Ashleigh Brodhead did a fitness workout: 140.6 miles. That's 2...

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  • 141 miles
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Ironman Wisconsin Race Report! 140.6 mi

140.6 miles. That's 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 of biking, and 26.2 of running. CRAZY. I signed up last year when I went to volunteer at Ironman Wisconsin. I had done the distance before, and I wanted to do it again.

My dad decided to come down to watch, which is great because I don't have an enormous amount of friends that do this or that would want to come watch this. I needed the support. He came in at 11:30 on Friday, I met him at the airport, and we were off for our 3 hour drive to Madison. Once we got to Madison, it was straight to the packet pickup line. The line is SO LONG. We had to sign waivers, get weighed, and pick up our special needs and bike/run bags. It was 2 hours by the time we were done. Then, dad and I head to his friend's house where we stay for the whole weekend. It's about 30 minutes outside of Madison. Once I get there, I'm greeted by some lovely people, and a whole lot of tequila and wine. Alright. Tequila it is. We head to Madison for some delicious dinner, where I drink some more wine and eat some great food. A lovely night of sleep was upon me.

The next day (Saturday) was bike racking day. So much anxiety happens on this day. I racked my bike, turned in my swim-to-bike and bike-to-run bags and went to the swim start for an easy swim. Swimming is the sport that gives me the most anxiety, so I needed to get in the water the ease that anxiety a little. I got in the water, started swimming, and loved every second of it. This water was great. Calm and warm. I went up to the rooftop of Monona Terrace, had a few beers with my dad, and then met the CES folk for some more beers and good conversation. I didn't train with these folk for the race, but I wanted to be as much a part of CES as I could. I then went to a house that was a friend of a friends, and has some delicious dinner...and more wine. My anxiety was eased by all the great conversation and wonderful people I was around. Then it was back to the house to sleep.

I set my alarm for 4am and passed out. I woke up pretty calm. I took a quick shower and made sure everything was ready to go. My dad and I left at 5 and got to transition at 5:45 or so. I pumped the tires, added nutrition and water bottles to the bike, got body marked, posted on facebook, and said goodbye to my dad for the whole day. I went to swim start. I had to pee. I couldn't get to the porter potties, so I would have to suck it up for the whole swim or pee in the water.

They had us go into the water about 20-30 minutes before the start. I was NOT about to tread water the whole time, so I hung back. Eventually, I had to go in. I went in, about 3/4 of the way back, and treaded water. The gun went off. I start swimming pretty much right away. No one is around me. I thought people were supposed to trample over me right away!? 15 minutes in, I start to get trampled. But I just take a breath, hold back, and then swim again. Around the first turn buoy, everyone yells, "MOO," hence the title, "IMMOO." The swim lasts a while, but I'm never really tired. Swimming doesn't tire me. I'm not fast, however. We finish and I lay down to get someone to strip my wetsuit off (best volunteer job ever!) and head up the helix to transition. So many spectators!! I couldn't help but smile. I get my bike and head to the bike course.

It starts off slow because of some turns and tight areas, but then we head to the "stick," or the first 16 miles out from Madison to begin the 2 40 mile loops. The stick is not flat. So many hills. I felt like this entire course was hills. We either went up or down a hill at all times. Most athletes get a chance to ride the course at least once before race day. I did not. This was totally new to me. I had NO idea what to expect and was SO excited about it. Everyone always talks about the 3 sister hills (or bitches) and even after riding the course, I have no idea which hills they are referring to. The hills that had spectators at them (tour de france style) were the greatest. It didn't even seem like I was working hard! The spectators will scream and yell and get so excited for you. We hit special needs, I pee, grab some food, and then out for the second half of the bike. I feel good. My legs are totally fine. I just get worried about my lungs and nutrition. I keep eating solid food as much as I can, take my Nuun (water with electrolytes) and keep cranking those miles. Finally, I'm done.

In T2 I'm so happy to be off the bike, but thinking about running a marathon is just silly. I remember making jokes to the volunteers helping me and the athletes surrounding me. I head out to the run and feel like I can run pretty well. My goal was to keep running as long as I could until I needed to start a walk/run thing. My first few miles were a little too fast, so I tried to slow down. I keep a solid 10:00 pace average for quite about 10 miles. Then I started to feel a little crappy. Once I made the turn around at the 13.1 mile marker, I knew I had this thing and could walk the whole second half and still finish. But I kept thinking about what I could do to get a 13 hour and change Ironman. I got a second wind and kept running. The only times I stopped to walk were the aid stations and up the hills. I couldn't believe how happy I was the whole run. I'm known for smiling a lot, especially during races. During an Ironman, it gets hard to smile towards the end of the run. I tried SO HARD, to smile when the spectators or volunteers would encourage me. Once I got to 2 miles before the finish, I got excited. The last mile was the best. I got choked up. The spectators were screaming so loud. The volunteers were congratulating me even though I was steps away from the finish. That finish line was the greatest moment of my life. Everyone is staring and cheering for you and no one else. Mike Reilly says, "You are an Ironman, Ashleigh Brodhead!" The day was over. Volunteers catch me and hold me up while I figure out how the hell to be still for a moment. It was the greatest thing I've ever done.

The greatest moment of my life so far is crossing that finish line. With a smile.

The volunteers and the spectators make this race so amazing. They are constantly cheering you on, shouting your name, telling you that "you can do this." Without that, I don't think I could finish as strong. Seeing CES during the bike and run kept me going. I don't like letting people down, so I knew I had to be strong. I looked forward to seeing the CES peeps every time because I knew i would get a good boost.

I'm SO FREAKIN happy with how I did knowing that I never rode the course, and did not train nearly has much as I should have and wanted to. Nothing went wrong that day. I thought that during a 14+ hour race, something has to go wrong. Nothing did. Everything was picture perfect.

I made a dream come true and I am so happy.

  • Darren C.
    Darren C.

    Wow that made me tear up a little. You are AMAZING! Inspiration doesn't even begin to describe it.

    almost 4 years ago Like

  • Jeff H.
    Jeff H.

    Yes! Quite amazing. Next up, double ironman!

    almost 4 years ago Like

  • Tracey G.
    Tracey G.

    Wow, so fantastic!

    almost 4 years ago Like

  • Laura A.
    Laura A.

    So Amazing to read all of this, congrats on an incredible feat lady!

    almost 4 years ago Like

  • Andrea
    Andrea You're an Inspiration
    You're an Inspiration:

    You looked beautiful crossing that finish line! Your smile was amazing. And, yes.... my eyes may have leaked a bit seeing you finish. What a fantastic race you had Abrod! Congrats on such an epic day!

    almost 4 years ago

  • Joanne S.
    Joanne S. You're an Inspiration
    You're an Inspiration:

    I know I said it on Facebook, but I'll say it here too. Congrats, Ironman! Your hard-work, dedication, athleticism and positive attitude are all things I admire greatly.

    almost 4 years ago

  • Tim M.
    Tim M. Great Performance
    Great Performance:

    You kick ass.

    almost 4 years ago

  • Jeff F.
    Jeff F. Nice Job
    Nice Job:

    i loved reading your race recap!!

    almost 4 years ago