The Storm: IMWI 2016

18 Sep

Sunday morning! Race day!!  I got up at 3:45 to eat breakfast and then went back to bed until 5.  I didn’t sleep but tried to relax.

We were out the door at 5:30 sharp.  The logistics to getting to and from the lake/Terrace were difficult in my opinion.  Everything was so spread out.  I knew my 10 minutes of transition time would be a stretch goal.  Dan dropped me off, and I had no idea where to go first.  I saw 2 people walking with bags then they split off. I followed the one that had the special needs bags.  I dropped them off and met Erin, who I knew would be volunteering at the run special needs, I didn’t think there was any way I would find her but I did. It was fun meeting her and chatting for a few minutes.

I went to my bike to fill my aero bottle and put my nutrition on it.  I hadn’t gotten ribbon or sunscreen for my gear bags when I dropped them off the day before so I went into those 2 rooms and did that. Erin had told me to head down to the lake at 6:30.  I headed outside, there was too many people everywhere in the Terrace and I didn’t really know where to go.  I put on my wetsuit and walked toward the lake.

Oh man, how did I get here. I was about to start my 5th Ironman race. I vowed to never do a mass start after Whistler.  What was I getting myself into!!!

Got into the corral in a good spot. Happened to see Jon, Steph, and Laura. It was perfect. Not sure how we found each other! I think our toes hit the water at about 6:49.  We definitely didn’t want to be in there that early. But it was what it was!!

Swim: 1:10:10 // 1:49/100m


{photo cred: Erin}

I really didn’t want to be in the mix like I have before. I really wanted to stay out of the washing machine effect. I was over it. I seated my self far from the buoys. I thought far enough. Not so much. It was rough and dirty!  I just kept telling myself I was far enough away from the buoys that everyone would cut over and I could get some space. Not so much.  The buoys were coming and going pretty fast.  I got around the first buoy pretty easily and the second too.

The long stretch was coming up.  Just keep calm.  Just keep swimming.  I moved a little closer to the buoys but I still wasn’t right on them.  It was still packed and rough.  I think that the swimmers that can’t keep a straight line would be on my right and then they would see the buoy, cut over to get close to the buoy, and then cut back across me.  So every time a buoy would come, it would get rough. I would find some clear water or catch a draft.  It was a non-stop cycle for 1700m.  FINALLY, I got to the next buoy. That is a long stretch! 🙂  I had wished I would have studied the map a little bit better. I was a little disoriented and got off track a bit.

It was over. The brutal (probably the most brutal) swims I have ever done was over. Not sure why that was. I had read in past reports that IMWI typically had a not so rough swim but they were obviously wrong.  (**I did hear from everyone I talked to that it was brutal for everyone**) I was pleasantly surprised when I came out of the water at 1:10. I thought for sure it was longer than that!!

T1: 7:37

The long haul to transition. Long run up the helix which was kind of fun but super annoying. The spectators are awesome. They line the runway!  All I could do was smile. Put my shoes, helmet, and sunscreen on.  Then another long run to the bikes and through all the bikes to finally mount them.

Bike: 6:50:16// 16.38mph

Definitely my most disappointing part of the day.  I am not quite sure what happened.  I don’t even want to analyze it either.  I think it will make me more sad.

I knew I needed to be conservative on the first loop, which I thought I did but maybe not enough.  The second problem was I dropped my chain at about mile 25.  In all the years I have been riding bikes, I have dropped my chain once. ONE TIME EVER.  I am usually really careful.  Again not sure what happened. After that point, I was nervous that I would do it again.  I stayed in the small chain.  I wouldn’t get the speed down the decents like I normally do, to get some momentum up the next hill.  I soft pedaled way too much.

It was frustrating.  It was what it was.  The next problem was the roads were rough. Bump after bump.  I thought the roads that we ride on regularly were rough. Oh no we have it good compared to the roads the race was on.

The spectators were amazing on the big climbs. They were lined with screaming spectators. There was big talk about the “Barlow” climb. It was new this year as they had to change the course due to construction.

I knew it was at about mile 35.  I think the anticipation with worse than the actual climb.  It was a stair step climb. Each pitch was harder/steeper then the last. There would be 3 of them.

I saw Erin on the 3rd and final one.  It was hard but I got up it like a boss.  Erin got an awesome shot of me.


The rough road definitely took a toll on me.  I was pretty miserable and loosing it a bit mentally at about mile 80.  I would do some self talk and it would be better.  I would try to get some food down. That was difficult at this point too. I got my snickers down pretty easily and wished I had another one of those instead of the cliff bar I was trying to get down.  I was sick of the orange Gatorade too.  I wish they would have another flavor just to mix it up.  I took a gel at about mile 105 in hopes that would help.  I think the caffeine helped and that got me through the end of the bike.

Up the helix to finish off the bike. I had never been so happy to get off the bike before.  (I didn’t know what my time was because I had messed up my watch)


T2: 3:43

Pretty uneventful. I had a great volunteer that traded out my shoes and sprayed sunscreen on me.  Just like that I was on my way to run a marathon.

Run: 5:01:52 // 11:31/mile

Well the BIG goal here was to keep it slow and keep it “running” for as long as possible.  I saw Erin once again right off the bat.


Honestly, the run was my very favorite part of the day.  I had forgotten about the awful swim and the awful ride.  The spectators were AMAZING.  You hear that the spectators are amazing…but you can’t imagine until you are running the race.

The run course goes by the Capital and through downtown. There are a ton of out and backs.  I saw Dan 6 times. It was so much fun!!! I got to see the rest of my support crew 4 times.  I saw Steph and Jon’s family multiple times.

The first time I saw Dan (about mile 1), I told him that I was never doing this again, EVER!! 5 times was enough. 😉  You get to run through Camp Randall Stadium(where the Badgers play). It was definitely more fun then I thought it would be.  I saw the rest of the support crew about mile 7 after the first time conquering Observatory hill.  You have an awesome view of the lake.  You should have seen the sail boats.  There had to have been a 100!! That was tough.  But I got up and over it pretty quickly.


Still smiling. You run another out and back through downtown but pass through this spot again so when I saw Dan again.  He ran with me for about 90 seconds.  I asked what my bike split was and he told me.  I was sad but I didn’t let myself get too down.  I still had 17-18 miles to go.  I was running great and I was still happy!!

My favorite spot to run through was over by the lake on the trail.  Base Electrolyte Salts had a tent blaring music.  We ran by them 2x and could hear the music 1 other time on each loop.  That was a huge energy boast.

I saw Steph at about mile 10-11.  We talked for a few minutes.  She passed me looking good.  I hadn’t seen her all day.  I saw Laura and Jon a few times.  I made it through the half way point.  Feeling better than I ever have on an Ironman run before.  Going by the Capital and the half way point was so fun and uplifting.  I saw the crew at about 14.  He said I was in front of Steph again.  I said I never saw her.  (It turned out she stopped at special needs and I didn’t)

I was definitely in it. I was mentally in it.  I was having a great run.  I thought I could definitely do a sub 5 hour marathon.  I couldn’t believe how well I was doing. Back by the stadium, the crowds, Base Salts, up and over Observatory Hill, I was getting it done.  I saw Dan one final time at about 20ish.  I was still feeling good!  I was encouraging the first loopers, talking with some the second loopers, just having the run of my life. Well almost!! 🙂

At about mile 23…I was tired….I was still happy and smiling but I was walking a little bit between aid stations.  I couldn’t believe I had gotten through 23 miles of only walking the aid stations (and Observatory hill).

I needed to use the restroom and I finally found an open one at about mile 24.  I knew my goal time was out of the window so I thought who cares if I stop for a minute.  A couple of thoughts came to mind:  If I sat down could I get myself back up?!! Barely! What about pulling my pants back up. That would not be on easy task either! I succeeded though!

I was so close and so pumped to be almost done.  Every Ironman finish line is amazing and this one was one of my favorites.  I was so happy and so happy to be done!!!


Final time: 13:13:48  Definitely not what I was hoping for or what I thought I could do but it was OVER and I was pumped!!! What a day!!! I would never do this race again.  But I will say the spectators were amazing and I am not sure that I would have done as well without them!!

I can’t thank Dan, my mom, aunt, and Sheryl for making the trip and being awesome spectators!! They were just as tired as I was!! Until next time!!! 🙂


23 Responses to “The Storm: IMWI 2016”

  1. MoM September 18, 2016 at 2:46 PM #

    You continue to make me proud, so fun watching you do an Ironman, exhausting too🏊🏼🚴🏃🏻

  2. Liz September 18, 2016 at 3:04 PM #

    Amazing job Leslie! Nice work finishing strong and congrats on your fifth Ironman!!

    • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats September 18, 2016 at 7:29 PM #

      Thanks Liz!!! Can’t wait to come back to flight club!!

      • Liz September 24, 2016 at 9:48 AM #

        We miss you!!

      • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats September 25, 2016 at 6:11 PM #

        I miss you guys too! I can feel myself getting slower by the second!! 😉 I’m hoping to make it this week!!

  3. Kecia September 18, 2016 at 5:48 PM #

    This was the toughest swim I’ve ever had (and I’ve raced this event twice before)…so much body contact!! There are some rough roads on the bike course, but thankfully these are not nearly as rough as one of the roads on the loop we didn’t do this year. The spectators and volunteers at Madison are likely nothing I’ve experienced at other races…that is part of what keeps me coming back! It was so awesome to get to meet you in person! I hope you are recovering well and enjoying some down time!

    • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats September 18, 2016 at 7:27 PM #

      I wonder why the swim was so rough?! I’ve read on FB that even for the people swimming 1:30+ for the swim that it was rough too!! So weird!!
      So great to meet you too!! I’ve eaten way too many treats in the last week. It comes to a stop tomorrow!!! But recovery has been nice!!! Hope your recovery has been too!! I’m definitely dreaming of my next race! 😉

      • Kecia September 19, 2016 at 4:53 AM #

        I too am dreaming of my next race…I think I’m addicted 😉

      • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats September 19, 2016 at 7:54 PM #

        what are you thinking?!

      • Kecia September 20, 2016 at 4:04 AM #

        I don’t know…since I turn 40 next year, I’m really torn between another IM and 70.3s. I really want to do Boulder again, but not sure the new date is ideal for ending the school year…ugh!! 3rd world problems 😉

      • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats September 20, 2016 at 9:08 PM #

        Decisions decisions!!?!! 😉

  4. Erica September 18, 2016 at 6:43 PM #

    Great work girl! Such a rockstar! Never thought I would hear you say the run was the best part of your day. 🙂 Thanks to you ladies I know I never need to do IMWI!!!

    • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats September 18, 2016 at 7:24 PM #

      Thanks Erica!!! Never would I dream that I would say the run was the best part of my day!! 🙂

  5. Lee @ Tri*Inspired*Life September 23, 2016 at 5:21 AM #

    Congratulations on #5! I am still impressed by that, big time! I can only imagine the swim conditions you described. Wow! I think you had a GREAT swim time though and you beat your goal time. Way to go!!!!!

    I hate rough road on a race. That stinks! Dropping your chain only once ever before blows my mind! Lol!!! Were you expecting the rough road or was that a surprise? I can understand how that affected you mentally, but way to hold it together and focus on eating. You knew just what to do during the hard times…that’s where your experience shows!

    So impressed with sticking to your goals of running as long as you could. Your thoughts about stopping at the bathroom are so funny! All were very valid points based on being at mile 24 though!

    Way to finish strong and enjoy the finish line. That is awesome! I hope you thoroughly celebrated and enjoyed all the treats that you deserved!

    Still think you are done after #5????!!

    • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats September 25, 2016 at 6:21 PM #

      Thanks Lee!!!
      The rough road was a big surprise! I mean there is rough road everywhere but it was bad!!!! I was hurting after 40 miles! 😦
      I have eaten plenty of treats!! Probably more than I should have. 🙂
      I was retired for about a minute! I have signed up for another! #whatismyproblem

      • Lee @ Tri*Inspired*Life September 25, 2016 at 7:30 PM #

        Retired for about a minute….Lol!!!! Ok… tell!!!!!

      • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats September 26, 2016 at 9:40 PM #

        I signed up for Ironman Copenhagen!! I will write a post soon!! 🙂

  6. Steena September 28, 2016 at 5:33 AM #

    Congrats! I had that thought several times that day too “I’m never doing this again”
    Five times though! That’s amazing!
    Hope your recovery is going well!

  7. Heather October 4, 2016 at 6:51 AM #

    YAY for great spectators!! What.A.Race! I got exhausted and frustrated just reading the swim and bike portion, haha. You are truly amazing to push through everything! Congrats my friend 🙂


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