Bib numbers were released for IM Canada! I’ll be number 2534. Track me on race day at http://www.ironman.com!
Yes, I raced Ironman Lake Placid last year.
Yes, I finished.
Yes, I am an Ironman.
So, why on earth would I have any anxiety over Ironman Wisconsin? What’s the big deal, right? To be honest, I feel like a newbie all over again. This year’s Ironman race is a whole new adventure for me. Besides being in a new location (Madison, WI as opposed to Lake Placid, NY) and a different time of year (September vs. July), my preparation for the race was completely different. I spent the first half of the season just trying to figure out where to ride my bike in Boston. I swam by myself mostly at the Charlestown Y. I had to reward myself with coffee at Sorelle or Zumes, but it wasn’t the same as gabbing with the girls after mornings at Eastern Market. And, most importantly, I had to overcome a bike accident and regain confidence on the bike.
So, I’m packing my race bags right now, fretting over what to bring and feeling a little anxious. Then, I start to recall a few key things for this Ironman –
- Remember to respect the distance
- Be prepared for any type of weather
- Know that every workout over the past 26 weeks counted
- Be grateful for the family and friends who helped along the way
- And smile every time I see Mom, Dad, Beth and Serendipity on the course!
Here’s to a great race on Sunday!
I asked a few of my fellow Iron Friends for some tips from their IM Wisconsin races. Here are some great bits from Phil and Brianna – amazing athletes who constantly amaze and inspire me!
1. You may want to line up near the waterski jump ramp. It sorta shields you from the worst of the thrashing at the very start.
2. The run up the parking ramp is a pain, but there are good cheering crowds there. Good place for fam to cheer you into T1.
3. I put my shoes on in t1, then ran forever in them to my bike. Unless yours is very close, I’d run with them in your hands and put them on right at your bike. So awkward to run in cleats.
4. As everyone says, the bike course is deceptively hard. Stay smooth and be prepared for a lot of momentum changing ups and downs. There’s one very challenging hill that you have to do twice. Be ready–but there’s a lot of fans there to encourage you up it.
5. Going up the ramp at the end of the bike is difficult again.
6. On the run, I’d walk that one hill–observatory hill–because it’s not worth blowing your legs and there really aren’t any others of note.
7. Enjoy yourself and the great great crowds! You basically have a wall of cheering folks during most of the run.
8. There are more spectators out on the course at IM moo then I have seen at any other race.
9. You definitely can get Ice Cream after the race but I would suggest Frozen Custard!! The closest frozen custard is Micheals which I think is on Regent St, otherwise there are a few ice cream shops on State Street.
Sunday, August 30th – Cranberry Trifest Olympic Race
4:30 am – My alarm went off and I looked out the window – dark and dry. The race would be on. As predicted, Tropical Storm Danny had passed by, the rain and wind were gone (the shorter Sprint distance was cancelled the day before due to the storm). I needed to get up. I packed my bag the night before, put out my race outfit, told my parents and my colleague where to meet me, made my friend go to the early bird special dinner, and went to bed around 9:30. No excuses. Time to get up and race, right? According to my growling stomach, yes!
5:15 am – My oh-so-styling silver PT Cruiser rental was packed. Bike, bike shoes, running shoes, goggles, wetsuit, body glide, nutrition…I was pretty sure I had it all. I hit the road for Lakeville, MA and the Ted Williams Camp.
6:00 am – This is probably the earliest I have ever arrived to a race, but I figured I knew nothing about the area and had to pick up my race packet, so might as well have time. Indeed, I did. I was all settled in transition and hanging out with my Wheelworks teammates well before 7. The race is the Northeast USAT Regional Club Championship race. All the participating teams had their bikes racked together in the transition area. It was a good way to start the morning! Oh, and with all the extra time on my hands, I realized I forgot BOTH my race belts. Some other guy offered me his extra, but then he couldn’t find it. So, I bought one from the Quad Multisport booth. Bright green – figured my race outfit could use a little flare.
8:30 am – After lots of socializing, a few bathroom breaks, it was finally time for my swim wave (35 and under female) to start. The first wave started at 7 am, so I had been waiting a while. At least my teammates Jen, Lindsey, and Alyson were all in the same wave! The swim start was crowded! It was the first time I could not break out of a pack of women and I spent the first few hundred yards swimming over people. Good Ironman race prep!
The rest of the race
The bike ride was flat and fast! I tried to remember to pace myself and take it easy – this race was supposed to be training for IM Moo. But, I got stuck in this pack of women during the last 5 miles and just had to break away. I ate one gu packet (thanks Mona for the refill on vanilla gu!) and a few shot blocks. It was just right!
I felt great on the run! Woo-hoo! My pacing felt perfect for Madison. I definitely was just getting into the groove around mile 5. I walked through the water stations to practice for IM Moo. But, I had to go all out to the finish line as I was neck and neck with this other woman.
Best parts of the run: Seeing my parents drive by around mile 1. I recognized them a little too late, and started yelling, “Mom! Hey Mom!” as they drove by. But, I guess they saw me waving – or noticed all the other racers looking at me, because they stopped and honked the horn. The other great part was turning off the road into the park and seeing my teammate Joe Bator. He had a cowbell. I yelled, “I need more cowbell!” ha ha…I got a few other spectators to laugh too!
Overall, I finished in 2:40:01. A PR for me! And, I placed 12/40 in my age group. After the race, my team provided massages and snacks. Even better, I went out to eat with my parents and their friend Donna – fresh clams, lobster bisque and fish & chips! Oh, then I treated myself to a mani-pedi with the special nail polish colors Mona sent me for the big race: Mad About Madison and Sole Mate.
I thought it would be silly to race two weeks before IM Moo, but the race actually psyched me up and helped me remember a few little details (like, it’s a good idea to have your running shoes untied Before the race). IM Moo, here I come!
30 DAYS UNTIL IRONMAN WISCONSIN!!!
Which means: a few more long workouts, taper over Labor Day weekend, travel to Madison, and eventually lots of great cheese, ice cream and beer! Woo hoo!
From Mona – Number 1 Fan:
A year ago today (July 20th), I stood with Sara’s family, friends, and thousands of other spectators anxiously awaiting a glimpse of their own personal Ironmen and women at the 2008 Ironman Lake Placid.
I followed Sara’s training schedule since she first flirted with the idea of signing up for the Ironman. I admit, like many people she first told, my first reaction was “Wow. That’s crazy.” However, my very next words were “but I know you can do it. You can, and you will.”
I decided I’d make the trip up to Placid from NYC, but I really didn’t know what to expect from such an event. My past experience as a spectator at any event like this was limited. In fact, the closest thing was the few years I was fortunate enough to cheer the marathoners in Boston. That was exciting, but this was different. There would be a marathon, but not until the end. There was still a swim and bike course to contend with… AND Sara was competing in this. This was, in fact, my first triathlon I’d be watching. I knew I’d be excited, I knew I’d be proud, but I really had no idea how intoxicating the whole experience would be.
Months later, as I stood near the swim start while thousands of athletes filed into the water, it happened. Suddenly, a wave of emotion engulfed me. The best explanation for how I felt was my heart swelled with pride each time I spotted Sara along the course. Truly, there was this big, happy thing bursting with joy in my chest. Everyone’s hard work over the past 6-12 months all came down to this, and I felt the enormity of the moment for each and every one of them. As the first group took off, hundreds of arms splashing, I teared up. U2’s “Beautiful Day” was blaring in the background as the swimmers set off, definitely adding to the emotions of the day. The weather that day was anything but beautiful – it was cloudy, cool, and started pouring rain shortly into the swim. It didn’t matter though, my spirit couldn’t be dampened.
The excitement was contagious. Thanks to Sara, we had the most exclusive spot to watch the triathletes. The house where we stayed was in an area that was restricted to everyone but those living on the street. We had no problems tracking her online, and calculating when she’d loop back through town. Every time she passed us, it was our job to re-fuel her reserves with our cheering. So I cheered loudly. I jumped, I pumped my fists in the air, I screamed myself hoarse. So did the rest of the her family and friends, all the while with Sara smiling as she biked or ran by us.
My first experience as a triathlon spectator, at an Ironman no less, was amazing. It was so inspiring to watch everyone powering their way through hours and hours of swimming, biking, and running. All you triathletes should know that you bring as much to us, as your supporters, as we hope to bring to you. The triathletes in our lives remind us that we are capable of doing anything!
In just a week I’ll be lacing up the sneaks again for another run. It’s my first in the Boston area! No, it’s not the Boston Marathon (let’s say I have some work to do to reach that race). It’s the Hyannis Marathon! Well, actually, it’s just the 10k for me. I’m excited to run with my good friend Wynter. She’s been my Boston running buddy since my first weekend in town. After unpacking a few boxes, she took me on my first 9 mile run from Coolidge Corner to Boston College and back. And somehow, on one of our following Sunday runs, she convinced me that running a race up here in February would be fun.
So, we’re off to the Cape next weekend for this race! A good number of folks from my new tri team – Wheelworks Multisport – will be there too. I’m excited to stop by my old stomping grounds in Woods Hole and Falmouth. Any recommendations on places to eat or check out around Hyannis would be much appreciated!