We are nearly there. We have shipped our bikes and we can’t remember what day it is and we are counting down the workouts.
Saturday, August 30: Run 10 miles.
Sunday, August 31: Double spin class. Pack for Madison.
Monday, Sept. 1: Swim 45 minutes.
Tuesday, Sept. 2: Fly to Chicago. Drive to Madison. Check in at the Candlewood Suites.
Wednesday, Sept. 3: Jog 3 miles. Drive out to the bike course and drive it. Nap. Eat well. Hydrate. Watch movies and dumb tv (like John and Kate + 8). Hang out with the McJabneys (jennifer and trina).
Thursday, Sept. 4: Pick up packet 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Pick up bikes and bags at 1 p.m. Swim one loop of course, if possible. Check out the helix and transitions areas. Check out the merchandising areas. Start organizing transition and special needs bags. T1, T2, Bike Special Needs, Run Special Needs. Nap. Hydrate. Eat Pagliai’s Pizza brought to us from Iowa City. Go to the Great Dane Brewery. Email Pig a birthday card. Email people our bib numbers so they can track us on race day. Go back out to bike course, with Tula, Pepper, et. al and ride a couple of hills.
Friday, Sept. 5: Go to race site at 8 a.m. for Gatorade bag check and practice swim, if we are not able to swim on Thursday. Try to get out of mandatory athlete meeting or attend from 7:30-8:30 p.m. If we go to mandatory meeting, have family dinner prior to meeting. Nap. Hydrate. Plan parking for Sunday. Have family pizza dinner and pass out secret surprises.
Saturday, Sept. 6: 10-3 p.m. bike and transition gear check-in. BIKES: to Monona Terrace Parking lot level 4. SWIM TO BIKE BAGS: Ballroom C & D. BIKE TO RUN BAGS: Hall of Ideas Room G & J. Check and re-check special needs bags which we take to course on day of race. NO NAPPING. Hydrate. Take warm bath and klonapin and get in bed at 7 p.m. to be asleep by 8 p.m.
RACE DAY~Sunday, Sept. 7:
3:30 a.m. awaken. Eat two eggs and two pieces of toast with peanut butter and jam. Have a coffee with cream (jen but not meg). Drink 1/2 liter of H2O and 1/2 liter of nuun or gatorade. Meg will wake & feed Lucy in order to drain the boobs as much as possible. Parents are getting Lucy ready for the day and dealing with all her needs other than the boobie feed. Get dressed: bathing suit, sweats or shorts, t-shirt, chacos, baseball hat.
4:30 a.m. leave.
5 a.m.: Body marking. Check bikes (tires, computer, cookie/grover, tubes, pumps, food on bike). Put Friction Zone samples on bikes. Count racks, find landmarks to make sure we can find our bikes after the swim. Agree on place to meet when ready to head out on bike course. Meg will feed Lucy again if able. Head to swim start by 6am. Put on wetsuits and liberally apply Friction Zone to rub areas (neck, inner arms, lats). Mark our caps and feet with hot pink sharpies so we can detect each other in the water, maybe. Kiss family good bye!
6:30 a.m. Enter water for the deep water start
7 a.m. mass swim start
This picture was taken on IMMoo race day 2007…while my friends were trying to sign me up…didn’t get in! Later got in through collegiate divison. The lesson of this story is, don’t go snorkeling on sign up day!
Seed ourselves midpack-frontish on inside if possible. Ask people around us their time predictions to get a sense of if we are where we should be to avoid as much running over/being run over as we can. Pee in my wetsuit. Relax and float. Avoid using energy as much as can. Get goggles situated and not leaking. Jen-put in earplugs & nose clip. Visualize the swim ahead of us. Sight as needed to stay on course. Glide, stay long, stay in our bodies and our swims. Navigate as can without wasting energy. Remember the goal of the swim is to swim as swiftly as we can while remaining efficient, very TI like. Dedicating the swim to Meghan in hopes that her fish-like qualities assist us. Remember to draft if we can. Agree to not worry about each other during the swim, but find each other at transition. Remember that body contact is not personal, it is inevitable. Try and pee in water at end of swim. At finish, cross mat, let helpers help us and strippers strip us (hee hee). Walk/run in shame up helix in bathing suit and hope that none of the 10,000 spectators see us. Be invisible.
Finish strong goal: 1:25:00
Realistic goal: 1:15:00
Pie in the sky goal: 1:10:00
Meg swim start IM CDA 2006
Dry off. Put on shorts with Friction Zone on the bits. Put on sports bra, jersey, gloves, socks, shoes, helmet, sunglasses. Put in eye drops. If cold, wear dumb STP jacket that can be tossed when warmed up. Make sure number is in the correct placement and secured. Eat PB& J, drink gatorade/nuun. Pee if not able to at end of swim. Meet each other at designated spot and wait if the other one is not there. If other person is not there in 30 minutes then leave.
Goal: 7-9 minutes.
Remember MECCA, RAGBRAI, Vashon Island and STP! Remember on tail out and first lap to be solid, but reigning ourselves in so that second lap and tail back we have energy to step it up (based on advice of IMMoo veterans). We want to feel as if we are going strong and solid, but we could go faster and that faster would not be a sprint. Breathe! Take in the scenery, talk to the animals, and definitely say, “hi cows!” Enjoy the ride, remembering that biking in the country is fun.
Ride Breakdown: The ride is a 17 mile tail, 2 loops, and a tail back to town. Loop goes through 3 towns and the towns 13 miles apart. 4 tough hills (per jillyfish, an IMMoo veteran) all coming between 2nd and 3rd town (Cross Plains to Verona). It seems the course has a great way to break it down mentally. To quote jillyfish, “I think about it as 17 miles to the loop (easily do-able in my head), 13 miles to each town, and 13 miles to each town again, and 17 back to Madison–voila, you are done!” Dedicating the hills to Jennifer and Trina who rode up Mt. St. Helen’s with us after Meg told them it “wasn’t very hilly.” It is a volcano after all. Try not to stop until we have completed the first loop (coordinate with special needs stop and bathrooms). Meg will need to express milk during bathroom stops. Because, nothing says fun like hand expressing milk into a Honeybucket (port-a-potty) urinal.
If we get flats or have mechanical issues, we will remain calm, only freak out a bit, and then force ourselves to belly-laugh to break the tension…after all this really is a silly overly-privileged race. Then we will get on with it and fix the whatever and get back on the course and if we can’t, we will throw our bikes away and start drinking. Check time after first loop. Pick up special needs bags to replace food, etc. Eat and drink regularly (every 15-30 minutes). Refill with Gatorade/fluids as needed at aid stations. Get a banana if offered.
Meg is eating: margarita salt cliff blocks, peanut butter filled pretzels, fig newtons, nature’s path peanut butter energy bars, chocolate Gu, PB&J. Drinking: H2O from camelback; bottle of nuun.
Jen is eating: sausages, PB&J, peanut butter filled pretzels, fig newtons, power bars, margarita salt cliff blocks, cola cliff blocks, creamsicle Gu. Drinking: H2O from camelback; bottle of gatorade. Jen is also taking endurolytes, 1-3 per hour if hot.
Remember we are a team, doing this together to finish together. We have done a lot of long, hard hilly rides together with far less training and much more baggage (physical not emotional). For instance, 18% grades in Connecticut, the hilliest state in the union that no one knows about. Or, 204 miles in one day when no one should even ride more than 70 miles ever. Or, finally, 5200 feet elevation gain in 52 miles of riding…that is just wrong. Be honest with each other re: our needs when we know them, not after we have buried them for miles and miles. Consciously check-in, encourage each other, and respect each other’s process and pacing. As a team, use our individual strengths (meg-endurance and consistent pacing over time; jen-strong at beginning and pushes our limits to reach our potential) to make us stronger and complete the course with energy left for the run. Dedicating the second lap and home-stretch to each other because we always get each other through the tough rides.
Spin it out the last 2-3 miles to get legs ready for run. Let helpers take bike to wherever they take it.
Finish strong goal: 7:30:00
Realistic goal: 7:15:00
Pie in the sky goal: 6:50:00
Change all clothing because really, we’re doing this thing in 14 hours-ish…no need to wear the same sweaty, salty, crusty outfit all day. Put on run shorts (2), new bra, new shirt, new socks, and running shoes, and visor. Ditch sunglasses unless glaring. Re-apply friction zone to: underarms, under boobs, around belly button, around bra straps, inner thighs, feet. Drink nuun/gatorade. Put heat patches on jen’s low back. Take endurolytes, pepto-bismol, ibuprofen and compazine (in hopes of warding off all inner evilness). Eat either PB&J (if tolerable) or Gu. Make sure number is properly placed and secured. Hoot and holler for making the bike cut-off. Whoo hoo. Exit.
Goal: 5 minutes
Walk for the first 10 minutes. Make a plan for how long we can run at that point; aim for 20 minutes. Then begin 10 minute “Alternating Ownership Chunks”- a little game we have come up with to break down the run; e.g. meg says “we shall run for 7 minutes and walk for 3.” The next 10 minutes is jen’s choice of run-walk breakdown. Remember Admiral and Oregon Street, those bitchy hills! Breathe and settle in. Walk through all aid stations every 1-2 miles. Eat bites of something at every aid station. Alternate gatorade and H2O. Dedicate the first lap of the run to Rinn, Pete, Jeannette and Brooke for watching Lucy so we could shuffle along Alki. Dedicate the second lap to Kelsey, Chris, Erica, and Dayna for watching the Babylady, thinking Jen is pretty, and being the fabu queer “kids” that they are. Enjoy the spectators and volunteers (remembering to always thank them). Talk with other racers and encourage them as needed and appropriate. Soak in the sounds of the finish approach (about a 1 mile out). Reflect on our journey, stay upright, watch footing, begin celebration, stay present and near each other. Only speed through the shoot if there is a chance of coming in at sub-14 or sub-15 or sub-17 for that matter. Otherwise, enjoy the shoot, the crowd, our families, and listen for our ironic announcements, “Meg and Jen you are Ironmen!” Grab hands and hoot and holler with our joined hands waving above our heads and cross finish line (no skipping).
Finish strong goal: 5:30:00
Realistic goal: 5:00:00
Pie in the sky goal: 4:45:00
Overall race goal:
Finish strong goal: 14:38:00
Realistic goal: 13:43:00
Pie in the sky goal: 12:58:00
Bottom line goal: Sub 17:00:00
This entire race we dedicate to our families: Mary, Charlie, Doug, Michelle, Sam, Everett, Number 3, Elise, Jim, Robert, Aline, Rinn and Pete. Without your support (financial, emotional, babylady-watching, house-hold running, and just putting up with us) we absolutely could not have done this. We love you all and are deeply grateful. Thank you.
A big fat thank you to our training partners and friends, Jennifer and Trina. Without Alone-Plus…we would just have done this alone! You have both demonstrated courage, strength, and trust in the process, each other, and us in remarkable ways.
And to the Babylady, our fabulous, amazing, awesome, funny, sweet, strong, adorable, independent, sociable baby. Thank you for being exactly who you are and who you will become. You rock and we love you.
To our dogs, Zia and Otter, we promise a trip to the dog park in your very near future. Really, we promise, seriously, we mean it this time.
And, finally to each other: “You may not remember the time you let me go first. Or the time you dropped back to tell me it wasn’t that far to go. Or the time you waited at the crossroads for me to catch up. You may not remember any of those, but I do & this is what I have to say to you: today, no matter what it takes, we ride home together.” Brian Andreas
Iron Meg, IM CDA 2006 finish