We’re now less than one month out from Ironman Wisconsin, and our Athlete of the Year, Joff, is in the height of his training and preparation. Let’s check in and see how he’s doing, and remember to share lots of positive encouragement and support his fundraising efforts! #IMforT4S
I often feel so grateful that I’m getting to do my Ironman for a cause like Tri 4 Schools. This started off as a personal goal, and a way to inspire some of my students, but now I feel that I’m able to reach so many more by helping to promote this great cause. I appreciate everyone that has financially contributed towards Tri 4 Schools on my behalf, as well as everyone who has shared their words of kindness with me. I also appreciate all the “Go Tri 4 Schools” cheers as I bike or run by a crowd that doesn’t even know me, just because I’m wearing their gear. It’s a cool feeling knowing that the word about the awesome program is spreading.
When it comes to my training, I can’t believe the difference a few weeks makes! When I left off I was preparing for my first Olympic distance triathlon. The Olympic distance swim of 1500 meters (just under a mile) would be the longest open water swim I had ever done, so I was feeling a bit nervous about that. The start was pretty congested and there was a lot of bumping around, but eventually I found my pace and before I knew it the swim leg was over. I ended up meeting or surpassing all of my goals for the day and was very pleased with my race.
Then my eyes were set on my next race… the Half Ironman in Door County! The race day conditions were fantastic and I was much less nervous for the swim. I ended up surprising myself to a much faster swim and bike ride than I was expecting. Even now when I think to how fast I did the bike, I find it hard to believe I was capable of that. The run was going great and I was on my goal pace for about 6 1/2 miles, and then I started not to feel so well. As my stomach started to tighten I had that panic moment of ” I’m only half way done with the run!” A few moments later another thought crossed my mind, “If this were the Ironman right now, I’d still have 20 miles left!!!” For over three hours I was having the race of my life, but that day I learned one can be humbled very quickly in these long races. My pace slowed, and eventually my cramp was so bad I had to walk. Each time I would try to jog it would hurt too much to continue. During this time I started thinking about my students in my PE classes and my running club and the encouragement they would give me if they were there. Eventually I was able to hold the jogs longer than my walks and finally the last mile I was able to run the whole way without stopping. Due to how well my swim and bike went I still managed to meet my goal for the race, but it was certainly a learning experience.
So in these final weeks I knew I needed to focus more on my run, where I have been limited due to the back injury that hampered me this spring. My back is much improved, still not 100%, but it’s time to put a little more time/effort in that area. Cindi Bannink, my coach at Madison Multisport, has given me some good suggestions as to the adjustments I can make with my nutrition on race day and I’m using these long weekend practices to try things out. Now that I’m at the height of my training I practice about 20 hours a week with a 7+ hour workout on either Saturday or Sunday. It’s not easy, but I’ve been building up to this gradually since January, and more importantly I have the support of so many friends, family, teammates, students, and parents so there is plenty of motivation.
Only about 4 weeks until the big day! Still plenty of work to be done, but I’m excited! Thanks again for all of your support!