It was a grueling day of physical endurance and an emotional roller coaster.
April Beard, product manager with Horizon Fitness, competed in her first Ironman on September 7th in Madison. She completed the triathlon in a very impressive 13 hours and 34 minutes. “I knew I would do everything in my power to finish, but when I got to the halfway point on the bike, I knew it was going to be a very, very long day,” said April.
“While floating in the water during the playing of the national anthem, it was amazing to see all of the spectators on the Monona Terrace looking on. I was so happy and excited to finally be starting an event that I started prepping for over a year ago. It was exactly how I imagined the moment would feel like!”
April fought through limbs of swimmers to finish the 2.4-mile swim and raced out to be greeted by friends and family. “Getting out of the water was another rush and such a relief! It was awesome, because when I made my way up the helix to the transition area I spotted [my friends and family] then ran over to them for high fives and a huge confidence boost that lasted a good 15 miles into the bike!”
Although the 112-mile bike portion was the most mentally challenging part of the race for April, she looked to her fans for support. “Seeing countless friends and family around the course was what really kept my spirits up. I was always wondering who I would see next,” says Beard.
Pumped up to be off the bike and onto the 26.2-mile run, April didn’t look back. “I was so happy to get of my bike! I didn’t care how many miles I had left to run. I was just glad that I wouldn’t get passed by as many people as I did on the bike and that I would be able to see my training buddies out on the course that were also competing,” says April.
Despite a slowing pace during the run, April finished the last quarter mile with no aches or pains:
“Making the final turn for the finish line brought tears to my eyes. I had finally made it! In 25 more meters I was going to be an Ironman! It all happened so fast, yet it took me 13 hrs and 34 minutes to get there. My friends and family yelled out from the crowd as I ran down the finish shoot. Giving high fives and cheering right along with them, I tried to tell myself to make sure I took it all in and savored every second of it. It finally sunk in when I crossed the finish line as the announcer called out, ‘April Beard, you are an Ironman!’ It will go down in my record book as one of greatest experiences I have ever had.”