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Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman


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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

WARNING. This report goes long. If you want to skip the details, then this is the short version. I had a great swim, a great bike and a life-threatening 17 mile run before an ambulance ride to the finish and my first D.N.F. Now, for the patient readers....read on..... ;)

Up at 4am. Ate a couple of wheat pancakes with honey and some coffee. Ate and drank another 200-300 calories before the race start.
Event warmup:

Made my way through the crowds down to the swim start. Met up with David (Goalie) before the start and ran into Monty (montyzooma) in the water.
Swim
  • 1h 31m 13s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 10s / 100 yards
Comments:

This was the best swim of my life. During my first ironman it took me two hours to finish the swim. I was hoping for anything less than two hours, so I was very happy to get out of the water at 1:31. I started near the buoys about 3/4 back in the field. The entire swim was a volley of punches, kicks, and the normal full body contact. I didn't expect this to go on throughout the entire swim. Perhaps the constant contact is what helped me stay focused, which lead to a good swim.
I got out of the water feeling great and was cheering as I ran past my wife who was standing on the helix.
Transition 1
  • 13m 23s
Comments:

Damn....transition at IMWI are long. After running up the helix, walking through a convention center and two different rooms to change...it felt like I was in transition the entire day. I did opt to change into cycling shorts, which added a minute or two.
Bike
  • 6h 13m 26s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.00 mile/hr
Comments:

The entire bike segment went great. I was anxious to check out the Wisconsin bike course for the first time. I had trained my a$$ off on hills and had hoped I was prepared. Although the IMWI course was hilly, it was manageable and not as difficult as I expected. I had hoped to hold an an average of 17 to 17.5. Was very happy to finish the bike segment at 18 MPH average. I got off the bike feeling strong and confident that I could meet my goal of 13 hours. My TFL/ITB was tight, but I was ready to run.
Transition 2
  • 09m 15s
Run
  • 6h 00m
  • 17 miles
  • 21m 11s  min/mile
Comments:

Although I had exceeded my Run volume throughout the entire 40-week schedule I went into this race not knowing how the marathon would go. My longest run was 20 miles about 5 weeks out from IMWI. During this run I pulled a muscle in my TFL / Glute that lead to severe ITBS. I was forced to virtually stop running the last 5 weeks before IMWI. I saw a PT and A.R.T. doctor a total of 23 times leading up to the race. I expected to have a jog/walk marathon. What I didn’t expect was for something else to stop me.

I came off the bike feeling better than ever. My energy level and body felt great. I started the run and immediately felt the TFL/ITB pulling hard. The pain was manageable and the knee wasn’t turning in yet so I was able to continue running. I made it to Mile 2 water stop where I walked and got water. I ran into Bryan (Mndiver) and ran with him for a while. We played leapfrog from stop to stop. We’d jog to the stop and walk for two minutes. That was the plan. At about mile three I noticed I was sweating profusely. Not just a normal sweat rate. I knew something was “off” because I was cold. The air temp was in the mid 70’s and breezy. I started to feel G.I. issues coming on. I had to aim for the nearest Porto-jon where I evacuated everything.

I kept jog/walking between stops, drinking water at each stop and taking gel. I followed my nutrition plan to a ‘T’. I felt the slow creep of dizziness and nausea coming. It felt like dehydration, but it shouldn’t have been dehydration based off of the weather conditions and the amount of fluids I took in on the bike. At mile 7 or 8 I began vomiting and feeling dizzy. That’s fine, I can deal with it. Just keep taking in fluid and gel and puke if I must. The following few miles progressively got worse. Puke, walk, puke, stumble, etc. I noticed that as soon as I took in water or gel I would get extremely dizzy and feel like I was going to pass out. As soon as I puked it up I regained a little more focus. I continue on….forward. Step by step.

I started making small goals. Next goal was the 13.1 turn around where I got a handful of antacids out of my special needs, hoping they would calm my stomach. It didn’t work. Next goal was to make it to mile 15 where my wife was waiting on me. I told myself if I make it this far I’ll sit down for a bit and try and recover before moving on. The two miles leading up to mile 15 was ridiculous. I was stumbling so bad that people were walking up to me asking if I needed help. I had lost the hearing in my left ear and could feel my right ear going deaf. I made it to mile 15 where I ran into my wife. I lay down on the side of the road under a tree. My wife brought over Monty’s (montyzooma) father-in-law who was a doctor. He checked me over and checked my pulse. He said I didn’t look good enough to continue. I told him about losing my hearing in my ear and he explained that my blood pressure was too low and it would be dangerous if I continue in this state. So I did what most of you would do, which was get up and continue walking. I told my wife I’d stop when I knew for a fact I couldn’t continue. She was so worried about me she followed a few steps behind me for about a mile. I would make it about 100 feet before I had to stop and vomit. In order to stay upright I had to hold onto something because gravity was pulling me down. It took more effort to stand upright than to walk. It was a struggle staying conscious.

I continued this for another mile and a half. I was in such a haze I don’t know exactly what was going on. I remember puking, falling to my knees, people coming up to me offering help. I remember making it to the football stadium a second time and walking around the stadium. The last thing I remember was rounding a corner and waking up next to a fence. I was sitting on my knees and people were talking to me. One of these was a paramedic. The medic asked if I was OK. I told him I was sick and dehydrated and I just needed a minute to regain my composure. He said to me..”I think your race is over my friend.” Which sounded very odd to me. I was confused. I thought I’d be able to get back up and continue walking. I knew I was somewhere around mile 17 or 18. The medic kept asking me if I wanted his help, and warned that if he put his hands on me my race would end. I told him to hold off and give me a few minutes. I must have spent 20 or 30 minutes trying to regain my alertness and ability to stand and walk. I would stand up and immediately felt blackness coming in from my peripheral. I had to hold onto a chain link fence in order to stay upright. After holding myself up for a few minutes I turned and began to walk towards the next stop. Mile 18 I suppose. I made it about 10 steps before it felt like someone was pulling me to the ground with a rope. I collapsed back to the ground on my knees. By this point I probably had 50 people standing around watching me. There were three paramedics standing next to me talking to me but I wasn’t sure of all of what they were saying. I did make out words like..”Your race is over.”..and….”You can’t go on.” I sat for another minute or two and had to make the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make in the 40 years. If there was ANY chance I could move forward, I was going to take it. I only had 9 miles or less to go to finish and about 4 to 5 hours to cover this distance. Knowing this I wanted to stand and walk, even if it was 20 feet at a time. But I couldn’t stand or walk. I told the paramedics that I’m done. They picked me up and carried me to the ambulance.

Once in the ambulance they checked my blood pressure, blood oxygen and heart rate. My blood pressure was 70 over 30. When one medic announced this to the other they seemed to go into panic mode, which kind of freaked me out. They jabbed an IV in my arm and started squeezing fluid into me. He then read off my blood oxygen number to the other medic. The medic’s tone went from friendly and helpful to very serious. They were no longer responding to me but were talking back and forth to one another. Probably because I was mumbling. A few minutes later I arrived at the Med Tent where they rolled me in and started giving information to who I guess was the head doctor. The Doc came over and asked if I could stand long enough to get my weight. I told him I could. The scale showed I had lost 18 pounds. Even after 500 cc’s of fluid and wearing full run gear I was down 18 pounds. Not good. The Doc worked on me for a while checking all sorts of things. They switched out IV bags about every 15 minutes. I went through a total of seven IV bags, or 3500 cc’s of fluid. The doctor asked me about my health history. I explained that I was diagnosed with a heart valve defect a couple of years ago. The Doc explained that with this condition my heart cannot keep up with the “flow” demands under long periods of extreme stress. He went on to explain that my heart would not oxygenate my blood, which lead to the extremely low blood pressure, which lead to the loss of hearing in my ears, which lead to my organs shutting down one at a time. He explained that no matter what I could have done there was no way I would have recovered from this on the race course. No amount of rest or fluids would have helped. He stated that I was in shock, and had probably been in shock for some period of time.

Hearing all of this made me feel better about the decision I made to end my race. I would not been able to live with myself had I known I quit earlier than I had to. This was to be my last Ironman race and I didn’t want to go out like this. But some things are out of our control.

The first Ironman I did was for a charity. I trained, but not as hard as I should have. I finished in 15:13. Ironman Wisconsin was to be MY race. I wanted this season and this race to be something different than the first time. I wanted to finish strong, hopefully in 13+ hours. The way the day was unfolding I felt confident I would finish right around 13 hours. So to find myself on the ground at mile 17 on the run was more than my mind could handle. Laying in the med tent for 2.5 hours listening to Mike Riley call out finishers names just beat the hell out of me. I wanted so badly to get out of there and disappear. Another medic volunteer had brought a message to me that my wife was outside and that all of my friends had finished and are doing well (Bryan, Monty, Scott, David, Rodger, Craig, Rob)….more I may have forgotten. Knowing they finished made me feel a little better. But I couldn’t get the weight off of my chest that my day ended without a finisher medal. I wanted to go to the finish line and stand in the rain and meet up with fellow BT’ers, but I couldn’t.

I left the med tent around 11pm and walked my bike back down to the base of Monona Terrace to wait for my wife to get the car. As I stood in the dark listening to Mike Riley’s voice off in the distance I reflected on what had happened. I was still in a fog and couldn’t comprehend if what I had just gone through was real or not. Everything was just a blur. My day was over.

I go away from this feeling good that I had a great swim experience and a great bike split. I know I gave everything I had and more. I’m fortunate to have met so many bad-ass BT’ers who were great support and were great friends over the past year. I plan to continue with the sport of triathlon but at a much lighter pace. Maybe one Olympic a year and maybe, if my cardiologist agrees, one half-ironman a year. As for 140.6…..I don’t think any more are in my future. I’m glad I have at least one ironman finish. Being 9 miles shy of a second finish is acceptable, but hard to swallow at this point.

Congratulations to all of the other BT’ers who rocked IMWI!

Post race
Event comments:

Ironman Wisconsin was a great event. I've been asked to compare an M-Dot brand event to a Independent 140.6 event, since my first 140.6 was a indie race. All I can say is this....distance is distance. Having a huge crowd surrounding you throughout the entire race seemed to make the M-Dot brand race easier. The M-Dot race site, with all of the inflated arches and M-Dots were cool, but not necessary if your goal is to finish a ironman distance triathlon. So to those considering a 140.6 but can't get into a M-Dot race, or want to go through the hassle....check out one of the many independent 140.6 races around the country. At the end of the day you're an Ironman regardless of who owns the event.




Last updated: 2007-10-19 12:00 AM
Swimming
01:31:13 | 4224 yards | 02m 10s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance:
Suit:
Course:
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Rounding:
T1
Time: 13:23
Performance:
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
Biking
06:13:26 | 112 miles | 18.00 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance:
Wind: Strong
Course:
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
T2
Time: 09:15
Overall:
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
06:00:00 | 17 miles | 21m 11s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance:
Course:
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall:
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

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2008-09-09 8:51 AM

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Elite
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Subject: Ironman Wisconsin


2008-09-09 9:11 AM
in reply to: #1660785

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Elite
3518
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Madison, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Awesome race report Mike! I am replying to this with tears running down my face!! It was so great to meet you and your wife.  Such terrific people you are.  In my book....you are an IRONMAN!! You went to the extreme and beyond with this race.  So glad that you are ok.  Awesome and unbelieveable effort!!

2008-09-09 9:15 AM
in reply to: #1660785

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Champion
15209
500050005000100100
Southern Chicago Suburbs, IL
Silver member
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Wow!  You definitely left it all on the course.  I'm just glad you are still around to be able to deliver this RR. 

 

2008-09-09 9:38 AM
in reply to: #1660785

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Pro
4675
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Wisconsin near the Twin Cities metro
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Thanks for sharing.  You make my DNF look like a walk in the park   Nice meeting you
2008-09-09 9:50 AM
in reply to: #1660785

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Champion
7491
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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Dude...

I got home Sunday night (about 9:15), gave BAMBAM a kiss, and asked her where you were on the course.  We're relieved you aren't still convalescing in Madison. 

2008-09-09 9:56 AM
in reply to: #1660785

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Expert
856
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Pittsburgh
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
I can't begin to imagine how tough a day that was physically and emotionally for you.  Glad that you are safe and they took good care of you.


2008-09-09 10:00 AM
in reply to: #1660785

Iron Donkey
38641
50005000500050005000500050002000100050010025
, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

I have a sunken feeling in my stomach as I was reading this.  I was hoping to meet you sometime during the course of the race.

The determination, courage, struggle, and the biggest attempt of trying to HTFU is admirable, but your life is more valuable than any medal.  Thank goodness there was assistance around you!

No matter what, you showed that you are an IRONMAN!

JUST WAIT FOR NEXT TIME!!

2008-09-09 10:14 AM
in reply to: #1660785

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Elite
3491
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In The Peleton
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Mike, you are amazing.  I can't say that I would have the same will to finish that you did.  Congratulations on the race.  While you didn't finish, you are certainly an Ironman!
2008-09-09 10:56 AM
in reply to: #1660785

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Extreme Veteran
552
5002525
Minnetonka, MN
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Wow, you lost 18 pounds and were still trying to move forward?!?!?!?!

You, sir, are one tough SOB. One tough SOB that made the correct decision.

I'm sorry the day worked out the way it did for you, and I really hope all is well in the long-term in regards to renal function etc....



2008-09-09 11:04 AM
in reply to: #1660785

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Pro
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Reston
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
it is pretty badass.  the last time i woke up next to a fence not knowing where i was happened back in college.  i think your story is better. 
2008-09-09 11:18 AM
in reply to: #1660785

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Elite
3687
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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Mike.  You may have not passed the finish line but you are my hero.  Without you I may have never left T2.  Meeting Karen and yourself was one of the highlights of my entire weekend.  You are great people who were a pleasure to be around.  You delt with things beyond your control and have nothing to feel bad about.  Regret, sure, but thats because you are an athlete.  We will be in touch and I greatly look forward to the next time we can race together again.


2008-09-09 11:38 AM
in reply to: #1660785

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Extreme Veteran
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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Wow, just wow. It is an understatement to say that you had a tough day, but you really showed perseverance trying to make forward progress and wisdom when it was time to stop. I wish you a speedy recovery from what you accomplished during the race.
2008-09-09 11:53 AM
in reply to: #1660785

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Master
1980
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Waukesha, WI
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
So, I've always said I like a RR that brings tears to my eyes, happy tears.  I am soo sorry this happened to you after such a great swim and bike.  18 pounds!  Holy crap.  I think someone was watching over you and placed those medics at the perfect spot.  Amazing that you were even trying to figure out if you could take it 10 feet at a time.  You are truly and IRONMAN.  Thanks for sharing your story.
2008-09-09 12:31 PM
in reply to: #1660785

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Extreme Veteran
475
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Blaine, MN
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Michael... that was truly an amazing story... your mind is clearly the winner.. with so much mental stregth then that body could hanlde... ...your a testiment to HTFU!!! no doubt.... and you are also very lucky with a BP like that.. (some oversight of the gods perhaps) to be presently still a 'person walking the earth' from the sounds of it...  I have to say your stories from dodging tornados to waking up by a fences disoriented... has been quite a journey my friend..  this RR was extremely well written and heart felt.. my mom read it too after having met you and your wife and was in total tears at the end..... thanks for so much encouragement from you personally. during this journey. so thanks..  and I hope to see you around on the other distances...

2008-09-09 12:52 PM
in reply to: #1660785

Veteran
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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
You are my personal hero. Just recover, stay strong as you have given much to the sport mentally, spiritually and physically.
Rhonda
2008-09-09 1:20 PM
in reply to: #1660785

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Master
1253
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Chesapeake, VA
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
This sounds like a story of perseverance even though your body wouldn't let you finish.  I'm glad to hear that the medics took care of you and the story has a happy ending. 


2008-09-09 2:47 PM
in reply to: #1660785

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Champion
6056
500010002525
Menomonee Falls, WI
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Wow... just WOW! Whether or not you crossed the finish line, you are definitely an Ironman in every sense of the word in my book. My best to you for a speedy recovery and congrats on a great race, even if it ended a little too soon. You definitely made the right decision.
2008-09-09 3:05 PM
in reply to: #1660785

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Extreme Veteran
388
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Overland Park, Kansas
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Mike,

You and your wife are great people. I am just glad you are still with us and hope everything goes great! Looking foreward to seeing you both again and your inspires when your ready.

Monty

2008-09-09 3:18 PM
in reply to: #1660785

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Champion
5529
500050025
Nashville, TN
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Mike thank you for sharing your story.  Each Ironman is a journey in and of itself but it is just a hobby and something we do for fun.  You made the right call.
2008-09-09 3:30 PM
in reply to: #1660838

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Cycling Guru
15134
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Fulton, MD
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Dude ......

Thank goodness you had enough of a mindset to say you were done!  It is much better to read your first hand account of your experience than to see one of those terrible "in the hospital" threads ...... or worse!

Great report and smart choice in retiring from the race.

2008-09-09 3:55 PM
in reply to: #1660785

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Master
1671
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West Bend, WI
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Aww- you make me cry    I totally understand why you kept trying- it would take a hell of a lot to get me to pullout too.  Im glad you are Ok though- I cant imagine going through that- you really are the bad


2008-09-09 3:56 PM
in reply to: #1660785

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Elite
2673
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Muskego, WI
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Mike, it's been an honor and priveledge to watch you prepare for this race.  You were ramped up so much higher than I'd seen you previously.  Serious dedication throughout your training.  And, so much bloody swimming and my hat's off to you for making that pay off in a big way on race day.  Very inspiring!!

For the record, I vomit once I'm likely on the side crying like a little girl (no offense to little girls that are probably tougher than me in this regard).  For you to just continue to fight as you describe in the report is something I'll remember when I'm feeling dumpy out on the roads in training.  That's a gift, and I thank you!

You sound like you've got it in perspective.  I'm sure it sucks, but as you know, what the blankety blank more could you have done?

2008-09-09 4:07 PM
in reply to: #1660785

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Elite
2553
20005002525
Tucson, AZ
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Wow. One of the scariest race reports I've read. SO glad that you are ok and were able to recover. And I'm glad to hear you will be following the recommendations of the docs and keeping it light and doing the HIMs when able. We want to be able to keep reading more of your race reports!
2008-09-09 5:15 PM
in reply to: #1660785

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Pro
3883
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Woodstock,GA
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Mike, I am so sorry to hear about your race....I know how hard you trained for it. It can never be said that you didn't give it your all though. Hold your head high, there will be other races.
2008-09-09 5:21 PM
in reply to: #1660785

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Champion
19812
50005000500020002000500100100100
MA
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Wow..what a day for you out there..wicked great swim and strong bike.

The run part is very scary stuff. I admire your determination to continue and your ability to say I'm done when you had left it all out there. I'm glad you are okay and allowed the paramedics and docs to help you.  Amazing.....

IMs are a journey where I think everyone learns stuff about themselves they didn't quite expect to learn. I know you are tough dedicated person and an Ironman in the true sense. The medical stuff hopefully going forward you can avoid...

 

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