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Road to Ironman

The Real Starting Line

Welcome Ford Ironman Wisconsin 2006

The road to Ironman is long. Although arguably the most important, the 2.4 miles in the water, 112 on the bike, and the 26.2 mile run covered on race day are actually a small part of the experience. The single step starting this journey occurs at least a year in advance. Ironman Wisconsin fills within a couple hours the Monday morning following the prior year’s race, so a potential competitor must register then just to secure a spot. With this knowledge in mind, my journey to Ironman Wisconsin 2007 would officially begin at the 2006 event. Madison is only a couple hours from my house, so a weekend extravaganza was in order. I could gain a little practical knowledge on how the occasion functioned and absorb the experience surrounding it. One more person would be lining the course encouraging the athletes undertaking their test of endurance, and I could help make the race possible by volunteering. After a hectic and exciting day of vicarious racing, I would be ready to register the next day to guarantee my spot in 2007. So it began.

Night Before

I drove to Madison Saturday afternoon (after having nearly PRed in a 5K earlier that morning) and somehow navigated its maze of one-way streets despite lacking a decent map and a general direction of where I was going. The flood of people departing the Badger game did not help either. By the time I arrived at Athlete’s Village (marketing speak for the pre-race expo), it was almost shut down. A multitude of activities had been occurring since Thursday, and by early Saturday evening everyone was resting and preparing for the big event. I quickly surveyed the mostly empty expo before meeting others from Cedar Rapids who also came to watch Ironman Wisconsin. We went out for dinner and spent the rest of the night lounging in the pool and hot tub at our hotel.