Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
Total Time = 9h 29m 20s
Overall Rank = 16/2452
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 2/393
Pre-race routine:

Up at 4 am. Cup of tea, oatmeal with coconut milk and whipping cream, oatmeal cookie, chocolate Gu. Went outside at 5 am, and the rain from the night before had dried up pretty well. Quite windy though. Previous two years were very still, and I don't have any experience swimming in rough water, so got a little nervous about that possibility.

Drove down to the swim start with Mary and Dad. West Madison is still asleep at 5 am on Sunday, so it's a quick drive. Best part is pulling into the Monona Terrace area to see it humming like a bee hive.

We parked at the usual lot on Wilson. While getting out of our car, Chris and his Mom pulled into the spot right next to ours. They were coming from the Clarion at the Alliant Energy Center; crazy coincidence.

We walked together to transition and put the finishing touches on the bikes. For me that meant inflating tires and putting on the bento box filled with Mary's homemade waffles, which would be the only solid food for the next 11 hours or so.

Deposited the pump and other bike stuff back in the car and then went on to body marking. Was looking for Mike here, but didn't see him. Then down to wait for the swim start. The breeze was strong, so a little chilly.

Event warmup:

Got into position just right of the ski jump around 6:50, and about 4th row back. Previous two years at IMWI I started wide right. Lots more pre-start jostling near the ski jump. Didn't enjoy that a whole lot.
  • 1h 07m 5s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 35s / 100 yards

The contact was worse this year than the last two years. I am sure that is due to starting more toward the center rather than wide right. It didn't let up until the second turn, by which point I was swimming inside the buoy line. That might have made for a slightly longer swim, but I had gotten tired of the contact.

The swim back toward the Terrace was much further out into the lake and into the wind. I got a few mouthfuls of water, but it wasn't as bad as I expected.
What would you do differently?:

I'm not a great swimmer, so I wasn't too disappointed with this effort. It was an IM PR, and 4.5 minutes faster than 2011. While I swim faster than this in a pool, the contact plus siting mistakes take their toll.
Transition 1
  • 05m 47s

Plan was to chow something down during T1 but stomach was full of Monona swill.
  • 5h 05m 30s
  • 112 miles
  • 22.00 mile/hr


I ended up riding by about 300 people. I'd rather not be so far behind after the swim, but it is fun talking with people for a few moments while riding with them. I saw my training buddy, Chris, around mile 20 (he had hammered out a 1-hour swim!). Tried to convince him to ride with me, but he wasn't interested. Things gradually thinned out the further we got into the course, but even the more widely spaced riders gave me something to focus on as I tried to reel them in. That's helpful from a mental perspective, if nothing else.

I like to talk out on the bike course, and the number one comment I got from people was frustration with the wind, particularly on the climb into Mt. Horeb. The headwind + hill made that climb seem interminable. At least the rode surface was smooth this year.

The highlight of the ride for me was the climb up to Old Sauk. Dad and Mary were watching there again, and this year Mary ran up the hill with me on both loops. Max HR occurred here when trying to keep up with her. Fun!

Got passed by one guy on this ride. He was in my AG and passed me like I was standing still around mile 10. I knew Brunold was going to win the AG (barring a mishap), so I figured this guy was going to push me back to 3rd, at best. He ended up struggling on the run, but I still can't believe how fast he was riding!
What would you do differently?:

Bike fitness was not quite what I had hoped for this year. Tests leading into race were below 2010 levels. I focused too much on endurance this year and not enough on strength. Live and learn.
Transition 2
  • 02m 10s
  • 3h 08m 50s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 13s  min/mile

Came off the bike feeling pretty good (once I was able to walk again!). Had a quick transition and then headed out to run, where I soon saw Dad, Mary, John, and Danny. Those guys were out on the run course with me all afternoon, which was GREAT. It was a real boost and a lot of fun to see them at a few spots on each loop. Thanks guys!!

Early on during the run someone told me that I was 8th OA amateur. Within the first ~3 miles I caught three of those in front of me, and I didn't see anyone coming up from behind that looked like they were picking up much ground.

That put me into 5th OA (as far as I knew), which was ahead of my previous best of 7th. The main issue now was whether I could avoid breaking down like I had in every other IM marathon. And, unlike previous years, there were no early signs of cramping in my hammies or calves. Looking good!

I caught site of the Madison Monster -- Brunold -- once I hit the Lakeshore Path. He was looking solid, per usual, and I told him so as he stormed by in the opposite direction. Shortly after that (or was it before? I forget) I caught the guy that blasted by me around mile 10 on the bike, moving up into 4th.

Next it was up-and-down Observatory hill, high-fiving my Dad at the bottom. Then, on the way into State Street, I saw the two other AG guys that were in front of me, and they looked to be holding a pace similar to mine. They were coming back from the turn around just as I got to State Street, so they had a sizeable lead. There is no such thing (for me) as picking up the pace during the IM marathon, so the only way I would catch anyone was if I faded less than they did on the back half.

Other than a quick 2-minute restroom break, I spent the rest of the run focused on trying to stay fueled to minimize the coming fade as much as possible. To that end, I walked about 5 steps at every aid station to suck down a coke, a perform, and a water. I also made it up-and-down Observatory for the second time without walking. That was the first time I'd managed that, and it gave me another boost of confidence.

Around mile 20 I noticed that I was finally closing the gap on one of the remaining AG athletes in front of me. It's all a bit of a blur now, but I think I finally passed him around mile 22-23 as we exchanged a couple words with each other.

At that point the next guy was too far ahead to catch, so the only remaining carrot was time. It seemed that I had a chance to crack 9:30, but I was having a hard time thinking clearly enough to figure out if I could do it! I thought I had a shot, so instead of relaxing I picked up the pace as much as I could and ran, letting form and nutrition go for the last couple miles.

Seeing 9:39:xx (pro time, subtract 10 min) on the finish clock was a sweet ending to a nearly perfect race.
What would you do differently?:

Prior IM run times:
3:28 (IMKY'09)
3:30 (IMWI'10)
3:20 (IMWI'11)

Goal this year was the same as it was the prior two years at IMWI -- have a decent run. The third time was the charm. The difference this year was that my legs were finally resilient enough to endure the sustained pounding delivered by 26.2 miles of pavement. It took four years of running to get there.

This year also answered the question that had been in the back of my mind after previous IMs -- had I faltered on the run due to riding too hard? I strongly suspected the answer was a 'no', and am now sure of that. I rode the same effort this year that I had the previous two years at IMWI.

My only regret for the day was that I didn't get a picture with my run support crew, Mary+Dad+John+Danny, after the finish. Nuts.
Post race
Warm down:

Hung out with Mary, Dad, John, and Danny around the finish area. Felt great and was able to eat solid food right away. Grabbed the gear once transition opened and headed back to Aunt Mary's house to see the rest of the family.

Event comments:

This was a nearly perfect end to three straight races at IMWI. The icing on the cake was seeing my training buddy Chris have a stellar day with a 10:15, cutting about 50 min off his PR!!

The fun course, volunteers, and spectator support along with proximity to my family make IMWI my favorite race, by far. Unfortunately, I'll be watching it from afar next year. Going to miss it.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-09-23 12:00 AM
01:07:05 | 4224 yards | 01m 35s / 100yards
Age Group: 56/393
Overall: 335/2452
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 05:47
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
05:05:30 | 112 miles | 22.00 mile/hr
Age Group: 4/393
Overall: 20/2452
137 AHR 148 MHR
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 02:10
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
03:08:50 | 26.2 miles | 07m 13s  min/mile
Age Group: 5/393
Overall: 20/2452
Lap / Pace / AHR: 1 6:39 144; 2 6:46 145; 3 6:49 143; 4 6:42 146; 5 7:09 143 6 6:46 143 7 6:56 140 8 7:05 140 9 7:06 140 10 7:09 142 11 6:52 143 12 7:04 147 13 6:48 140 14 7:03 141 15 7:15 143 16 7:31 141 17 7:11 142 18 7:32 142 19 7:28 141 20 6:53 139 21 7:30 140 22 7:21 139 23 7:55 143 24 6:57 144 25 7:36 149 26 7:37 149
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]