53 In ironman wisconsin/ race report/ triathlon

race report // ironman wisconsin 2014

And, after nearly 10 months of training, there we were: at Ironman Wisconsin! 



Up and at ’em at 4a, race morning started as usual… toast, double shot espresso, Osmo preload, temporary tats and last minute gear check, and Nick and I were out the door at 5a; thank you, Daniela, for the shuttle! Our homestay was only two miles from the terrace, but by the time we arrived, it was swarming with triathletes. After a quick tire check and stocking my bike with nutrition and Osmo active, we snaked through the sea of racers to body marking (note: purchase number tats for the next IM). We met coach Andy and friends Nick + Danielle inside the terrace at a quiet spot away from all the chaos. After some words of encouragement and two stops in the bathroom (no lines in the ladies!), we hiked up our wetsuits and went outside. It was nearly impossible to get to the water (it almost felt like a race to get there), but after elbowing our way through hundreds of wetsuit-clad athletes (get in the water, people!), we made it to Monona.


SWIM // 1:10:41, 1:49/100m, 20th AG

Nick and I swam out to the inside buoy together and positioned about a quarter-way back from the start. The water was calm, and the temp was perfect. After treading water for maybe a minute, the cannon fired, and arms started flying. Nick and I swam stroke for stroke through the second turn where we were separated (the first couple turns were clusters); it was so reassuring to see him to my left on every breath! I swam inside the buoys the entire 2.4 miles and, like IM Canada last year, had no issues with anyone dunking, kicking or ripping off my goggles. The back stretch was a bit long, as I could see the red swim out arch for much of it… so deceiving! When I finally got there, my time registered, and after a brief moment of dang-it-I-was-hoping-to-swim-faster disappointment, I refocused and ran to a wetsuit stripper, pumped to be done swimming. That said, I definitely didn’t swim as hard as I could have. I kept my pace far too comfortable and know to push harder and find some bubbles next time. 

Gear: Coeur Sports Chinese New Year kit, lululemon flow Y braTYR nest pro mirrored goggles and ROKA Maverick Elite wetsuit

Nutrition: banana around 6a and one salted caramel Gu around 6:45a. 


T1 // 7:12

With wall-to-wall spectators, the run up the helix was fun; the energy was palpable! Although T1 is long, it didn’t feel like it. I ran inside, grabbed my bag, threw on my Castelli top and helmet, and ran out and through all the bikes (I was close to bike out), carrying my shoes. Just before crossing the line, a volunteer held my bike while I put on my shoes, and then I hopped on and circled down the helix. 

BIKE // 5:52:48, 19.05 mph, 159 average watts, 6th AG

I know it sounds weird, but the bike flew by. #bikelove! An hour in felt like five minutes, and at halfway… I couldn’t believe I’d been pedaling for close to three hours. Every minute of the bike was enjoyable… all the climbing (5,700 feet), the turns, the few flat sections… I never really had a dark moment or thought get me off my bike right now. The only time I kind of worried came around mile 20 when my flat kit (the Cobb JOF integrated one I *just* bought) un-Velcroed and flew off into the ditch. Thank goodness I didn’t flat! 

In between focusing on my target watts and watching people burn themselves out hammering way too hard up the climbs (and then coast back down), I ate from the buffet on my bike and hydrated like a champ (I took water at every aid station). The result: I had to pee, BAD. Never in a million years did I think I’d be able to go on my bike, but at mile 60, I couldn’t hold it any longer. Disgusting, I know, but so much faster than stopping. However, by mile 80, I had to go even worse, and there just wasn’t an opportune time, so at the water stop in Cross Plains, I hopped off my bike and into the mini biff. It didn’t take me long after that to catch the riders I’d been by most of the day.IMWI bikeIMWI BIKE 2

Highlights from the bike:

  • Seeing family and friends all over the course (the BEST!)
  • The spectators! Cheerleaders like no other race
  • Randomly meeting twitter friends Josh (also from MSP) and Vince
  • The guy who ran all the way up the Timber Lane climb with me and got the entire crowd roaring (talk about a Tour de France-style adrenaline rush! I couldn’t stop smiling)
  • All the men who complimented me on my Osmo #womenarenotsmall men water bottle :)
  • Going back and forth with another Argon 18 rider for almost an entire loop
  • CLIMBING! The hillier, the better! 
  • And, passing three women in my AG on the stick back into Madison(!) 

Gear: Argon 18 E-118, Zipp 808s, Coeur Sports kit, Castelli stealth T1 top, lululemon flow Y bra, Garneau Vorttice aero helmet, Sidi T3 shoes. 

Nutrition: two Bonk Breakers (PB+chocolate and cashew coconut), two packs Honey Stinger chews, two packs caffeinated black cherry Clif Shot Bloks, two bottles Osmo Nutrition active, nine bottles water (grabbed one at every aid station). Total: ~1,500 kcals.

T2 // 3:09

A zip up the helix and I was in T2, handing off my bike to an awesome volunteer. Inside the terrace, another great volunteer dumped out my bag and handed me my run gear. After slathering Aquaphor on my blistered big toe (no issues the entire run), I turned on my 910, grabbed my visor and race belt, and ran out the door… only to trip on the curb and fall flat on my face. Thankfully, there was no broken skin! 

RUN // 3:49:56, 8:46 pace, 4th AG

As Andy said in an email after the race, “You nailed [the bike] perfectly which set up your run perfectly.” My legs felt really good post bike… must have been all those trainer sessions at 200+ watts and t-runs. Anyway, I found my stride around a half-mile in, settling around 8:45 pace. Around mile one, one of the girls in my AG who I’d passed on the stick ran by, and after a brief moment of wanting to chase her down, I reminded myself to focus on MY race, no one else’s (I caught her later). By mile five, I had to go, bad, so around mile six, I took an Imodium, made a quick pit stop in the biff and felt so much better. 

The first hour of the run was hot. I shoved ice and sponges down my top and dumped water over my head at nearly every aid station, so much so that my shoes were squishy by mile 10 (but no blisters). I also drank water at every aid station (walking as I did) and started on Coke around mile 16. At mile 20, Andy told me to really start pounding the Coke, so I made sure to drink a bit extra each time. IMWI RUN WITH COACH

It was also here that the out loud positive self talk started. You can do anything for six, five, two miles. One more mile! Keep moving forward. Believe. Never give up. I checked in often, asking myself how I felt. And, for the most part, I felt ok. My stomach was a tiny bit off, but not enough that I couldn’t keep running (I took four or six Tums throughout the run). My legs… they were tired, obviously, but given how close the finish was, walking wasn’t an option. A lady in my AG passed me at some point (between 15 and 20?), and I remember thinking… there’s no way she’s in my AG. No. Way. But, she was, and she had a bit more gas in the tank. And, around mile 20 after State Street, I passed someone else in my AG (wearing the same Coeur kit) and told myself she wasn’t going to repass me.IMWI RUN 1IMWI RUN 2

I dropped the pace the last mile, feeding off the State Street super spectators (they cannot be beat!), and in a blink, after rounding the last couple corners, there it was: the magical finish line. It’s just as sweet the second time around ♥IMWI FINISH

Gear: Coeur Sports kit + visor, lululemon flow Y bra, Hoka One One Cliftons, Feetures socks. 

Nutrition: two packs caffeinated black cherry Clif Shot Bloks, water at every aid station, Coke at every aid station starting around mile 16. 

OFFICIAL RESULTS // 11:03:46, 4th AG, 25th OA

A few quick thank yous (more to come in a separate post)… to my team, Coeur Sports, for all the incredible support this year. Without a doubt, the best tri kits out there; not a single bit of chaffing (and I don’t use chamois butter!). My Coeur teammates are pretty rad, too. To Osmo Nutrition for keeping me hydrated and recovering well all season. I’m already ready to work hard again for that post workout recovery smoothie (so good!). To my coach Andy for pushing me well out of my comfort zone week after week and believing anything is possible. To Nick, for everything; there are no words. To my family… for your tireless support and always believing in me. And, to Nick’s family… super sherpas and supporters to the max.IMWI FAMILY


Post-race was pretty good, at least for the first hour. Then the nausea hit. As much as I wanted to be standing on the sidelines cheering everyone else in, all I could do was curl up in a space blanket (so warm!) in the grass near the finish line and close my eyes. Two hours after I finished, around 8p, I was med tent bound in a mini ambulance complete with sirens (through my nausea, I laughed the entire way, as the crazy driver jumped curbs, drove over orange cones and parted the post-race crowds). They didn’t do much for me the first 20 minutes other than weigh me (up two pounds from pre-race check-in), but I finally got a cot and chicken broth and then I threw up every ounce of fluid I’d taken in since probably mile 20 of the run. Oof. But, I felt a million times better – and even said, “I could go do another ironman!” IMWI IN THE GRASS

Ironman aftermath :) 

I attempted to eat a burger and sweet potato fries at DLUX around 11p, but just couldn’t stomach it. Nick and I finally got back to our homestay around midnight, and after inhaling some leftover coconut rice (they only thing that sounded good), I collapsed into bed and slept hard, dreaming of the next finish line… 

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  • Amy
    09/12/2014 at 2:08 pm

    WOW! Congratulations! I love that you are smiling in every picture, and that you seemed so positive the entire time. My husband once told me about the practice of peeing while riding during Ironmans. I guess you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do! Great job, and hope recovery is going well!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:07 am

      Thank you so much, Amy! Ha… it’s SO weird to go on the bike! I never thought I would be able to, but agreed… you do what you gotta do ;)

  • Julia
    09/12/2014 at 2:19 pm

    hey i already told you how stellar this is, but i will say it again:) Such fun to bike with you this summer and i hope you find another challenge to come so we can bike and maybe run next summer. Didnt know you had a Med Tent visit. The IM flu. I have had it and glad your’s didnt last long!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:08 am

      Thanks much, Julia! I had a blast biking with you, too, and can’t wait to ride again next summer while training for Wisco :) Quick visit to the med tent for some puking :) Thankfully no IV!

  • jruff81
    09/12/2014 at 2:27 pm

    Holy cow, what an experience & a great recap. All that hard work paid off, as you look like you’re glowing with excitement & delight in every shot (except, well, maybe the last one…oof, not fun)…but still! Amazing job, and I hope you’re still celebrating this HUGE accomplishment! Congrats & thanks for continuing to lead by example & inspire all of us!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:10 am

      Thank you so much, lady! It was such a fun day, and I can’t wait to do it all over again :) Hope your recovery is going well and that you’re kicking PF’s butt!

  • Emily Dingmann (@nutritionisteat)
    09/12/2014 at 2:36 pm

    SPEECHLESS. Beyond, speechless Erin! What a race, what a day and what dedication you have. Congratulations!!!!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:11 am

      Thank you, dear!

  • Karyn
    09/12/2014 at 2:46 pm

    Amazing. Amazing. AMAZING!
    The joy on your face in every photo is absolutely contagious – I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear while reading your report. Congrats on a spectacular race!!!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:12 am

      It’s just so FUN, Karyn! Thank you so much!

  • Danielle @ Eat Primal, Run Hard
    09/12/2014 at 3:02 pm

    I LOVE this post! And you are such an amazing person! Your race sounded strong throughout, and to run a sub-4 hr marathon after swimming 2.4miles and cycling 140 is incredible! And way to pull a Chrissie Wellington on the bike, minus having to ward off competitors ;)

    Great photos of the day too. It’s too bad the heat got the best of you. Glad you’re feeling better my blog friend :)

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:17 am

      Thank you, Danielle! Triathlon is what I LOVE to do! I’m excited to follow your tri journey! And, keep up all the awesome primal food posts! I need to make those nutter bombs :)

  • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats
    09/12/2014 at 3:17 pm

    What a day! I am so glad that you raced your own race!! Didn’t worry about the other women in your AG. You worked so hard this season! I can’t wait to see what IM you do next and one day qualify for Kona! Congrats on an awesome day! I hope your recovery is going well!!!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:18 am

      Thanks so much, Leslie! Recovery is going well, though I’m itching to run again! Hope you’re rockin’ marathon training!

  • Beth
    09/12/2014 at 3:59 pm

    You had a fantastic day! I am a little late on the kit trying out but perhaps I’ll go Coeur for my next 1/2. Back to you. I am so in awe of ladies who ride like you do. I just don’t understand it. I need you to teach me your ways. LOL! Maybe after I get through this first one I’ll think about power and watts and whatnot. I love the shirts your family wore! Those are awesome! And I’m so sorry you got so sick after. :( Here’s to another stellar performance and my very random long winded commenting. :D

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:23 am

      Yes, definitely try a Coeur kit! The seamless chamois is incredible! It’s just lots and lots of time in the saddle, so keep riding! I got my first road bike in 2006 and was lucky to have an incredible first coach who taught me so much about how to ride. Thanks so much, Beth! And, CONGRATS on Choo! Seriously awesome day! Can’t wait to read your race recap (I’m behind on blogs!)!

  • Jen (The Hippie Triathlete.com)
    09/12/2014 at 4:09 pm

    Great report! I laughed at your notes on peeing on the bike. I have peed on the bike two to three times per race, in every Ironman I’ve done. 70.3’s too (but only once or twice in those). I’ve heard it’s a good marker of proper hydration. Check, new skill learned! And great run split…wowee! What finish line are you dreaming of now?

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:28 am

      Thanks so much, Jen! I think learning to pee on the bike may be the hardest tri skill to learn ;) IMWI finish line one more time (and then Kona, I hope!)!

  • Amy
    09/12/2014 at 4:29 pm

    Incredible! Congratulations again!!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:28 am

      Thank you so much, Amy, for all your support!

  • Valerie M
    09/12/2014 at 5:21 pm

    Congrats again, Erin!! Love your smile throughout and that you had so much fun!! Sorry you got sick after but good to hear that you’re dreaming of the next finish line……

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:39 am

      Thanks so much, Valerie! It was great catching up with you a couple weeks ago! Have a wonderful trip! Can’t wait to hear about it when you’re back :)

  • Brittany
    09/12/2014 at 5:45 pm

    I loved your report – what an amazing day!! (and the end – dreaming of the next race :) Funny on the peeing on the bike, maybe I will be able to someday… and speaking of the bike your watts are INSANE! Please tell me your secrets (sounds like a lot of intense intervals). Anyway, glad you had such a great time and enjoy the recovery!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:40 am

      Ha! Yes, lots of short intense intervals and just a lot of time in the saddle doing what I love :) Keep at it! Thanks so much, Brittany! Hope you’re well!

  • Kristen L
    09/12/2014 at 5:56 pm

    Congratulations Erin! You are seriously a rock star. Your training has been very inspiring and it really sounds like it all paid off. Way to keep things under control and race your own race out there (not getting caught up in others’ paces). Hope you are enjoying your recovery!!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:44 am

      Thank you, Kristen! It was such a fun day!

  • Luv What You Do
    09/12/2014 at 7:57 pm

    Those swim pictures are gorgeous! I can’t believe that you got to swim out together. That’s really cool! And I definitely need to get my bike up to Madison for a ride. I bet the energy was amazing at IMWI and I wish I were there to cheer you on. Congratulations on your spectacular finish! You are inspirational!

    Hope you are enjoying some down time and sweet treats!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:45 am

      That was definitely a highlight of the race! So fun to race with my favorite guy :) Thank you so much for all the support and well wishes!

  • Kecia
    09/12/2014 at 8:18 pm

    You had a STELLAR race!! I’m so proud of you!! When I saw you heading in to the finish, you looked super strong!! Congrats on 4th in our AG :)

    I’m also very thankful that we met in person!! I’m sure our paths will cross again ;)

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:46 am

      And, so did you, Kecia! Such an incredible day, right?! Thank you so much! I’m so glad we got to meet in person and see each other out on the course! Definitely will cross paths again :)

  • Kristina
    09/12/2014 at 9:22 pm

    What a fantastic day/race! Congratulations on a GREAT race – and podium to boot! Hope that you are enjoying your recovery now!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:47 am

      Thank you so much, Kristina! I had a blast out there!

  • Kendra
    09/12/2014 at 11:00 pm

    Wow, just wow! I could read this over and over – so Inspiring!! Can’t wait to see what you do next :)

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:49 am

      Thank you, Kendra! Excited to run with you soon!

  • Runner Leana
    09/13/2014 at 2:39 pm

    Erin, congratulations on an outstanding race! The thing that I love reading through your race report is seeing all of the pictures of you positively beaming. It looks like you had so much fun out there! Congratulations on your fourth place finish!!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:51 am

      Thanks much, Leana! I had an absolutely blast out there and can’t wait to do it all over again! Hope you’re well and enjoying your trip!

  • hyedi
    09/15/2014 at 9:01 am

    Was so sad that I couldn’t be there to cheer you on in person but it was awesome watching your amazing progress on the athlete tracker on race day! Your training has been a lot of fun to follow and I’m so glad you had such a fantastic race — that hard work sure paid off. Congratulations!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:53 am

      Aw, thank you, friend! So fun that you tracked all day :) Excited to see you SOON! xo.

  • Shane
    09/15/2014 at 2:39 pm

    I just registered for the 2015 race (my first Ironman), and reading your post gets me both incredibly excited and nervous. Congrats on your race!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 11:54 am

      Woooo! That’s awesome, Shane! Which one did you sign up for?! You’re gonna have a blast! Thanks so much!

  • Change of Pace
    09/15/2014 at 6:26 pm

    I definitely got teary at every stage of this race report. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. CONGRATULATIONS, Erin! I am SO happy for you and proud of your race. Not only were you consistent in each discipline and FAST, but you also loved it and had fun! (Very important in my books!)
    It was really fun to follow your race. I can’t imagine how great it was for your’s and Nick’s family to cheer in person!
    I absolutely know your turn will come for Kona, and soon!
    Congratulations to Nick, too! I kept my eye on his race throughout the day- amazing!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 12:16 pm

      Aw, you’re so sweet, Abby! Thank you so much all your support and the cheers! Nick says thank you, too :) Always, always have to have fun out there! We GET to do this and are so lucky! Hope you are well and enjoying your fall!

  • Jesse - Questionably Texan
    09/18/2014 at 8:40 am

    I’m a little late to the game to be reading this, but a huge congratulations! You look so incredibly happy in all of the photos (well, except the last photo where you’re on the ground in the space blanket!). Loved reading the report – you’re a rockstart!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 12:17 pm

      Thanks much, Jesse! I was happy all day… so much fun!

  • Jessie
    09/19/2014 at 11:40 am

    Congrats Erin! Sounds like an amazing experience.

    Awesome pics too!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 12:18 pm

      Thank you so much, Jessie! Hope marathon training is going well! Are you cheering at TCM this weekend? Hope to see you (and perhaps meet Matilda!) :)

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  • Alyssa @ Don't Look Down
    09/29/2014 at 11:03 am

    Wow congratulations on a great great race! I love your grin on the bike! I think I spent 80% of the day with a huge smile on my face!

    It was so cool to see you rocking it on the run!

    • erin
      10/03/2014 at 12:19 pm

      Thanks so much, Alyssa! I LOVE that you had a smile plastered on your face all day, too! It was awesome to see you out there! Wish we could have met before or after the race, too… next time! Hope recovery is coming along nicely for you!

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