Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ironwoman Wednesday - Ironman Louisville Pre-Race Recap

Ironwoman Wednesday is a weekly linkup on a variety of triathlon-related topics. It is similar to Tri Talk Tuesday that a few other bloggers started, but the more people talking about triathlon the better!

Gabi at Lean Green Island Girl, Michelle at Ironwoman Strong and I are all officially Ironwomen! (And Mike is an Ironman!) I am so proud of the two of them, I was able to meet and see Gabi out on the course multiple times and knowing we were all out there working toward the same goal was so helpful. Unfortunately, we never got to meet Michelle (but I was looking for her) but I'm sure that will change in the future!

At the banquet they announced that women were 24% of the field, the rest were men. Knowing that three of us did in fact become "Ironwomen" makes me even more proud of what I accomplished. Anything is truly possible if you put your mind to it, and don't mind some hard work and dedication.

If you know me and my long-distance tri recaps, this is going to be broken up into multiple parts, the swim, the bike and the run. Sorry, but it was a long day and I have a lot to say about it!

That should now say, Ironman Finishers!

Really, I am going to start this one off before the start of the swim leg of Ironman Louisville.

 Beautiful place to run!

Mike and I left Rochester on Thursday in the afternoon and drove to Columbus, Ohio to break up our trip. It is about a 10 hour drive to Louisville from our house. We had done a 15 mile ride at our house before leaving and when we got to our hotel we got ready for a short 2-mile shakeout run. I'm pretty proud of the place that I picked for us to run at, the Olentangy Trail starting at Antrim Park. We ran around Antrim Lake and it was really pretty!

 Mike was excited about this

We also hit up THE Ohio State University and ate at an amazing Mexican Restaurant.

 A new state! Kentucky!

The next morning we finished our drive to Louisville and went to our hotel that we were all staying at, where Mike's parents already were. We got there before we could check-in, so we went to take care of all of the race stuff that we had to do.

The Athlete Village was at the Galt House in downtown Louisville. Mike's parents drove us there and we got checked in relatively quickly. It was pretty amazing to see all the volunteers and athletes! We decided that day that we were going to go to the Athlete Banquet later in the evening with Mike's parents and our friend, Rob, who came to support us all weekend as well.

 Ready to do this thing!

After going to the mandatory athlete briefing and buying a few things at the expo, we went to drive the bike course. I think doing so helped ease our minds a bit, yes there were some hills but nothing we couldn't handle!

At the athlete banquet, the food was not what was important, the stories that we heard almost made me cry and I was getting even more excited for the race on Sunday! I met Gabi and her husband, Pablo, at the banquet too. Our table friend (as I called him) was funny and told us that we could get through the race.

The rest of the night was spent packing up our bike gear, run gear, bike special needs and run special needs bags. It looked like triathlon threw up all over our room!

Triathletes everywhere!

Saturday morning, Mike and I went to go get our final Ironman training workouts in! We just had a short swim, bike and run planned and we went to the practice swim in the morning.  The practice swim took place at the swim exit and they had a 600 meter (or so) course set up in between two bridges. The Ohio River has a strong current and this swim made me a bit concerned for the race! The current on the way out (the same direction we would be starting our swim the next morning) was RIDICULOUS! It took me 20 something minutes to not even get all the way to the bridge. As soon as I turned around, I was immediately back at the other bridge and the swim exit. The current was really, really strong.

 The swim exit

Mike and I tried not to worry about it, but we did feel like it was a bit of wasted effort. Regardless, we went on to bike about 5-6 miles of the beginning/end of the bike course and ran a little less than 2 miles near the Great Lawn (transition). While we were biking I saw our table friend from the banquet and we saw Gabi and Pablo! After we were done we went over to take a photo with both of them and chat some more.

 Mike got our bikes ready for race day!

My parents had arrived in Louisville while we were doing our final practice workouts, so we headed back to the hotel. We had some last minute stuff to do to our bikes and our gear bags before we went to drop them off in transition.

The volunteers at gear check walk you through the transition area and how Sunday will go. My volunteer was really nice and he brought me to my spot on the bike rack and to where my bike gear and run gear bags would be during the race. He also showed me where the women's changing tent and the sunscreen station would be, as well as where to bike out and run out.

 Rockin' the compression socks

After that, Mike and I needed to eat something so we all went to Subway for a quick bite to eat since we were planning on eating dinner at 5:30pm.

 Mike with the Louisville Slugger!

We did some sight-seeing. Nothing major since I didn't want to be walking around too much. We went to the Louisville Slugger Museum so we could see the giant bat, and while we were taking some photos I saw my brother, Justin, and his girlfriend, Hanna, walk up! It was a complete surprise (which is typical with my family) and I was really happy that they came to support us during our Ironman.

 At Churchill Downs

We ended the sight-seeing at Churchill Downs before going back to the hotel to relax for a little while.

A few weeks before the race Rob had given me a list of restaurants that someone he knows from Louisville had given to him. I decided that going across the bridge into Indiana would be a good choice since I figured that downtown would be a little bit crazy!

 Looking at transition from across the river

We had dinner at Rocky's and it was really good! We all just took the time to talk some more and get ready for the big day ahead.

Mike and I finished out the night with epsom salt baths and making sure that we had all of our swim gear that we needed for the morning ready. After watching some tv, we went to bed around 9:30pm.

And just like that, it was one more sleep until Ironman Louisville!


  1. Congrats on your finish! I look forward to reading all the race day details. I had a training partner race his first IM there as well, so I was tracking several people that day! I know you all had a lot to contend with due to the heat. I also know that it takes a while to write up the race reports since it was a very full day and lots of emotions to sort through! Enjoy your post-IM recovery and some down time from all the training!

    1. Thank you! Not much down time, though, as we start training for the Philly Marathon next week!

    2. Oh wow! Interested to hear how that goes. Over the past month, I have enjoyed the flexibility in doing whatever training has appealed to me, so my hat is off to you for jumping on another plan!

  2. Ahhh, I want to read about the race! Don't leave us hanging for too long! ;)

  3. Good stuff! How nervous were you on race eve?? Congrats again!

  4. I wasn't too bad. I slept worse on Friday night than Saturday night. I was just ready to get in the water!

  5. You know, I rarely comment but I've read you site from years, starting way back when you were just THINKING of doing an Ironman. This is so awesome; congrats!!

  6. Congrats!!!!! That is so cool that you saw Gabi and could look for each other. You're an Ironwoman!

  7. This is all so exciting to read- I think I originally found you soon after you began this journey, and you DID it!!

  8. I loved looking at all your IG pictures and cheering you on this weekend. You are amazing.

  9. Congrats, Ironwoman! I volunteered this year at IMLou since I live close by - well out along the bike course. It was an amazing to see the strength and inspiration from all of the athletes! I am contemplating doing this next year. Looking for all the tips to prepare for a first IM!

    1. Awesome! Hit me up when you have questions!