My wife completed Ironman Louisville with a one-hour personal record for the full distance. This was her second 140.6. The first was a similarly hilly course in Madison, Wisconsin. So she’s got two under her race belt and learned so much from training and racing this summer with her coach Steve Brandes that her appetite for the distance remains strong. She came through without major incident or injury, and whisked right back into the world of work the next day. Many kudos for that on top of a solid race.
But it was a tough day out there for everyone, with rain adding to the interest along the way. But as Ironman athletes are known to do, my friends all competed with a smile. Now and then.
Temps this past weekend in Louisville dropped from a high of 74 degrees near noon to a the low 50s and a raw west wind for the second half of the 112 mile ride and all of the marathon. The swim in Louisville starts upstream in the Ohio River and turns south, and Sue completed it in 1:05. Her total time for the race was 14:18 with a 6-hour plus bike and nearly six for the marathon. It largely went as planned, but the day did not grant her the desired sub-14. Still a grand day of movement.
In fact the conditions tested the athletes in many ways, who described riding conditions as “heinous” with gusts pushing riders into each other and making long straightaways a slog. But that’s the deal with Ironman races. The day can change, and you have to change with the day if you want to achieve the finish line.
Some triathlon friends of ours also competed. Notably Jeff (orange and black kit in photos) and Maxine Franck-Palmer (pink and black kit) were the husband and wife Ironman pair with whom we traveled to Louisville back in July to ride the course and get a feel for the terrain. Jeff rocked the bike segment near 19 mph before putting together a steady marathon for a 10:58:55. That put him 35th out of 289 in his 45-49 age group. His wife Max finished in 13:35:34. That put her 42nd out of 100 in her age group.
Our young friend Amanda Marek (bright green kit on bike in photos, and black kit running) had a legitimate shot at Kona in mind going into the race. She targeted her finish at 10:30 and hit her goal almost spot on, at 10:31.
Last year that time would have won her age group in the 25-29 category by ten minutes. This year, thanks to many factors related to races that closed in other places, a few more fast gals showed up. Amanda competed solidly and wound up 5th out of 61 in her age group. She was 26th place overall out of 739 women competitors. She rode a bike of 5:33 (19.9 avg.) and did her marathon in 3:49. A pretty exceptional effort overall.
The official Ironman tracking app worked great all day. It was easy, intuitive and even provided a live estimate of course progress in all three disciplines. And a note on that: One can argue all you want that Ironman as a brand is a bit of a monopoly, but sometimes monopolies create good things. That app made the day much easier for this Sherpa and our crew.
Here are a few more photos that capture the day.