Ironman Wisconsin in Pictures

by hillarybiscay

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing an Ironman Wisconsin race report, but to be honest, I don’t really feel like talking about it too much anymore. I would rather remember the many highlights from my fifth race weekend in Madison. Although I was very disappointed in my performance, this race was as special as always. I absolutely love the whole Madison experience.

This year I had more friends there than ever and sharing the experience with them was definitely a highlight. Matty Lieto even made a guest appearance to do the ironmanlive commentary. Above is us on top of the Monona Terrace (a.k.a. the most unique ironman transition area), looking out on the swim course. It was beautiful up there!

Heading to the swim start, blissfully unaware of the fact that my body was not going to come to the party that day . . .

This (2900 of our closest friends) is what we swam through on the second loop of the swim; the swim here is always a bit crazy, but I am very used to it by now.  I managed to come out of the water first, and I wish that all of you who were kind enough to follow along at home had shut off your computers then! My performance went downhill from there.

I should note here, though, that my ironman swim win track record is 5 for 7 this year, and I do not think it is a coincidence that I am swimming in a new wetsuit this year: the TYR Hurricane. Having swum competitively for 15 years and competed in tiny, lightweight swimsuits, I have never been a wetsuit fan. They always felt constricting and unnatural, so I would wear sleeveless suits whenever possible even though they are supposedly “slower.” After finding the Hurricane, I can finally wear a full wetsuit and hardly be aware that I have anything on. I think my swimming performances have improved as a result.

The roar of the crowd lining the helix as we run through T1 is always incredible. This year I had a personal surprise hidden in there: superfans Jules and Zody!

My power on the bike went missing for the day but I still love this bike course.

And I couldn’t help but smile when I recognized various friends on the sidelines. THANK YOU all for brightening my day!! And thank you to Jen and Mark for the pics!

Madison might also have the most enthusiastic volunteers, with crazy themed parties at the run aid stations–thank you volunteers!!

My run and bike splits were far from stellar. What they might not indicate is that I was fighting all the way to the finish. When girls passed me, I did my best to gather my strength again and pass them back; sometimes it even worked. My run was  a rollercoaster within each mile; it seemed that nearly each one of them had its own high and low. I would go from running up and down on the spot, exhausted, to fueling up through the aid station, and then moving again for 5 minutes, pushing as hard as I could. These waves of energy and exhaustion were a great lesson for me, because while that terrible feeling doesn’t usually hit me til the late stages of the run, I often assume it will be a downward spiral from there. And apparently it doesn’t have to be.

I ended up in 7th place, just sneaking away with  a paycheck, when I had never finished off the podium in Madison. Naturally I never envisioned that my day would take this shape. But it was not all for nothing; I came away from the day with many fond memories and lessons learned.

A great Ironman Wisconsin Champion Heather Gollnick once said, “There are no mistakes–only lessons.” I had never tried racing ironmans two weeks apart before, and after two tries at this timing, in Louisville and Madison, I can safely conclude that it is not the best for me. But I wouldn’t know this without giving it a try. I will stick with races one week apart from now on!

Three ironmans in four weeks done–then I got to greet my athlete IronBob at the finish and give him his medal (plus a treat in a red cup). I love being able to have the live post-race debrief with my athletes!

The Capitol building and finishline at night–how good is it?!

It was very special to have my parents, friends, AND other half at the finish. Lazy Jane’s has become our traditional post-race breakfast eatfest locale.

I am so lucky to have been set up with homestay-ironwoman Kari Myrland in 2006 on my first trip to Madison; I look forward to our September visits all year long. Thank you Kari, and thanks again Madison for the incredible support. I hope to do you all proud next year!

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