Ironman Wisconsin Race Report 1


I woke up at 3:45, took a shower, ate breakfast (English muffin with PB, 1.5 C applesauce, coffee) and did one last double check to make sure I had everything. We were out the door by 5. My parents dropped me off at Monona Terrace and they took my special needs bags to drop off. I felt like I had the perfect amount of time to get body marked, add nutrition to my bike and check on my bike & run bags before downing a banana and making my way to meet the team for a picture.

I got in the water at about 6:45 and made my way just to the right of the ski ramp.

Swim: 1:26:22

This was my first time doing a mass swim start with 2000+ people and oddly enough the only moment of panic I had was for about 30 seconds before the swim started where I felt like there were bodies everywhere and I didn’t have space to even tread water. I backed up a couple feet and found a little more space. There was a lot of contact in the first 5 minutes or so but I found a nice open space until the first turn buoy where things got crowded again. I took this as an opportunity to moo (as is tradition to do at this race). There was minor crowding and a few hands and elbows here and there throughout the entire swim but for the most part I was really able to stay in my box and focus on only the things I could control. I counted strokes and before I knew it the swim was over. I had a lot of fun on the swim and really enjoyed breathing to the left to see the big crowd at the terrace.IMG_2367-X2

T1: 10:50

I found a wetsuit stripper (volunteers who help pull wetsuits off) they yanked it off for me and then I walked/jogged up the helix. Found my bag & had a volunteer help me put my swim stuff away as I put my helmet on. Stuffed shot bloks into my tri top, grabbed my shoes and ran out the door. I stopped at the sunscreen folks, they lathered me up (ouch! First indication of chaffing on the neck from my wetsuit) and then I made the long jog to my bike. My Tri team was all racked together and close to bike out which was really nice! Slowly spun down the helix which was crowded and made worse by some guys trying to pass people on it (you have 112 miles to pass me, why are you trying to do it at mile .002?)12027794_10106687755715870_4525295578538813346_n

Bike: DNF

For the first 20 miles or so all I was doing was checking in with myself and reminding myself to ride easy. I had these ridiculous leg warmers that I bought when I was in China years ago. The day before I left for Madison I thought that they might do the trick as arm warmers and they did! I tossed them at the aid station right after valley road. Once I got into the Wisconsin farmland part of the bike, I started to really focus on nutrition and staying in my aero bars as much as I could. For the 1st half of the bike my nutrition was on point – I was downing just over 1 bottle of Gatorade Endurance/hour & a shot blok about ~15 minutes. More than anything, I had FUN on the first loop. The spectator support was AMAZING! Made even better by the friends and family who were out there just to support me! I can’t recall which aid station, but I did stop and use the porta potty once on the first loop. I also stopped at special needs to grab a honey stinger waffle and apply more chamois cream (which I am partially regretting now, but it probably wouldn’t have made a difference so I’m going to let it go).

At special needs it was 1:04PM, I wasn’t worried yet. On the 2nd loop, there is a false flat into Mt. Horeb that ended up having a head wind, at the time I just thought it was a little annoying, but looking back now realize it really slowed me down. The rest of the bike all blends together for me so I can’t exactly recall the details of where I was when certain things were happening other than that the last 2 hours were mostly panic. Everyone I saw was saying “I don’t know if we’re going to make it” or “we need to avg 16MPH the whole way (before the 3 hills) in order to make it” I did a horrible job of staying inside my own box and the doubt overwhelmed me. I tried pushing and made really poor decisions that I would have never made otherwise (like not eating or drinking anything for the last 2 hours because it would slow me down). Race officials would ride by, I would ask the time and they would say “we think you can make it, if we didn’t, we’d pull you, keep pushing” Within a matter of seconds my thoughts would bounce from “oh man, I hope I see someone I know so that I can just get in their car and put an end to this” to “move your ass! You got this! You’re going to be an Ironman!” I felt like I was cruising on the last 15 miles into town and I thought for sure I would make it. In the back of my mind I was thinking “you haven’t had any calories for 2 hours, even if you do make it, how are you going to run a marathon?” but then I would quickly remind myself to worry about that when the time came. I got to that final hill on the way back into Madison and I saw three people in front of me, all three of them were walking their bikes up the hill. That wasn’t going to be me. I powered up it and then really did hit the gas as hard as I possibly could through all the admin junk back into downtown. I’ve been at transition spectating at 5:30 and I know how crazy loud it can get. It was quiet and as I passed volunteers up the helix they weren’t saying anything. I saw my family & friends as I was spinning up and they gave me the biggest, best cheer I’ve ever heard. I crossed the line and saw the clock with the official race time that said 10 hours 34 minutes and 6 seconds. I missed the bike cutoff by 4 minutes. unnamed


Despite the result, I had a hell of a fun time. I think I was smiling for the entire 114.4 miles. I am going to be back. I love this sport! At the end of the day, the machine I built to execute this thing just wasn’t strong or sharp enough yet. When I registered for this race last October I had to take walk breaks during a 5k, and I had never ridden my bike for more than 30 miles. It was a lot of progress to make in less than a year, and it could have been done, but I needed to give it more than I did.

I’ve been playing the following quotes over and over in my head the last two days:

“The course doesn’t care what you say you’ve done. It only gives you what you’ve earned”

“Don’t let success get to your head or let failure get to your heart”

Up Next:

I told myself that I wouldn’t make any decisions about races for next year for at least 2 weeks (Yesterday I was all “I shouldn’t register for IMWI next year” today I’m all “I NEED to register for next year” ). So, I’m going to take that time to reflect and transition out of ironman training mode (with that being said, it’s taking everything in me to not hop on my bike and start sharpening this machine right now).

I feel like this experience gives me more insight into what it takes to get it done. I’m looking forward to getting stronger. I have a lot of work to do in terms of body comp which will help tremendously and since I don’t think I’ll be breaking up with this sport anytime soon I am going to allow myself to start playing with the big kid toys – get a power meter, a tri bike, and get in tune with my body and training data over the next year.

July Training Update: The good, the bad, the ugly

Evidently I’m the type of blogger who posts only once a month. Damn. Having a blog and actually updating it is tough. I guess that’s what I get for being ambitious, Ironman training AND blogging?! Oof!

I’m consistent at one of those two things, arguably the more important one. It’s a lot less likely that being an inconsistent blogger will kill me in the way that not preparing before swim, bike, running 140.6 miles could kill me. So, you know, cut a girl some slack.

Anyways – It is about time for a training update.

Eat, sleep, train, work. There’s a 1% chance that I am doing anything other than one of those things listed. Training time is in the double digit hours each week now – last week I clocked in at 13 hours. Triple digit miles on the bike each week, and this weekend will be my first 100+ mile solo ride. 20s (inching in on 30s) of miles running each week and long runs during the week upwards of 2 hours. Thousands and thousands of yards of swimming each week. Dinner after 9pm 3 nights this week. And I’m still loving just about every yard, mile, and hour.



A beach sprawl post swim

The good: I have had a handful of good open water swims. I’ve been to Ohio street beach to swim in Lake Michigan a few times, which is a triathlete’s paradise. There are lockers, they measure & mark ¼ and ½ mile with buoys and it’s easy to sight. Not to mention, it’s very easy to hop out of the water and jump on the lakefront trail for a bike or run post swim. Also, last week I spent a few days in northern Wisconsin at my aunt & uncles cabin where I got to swim in the lake and I even joined my cousin, Emily, for an open water swim. Emily is training for her first triathlon!

Post swim with cousin Emily

Post swim with cousin Emily

The bad: Oddly enough, swimming is the discipline that I have been struggling with the most. Swimming was definitely my favorite of the three up until about a month ago. I haven’t had many good pool workouts in the last month. The pool I swim in is small, at 20 yards and depressing. So, when I get to the pool I typically swim for 1600-2000 yards and call it quits.

I do get frustrated with myself each time I cut a swim workout short (or skip it) because really, the better my swim fitness is, the faster my swim time will be, and a faster swim time = more time for the bike course which is where I really need the help.

The ugly: Well, I’m missing a few spots of skin on my neck from wetsuit chaffing. Also, I feel like if any triathlete tells you they don’t pee in their wetsuit, there’s a pretty good chance they’re lying. I mean, you’re out there swimming, and you know you have to start biking as soon as you’re done swimming, if you pee in the water then you save yourself time from stopping at a porta-potty before hitting the bike. It just makes sense! This week I did an open water swim followed by a run at Ohio street beach. Typically, I will wear my tri shorts, sports bra, and running tank/tri tank under my wetsuit, strip the wetsuit off and set out for my run. It occurred to me, before I sat down on the train, on my way home that night – that, hah, I am technically wearing the same clothes that I was wearing when I peed myself in the lake about an hour before. Oops. Don’t worry. I didn’t sit down.

After an aquathlon I participated in at Ohio street beach

After an aquathlon I participated in at Ohio street beach


The good: So, so, so many good biking things! I got to ride the Ironman Wisconsin bike course once this month. It was tough and so, so fun! lots and lots of climbing = lots of super fun and fast down hills. I made my way through the first loop and stopped at my car to contemplate whether I should do a second loop, ride some of the stick, or just call it a day. After deciding to check out some of the stick, I ran into a guy who said  “You better wrap it up, there’s a tornado just south of town”. Ended the bike ride right then and there. I spent a lot of time while at my aunt and uncles cabin riding the beautiful bike trails. The bike miles keep increasing each weekend – 3 hours, 4 hours, 5 hours on the bike. I love almost every hour on the bike. I got aero bars (an extra set of handle bars that stick out perpendicular to the other handlebars that are meant to make you more aerodynamic when you ride. more aerodynamic = faster) installed on my bike last week so I am working to get comfortable riding with them.

Whoa! better slow down :) (IM Wisconsin bike course)

Whoa! better slow down 🙂 (IM Wisconsin bike course)


Northern Wisconsin

The bad: Chicago. Look, there are a million things I love about this city, but biking (at least for the purpose of triathlon training) in it is not one of them. It takes a lot of admin time (that is, slow riding, stopping at lights, stop signs etc.) on the bike to get out of the city and it drives me crazy.

So many people doing fitness things!

So many people doing fitness things!

The ugly: I have like 4 different levels of tan lines on my thighs due to varying lengths of bike shorts, clearly an indicator that a lot of good biking has happened in July. Also, saddle sores. Showering doesn’t always feel so great after a long bike ride.

Pit stop for coke! mmm

Pit stop for coke! mmm


The good: Most of my runs feel comfortable. There are runs that feel hard, but most of the time when I am running I think to myself “well, self, you can keep going, and you’re going to be just fine.” My long run days are the workout that I most look forward to each week. It’s probably the toughest workout of the week, but there’s almost always a point during the run where I feel the runners high and that’s one of the best feelings!

The bad: Running without music. 26.2 miles and no headphones allowed. So, I’ve been trying to do more and more runs without music. It’s tough, but I’ve started to use music as a reward, make it half way through the run at goal pace and then I can put the headphones on. It works, but I’m not exactly happy about it.

The ugly: Chicago has decided to turn up the heater a bit over the last couple weeks and the biggest adjustment has been getting comfortable running in that heat. Seriously, where does all this sweat come from?! I’ve noticed that from time to time I am basically running with my eyes closed because there is so much sweat filling them up that I can’t see. I’m really not getting much faster on my runs anymore, but I am adding distance each and every week and starting to accept the fact that it’s going to be a long and slow marathon on September 13.

Found a sprinkler after a hot run!

Found a sprinkler after a hot run!

I have a BIG weekend of training ahead of me. Time to test the fitness & mental toughness levels. Hopefully I’ll update y’all on that before next month.





June in Pictures 2

June has been nuts! In the best way possible. I’ve been working hard, training hard, and having lots of fun.

I told you all about my first big race of the year, so I won’t share any pictures from the Liberty Half, but you can read about it here. The night of the half ironman I rallied and joined a few friends to watch the Minnesota United soccer team play. They lost, but I had fun chanting and it felt kinda badass to spend a couple hours standing and cheering on bleachers after swim, bike, running for 70.3 miles earlier in the day. Honestly, I think the time spent walking around that evening probably kept me from being too sore the following day.


I made my way back to Chicago the following day and made plenty of pit stops along the way to stretch out my legsIMG_1941

I got home to Chicago late, and spent no more than 6 hours in my apartment before waking up bright and early (4am) to catch a flight to NY for work. The first day we enjoyed lunch on the rooftop of my bosses apartment and then went out for dinner at Buddakan, an amazing Asian restaurant in Chelsea.

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      This also happened to be the night that the Blackhawks won the Stanley cup. What a bummer! to not be in Chicago when they won! We did get to watch some celebrations on the big screens in Time Square which was fun in a different way.

IMG_1974One final adventure before leaving NY – seeing a cab blow up. Fortunately, no one appeared to be hurt.

IMG_1990Back home, and back to training. I devoured multiple cartons of chocolate milk. My go to recovery drink. I’ve B.F. Skinnered myself with positive reinforcements of chocolate milk after any tough workout. Funny considering I hated chocolate milk as a kid (weirdo, huh?)

IMG_2059 I also switched up my breakfast routine from smoothies to oats loaded with all kinds of goodies. My personal favorite is vanilla greek yogurt, almond slices, blueberries and a drizzle of honey. IMG_2051

I decided that I should prioritize making time to cook good meals. Having a glass of wine handy while doing so drastically increases my motivation to cook.


I loaded up my Ironman training plan and packed my suitcase again for a work trip to California (San Francisco & LA). Since the trip marked week 1 of Ironman training, I committed to working out, which isn’t easy to do when you’re jumping between airports 3 out of 4 days. Running came easy, because, look at these views! So, Ironman week 1 turned into a run focused week.

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I spent many evenings sitting outside, drinking wine next to the glow from my work computer


Back in Chicago and reunited with my bike. We spent hours and miles together. IMG_2065 IMG_2057

The Chicago Pride parade route is a half a block from my apartment so I had to check it out. IMG_2159 IMG_2122

And despite all the travel, and work, and training in June, I still managed to find time to watch the ENTIRE series of Girls. Proof that you really can do it all! (If you’re single, without kids, and can be as selfish as you want at all times)


And then, on the very last day of a great June. My Chipotle fell out of the bottom of the bag as I was walking and ruined the entire month.


Liberty 70.3 Race Report 1

This was my first 70.3 and my performance was good enough to land me 4th in my AG (Female, 25-29) *mutters* so what if there were only 5 people total in my AG?

Swim 1.2 miles (Goal: 38:00/ Actual: 48:03): The swim was one loop, basically across lake Rebecca and back. I think there were fewer than 30 women in my wave so I really didn’t have to fight for position or deal with getting kicked/punched in the face at all. We all had room to do our own thing. The swim is where I am most confident. Unfortunately, this swim did not play out as expected. Leading up to the race I was swimming 2x/week and all of my race rehearsal swims were consistently between 36-38 minutes. I was confident I would pull off a 38’ swim. Before we hit the first buoy I was already behind. I was zigzagging all over. I guess in my race prep I didn’t once worry about sighting and I probably should have. The only time I got in open water before the race was the day before for a quick shake out. My stroke felt strong and smooth and the water was calm. It’s hard for me to believe that I was zigzagging around for nearly 10 minutes so maybe something else went wrong here and I just can’t pin-point it.11412179_955585784462725_2958017524277820197_n

Side Tangent: I ordered a wetsuit from Xterra back in April. Received an email that it would be shipped by Memorial day. The first week of June rolls around and I have no wetsuit, so I email asking for an update. Receive a generic email that wetsuits will now be shipped June 22 (after race day, bummer, oh well I guess I will rent one). In the same day I receive a personalized email in response to my inquiry from the director of customer service saying “Hi Lindsay, not sure why your wetsuit hasn’t shipped, putting it in for 2 day shipping now”. So I think, oh great! I won’t bother renting one. Never received a tracking #. 4 days later I call and leave her a message & email. No response. The next day I call the general sales line asking whether the wetsuit has shipped and they say we emailed you saying it wouldn’t be shipped until June 22. I explain the other email I received and they confirm that no, no one has shipped the wetsuit but they would be happy to send it today (3 days before the race) but I would have to pay for express shipping.

Anyways, didn’t get the wetsuit in time. I ended up renting one and all worked out fine. Frustrating experience that I just had to vent about.

T1 (2:45): Once out of the water, and up the beach there were some stairs and a bit of a jog into T1 (this probably also added about a min or two to my swim time as I walked up the stairs). Quickly stripped the wetsuit off, put helmet, bike shoes & glasses on and I was off.  I was actually surprised by the 2:45 time because it felt like I took forever in there.11406917_955601714461132_7816281661362680882_n

Bike 56 miles (Goal: 3:40:XX/ Actual: 3:42:55): I knew I had a bad swim and would have to make up for it on the bike. There was a 12:30 bike cut off. My swim wave went off at 7:41 and I gotta say I was nervous for the entire bike that I wouldn’t make the cutoff. There were a few hills on the course and I haven’t had a lot of experience with hills here in Chicago so I wasn’t sure how my overall pace would look with the hills added in. It was raining as I started the bike but the rain didn’t last long. A few miles into the ride I saw my mom on the side of the road watching from a gas station & asked her what time it was, 9:13. I thought – OK – you have 3 hours! From that point out I just kept reminding myself that if I kept a 15mph pace up I would be totally fine and I knew 15 mph would be fairly easy assuming there weren’t a lot of beastly hills. I am glad that I drove the bike course the day before the race because it wasn’t marked all that well. Honestly, nothing exceptional in a good or a bad way happened on the bike I just powered through it. I managed to successfully do a bottle exchange for the first time ever! There are people on the side of the road holding out bottles of either water or Gatorade as you approach them you yell out what you want and point to the person you’re going to take the bottle from, then you ride by grabbing the bottle from them. It was a little scary because I didn’t want to 1) take out anyone holding out the bottles or 2) wipe out myself during the exchange.

T2 (4:00): Happy to be off the bike! Had to pee SO bad. Changed into socks & run shoes, quick stop at the porta-potty and I was off.1972459_955695287785108_2684965794329859502_n

Run 13.1 miles (Goal: 2:45:XX/ Actual: 3:03:10):  Admittedly, I was a little intimidated at the idea of 13 miles but I felt really good starting the run.  I noticed about 100 yards out of T2 that I forgot my watch (gah!) The run was a bit hilly as well and after the first two miles I adopted the mantra to walk up any hill, which meant more walk breaks than I was planning and ultimately added about 10 – 15 mins to my total time. However, I think this really helped me to feel comfortable while I was running. The course was an out and back, for the first few miles I was keeping an eye out for my dad who was also doing the race. Not long before the turn around I saw him and we exchanged high-fives. So cool to do the race with him and see him out on the course! The race was small and I knew I was bringing up the back of the pack, by mile 9 I felt like I was just out alone for an afternoon run. I turn a corner and I can see the big mile 10 marker a couple hundred feet in front of me and I also see a guy running! Perfect timing! I thought Ok, 3 miles left. Time to race that guy! I passed him just as we were creeping up on mile 11 and we cheered “2 miles left!” together. We stuck close through mile 11 and by the time we hit mile 12 I was ready to lose his ass and cross that finish line so I left him in the dust.

Time: 7:40:4911391322_10106307507132080_6840028527622166677_n

Overall thoughts:

  1.  I can’t believe I did it! I mean, I can. I knew I would, but being it was the first one there was this tiny bit of doubt in my mind.
  2. I knew I would be slow and that’s okay. I was hoping to finish under 7:30 but I will get that next time. Overall I am proud that I executed and that I wasn’t suffering to finish the run. I feel like I could have kept going.
  3. I was a bit achy the day after but the most amazing thing to me about this race is that I really wasn’t sore. By Monday I felt like my old self. Which I am going to take as a sign that I did a good job preparing my body for the race.
  4. This lingering fear in the back of my mind since I started training for this race, and deciding to do IMWI in September is that I would get done with the 70.3 and feel completely overwhelmed by the thought of 140.6. The race had the opposite effect on me. I am PUMPED to start training for IMWI. I feel like the 70.3 gave me a confidence boost and also opened my eyes to the things that I need to focus on to get IMWI done. Body comp is going to be a big focus for the next couple months because I am going to need all the help I can get pushing up those IMWI hills. I also want to figure out the swim. I feel like I gave up an easy 10 minutes and I don’t want that to happen next time. Finally, I now know that if I am consistent in my training, nail down nutrition and be mentally prepared to execute I will finish IMWI!13825_955740877780549_8491848611719525059_n

Obligatory Pre-Race Post

I’ve been gabbing on and on about triathlon (in real life, on this blog, and on every single social media outlet possible) for months, and months. So, It’s about time I actually do a damn race, huh?

10 days!

I’ve wrapped up my longest training runs, rides, and swims leading up to this race and I am officially tapering. Which basically means: less time training = more time freaking out about the race. cool.

I’m prepared, logistically (seriously, look at my last post. what a freak!)

I’m excited to test my fitness and trust in the training I’ve done. I’m worried that maybe it hasn’t been enough, but deep down I think it has been.

I’m scared about the unknown. I’ve done triathlons before, but they were shorter distances. My longest training session to date has been 5 hours. I can’t imagine any good long distance training plan would ever have you actually do the entire distance before the race in a training day. It’s going to take me longer than 5 hours to complete this race, and I wonder how my body and mind will react to being out there, moving, for so long. Will I be mentally & physically strong enough to keep putting one foot in front of the other, resembling something like running (or shuffling), at mile 60? What about mile 70?

I am ready…..well, except for the fact that the wetsuit I ordered in early April still has not shipped (and won’t before race day, I just came to find out) so I need to find something to swim in STAT. but other than that! I AM READY!

In the end, it’s about the journey, not necessarily the destination, right?

So with that, it’s time to go Buzzfeed on y’all with a list of my favorite things about the journey leading up to my first 70.3:

1. The transformation from gasping for air and needing to stop for walk breaks during a 5k to “oh, a 10k today? yeah, no biggie”

2. Sometimes I randomly realize “oh, I smell good!” Probably because most of the time I am either sweaty & sticky or smell like chlorine

3. Although I didn’t enjoy the experiences at the time, I have had enough flat tires that I can now say I know how to change a flat LIKE A BOSS (er, just give me like 30 minutes, okay?)

4. Exploring Chicago by foot and two wheels has given me much appreciation for the beauty and awesomeness of this cityIMG_1882

5. The 5am weekend crowd on the lakefront trail. A fun (and extremely easy) game of who’s crazy enough to wake up this early to work their ass off for some silly little race? or who’s crazy enough to stay up this late partying?

6. Awkward running/biking selfiesIMG_1780

7. The this is perfect moments. The I am in my happy place moments

8. But also, the this is a test in mental toughness moments. just. keep. moving

9. The training community and coaches over at Endurance Nation who feed my daily need for triathlon geek-out sessions and are an awesomely supportive group of people who are doing cool, fun things with their fitness

10. That I have loved training more than I have hated it. And I think that means whether this race goes well or not, I am a triathlete and I am going to continue to be a triathlete until I hate the training more than I love it