Ironman Louisville was the longest distance race of the season and taken on with a sense of adventure rivaling the competitive aspect of the event. This was the derivation of the time commitments accompanying taking a new position in my professional life as well as serving as a co-athlete and supporter of my husband in his first full ironman.
The race started with a very unique rolling swim start that involved lining up approximately two hours prior to the start and walking two-by-two to a pair of docks that athletes jumped off of and into the Ohio river. The first .75 miles of the swim were upstream though in a section of backwater sheltered from the main body of the Ohio by an island. After the upstream section athletes rounded the island and took in a fast down-stream swim. The open aspect of the wide river allowed athletes to swim in far less congested waters than is typical of triathlon. At swim exit I had finished the leg in a 1:09 a personal best at this distance.
The bike course was a sizeable challenge with the 112 miles consisting of over 5500 ft of elevation gain. The course was very well supported in both aid stations and the number of fans. With a less than ideal lead into the event I took the bike course on with a long view in mind and rode conservatively. This strategy was successful and I was off the bike with a time of 6:19.
The final challenge of the day was a marathon through the streets of downtown Louisville. This was a nice two loop run course that incorporated running through the University of Louisville campus and a run past Churchill Downs. The terrain was mostly flat. My first objective was to catch my husband and then worry about the finish line. I caught up to him around mile 11. Neither of us were feeling exceptional by this point and decided to work through the balance of our Ironman journey the way that we had been privileged enough to take the majority of it on, together. We both had our share of high and low points but it was a great way to finish the race hand in hand crossing under the finishing arch on 4th Street Live. Finish time 12:57. Though this was not my fastest finish of my three Ironman finishes it was a special and unique journey that I am appreciative of. Holly Sloan