Hey Badger Fans!
I hope that you've all have had a great week but am I right in saying that thank goodness it's Friday! This past weekend we were quite busy; on Saturday we hosted Badgerville before the football game which was a ton of fun. We were able to meet a lot of you and hopefully you enjoyed seeing us as much as we enjoyed seeing you!
On Sunday, the Ironman race took over Madison. For those of you who don't know, the Ironman is a triathlon, combining a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike race, and a 26 mile run to the finish. In past years our entire coaching staff (Coach Johnson, Friesen, and Koch) have all claimed the Ironman title and this year our Director of Hockey Operations, Paul Hickman (who's completed the Ironman far too many times to count), and our former Badger teammate, Madison Packer, were the ones up to the challenge. Now I'm obviously no Ironman, and in fact, they had finished their swim and most of their bike ride before I'd even eaten lunch, so I asked Madison to tell me about her overall experience this weekend:
"I woke up at 5 a.m. with my mom, got all of my stuff together and headed over to the bike and changing area just to do one last check, making sure that I had everything," Packer said. "I pumped up my tires on my bike and then I put my wet suit on and headed down with my mom to meet Paul and some friends and family at the lake. That was kind of when it all really set in because you're standing there with thousands of other people waiting to get in the water and it was a little nerve racking. Once I got in my mom and I wished each other luck and we actually swam about the first 50 yards with each other before we got separated. The swim was tough but I calmed down after about ten minutes and just started focused on finishing and getting out of the water."
"After the swim you have to run up a helix by the water and rush to get changed into your bike stuff which was pretty hectic. I got out there and was lucky because I kind of knew what to expect going out on the course because I had ridden it a few times. The bike course is really tough with lots of hills so that was a mental battle, but there was a ton of crowd support and having teammates out there was a motivator. The worst part for me and what I dreaded most was the run, but I just took it one step at a time, literally. At that point your body is kind of in shock, it's like okay is this really happening!? But I saw my teammates everywhere and people ran along side me so that was a huge help.
"For me it was a big accomplishment to cross the finish line, especially since my teammates were there supporting me throughout the day and then they were there to see me finish. It was also pretty special because it was something I trained with Paul and my mom for all summer and so to be able to hug my mom when I got across the finish line it was incredible. I actually got a little emotional just because the whole race was far more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge for me, and so to keep going and then finally get across the line when I thought a number of times during the day that there was no way that I could make it was pretty cool. They also had some really good snacks on the run course so that was just a bonus!"
Most of us were around during the day keeping track of Paul and Madison and going to cheer them on at different points of the race but of course we were all anticipating watching them cross the finish line and Sydney McKibbon definitely summed up how the team was feeling.
"To see Madison finish the Ironman and cross the finish line was amazing," McKibbon said. "She had a huge smile on her face and we were there to cheer her on throughout the race and at the finish line. It was nice to see that all of her hard work and the training that she put in finally paid off. Being at the Ironman was an indescribable feeling and it really puts into perspective how hard you can push yourself and the true limits of your body. I think Madison really pushed herself these last 5 months and she really did an outstanding job!"
We are all incredibly proud of Madison and Paul for their amazing accomplishments and you know here at Wisconsin we take #NoDaysOff so of course they were both back at the LaBahn on Monday morning to see us!
Have a fantastic weekend everyone!