Wednesday, September 29, 2010

1000 miles

This morning's run marked a momentous day for Asher, my standard poodle.  Today Asher passed 1,000 running miles for the year!!!  This is his favorite activity to do.  If you ask him if he wants to go running, he'll jump about 8 feet in the air just to make sure you understood, YES!!!  I am so lucky to have him as a running partner.  No matter the weather or time of day he is always ready to go whenever I ask.  It's something that we get to share together and is just awesome.  Awesome job little buddy and here's to many more.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

M-Dot Cookies

So....what else does one do after they have finished an Ironman???  Make M-Dot Cookies of course. 

Red Cookies

Red Cookies with white frosting

I picked up a M-Dot cookie cutter at Ironman this year and couldn't wait to make them.  They turned out awesome.  Red cookies and homemade white frosting.  They are so cute!  And gluten free of course.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fox Cities Half Marathon

So people ask, "what's up next after Ironman?"....well how about a half marathon a week later?!?!  Crazy??  Yes!  But I have a very persuasive running partner, Mark, and it sounded like a good idea while eating custard at Zesty's! And as it turned out, it was a good idea.  We signed up for the Fox Cities Half Marathon before Ironman so I was optimistic that I would have a good race and come out of it unscathed and recover well.  The week after Ironman was good.  I took it easy.  Did some swimming, biking and ran 1 day.  And tons of walking with Asher.  I had no soreness and was ready to roll Sunday morning.  Mark's friend Walter was also running, doing his first half.  He is signed up to do Big Sur with us next May as his first marathon. 

The morning of Tammy, Cleo, Jeff and I all drove down and got a car at the finish and start (the start and finish aren't in the same spot) and met up with Mark and Walt.  Sue came to the start and took our coats and then brought them to us at the finish.  That was a total life saver.  It was cool, low 40's at the start and it got cool after we finish and were sweaty.  We gave Sue our coats and literally ran across the start line.  We were moving along nicely, and all of a sudden we run into a friend of ours, Brian Cassidy.....well actually he ran into me.  Funny.  Ran with him for a bit and chatted then another friend of ours, Julie Petersen came up to us and ran with us.  Awesome, lots of cool people.  So we kept on.  I was feeling good and having fun catching up with everyone.  I ran the rest of the race with Walt, Mark and Julie.  The 4 amigo's.  This course is nice and flat with lots of turns and stuff to keep you entertained.  The last couple miles had some good tunes blasting which really pumped us up.  We went past mile 12 and started the loop for the finish.  Feeling good we ran strong into the finish for a 1:57:24 finish time.  And Mark and I finally got it worked out and had the same exact time.  It was our last race together for a while so it was nice to share the experience with him and so glad he slowed down to run with me. 

The rest of the crew had a good day too.  Tammy and Cleo smoked normal and Jeff rolled in with a 4 minute PR.  Everyone had a great day.  Beautiful weather, fun race and great company.  What more could you ask for.  Happy running everyone!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ironman Wisconsin 2010

Swim 2.4 miles, Bike 112 miles, Run 26.2 miles

This year’s Ironman Wisconsin was to be my 4th attempt at the Ironman distance and my third try at the Ironman Wisconsin course. I completed the race in 2005, 2007 and Ironman Louisville in 2008. It had been a few years since I had been at this venue and had some pretty vivid memories of the last time, and some pretty nasty scares to remind me of those memories.

Ironman 2007

Ironman 2007

Because of this “history” on this course I was very nervous going into the day. I was also nervous because this is an Ironman, and that’s big stuff. You know you are going to go through a rough patch and that always scares me. When will it come, can I overcome it and get back on my game, and ultimately, will I finish? On the walk down to the terrace race morning I met up with a few friends and about lost it just talking to them I was so nervous. And if you know me, you know I don’t cry…..for anything….so this was pretty big.

I have had a lot going on in my personal life this year as well, unfortunately not making Ironman the main thing on the brain this year, which when I signed up for it, I fully intended it to be. So I hoped my training was adequate to get me across that line. My race season went pretty poorly this year. I had a bad race at high cliff and then changed a few things. Mike said he would coach me which helped a lot. Door County went better but still not where I wanted to be. So Ironman had no expectations, expect try and get under an hour for the swim and to finish.


Got up early, actually slept good, which is a huge miracle for me because I never sleep good, ate and headed down to the terrace. On the way I dropped off my Special Needs bags and ran into Randi and Ross. They were doing their first Ironman. Very exciting. Got body marked and headed in to give Griff some TLC before his big day. Touched up my T1 and T2 bags and then had over an hour to chill before the start. I walked down the helix and sat and tried to relax. The time came to put on my wetsuit and get this party started. I saw lots of people I knew walking down.

Erik and I before the swim start.  Check out his shirt.  A "mock up" to the 2007 family shirts.  Awesome!

Jeff and I before the swim start

I am usually pretty anti-social before the race. I like to spend the energy getting my head right for the day. I got all ready and headed for the swim start. There was a large mass of people that had to get in the water and the time was ticking away and they weren’t moving. I eventually started pushing my way through the mod. That was fine that they wanted to be in the back and not get in the water, but I wanted to be in the front and I wanted to get in the water.

Athletes getting in the water

Finally got in the water with about 3 minutes to spare. Swam up to the front, not as far towards the buoy line as I had hoped, and found a spot with no one on the front. Perfect. Got my goggles set and the cannon went off.


The first part of the swim was pretty clean, really no roughhousing to speak of. I started angling over to the buoy line and then it got a bit dicey. The men had red caps and the women white so I could see what gender was constantly smacking me and beating me up. And not swimming in a straight line cutting me off. Got real tired of all that real fast. The men are relentless in the swim, no question. I started getting aggressive and pushed them out of the way. The corners were tough, lots of fighting there. But I made it around the first two turns and got into my groove. I kept getting a few chops and figured out it was from the other swimmers creating waves. Otherwise the water was as calm as glass. Got around the first 1.2 miles and headed for lap two. I was checking out the Terrace on both laps, so cool to see so many people out and cheering. My nerves were settling down and I was excited for the day. After I turned the second corner and headed down the long back stretch I started passing people on their first loop, me on my second. Some were doing the sidestroke, some the breastroke, some resting on kayaks, crazy stuff. I dodged them and kept in my rhythm. A couple times I saw some white caps come into my view and I was determined not to let them pass me so I would pick up the pace until they were out of sight. Turned the last corner and headed for the finish. I felt really good and strong the whole swim. Came out of the water in 58:10. A new PR on the swim.


Got my wetsuit taken off by the strippers and headed up the helix….in my bare feet. I have very sensitive feet so I was not looking forward to this part. Plus the water temp was 67 degrees so my feet were cold running on the concrete. Not fun. They were sore by the time I got to the top. Headed in the Terrace and got all my bike gear on. Shoes in hand headed out to get Griff. The lady giving me my bike didn’t do a stellar job, she went to take Griff off the rack and knocked both my bottles off the back onto the ground. Oh well, picked ‘em up and headed out. Waved at my parents as I went by them. Shoes on and down the helix. Yelled at Mike as I left the Terrace and I was on my way for my, hopefully safe, 112 mile journey. T1: 10:05.


Headed down John Nolan, past the point of 2007’s debacle and onto the no passing zone. Already people were getting pushy and it was early. Lost both of my bottles in the back within the first 3 miles. Something to fix for next year. Made it safely through the early miles. I was pretty timid here and definitely took my time. We were now on our way to Verona, hit the first aid station to replenish what I lost and were now on the loop. I cruised through to Mount Horeb. The section from Verona to Mount Horeb is incredibly boring to me. I dread this part….twice. When I got to Mount Horeb I stopped at the aid station to take off my extra shirt I wore out of the swim. I didn’t want to get cold on the first part of the bike so I bought a long sleeve shirt on Saturday to wear until I was warm enough and then throw it. This worked out great. After Mount Horeb I was on my way. Saw Gordy and Linda and headed onto Garfoot Road and the hills. There are some hilly roads between Mount Horeb and Cross Plains that I had to tackle. I was worried about these but when I got to them on race day they weren’t bad at all. I put my gearing in a super easy gear and just tapped up the hills. Passing tons of guys. The guys were jerks all day. They would fly past me to pass me either too close next to me or cut over right in front of me after they passed me and I would have to yell at them. Then I would pass them on the hills because they were slow and they would get mad because a girl passed them and then be jerks back and pass me too close. It was a battle all day. So rude and annoying. I also ran across lots of people riding in packs. Dumb people. Ride your own race. Wimps! Anyway, through the hills no problem, through the technical stuff before Cross Plains and I cruise into Cross Plains. Jeff and my parents were there so I gave them a big wave and was on to the hilly part of the course. Between Cross Plains and Verona there are 3 large climbs, a long windy one, one we call the Lance hill because it is lined with people at least two to three deep on each side and another windy one but this one is shorter and steeper than the first. Got up the first with no problem, now onto the Lance hill (which is right after the first one). I get into my easy gear and just tap up the hill. Saw several people here I knew. Passed some more guys. Now down a huge decent, someone yelling my name, then onto the last big hill. Tap up that and I’m on my way into Verona. Stop at the aid station and then through the huge festival they have. That part is so fun. You get a huge adrenaline rush. Tons of people, music, all really cool stuff. Saw Jeff, my parents and Jeff Z and Mary here. Skip special needs and head out for loop 2. I was feeling good. My neck was getting a bit tight so I needed to make sure I was relaxing. Onto Mount Horeb (made it through the boring part), onto the Garfoot hills, through the technical parts (I saw someone getting hauled off on a stretcher here, must have crashed on one of the technical turns) and onto Cross Plains. Quick stop at the aid station, saw Jeff and then onto the three hills again. The hills on loop two went just as well as loop one. The whole ride I was spinning up the hills, passing the guys. Made it to Verona, saw my parents and Jeff again and headed on home. My neck was getting pretty sore at this point but my legs felt good so I knew I just needed to stay aero and once I got off the bike my neck would be fine. On the stick there is one large hill, made it up that with no problem and headed back into Madison. I was following some girl the last 10 miles or so and I would pass her then she would pass me back and so on. She was caked in salt and looked terrible. She was all over the road so eventually I just stayed back and let her do her thing. If she was going to do something stupid I didn’t want to be a part of that. Up the helix and into T2. I really tried to just let the course come to me, bike within myself and I think I did that. I also ate more calories per hour than I ever have before on the bike. I think that worked out well too. Bike time was 6:16:21. This was a PR for me on this course.


It was nice to get my bike shoes off. I was getting hot spots on my feet so I was ready to get those off. Some girl came into the change area barely able to walk. Not sure how the marathon went for her. She looked rough. Got all changed, stretched my piriformis and was ready to go. I told my change tent lady I wanted to run the whole marathon, which was a goal from day 1, so here I go! T2: 7:10


Got out of T2 and headed up towards the capital. Saw my mom, said hi and kept on rolling. Saw Erik at the first aid station and I got some ice in my handheld bottle (I wanted mixed berry Powerbar drink but they only had Orange Mango….yuck….which I eventually had to settle on….double yuck). My mom then came racing around the capital and we talked again. I said my hamstrings feel a bit tight but I’m just going to take it easy and see how it feels, and keep running. Headed out and was running strong….actually too fast. I kept trying to slow myself down but I felt good. I would walk through the aid stations and run in between. Ran into Jeff on his bike about mile 2 and he followed me for a bit. Through Camp Randall, which was boring…no music, no excitement, nothing. Lambeau is much better to run through. Kept on running. I was also walking the hills. My hamstrings wanted nothing to do with the hills. Saw Mike and Sue around mile 4.5 or so. I asked if he had any new hamstrings for me and all I got back was a bunch of super encouraging words….but I wanted hamstrings…oh well. I’ll take the encouraging positive words and head out. On to the State Street turn around. This place is hopping. Tons of people here and the water station before and after is always bumping. Came through here about 1:08 or so and thought my goal of under 5 for the marathon was do-able. Saw Ivy, chatted with her and I was back out. Was with Jeff on his bike, then we picked up my mom on her bike, past Mike and Sue again and headed back towards the terrace for the turn around. I was doing okay until about mile 10, then I started breaking down. The next few miles were ugly. I met Erik again at the mile 13 water station and almost started crying. My hamstrings hurt, my hip was bothering me, my foot hurt, the drink tasted terrible, I didn’t want any calories, it was lots of negative and it just consumed me. Erik said they would grab their bikes and get me to the finish. So now I had 5 people on bikes someplace on the course. Maybe that would help. I ran up, did the turnaround (which is steps from the finish, total mental thing happening there) and headed back out. Mile 14 was good, but then the next three miles were ugly again. About mile 18 I started getting my shit together. I looked at my watch and figured out I need to do this. I was still walking the aid stations and running in between but the walking at the aid stations got longer and longer. It actually felt better to run so I kept telling myself that. My whole body was sore and tired and I just had nothing left but I had to keep going. My friend Randi passed me totally trucking with about 7.5 miles left and I could not even closely match her pace. She looked awesome. She had such a great day! So happy for her and Ross for completing their first Ironman. I made the State Street turn around and headed back. Did this crappy out and back section and got my message from Jeff at the Ford Motivational Mile....."Leave it all on course" (25 character limit)....I did that...believe me!  This section is not fun, it’s boring, and rather pointless but the distance matters. Saw Mike again (Jeff was also with me on his bike). Mike was so supportive the whole run. He asked me if I wanted any gum and I said “NO, I have some”. I think I kind of yelled at him which I didn’t mean to do but I just wanted to be done. 4 miles left. Keep on it. Headed back downtown. Jeff left me with a couple miles to go so he could go to the finish, at which point Erik and Kira picked me up. Erik was talking to me and I didn’t like what he was saying so I kept my head pointed forward and kept running. At one point I looked over to him and said, “Do you know how deep I am digging for this?” and he replied back “Yes”. He knew how serious I was. Several times on the second loop I would almost start hyperventaliting, just wanting to burst out in tears. Not sure what that was all about. And I had a massive headache. Ugh. Erik and Kira left with about a mile and a half to go so they could go to the finish with Jeff and my parents. I got up to the capital and saw Jessica and Dave. They were starting their second loop. They looked great. So happy for them on finishing their first Ironman as well. Saw Jeff Z and Mary at the water station, said Hi and confirmed I was not pulling a Jeff (puking during every Ironman he has done) and ran for the finish. Came up to the chute and I was all alone. Mike Reilly called out my name and said “This one is for you Alicia”; “You are an Ironman”. I made it!!! I was so pumped! Run time: 5:18:53. Disappointing, to say the least.

Final Thoughts

I accomplished my goal of finishing but have lots to work on for next year.  So many positive things came out of this race and I can't wait to build on them for next year.  No pity party on the run next year.  Mark my words.  I hope to simplfy my personal life in the next couple months and get back to focusing on the things I love to do....swim, bike, run.  I want to thank all the people that put up with this lifestyle and training all year.  Jeff and Asher, thank you for dealing with my insane daily schedule.  Mark, thanks for all the yards in the pool and miles on the road.  Erik and Kira, for pushing me on race day and every day in between.  My parents for supporting me and my crazy dreams.  And of course Mike for his excellent coaching and positive energy.  So glad he took a chance on me.  Ironman 2011 here I come!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Well it's finally here.  Ironman Wisconsin.  I signed up a year ago and spent the last year with this on my mind.  Training for it.  And all that goes along with it.  The training is all done now.  I'm all checked in, checked Griff in, and checked my T1 and T2 bags now all that's left is to be nervous.  This will be my 4th Ironman and I am just as nervous as the 1200+ newbies doing the race.....yes 1200+ newbies.  That's an incredibly large number.  I think there's around 2900 registered, which is a lot to all start the swim together.  So yes, I'm still as nervous as if it were my first.  I know how long the day is.  I know things can not always go your way and I have had something go wrong in each one of my 3 previous, so the unknown makes me scared and nervous.  And the known for that matter.  I just hope and pray that the day goes well. 

If you want to follow me during the day, Jeff will have my cell phone so you can text him or he will be posting tweets on twitter all day.  You can follow me on twitter here.  My twitter name is: @trigb21. 

The weather looks awesome for tomorrow.  So in true Ironman fashion.....let's get it on!!!  :)