Race Report: Ironman Louisville Aug 25, 2013

Looavul, Luhvul, Looaville, Looeyville, Lousiville… it helps to try and say it without moving your mouth.  Good luck!

No matter how you say it, Louisville, Kentucky is a great city.  It has interesting history, culture, music, dining, athletics, and the citizens are very enthusiastic about hosting the Ironman at the end of every August.  I did this race three years ago, before I was racing pro, and had a great experience.  I came in 4th overall that year, and qualified for Kona there.  I loved the course, and knew I would come back another time.  So this year was another time.  At the beginning of the year, I hadn’t planned all my races out, being how this summer has been packed full of a bit of everything – from training and racing, to work promotions and getting married.  I feel so blessed and grateful for all that is in my life.  It’s full and sometimes hectic, but very positive.  I’m thankful for how supportive and involved Lucas is with all I am doing/we are doing.

Louisville sign

Since Nashville is only 3 hours south of LV, his dad and step-mom drove up to be with us for the weekend.  If you are a regular reader or know Lucas’ family at all, you know that they have been involved with triathlons for many years.  If they’re not participating, they are doing a fabulous job of supporting and spectating, because they know how it all goes – what needs doing and what needs leaving alone.  We shared a hotel room in downtown Louisville, a great location because it was only blocks from the start and finish.

As an Ironman, Louisville is known for its rolling hills bike course (challenging but fun and pretty!), and it’s heat and humidity.  The run course is “flat” (not really- it is a false flat for 7 miles, then a “downhill” which doesn’t feel any easier, then repeat), and gets very hot at that point in the day.  These aspects play to some of my strengths, or at least my ability to withstand heat better than some.

The swim takes place in the Ohio River, not known for its sparkling pristine water (it’s quite brown and dirty), and the water temp is high enough, always above 76 degrees, to make it a “no-wetsuit swim”.  This means that for pros, wearing a wetsuit would disqualify you, and for amateurs, you can wear one but not be eligible for any awards.  It’s really too warm to wear one and not overheat.  Anyway, I like this.  I prefer not to have to wear a wetsuit and I think I swim better without one.  So this swim was one of my best:  55:00.  That is not a super-impressive time for a pro, however, and I came out of the water 7th.

On the bike, I remembered how much I like the rolling hills bike course, and I had a blast.  It was my goal to ride a really strong bike leg, and I did it!  I had one sort-of-major (could have been worse) mechanical around mile 25; I shifted gears going up a hill and my chain got sucked up and totally stuck between my big chain ring and the frame.  It was locked and I couldn’t pedal.  I had to get off and yank on the chain, then I worked at it more carefully, not wanting to break the chain.  Finally I got it loose and shifted through the gears making sure everything worked okay and it did.  WHEW!  A girl that I had passed, passed me back while I was fixing it.  I gunned it for her and passed her again within about 5 miles.  I was back on track!  The mechanical probably lost me about 2 minutes, which in the end is very unfortunate.  But, to remain positive and not too bummed out, I am so thankful that it wasn’t worse and nothing actually broke on my bike or made me lose more time than I did.

Whit bike, backLa Grange bike

I rode well and got myself into 2nd place!  I didn’t know what place I was in until I approached the Transition Area (end of bike), and they were announcing me and everyone was cheering — this is the stuff I LOVE and gives me such a boost!  I saw Lucas and family and hundreds of other spectators whom I don’t know who were cheering for me.  I got into the Transition tent (T2) just as the first-place girl was heading out.  I took some breaths to stay calm, and changed into my run gear and headed out.

My stomach was on the verge of discomfort, but I pushed ahead until I had to stop at a port-a-potty about 4 miles in.  That did help.  But though I had planned on a seamless run, it just doesn’t always go as planned.  That is one of the intrigues of an Ironman.  It’s such a long day that anything can happen – good or bad, or just challenging.  Nothing went very wrong on the marathon for me, it’s just that nothing felt good.  I know, I know, it’s gonna be uncomfortable for most of the run, it just is, but I never got into a groove that felt good and strong.  I was surprised because I had been diligent with my nutrition and hydration.  But it was hot and humid, and I had ridden hard on the bike.  My mind started to place doubts and send negative messages to the already-hurting parts of my body, and it was hard to push the pace any faster.  I hung onto 2nd place until about mile 23, then I was passed by a girl who had been running really strong.  She earned it.  But I was so disappointed!  I kept on best I could; I couldn’t catch her but I wasn’t going to fall any more behind.  I finished about 45 seconds after she did.  I was very happy with my overall race time, a very good Personal Record, 9:34!

"Fourth St Live" is the finish line, a downtown area of a few blocks of live music and lots going on!

“Fourth St Live” is the finish line, a downtown area of a few blocks of live music and lots going on!

A huge thank you to my sponsors, always:  Tyr (great swimskin!), Frasier Meadows (my workplace and sponsor), Gu Energy (could not have survived without you guys!), Zeal Optics (saved my eyes from the high UV index that day….and all those southern bugs!), Retul bike fitting system, Swiftwick socks, and my coach Curt Chesney.  Curt had a few athletes also racing Ironman Whistler the same day as IM Louisville, and all of his athletes did GREAT.  He should be proud, and we are thankful to have his skilled help in our pursuit of success!

Kate Bevilaqua, Brooke Brown, Whitney Garcia, Nina Kraft, April Gellatly

Kate Bevilaqua (1st, not pictured), Brooke Brown (2nd), Whitney Garcia (3rd), Nina Kraft (4th), April Gellatly (5th)

Also thank you to:  Rusty and Mary Ann McCain for all the details they helped with, patience, generosity, and getting up so early to drive me around race morning!  Sam and Jess Miller, good friends from Nashville who drove up to spectate and cheer me on that day (and for bringing me more Swiftwick socks – Yay!), Vickie Johnson and her and father – friends and my “homestay” the last time I raced here in Louisville; they were out on the run course cheering for me this  year!  Thank you always to my parents Nancie and Jerry, and my brothers Jeff and Jay who have given me so much support and love not only all the years I’ve been racing but all the years we’ve been a family!  Thank you to Teresa Dillehay, Lucas’ mom, for cheering me on from afar and sending me good luck messages and prayers.  And a huge thank you to my new husband Lucas, who sacrificed a long weekend of his own training, work, time and money to come be with me as I did my best race so far.  His encouragement and support was excellent.

WL pre race T1WL Awards

Pro bike racksRun and Bike bags




Thanks for hosting, Louisville!

LV Slugger

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