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Sunday, November 20, 2011

I have a plan

I am so excited that I finally have a plan for the next year +!!  I am thinking I will be doing four 1/2 Ironman distance events in 2012, one in 2013 and a full Ironman in 2013.  I have also included some olympic and sprint distance triathlons as well as full and 1/2 marathons.  I am stoked!!  Now if I can just convince the husband that all of these races are necessary to keep me out of a slump and in a much better mood.  I feel better about myself when I am training and pushing myself to my limits!!  Here is the plan:

February 25: My Y Tri
March 31: Hy Vee 1/2 Marathon for JDRF
April 28: Drake 1/2 Marathon
May 20: Bluff Creek Olympic Triathlon
May 27: Madison Marathon
June 2: Dam to Dam
June 9: Liberty Tri 1/2 Ironman distance
July 14: Okoboji Triathlon
July 22: Chisago Lakes 1/2 Ironman distance
July 23-28: RAGBRAI
August 5: Omaha Olympic Triathlon
August 19: Big Pig 1/2 Ironman distance
October 28: Ironman 70.3 Austin
April 21, 2013: Ironman 70.3 New Orlenes
June 23, 2013: Ironman Coeur d'Alene

I know that seems like a lot, but I am looking forward to the challenge!!  Who's in?!?!?!?!?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Post Ironman Slump

I have come to realize that I NEED a race on the schedule to stay motivated.  Not just any old race either...I need a big one.  I am in a funk with no real goals in mind for the coming year.  I am not exercising regularly, I am not sleeping well, I am not eating the best that I know I can and should, I have gained 7 pounds in 2 months and I am not feeling that great either (I seem to have a constant cold, sore throat, etc...UGH!!).

I was reminded to "Find the reasons that make you want to train and to race.  Embrace them and use them to keep you on the road each day."  Right now my road has big holes in it big enough for me to get lost in.  I am hoping to patch up and smooth out that road this weekend and create a plan to get me back on track.

I can go out and run a 5K/10K or participate in a sprint/olympic distance triathlon with no training.  As a matter of fact, I recently got first place woman in a local 10K without even setting a PR.  I can also compete in a 1/2 marathon with very little training.  I think I need to focus on the 1/2 to full Ironman and full marathon distances when racing.  I enjoy the triathlon much more than just running since there is variety in the daily training and the actual race.

If any of you have suggestions for upcoming events in the Midwest for 2012, I am taking suggestions!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Race Day...Ironman Wisconsin 2011

The alarm clock went off at 4 am and I popped out of bed to make oatmeal for both of us.  After dressing for the swim, eating breakfast and gathering up our special needs bags and any last minute items we may need before the start of the event, we headed out the hotel door and down to the start area.  We had to drop off our run and bike special needs bags at the capital before heading to Monona Terrace for the official start to what would become a VERY LONG day.

At the terrace, we got body marked (I was #458) and then headed to transition to put nutrition and water on our bikes as well as pump up the tubes.  We found our sherpas, coach and friends inside the terrace, where we gathered while waiting for the start of the race.  Lots of laughs, but very few nerves ;)  That was the first race I haven't been nervous before the start...what a refreshing feeling.  I was ready to go!!

At about 6:30 am we began putting on our wetsuits and then headed down to the swim start.  What a beautiful morning.  The water was as smooth as glass and the red/orange sun was reflecting off its surface.  No wind and not a cloud in the sky.  We finished pulling up our wetsuits, donned our swim caps and pressed our goggles onto our faces before entering the water.

It was nice to get the opportunity to just float for a while in the water and listen to the sounds of other athletes before the cannon went off.  There were lots of athletes frantically getting into the water last minute and trying to get in position.  I was so thankful we had gotten into the water about 15 minutes before the start of the race to just acclimate and float!!

At 7:00 am, the cannon was fired and 2800 swimmers all started the same 2.4 mile swimming adventure.  There was a mass of flailing arms, legs and bodies all fighting for their spot in the water.  As I fought for my place in the water, I got kicked in the jaw, kicked in the eye (good thing for goggles!!!) and my hand came down on someone hard enough that I thought I may have cracked a bone.  It was just like I had imagined it would be...a rugby match in the water.  I swam out to the first turn buoy where I mooed in true Ironman Wisconsin fashion (after all, it is tradition for every athlete to "moo" as they breathe and turn around the first buoy).  At one point, I remember hearing the fly over while swimming.  With it being the 10th year anniversary of 9/11 there were a lot of special events going on in Madison other than Ironman.  After finishing the first loop, I was pleasantly surprised to see my time of 44 minutes and was excited to go back out for loop number 2!!  I exited the water in 1:30:45.  This was about 22 minutes faster than my 2.4 mile swim done in Saylorville Lake.  I was off to a great start and was stoked!!

After having my wetsuit stripped from me at the swim exit, I ran up the helix into transition.  Along the way I saw my parents and friends...it was so much fun to see them, but I was focused on getting in and out of transition as quickly as I could.  I ran into the terrace, grabbed my bag and had a WONDERFUL volunteer help me do a complete change into my bike gear.  I thanked her and ran out of transition to my bike.  The volunteers in Madison are AMAZING!!

I grabbed my bike and ran to the mount line, climbed on my saddle and headed out onto the 112 mile bike course.  After having ridden this course 4 times before, I knew what to expect and knew to start off easy.  It was hard to go out easy with everyone trying to hurry to get out of town, but I knew this is what I would have to do to save my legs for the run.  Getting to Verona was fun and the time went by pretty quickly.  I always seem to struggle (more mentally than physically I think) with the stretch from Verona to Mt. Horeb, but once I got to Mt. Horeb, it seemed like time flew by until I was on the three big hills.  It was so much fun to see Coach Julie, our sherpas and some friends on Cell Tower Hill (the second of the three big hills).  Julie ran up with me and asked how I was doing.  I told her, "GREAT!!"  She told me to pick up the pace a little on the second loop then.  I took off and made it back into Verona (mile 54) where I saw my parents in the cheer zone having what appeared to be a great time!!  As I got through Verona, I approached my special needs bag and Tim (husband) caught up to me (I did beat him out of the water by nearly 15 minutes, so I had the head start on the bike).  It was fun to see him and chat with him momentarily as I got some extra nutrition.  Tim and I yo-yoed for a while to chat and I told him to go have a strong race.  Oh how I should have tried to stay with him until Mt. Horeb.  What a tough stretch.  The headwinds had picked up this time, so I was not only mentally challenged during this segment of the bike, but also more physically challenged than the first loop.  Oh well, I made it to Mt. Horeb and forged ahead.  At about mile 80 I started to feel a little dizzy and light headed.  When I saw Coach Julie on Cell Tower Hill, she told me to drink more water since I appeared to be dehydrated.  I continued to drink and get myself back into Verona.  Only 16 miles back to Madison!!  I WILL DO THIS!!  :)

I remember climbing the helix on my bike thinking this was not as challenging as I thought it would be.  Another wonderful volunteer took my bike from me and I ran into transition where some of my fabulous friends helped me change into my running gear and sent me on my way.  My bike split was 7:56:58...not my best, but the last 32 miles were not the clearest.

As I ran out of transition, I saw another friend who told me Tim was only about 10 minutes ahead of me and he was walking because of cramping.  I was hopeful that I could catch him, but I was still VERY dizzy and the world was starting to spin around me.  This is where everything started to go downhill for me.  It didn't take me long to figure out that I wasn't dehydrated, I had hyponatremia...too much water diluting out all of my salts...UGH!!  I was peeing at EVERY kybo I could find!!  Have you ever tried peeing in a dark kybo while feeling like you have the drunk bed spins standing upright?  This is exactly how I felt, but the worst part was...I was sober!!  I began the run/walk strategy and caught up with Tim at about mile 3.  From this point on, we walked the rest of the marathon.  I don't remember the rest.  I do know from others that I did run a little and talked with friends and family along the way.  I do remember constantly thinking to myself, "Don't let the volunteers, friends or family know I am unable to walk a straight line.  Just FOCUS!!"  I know I wouldn't have finished had it not been for Tim's coaxing, willingness and dedication to stick with me and get me to the end.  I felt AWFUL!!  I don't remember crossing the finish line, but we did finish with an overall finish time of 16:15:00.  I have a medal, pictures and video footage to prove it!!

Looking back, I should have taken more salt tablets on the bike and had salt tablets along the run course to take.  I definitely need to work on nutrition before the next big one ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Race Weekend

Thursday, September 8, 2011
We arrived in Madison and went straight to packet pickup.  They ran us all over the terrace, but it was nice to get through all of it before the rush that came over the next couple of days. 

We have our race numbers, our transition bags, our special needs bags and the excitement just kept growing!!  We decided to go check into our hotel and complete our workouts for the day to burn off some of that excitement!!

Friday, September 9, 2011
This started with our morning swim followed by a short run around the capitol to shake out the legs.  We then went and had lunch with some AMAZING friends, Sue and Michele, at The Great Dane.  We sat and talked for hours.  So long in fact, that we were the only ones left in the seating area in the basement!!

The athlete dinner Friday night was great!!  It was fun to see the excitement and all of the people who were going to be participating in the exact same conditions that we would be competing in in just a couple of days!!  Some real amazing people doing really amazing things!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011
After completing our morning swim and bike, we dropped our bike and gear off in transition.  It is official...we are ready to go!!

We watched the Iowa State vs. Iowa game that went into 3 overtimes.  GO STATE!!  I was so happy to see them win!!  We then had a dinner with our parents and got a good night's sleep.

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!!

June through early September

I know I was HORRIBLE about posting my experiences while training for Ironman Wisconsin after the first part of June.  I want to take some time to update you.  Beware...this could take a while!!

In late June, we went to Madison for what we refer to as the "Epic Weekend."  We trained with other triathletes either doing Ironman Wisconsin, another Ironman distance event, or those who might be considering doing an Ironman distance event in the future.  It was a GREAT weekend filled with like minded individuals to share races, experiences, training and life with.  We had educational sessions as well as LOTS of swimming, biking and running.

In July we competed in the Okoboji Triathlon.  It was a LOT of fun to get the opportunity to go fast and just have fun.  We had been going long and slow for so long that it was fun to get to go short and fast!!  The weekend following Okoboji, we went to Minnesota and competed in the Chisago Lakes 1/2 Iron Distance event.  It was a GREAT race!!  One we will definitely do again!!  I had some obstacles to overcome during this event; UNBELIEVABLE FOG on the swim course, goggles continuously fogging over while swimming, flat tire on the bike and forgot my Garmin on the run to know my pace.  The good news:  I overcame each and everyone of them and still got a PR (personal record) by nearly 15 minutes!!  Two days after competing in Chisago, we rode 121 miles during the week of RAGBRAI in 115 degree F heat.  It was BRUTAL, but definitely helped us get stronger on the bike as well as train us mentally!!

August brought us some LONG training hours!!  There were some workouts where I vividly remember thinking, "I am ready for race day.  I just want this to be over!!"  With the last big week of training came my first week back at school.  What a challenge trying to find time to get my workouts in while starting back up with school.  That was a VERY CRAZY week!!  I'm glad it is behind me!!

Late August and early September brought on the taper...what a relief!!  It was nice and refreshing to have some downtime, but toward the end of the taper, I felt like I was a slacker and needed to get going again.  Just in time for race day!!

Speaking of race day...that is for the next post.