Thursday, September 1, 2011

9 days and counting

When I started this blog after signing up for the Wisconsin Ironman…I started with this quote:

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  -  Lao Tzu

For the past 243 days:
I’ve taken MANY steps... I've trained harder than I ever have before, experienced a journey like no other, and pushed beyond the limits of what I thought I was capable of physically, mentally and emotionally.

I have learned so much along the way, met some amazing people, and made some great friends. 

In 9 days, I will set out to swim 2.4 miles, ride 112 and run 26.2. In 9 days, I will join over 2,800 others who have the same goal of becoming an Ironman. In 9 days, I WILL hear Mike Reilly say “Cheryl Atkins YOU are an IRONMAN!!!"

This last week leading up to Ironman has been strange. The past month left me a little uneasy. Various things prevented me from getting my full workouts in… pulled muscles, poor planning, an outpatient procedure, etc.  I was left questioning my training and volume. Am I really ready for this? After a quick conversation with my coach and brother, I was reminded it is about the body of work that matters… and not whatever it was that got messed up, or missed due to circumstances beyond my control, doesn’t matter. It is the BODY of work I’ve put in the past 243 days (really past 2 years) that will make me an Ironman. Earlier in the week,  I found myself surfing the web looking for other’s race reports and other tips on Ironman Wisconsin. I was doubting my abilities. I was looking for that magical tip that is going to make the difference come race day. Then I went out for my run and something magical DID happen. It was like God popped into my head and told me exactly what I had to do… DUMP all the podcasts, kill the fulltime Ironman talk, stop the internet searches…. and TRUST. Trust that I’ve done all that I can up to this point. Trust it, trust my coach and trust the plan. My sense of calm came back, a feeling that has been missing for about a month. Now just 9 days out… I know what I need to do, trust. Let the day unfold and ENJOY what I have worked so hard for.

NOW onto the exciting stuff… HOW YOU CAN FOLLOW ME during the race: 

Race starts at 7am on 9-11-11.

I found this nifty little device that tracks you while you are racing. For Ironman events, they have the race course and elevation plotted out… so you will be able to see where I am at, how fast I’m going, and what hills I’ve just conquered or are coming up. Ironman Madison is a 2 loop course: 2 loops for the swim, bike and run! The device is not fully submersible so you will not be able to track me on the swim…

Go to the top right hand corner of the page. CLICK on TRACK your athlete and find me under Ironman Wisconsin.
TIP- this works anywhere you have cellphone coverage, and if you have a smartphone, iPad, or laptop. We found that the laptop offers the best interface when we were checking it out during Louisville IM.
On race day has a live feed, where you will be able to see people at key points in the race. Most importantly, they set it up so you can see everyone cross the finish line!

Because there are sooo many people racing Ironman, it is helpful to know what your athlete (ME!) is going to wear, what their helmet and bike look like, so you can pick me out…. So here it is. ALSO IMPORTANT MY BIB #537!!!


Bike if it is COLD
Run from front
Run from side

I thought I’d close with what may be my final post prior to IM. Here are my overall goals:

MOST importantly, is to stick to my plan, enjoy the day and FINISH with a smile.

Overall goals:
Execute solid nutrition and zones. Run a solid Zone2 all day. Keep big picture in mind, but focus on smaller increments throughout the day. Control what I can; don’t worry about what I cannot.
Enjoy the day… I’ve worked 2 years toward this very day… take it in and do my best.

Time estimates:
(MOST IMPORTANT is staying in Zone 2!)
Swim: 1:20:00   
Bike: 6:45:00 and under
Run: 4:45:00 
Total time: 13:30:00 and under 
(this time adds in transitions, and aide/support crew/bathroom stops)

I’ll see you at the finish line!


  1. You can DO ITTTT!!!!! I'm so excited to track you & hopefully see you "live" on race day!!! So proud of you Cheryl!

  2. You are so cute and very nicely organized!!! I've been feeling the SAME way this month! You are not alone :) so excited for us all to get out there and do it!

  3. It's been an honor to work with you Kate and train with the Iron crew... Emily... you are going to kick some butt!!!