Friday, September 11, 2015

Pre-Race Check In: Ironman Wisconsin

Katie Foster (Nebraska) decided to double down on this year's Ironman training, tackling IM Wisconsin this coming weekend after Boulder last month. Here she checks in with some of her thoughts before the big day. Best of luck, Katie!

WEEEELLLL…this pre-race check in may be a little dull but here goes: I would never have guessed myself to be the one who signs up for an Ironman two weeks before race weekend. It’s not my personality. I’m a PLANNER. I plan things years in advance, so this is new territory for me. BUT, after Boulder I was feeling good, like I still had some tri to leave on the course before hibernating for the winter. I didn’t want the season to be over.

I looked at a few races and of course, most were sold out, but WI happened to have a few foundation slots left. I mulled it over for a few weeks after Boulder, trying to come up with an overwhelming reason why it couldn’t work. Is it dangerous? Can it hurt my health to do 2 IMs in 6 weeks? (I searched all over slowtwitch looking for other overly zealous triathletes talking about the same thing.) How can I possibility get this to work with just a few weeks of planning? (Hotels were available, and the race is within driving distance. Plus, no new tri gear needed.) Oh yeah and there’s this: 1) No one to go with me – this is where my running buddy, and friend, Melanie, is the hero. She is a busy mom of three (and a PTO President!) and is regularly doing things for others. She rearranged her family schedule and important PTO obligations and gave me the GO to sign up. She was unwavering in her enthusiasm. This race doesn’t happen without her. 2) High race fee - Ultimately my unbelievably supportive hubby said “go for it!” and he signed me up. Once registered, I thought, did this just really happen, did I sign up and is this DUMB?

Wisconsin was my first exposure to Ironman. I was a cheerleader in 2011 and 2012. It was an awesome experience and probably the reason I love Ironman as much as I do. Madison is a beautiful city, the crowd support was unbelievable on the swim, bike and run course. September is a busy month for me with family birthdays and my kids' school activities, so I figured WI would not be a good race for me, any year. I guess that’s the upside to signing up so late. I had most of my kids’ schedules figured out for September, and was able to plan parties around the race. SO, here I am, my girlfriend and sister are planning to drive with me and cheer while my husband stays home with my kids to keep them in school, coach, run around all weekend to games, practices and parties, etc. I am always aware of the sacrifices my family makes to support my tri-addiction, and those generosities offered to cheer me on race day. Many thanks.

Four days out the weather in Madison looks AMAZING. Exactly what I would hope for. 48-68 with less than 10 mph wind. Hopefully that does not change. I’m ecstatic to try this course out. I know everyone says it’s hard, and I anticipate it will take me a lot longer and I plan to be conservative. My plan is not to repeat my hydration mistakes I made in Boulder. I was able to get in contact with a coach who provided me with a nutrition plan so I just hope I can execute it on Sunday. Like always, I am humbled by the enormity of an Ironman, and all the things that can go wrong. My approach is to plan for the worst and hope for the best. (Don’t lose my goggles in the water/don’t wreck on the bike/hope my body works/pray a lot, and ENJOY the experience!)

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