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Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
80F / 27C
Total Time = 10h 12m 43s
Overall Rank = 73/2397
Age Group = M3034
Age Group Rank = 14/260
Pre-race routine:

I followed the 30 week competitive program in the beIronFit book by Don Fink since I had used the intermediate program for IMWI in 2007 and liked it. I made a little tweak to the program by adding an extra swim per week in the base phase since that is my weakest sport. I did the optional weight lifting program twice a week until mid way into the peak phase when I only lifted once a week. In the thirty weeks I think I skipped three workouts and shortened a handful of the swims. I had some hamstring tightness during the build and early peak, but I learned some exercises and stretches that let me keep that under control. This was my first season in which I was not dealing with joint and tendinitis issues and I think it was from being consistent and lifting weights.

The Monday before the I needed to ship my bike, I brought it in to the shop to get them to cut the steerer tube since I had lowered the cockpit a few weeks ago and had a four cm knob on top of my stem. On Wednesday I get a call and they tell me my steerer tube was cracked and it was not safe to ride. I over torqued the stem when I put it back on and now they had to overnight a $430 Alpha-Q fork to the shop to replace the one I had stupidly broken. They got it done and back to me Friday evening just in time for me to give it a short ride Saturday and put it on the TBT truck for Madison.

I counted calories when I started tapering since I didn't want to gain weight during the taper like I did in 2007. I stopped caffeine the Tuesday before the race so I'd have a good response to it during the race. It sucked for a day or two, but then I was feeling back to normal by Thursday.

Danielle and I flew into Chicago on Thursday and drove from there to Madison. We had a free upgrade coupon for Enterprise and got a new Chrysler Town and Country minivan. It was awesome. I could put my bike in the back standing up with both wheels on and there was a ton of room. I used to think minivans were lame, but now I want one.

On Friday I put my bike in the van and drove out to Verona and biked the stick portion of the course to Rim Rock road. Somewhere out there my flat fixing kit fell out, so I had to go and buy another microflater, tire levers and mini tool. The only microflater was bundled with a seat wedgie and patches, so I got that and a small crank brothers tool. I later discover I forgot my goggles at home, so I had to buy a new pair at the expo. I also didn't bring my stopwatch and was going to buy another one of those too, but decided to use Danielle's light blue ladies timex. With these little things and the fork the previous week, I was getting annoyed with spending money on broken, lost or forgotten gear.

After getting all my equipment together, I ran through my transitions a few times on Saturday before bringing my bags down to the terrace. My stomach was acting funny all day and I was spending more time in the bathroom than I'd like. I was probably lower on my fiber intake than usual during the last couple days and my food was moving through me quicker than it should. I would have blamed the algae, but I didn't go to the Gatorade swims because I didn't want to risk getting sick. We went to a Noodles company for dinner and I got to bed at nine and finally fell asleep around 10.

On Sunday I got up at 4:00, had a scoop of GENR8 mixed into orange juice, a bagel with PB&J, regular coffee and a banana. I used the bathroom and things were better than Saturday, but still not totally normal. I bagged up my Gatorade to put on my bike, gel flasks and power bars and went down with Danielle to the buses at the Aliant Center. Dropped off my nutrition, got body marked and borrowed a pump to fill my tires. Went down to the water and put on my wetsuit, said goodbye to Danielle and checked my dry gear bag and got in line for the water.
Event warmup:

I had a Gu. I did some stretching before getting in the lake, stood in the water for a while then swam out to the red buoy. One of my triceps was feeling pinchy, so I tried to stretch it out while treading water.
  • 1h 06m 24s
  • 3862 meters
  • 01m 43s / 100 meters

I started inside the course and went out hard to get out of the traffic and maybe catch a draft off a faster swimmer. There was room to swim and I felt good all the way out to the first corner where I cut back in to make the turn. There was a lot of traffic here and at the next turn, but not too bad. I tried to sit in the draft of other swimmers on the way back, but it was hard to stay on feet because the visibility was so bad and I was forced to pop my head up whenever I lost the draft to find where it went. I was wasting a lot of energy trying to save energy by staying behind swimmers I couldn't see. At the end of the third length my left calf cramped up. I tried to shake it out while still moving, but it wouldn't relax and I had to flip over to pull my foot back to stop the cramp.

After the cramp I was swimming gingerly so it wouldn't come back. I was feeling better and a little into the second lap decided to stop trying to draft and swim my normal comfortably hard pace which I would swim my long straight swims at. I was doing well and passing other swimmers now and then at the turn my other calf cramps. I couldn't stop here, so I just kept swimming with my foot flexed at a 90 degree angle to get out of the traffic without drowning. From here to the end I took it very easy and concentrated on not pointing my toes too much since that would start the cramping again. I checked my watch when I was two buoys from the last turn and saw 56 minutes. I knew I was going to be way over my goal of 60 minutes.
What would you do differently?:

If the visibility is so bad that I can't see other swimmers, I shouldn't bother trying to draft and instead just swim my own pace. I swam the Providence 70.3 swim in rough surf without drafting in 28 something minutes and there is no reason I couldn't have done this swim in 60-62 if I just put my head down and swam.

I also did only five open water swims all year and that might have been a problem. It is possible that the act of bringing my head up to sight and the extra kick that requires was not something my legs were used to and may have the cause of the cramping.
Transition 1
  • 06m 34s

I was feeling disappointed in my swim after seeing 1:06 on the clock when I got out. I had some trouble getting my suit down, but got over to the strippers and they ripped it off. I ran up the helix, found my bag right away and dumped it out in the changing room. I put my socks, shoes and helmet on and got my gel flasks and Powerbars into my pockets and ran out. I had to hold my flasks still while I ran so they wouldn't fall out. My goal for T1 was 6 minutes and I am happy with the time.
What would you do differently?:

My mind wasn't quite on task after the bad swim and could have been quicker in the changing room. I got a lot of sun on the top of my knees, so I should have spun around and let the sunscreen appliers get that as well as the back.
  • 5h 24m 30s
  • 112 miles
  • 20.71 mile/hr

My nutrition plan was to eat a GU on each 15 and 45 minute mark and have half a power bar on the 30s and 00s until 4:00 where I would stop the power bars and have only GUs. I'd drink about one bottle of Gatorade an hour and try to always have an extra one in my bottle cage. My totals for the ride were going to be 12 GUs, four power bars and 5 or 6 bottles of Gatorade. I had some Enduralytes and I'd take one or two each hour. I used two flasks for the gels and I fit six in each one and topped them off with a little water to reduce the viscosity so it would be easier to get out. I found the drawback to this system was I was not sure if I was getting too much or to little GU with each shot. I ended up with a lot left over after the ride, so I probably ended up only having the equivalent of 8 GUs.

I was shooting for a 5:20 bike split, which would be 21 mph.

0-5_____20.6 mph__158 bpm
5-10____19.5 mph__158 bpm
10-15___24.0 mph__149 bpm
15-20___22.0 mph__150 bpm

I knew the ride out to Verona was the least hilly part of the ride and was a net downhill, so I was expecting some fast laps here. My heart rate has been unresponsive lately with the high volume of training, but now that I was rested from my taper, it was getting up into Z2 without much effort. I decided to aim for low Z2 for the flats and not worry about it on the uphills. There was an additional aid station that I didn't expect on Whalen, so I probably didn't need to start with two bottles. I saw my shadow and noticed the new seat bag that I bought had come unhooked from the rails and was flopping around behind me. So much for being as aero as possible.

20-25___21.0 mph__150 bpm
25-30___19.7 mph__152 bpm
30-35___22.4 mph__153 bpm
35-40___24.3 mph__146 bpm
40-45___19.2 mph__155 bpm
45-50___21.9 mph__155 bpm
50-55___22.3 mph__150 bpm

I was having some pains in my stomach and sides and it felt like my race belt was too tight. I couldn't loosen it while riding, so I moved it around so it would hurt less. Aside from the weird side stitch thing, the first lap went well and my effort level felt good. It was starting to get hot and I hadn't needed to pee yet, so I thought I should try to drink more. I dropped my vial of Enduralytes after only taking one and I was hoping the Gatorade Endurance would have enough salts to keep me going.

There was a lot of bike traffic for the first loop and I was in a little pack for a couple miles before some hills broke it up. Some busy body chick on a mountain bike riding the opposite way yelled "break it up" as we went by. Whatever, what do you expect when there are 2400 bikes on the road? Aside from that momentary cluster, there was hardly any drafting where I was and I never saw anyone at the penalty tents. I also never saw a drafting marshal out there, so either it was a clean race or no one was watching.

When I hit the 56 mile point I had 2:36, which meant I was faster than my goal pace for the ride so far. I knew the last half would be a little slower because there were more uphills back into Madison, but I was feeling more positive that I could get my race back on track to my goal time.

55-60___20.8 mph__151 bpm
60-65___21.5 mph__150 bpm
65-70___21.4 mph__152 bpm
70-75___19.2 mph__152 bpm
75-80___21.2 mph__151 bpm
80-85___20.3 mph__151 bpm
85-90___18.8 mph__156 bpm
90-95___20.3 mph__154 bpm
95-100__19.8 mph__152 bpm

The second lap was unremarkable except that it was getting pretty hot out there and there was a lot fewer bikes around. I kept on seeing a handful of the same people as we'd trade leads and it seemed like I was faster on the descents and flats and then would get passed on the uphills. I was keeping up with my nutrition plan, but there was still that pain in my side. Towards the end I noticed that my gel flasks were more full that they should have been, so I took larger mouthfuls of GU.

100-105_20.9 mph__151 bpm
105-110_20.5 mph__146 bpm
110-112_17.7 mph__147 bpm

At my 5:00 mark I noticed that my pace had fallen off in the second loop and was a little below my goal pace for the ride. It was uphill from there to the finish, so I didn't try to make up the time. I knew my Kona chances were gone at this point, but thought that if I hit my 3:20 goal for the marathon I might go under 10 hours.

Back in Madison at the turn off Rim Rock Rd before the Aliant Center lot, I saw a cop running to help a rider that must have just taken that corner too fast and went down. I rode very carefully for the rest of the way in.
What would you do differently?:

Use gel packets and not a flask so I get the nutrition I planned to get. Not use a seat bag that I never used before even if it is small.
Transition 2
  • 02m 9s

After going up the helix, I dismounted way before the actual line, and ran my bike to a catcher. I took my Garmin off the mount and carried it in. Everything went pretty fast in the transition and I got another full flask of Gu, but it would not stay put in my pocket, so I had to carry it in my hand the whole run. My transition time was third in my age group and way up there overall.
What would you do differently?:

Will not use a flask for the run again. I need a jersey with better pockets or shorts with pockets so I can carry my stuff better. I hit my goal of two minutes for T2.
  • 3h 33m 8s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 08s  min/mile

Danielle was planning on counting to see where I was in the field during the run and letting me know via some hand signals where I was. I saw her and was expecting the sign of better luck next time, but she gave me the two thumbs up which meant she thought I was somewhere between 6 and 12th place. I couldn't believe it. The run is my strength, so I should easily make up several places and be in.

1__6:57__169 bpm
2__7:35__168 bpm
3__7:42__168 bpm
4__7:40__169 bpm
5__7:56__167 bpm

The first couple miles are down hill, so was not surprised to see some fast times here. I was with a group for the first few miles and two of them were in my age group. At one of the aid stations, I pulled away. It was hot out and I was adjusting my pace so I could keep it steady the whole way. 3:20 marathon and under 10 hours was no longer a goal because of the heat, but if Danielle was right and I was now in the top ten after passing those two guys I might not need to be that fast.

6__8:14__166 bpm (hill)
7__7:57__164 bpm
8__7:55__163 bpm

There were not as many runners around now and I was wondering when I'd see the next guy in my age group to pass. It was brutal in the sun and I was not getting enough Gatorade from the aid stations. I was wishing I had not dropped my Enduralytes on the bike as I was sweating a lot. On State St I see Danielle and she gives me the single thumbs up this time, which meant 12-20th place. I'm confused and say "Worse?" After the turn around I see her again and she tells me she miscounted and I'm in the teens. I'm not quite sure when this was, but I think it must have been in mile 8 since that is when my attitude and pace dropped.

9__8:22__160 bpm
10_8:39__157 bpm
11_8:24__157 bpm
12_9:18__153 bpm (pee stop)
13_8:43__154 bpm

It was a suffer time now and my goal has gone from Kona to sub ten and now to just surviving and keeping running. I started walking or stopping at the aid stations to grab two or three cups of Gatorade and a coke at each one. I'd also get a cup of ice and dump it in my jersey to melt and two sponges that I'd put on my shoulders. I was having gel when I felt like it, but most of my fuel was Gatorade and Coke. I took pretzels a couple times and sucked the salt off and spat the rest out.

14_8:21__152 bpm
15_8:13__154 bpm
16_8:37__153 bpm
17_8:20__153 bpm

Usually when I run and eat lots of gels I get gassy, but I had not been today. I think it was a sign that I was not digesting well, but in the 17th mile I felt some pressure and started letting it out. Pretty soon after I started feeling a lot better and was able to get back to a respectable pace.

18_8:08__152 bpm
19_8:42__153 bpm (hill)
20_8:18__154 bpm
21_8:08__156 bpm
22_8:11__154 bpm
23_8:05__155 bpm

I passed many people in the last few miles. I was feeling better than I had all day and all the other people around me were dying. This was fun.

24_7:47__159 bpm
25_7:50__156 bpm
26_7:54__162 bpm
26.2_7:43__164 bpm

I got a nice announcement this time when I finished and that was pretty cool.
What would you do differently?:

It took me half the marathon to figure out how to handle the heat and my nutrition. When I was not getting enough Gatorade early, I should have stopped or walked the stations to make sure I was staying hydrated and fueled. A lighter colored jersey with better pockets would have been good too.
Post race
Warm down:

I was still feeling really good up to the finish line and felt like I could keep going for a few more miles. The catchers brought me down the finisher area and asked me if I wanted my picture taken. I declined and they passed me to Danielle who was waiting for me at the end. We talked about the race and I had some food from the tent and then we gathered up my gear and went back to the hotel to get cleaned up. We came back into Madison around 8:00 and sat outside at the Old Fashioned and had some beer, cheese and a sandwich and watched the people and made fun of the compression socks. There seemed to be a lot more participants still out there compared to when we sat in the same place at the same time two years earlier.

Now I need to figure out what I want to do next. I'm planning on trying cyclocross this fall and I'll do a few running races and maybe go for a new 5k PR. I'll probably do another Ironman, but I'm not sure when right now. This summer was pretty boring since all I did was train, so I'd like to have a real summer next year. I'll get back into beer brewing now that I can drink it without worrying about slowing down my muscle recovery.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The cramps in the swim which may have been either a nutrition problem caused by my digestive issues the previous day or a fitness issue caused by too few open water swims. I should have drank more on the bike and early in the run.

Event comments:

The race itself is very good with a lot of volunteer and spectator support. The course is challenging and scenic and Madison is a very cool town.
There are a lot of people participating, so expect to wait in long lines for everything.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-12-05 12:00 AM
01:06:24 | 3862 meters | 01m 43s / 100meters
Age Group: 58/260
Overall: 358/2397
Performance: Below average
Suit: Blue Seventy Reaction
Course: Two rectangular loops in Lake Monona. There was an algae problem this year and the water was a green soup. I could barely see my own hand with my arm outstretched.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 06:34
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed: Good
05:24:30 | 112 miles | 20.71 mile/hr
Age Group: 25/260
Overall: 127/2397
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: Stick and loop with lots of rolling hills, sharp turns and farms. The surfaces of the roads nearest Madison were really rough.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 97
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:09
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
03:33:08 | 26.2 miles | 08m 08s  min/mile
Age Group: 10/260
Overall: 68/2397
Performance: Average
Course: Urban course with mixed surfaces. Two loops that start downhill with one big hill in the middle, but mostly flat elsewhere.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-09-17 3:57 PM

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Middletown, CT
Subject: Ironman Wisconsin

2009-09-17 10:04 PM
in reply to: #2412475

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Lexington, KY
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Nice race.  Impressive that you were able to recover and pick up the pace at the end of the marathon like that.
2009-09-18 5:38 AM
in reply to: #2412475

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

great job! nice recovery and strong finish on the marathon! no doubt you'll get to Kona at some point

2009-09-18 8:37 AM
in reply to: #2412475

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Whispering Pines, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
wow, super fast race! very close to sub 10! you'll get Kona, for sure!
2009-09-18 8:53 AM
in reply to: #2412475

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin


2009-09-21 8:43 PM
in reply to: #2412475

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NW Suburbs, Illinois
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Steve - Great race and way to finish strong out there.  You must have passed me in t2 or shortly thereafter...

Anyway, thanks for the compliment on my t1.  I had a terrible t1 in '08, so that is what I came up with to remedy that.   Also, I got my wife a mini van so that I could do IMWI in '09...that was our arrangement.  But don't tell her, I love that mini van!!!  great for hauling the bike for sure.  I will be off from IM next year, as well for the same reasons as you.

Great race and way to deal with all the adversity you saw before and during the race.

FWIW, I wear OOmph shorts and they have two pockets made for gel bottles and they hold it there without you even knowing its there.  forget the model, but they are nice shorts.

Congrats again.  I have a feeling when you do it again, Kona is in your sights!

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