20 September 2009


Well, officially we’re heading into taper – all of us. We finished our last long miles before we take the 20% each week in mileage. I know I have had a tough last week of training. I was ready – tired, sore and just done with it.

Take the time in the next couple of weeks to really let your bodies recover. Sleep and diet really are important during this time. Also, hydrate it up.

The marathon is just around the corner. Think about what you need to wear, the course, your goals. Visualize your time at the finish line.

We all will have our challenges. Last weekend was the Wisconsin Madison Ironman and we all know the stories that go along with that event. Jodee, our regional representative for running at Life Time, completed it. Her story spoke to her training, race and challenges.

We all have our own journeys as we train and complete our goals. You’ve trained, prepared in your own way and now you’re ready. You can do it.

Here is her blog entry –
My first Ironman Experience
(First yes, my only- yet to be determined!)
So overall, I have to say the day was about as difficult as I expected it to be- some parts quite not as bad, some more challenging than expected.

The 2.4 mile swim:
One of my first concerns, the MASS START! Not having wave starts, just all 2500 (or whatever the exact number was!) athletes starting at once made me a bit anxious, as well as it being a water start (vs. beginning on the beach and running into the water, we actually start IN the water, treading water / floating until the cannon goes off). I situated myself (next to my husband) out a little bit farther to the outside and figured that I’d angle in gradually as we began. Knowing that I’d have to swim a bit farther than the 2.4 miles of the course, I was ok with the tradeoff of hopefully avoiding more blows to the head and being swam over.
The swim went pretty well. Took in some water, was pushed, kicked, hit, etc a few times, but nothing that I wasn’t able to stay calm through. As I started my second loop of the swim I looked at my watch which read 43 minutes and was happy to see that I was pretty well on track for what I was planning for. As I turned the 2nd corner of the second loop, the water got a bit more choppy and I think that slowed me down a little bit, but not too bad. (I did start getting a stomach cramp during the swim, not bad, just not sure why since I made sure to follow all of my regular training and race day routines.) As you’re coming out of the water there are volunteers there to help pull out. It was a very odd feeling as I stood up and all of the water just rushed out of my wetsuit. It took a couple of seconds before I had my legs back and then began running up the helix toward the transition area.
Swim Time: 1:32 (about what I was expecting)

The transition areas are very different than any other triathlon, and somewhat confusing to the first timer. You run into a room, get your first transition bag, then there are two changing rooms- one for men, one for women. Luckily I went into the right one. There was going to be no such thing as fast transitions for me since there was so much ground to cover and the confusion of where to go next.
The volunteers are very helpful, they will do as little or as much as you want them to. My volunteer laid out everything thing for me, handed me items as I asked for them, etc. After changing into my bike gear, taking a gel, electrolytes and some water I ran out of Menona Terrace, quick port-o-potty stop and up to the bike racks. The volunteers yelled out numbers and handed you your bike as you came through (for a moment I thought someone was taking my bike!). After mounting your bike you have to ride down the helix, which is just like winding down a spiral staircase without the stairs. Another part that I was worried about, but proved to not be as scary as I had thought. I was off! One leg down, starting on leg 2!
Transition 1 Time: 14:42 (Wow! That’s a long transition!)

The 112 mile Bike:
I had only heard a few days before the event that Madison had not only a very technical, but the most challenging Ironman bike course in North America! Another thing to make a girl nervous. (Especially since until beginning my training for this race I had never ridden more than 55-60 miles and very little hill training.)
Starting the bike, I had a bit of a stomach ache. I had practiced the nutrition that I was going to use on this day numerous times. Gel, electrolytes, anti-fatigue with water on the hour, ¼ almond butter sandwich with water on the half hour, sips of Hammer Perpetuem in between. Being very aware of how many calories and water I’d consume in one hour not to over or under fuel / hydrate. However, my stomach ache made me not want to eat anything solid, so I followed my plan omitting the sandwich portion.
The bike course was very challenging, hill after hill with some sharp turns as well. I had heard various comments from others who had rode it before- anything from “it’s not too bad” to “I wouldn’t want to do it again”. FYI- Those that said that it’s not bad- LIE!
I had planned out the nutrition that I’d need and carried it all with me (instead of stopping at the halfway point for my special needs bag. (I had put an extra tube and CO2 cartridge in case of multiple flats in that bag, just in case.) I planned to ride non-stop with the exception of any necessary stops at the port-o-potty’s, which they had at each water / aid station. At mile 30, quick pit stop and back on the road! I continued to ride the course, not really sure of what to expect, just taking it all as it came to me. I’m guessing it was around mile 40-45 or so, a very friendly cyclist from down south (thick accent!) had pulled up next to me and asked if I had rode the course before. I told her no and she said that she had a couple of times. She told me pretty soon we’d be coming up to a couple sets of railroad tracks, then there’d be three KILLER hills ahead. Then we’d do the 2nd loop, same thing, all over again. I thanked her and wished her a good day. I appreciated both the conversation and especially what to expect on those hills. Then just as she said, railroad tracks 1 & 2, hill, hill, and HILL! Whew, saying that they were tough is an understatement!
Luckily by this point, my stomach was starting to feel better so now it was just the muscle fatigue that I was starting to feel. OK, one loop down, one more to go! One more to go!? Really!? Wow, how would I do those hills again at the end of a second loop? Well, I guess I had a while before I needed to worry about that again.
At about mile 57 is where they had the special needs bags. Since I luckily didn’t have any tire issues yet, I didn’t need to grab my extra tube & CO2. Just a quick pit stop and off again.
The second loop, although I had experienced it once already, it had somewhat blended together and didn’t really remember what hills / turns were where. But at least I had an idea of how challenging it would be. And challenging it was! More hills, turns, hills and hills. At the end of that loop, where the three killer hills were at, I saw more people walking their bikes up than actually riding them. I was able to ride them J It was not easy, but I had made it up. So heading back toward Menona Terrace, I’m thinking… I’m home free, can’t be that much farther, no more hills, just finish it up and get going on the run. There were volunteers yelling at one corner that there were about 5 miles left and I was delighted to hear that. Even at my pace, it would be only about 15 minutes or so. Well, then a bit farther I saw a sign that said 105 miles. OK, not great at math, but quickly counted (using my fingers) and realized that I still had 7 more miles. And this was a few miles past where the volunteers were. Important note: NEVER yell out mileage to anyone in a race unless you know it’s accurate! Also- the hills were not yet over. There was more! Well, I finally got back to Menona Terrace and had to ride back UP the spiral that I had originally came down. No one told me about this. I know, I rode down it, I should have figured that I’d be riding back up it. But the volunteers had been so great, I though that maybe they’d take my bike from me before going up and they’d carry it up for me! Wishful thinking, I know! Hey, you have to remember that I’d been out on the bike course in the beating sunshine for over 8 hours!
Bike Time: 8:05 (about what I had expected)

I was so happy to be off of the bike! I knew that if I made the bike cut off, I would be an Ironman! Even if I had a very slow run, I’d still be able to make it. Amen I’m moving into my strongest leg- THE RUN!
Again, run in and grab my transition bag and head into the women’s changing room. A volunteer quickly asked me if she could help me, dumped my bag out, asked which items I wanted, handed me items as I asked for them, etc. She asked me how I felt and I said that I was happy to be off of the bike. She said that my eyes were a little red and glassy. I told her that I thought that it was from the wind. She told me to have a seat, take a couple of minutes, drink some water, have some caffeine, etc. So I quickly did what she advised and said, OK, thanks and was ready to go. She told me to sit back down for a minute and just take my time, that I had plenty of time. I was like fine, one minute. Then she seemed to get more concerned. She brought me over to a table where there was a massage therapist and had me lay down. She said just stay here for a minute, have him rub your legs and then see how you’re doing. I didn’t understand what the deal was, I felt fine. Tired? Yes! I’m in 2/3 of the way through an Ironman for crying out loud! My volunteer disappears so I tell the man who’s at the massage therapist table “Really, I just want to get out on the run course”! He smiles and nods and starts to rub out my quads. Then a medic comes over to the table and asks me some questions- “Do you feel nauseated?” “are you dizzy, lighted, etc.” I said “No, I’m fine. I think I just have a little windburn and sunburn, I just want to run!” She agreed that I was ok to go out onto the run course. THANK GOD! Quick pit stop at the port-o-potty and I was off to run a marathon! J
Transition 2 Time: 18:05
(Which I would have sworn was more like 25 minutes, it seemed so long!)

The 26.2 mile Run:
FINALLY, the run! I was so happy, I came flying through the run chute with a huge smile on my face and I think that it was there for the first half of the run! I knew that this would be the slowest “marathon” that I’d ever run, so I was happy to see that I was consistently doing about 10 minute miles for a while. I figured if I could average around 11 minute miles or so I’d end up with about a 5 hour run. The run course was kind of goofy, a lot of spots where you run out do a little turnaround and come back into the loop type of deal. The first person I saw out on the run course was Noelle (who I thank so much for all of her support and knowledge of her experience over the past months!). Since I hadn’t yet figured out how the course was, I had no idea what mile any of my friends were at when I saw them. Next I think I saw Brian (my husband)- so very happy to see him! I asked what mile he was at (I was at about 2-3 I think), he said around 11. I think that we said “I love you” as we ran in opposite directions. I saw others that I knew- Russ, Dana and Jon on the run course as well. I heard someone yell “Go Life Time Fitness” (I was wearing my LTF singlet) so I turned to look and Troy Jacobson was riding his bike along the course, he then realized it was me and yelled “Hey- Go Jodee!”
Finishing up the first loop, you get to run almost to the finish line but then they turn you around to do your second loop. WOW! The energy at the finish line is crazy. I had a huge smile on my face (and eyes a bit watery) as I could see the athletes that were coming in to finish and be an Ironman. The special needs bags were just after the turn around point. I had put a long sleeve shirt in the bag in case it was cold later on. It was a throw away shirt, I didn’t need it, but grabbed it to blow my nose (my nose had been running all day long!)
The first half of my run was about 2:15 so I was happy with where I was at. I saw Randy, Brian’s dad who had come to Madison for the weekend to support us, just after the halfway point. (I’m sure he’s got some very unflattering pictures of me from that day!) It was nice to see family J
The run started becoming a bit more challenging in the mid to late teens, my stomach was a little upset and I couldn’t quench my thirst, I had been so thirsty all day. Around mile 16 I knew that there was going to be walking involved at some point soon. I believe that it was mile 17 that the walking began. I was ok with it, my original plan was to do “Galloway” where I’d run 1 mile / walk 1 minute, so I’d do that in every mile, and probably much more walking towards the end. I just felt so good in the first half that I didn’t want to walk. It was nice to do some walking for a bit. Up until that point, I was definitely in the minority of where I was at- there were more people walking than running. Actually, very few running that I was seeing then. So after over 8 hours on the bike and very little conversation, it was nice to meet a few people and talk about our experiences so far. The next 9 miles were a mix of walking and running (well, jogging anyway). I had tried a few different things at the aid stations, which I did with some hesitation because I know better than to try anything “new” on race day. However, I was already in rough shape and I wanted to try something. So I had tried some coca-cola to quench my thirst. At another station I had taken some Gatorade and watered it down so it wasn’t so sugary. I had stopped taking my gels so figured that the calories would be good for me. I ate a piece of banana and of course water on the course as well. I wondered as I ran, if I’d even bother trying to recall what all I had consumed for my daily food journal (I always record my daily food / beverage intake for the nutritionist that I see bi-weekly).
I was somewhere around mile 24 of the 26.2 mile run when I saw Corrine, a friend and fellow runner from Coon Rapids. I was walking at that point. She walked with me and told me how proud and excited she was for me, she called our other Coon Rapids peeps who were waiting near the finish line on her cell phone to let them know that she was with me and I’d be there soon. Corrine gave me the energy to run it in to the end. I started running and soon I saw the 25 mile marker. I wasn’t sure if I could run the 1.2 miles without stopping, but I’d give it try! Within that last mile I got the energy back and once the spectators started getting thicker again, it was easy. The energy as you approach the finish line is amazing, nothing else like it! Coming off of state street I knew I had just 3 more turns to make and there would be the finish line. The crowd got louder and louder the closer I got. I turned the first corner, smiling at the spectators cheering me on. I turned the second corner and saw all my girls from Coon Rapids, along with Noelle who had finished over 3 hours earlier. There was a volunteer on that street that told me to make sure my number was visible and take off the glow necklaces (they give these out and make the runners wear them for safety reasons after it’s dark). I turned that third corner and heard “Jodee Hollenbeck from Coon Rapids, MN you are an Ironman!”. All I could do was smile, I couldn’t believe it was finally here, the finish line. This is what I had dreamed of for over a year. Training, planning, thinking, dreaming, eating, sleeping, living, everything revolving around this one day. More time and energy than anyone who has never done an Ironman could ever imagine. It was finally here, I wasn’t a poser, I actually did it. I am an Ironman! At this point I no longer cared what my time was, how long I was held in transition, how much I may hurt the next day. The only thing that matters is that I crossed that line. “I am an Ironman!”

Run Time: 5:23 (longer than expected)
Total Time: 15:34:01 (honestly, wasn’t too sure what to expect, goal #1- cross that line in within the time allowed)

26 June 2009


The fall training is starting. Yes, it is that time of year again. We have runners training for both half- and full-marathons - Chicago, Twin Cities, New York, TC 10 and many more.

Training is every Monday and Wednesday at 6:00 PM and Saturday at 7:00 AM. Yes, the 7:00 AM runs are back. The training will include the traditional dam hill workout and the last twenty of TCM. We will also be introducing some new things in the schedule this year from the boot camp.

We are no longer offering registration through active.com. To sign-up this season, please email either me or Adam (emails below) to receive a soft copy of the application.

Come join us for a great seaon. It should be good as always.