RNR Arizona 2017

17 Jan

After the 4th snow storm in the last 5 weeks, we were ready for some sunshine.  Too bad the entire 3 days we were in Phoenix there was no sun.  It did rain on Saturday but we were just happy it wasn’t snowing!

We did our annual see all the friends and eat at all of my favorite restaurants while we were there weekend + a 13.1 mile run.


This race was much different than all the years in the past.  I am heart rate training now so all my running has been slow. Slow!! If you have never tried heart rate training, it is definitely different.  Since I started with my new coach December 1, there was no way to start the heart rate training and still run fast for this race.  I was absolutely ok with that.

Here were the instructions from coach:

First 3 miles—Easy; hold back

7 miles— Tempo; moderately paced

last 5K— I could go as fast as I wanted

My only real goal was to negative split.  (I was pretty sure if I followed Liz’s instructions I would.)

I didn’t have to look at my heart rate! Which was nice but it is usually a nice guide.

My friend Abbey, dropped us about 1/2 mile from the start.  We did a short walk, a short warm up run, and got in the corral about 10 minutes before go time!


Dan and I started together and neither of us was real sure what was going to happen.  He hadn’t been training much and I haven’t been running fast very much.  We started out “easy” very conversation pace.  We bought some new wireless headphones at the expo.  We tried them out on our shake out run on Saturday and we both had problems.  I wasn’t going to risk it.  He thought he had figured out the problem.  But they still didn’t work and he put his way.  I put mine away too and we chatted.

We got to the 5k mark. I’m pretty sure slower than in any 1/2 I’ve done the last 4-5 years.  Which was fine.  I wanted to make sure I would be able to speed up the last 5k.

We kept running and kept chatting.  We sped up a bit.  Still feeling good.  At mile 7, Dan peeled off to use the portie potty.  I told him to catch up.  I would at least see him on the hill between mile 9 and 10.  I put my headphones back on and kept on trucking.  I of course felt like I was going much faster than I actually was! 🙂  I know I had dropped the pace a bit more.  I did check my heart rate at about 8 just to see where I was.

I got to the turn around point and saw Dan not too far behind me.  By the time we got to the bottom of the hill he had caught back up to me.  He asked if I was going to speed up and I didn’t think I could.  I sped up coming down the hill so there was no way I was actually going to speed up more than that.

I still felt relatively good.  I knew if I wanted to sustain the pace: 9:45ish it was going to be a hard last 3.1 miles.  I thought I would just see what happens.  Dan left me at about mile 11 to see what he had left.  I kept up my pace and finished strong.  He beat me by 2 minutes.

Dan is keeping the Fastest Pancake Award.  I thought I might have a chance but he was able to sustain the pace.  (To think he didn’t even want to do the half but really only did it to get his puzzle piece.  (I explain later)

I finished in 2:13:59.  Slow.  But it was good.  I negative split and definitely left everything out there!  I had fun.  I ran with Dan way more than I thought I would.  It was a very progressive run.   I averaged 10:40s for the first 5K. 10:14s for the middle 7. 9:48s for the last 5K.  I feel like it was a very successful run!!  I have confidence that the heart rate training is going to work and my runs are just going to get better and better!! 🙂img_2705

We got our 3rd puzzle piece for our 4 medal series.  I had understood that for 4 years we were going to get 4 medals that were eventually going to fit together.  We got our first 2 (’15, ’16) and then this year everyone got the regular medal and if you had run ’15/’16 we would get the third puzzle piece.  The same will go for the 4th next year.  I don’t think that was the intention when they set this up 2 years ago but who knows. People like medals.


My after race treat: Baked Bear  I had a cookie/brownie combo ice cream sandwich.  It was well worth it! They make the ice cream sandwich and then put it in a fancy cookie warmer where the ice cream doesn’t melt. AMAZING!!


Another awesome trip!  A great start to the year!! Until next year!!!

16 for ’16

8 Jan

Well I had a great 2016. Here are 16 highlights.  

I started the year with hiring a 1-on-1 triathlon coach.  There was pros and cons.  Training was awesome.  I was never brunt out. I had a solid season but I also never saw any (triathlon) PRs.

Our Annual trip to Phoenix.  Also fun to see friends and run the RNR 1/2 marathon.


Shamrock 15K.  It was pouring. My calf was somewhat injured.  BUT I managed a very very small PR. I also beat Dan for the very first time in a foot race! Bam!!


In April, The Pancakes celebrated their 1st anniversary


Another 70.3 in the books. Coeur d’Alene was a tough race mentally.  I’ve worked a ton on mental strength but CDA always gets the best of me.


Bend for July 4th was amazing.  It was very relaxing.  Sun. A few short work outs.  It was a nice reset before I really started to hit the Ironman training hard!!


The ride of the year: I rode 100 miles to the coast.  Everything about the day was perfect (except the 5 miles of gravel we rode through).  I felt great, positive, confident and although this was a Portland Tri Club ride I rode mostly solo.  It was my fastest century EVER!


6th Hood To Coast: It is hard to believe I haven’t missed a year since I started but next year we will be in Europe so I will miss it.  #sadnotsad


I started working from home.  I got a stand up desk.  It was AWESOME!! THEN 4 months later I got a new job.  Same company but I had to move to the downtown office.  Which was nice because it is closer but it’s NOT working from home! (this picture was taken the night we set it up, it was never this clean again!)


Ironman #5: Wisconsin!!  Not a PR.  Very few goals met.  But I had an amazing run and that definitely counts for something!


Kona with Dan.  We had so much fun watching IM World Championship, running, walking, swimming with the turtles and relaxing.


I was sad to see Dan leave the island but when the girls got there we had so much fun!! We had  a crazy adventure running the inaugural Ragnar Hawaii as an ultra team.


We not only won the open ultra women’s  division.  We were fastest among ALL of the ultra women’s teams! Bam!!


We went to Vegas a few times.  We met our 3rd niece.  (first on my side)  She is super precious.  Totally in love with her.


See my favorite threesome grow up!  It is hard to believe the twins just turned 3 and Seth is about to turn 6.  Crazy!!  We had lots of fun times this year especially baking and playing at the park.


In November, I decided to hire a new coach, as of December 1st.  So far so good.  I am feeling really good and loving the work outs.

We decided to staying in Portland for Christmas.  My mom was coming to visit.  Although Dan and I were kicking ourselves for deciding to stay(and looking for last-minute plane tickets to somewhere, anywhere but here), we had a fun time.  Bonus I got in every.single.one of my work outs!! 🙂


Here is to an even BETTER 2017.  What are some of your 2016 highlights?






RNR Las Vegas 10K

23 Nov

We decided to sign up for RNR LV late in the summer.  I signed up for the half and Dan signed up for the 10K.  The big reason for the trip was my brother and SIL just had a baby.  We wanted to go meet Josie for the first time.  We were set for a double-header.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago!  I’m burnt out from running.  I have had a sore foot for months.  I got home from Hawaii and didn’t want to keep running long.  I did lots of 6 milers.  I did a track work out.  I saw my PT.  She said I could do the half if I wanted.  I wasn’t sure that I really wanted to do the half at this point.

The week before!  I kind of wanted to do the half.  A friend was going to run the half…at a run/walk…I kind of liked that idea.  The problem was the logistics.  The half and 10K started at different places.  Dan would have been done with the 10K as I was starting the half.

The weekend of!!  We got to Vegas Saturday morning and went straight to the expo.  It was still unclear if I was going to do the half or 10k.  Not sure when I really decided…I guess Sunday afternoon.  It was just going to be easier logistically.  I didn’t really want to run 13.1 miles anyway!


My very loose goal went from a sub 2 1/2 marathon to a sub 1 hour 10k.

That was going to be a stretch but maybe the race day magic would take over and it would go well!

My mom dropped us off about an hour early.  We didn’t know how traffic would be so it was better to be safe than sorry + we know the back roads!! 🙂


They had music playing and people were stretching in a big field that they have concerts at.  We did a short warm up + dynamic stretching.  We headed to the start line.  The Star Spangled Banner was sung by a rock band and it was awesome!!!

We were off right on time.  It was time to get uncomfortable.  I only do one 10K a year.  I don’t really know how to race a 10K.  I know you need to get uncomfortable pretty quick.

Dan left me pretty quick.  We were having a battle of the Pancakes and he wanted the crown back!  I knew pretty quick it was going to be a long hour.


I was trying to run fast.  I just don’t have much speed these days.  I thought I would just see how far I could at the pace I was going.   There is not that much more of the story than that.  My watch clicked at the 6 mile marker but I wasn’t at the actual 6 miler marker so I looked at my watch and I was at 58:xx.  I knew my sub 1 hour was out the window.

I tried to pick it up as much as I could!  I finished strong.  A positive split, which rarely happens, but not by much.  It was a fun race.

Dan took home the Pancake crown.



It was a super fun race.  The medal is awesome!  We had a fun time in the sun!!  We will see if I can win back the crown at RNRAZ!!!


Part 2: Kona Ragnar Hawaii

27 Oct


The second part of my Hawaiian vacation was about to begin.  The girls arrived and we headed in Kailua for lunch and groceries.  We rented a killer house in Waikoloa Village.

That evening we went to the Marriott Waikoloa Luau.


I didn’t really know what to expect.  I checked the menu before agreeing on it.  It looked like I would have something to eat.

We enjoyed the sunset, drinks, dinner, and the show.  It wasn’t really what I expected but then I wasn’t even sure what to expect.



The Ragnar packet pick up was at the same hotel.  We squeaked in right as they were closing.  It was nice to just have that done so we didn’t have to worry about it the next day.


We hit up the Waialea beach for some swimming and snorkeling.  It was perfect.


We used the boogie boards like rafts!


We went into Kailua to have lunch.  We went to a Mexican restaurant that Dan and I had been eyeing the week before.  Talk about being on Hawaii time.  2 hours that we will never get back.  I showed them around the pier and the Ironman swim start.


After a long afternoon it was time to hit the grocery store, get home to cook dinner, and get packed up for the relay.

FRIDAY: Day 1 of Ragnar Hawaii

After not getting an earlier start time, like I wanted—another long story, we were stuck with an 8:45 start.  We made our way to Hilo.  It was already sunny and hot.

Jen was our newest addition.  Anne got herself knocked up and was out for Hawaii.  Stephanie and Laura talked Jen into something she would probably regret getting talked into it!! 🙂

We were originally going to do 3-double legs, but they changed a bunch of legs around and there was 2 really long legs in our 3rd set of legs, so we opted to run 2 longer legs and 2 shorter legs like Del Sol.


With all the changes I ended up with the most amount of miles.  Shit. How did that happen? I feel like that happens every.single.time!!! Enough complaining.  I was off for a long run!!


Who is ready to start Ragnar Hawaii?!! Not me!!!


Me(runner 1); Laura (runner 6); Kat(runner 3); Jen(runner 5); Erica (runner4); Stephanie (runner2)

LEG 1: legs 1 and 2: 13.53 miles  11:06/mile 8:45 am

Well I really wanted to try and go out easy.  It was going to be hot and miserable no matter what. Turned out to be hot, miserable, and slow.  It was a hard leg.  There was a lot of uphill.  The van wasn’t meeting me until after the first exchange, which ended up being a huge mistake.  I was so hot.  I wanted to take me shirt off(who am I?)  I had run out of Gatorade by the first exchange.  I did come upon this guy who was washing his car and I had him spray me down.  That was nice but it dried quick!!

Honestly, I wanted to quit so bad.  I wanted to see the girls, have them pick me up, quit this madness, and just go to the beach!! I didn’t want to go on.  I didn’t want to run anymore.  I was in a pretty dark place for being at mile 6 of a 200 mile relay!!

Finally when I saw the girls at about 6.5/7 miles I got more water.  They put more sunscreen on me.  I definitely got a second wind.  They stopped a few more times before the end of the leg.

Leg 1 DONE!! This leg pretty much confirmed that legacy for IMWC was out. No thank you!

We were all pretty miserable on our first legs.  It was hot, windy, it rained, and there was huge elevation gain.  We got a pretty good rhythm of stopping to support with cold water, ice, and sunscreen.  Picture the pit crew of a Nascar race.  We all took the welcomed break.  Except one of Steph’s legs.  She was trying to pass a gal.  We barely got her bottle filled and ice down her sports bra before she was off again!


LEG 2: leg 13: 9.2 miles 9:31/mile 9:40pm

I thought this leg would be so much better.  It was my night leg.  In the dark.  Always my favorite.  Wrong!! The chart said it was all downhill.  Which isn’t exactly easy.  You pound on your quads.  My toes were totally wrecked from IMWI already. That was not going to help on this leg either.  We also had learned in the last 12 legs that the chart wasn’t exactly correct either.

I experienced everything during this leg.  Headwind, tailwind, cross wind, mostly downhill, but there was some good uphill stretches too.  The one cool thing was the moon was full and it was amazing.

But still a very hard leg.  DONE!


LEG 3: leg 24: 7.87 miles 10:18/mile 7:21am

Another “downhill” leg.  Now my quads were totally trashed from leg 2 and my toes may fall off at any second.  I was going to start my third leg.  It started off downhill and good.  My legs were not happy but at least there was no wind.  The sun had just rised and was out in full force.  I knew I would need to bottle some of the “cool” 70 degree air because my next leg was going to be at least 90!

I got into a pretty good groove with a pretty good clip and then it started.  Out of nowhere the wind went from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds. I was so sad.  The view was awesome though!

It ended rough and another shitty leg DONE!


LEG 4: leg 31; 4.4 miles 12:23/mile 1:45pm

This one was a doozy. This one started in the Energy Lab.  Which was kind of cool.  It started in sand. (WTF?) It was an uphill out and onto the Queen K.  HOT, HOT, HOT.  I didn’t even start with a shirt on!


I just kept telling myself to go SLOW…JUST GET IT DONE…SO CLOSE BUT SO FAR AWAY!

A gal from another ultra team came up to me and we started chatting.  I wanted to walk so bad but I kept with her.  She was running leg 31 and 32 and I felt bad for her!  We chatted which was fun.  We passed another ultra gal.  At about mile 2 I saw the girls and got some more cold water.  My new friend had kept going but I caught her.  We ran and walked a bit more.  She saw her team and I kept moving.  She never caught back up to me.  I definitely powered through.  Run, walk, run…it wasn’t the death march that I thought it would be…but it was finally over.  I handed off to Steph for the last time!!!

Just as fast as it started it was OVER!! We all killed our last legs and finished in 34 hours 36 minutes.  It was good for 1st place in the open women’s ultra division.  We were also 1st of all the ultra women’s teams.  BAM.  We got it done.




We had a great brunch and last hurrah before taking Erica to the airport.


Do we all look like we just ran a million miles?


We went down to the Old Kona Airport Beach.  Not a great beach for relaxing.  There wasn’t much sun either.  We checked out the open air market on All’i drive.  I had more ice cream at Kope Lani, my favorite ice cream shop! Hula Mocha Freeze FTW!!!


We were all tired, sore, and stiff.  But it was nice to move around in the fresh air.


Back to Hilo we went.  We knew there was some waterfalls that we wanted to check out.  It was worth the trip.

We first stopped at Hilo Shark’s Coffee.  Most of us got milkshakes and some got coffee.

Rainbow Falls was awesome.  The sun has to be facing the falls to see the rainbow.  When we got there the sun wasn’t even out. But as we hung out for a bit it came out and so did the rainbow.


We hit up Pe’epe’e Falls and Wai’ale Falls.




Akaka Falls was our 4th and final stop.  400 feet down.  Nice little hike too.




Another great day in paradise.


My last day.  What a sad day that was.  After 12 days in Hawaii, I was getting ready to leave!  Jen left a couple of hours before we did, so we went back to the Energy Lab for one last dip!



Kona 2016: Part 1 with Dan

17 Oct

FRIDAY morning (10.13.16) we were set to leave Portland to Kona (via Seattle shuttle).  Long story long: We got to the airport; the first flight to Seattle (8:30, we were on the 9) was delayed; air traffic controllers weren’t letting any planes into Seattle.  That made me nervous.  They were trying to get as many people onto the flight as possible because they didn’t know how many of the shuttles were going to get to go out.  We secured a spot on the 8:30(BARELY).  We were on the plane ready to take off…late as it was.  Then we deboarded…Seattle wasn’t ready for us!  It was going to be 90 minutes.  (Kona flight was at 11:10)  Everyone off the plane, into the line to be rebooked, people were going to miss their connecting flights.  Dan gets on the phone and AK Air says if you leave by 10, you will be ok.(if not call back)  (cue the tears…I knew there was zero chance of us leaving by 10)….Dan stayed positive…I on the other hand was pissed and sad!!

We re-boarded at 9:55 and were off at about 10:15 for the 35 minute flight…we got to Seattle at 11.  There were quite a few of us on that flight that was going to Kona, I knew if we could get to Seattle and had to run it would be fine.

We ran through one terminal, got to the in-airport shuttle to the other terminal, thought we were on the wrong one, literally got to the gate and the doors were shut…and you know when the doors are shut you are in trouble….BUT….she let us on…along with the 15 or so other people from our flight that didn’t run, that weren’t sweaty, about 15 minutes after us.  I knew in my gut we would be ok…but I thought if we don’t run and we miss it, I would be even more sad!!

We made it!!! I was just happy to be here!!! We weren’t sure that our baggage had made it. But it finally made its way out the baggage carousel!!

We had a nice afternoon of relaxing, walking around Kailua-Kona, we hit up Kona Brewing Company for pizza.


Our first Kona sunset!


SATURDAY: Ironman World championship

We got up super early. We didn’t know how hard it would be to get a good spot to watch the swim.  We grabbed some coffee and checked out a few spots before settling on what turned out to be a great one!!


We got a few viewing tips for the guy sitting by us.  We saw all the waves go off.  By the time the AG women went off, the pro men were coming in.  We went up to Kuakini Hwy to see the bikes and we got there right in time to see the first mens pro go by.  You can barely recognize them.  They go by in a blink of the eye.  I knew what some of my faves were wearing so I could cheer for them.


Top left clockwise: Jan Frodeno, Jessie Thomas, Ben Hoffman, Heather Jackson, Miranda Carfrae

We walked down to the hot corner to see a bit more of the racers come down and up Palani.    I wanted to see Erin before we headed back to the condo.  I cheered for her 3 times before I actually cheered for her.  All the Coeur Sports ladies were in the same kit on the same bike.    It wasn’t until that 3rd time, I knew it was her. I cheered extra loud for her and then headed for breakfast.

We were staying on Ali’i drive at the 2 mile marker of the run (and 8 mile on the way back).  We had a perfect viewing spot for the run.  We went to the pool to get cool before we would need to be back to see the pros.  We did some serious cowbelling.  It was so fun seeing Jan and Sebastian running neck and neck.  We saw all of our faves.  I cheered extra loud for Jessie, Ben, and Andy!!  Finally the pro women were coming through and it was kind of hard because we had to be paying attention to both directions now!! Heather, Rinny, and Linsey come through.  So fun to see them. (You like how I didn’t use last names like they were all my best friends) 😉

It was so hot.  Like miserable hot. Every single racer looked MISERABLE. Not comfortable. Not happy. MISERABLE.  We went back to the pool to cool down again.

Everyone is so fast.  Of course they are fast, they have to be fast to get themselves there!!  We waited for Erin to come through.  Like a totally bad-ass loving life, she cruised by us at mile 2 and 8 with a huge smile on her face.


So much fun.  What a day of spectating.  Spectating really is hard!! Dan said that I should try to get a legacy slot to Kona.  I thought it would be pretty cool to try to work up to that point but it just looks so hot and miserable!! #neversaynever

**I will get back to this legacy business later*


We got up and went for a run.  I thought well I am going to have to run at some point.  I better get it done.  You can’t tell in this picture but I was dripping in sweat and it was 7:30 in the morning.  I texted the girls and said you better be ready to run in your sports bras cause the heat is no joke!!


We headed (on foot) to Kahaluu Beach.  We snorkeled and saw a ton of fish.  There was 6 honu(turtles) there.  It was so awesome.  I love turtles.  I could watch them all day!

That afternoon we walked back to Kona Brewery Company for their brewery tour.  It was super fun.  They started in Portland and made their way to the big island.  We met a gal who got a slot as a legacy racer.  It was fun chatting to her about the race and how many IMs she has done(15).  (Of course I started to think that legacy would be a good idea. #whatiswrongwithme)



We picked up the rental car and headed north.  Our first stop was Hapuna Beach. Lots of sun and waves.  We soaked up a ton of sun this day.  We went up further north to Hawi to get some ice cream. We read about Kohala Coffee Mill.  They have Tropical Dreams ice cream, which is a local brand.  It was nice to have a break from the sun and perfect treat for such a hot day.

That night, definitely the highlight of the trip, was a night snorkel trip with the manta rays.



We went with the Kona Honu Divers.  We had so much fun with Captain Frank and his crew.  They were super fun, knowledgeable, and helpful.  We got to snorkel before it got dark and then back to the boat for a manta talk.  We learned about the mantas and the story behind them.

We got back in the water with our wetsuits on.  It took a little bit of time to see our first one but when we did we were all really excited!! I was nervous we weren’t going to see any. I was like well at least we got to see 1.  Then we saw Big Bertha.  She is the largest one down there with a 17 foot wingspan.  (There is 250 documented mantas around the island) She came up under us and it was insane.  So awesome!!!!!  We got to see 4 total but they put on quite a show for us.  We were in the water for an hour.  What an hour it was!!!


Another early morning.  We were set to go down south to the black sand beach and volcano.



We hit up Punalu’u Beach.  We walked around a bit.  Not a lot of snorkelers and not a lot of sun.  This beach has more cold water due to the offshore freshwater.  We decided we didn’t want to snorkel. So we didn’t take anything with us to the opposite side of the beach.  Once we got over there.  We saw a family snorkeling and I said I bet there is a turtle(s) here.  Sure enough one popped his head out of the water right then.  I was so excited and in the 10 minutes it took us to walk over there, the sun had come out.

Back to the car to get snorkel gear, towels, and sunscreen.  We swam(it wasn’t too cold), hung out with the turtles, and soaked up some more sun!


We finally made our way to the Hawai’i Volcano National Park.  We had planned to be there after dark to see the lava but there was no way we were going to make it 5 more hours until dark.  We opted to go over to the Visitor Center, Jaggar Museum to see the Kilauea Caldera, and hiked the Kilaueu Iki Trail/ Thurston Lava Tube.



It was a super fun trip with Dan.  #livinthedream We both packed up Tuesday night.


I was sad to take Dan to the airport at 9am but excited to go back to the airport at 11am to pick up the girls for a different adventure.  Ragnar Hawaii here we come!

Have you been to the Big Island?  Any favorite spots?






2016: 2nd & 3rd Quarter

6 Oct

I’m not sure where the last 6 months has gone but here is a recap of my 2nd & 3rd quarter.  Here are some of the highlights!

April happenings:  I celebrated my 37th trip around the sun.

Dan and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary. We froze some cookies from the party.

There is always weddings!!

Palm Springs, CA

Leavenworth, WA


We went to Bend to celebrate the 4th of July:


Gelato!! Freedom ride: They do a freedom ride on the 4th and it is madness. There is bikes everywhere.  We were warned that it was crazy.  The picture doesn’t even do it justice.  River walk by the Mill District. Juniper pool. 50m outdoor pool. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. 🙂




The baked treats were done more in the spring and fall.  Dan and I decided to do a summer challenge of no sweets.  The problem is “sweets” is such a broad term.  We didn’t really make the boundaries very good.  It started off we were going to eat zero treats.  That lasted a week.  I wanted a treat after Blue Lake Tri.  We thought we will do a 1x week (on the weekend) treat.  That worked for a while.

Then it happened.  The worst possible thing imaginable.  One of our favorite ice cream shops OPENED NEXT DOOR!!  So 1x a week turned into 2-3x per weekend. We were good during the week.  Of course as you can see we stopped tracking it too!

It was more of a bet then a challenge.  If I ate less than Dan, he was going to buy me a new tattoo.  If he ate less than me, I was going to have to watch all 7 Star Wars movies.  (full disclosure: I have never seen any of them)

The challenge ended after Wisconsin.  We still haven’t declared a winner!

Fun with the threesome!


Date nights!!  This was from movie in the park. Jaws. Neither one of us had seen it.  “We are going to need a bigger boat!”


Our annual berry picking afternoon.  We were a day late so we had to settle for frozen ones.


My good friend Mandi came to town for work training for 2 weeks so we spent lots of time hanging out.  This was at the Pine Street market.


I got to meet a few blogger friends IRL.  Lee and her husband Tony came to the Pacific Northwest and started their trip in Portland.  We had dinner and of course took them to get ice cream.


I got to meet Erin at Ironman Wisconsin.  She is racing in the World Championship this weekend and a total bad ass.

I got to meet Kecia the day after Ironman Wisconsin for breakfast and war stories.


It was an awesome 2nd and 3rd quarter.  I’m ending the “summer” with a 12 day trip to the big island.  Dan and I leave for Kona tomorrow morning to spend 6 days going to the World Championship, the beach, swimming and relaxing.  The 2nd 6 days is with my girlfriends doing the inaugural Ragnar Hawaii Ultra style.  Why would we have a 12 person team when we can have a 6 person team and run double the miles!  Can’t.hardly.wait!!

What were your summer highlights?




Guest Post: IronFan Wisconsin

2 Oct

I begged asked Dan to do a “spectator” report for Ironman Wisconsin.  He is a great writer and very funny.  Enjoy his report:

Why am I writing this? Good question, we’ll get there. Sometimes I like to write for fun when I don’t have to write on a specific topic for work or academic reasons. I like to tell a good story and maybe get a few laughs along the way. So when Leslie asked me to contribute to her blog post I thought, what the hey, let’s see if her readers might like to hear what the Iron Fans go through on race day.

Super quick background on me. I’m a marketer by day, student by night, athlete in the morning, and a pretty rad husband to Leslie every second in-between. I still consider myself a runner even though I’m also an Ironman, a Spartan, and a triathlon coach (Go Team!).

Now stop me if you’ve heard this before but Leslie is a pretty damn impressive athlete. The one and only time I did an Ironman, I got to watch Leslie crush me in the same race by over 3 hours. Her athleticism and commitment to this crazy sport just amazes me. I don’t often get to watch her race so when she told me a year ago that she wanted to sign up for Ironman Wisconsin, I said “hell yeah, do it and I’ll be there to cheer you on.”

Fast forward a year to Ironman Wisconsin.

Leading up to the race in Madison, me and the rest of the support crew did everything we could to keep Leslie sitting down, drinking water, and fueling up. She’s a restless one though, like the rest of you crazies, always trying to go wander around, explore and burn off nervous energy. We cooked and did store runs for her to at least try to keep her down and chilling.

Ironically, she had no problem sleeping the night before the race but I was wide awake all night. Nervous energy must have just passed over from her to me so I hit up the couch and tried to sneak in a couple or three hours of rest. So, this a spoiler alert: it’s NOT a great idea to spend a full day spectating on no sleep.

Getting up at 4:30 and rousing the rest of the support crew, we managed to get a surprisingly relaxed Leslie dropped off at transition by 5:30. Off to a great start already, we found free street parking relatively close to the finish line and we were on a roll! We walked the 3 blocks towards the start line and found a relatively empty large-coffee-chain-from-Seattle ready to fill us with our first much-needed caffeine fix.

Now, who’s in the support crew? There were 4 of us (including me) there for Leslie. Leslie’s mom (who we lovingly call Mama Block) and her sister (who for lack of a better nickname we call Aunt Lavon). These two ladies were rockstars all day, carrying their share of foldable chairs and always being ready with a cowbell and a smile. Also joining us was our good friend and my fellow Retironman (one-and-done retired Ironman), Sheryl (aka Shanderson).

As a crew, we rendezvoused at the swim start a little bit later than we’d have liked. There were way more spectators there than we expected. The best viewing spot turned out to be on top of “the helix” (which is a sexy term for a parking lot, apparently) so we tried up there first but it was a cluster and we wouldn’t have been able to spot Leslie in a sea of green and pink caps. So we moved to the swim exit and fought the crowds for a good spot to catch her coming out of the water.


We tried to find Leslie in the crowd of athletes going into the water but it was impossible to distinguish her between the black wetsuit clad mass. When are the wetsuit companies going to start dyeing neoprene already?!

So, we passed on watching the mass start and lined up behind the wetsuit strippers. Pretty good spot to see the swimmers getting out and a great spot to get sprayed by sea water and who knows what else. Next time I’ll treat it like a Gallagher show and bring a plastic sheet.

We saw Leslie fly out of the water WAY faster than projected with a big ole smile on her face. We screamed as loud as we could to get her to see us because I knew the triathletes usually get all confused and deaf when they get out of the water. To our surprise, she saw us and waved! Woot, all morning’s efforts paid off for 10 seconds of viewing time!

Then, it’s time to mobilize the crew and get out on the bike course. Had we been a little more mobile, we might’ve been able to skip over to the other side and see her coming out of T1 but it would’ve required some running and maybe a bulldozer to get through the crowd. The athletes get a pretty cool experience running up the sexy-parking-lot to T1 with crowds cheering them on, we just weren’t in the mix for that.

We made our fatal mistake as a support crew at this point. We understood there was a shuttle that would take us to “mile 15” on the bike course where there’d be a great viewing area and food vendors. A party! Well, we hustled to the shuttle while our bellies rumbled with hunger pangs. We crowded onto a school bus while the mostly Wisconsin-based Iron Fans listened to sports radio and cheered on their Packers who were also playing on race day (the nerve!).

When we arrived at “mile 15” we found the following:

  • 2 porta potties
  • 1 community fundraiser selling “walking tacos” (which are a bag of fritos with hot beans and meat dumped onto it)
  • 3 community fundraisers selling “brats” (which are like a fancy hotdog)
  • A lot of volunteers sitting around
  • A lot of fellow-confused Iron Fans

After some investigation, we figured out that we’re actually waiting at mile 56 so the Ironman staff didn’t need to set anything up for another hour. There was no “mile 15” waiting area at all. We (or more accurately, I) goofed. So, we made ourselves comfortable and debated about which Wisconsin delicacy we’d try first. Finding nothing appealing for sale, I opted for more hot coffee and a Kind bar I had on me.

Eventually, the staff set up the barriers and geared up for the cyclists to come through. It turned out to be an awesome spot to watch the race! We could see the cyclists coming from a long way down the road and we were close enough so they could hear us cheering. Lots of great crowd support so the smiling triathletes got their first taste of how the spectators do Ironman Wisconsin.

We found 2 spectators rocking a custom “Team Leslie” t-shirt so we took a picture together with them and thanked them for supporting our girl.


I guess there are two Leslies doing Ironman?

We saw Leslie ride by and she definitely saw and heard us for a split second. Woot, mission accomplished for another 3 hours of hard spectating! At that point, Shanderson and I needed an actual meal so we timed out that we could shuttle back to Madison, eat, and be back to see Leslie at mile 90. So we did just that and got a good meal and a beer (because why not) for a minute and made it back just in time.

Leslie cruised by a little slower than she’d estimated for mile 90. We were a little worried about her but we knew the bike course was supposed to be tough. We also knew she’s tough as nails and would eat up the run course. So, back on the shuttle for the 4th time in a 4th different route (who knew Madison traffic patterns were so flexible).

We didn’t think we’d be back in time to see her at T2 but the crew made it just in time and we divided up the spotting duties to see her. Boom, spotted her again! Another hard effort paid off!

img_2253-2Still smiling after 114.4 miles.

I knew the crew was getting worn out but I wanted to push hard and get to mile 1 on the run. Shanderson went out to take a break so I gave Mama Block and Aunt Lavon directions on where to meet me and I went off running to mile 1. I made it just in time to spot my badass wife running strong down the street. Even though I was pretty much alone on the corner, I had to scream and wave to get her attention. She jogged over for a tired kiss and said the sweetest words I’d ever heard: “Babe, don’t ever, ever, ever, ever let me do this again. Ever.”

The rest of the crew rendezvoused there a few minutes later and I recounted my exchange with Leslie. I then broke the bad news to the crew that we had to keep walking another 2-3 miles to see Leslie again. They begrudgingly gathered up their chairs and we moved on.

After a long walk down State Street, we set up cheering on the corner where we’d see Leslie twice more.


The super tired runner needed some encouragement so we told her to get moving because there was an awesome crowd ahead (there really was). She got serenaded with cheers for a couple miles then met up with us again in the same spot. I decided to run with her for a couple seconds just to keep her spirits up. First thing she did, she asked me for some chapstick which I fortunately had on me. Ironically, we just learned about this guy who DQ’d at Ironman recently because his spouse gave him some chapstick on the course. Good thing we didn’t get caught! (And if any race officials are reading this right now, consider this a satire piece, mkay?)

Leslie asked what her bike split was. I knew it was 20 minutes slower than she wanted. I didn’t want to tell her but she asked so I told her. So, that was a mistake. For any other Iron Spouses out there, if they ask how they’re doing during the race, just tell them they’re crushing it! I told her to keep rocking it and I’d see her in a few miles.

The crew mobilized back to mile 13 and we were gassed so I had them park their butts while I got some ice cream for everyone. A quick dessert break was just what we needed to power us through another hour of cheering! After seeing Leslie cruise by just behind her friend Stephanie (who was behind Leslie for most of the race), we made plans to split the crew in half – Shanderson and I would keep cheering on the course while Mama Block and Aunt Lavon would go settle in at the finish line. Leslie came by at mile 14 a few minutes later in front of Stephanie. Leslie was still running strong and steady so her splits were looking very predictable.


Shanderson and I had time to eat again so we popped in for dinner and a beer at a pub. I managed to get a few sips of beer and a few fries before I had to go hustle to mile 19 and see Leslie again. I caught her on State Street and kept stride with her for maybe a block and told her how awesome she was doing. Unfortunately, I pulled off the course right in front of a police officer. He was thrilled to explain to me all of the reasons I shouldn’t be “illegally” running on the course. All I could do was plead ignorance (which was true), apologize and say “yes sir” and “I understand sir” until he got bored with me. So, Leslie didn’t get in any trouble for my ignorance but now I’m a bandit. And I’ll tell ya, the life of a criminal is exciting and all but I won’t be doing that again.

Shanderson and I headed down to the finish line to try and find the rest of the crew, to no avail. We set up shop on the stands to await Leslie’s arrival. Her pace was looking so good that we thought she’d sub-13 the crap out of this course if she hurried up. Turns out, she was fighting a little bit of late bonking down the stretch so we anxiously waited about 10 minutes longer than expected.

While waiting, I snapped this amazing photo of our friend Jon as he finished victoriously:


 I was so proud of that picture and I could only hope that I’d catch another awesome picture of Leslie coming down the chute. I worked my way down as close as I could get to the front of the crowd but there was a bunch of tweens in the way. So, the best I could get of my rockstar wife was this garbage photo:


 Undeterred, I pushed through more people to catch her in the athlete’s area. Couldn’t have been more proud of her than that moment. She fought a hard race, pushed past her own disappointment on the bike to have a great run, beat her competition friends, and never lost her smile along the way. Afterward, she hardly even looked like she just finished her fifth freaking Ironman.


From the Iron Fan side of things, this shit was hard for us too! My Garmin said we did 13.75 miles of walking and running. We were exhausted! There’s no Iron Fan training plan that can prepare you for this stuff. Still it was an incredible day and so fun to witness my wife’s badassery in full display.


Hope you enjoyed reading Dan’s post about spectating Ironman Wisconsin.  I guess it is as hard as the actual race!! 😉

Have you ever spectated an Ironman?