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Ironman Wisconsin.... the taper is here!

I have almost done it. Seven solid months of training, and there are three weeks left til Ironman Wisconsin! Although Ironman Wisconsin will be my second full Ironman, I wouldn’t say the training has become any easier. I am coming off what I would consider the most difficult week of training I’ve ever had. Total training volume was over 20 hours, including about 200 miles on the bike, 41 run miles, and 10,000 m of swimming.

Last Sunday started with a 1.2 mile open water swim at the Pigman ½ Ironman: a hot and humid day in which I competed on a relay team. Following the swim I had a little over 2 hours to recover while my teammate completed the 56 mile bike ride. Then I was up again, to run the ½ marathon to finish our relay race. By the time I got to the run portion of the race, it was upper 80’s, humid and sunny. I finished the 13 mile run at a fairly comfortable pace, and was then joined by a friend for an additional 7 mile run. It felt reassuring to know I could complete the 20 miles in the heat of the day- September in Wisconsin could bring a 90 degree day, or a 40 degree day- we just don’t know!

A few days of easier workouts followed, as I was pretty sore from the running. Thursday was filled with a 100 mile bike ride, and a four mile run. I have really struggled with the longer bike rides by myself, and this ride was especially challenging. A 20 mph head wind guided me out for the first 40 miles of this ride, and a nice tail wind brought me on home!

Saturday involved the Grand Fondo- a bike race in Dubuque involving lots of climbing. Over 3,000 feet of climb in 30 miles, to be exact.

This Sunday, I drove up to Mount Horeb with a group of training buddies to test out the Ironman Wisconsin course. Another windy day here in the Midwest had me feeling slightly defeated by the time we finished the ride. It was really great to get a feel for the course- and to mentally put myself at ease. Anxious doesn’t begin to tap into how I feel about Ironman Wisconsin. Although I know I’ve done this before, that doesn’t make this time around any easier. Worries about weather, flat tires, and nutrition are at the forefront of my concerns. Unfortunately, the only thing you actually have control over on race day is your attitude- being positive no matter what obstacles are placed in front of you is essential in such a long race.

After completing my most difficult week of training without ripping anyone’s head off….. or crying….. I feel great! I have one more 20 mile run planned for this Thursday, followed by a lot of resting, and eating for the next 2 ½ weeks. While I’m ready to finally feel fresh, and well rested, I know all that pent up energy will probably fuel my excitement. Although I know these last few months have been very challenging and exhausting, I can only hope that they will pay off in a big way on September 13th- with a grand finale of me crossing that finish line with a smile on my face.

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