Friday, September 7, 2007


September 9th, 2007

I am home recovering after a fabulous time in Louisville Kentucky. I had my reservations about going, (the debate about proximity to Hawaii), but after securing my Fifth Ironman Title and Personal Ironman P.R.I am very satisfied!!

The day itself was near perfect after what I would say was a very average swim for me. I lost the lead packs and couldn’t find anyone to swim with – I found myself in la la land, about 50 meters to the right of the buoy line. I could see the lead pack(s) and they were getting further and further away. I had to tell myself to relax and that the swim was only the first part of a long day. I exited the water in 52+ minutes and felt relief until I saw my husband and he shouted Nina and Carole are 4 minute up!! I was thinking “what” ugh – 4 minutes!!

OK – get on the bike and just go!! My legs felt good and I was right at home as the first 10 miles were nice and flat. Then the hills… the first one hurt (bad), the second one a little less and the third felt good (it was nice and short and I stood up and hammered!!). Then I found my groove, I concentrated on my nutrition plan and getting speed up on all the downhills to help carry me up the next roller. It was a beautiful course! I was thankful for the out and back (about Mile 14) as I could see my competition. At that point I was still about 4 minutes back on Nina Kraft. She went 9:07 and set a new course record at IronmanBrazil earlier this year so I was glad the gap was not any bigger.

We then traveled further out of town to a 30 mile loop. The first loop was awful lonely but I was getting splits and Nina’s lead was down to 3:10 at 40 miles and about 2:50 at 45 and 2:00 at 50. You never really know the accuracy of splits that you get while on the course - at one point I did hear it was about a minute and then a few moments later someone yells you are four minutes down!! WHAT!!!! Ok, I told myself to just wait for someone I knew to get an accurate split. I saw Keith from Team Timex and knew he would have an accurate split, after all you can’t beat the accuracy of a Timex Watch – Right?

It was now 1:50 down – well that got me almost as excited as all the athletes on their 1st loop that I now saw as I turned for my second 30 mile loop. It was fun to constantly have athletes to catch and pass, a little dangerous but motivating as they would cheer as I went by. I ended up catching Nina at around mile 80!! From that point on the goal was simple – hammer on home to downtownLouisville.

I got off the bike and wanted to get out of transition as quick as I could and onto the run. I ran the first ¼ mile too fast and got a side ache and had to slow down. I was looking for Nina. I didn’t know what the gap was but figured I better get going. At Mile 2 I heard she was out on the run course and was starting to chip away at my lead. My side ache was gone now so I picked the pace up. At the turnaround I had gained back my lead but was still pushing hard. At the next turnaround, about half-way through the Marathon I had a 20 minute lead.

Wow I thought to myself – ok, this is mine to lose – be smart – so I slowed it down, ate, hydrated and relaxed and boy was this fun!! My last Ironman victory this April at IronmanArizona I did not take the lead until Mile 24 of the run. Even after catching Joanne Zieger it was still pedal to the metal all the way to the Finish Line, winning ultimately in less than a minute.

This was a much different feeling. I had time to contemplate taking the cartwheels out of retirement. I had done one cartwheel for my First Ironman victory in Madison, two cartwheels for my second in Coeur d’ Alene, three for the third – but the fourth – well – I didn’t want to be like the Olympic Snowboarder who lost the Gold after show-boating so with Ironman Win #4 in sight and Joanne close behind there were no Cartwheels in Arizona. But here… I still had not decided when I came running down the finish shoot but there they were – 5 cartwheels and Ironman Win #5. At least now my husband thinks I am a real athlete as my finish made it on ESPN!!

Congratulations to WTC who did a great job putting on this Inaugural Event, and to the city of Louisville who embraced the Ironman Athletes. I also want to thank all of my Sponsors for their continued assistance and support. This wonderful group includes The Luna Tri-Team, Orbea Bikes, Mavic Wheels, Blue-Seventy Wetsuits, Giro Helmets, Wigwam Socks, Village Bikes, my newest Team Member KORT (Kentucky Orthopedic Rehab Team), Marc Strickland my Sports Psychologist and expert packer, William Muhlstadt my Massage Therapist and Tim Crowley of CTS, my Coach – thanks for coming!!

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