Ironman Louisville Race Report: Swim

On Sunday, August 24, 2014 I became an Ironman!

It started early that morning, with a wakeup call at 4 AM to eat breakfast and begin hydrating for the day.  After getting dressed, Mike & I headed out to transition so I could add my bottles & nutrition to the bike, and then head over for the swim start.  I brought my race plan with me so I could not worry and just check things off the list:


Ironman Louisville is a time-trial start, where athletes jump into the water like lemmings (2-3 seconds after the first one) off of two piers.  It takes about 45 minutes for all athletes to get through, so you line up first-come, first-serve for your spot in the start line.  We got there about 5:20 and after securing my spot, I headed to the port-a-potties to “let my nerves out.”  My teammate Katrina met up with us and joined me in line; I’m glad we got to start together!  

Once the pro’s started, the line started moving and we got ready to race!  Swimskins (speed suit) on, cap & goggles.  Last stuff into the morning gear bag that we gave to the volunteers.  Once you’re on the piers, you’re jogging to the start, hold your goggles & jump in!

IMLOU Swim CourseAt Louisville, you’re swimming in the Ohio River, first upstream and then after about 3/4 mile, you turn around and are carried downstream to the swim finish.  I had set my garmin up to vibrate every 1/4 mile, so I had an idea of how far I had been going.  When we hit the turnaround, I took a peak and saw 37 minutes.

In a normal triathlon, that’s not an awesome time for me for 3/4 of a mile.  But this was upstream, and we’d be turning around to go downstream! Overall I found the swim not too crazy or combative.  I spent more of the 2nd half (after the turnaround) focused on staying on course toward the swim finish and not getting swept out to the middle of the channel.  I did a good job siting/aiming as I stayed very close to the buoys the entire time!

As I approached the swim finish at Joe’s Crab Shack, I did find other swimmers got a bit more aggressive but we were all aiming for a small & narrow spot.  You get to the finish and the volunteers essentially pull you out of the water, and you’re onto Transition!


In Transition #1, I initially walked and then got caught up by a few people running and started to jog toward the Great Lawn.  When I got to the stairs, I walked down them and then picked up my T1 Bike Gear bag and headed into the tent.

Inside the transition tents, the volunteers are incredibly helpful.  They will help you change fully if you need to.  I had my tri-kit on, so I only needed to get out of my swim skin, get sunblocked, and then bike shoes & helmet.  After that, you head out to get your bike (IMLOU tip: you need to get your own bike, so walk the tent to bike to remember where it is!) and head out!


Swim 2.4 miles:  1:13:18    

T1   10:09


Ironman Louisville: Pre-Race

Thanks for being patient as I processed all of the events that occurred last weekend!  I’m finally ready to share!

Wednesday I left for Louisville!  Mike was out of town for work last week, so he was going to meet me directly in Louisville from his work trip.  I was splitting the drive between Wed & Thurs so as not to have a full 5 hours of driving all in a single day.

I am glad I stopped along the way to fill up on gas… I realized I’d left my driver’s license at home with my swim lap  pass (darn that Chicago Pools requiring photo ID!).  I ended up driving back home and out again… making my 3 hour drive for the day 5.  But no need to worry now about my ID.

Thursday morning I arrived in Louisville early, and checked in for Ironman!  My teammate, Katrina, was doing Louisville as well, so once she got in we headed out to drive the bike course.  I’d ridden back in July, so I knew pretty much what we were in for, but it was good to drive it again and refresh myself.  Once back, I also did a short bike ride to recall the road conditions and stretch out my legs.  I’m glad i did it outside as my last two rides had been indoors on the trainer.

IM Louisville backpack

Friday was the ultimate rest day.  Katrina and I went to brunch at Wild Eggs, and then separated for the day.  I napped (my favorite post-brunch activity) and then headed to a movie.  After that, I picked Mike up from the airport and headed back into town.  Lousivlle isn’t huge, but there was significant construction on the highway going on.  We then headed out to dinner with Katrina, her dad, Mike & I at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  Early night again.IMG_3804

Saturday Mike headed out for a 5K race (in which he came in 2nd overall!) and I went to do a practice swim in the Ohio River.  Let’s just say we all came out with chocolate milk mustaches and it highlighted the opportunity for a lip wax… dirty river. I did a short run, and then cleaned up.  My dad arrived in town, and Mike got back from his race.  My dad and I went to the race expo (again) so I could return a shirt and also pick up a gift for someone.  We grabbed lunch at a favorite from our previous trip (Grumpy Troll Pub) and then headed back to prep the bike & transition bags and deliver them before the rain came.  That was good, because later that afternoon it rained like crazy!

Later that afternoon, we headed out to a gastropub to meet up with my fan club (aka family & friends who came down to cheer me on) and spend some time relaxing before the big day.  Since I knew that some would have to leave Louisville before I finished, I wanted to make sure we spent some time together on Saturday.  It was nice to see my Dad, Mike, Sandy & Dave, and Peter & Aaron all down there!

We finished dinner and got back to the hotel for me to be in bed by 9 PM!  


Ironman DONE!

I am proud to call myself an Ironman / Ironwoman!  And I am so pooped after this!  I finished in 16:22.  More later.  Over & Out.


Lauren Finish