I’m officially a half IRON(wo)MAN! What?!
Crossing the finish line of the IRONMAN 70.3 Racine was such a happy moment.
I usually try to keep recaps short and sweet, but this puppy is going to be lengthy. My apologies in advance to the few people (ahem, Mom) that feel obligated to read my entire post.
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
I was a ball of nerves last Saturday, so I was up and on my bike at the crack of dawn. After a quick cruise around the neighborhood, I impatiently waited for Daniel to get ready. (Sorry, Daniel.)
Once in Racine, we went to IRONMAN Village for packet pickup and the course talk. Everything was well organized and we were in and out in no time! We then headed to transition to drop off Lady Bug the bike.
With pre-race prep out of the way, we headed out to drive the bike course. Once in the middle of nowhere Racine, WI, our phones buzzed with emergency alerts. There was a tornado warning in the area, and we were advised to take cover immediately. I nearly lost my mind in my already fragile state. Thankfully Daniel was able to find the closest gas station. I was able to breathe again and he was able to stop listening to me panic. Win, win.
The night ended with a yummy sushi dinner with Daniel’s step sister and brother-in-law. (Veggie sushi is my must have pre-race meal.)
I woke up to a sunny, still day. Thank you IRONMAN gods! We arrived to transition for body marking and final set up around 5:30, and I was content with my transition set up by 6. The following hour felt like a year; the anticipation was getting the best of me. Daniel listened to me ramble and continued to assure me everything would be fine. (Thanks, Daniel.)
Pre-race photo op.
About 45 minutes before my wave start, we ventured down to the beach for a warm up swim. And by ‘warm up’, I mean try not to freeze your a** off and get used to the 60 degree water. I wasn’t a bit worried about this temp until I spoke to a fellow racer that told me the scariest tale of getting hypothermia during last year’s race. Um, what? I know she didn’t mean any harm, and I give her credit for returning. But this was questionably the worst thing you could say to a nervous newbie! Fortunately, my wetsuit kept me nice and toasty, and I had no problem with the chilly water.
Beautiful day for a 6+ hour race. Gulp.
Swim – 1.2 miles
As we waited in our wave, I engaged in some small talk to keep me from throwing up/passing out/dying. However, once we got into the water, all 106 of us were silent. We waited in waist-deep water for about 1 minuted before we heard the ’60 second’ countdown. I put my head in my hands and contemplated crying, but I pulled it together when the horn signified it was go time.
And we’re off!
It took me about 10 strokes to get in my groove. I choked on some water, treaded water, and tried to get the hang of the waves. The sun’s reflection off the water was extremely bright the first 300 meters, so that didn’t help matters either! I intentionally stayed to the outside left of the pack, as I decided it would save me the stress of getting kicked and punched. (I highly recommend this if you are a newbie!) Buoys were placed along the course, and I used these as my focal point. I repeated to myself over and over, “one buoy at a time.” Finally, I saw the red buoy signifying it was time to make a turn towards shore. I swam until I was about waist deep, and began to run towards the swim exit. I had survived the first hurdle. Yeah! Swim time: 40 minutes
As I ran to transition, there was a line of lovely volunteer wetsuit strippers. They advised me to sit on the ground and yanked my wetsuit off in seconds. This process would have taken me much longer, and I was so appreciative of their help!
After a quick drink and change of shoes, I headed out on the bike.
Bike – 56 miles
The bike course started with a fairly steep hill. Lady Bug was set in her easy gear and ready to tackle this first step. We made it to the top without a wipeout (whew!) and headed on our way.
Let me start by saying Racine’s roadways are not in the best condition. IRONMAN staff did a great job of calling attention to potential hazards with orange paint, but sometimes the entire road was orange! This made for an extremely bumpy ride. My training had consisted of smooth country roads, so it took me a few miles to get used to the constant bumps. Between the road conditions and bike congestion, I was moving painfully slow the first 10 miles. I gave myself a pep talk, forcing myself to be more aggressive, and began passing when it was safe.
My goal was to finish the bike in 3 hours and 30 minutes, but I finished in 3:01. I stuck to my nutrition plan and felt great as I headed for the run.
Run – 13.1 miles
The run consisted of two loops throughout Racine’s neighborhoods. It began with an intimidating hill (womp!). My grand plan was to walk through the aid stations (1 per mile), and run the rest of the course. It was a scorcher by this point in the day, so I made sure to hydrate and take-in my fuel every. single. mile. I kept my spirits up until mile 8 when I was feeling a bit down. My legs were so tired and I was running out of gas. Thankfully, a little running angel showed up to push me through. (Shoutout to Mary from Chattanooga!) She’s competing in her first full IRONMAN in a few months, so we geeked out about triathlon for a couple miles. Before we knew it we were a half mile from the finish.
As I headed towards the chute, I couldn’t stop smiling! It was one of the best feelings to hear my name as I crossed that finish line. All of those months of hard work were worth it in that moment. Run time: 2:20
Overall time: 6:13:45. My goal was 7 hours, so I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I loved everything about this race. Part of me was hoping to be content with finishing one IRONMAN 70.3, but it’s only left me hungry for more. I’m afraid there’s only one place to go from here… 🙂 (Sorry, Daniel.)
*A huge THANK YOU to my fiance for all of your support and encouragement, to the amazing volunteers and IRONMAN staff that made the day possible and to the residents of Racine that cheered us on and shared their sprinklers!
What a great day!
Obligatory beer and medal photo.
If you made it all the way down here, thanks for reading! XO