Ironman Wrap Up
The leaves are changing, so this is a-slow-to originate Sept 11th IronMan Madison, WI wrap up. Post event, life set in with a vengeance. My dad passed away during the Leadville Mtn bike race, and I longed for a break from personal activities to focus on my rich dad memories. We celebrated his life in Barrington, IL, the week after IM Wisconsin.
Meniscus surgery followed. I write now with my leg somewhat elevated. The awesome Doctor Hunt called me the day after (on a Saturday!) and scolded me for assuming the pain block meant my knee was good to go… said I would face a huge set back. SO, I write this random blog hiding upstairs in my store office on a rainy Saturday. From a jammed packed summer full of emotions, training and working, I feel life is passing me by as I halt movement. Perhaps I need a therapist.
Anyway, after two years of postponement, Madison IM zoomed by in a weekend of blur. I had SO MUCH FUN. Lots of excited nervous happy participants, wonderful supportive crowds, a great weather day (sandwiched between heat and thunderstorms) and my body produced the best race it could.
The rolling swim start was way less combative than the mass starts of yesteryear. I enjoy the wildness of open water, so the swim was a great way to start the day of racing.
I cautiously navigated the bike course for the first 20 miles after seeing so many frustrated souls with flats. As always, the Wisconsin farm scenery enveloped me, and I relaxed into the aero bars; the rolling hills of Madison’s countryside is why I enjoy the race so much. Folks flanked the hillsides cheering wildly, cows were mooing, and no climb was as daunting as those mtn biking Leadville. I enjoyed (almost) every minute of the triathlon course.
The run? Well, I finished it. Had to go deep in my head because a training regimen of 12 miles per week did not lend itself to easy striding. My right knee is always stiff and weird with hardware still in it and my left knee has the meniscus issue, so there were plenty of old age excuses.
Mostly though, I was surprisingly happy. Although the word grateful is often overused, I truly felt grateful. Past Ironman (seven, I believe) memories ran their own course around my brain. Previous, youthful goals of maintaining a sub-8 minute mile pace contrasted with the current drive to just keep the legs moving. Past worries that IM training time would damage my kids brought a smile to my face as both are happily launched and appear to be fulfilling healthy dreams. Work pressure and guilt of absence when cramming in long training rides is less. The GW stores have talented staff who most likely love it when I am gone.
My goal ‘just to finish’ returned slightly to my more competitive self at the final run mile. My friend yelled to me that I was one minute out of first place in my age group (those darn rolling swim starts, I had no idea she started ahead of me) so I raced the final mile and stumbled across the finish line unfortunately 30 sec behind. The effort buckled my legs and I collapsed behind a bush (I wanted to hide) taking nearly five minutes to regain my breath. Reviewing my split times, I could have shaved off many seconds during transitions if it behaved less cautiously… such as jogging barefoot on the cement vs walking, or peeing in my tri shorts vs the porta john? But I swam, biked, and ran as hard as my training allowed and it is time to move on…. to fresh and different goals