Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ironman Wisconsin Race Report

I arrived in Madison on Thursday and met my friend Mark from Houston who will be racing, too. Sharing the experience with Mark made this weekend a “best day” kind of race day.
We swam in the lake Friday morning. Just before entering the water we were asked to be interviewed on camera about the race by a local news reporter. We were wearing our wetsuits and swim caps during the interview – not super attractive.

Later that day we picked up the support team: Than and Pat. We walked around Ironman Village and downtown Madison near the Capital. I really liked the city and all the shops, especially the coffee shops.

Saturday we drove the bike course. It was fun to be in the back seat as Than, a race car driver, took us around the 40 mile loop in Verona. Mark read the Bike Directions and I used my GPS to warn him of an upcoming turn. Sometimes the turns came up faster than anticipated and Than had to make a few quick turns – thanks goodness for his car racing skills. There were a few victims of this method: ice thrown around the truck and a destroyed Styrofoam cooler. Fun Times.

We got to transition at 5:00 and prepared our bikes and walked to the start. The lake looked calm – we were all deceived.
The waves threw us all around. Athletes were swimming off course and I have never been hit so hard in my face during the 1 hour 33 minute swim. My worse swim time ever despite feeling somewhat confident that I wasn't going to die after swallowing a lot of water.
After getting out of the water we had to run up the helix and into the conference center. I did a full change into tri shorts and bike jersey. Then out to the bike. I felt good and ready for the bike. After 20 miles my lower back and feet started hurting. The pain didn’t stop during the entire ride.

There were three hills on the loop that I looked forward to because they were towards the end of the loop, and I knew it would be over. Plus, it felt good to stand and climb up the hills. This race will be the closest I will ever come to knowing what it's like riding in the Tour de France. The fans lined the hills cheering and ringing their cow bells, which made for a great experience. 

Later, Than would remind me, "you can never have too much cowbell."
I couldn’t wait to get off the bike and was fast in T2. I wanted to run the marathon and walk the aid stations; this only worked on the first loop. During the second loop, I felt like I was retaining water and everything hurt with each foot striking the ground: my arms, my legs, and neck. I started to walk. I walked fast, but it didn’t help my time. A disappointing 5:12 marathon. My worst marathon time ever.

I know everything I did wrong with training and nutrition. I want a do-over.

I finished. I had a great time with my friends. I discovered a beautiful part of the country. It was a good day.

I don’t know when my do-over will be. It won’t be in 2014. I don’t know what the next year holds. I don’t have a long course race in mind. For the first time in decades, I don’t have a plan.
I don’t have a plan.

As scary and overwhelming these words are, I think it will be okay.

Here is the video from Ironman which reminded me of all the silly people out on the course cheering us on. Yes, it was a good day.



  1. Kristen Lodge...YOU are an IRONMAN! Soak those words in, bask in the moment. You finished, yet again, what most dare not to attempt. Don't worry about a plan or the future; be present in the present and know that we are all so very proud of you!

  2. Congrats to both you and Mark on what I think is an incredible feat. I'm friends with Than and have met Mark on a couple of occasions. Best of luck in the future.
    PS: If Than was really on his race car game he would not have spilled the ice.