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Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
Total Time = 14h 58m 56s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 47/63
Pre-race routine:

My road to Ironman actually began over 20 years ago when I read an article in the Chicago Tribune about this race called a Triathlon that had been held on the Lakefront the past few years and was gaining in popularity. Hmmm...I though to myself, sounds like fun. I had always been athletic, ran track in High School and had continued to run, enjoyed biking ( I had a sweet "10 speed") and swimming... well I could swim. But, as happens with many grand plans, life gets in the way. Marriage, children, career, the years flew by.
During my mid to late 30's I was diagnosed with 3 chronic medical conditions, Asthma, Interstitial cystitis (a bladder disease) and ulcerative colitis. All three had a devastating effect on my quality of life and the activities I could participate in. I though athletic endeavors were over.
After a time of feeling sorry for myself, I decided that knowledge is power and I could change my outlook. I began to research everything I could on my conditions. Found new DRs, radically changed my diet, participated in a drug trial for the Interstitial Cystitis ( meds which I continue to take to this day, making a total of 12 pills daily to control all conditions) and began to run and bike again.
I started running some races again, first a local 5k, proceeding up to the Chicago Half. At the age of 45 I entered a small local sprint triathlon. I rode my comfort style bike which had replaced the "sweet 10 speed" when I bought a Burley to pull my kids. When I crossed the finish line I was completely hooked. And 3 summers and a new bike later, I became an Ironman.

My medical history is important because it dictates exactly what I do prior to races. Because of my dietary restrictions we stayed in a suite with a kitchen so I could prepare all my food.
Unfortunately, I had a bad headache on Friday. Tried not to take anything for it, but by the evening I had to. Saturday I felt a bit better so I went for a practice swim. The headache returned and hung around all day. Ended up taking Motrin.

Race day: woke up at 3:45 with a mild headache, but it went way by the time I was at the race venue. Put drinks on my bike, pumped the tires, talked with friends who were racing, went inside to find the shorter lines for the bathroom, put on my wetsuit and went down to the start.

Event warmup:

  • 1h 21m 33s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 56s / 100 yards

I've had to learn to love swimming and it did not come easily. I was terrified of open water and even had a panic attach in a pool swim. I took classes and clinics and really put in the time. After a major panic attach at the Racine HIM I was concerned about Madison, but I DID GREAT! Not only was my time great for me, I was calm the entire swim. I seated myself to the outside to avoid the biggest crowds and even when I guy did swim on top of me I maintained my cool and exited the water extremely happy.
What would you do differently?:

Absolutely nothing. Best swim I've ever had.
Transition 1
  • 13m 27s

The run up the helix was awesome. I saw several people I knew and they called out to me. Saw my husband and son above as I was running to the door.
A bit slow in TI, but not concerned.
What would you do differently?:

Be a bit faster. I spent a minute deciding on what to wear as I brought a few different options depending on the weather.
  • 7h 32m 50s
  • 112 miles
  • 14.84 mile/hr

I had planned on riding at a comfortable pace to make sure my legs were OK for the run. I usually am able to run well off the bike (evil foreshadowing music should be playing now). I planned on averaging somewhere in the mid to upper 15mph.
At mile 15 I began to have a pain in my right side.Too early to be due to what I ate or drank. Throughout the first loop it would subside then come back. It was bothersome but not interfering...yet. I completely enjoyed the first loop. The crowds were amazing and I just took in the experience.
The second loop is the beginning of my long, slow, painful trip to the finish. That nagging pain began to really set in and get worse. I would coast down the hills and when I went to start pedaling the pain would just shoot through my abdomen. I had to slow down. I was trying to figure out what could be going on. I was eating and drinking according to plan. I knew I wasn't dehydrated as I had been peeing. Didn't know what it was.

What would you do differently?:

Not sure yet.
Transition 2
  • 14m 8s

Slow again, but due to pain and I had decided to change my contacts. I was wearing soft lenses for the swim and the bike, but I do not see as well in them and after 8 to 9 hours it really begins to bother me. I brought my hard lenses and despite my best attempts to not have this happen, the lens got stuck to the top of the contact case and I couldn't get it out. Finally the women helping me used her finger nail to flick it out. Then we had to find where it went. I can laugh about it now.
What would you do differently?:

Figure out a different contact solution.
  • 5h 36m 57s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 12m 52s  min/mile

As I left transition I was not feeling well at all. Stopped to talk with my husband and tell him what was happening. I began a slow jog and actually started feeling better. I picked up the pace, felt OK. Drank and ate my sport beans. Mile 6 - I NEED A PORTA POTTY NOW!!!!!! And thus begins my Tour de Potty Race. Or should I call it the Tour de Poopy Race. I proceeded to have bad diarrhea for the remainder of the run. I hit the potties a total of 8 times and used a bush once. (thank goodness it was dark by then) I could no longer eat or drink anything after mile 15. I had slowed down to the Ironman shuffle by then, and then began a walk/shuffle. Then proceeded to all walk, especially on the trail by the lake since it was really dark and you could barely see. At mile 23 I started running again. After 1 last stop at the potty by the stadium, I picked it up and ran the final 2.2 miles to the finish. I did it! I held my arms up high and screamed as I ran through the tape.
What would you do differently?:

I figure what ever that pain on my side was during the bike was the precursor to the GI issues I experienced on the run. So get to the bottom of that.

It was extremely frustrating not to be able to run the race I knew I was capable of. My legs felt fine, but my gut said no, no, no.
Post race
Warm down:

Tried to drink some water, but that sent me directly to the potty. Husband took one look at me and brought me to medical where I proceed to hit the bathroom 3 more times. They finally let me go with the instructions to see my GI doc.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Obviously the Gut problem.
Was it something related to my colitis? A virus? (remember that 2 day headache prior to the race?) I will be seeing my doc soon to see what she has to say.

Event comments:

Despite feeling not too good for the majority of the race I still managed to maintain a relatively positive attitude and tried to enjoy my first IM experience. I say first, because barring any dire comments from my GI doc regarding future IMs, I would like to do another one day. I'm extremely proud of the race I ran. I keep moving and did achieve my goal of finishing with a smile! An incredible experience that at one point in my life I never thought possible.

Last updated: 2008-02-17 12:00 AM
01:21:33 | 4224 yards | 01m 56s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/63
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Suit: blue seventy
Course: 2 loop
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 13:27
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:32:50 | 112 miles | 14.84 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/63
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Wind: Strong
Course: 2 loops
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 14:08
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:36:57 | 26.2 miles | 12m 52s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/63
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %3 lbs
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2008-09-10 7:13 PM

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Illinois _ Chicago area
Subject: Ironman Wisconsin

2008-09-10 7:34 PM
in reply to: #1665807

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West Bend, WI
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

OMG- you should be proud!! What an accomplishment

I hope you are feeling better

2008-09-10 7:35 PM
in reply to: #1665807

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Wellington, North Island
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
You faced some big challenges but you stuck it out and did a great job. Congratulations on becoming an Ironman!
2008-09-10 7:51 PM
in reply to: #1665807

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Thanks for the race report - you are an inspiration for having finished the IM.  I am a little younger than you, but my kids are also probably younger than yours - hoping to be telling your story in five or so years!  Thanks for motivating me to keep it going, despite the hectic schedules and kid-juggling.

2008-09-10 8:23 PM
in reply to: #1665807

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Riverside, IL
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Oh Susie!!! What a great race report! Congrats on becoming an Iron(Wo)man!!! What a trooper you were to finish that race despite all the pain you were hats off to you! I can only hope that someday (most likely years from now)...I'll be able to experience the awesome feeling of crossing the finish line at an IM event.

2008-09-17 7:02 PM
in reply to: #1665807

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Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
What a great race report.  You are one tough woman! Congratulations on achieiving your dream!

2008-09-17 8:20 PM
in reply to: #1665807

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Gulf Shores, AL
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Thank you for a very inspiring race report and congrats on becoming an ironman!
2008-09-17 8:30 PM
in reply to: #1665807

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great job on getting through the race despite horrible stomach pains.  I fought a similar battle but was fortunate not to have things running through me.  Just had really bad GI cramps.  Congratulations on a 20 year journey coming to fruition.
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