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…
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!
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).
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 ♥