Follow by Email

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ironman Race Report

My last post I was having computer trouble so I didn't get to write much about the actual race.   To start off the day I woke up at 4:30am having slept very light all night.  My family from Ohio was kind enough to offer to have my girls sleep in their room.  So at 4:30 I turned on the hot water for my oatmeal and turned on Pandora station of Rhianna.  Luckily Adam was cool with being awake at this time too.  He was planning to wake the kids from Matt's room at 5:30 for the 6am shuttle. 

At one point he told me, "You are really jazzed up right now and it's a long day" I was just happy to have Rhianna's pump up music and the thought of becoming an Ironman by night. 

My sister and I got dropped off at the transition area at 6am by Dad.  I dropped off my last two special needs bags and then went to check on my bike.   I added by bottles, went to body marking, then found Cherie in the pitch dark.  The top of Manona Terrace was already packed with athletes.  I decided we should find a grassy spot by the water entry and hit up the Porto-potty before the lines.  

At about 6:45 I started in the mass of people to enter the start.  Once I was treading water I could not believe how many people were still coming in.  It was as far as your eyes could see and in the water.  The race start seems very wide.  

The cannon went off at 7am, there was about 9 people deep ahead of me and we went.  I have to say practicing polo swimming did help.   No one is the exact pace so it's alot of swimming between people to pass them.  I felt like once I got a stride going there was another set of people to go through.   At one point I got hit in the head, hit by my goggles which needed a quick wipe and best of all a hard swift kick to my left calf.  I just said, "forget will be fine".  I can see how people would want to hold onto a canoe at this point but no way not in a race for me.  

After I crossed the last buoy which felt like forever I got a Charlie Horse cramp in the same spot the person kicked me.  It went away after a 1min & then came back one more time.   At this time you could start to hear the music on the waters edge.   Then I surfaced and  I couldn't believe my time was 1:05.   Holy cow!   All those days of master swim and getting the long swims in paid off baby!

The volunteers are so wonderful in transition.  They pointed out my bag, cheered me on and lead me to the changing room.  All I needed to do was slip on was biking shoes, biking jersey and gloves.  The best part of coming out of transition was seeing my family and friends standing right at Bike Mount.  This got me so choked up and excited to have them all there. 

The bike course was beautiful...27 miles of newly paved roads too.  The best part was seeing my support crew at Oak Sauk and the hill after.   It really helped me get thru the 2nd loop again to see them and knowing it was time to head back into Madison.  I really tried to stay easy on my gears with the marathon in the back of my head.   My left calf was making it's appearance know the whole ride. 

Onto the run I went...right out of the shoot there's an incline, so I walked quick up it noticing I was at a limp at this point.  In my head I said, "No way, you have a whole marathon ahead of you.  Get back to normal"  Making myself jog at this point did help get into stride.   I told myself "Get to where the family is, you know where they are and stay focused."   I'm so happy they had a spot at the middle of the 2nd loop, which helped loads.   My sister and husband asked at points how I was feeling, there really isn't a happy answer to that one.  It was painful, very painful to the legs.   At one point I said to Betsy, "This is a lot of miles" She told me to keep up the good shuffle I had going.   At the start of the 2nd loop I was a little worried but at the same time I knew I just needed to focus on becoming an Ironman at the end of this day.   Again, what really kept me going was just to think about where I would see everyone next.   

In those last 2 miles I was saying to people, "Oh my gosh, we are going to be an Ironman" it was like I was in total shock.  I knew my family was at the finish line waiting so I just picked it up to a sprint.   A coach named Elizabeth poked her head out of the crowd and said, "Diana you have had a great day, you go!" thinking about this it meant the world to me. 

In the finish shoot it was pitch dark with the lights on The Capitol.  You then turn a corner to see a bright spot light on you as you come down.  (I have to thank people that caught that on-line, I hope I brought you entertainment and joy.)   After I finished two wonderful volunteers walked me to the finish picture but I couldn't not stop to start to thank my husband, parents, friends and kiddies.  Every time I hugged them there was tears of joy and me saying, "I can't believe I just did that"  It's like a shocking moment even though you wake up for a year every morning knowing you will do this.  

I have to say it was one of the coolest yet hardest things I've ever done.  I would recommend it to all my triathlete friends.  And when you do it I'll be by your side the whole way making sure you train and get it done! 

I have to also say God got me through this too.  We had a little conversation before the bike loop and during the run.  It was on course of me praying, "If you pull me thru this I'll be a great Sunday school teacher."  So now I have another new job on Sundays.  

PS   The volunteers are so awesome too, they take abuse all day from the great things they hand out at each station.   Ironman does a great job of run aid station and bike stations.    I am sure if I was conversational I would have said "Thank you" A million times over.   I tried to say it as much as possible.

Ironman Wisconsin

I did it!  Now I'm an Ironman.  It's almost sad that this wonderful build-up weekend is over.  We had such a great time at Betsy's GO DIANA IRONMAN Pre-Party to the Pasta Party at Badgerland the eve of Ironman. 

To the right are my stats.  I had messed up my watch so in T-2 I re-set it to show my running pace and start my watch for my running nutrition.  I thougth my finish time was 14:05 because the big spot light on the finish shoot all I could see was :05.   At the finish my family and friends said "No you finished in 13:05"  I was so excited!  On the running I was just focusing on running to each water station and finding the spots were my cheering stations were. 

It was great to see all of my friends and family together.
Here are a few pictures from the Badgerland Pasta party.  I am so lucky and blessed to have such a wonderful crew supporting me.  It wouldn't have happened with out all of them! 
Betsy Kowal hosted a Pre-Ironman GO DIANA party for me.  The cookies were one of my favorite decoration.  And they were yummy too!   Below is a few pictures of the lunch party. 


Monday, August 27, 2012


It's count down time...13 days until Ironman Wisconsin.  Today in the mail I received a very inspirational book made by a good friend Brooke Ferguson.  Here are just a few:

"If it doesn't challenge you, It doesn't change you" 

I feel like in my life I've been given a few challenges and succeed through them.  This is an physical challenge which some would say I'm putting my body to the test.  Yes, I agree but it's the challenge that will change your life. 

"Cause when people tell me I've inspired them it makes me feel so proud"  

I do hear this often and it's such nice compliment that I usually don't know what to say back.  But I am so proud of each and everyone of you for getting out there and getting healthy. 


"Anything is possible 140.6"

I have to say I think I'm writing this on my forearm race morning.  I want to be able to see there and keep going that anything is possible. 

It will hurt.
It will take time.
It will require dedication.
It will require willpower.
You will need to make healthy decisions.
It requires sacrifice.
You will need to push your body to its max.
There will be temptation.
But, I promise you, when you reach your goal, it's WORTH IT. 

This quote says it all!  I really don't have to explain Ironman training & racing after reading that quote. 

My daughter became a kindergartner last week.  It makes me think that all of these chapters in our life that we realize what really matters.     As my coach reminds me, "Remember why you signed up for Ironman".  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Rainbow Aug 10, 2012
August 10 was my final ride for 100 miles.  I was watching the weather this week because we finally had high winds and storms predicted.  Our 1st attempt of Thursday we decided to move it to Friday for a less a chance of storms but a higher winds up to 25mph from the north.

I really spend too much time worrying about the conditions, I have to stop doing that.  The ride turned out to be a strong cross wind because we headed west to Rochelle.   We crossed farm roads of sunflower fields, hogs, cows and
horses.    But the best thing we came across was the rainbow!  Luckily the sun followed us afterwards to warm us up and keep away the stormclouds.                                                          
I really can't believe I'm 4 weeks the end of Saturday's 13 mile run that followed the 100 it all came clear.  It's about getting through the pain.   Those last 6 on Saturday I was tight and my right knee decided to be painful for the first time.  I told Betsy, "It's about working through the pain" the rest of the day we were asking each other how we felt.  Dave & Betsy were up for the 13 which is amazing with out having to do that for any training.  It's so nice to have company.  Lynn my friend is a unique soul to want to do 100 miles with me.  If anyone is luckily enough to train with her I encourage it.  She's strong through anything. 

I'm hoping the 20 miler this Friday a.m. will have some recovery built into it prior.   Keep you posted soon on the spectator guide for Ironman.  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Endure It Ironman Camp

Endure It Ironman Camp 2012

"Give yourself permission to enjoy and to relax into a powerful, authentic focus.   Feel how great it feels to calmly perform at your highest level." Ralph S. Morston

I wasn't sure how this weekend was going to go at first.  But after each workout was complete I mentally felt better and better.  Friday we arrived at noon and took off for the first ride by 1:00.   We headed out to the course for 67 miles.  I learned of a new detour we had to get use to which add a couple more hills...the challenge is the rolling hills when you get out of Verona and the big 3 which are by Old Sauk hill to Timber Lane (Timber is my least favorite) it's very steep for too long.  I actually would rather to Old Sauk 3 times and avoid Timber Lane.   We ended the ride in the rain at 6pm.  But the time Mary, Bird and John Jones got back from him being lost we were pulling out for dinner at 6:45.  Overall the spirits were really good on the course.  Ken Merritt was very positive at the end when we weren't sure on the last few turns.   
Endure It gave us a Zoot backpack to keep and use as our SAG bag.  SAG is for an emergency bag or also know as your bag you can ask to grab at the half way point in 112miles.  I used it on Saturday's ride for my bike drink mix, water & Nutter Butters.  Yum!  Something about peanut butter I can't get enough.  My SAG bag also had sunscreen, Advil, peanut butter & jelly sandwich, and body glide.  I'll add to that on race day.

Saturday we headed out to bike the full course, we got in 104 miles from our hotel on John Nolen road.  We all went at our own pace and it worked out that John Jones and I stayed together.   The coaches would approach each of us and ask how we were and helped us climb up the hills.  Gear changing technique is critical to survive.   I'm happy with the comfortable pace we made it through the day.  Overall it took 6:35 for 104 miles.  Once I got back to the hotel I put my bike away and headed up for a 4 mile run.  On the bike I was worried about this...but once I got out and did it I was fine.  It's funny how your mind plays tricks on you.  This whole thing is so mental!  I can't tell how how excited I was getting back from that day...I called my family to tell them how great it went.  I can only imagine how fun that will be with the crowds & seeing my family and friends. 

Sunday I got up and decided to venture out on the 13miles on my own. I really wanted to find Observatory Hill on campus (which is part of the course).  Luckily a couple locals plus two training ladies showed me the way.  I can't believe how hilly that campus is.  I was so happy to find it and walk up it like everyone suggests. 

My quads were not happy as I ran down campus and back to John Nolen drive.  But at that point I thought, "Ok I'm almost done, cold bath and then heading home to see the fam"

Today being July 31st I had another big milestone to crush.  Lynn and I swam 4200 yards, and I was so ready to get out.  Thank goodness I had someone with me saying "No, you can do this" I really takes staying mentally strong.  Lately I feel like I'm going in a million directions, not enough down time.  And with Kindergarten starting for Elizabeth there is loads of emotions.   After my swim today I took her to her Kindergarten assessment.  It's just crazy to think that she'll be walking to school everyday and being there. 

I'm sure this Ironman will be emotional...I was telling my book club about how Ironman goes and how I got to this race.  It's crazy to think how far I've come with cancer, kids, & home life.   But what gets us all through each day is being positive and doing what you enjoy!  Life's too short to not make the most our time here and just live. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Over the weekend we had a family vacation to Door County where I did the Half Ironman race.  My parents boated from Chicago to Door County to stay at the Egg Harbor marina.  We stayed at Alpine Resort.  The resort had to be over 75years old.  As Adam put it, "This is great, it's a classic German Wisconsin resort"
 We got up there Friday in about 4 1/2 hours, checked in and went right to the beach.  The kids loved playing the sand.  I started getting nervous about the cold water temp of 60 degrees.   After some fun in the sun Adam & I went to Murphy Park to check into the race.   Saturday they offered a Sprint Triathlon and kids race.   When we got back to our hotel I made myself get in the bay at Egg Harbor and swim for 20mins.  It did warm up after a few minutes.  Luckily by Sunday they said the temp was 74 degrees.     On Sunday the day of the race I strapped my backpack on my back and biked to the transition area from Alpine which was about a 15min bike ride.   Did my warm up and walked to the start to find the family.   Door County is great for family because the spectators can be right on the sandy beach, there is a park and lots of food & coffee.   Its very easy to get around Door County.   We biked down to Sturgeon Bay & back for the course.   The 13mile run went from Murphy Park to Egg Harbor and back.  There were 1-2 killer hills were I met a chatty man named Dan.  He talked all the way to the finish.  I did mostly listening as he talked about the Ironman Wisconsin course and how to pace it.    

I finished the race with a time of 5:45:53.  13th in my age group of of 50 of 30-34 females.  Not my best time but at least another good day under my belt for September 9th!

My sister is about to order the T-Shirts for Ironman Wisconsin, so let me know asap if you want one.  Thanks again for all the support everyone has given me.  This has been a great journey with 6 weeks to go from Sunday.   Endure It is hosting the Madison camp Fri-Sunday this weekend which I'll be at.  I am nervous for the amount of training on the course it will bring.  Next week I'll post some pictures & tell you how it went.  


Monday, July 2, 2012

 The Farm in Burlington, WI.   Sarah & David Fix invited me up to bike long course hills with them.  Sarah is an extremely talented rider.  She's done 13 Ironman, to hear her stories Friday night and ride Saturday along with Lizzie, Eithan, Sarah L. and Jill was perfect.   Friday night we made smores in the fire, I loved this idea.  How often do you get to make smores in the fire during the summer, not often enough.  Before this Sarah gave us a tour of the farm.  There are cows, horses, goats and achers and achers of farmland. 

Sally was very generious to have us.  Her farm house above is the guest house the triathetes stayed.  This is a gorgious home with a wonderful outdoor pool. I personally think it should be used in a romantic movie set (but that's just me)   
Saturday morning we woke up at 4:45 to get a start on the heat and finish our day to still get back to hang out with our families.    Before we left I told the bikers that I'm being tracked.  My dad had a great idea to track me via a Garmin tracker.  It will be great when I'm out on a ride alone.  But the cool part was that my family could see where I was and my MPH all day.     

We started out for the first loop going SW around Lake Geneva, this was hilly as you can imagine.  I think the worst part was Fontana until you got back to Lake Como.  There are 3 to 4 extremely steep uphills where you are spinning or resulting in standing to move foward.   The 2nd time we hit it my hands were so sweaty I was holding on for life as I climbed.   Nothing can compare to the feeling when you are at the top of a very long windy WI hill.  

After the 1st loop we came back to Burlington to drop off Eithan & Jill.  Then we rode back to the SW part of Lake Geneva to Hubron and 12 miles south which became flat (which most call it the Hubron -Barrington route).   Once you were outside of Hubron the roads were very bumpy.   Sunday and Monday my upper back/shoulder blades have taken the biggest toll.  Once we got back to Hubron we went around to Fontana, Lake Como and to Burlington completing 108 miles with an average of 17mph.  I'm happy with the ride over all!  I can't believe we did 108 miles, yahoo!   And the last 80 miles I did was in hilly Wisco I'm really thrilled Sarah hosted this wonderful opportunity.  Thank you Sarah & David.