Story Index:

IRONMAN Wisconsin, My Cinderella Story
09/20/2018

IRONMAN Boulder, Coming in Hot
09/20/2018

IRONMAN Texas: Everything's Bigger in Texas (except the Ironman bike course)
05/01/2018

Uphill Both Ways (Oceanside Race Report)
04/16/2018

The Things We Deserve
03/06/2018

When Life Gives You Lemons... IM 70.3 Santa Cruz and IM 70.3 Boulder (sort of)
09/23/2017

The DNF Strikes Back
07/11/2017

Oops, I Did An IM
06/16/2017

IRONMAN 70.3 Santa Rosa
05/22/2017

IRONMAN Oceanside 70.3
05/19/2017

December in the Desert: HITS Palm Springs 70.3
12/07/2016

The Coolest Prize I've Ever Won
10/26/2016

Running With the Big Dogs
07/23/2016

The Inaugural Wisconsin Milkman 70.3 Triathlon
07/04/2016

Early Season Ups & Downs
06/28/2016

XTERRA Real Granite Bay
04/11/2016

Urbanathlon, Where You Been All My Life?!
11/25/2015

The Top 17 Reasons You Should Have Been at Scott Tinley's
10/21/2015

Rock & Roll Half Marathon
10/04/2015

Ironman 70.3 Santa Cruz
09/23/2015

This Seems Like a lot of Work for a Free Banana
09/01/2015

Sometimes the Best Race is the One I Didn't Win
08/03/2015

Tales of a Swim Meet Rookie
08/01/2015

Victory at the California International Triathlon
06/30/2015

Wildflower Will Show You What You're Made Of
05/07/2015

Mama Didn't Raise No Quitter
04/22/2015

HITS Napa Half, 5 (Plus) Hours of Fun
04/17/2015

Off-Roading: My Trail Run Debut
04/04/2015

Lake Tahoe Marathon Weekend
09/16/2014

Farewell to Madison
09/09/2014

Being Comfortable With Discomfort
08/18/2014

Wildflower 2012, Team Goodell
06/09/2012

USA Triathlon National Championships
10/02/2011

How About a Road Race?
08/06/2011

Tri-Ing for Children
07/25/2011

The Women's Sprint Triathlon - Where it All Began
07/12/2011

Defending the Title in Pleasant Prairie
06/27/2011

Capitol View Triathlon
06/13/2011

Tri Club Party in Madison
04/10/2011

Be A Better Runner
03/28/2011

Hello, Felt
03/20/2011

I'm Going With You
01/03/2011

2009 Triathlon World Championships
09/12/2009

Kim completes her first Half-Ironman
06/10/2008

Kim Visits Home for Wildflower Triathlon
05/16/2008

Kim Blazes Chicago Triathlon
08/27/2007

More Triathlons for Kim
06/15/2006

Kim in Chicago Triathlon
08/31/2005

Kim graduates from Willamette
06/17/2002

Kim returns from Europe
02/02/2001

Kim Travels Europe
11/24/2000
IRONMAN Wisconsin, My Cinderella Story



Once upon a time, in 2006, I had done a few sprint triathlons, ventured into the deep end with an Olympic distance, and then I broke my leg playing softball. My summer racing plans were shattered along with the fibula, and in my anxious boredom, I went to a Chicago Tri Club meeting. A meeting about triathlon didn't seem as interesting as actually doing one, and it was hard to imagine that there would be all that much to talk about ... But what did I have to lose?

It turned out, there was plenty to talk about, and some people out there are really into triathlon. I learned about a thing called an IMOO, which was an unconscionably long event that takes place in Madison, Wisconsin.

Wait ... People go to Wisconsin on purpose??

Yes, they do.

And some of them go there weekend after weekend to train for this IMOO.

It didn't take long for the Kool-Aid to take effect, and soon I too was joining on weekend getaways to the magical land of Madison, where the quiet farm roads and rolling hills are a Chicago cyclist's dream come true.

In September I joined the tri club's annual camping trip, centered around volunteering at the IMOO, which was actually the cow-themed nickname for IRONMAN Wisconsin (The distinction was necessary, because it wasn't the only Ironman. Apparently there was also one in Hawaii).

I volunteered on the bike course, handing off gels to passing cyclists as if their lives depended on it. I was sore for a week after darting and leaping around amongst all those bikes!

But I came back the next year, and the next, and the next. I cheered the final finishers in at 11:58pm. I handed out cups of lukewarm, flat Coke (why on earth?!) to weary competitors at mile 23 of the marathon. I rubbed sunscreen on sweaty muscles (not really as fun as it sounds). I sat at a computer typing in payment after payment from an endless line of jittery athletes who were already so sure they wanted to do this again, that they were each paying $685 a year in advance to ensure a spot in next year's Ironman (Why would you need to do it twice??)

Naturally, I fielded the same question some dozen hundred times, "What about you? When are you doing Ironman?"

I had a plethora of handy excuses, and assured myself and others it really wasn't something that interested me. People have a way of convincing themselves that they don't want the things they can never have, and so I did just that.

In addition to being a little intimidated, I simply didn't have the time, resources or support for something as massive as Ironman, and I most definitely didn't have the funds.

No, I was happy just being near the race, and being around the people who did it. I was thrilled to be able to eventually relocate from Chicago to Madison, planting myself right in the center of the triathlon world, home of the famed IMOO.

Over the years, I trained alongside, coached, and volunteered for the Ironman athletes. They regaled me with their stories, and I knew every hill and turn of the bike course. I knew where all the rowdiest aid stations were and the biggest cheering squads. I looked forward to the race every year, and craved the satisfaction and utter exhaustion of spending an entire day spectating. But by the time I left the Midwest, I had still only been on the outside looking in.




Posted by Kimberly 09/20/2018
FreeStyle Journal 19.03.21
©2003-2011 by Dan Goodell

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