Man, I can’t believe another IM is over and done… it’s been three weeks since I was standing at the start line, slightly dreading racing knowing how long of a day it was going to be and that there was going to be some suffering…. but then once I crossed the finish line I forget ALL of that, and just wanted to do it again! This race went almost exactly as I had hoped and trained for – we got lucky with perfect racing weather and I came pretty close to all of my goals. Even though I’m sad it’s over, I’m also pretty content and don’t have that feeling of wanting to race right away for redemption like I did at CDA where I shuffled during most of the run.
I originally was going to make this race ‘not a big deal’ since IMCDA was quite the event between flying, renting a car, AirBnB, shipping my bike via TriBike transport and trying to make it a little vacation (I have realized that just doesn’t work with big races, too much pre-race anxiety/stresses to really relax). So we were going to leave Friday morning, do race stuff/hang out Saturday, race Sunday and drive home Monday morning. However I started to get anxious not arriving until Friday afternoon, and then having to do athlete check-in, fit in a short bike ride, check into hotel and also try to squeeze in a swim in the lake. Too much. So I convinced Jimmy to leave Thursday after work so we had a little more time to settle in once we got there and it would be less rushed. It would be a late arrival though, we did it in 2015 and it was rough, but it seemed like a better option. Then my parents realized they were free that weekend and decided to come too, so this race ended up turning into more of an ‘event’ than planned, but I was ok with that!
We got an early start Thursday evening thanks to Jimmy for surprising me and leaving work early, and hit the road about 5:15. We had rush hour traffic, but other than stopping once for gas (I brought sandwiches to eat in the car for dinner) it was a pretty uneventful drive and we arrived about 11:15p. Check in was much easier than 2015, they had our key ready, we got use one of the bellhop carts to bring everything upstairs and then I went to park our car. Wow, easy peasy. Once settled in, I did a little unpacking (I had SO much STUFF…everywhere!) and then was in bed around midnight.
Friday I was up early to get breakfast, headed to athlete check-in, and then met my friend Mike who was also racing (we met several years ago through my former triathlon team) for a short spin to check out our bikes/gears to make sure they were working ok. Later I met up with Mike, my coach and his wife (who was also racing) for a quick swim in Lake Monona. It was a good test run because my wetsuit was rubbing like crazy and my goggles were leaking like crazy. I got my wetsuit straightened out and my goggles situated so they would be ready for race day. After the swim we grabbed dinner at The Great Dane.
Saturday the only real plans were to check in my bike/gear, meet Team Zoot for a group photo and meet my parents for an early dinner, but somehow it was much busier than planned and I walked way too much! I decided to head over to the athlete briefing at 10a to make sure there wasn’t any important information covered that wasn’t in the athlete guide. A few hours later I was back to Ironman Village around 2p to drop off bike/gear and holy cow, the transitions were HUGE. My transitions were going to be way longer than the times I anticipated. Sigh. I know everyone else racing had to do it too, but it made me sad my time goals would have to be adjusted. After walking what felt like 3 miles through transition, I met up with my parents near the Capitol to say hi and hear how their drive up was, and then at 3 I met up with Team Zoot for a group photo. By 4p I was finally headed back to the hotel. My feet needed to be up and resting!
We met my parents at 5:30p for an early dinner and then afterwards I cooked my oatmeal for breakfast (easier/faster to eat when cold, so I cook night before and keep in fridge), prepped my bike bottles, and got the rest of my gear/nutrition ready that I would drop off in my bike/run bags in the morning. I was in bed by 9p and slept pretty well until about 3:40a and laid in bed until my alarm went off at 3:50a.
Then I was up! I did my morning pre-race routine and we were out the door at 5a to meet Mike in the lobby to head to transition. I tried to not fuss too much in transition, just set up bottles, put nutrition in bento box, pump tires, calibrate powermeter and LEAVE! Then I went to my bike/run gear bags to add gear/nutrition, and finally sat with Jimmy along the helix while I squeezed into my wetsuit and people watched. Around 6:30a we headed to the swim start, once we had to separate I gave him a final kiss goodbye and headed to the swim corral to find my 1:11-1:20 seeded start group. Whoo I was nervous. I remembered how long the swim at CDA felt and knew this was going to be a long one too. Having 3 of my IM swims current assisted, I realized how long a real legit IM swim is, and I was going to do it again. Soon I was nearing the start, got my goggles ready and when it was my turn, waded in and started swimming, here we go!
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