This was my second Ironman in two years. Last year I had a great race in Lake Placid and knew that I probably wouldn’t beat my time from last year. Overall I had a great training year but ran into a few obstacles while training.
Six Months of Training
I went through a ton of medical tests in the spring, just when I started training, to find out that I have a damaged kidney. Luckily my doctor determined that I didn’t need surgery. The kidney is damaged but it isn’t getting any worse. I just have to make sure that if I fall on my bike, that I fall to the right. Good news because the way that I usually go down.
I also had a couple back to back trips that interfered with my training and then I ended up with bronchitis and pulled a muscle in my side from coughing. I had to take about 2 weeks off of training and over 3 weeks off of swimming. Before I got sick I felt like I was really making some progress on my swim stroke but after the time off I never felt comfortable in the water again.
I started to seriously consider withdrawing from the race but when I got back into the training my bike and run were feeling great. I stuck to my training plan and was making great progress and soon realized that I was going to do Ironman Wisconsin on September 12, 2010.
Days leading up to Race
I flew into Madison on Thursday and headed straight to the expo to check out the Ironman gear. Then I picked up my bike from TriBikeTransport and took a short 30 minute ride to make sure everything was working properly. On Friday I registered and tried to relax the rest of the day. On Saturday I did a short swim, bike, run and dropped my bike and run gear bags and bike off in transition. I had an early dinner, watched a movie and went to bed early.
Woke up at 3:45, ate my usual oatmeal and chocolate milk breakfast, got dressed and walked over to transition. I had a panic moment in the morning when I blew up my back tire (I rented Zipp wheels for the race) and the valve came off and the tire went completely flat. Immediately I thought, “oh no, is this how the day is going to go?”. I was able to screw the valve extender back on and blew up the tire. I was really scared that it wouldn’t hold air, but I didn’t have any problems.
I got into the water only a few minutes before the swim start. I wasn’t as nervous as I was the first time but very anxious to get started. Before I knew it the gun went off and we were off. Sort of. This was the most brutal swim that I ever experienced. I tried staying to the right thinking that I would avoid the chaos but there was no way around it. My goggles came off in the beginning which freaked me out some but luckily were just on my forehead, not floating around in the water. I started to count the number of times that I got elbowed in the head or goggles or kicked in the face but lost count pretty quickly. It was like that for the entire swim. I never found open water to just swim. But I kept calm and the two laps ended up going by pretty quickly.
2.4 Mile Swim Goal: 1:30 Time: 1:28 Lake Placid time: 1:19
This was pretty cool because we had to run up the helix which was packed with people. The volunteers were great and things went quickly.
I couldn’t believe how many people were out on this bike course cheering for us. I expected it on the run, but not on the entire bike course. The first 40 miles weren’t that hard, just some rolling hills and false flats but nothing too bad. The next twenty miles were pretty tough with some very tough climbs but the hills were packed with people cheering for us. There were also some really fun downhills and I got up to 38 mph on a couple of them. The course was a lollipop with a 16 mile “stick” and then two 40 miles loops. The second time around definitely felt tougher (and slower) than the first 40 mile loop but I got it done without any flat tires or any other mechanical issues so I was happy. The only problem that I had was that my stomach was cramping from drinking too much lake water on the swim. Luckily I was still able to take in nutrition but ended up having to stop at the porta-potty a couple times.
112 mile Bike Goal: 7:30 Time: 7:24 (15.1 mph) Lake Placid time: 7:29 (14.9 mph)
Considering I spent a couple minutes in the bathroom this went very fast. I didn’t change clothes so I just grabbed some nutrition and my water bottle and I was off.
My stomach was still very cramped but I was able to run most of the first few miles. Then I drank some Perform sports drink and immediately had to go to the bathroom. During the first 13 mile loop I ended up spending lots of time in the porta potties in between running the downhills and walking the rest. Even though my stomach was upset and I was walking a lot, I was still having a great time. The run course was awesome! We started off running down the main street, State Street, and then ran through Camp Randall Stadium (home of the UW Badgers) and through the UW. The students were out in full force to cheer for us. I’m glad that we were able to give them a great reason to drink.
It took me over 3 hours to complete the first 13 mile loop but I was finally starting to feel better. I was able to run more often and not have to stop as often at the bathrooms on the 2nd loop. Finally at about mile 18 I was able to run from water stop to water stop. I kept saying to myself over and over and over: “Just run so you can be done” . And sure enough the miles were going by pretty quickly. The last 6 miles were actually my fastest even though they were mostly all uphill. At each stop I grabbed some chicken broth and an orange. It seemed to work and both tasted pretty good. Kevin told me at the end that I tasted like a chicken. It was great to see lots of friends out on the course and also cheering. Kevin was hanging out right by our hotel which was at the 1 mile, 12 mile, 14 mile and 25 mile markers. I stopped to talk to him for a brief moment each time (except I didn’t see him at mile 1) and at mile 25 he raced me to the finish line. Of course he won and was there waiting for me when I came through the finishing shoot.
Goal: get to the finish as soon as possible Time: 5:42 (13.06 min/mile) Lake Placid Time: 4:57 (11:21 min/mile)
Total Goal Time: 14-15 hours Time: 14:50 Lake Placid Time: 13:58
Ironman Wisconsin is an awesome race. The swim was really crazy and the bike was really hilly but the crowd support was the best that I have ever seen. A few people have asked me which race was easier, Lake Placid or Wisconsin. They are such different courses that it’s hard to say which was easier. The swim at Lake Placid was definitely easier and faster but the bike courses were both tough. LP starts and ends with some major hills but has a really fun 8 mile steep decent and lots of flat areas. The last 15 miles at LP are straight uphill and took about 2 hours. That was not fun at the end of the race. The end of IMWI were on very rough roads which wrecked havoc on my back and butt. The run at IMWI was not easier but definitely more fun since there were people covering the entire course cheering for everyone. I’m glad I did both races and think that I got this Ironman thing out of my system for a few years at least.
Thank you everyone for your support and encouragement and hopefully I’ll see you soon to celebrate!
Congrats on a courageous effort!
Super race! Wisconsin is a tough race but the great community support really helps keep you going. Awesome job!!
Congratulations, Angela! Way to finish your second Ironman! If you need any times about the off-season, just give me a holla.