Racing is funny at times. There are times when you can’t wait for the race to be here and done and then there are times you can’t believe the race is over and you’re ready for another one. That’s my experience with Ironman Wisconsin, my first 140.6 mile race. Yes, I can already see myself doing another one of these! Woot!!
I’ll admit there were days during the training, especially during the bike rides, where I was spent. I had just enough energy afterwards to complete a short brick run. How was I ever going to complete a full marathon after a really long bike ride? That was definitely weighing on my mind this past summer. I knew the run would be the toughest because it’s the last event, you’re tired, your legs are fatiguing, you want the race to be done and who knows what your GI tract is doing. You always hope and pray for the best but you know you have to deal with any obstacles that come your way. Again, this was weighing heavily on my mind prior to the race start.
It’s amazing how all those questions and doubts just disappear when race day arrives… thank goodness! I always fall back on knowing that I was consistent with my training and that Coach Joe provided a training regimen for me that would enable me to be successful on race day. Also, ET team dietitian Laurie Schubert ensured that I was race ready with a thorough nutritional plan. When I recall these facts, then all doubt disappears. I remember feeling a bit nervous prior to the race start but once the cannon went off and I started swimming, all nervousness dissipated. I felt strong the whole day and absolutely LOVED every second of my race. Most of my admiration is to the world famous ET Cheer Crew. I found myself getting nervous just with the anticipation of approaching them. Once I saw them I was overjoyed. I literally felt famous. I remember the first time I saw the cheer crew on the run, everyone yelled and screamed so loudly that it seemed to quiet the rest of the crowd in the area. I was thinking to myself that the other people were probably thinking that it was someone famous running by… and it was… it was the Chilly Pepper!! I couldn’t do enough fist pumps in the air to show my appreciation. That happened throughout the bike ride too. It was such a rush! Thanks, ET Cheer Crew!
There are so many memories! On the bike ride, there were a zillion signs and posters with positive vibes as well as ones that made you laugh. There were people dressed up in crazy clothes and some in not many clothes at all. I specifically remember a few guys out on the course with just their bikini shorts on. That sure was a distraction from climbing those hills. 🙂 And what about the world class volunteers! There are not enough kind words to express how wonderful they were at the race. There were so many and so willing to help out in any way. I really enjoyed that part of the race because no matter how late in the evening it was or how tired you were, there was always a volunteer there to support you along the way.
I was also fortunate to be able to see all our Experience Triathlon team racers on the course. They, however, may not have seen me, but I definitely saw them. I am usually in a race zone where I’m so focused that nothing distracts me, but not at this race. I found myself searching for the others and I was relieved to see them all and some more than once. That brought a huge satisfaction for me knowing that we were all doing okay and that we were all going to be an Ironman on that day. A huge accomplishment for all of us and I personally couldn’t have done it without a single one of them. I’m starting to miss our long rides already!
I would definitely do this distance again (of course I haven’t told my coach yet). I’m sure it will be a few years before another but it sure does make you feel that you can do anything you set your heart on doing. Just plan it and execute! It’s as simple as that. And now that I’m officially an Ironman, it’s all about the bling. Bring on the clothes, backpacks, stickers… just no tattoos… not for me anyway! 🙂
Enjoy all the photos from our amazing weekend in Madison on the ET Photo Gallery!