Gearing up for first taste of Ironman

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  Story by Dannielle Hadaway. 


The Era will chronicle the weeks leading up to the Ironman Louisville through first-person accounts from local participants. Dannielle Hadaway is a 44-year-old personal trainer and mother and will be competing in her first Louisville Ironman.

 I consider myself fairly new to the sport of triathlon. My first tri was a sprint distance in June 2008 and I have completed six others of various distances since then — the longest of which was a half-Ironman.


I had no idea what to expect at that first race since I’d never even seen a triathlon, but I enjoyed every minute of it. It was an adrenaline rush! The next step up from the 70.3 distance is the Ironman, which includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle ride and 13.1-mile run for a total of 140.6 miles. 

Why in the world would someone want to put their body through such torture? 

Well, I’m hoping it will give me a sense of accomplishment and pride in myself for sticking with training through the elements, discomforts and sacrifices. Oh, and some more of that adrenaline rush, please!

I’ve always been active but don’t have a sports or competitive background. Up until October, I exercised five to six days a week for about an hour a day. Now, my days are planned around training and I devote up to 21 hours per week for training. 

I have never dedicated myself to something that requires such intense focus and dedication. Well, it doesn’t really “require” it, but I believe if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well and without injury to myself or others.  So far so good.

I am a mother of two boys and work part-time with a flexible schedule so I try to get an early start on workouts so I can spend time with my family. But there are evenings and weekends sacrificed at times. 

Thankfully, my family is very supportive of this endeavor and they know it’s short-term discomfort. I rely on fantastic friends during the day to help with the kids and I am so grateful for their help.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised that training hasn’t been monotonous or boring during the last few months. With three elements (swim, bike and run) spread between multiple workouts during the week, most days are different. 

There are so many routes to run and ride, then we add drills to the swims to keep them fresh. Additionally, having friends to train with that come with stories and advice make the miles tick away! I used to exercise solo but it’s lots more fun with others and harder to procrastinate when someone is waiting for you.

With less than a month until race day I’m getting nervous, excited and anxious for the day to be here!


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