before them. As I entered the water, I was calm, relaxed, and focused. I found my line and swam! No anxiety! No stress! Just pure swim flow! I swam a relatively straight line (for me) siting every 6 strokes. I had very little contact with others in the water for the majority of the swim. I focused on my swim mantra, “long, strong, pull” for the duration of the swim…especially when I encountered traffic after the last turn buoy before returning to the shore. As I exited the water, I was a bit disappointed with my swim time, but immediately changed the channel and reset my brain to a positive state for the bike ahead. In hindsight, I think this swim was long. Other athletes had similar swim distances (2300 yards instead of 2187), but no excuses…we all swam the same distance!

Who’s ready to swim?! We are! Photo credit: my fave
There I go! Photo credit: my fave

Gear: Roka swim skin, Roka X1 goggles, SBR Sports Inc. TriSlide, SBR Sports Inc. Foggies

T1: 4:00

Bike: 2:56:13 (19.04 miles/hour)

As I left transition, my fave was right at the mount line and told me to ease into my pace and be careful as there was a TON of congestion out there and other athletes weren’t being very respectful of one another.

Onto the bike! Photo credit: my fave

He was right. I hadn’t even got a 1/4 mile down the road and was getting yelled at by another athlete to get out of his way as I was trying to safely pass two other athletes. One of the athletes I was passing yelled, “Don’t be a douche bag,” while I reminded this douche bag that “we are all out here to have a good and SAFE day.” He wanted to hear nothing of it. He yelled some profanity at us and off he went. I reset my positivity! I knew I would be on the pedals for the whole ride as there isn’t much climbing over the 56 miles on this course. I’ve never raced a 70.3 distance (or full Ironman for that matter) on such a flat course, so this would be a new experience. I was ready to explore and give it my all!! Mojo and I quickly settled into Z3 watts (152-182 watts for me) where we planned to remain for the duration of the ride. Once settled into my pace, I ate a Honey Stinger Waffle, drank some hydration and cruised! About mile 10, I passed Steena. She had beat me out of the water. She said, “Go get it” to me as I passed her. I REALLY wanted to slap her on the a$$ as I passed her, but didn’t want to cause an accident, so I cheered for her and kept going strong. It was shortly after this that I eased up on my watts (oops!) into Z2 and they stayed on the upper end of Z2 for the remainder of the ride. This wasn’t the goal, but it was what happened.

In my happy place!! Photo Credit: FinisherPix

At about mile 54, Steena passed me and said, “What are you doing? Let’s go!” I was having a bit of heart burn, so I took 4 Tums and off I went. I passed Steena (after all she told me at the swim start that I should be in front of her all day long) and as I passed her, she told me she wanted to photo bomb me if the opportunity presented itself…sadly it didn’t. I wheeled into transition with her right behind me.

Gear: Coeur Sports team kit, Mojo (Specialized Transition bike), Specialized Evade helmet, Specialized Shoes, Roka Sunnies

T2: 2:22

Run: 2:10:29 (9:50 min/mile)

Steena and I left T2 at the same time, so we decided to start the run together and see how things unfolded. Now was the time to truly explore how my legs would hold up. They felt trashed right from the first run step, but I ignored them. I ignored the fact that I really had to pee (I didn’t have time to stop…#sub6orbust was on the line). I ignored my run pace. I monitored my HR. Coach Kelly told me to monitor my HR through mile 10 and if I was feeling up to it to let ‘er rip at that point. I told Steena of my plan and she decided to stick with me for a while and see how this unfolded. I couldn’t have asked for a better running partner! We were so evenly matched in pace and footfall! She says I pulled her through the first 11 miles, but in reality, she gave me a “job” of successfully pacing both of us to a sub 6 hour finish! I turned my Garmin screen to monitor only my HR and tried not to focus on the pace. We were moving along at a decent clip, chatting occasionally (in broken sentences), and enjoying the footfalls of each other as we moved forward. At one point Steena said, “You are such a consistent pacer. You need to come pace me at Ironman Wisconsin.” I started singing “Pacing Queen” instead of “Dancing Queen” in my head and shared this with Steena as we pushed on.

Stride for stride! Side by side! Photo credit: my fave

Having my fave yo-yo around us on his bike was AMAZING!! We saw him every 1-2 miles. He was cheering, taking photos, and texting with Coach Kelly throughout the run. As we started the 2nd loop, Steena said, “Let’s F*ck Sh!t UP!” and told me the back story that goes with it. I said, “I’m ready, but am going to stick to the plan until mile 10.” So we continued on with the plan. At mile 10, I picked up the pace, but by mile 11, I was in the hurt box. This is where Steena took over and got us to the finish line. She gave me her flower and told me it means “resilience” and that I was going to break 6 hours today! At mile 12, my fave chased me up the hill cracking the whip…

My fave cracking the whip at mile 12! Photo credit: some random stranger with my phone

After we turned back on Henry to head back to the stadium, I saw Linda (a fellow Coeur teammate) heading out on the run. I gave her a quick hug and started to tear up. Steena said, “Don’t cry! It makes running harder. Focus on your dog and all of the funny things she does to make you smile. Let’s go!” As we continued down Henry, I could hear our Air BNB hosts cheering me on. Then we rounded the corner into the stadium and Ruth (another Coeur teammate) was on the corner cheering!

Running strong to the stadium! Photo credit: Ruth Rickey

I knew we would break 6 hours, but by how much?! Steena asked me if I wanted to run ahead and have my own moment at the finish line. I said, “Hell no! You have been with me this whole run. We are crossing together!”

The #sub6orbust is no longer a dream!! Today I turned it into a reality thanks to Steena who ran with me!! This lady is such a strong, positive badass and I’m blessed and grateful to have had her by my side today!! Photo Credit: Danielle Worthington

And that is EXACTLY what we did! PRs are definitely better with friends!!

We did it!! (ignore the time on the clock that was the elapsed time from the first wave of athletes that entered the water)
PRs are definitely better with friends!!

Overall: 5:56:20 (30 out of 110 in F40-44; 192 out of 666 women; 764 out of 1957 total finishers)

I can’t even begin to explain how elated I am with this race, my performance, and the amazing people that entered my life throughout this weekend! This was so much better than I ever dreamed!! I pushed myself way out of my comfort zone and achieved big goals and dreams!! This gives me huge amounts of confidence for big rewards at #IMLou in October!! I am forever grateful to Steena for making sure I achieved my #sub6 dream by pushing me those last 2 miles and to my fave for being the best husband, friend, supporter, Sherpa, spectator, cheerleader, photographer, and whip cracker anyone could ask for!! I am truly blessed and riding on cloud nine!!

We are now both a part of the #sub6club!!

15 weeks ’til #IMLou – Mixed Bag

Last week was a mixed bag! I had some breakthrough sessions and some sessions where I rode the struggle bus. On Thursday, I went out for my ride and got REALLY dehydrated. While it was my fault for not stopping on the way home to refill my bike bottles, I didn’t want to ride 2 miles out of my way to refill them when there were some SERIOUS storms rolling in, so I kept rolling toward home. My pace kept getting slower and slower and slower. About 7 miles from home, I called for a ride. Not only was there thunder and lightening in the area, but I was very dehydrated. Time to call it a day! I kept riding toward home until I met my ride about 5 miles from home. Thanks to George for coming to pick Mojo and me up!! This little bump caused me to miss a couple of days of training, but I learned a couple of lessons…stop and refill the bottles (I may have actually made it home before the storms if I had been hydrated) and don’t wear arm coolers when it is SO HUMID (they don’t allow for evaporative cooling when it is in the tropics zone). #alwayslearning

Swim: 6032 yards

“Consistent hard work is what yields success, not perfectly nailed sessions!” ~Hailey Manning  #breakthroughsession
#swimlove #happyheart

Bike: 128 miles

FINALLY nailing goal watts on an outdoor ride!!! #breakthroughsession
Coach Basil wasn’t keen on the easy, recovery ride. She likes it better when I push and sweat all over…tasty!! 😉
Today I tried to outride the “storm,” but the “storm” won.
Recovery ride post dehydration

Run: 15 miles

Double run day!! I pleasantly surprised myself today!!
Double run day!! I pleasantly surprised myself today!!

Strength Training: 10 minutes of core strength almost daily + 1 hour & 15 minutes full body strength 

Strength training post ride!! 🙂
Mya was “coaching” me while I did SBT Extreme this week.

Weekly Totals: 15 hours & 1 minute

Quote of the Week:

“Life is a mixed bag of blessings and disaster.” ~Brandon B.

Attitude of Gratitude:

SO GRATEFUL to Nick with Vitality Massage for keeping me healthy and active!!
I was DREAMING about these AMAZING fish tacos ALL. DAY. LONG!!! #getinmybelly
Grateful to have Sound Probiotics in my village!! #winningtakesguts
Recovering on a double run day with avocado toast and Normatec Recovery boots!
Epsom salt + lavender bubble bath = grateful
My dehydration craving of choice was pickle juice!! So grateful we had some in the fridge!!
New Roka Sports wetsuit day!! So grateful to have Roka support this crazy journey and help us #findfaster!!

How was your week? What are you grateful for this week?! What do you crave when you are dehydrated?!

CyMan Triathlon Race Report

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.

Mojo and I are ready to race! Where is everyone else?!?!

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! 🙂

So grateful to have Rachel cheering us on!

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 are ready to swim despite the NASTY 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.

T1: 1:06

I quickly transitioned to the bike. Mojo and I were off before I knew it!

Out of the water!
Getting ready for the bike!
Time to ride!

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!

Overall: 1:34:49

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!

Ironman Wisconsin: Gratitude for My Tribe

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!!

Thanks to Dad and Tom for being our kayak support for the 3.5 mile Okoboji open water swim event!
Thanks to Dad and Tom for being our kayak support for the 3.5 mile Okoboji open water swim event!
#solesister + #bikelove = #perfectworld
#solesister + #bikelove = #perfectworld

My Sponsors…

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!!

So glad two of my favorite worlds have collided! :)
So glad two of my favorite worlds have collided…Kyle’s Bikes and Coeur Sports! 🙂

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!

So grateful to Karma Kombucha and Sound Probiotics for keeping me healthy while I train hard and start a new school year!
So grateful to Karma Kombucha and Sound Probiotics for keeping me healthy while I train hard and race harder!

One of the many perks of being a Coeur Sports ambassador is getting support from other amazing companies as well. Roka SportsSmith 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?!?!?!?

Countless laps next to my fave!
Countless laps next to my fave!
Many miles on two wheels with my fave!
Thousands of miles on two wheels with my fave!
Pounding the pavement for hundreds of miles with my fave!
Pounding the pavement for hundreds of miles with my fave!

Ironman Wisconsin 2016 Race Report

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.

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Let’s go swim! Photo Credit: Doree Harding
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Swimmers lined up to swim, the fire boat sprayed water, and the sun rose over Lake Monona…It must be Ironman Wisconsin race morning! Photo Credit: Sue Fink
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Those aren’t seagulls in the water…This is the Ironman Wisconsin swim start! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

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 Gear: Roka Sports Maverick Elite Wetsuit, Roka Sports X1 goggles in light vermilion, Coeur Sports triathlon shorts and top

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!

I'm SO happy to be out of that rugby game! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad
I’m SO happy to be out of that rugby game! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad
My Coeur Sports Tribe! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad
My Coeur Sports Tribe! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

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!

Kendra cheering on athletes on Barlow Hill! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad
Kendra cheering on athletes on Barlow Hill! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad
Riding up Barlow Hill with the cheers of Thing 1, Thing 2, and my Coeur Sports Tribe. Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad
Riding up Barlow Hill with the cheers of Thing 1, Thing 2, and my Coeur Sports Tribe. Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

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 Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, top, and aero top, Specialized Transition Bike (Mojo), Specialized S-Works Evade Helmet, Smith Optics PivLock Arena Sunnies, Specialized bike shoes

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.

Running strong! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad
Running strong! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

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!

Blowing kisses to my tribe at the finish line! Photo Credit: Michele Dziaba
Blowing kisses to my tribe at the finish line! Photo Credit: Michele Dziaba