Ironman Flex wide2016 Louisville

IMLOU 2016 Race Report: I am an IRONMAN!

It’s Ironman Day!

I set 3 alarms for race morning, just in case. I woke up 10 minutes before any of them went off, at 4:20 a.m. I wasted no time. I had my water, cup of coffee, english muffin with PB&J, and milk. Same thing as every day as I’ve done in training and other races. Nothing new.

I braided my hair, got my kit on to wear under the wetsuit, double checked my special needs bags, and got the family up and out of bed. We left for transition around 5:20, and before I knew it, I was in line to get in. I got the special needs bags dropped off,  all my fluids set up on my bike, aired up my tires, got body marked, and met up with our group.

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Tiffani at Ironman Louisville 2016 Finishline day before race

Ironman Week and Check-in: The last moments before showtime!

Race-Week Taper Crazy and Preparation

I’ve been mentally processing this event for the past few days, and it is all still sinking in.  What an experience.  I decided that training for an Ironman is like planning for a wedding. You spend so many months planning every last detail. Then–BOOM! It’s over.

Last week, I went through what I call “taper crazy.” My training was mostly done, and I had a lot more time on my hands to obsess about every last detail possible. I was emotional, irritable, and just plain anxious.

Meet my friend, Taper Crazy, the mascot of taper week:

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Drumroll, Please! (Summer Recap Part II)

This post, as much as I’m excited about my experience, isn’t about me. It’s about you and everyone else who is out there holding on to a goal or a dream and not making it a reality. Maybe you want to take the step and try a tri. Or run a race. Maybe you want to do something completely different and unrelated. What matters is that it’s your dream, and that you are capable of doing it! Really. You are. I want to share this to inspire you, because I needed inspiration myself along the way so many times. I still do!
The Des Moines race was so meaningful to me this year, and really it always has been. It has become my favorite race, and a tradition for our family every Labor Day weekend. This race used to be the HyVee Triathlon, a huge draw for pro athletes, and was a part of the 5150 championship series. Two years ago, the 5150 series in the US fizzled, and HyVee announced they were no longer presenting the race.  It is now put on by the same race management company, it’s just known as the Des Moines Triathlon.
Going back a few years, in 2012 I toed the line at the HyVee Triathlon for my first Olympic distance race. I was 11 months postpartum, still nursing almost exclusively, holding on to a lot of baby weight, and just plain tired. I’d done a few sprint triathlons by that point (before and after baby), as well as a half marathon just a few months before. Still, I had huge doubts that I was capable of completing an Olympic distance tri and was overwhelmed and intimidated by this race. An Olympic distance is about twice the distance of most sprint triathlons, hence the anxiety I felt. A few weeks before that race, I did the Corporate Cup Bike challenge in Omaha—the 25 mile distance, which is the same bike distance for an Olympic tri. I came home and had more left in the tank, and felt like I could have done more. So I did what any crazy person would do. I signed up for the HyVee Tri. Then, I surprised myself—I really COULD do it. I finished it. That decision led to me continuing to challenge myself to new distances and harder races as years have gone by.
That first HyVee Tri Sept 2012