Ironman Wisconsin 09/10/17
IMWI 2017....started just like the previous 4 despite being undertrained for the marathon which I was okay with an super excited to enjoy the 26.2 mile "sport walk"/run. Very relaxed and comfortable in the best homestay on the ironman circuit - The Fleischmann Inn :) and a solid 6 hours of sleep the night before. Bike set up and moved to the helix to see my people. Wetsuits on at 6:10am and we were walking down to the wave swim start. In the water at about 6:47 and swam out to and "open"spot about 100m off the buoy line with Chris Roberts. Gun went off and we had open water until we approached the first turn. We stayed together to about the middle of the back straight-away and a pack of slower swimmers separated. I took a quick glance around, didn't see Chris and continued on. Water had a little chop and my path was peppered with clumps of swimmers consistently off and on for the second half. Content to be out of the water in roughly the same swim time as last year...tapped my garmin on the waters edge and either I enjoy extra credit on race day or the course was marked long----4500yds??? Whatever - not a fan of the wave start tho. Water temp as a little cool at the start in a sleeveless wetsuit, but I prefer it that way.
Wetsuit peeled off and up the blood pumping, ear popping energy invoking helix. Running barefoot on concrete for that long is easy with the crowd energy. Got my bag passed to me and into the changing area of T1 where volunteer Julie as waiting for me. Struggled to get my wet arms into my bike jersey, but Julie was happy to help. In and out in less than 10 minutes.
My plan was to do walk/run intervals and since getting docs approval to "try to run" a month ago I was training with 1/4 mile splits. Walk a 1/4, run a 1/4.....longest I'd gone in training was 8 miles. It was about 330 in the afternoon and I had loads of time to get this thing done. On my own two feet I was going to be a 6x Ironman finisher today!! Saw Christina and Jess's crew as I headed on my way and Sherri Herricks on the square as I headed toward the party on State Street. Again saw my ladies and they were relieved I'd made it off the bike course. I was feeling a million times better and ready to get my "sport walk" on! Around the corner I was so happy to see Erin & Ryan Anderson!!! Erin walked with me for my next .25 (thank you so much! I've missed you tons) and I was off and running again. Kelly Walker ran up behind me on Dayton Street and he introduced himself to me. Always great to meet new people and put faces with names. At the next aid station I gave my red bracelet to Maureen Haske-Palomino, who I've been FB friends with for years and met for the first time in the Monona Terrace ladies room that morning. Got thru camp Randall, down University Ave to the turn at the hospital and onto the lakeshore path. Got to the aid station at the bottom of Observatory and since I've never actually run up the giant hill, I wasn't going to start now. I had my zip bag with ice on my hip, a snack and beverage and started up when suddenly out of the corner of my eye a bright pinky-peachy fairy by the name of Kelly Stone appeared next to me! Wow!!! Is this really happening?? What are the odds?? We chatted up the hill and I told her I was going to walk the whole stretch up and down....as we approched the steep downhill by Helen C. White Library Kelly said she was going to run and I couldn't bear the thought of doing the next 21 miles alone so I ran down with her. For those who have done IM you understand what a true marathon buddy means....sure you meet strangers along the way, you shuffle past one another, encourage others but this was different....we were going step for step and committed to pulling each other along for the rest of the marathon! This really meant a ton to me and I will never be able to thank you enough <3. We plugged away,sharing stories about our day and our lives and the miles kept ticking by and before we knew it we were heading back to the capital to finish our first loop. My hip was getting cranky but I keep the ice on it and started to notice my low back and knees starting to hurt more than my hip...guess that's kind of a no-brainer when you're undertrained. Couple of pitstops at the port-a-potty for me on the second loop, cheers from our fans and high fives from our team mates on the run course. Mile 16...yay! Only 10.2 to go! I knew it would be dark by the time we finished so without a second thought I donned the glow necklace offered to me around mile 17. I think some of our fastest run splits were on the lake shore path near the base salt tent and loud speakers from hell. Its one thing to have spectator support and fans playing music to pump you up, but when it's soooo loud you want to run away from it? I think you get my point. Mile 20! Hoooraaayyy! 6.2 to go. With about 4 miles to go we scooped up Kelly Walker on a really dark, lonely part of the course and bullied him into staying with us for the rest of the race. The last 1.2 I just wanted to be done!! Thru the aid station by the SERF and I started to run. I had planned to walk again near the top of State Street and the rest of the way uphill to the capital....nope...I'm finishing this thing running. 2nd length of the square Kelly Walker passed me and I wished him well and to enjoy his finish line experience. Turned in front of run special needs and saw Janet Haskins, Kate Watling and Sharon Alwin for a few more hugs. Turned onto MLK Drive and into the beginning of the finish line chute. I started to cry and felt a wave of emotion come over me. I looked back to see Kelly Stone coming in hot...I waived her thru so she could have the chute to herself. Last hugs from Katie, Karen & Tiff and it was time to start the high five weave from one side of the chute to the other to the finish line arch. I approached, stopped, flashed my "six" and began to cry. Thank god for finish line volunteers. I didn't have anyone special to catch me this year, but it didn't matter. They are all top notch and take great care of the athletes. I was escorted to my people and scooped up in a giant hug.
This day, time went right out the window and it was more about digging deep, grinding it out and getting to the finish line. Even though quitting seemed like a better option when I was bonking on the bike, I'm glad I didn't. Thank you to all of the volunteers on the course!! Without you this would be just like any other training day. Congratulations to all of the IM finishers! I hope you had an amazing experience. Thank you to all of "my people" who I saw before, during or after the race. You too make this day special and possible. Thank you to G'ma for taking good care of B&B while we were out of town. TheFleischmanns for the 5th year in a row opening your home to us for long training weekends and race weekend. Alexis & Kelli for the best post race party a hurting athlete could ask for. Last, but not least, to Scott, Olivia &Megan for supporting me on my journey...It's been a year of more downs than ups but with your love and encouragement I am now a 6x Ironman finisher. :)