• thehappytriathlete

Ironman #10 - Bucket List Race

A few of my favorite things

On May 20th, only a couple of weeks post Santa Rosa IM, I signed up for Ironman Wisconsin. IM Canada was going back to Penticton and Santa Rosa was moving to July. If Santa Rosa would have remained in May, I most likely would have done that one instead of Wisconsin as WHO does 3 IM’s in one year?!?! Especially since the Sloan household rule used to be one IM every other year. Apparently, some rules are made to be broken.

What does all this matter – well – considering that I have my seemingly perennial Ironman Arizona scheduled for Nov 24, 2019 I can potentially hit my 12th Ironman on the same venue as my FIRST Ironman, Penticton. The reason #12 is a milestone, doing 12 Ironman’s mean I can put my name on the Ironman legacy wait list to get to do the most famous Ironman of all – Kona.

Wisconsin has been on my bucket list but looking at the course it’s not one that is to my strengths. The bike course is rollers – so in my mind reminds me of the ‘old Coeur D’Alene’ course where I didn’t have one of my better races. Dumb, yes because that was my second Ironman – 8 years, 9 fulls and 12 half ironmans ago. Those little voices can be strong at times. Second ironman’s have interesting results often as the second is just that – not your first – which is a much longer story for another post 😉.

Anyway, on to Wisconsin. After signing up, I secured my Sherpa – Diana. I am very lucky and thankful to have several folks who are more than willing to spend some of their vacation time with me on these crazy adventures.


Amazing city capital. The capital building is a backdrop for the event and it is truly amazing. If you go, make sure to take the free tour of the capital. It’s an hour long and you get to learn about the city. The farmers market is on Saturday and is amazing. It’s a football college town – the first game of the season was on Saturday, so the city was busy…the rest of the time it was a sleepy little area.


Lake Placid was my favorite hotel location except for the exorbitant cost and logistics of getting to LP makes me not really want to repeat that one. What a better way to get ready race morning by a fire pit?!?

Wisconsin much easier to get to – we flew to Chicago, rented a car and drove to Madison. Milwaukee or Madison were options, but that adds time and possible loss of bike during transfers. 😊 If there was Tri Bike transport, I may have gone a different route, as pretty much the rental car costs the amount of TBT in the end. Perfect location was our hotel - Best Western Park Hotel is about a five-minute walk to Starbucks and the finish line. The view from the room was of the lake. Perfect location and reasonably priced. The restaurant stayed open after the race and that team of servers were spectacular. They were outstanding.

Gear drop off / Transitions:

The gear drop off – which is also transition – is in a conference center. This is pretty darn cool since being inside means temp, weather controlled, no worries about animals getting into nutrition. While the weather forecast didn’t look awful, rain was in the forecast. It’s fantastic to know that the gear will be dry when you leave it. It makes the transition area quite organized. The volunteers keeping the bags all nicely lined up.

Race Day:

Being close ‘slept’ in to 4:30 and still had plenty of time for coffee and breakfast. We headed to T1 around 5:15 or 5:30. Got to my bike and put my nutrition on it and was ready. Next stop drop off stuff in my Bike/Run bags. Done!

Saw Ben on the walk down the to the swim start. What an amazing sunrise starting our day off with beauty of the day.

Ben and I headed down the helix to the swim start and found our way into the corral – seeding ourselves at the 1:30 – 1:40 swim time. Little bit of chit chatting going on while we were waiting. Couldn’t really see much of the water or see what we were going to be in for. Got to the start line – dancing to Taylor Swift’s shake it off…high fived Mike Reilly and said my Happy Ironman Day and headed into the water. The water was perfect temp, no issues with that, but it was a little like a washing machine. I had my little adrenaline rush that if I don’t work on my self-talk will turn into a panic attack. This has happened in a few of my races, now that I KNOW exactly how it starts, I know how to shut it down pretty quick. Thank goodness I know how to take care of that voice. So by the time I made it out of the little ‘start area’ I was focused and moving forward.

Some folks may think after the Oceanside debacle that I don’t swim well in waves. Waves were not the issue in Oceanside, it was getting through the breaks. Wisconsin on the other hand was washing machine or body slam waves. Looking at the video’s is didn’t look that bad, but boy it was NOT at all flat or even the slow rollers like lake Washington, nope this was clearly washing machine. Everyone talks about making a ‘mooing’ noise at the first turn buoy – I was totally up for that until I was in the water this day. My thought was – not today – got to keep my focus and keep moving, not worth risking messing around in this washing machine. This was the first swim that I thought of nothing else during the swim – other that thinking about breathing, attempt to time my sighting and look for that next buoy. There was nothing FLAT about that swim. I was thankful I’d been swimming more as I could have been more tired that I was. I have built up a lot of ‘swim strength’. I was genuinely HAPPY when I got out and looked at my time. It was my second slowest swim of 10, but like I said, thrilled with that time. It was mentally draining though.

Wow – busy after the swim head up and around and around. All the spectators lining the helix was just amazing. Tons of volunteers for the women’s room, weird not being in a grassy tent! Great to have help. Got changed and on my way.

The bike, this time it is down and around the helix and out to the streets of Wisconsin you go. Twist and turns to get out of the main town. Not really able to pick up speed getting out of town. 16 miles to get to the loop. Then it’s two loops of about 40 miles. Wind was constant and like the swim, mentally draining. I love the bike so was able to keep pretty good mood, knowing I wouldn’t get close to Santa Rosa’s fast time as this one is definitely more rolling hills and the downs, just didn’t give me too much momentum to get up the other side, even pedaling on the way down. The ride makes me think of the movie Twister.

I am dang consistent as noted by the segments of Ride with GPS. I only lost about 2 min 30 on the second loop. My computer was on auto pause so don’t know exact loss. First loop I stopped at bathroom quick and the second loop I did stop for special needs for bottle refills. This is the first Ironman in a LONG time I stopped for new bottles. There were men about my age getting my bag and they were funny as they missed my number then scrambled to get the bag, the apologized then sang YMCA. They laughed as said they wanted to give me something to remember them by.

The funny stats on my loops:

Weather underground was spot on with the timing of the rain. The rain came the last two hours or so of the ride. Again, like the swim, mentally tough ride but pretty much uneventful. Felt solid and as strong as I could be with the wind and rain. The spectators were amazing. The climbs were no worse than any thing I had trained on, it was just the constant up and down that makes this course hard. I think I like Santa Rosa’s course better, but the spectators of Wisconsin have them beat. Wisconsin has several areas of spectators, while Lake Placid as one. The last 16 miles you really can’t make up time either. In the athlete meeting they mentioned consider walking up the helix if your tired…lol …that was about the easiest hill of the day. Some how I accidently ‘locked’ my garmin, so I was so focused I on that I missed Diana yelling at me and apparently, she took a few ‘non smiling’ pics. The didn’t post them as she thought I was mad – which was right but for the wrong reasons. I was mad cause I wanted to see my bike time and couldn’t get it. 😊

Volunteers again – superb I did a complete change, again, normally don’t do that, but planned it due to the rain in the forecast. Figured it would give me a boost to have fresh clothes, especially because transition is indoors.

The run begins at the ‘entrance’ of the bike area, it’s weird that you are running in the middle of all the bikes. Diana found me on the way out. Ahhh the run. I felt WAY better on this run that Santa Rosa. No nausea. Made it to the first aid station and stopped a the bathroom due to the ‘never trust a f’ mantra. I could have…but didn’t risk it. Had a few more stops like that and didn’t need to worry.

Mile 4 is run in the University of Wisconsin football stadium. It was super cool to run on the field – such a quiet eerie of the empty stadium. The rain came back during the run also, raining was pretty heavy at one point. I had an extra jersey and was happy to have it. The run is one of the hillier run’s I have done also. Just like the bike, up and downs. Madison and surrounding area are not flat. The town was hoping and there were tons of spectators. Couple of places there were students just hanging out cheering in costumes. There may have been a little alcohol involved….which made it even more memorable, but they were out there. One of my AP racing buddies was volunteering and it was nice of him to squeeze my had and remind me who he was. We all have Ironman brain disfunction at one point or another during the day. It was a solid run for me. I never gave up, never questioned by life choices and didn’t have the though of ‘why did I sign up for AZ’. Again, like the bike this was a solid performance for my run.

My stats were:

27th AG for Swim

21st AG for Bike

28th Final place.

6 ladies out of 58 did not finish.

2 DNF’d the swim. 4 didn’t start the run.

https://www.coachcox.co.uk/2019/09/10/ironman-wisconsin-2019-age-group-results-and-kona-qualification/?fbclid=IwAR3-qNVO3KaRWcH_VWpWHlHfhTCr50Ix6On5mJ-9zNmEfJjygslySkXFd0U – for the stats – biggest DNF rate for Wisconsin for the Swim, so I continue to be super proud of my swim. I was typical on my bike and run.

Had a spectacular time at Wisconsin, pleased with the race and glad to be done with #10!

Fun to have teammates Jen Daily and Ben Chastain out of the course. Thanks to Diana for the wonderful support ensuring I had everything I needed and picking up all my crap. We travel well together.

Thankful to Angie and Tara for swimming at Lake Sam on Tuesday and Thursdays for the last month as those swims just added more opportunity to ensure I wasn’t tired after the swim.

Happy to swim at Seattle Athletic Club as I have teammates to swim with – Aditya, Desiree. Teresa keeps my swim going and providing great feedback and sets to keep us engaged. Love being a part of TN Multisports and part of the triathlon community. I get to coach and support athletes on their journey. I have the best manager at work a person can have – I appreciate her more than I can ever repay.

Finally, I couldn’t do this with out the never-ending support of Steve. He knows when to just shake his head and not say a word. We are one another’s rock.

From my first ironman(2009) to now - opening his new venture (2019).

Next up - #11 - Ironman Arizona (2019)

#12 - Penticton, Canada (2020)

If you are still reading – thanks – you know where to find me if you need a training buddy, coach and cheerleader! www.tnmultisports.com or via this website.


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