Ironman Louisville, Part 1

It’s a wrap.

Well my Ironman Louisville chapter is closed, but I feel like its a new beginning for me as a triathlete. The day brought many emotions  – nervousness, excitement, frustration, questioning, internal struggles, battles in my head, and even a few tears!  But I’ve found myself closer to knowing “me” than ever before. I was left raw, empty, renewed and and for the first time, an Ironman.

The weekend started when we left Frisco early Thursday morning. The 12-hour drive went quick and big thanks to my awesome hubby for driving the entire way 🙂 I was a bit dehydrated from the drive but vowed to get back on track asap. (If you know road trips with my husband, we don’t stop unless we need gas – a.k.a – no potty breaks!)  We arrived to Louisville thirsty, starving and and after a quick meal on the waterfront we hit the hay hard! Exhausted.


Jules at Ironman Village

The next morning was packet pick-up and athletes meeting. It was rainy, with a chill in the air as we stood around Athletes Village. “At least Mother Nature is getting the rain out of the way?” I thought to myself. Everywhere I looked there were athletes bringing in $6-$8k bikes – I just eyeballed them and wiped my drool. Everyone was so legit!  Right then, I felt like a rookie more than ever… Which was especially revealing after I grabbed my new IM backpack with a squeal! “Yeah baby!”



Jeff as an Ironman?

Check-in took awhile and I could feel myself “slipping” into a headache. I shook it off and got something to drink later at the hotel hoping it was just a little dehydration still from the day before? After, I had lunch on “4th Street LIVE” with my family – who had all arrived now – and we watched the finish line set up while chowing down. “Jules, go by the finish line for a picture!” We had done this routine at Boston but this time it was different… “No, let’s wait till tomorrow, AFTER I finish?” I replied. I immediately had a knot in my stomach. This was the first race I had ever done where there was a *very* good possibility I might not see the finish line. My mind flashed to all of the events tomorrow and the big day ahead. It was in that very moment  I found myself really nervous for the first time. “No photo opps yet please” I laughed awkwardly. However, my brother did kindly pose!;-)

I didn’t have much down time and I was off to meet my coach. That afternoon I went to “drive the course” with Coach Soria and a few other Team Imagine athletes racing IMLOU, Hector Perez, Rob Black and their “Sherpa” (Tim Smith). The course was soooo intimidating! Everywhere we turned was another crazy hill! Coach Soria told me I would probably have to stay in my small chain ring from mile 20-85…Oh crap! Once again, I got that knot in my stomach! :-/


Mark and Jules at the Banquet

That night we all attended the IM banquet together where we met up with my parents, Paul and my Frisco Tri Club teammate, Mark. It was crummy food but inspirational hearing all the stories! (I love that stuff!) However, at that event I really started to slip… Bad. I began to get a terrible migraine! “Not now!” I whined to myself? The pain in my neck and shoulders ached and my head started to throb. I took a migraine pill immediately but I realized I had been battling it all day. “Was it too late…. ?” I stayed focused and tried my best to take deep breaths until the meds took hold.  No one but Paul knew what was going on – I didn’t want to worry the crew and appear “weak!”  After about two hours it subsided enough and I continued to power through the evening fairly well. My whole family was out on the town by then – I couldn’t back out on the evening, right? I did my best sipping water and eating a Think Thin bar to settle my stomach.


Team Imagine scoping the course

The next day was practice swim and bike check-in. I woke up with such pain in my neck/shoulders and overall aches that I told Paul I needed to skip the practice swim and just rest. (I was getting VERY nervous!) I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it or even tell Coach Soria. Part of me was embarrassed, I guess?  (Come all this way and suck over a migraine?!!) But tough-ass Paul wouldn’t take no for an answer and swept me off to the practice swim anyway! (Which I appreciate now babe!) It turned out to be a good thing and I was able to get loosened up a bit in the water. Plus, I was able to get an appointment at the massage tent which felt awesome. While not 100%, I was doing much better by the afternoon and was able to rest most of the day. (While the support crew went to Bourbon tastings! I guess you could say they were training and prepping too?)


The last supper…


Team Jules Dinner!

That evening we gathered at Scilianos pizza and pasta for dinner. My whole family plus Dustin, Lindsay and Ashley all joined. It was a crazy dinner with all of us at separate tables and hopping around (restuarant loved us, yes). Quickly, it was time for me to go rest up for 140.6 miles! As we said good night my family joked, “Please don’t take the entire 17 hours please! That’s a long day for us! Haha!” I just smiled and replied, “I’ll do my best – don’t make me nervous!!” And I was…  As I turned in for the night I did a final check of my bags. Ironman has a lot of stuff!

Morning Bag:
Wind pants
Long sleeve tee
Flip flops
Goggles , 2nd pair of goggles
Cap, 2nd cap
GU – blackberry
Think Thin bar
Spray lube!

Bike Special Needs:
Extra Tube
Extra C02
PB &J sandwich
Bonk Bar – PB &J, 2X
GU – blackberry
Lays potato chips
Chicken broth

Run Special Needs:
PB &J sandwich
Bonk Bar – PB &J, 2X
GU – blackberry
Lays potato chips
Chicken broth

(Already turned in)
Bike Bag:
Arm sleeves
Helmet with shield
Bike shoes
Race belt (with tracker)
GU – blackberry
Bonk Bar – PB &J

(Already turned in)
Run Bag
New Kit – tri shorts, tri top, sports bra
New race belt (add tracker)
New socks
Running shoes
Arm sleeves
Long sleeve tee
Extra shorts
Calf Compression sleeves
GU’s!!! 5x

By that evening my head was much, much better, but the soreness in my head, neck and shoulders was still quite bothersome! (I call it a “migraine hangover”) And, would you believe my calves were a tad crampy and tight? WTH?! Was it all the walking – seriously? Did I taper too early? 

I did a final “roll” on the foam roller moaning and groaning the whole time. “You do not sound good my friend!” Ashley laughed. By then my attitude had become “just need to finish by Midnight” and I tossed out my 14:30 time goal as I tossed myself in bed.

As it turns out, it was the best attitude to have….


Julie SimonIronman Louisville, Part 1

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