Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
78F / 26C
Total Time = 12h 48m 28s
Overall Rank = 987/2550
Age Group = W35-39
Age Group Rank = 33/123
Pre-race routine:

I arrived on Thursday and went straight from the airport to check-in and Tribike Transport. I thought I was saving all this time, but then noticed before dinner that I had lost my race packet. Brilliant. I guess I'm a little too relaxed about race weekend. It was easy to retrieve the next morning and actually kind of funny. I spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday with family, including taking my mom and dad to the athlete's dinner. I was calm, relaxed and felt good. I was sleeping a ton and just enjoying the weekend.

Race morning was pretty low key. I woke up at 3:30, had coffee, a whole wheat english muffin with almond butter and honey and two big glasses of water. I didn't have nervous stomach like usual, but for some reason didn't eat anymore. I meant to have a banana or Luna bar closer to the start but had three Powerbar gel blasts instead. Not enough and I'd feel it on the swim. I sipped about 16 ounces of GE until 15 minutes before the start.

I got to transition around 5:30, got the bike ready and pep talked a first-timer who was quite nervous. The girls around me were nice and had good energy. I said goodbye to my dad and went into the Terrace to use the loo, enjoyed that final hand washing with soap and hot water like it was a trip to the spa. So lovely.

Last year I sat in the Terrace and waited until about 6:30 to walk down to the start. This year I didn't like the vibe in there so I headed out early. I found my dad right away and spent the time with him instead. A guy who reads my blog came over and said hi and a friend of a BTer who was also at the Olympics came and said hi as well. I chatted with pro Mike Nelson... very cute :).... and waited for the jitters. They never came. My only regret about the start is the bottle neck I got caught in heading to the water, I didn't get in until 6:59, a little close for my comfort. But all worked out. I quickly swam to my start position, waved wildly at my family (they didn't see me) and took a deep breath. Ironman number 3...
Event warmup:

Pumping my tires got my heart rate up! Whew!
  • 1h 36m 25s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 17s / 100 yards

You get the race you train for and this is what I trained for. I swam just over 8,000 yards the entire month of August. Pathetic. I'm just unmotivated to swim and by the time I realized it was going to be a problem it was too late so I invested the time in the bike. I handle the mass start very well so I'm pleased with how I got moving. It was ridiculous, worse than last year even. I felt like there were a lot of sloppy, thrashy, aggressive swimmers and felt like I was in a sea of red caps - where were the women??? It took awhile to find a groove but I did and I just swam.

I wasn't uncomfortable, but wasn't comfortable either and I had shoulder tension before the end of the first loop (no surprise). My goggles were kicked off in the first 400m or so but were tucked under my cap so I just stuck them back on and kept going. I missed the mooing at the turn - how have I done this race twice and never heard of this? I peed about 10 times, ah. So great to have learned to pee while moving.

I checked my watch at the turns and the first loop was 46:00, not far off my LP pace. I reached the half point of the second loop 4 minutes faster than the first, but then something fell apart on the last stretch. Did I fall asleep out there? I was starting to get hungry due to my light breakfast and was quite happy to be making the final turn when it came. A Muse song was playing as I swam in and it's a song Mark likes so it made me smile. I nearly jumped in the air and kicked my heels together when I exited.
What would you do differently?:

Um, go to the pool? I learned my lesson. You cannot swim less than 10,000y a month and expect to throw down a good 2.4. I'm never going to be fast, but I could have been a lot more efficient and a lot more comfortable. I'll be back in the pool next week!
Transition 1
  • 09m 24s

Better than my usual, but still room to improve. I hit the strippers, waved at my family and ran up the helix. You have NO idea how great it was to RUN up the helix after having to walk last year and feel so defeated. I don't sit in the change tent so I found a space, dumped my bag and got to work - quick towel off for sunscreen application, HRM on, helmet on, glasses on, socks on. I saw Whizzzzz and screamed her name, she ran over and gave my volunteer the boot. I think she sprayed me with sunscreen while I chamois buttered myself, all in clear view of the door and the men. Nice job Kristin. Carried my bike shoes to the mount line, I had a loooooong run, was racked all the way at the other end.
What would you do differently?:

Just keep focusing on moving quickly but methodically. I could hang out in transition all day if they let me!
  • 6h 32m 20s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.13 mile/hr

Again, you get the race you train for and I trained hard for the bike. I was THRILLED with this ride. I used to struggle to keep up 15mph on this course and then last year averaged 16.8 and was blown away. I was aiming for 17 and I exceeded it even with two dropped chains. I'm still smiling over this.

The ride didn't start out very well though. The swim really threw me off and I was nauseated, tired and my legs burned by 5 miles in. All my hammerfest rides of the last two weeks flashed through my mind and I thought 'oh crap, I should have tapered more.' But there was nothing I could do to change it so I kept my pace easy on the "stick" and focused on getting my nutrition going. After about 30 miles I started to feel human and by 40 miles I felt like my old self and was nailing the hills and passing tons of people. My HR was steady and I didn't feel I was working hard at all. I felt amazing. I almost cried a few times when I thought about what a timid cyclist I used to be. I was afraid to ride my bike alone and terrified to race. This ride was an absolute dream for me.

I couldn't wait for Old Sauk Pass because I knew my family would be there. I had to look past the half-naked Indian chief, Santa in a speedo and countless other characters to find them, but I did. I rode close and high-fived them and continued on. Just past my parents I saw mndiver (Bryan), a nice bonus! I felt like a hero as I rode through Mt Horeb and Verona, I love those towns, and sped through Special Needs, pausing only to chamois butter again (I had a HUGE saddle sore from my Thursday ride... UGH) and get my caffeinated gel flask and a spritz of sunscreen. I didn't stop at all aside from this (yes, I'm pee girl on the bike and I don't care) so my momentum was good.

As I hit Timber and Old Sauk the second time the crowds were lighter but still pretty strong. I was beyond thrilled to see Laura (Whizzzzz). She ran alongside me and said "you're making me run!" and then as I pedaled away I yelled out "we're drinking later!" My favorite moment here was a guy running up with us screaming "if it were easy, they'd call it aluminum man, but it's not easy, it's ironman and you're tough." Made me smile. Someone said go Lazy Marathoner around Mile 90 and it was a boost, I wish I knew who that was.

My nutrition was solid, I had about one bottle of GE/Powerbar Perform per hour and one shot of gel every hour starting at 30 minutes. The only supplementing I did this time around was 1/2 banana in Verona, no bars or other solids.

I felt super strong over the last stretch and held a 19.3 avg over the final 12 mile stretch back to Madison. I was looking forward to getting off the bike, but really loved the ride.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Just keep biking. I have improved so much and can't wait to see what I can do next year.
Transition 2
  • 05m 8s

Much better! Quick change of shorts, body glide on the feet, socks and shoes on, hat on. As I was tying my shoes a woman nearby screamed out "does anyone have socks? please, anyone have extra socks?" She was so freaked out. I have NO idea why, but I had packed two pairs of socks so I grabbed my extras and threw them to her. She looked me in the eye and said thank you, said I had saved her day. I think it gave me some good karma for the run and it sure felt good to do.
What would you do differently?:

Zero, I'm getting faster!
  • 4h 25m 11s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 07s  min/mile

Pop some popcorn... where do I even begin? After last year's injury and disappointment running has become a survival sport. And I used to be a runner, I used to be relatively fast. I trained all year with a sickening fear I was going to re-injure myself. I haven't even fully recovered, and I already had one Ironman on my feet this summer. After a setback a couple weeks ago I'd been off running entirely and back to sleeping in a night splint and icing several times a day. I had no idea what to expect.

I started to run immediately out of transition and felt good, I always feel good coming off the bike. I stopped for hugs and kisses from my family and had a deja vu moment of stopping there last year, getting the same hugs and kisses and telling them I was going to walk the entire marathon. I was so happy just to have the chance to walk, and I went away with a smile. This year I ran away with a smile.

I ran through the first two aid stations simply because they were crowded, but grabbed sports drink at each one and got a big mouthful down. I started walking the aid stations after that and used that break to rest and take in nutrition. I stuck with sports drink and had cola whenever they had it, which was sadly not very often. I survived IMLP on the cola and was really bummed they had short supply. About every 2-3 stations I had broth instead and after about 10 miles I started rinsing with water and spitting to clear the taste. I didn't have any solids or gels at all this time and it worked well for me. I was battling stitches the ENTIRE run so the less I put in there the better. My energy was high and consistent and I didn't feel depleted.

I had a lot of emotional moments during this run that caused a massive lump in my throat. I'm not necessarily disappointed with last year, it turned out to be a positive, life-changing experience that I really think I needed, but it was a very hard pill to swallow and it made the race incredibly emotional. I kept flashing back thinking "it took me over an hour to get to this point and I did it in 25 minutes today." I remembered all the kind souls who walked and talked with me. I remembered being able to read every single sign along the inspiration zone because I was moving so slow, but this year I struggled to find mine. When I did, I of course cried. Each time the tears came I told myself it was too soon to cry, save it for later when I was really going to need it.

Unlike IMLP, I wasn't hurting until around the halfway point. I was keeping my goal pace and was actually a little ahead so I wasn't pushing. But after the turnaround my legs started to feel heavy and tired. I didn't stop at Special Needs - all I had in there was Body Glide and a small Aquaphor and luckily I wasn't chafing. I had seen my family three times and that was a huge boost, but I knew it would be a long time before I saw them again. As I headed out toward Camp Randall I really slowed down. I saw Amyjotris out there at a time I needed it most. I said I couldn't stop, I was in so much pain that getting started again was excruciating so she jogged along with me for a second. I loved that. I had a couple 11-minute miles and couldn't seem to get the engine going again. I started to zone out a bit due to the pain and kept thinking - just get to mile 17 and you'll be done in 90 minutes. You can do anything for 90 minutes. But when that became overwhelming my magic mile became 19, only a little over an hour to go after that. And I thought I might see my family on State Street again too so that kept me going. Only I got there and didn't see them so I made the turnaround and kept going (turns out they went to get my bike and gear and then find spots at the finish). I saw Laura again and really needed that boost. I looked at the time as I shuffled through the Mile 19 aid station and thought I had blown my shot at sub-13. It wasn't my goal going in, but the day had gone well so far and it was within my reach for a moment. I did some math and decided I'd have to do a 10:00 mile for the final 6.2 in order to make it. This would mean no more aid station walks and no slowing down. It was the hardest thing in the world to make my legs move that fast again but I did. It hurt so much I gritted my teeth and cried a little, but kept telling myself it was only an hour and it was for something that would make it worthwhile.

When I hired my coach more than 20 months ago, I had to write out goals for this sport. One of those goals was to finish my first Ironman in 13 hours. It took me nearly 16 to get to that finish line and a long year of recovery to get to 13:31 at my second. So to have a shot at my original goal was incredibly motivating. It was as though it would wipe away the challenges of 2009 and really mean a fresh start. I wanted it so badly and was willing to suffer to get it.

I was in such a pain cave during those last 6 miles I had a hard time doing anything but run. I couldn't speak, could barely lift my arm to grab a drink as I blew through the aid stations. I didn't break momentum at all, I pinched the cup, drank the contents and tossed it aside. A lot of volunteers cheered for me as I ran through, I think they were so shocked to see someone moving at that pace so late in the game. I stayed close to my 10-minute/mile goal, but wasn't exactly hitting it and had no idea if I would make it.

As I started the final 2 mile stretch, Phil (1stTimeTri) appeared. I said "I can't talk" and he said it was ok, he'd do the talking. I asked him what time it was and started to cry, I asked if I was going to make it. He said it was 7:38, I had plenty of time, just keep moving. He ran along with me, giving me something else to focus on besides the pain. He kept encouraging me, telling me I was almost there. I realized I was just making the turnaround last year at about the same time and this year I was minutes from the finish. I was so overwhelmed and so excited, I was running faster than I ever thought possible. As I rounded the corner to the chute I saw my dad, he was cheering like crazy and it gave me the final push I needed to finish strong. I had the chute all to myself and as I approached the line, Mike Reilly said Kristin, you've got this and he noted I was a two time finisher in Wisconsin. I loved every step of that chute and felt like a huge weight was lifted off me as I crossed the line. 12:48:28, almost exactly three hours faster than my 15:48:17 finish one year ago.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. This was an 11-minute IM run PR and the second-fastest marathon I've ever run. I'm so thankful my body (and feet) held up. I also proved to myself that I am capable of so much more than I give myself credit for. It's so easy for me to say 'I can't,' but on this day I said 'I can.'
Post race
Warm down:

I collapsed in tears into the arms of my catchers, I love those people. I literally couldn't breathe, I was so happy. I said through tears that I had walked the entire marathon last year and my volunteer hugged me and congratulated me. He was amazing. He held me up while I waited for a photo and walked me all the way out. I stood and waited until I saw my family, it felt so good to hug them. They were so excited and it meant the world to me that everyone was there. I saw Phil again, introduced him to my family and thanked him. I drank three waters - I'm always dying for water at the end of an IM... nothing sounds better - and a coke, that coke was like nectar from heaven. I had three bites of pizza, chatted with a friend in the athlete's lounge and walked home. I was so thrilled it was early enough to go shower, put real clothes on and eat an actual meal! We went to the Great Dane where I saw Chris (coredump), Laura (Whizzzzz), mndiver (Bryan) and his wife. I had a grilled cheese with bacon, fries and a big wheat beer. It was a wonderful moment. My sister, her husband and I then went back to the finish and watched the last 1.5 hours. It was such a perfect day.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of swim training, lack of consistency in general. When I took on the two Ironmans this year I vowed not to give up my life. And I didn't. I trained hard, but I made life come first. I have no regrets.

Event comments:

Wisconsin is a special race for me, it always will be. It was my first, it's where my family lives so I get to stay with my parents, I've made great friends there, and the course is spectacular. I'm already looking forward to 2011.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-09-23 12:00 AM
01:36:25 | 4224 yards | 02m 17s / 100yards
Age Group: 90/123
Overall: 2194/2550
Performance: Below average
Suit: Blue Seventy Helix
Course: Two rectangular loops, counterclockwise
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 67F / 19C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 09:24
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:32:20 | 112 miles | 17.13 mile/hr
Age Group: 26/123
Overall: 607/2550
Performance: Good
Course: Fun, challenging and technical course with 90+ turns and nonstop rollers through Wisconsin farmland and small towns. I love it.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 05:08
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:25:11 | 26.2 miles | 10m 07s  min/mile
Age Group: 33/123
Overall: 987/2550
Performance: Good
Course: From Capitol Square, through downtown, through campus and back with a spin around Camp Randall Stadium and a nice run along the lake.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5