madison + IMWI love.


It’s hard to put into words just how much Madison and IRONMAN Wisconsin mean to me. If it tells you anything, I teared up both just talking about the mass swim start and when getting ready to bike the course on Saturday. It will forever hold a special place in my heart ♥ (And, I’d be lying if I didn’t already think about trying to add the race to this year’s calendar… because two IMs in less than a month would be a great idea, right?!)

So, when two of my “fake” instagram friends, Ashley and Julie, invited me to Madison for a training weekend, I jumped at the chance. The timing worked out perfectly, as Nick was out of town for work, and coach gave me a free training pass for the week following Toughman. His only directions: have fun and don’t bang out 10+ miles. And, have fun I did! The best part? Meeting and hanging out with Ashley and Julie… two gems I’m so grateful to now call real life friends :)

The weekend highlights… 

Eating (obviously)

There are so many great eats in Madison, and never fails, my friend Kathy always has the best recommendations. This visit: Salvatore’s Tomato Pies. Beet pesto pizza FTW! Julie and I refueled after Saturday’s training at Alchemy Café… love its burgers, sweet potato fries and cilantro cucumber quinoa salad. And, of course there was brunch on the patio at Marigold Kitchen on Sunday morning! 


Gluten-free beet pesto, chicken + mushroom pizza from Salavtore’s Tomato Pies… delicious!

Shoreline Swim

I couldn’t miss out on the Monona open water swim action on Saturday morning! I joined about 170 others for the well organized Shoreline Swim, a benefit for the Clean Lakes Alliance. Despite packing my wetsuit, I made game-time decision to wear my swimskin, as lake temps were in the upper 70s. Good Kona practice, right?! I had no intentions of swimming hard, but rather to adjust to the feel of the water without a wetsuit. And, other than the washing machine for a fair portion of the 2.4-mile swim (am I even getting anywhere?!), I felt pretty good. Definitely not fast – 10 minutes slower than my IMWI time… yikes! – but still a fun start to the day! 


Twinning in ROKA before the Shoreline Swim.


Post Shoreline Swim. These two ladies crushed it – both placed in the top 10! Cannot wait to watch them both tear up IMWI in a few short weeks!

The new IMWI bike course

When I heard the race’s two loops had been changed, I was bummed because it eliminated the best climb where all the spectators cheer Tour de France style. But, then I biked Barlow – the replacement climb everyone’s talking (and freaking out) about. You guys, settle down. Yes, it’s challenging and more difficult than the other climb. But, it’s ironman; it’s not supposed to be easy! That said, Barlow consists of three pitches (the full Barlow Strava segment is 1.8 miles, and the Barlow climb segment is 0.4 miles). The first two are relatively short and punchy, and the third… well, let’s just say you’ll want a climbing cassette (an 11-27 or 12-28) rather than the 12-25 I had on Saturday. I was completely grinding, lucky to hit 3 mph, and pushing well above my IM target climbing watts.

Anyway, call me crazy, but Barlow’s a ton of fun, just like the rest of the course! It’s seriously one of my happiest places, and I’m pretty sure I had a giant grin on my face the entire 82-mile ride. There may have been some weeeeeeeeeeees during descents, too :)


The IRONMAN Wisconsin bike course is two different loops this year (new sections in red). 


Happy place.


Windy roads, punchy climbs, screaming descents… the IMWI course is technical and the BEST! And, the Argon is seriously a dream to ride… it handled so well.


Refueling mid-ride with Coke.


Nectar of the gods!


Running the lake loop 

After figuring my way around some closed roads – John Nolen was closed to cars Sunday for Ride the Drive – I headed out on the lake loop along Monona for a quiet eight-mile run. It was just one of those mornings, when you find your groove and feel like you could just keep running forever. And, the lake loop? The first four-ish miles are along the lake and through some beautiful neighborhoods – such a lovely way to wrap up a fun weekend!


Seen on my lake loop run… love yourself, always.


Perfect swim conditions in Monona on Sunday morning.


Stunner of a morning!


Until next time, Madison. You and the IMWI course have my ♥

You Might Also Like


  • Reply therightfits 08/05/2016 at 10:06 am

    That beet pizza looks amazing. Red Wagon has a beet pizza that is very similar- so good!

    I grew up very close to Madison but do not know their restaurant scene. It sounds lovely :)

    • Reply erin 08/13/2016 at 8:40 am

      Just googled Red Wagon… how have I never heard of it before?! Sounds fantastic! Thanks for the tip :) And, definitely check out the food scene in Madison next time you’re there… so tasty!

  • Reply Kathy 08/05/2016 at 10:28 am

    Looks like you had a great weekend!! So bummed we couldn’t connect! Next time (IMWI… Ahhhh) glad you liked the pizza!! Looked amazing. How did I not know they they beet pesto???

    • Reply erin 08/13/2016 at 8:51 am

      Thank you for the recommendation! You always know the best places :) The beet pesto was amazing! Can’t wait to see you at IMWI and to watch you crush it!

  • Reply Kecia 08/06/2016 at 4:11 pm

    So bummed we missed each other, but glad you had a great training weekend!! That pizza place sounds AH-MAZ-ING…I think I must check out Salvatore’s Tomato Pies!! YUM!!

    • Reply erin 08/13/2016 at 8:52 am

      Not sure how we missed each other, especially at the swim! Hope you guys had a fantastic training weekend! IMWI is so close! Salvatore’s would be perfect post-race dinner :)

  • Reply Leslie @ TriathleteTreats 08/07/2016 at 8:54 pm

    Awesome weekend!!! I saw Kecia’s post about the bike changes, so I checked it out on FB. So funny all the posts about hard, difficult…this is an Ironman…there is nothing easy about an Ironman!!! :) I saw you posted a comment too!! I am getting very excited about the race!! 35 days!!!
    That pizza looks delicious!!! I’m glad you are loving your bike! So fun!!

    • Reply erin 08/13/2016 at 8:53 am

      Exactly! IM is supposed to be hard! I think people just like to complain ;) Good luck with the rest of your training… it’s almost here! And, let me know if you need anything or have any questions leading up to the race! Thanks, Leslie!

  • Reply Luv What You Do 08/08/2016 at 9:22 pm

    That Pizza! Damn Wisconsin really has the BEST cheese : ) I digress…what an amazing weekend of training and so fun to connect with some gram buddies. I can’t wait to make it up to Madison to watch the race…hopefully some time soon!

    • Reply erin 08/13/2016 at 8:54 am

      Ha! Wisco totally does! :) Hope you’re able to make it up to the race… maybe this year?! Let me know if you do! Thanks, lady!

      • Reply Luv What You Do 08/20/2016 at 8:29 pm

        I will! We move the weekend before so we’ll just have to see how pulled together w e are : )

    your thoughts…

    %d bloggers like this: