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Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
80F / 27C
Total Time = 15h 48m 17s
Overall Rank = 1990/2176
Age Group = W30-34
Age Group Rank = 105/132
Pre-race routine:

I wrote a very long, detailed 3-part race report on my blog. I'll summarize here and include the links for those who want more detail.

I never sleep well before a race, but this was different. I was so afraid of the unknown due to my injury. I woke up at 3:30, had my usual pre-race breakfast - coffee, two pieces of sprouted grain bread with almond butter and honey. I checked my special needs bags one last time and my dad drove me to Capitol Square to spare me the walk. I dropped off my bags and walked to transition. I cried for the first time that day. It wouldn’t be the last.

I got my bike ready to go and headed into the Terrace. I saw so many BTers and that gave me a huge boost - amyjotris, firstnet911, Steve-, Trixie, mndiver, possibly others. I was overwhelmed.

In that moment, I realized one of the most significant things I'd realize all day. An incredible thing about Ironman is the energy transfer that happens from person to person. It comes from fellow athletes, family, friends, spectators and volunteers. Something as simple as a kind word, a touch or a cheer would immediately change how I felt and give me the energy to keep moving forward. This was felt most noticeably on the run, but it started before I even got into the water.
Event warmup:

Said goodbye to my family and got in the water at 6:45. After the pro start at 6:50 I seeded myself in a position I felt comfortable with, roughly 2/3 of the way to the right of the buoy line, about 3 people back. It was aggressive but I felt good about it.

The singing of the national anthem was surreal. I looked around and couldn't believe I was there. I was doing an Ironman.
  • 1h 27m 43s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 05s / 100 yards

The cannon went off, mass chaos ensued and I was right in the thick of it. I loved it! To say I took contact would be an understatement – it was a full-on kick and punch fest the entire time. You have to remain totally calm in an Ironman swim and adjust for the amount of people sharing your little patch of water. If I got kicked I’d just stay face down and slow my stroke enough to let the aggressive swimmer pass, then keep going.

I ended up hugging the buoy line and swimming just inside it at times. This made turns difficult and I took a lot of contact but I was comfortable there so I went with it. Loop two was a bit slower than loop one and the contact remained high. Yet no one grabbed or hit my foot so I was thrilled. As I approached the exit I stood up, paused and looked around. A volunteer asked if I was ok and I said I’d never been better.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I swam comfortably, was careful with my foot and hit my goal range. I learned to swim just one year ago and managed an Ironman mass swim. It was fun.
Transition 1
  • 15m 23s

After my wetsuit stripping the adrenaline took over and I started to jog toward the helix when I suddenly remembered my torn plantar fascia and put the breaks on. I walked into T1, skipped the volunteers since it was packed and quickly got ready near the exit.
What would you do differently?:

Run if my PF wasn't torn. Walking up the helix, out to the bike and to the mount line took a loooooong time.
  • 6h 43m 52s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.64 mile/hr

This was a dream ride. I felt great coming out of the swim and settled in quickly. The entire first loop was incredible. There are tons of spectators and the volunteers are amazing. The miles were clicking by and my average was over 17 mph, even with the hills, at the first timing mat. The best I could do in June was 15.75. It was the strongest long ride I'd ever done and I couldn't have asked for a better time and place for that to happen. My nutrition and hydration felt spot on, my energy was consistent and my foot was pain free. I realized at one point that my cheeks hurt from smiling. I was having the time of my life.

As I approached the three nasty hills at the end of the first loop I knew I’d see my parents and couldn’t wait to get there. Riding up these hills is the hardest part of the course, but also one of the most fun due to the spectators. People lined both sides of the street. My parents ended up not being able to get to the hill we'd planned but I saw them a couple miles later. Seeing them out there meant the world to me.

The second loop was more challenging due to rising heat, less spectators and less riders in general. As I neared mile 90 I recalled someone saying you'd hate yourself around mile 90 and question why you were there. I had a different feeling. Yes, I was starting to feel the pains of a long ride, but I was also having my best ride ever and I still had no idea what the rest of the day would bring. I got very emotional and thought to myself - please don't let this be over. I wasn't ready to end, but knew it might not be my choice to make. So I continued to do the only thing I knew I could do for sure: enjoy every moment. I accepted that those final miles might be the end of my race.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. If anything, my injury allowed me to push harder than I may have had the courage to push under normal circumstances. I had once thought a 16mph avg was unrealistic for me on this course. I rode over 30 minutes faster than my training ride in June and I felt great.
Transition 2
  • 11m 52s

Again, I had to walk but this time, the walking was so important. I hadn't gotten off the bike at all except for standing over it at special needs for about 45 seconds so the first steps determined the rest of my day. My foot felt fine so that was the moment I decided to try to finish. I was thrilled. I saw lisac957 in T2, we volunteered together last year. It was so nice to see a familiar face.
What would you do differently?:

Run if I could!
  • 7h 09m 29s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 16m 23s  min/mile

My full story about the run is epic, considering the experience was epic:

This was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life for so many reasons. For those that don't know, though I've mentioned bits above, I tore my plantar fascia just two weeks before the race. I was unable to walk at all just 10 days before and was never supposed to make it to the marathon and most certainly wasn't supposed to finish. The entire day was a gift and even though I had to walk almost every step of the 26.2 miles, roughly 41,280 steps, even though the pain was overwhelming and I couldn't take so much as an Advil for it, even though I thought I might not make it even after 22 miles... it was worth it. A friend shared this quote with me the night before the race: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” I was afraid but I wanted to reach that finish line so badly that I was willing to take a huge risk to get there. I listened very carefully to my body and was prepared to stop if I absolutely had to. At mile 21 I slowed to a 20 minute mile due to the pain but I continued.
My experience on the run can't really be described fully but most is captured on the blog. Here I will simply say that the spirit, support and energy of other human beings is phenomenal and you will never experience this more than in an Ironman. Strangers and friends alike carried me through this long, painful and emotional walk - Jeffrey, a stranger who walked my first mile with me; trihusker who recognized me due to my limp and gave me some words of encouragement early on the course; rstocks3 for walking a couple miles with me after Camp Randall and making that time feel non-existent; amyjotris for walking along the lake with me early in the race when she definitely could have been running; 1tt, Whizzzzz and bertgwen for saying hello and lifting my spirits; mr2tony for the hug at the mile 6 turnaround; Bill, the volunteer at the mile 20 aid station who recognized me from my blog and who's kind words helped me at a very low point; the nameless strangers who walked a bit with me, offered me help or just encouraged me to keep going; Scott and Kara, the final two walk partners that lifted me from a very dark place at mile 22 and went all the way to Capitol Square with me... And last but definitely not least, my parents - who were out there with smiles and energy and excitement despite how slow I had gotten, how much visible pain I was in and the fact they had been out there for over 15 hours. They have never seen me do a triathlon before so this was one heck of a way to introduce them to the sport. Having them there changed everything.

When I made it to Capitol Square and knew I'd finish, I could barely walk. I used this final slow, solo time to reflect. A most certain DNF had turned into a hard-fought finish and I couldn't believe how lucky I was. This was one of the most emotional times of my life. I thought I'd have to walk the chute for sure but by the time I reached the corner, all the pain disappeared and I was able to jog that final stretch. I had no one in front of me and no one behind me so I got one of the best Mike Reilly shout outs you could ever have. I did it. I was an Ironman.
What would you do differently?:

Given my injury, nothing. This was more than I ever expected.
Post race
Warm down:

I was so out of it at the finish. The catcher got me a shirt, my medal and my finisher photo. I got a hug from Bob Stocks :) I saw many BTers and found my mom, dad and brother. They were so happy for me. I immediately got my foot into the walker boot, I felt like I'd walked on hot coals after having my feet slashed up with razor blades. I had a slice of pizza, a bit of a sandwich and tons of water before retrieving my bike and gear. My parents took it home so I could stay and watch the end of the race. I met up with Whizzzzz and coredump. They had showered and I was still in race gear and mylar. What a surreal night. I think I went home around 12:30 and barely slept a wink.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My torn plantar fascia. I was told 10 days before the race that I'd have to drop out. Little by little I got it back - first the swim, then the bike and on race day, the most important marathon I've ever completed. I exceeded my expectations in all three sports and you can't ask for more in an Ironman.

Event comments:

This race is incredible. I'll be back next year to settle the score :)

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-12-18 12:00 AM
01:27:43 | 4224 yards | 02m 05s / 100yards
Age Group: 91/132
Overall: 1770/2176
Suit: Blue Seventy Helix
Course: Two loops, counterclockwise
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 15:23
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:43:52 | 112 miles | 16.64 mile/hr
Age Group: 50/132
Overall: 1489/2176
Course: 90+ turns, nonstop rollers, nonstop fun. A beautiful, challenging and interesting course through Wisconsin farmland.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 11:52
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
07:09:29 | 26.2 miles | 16m 23s  min/mile
Age Group: 122/132
Overall: 2150/2176
Performance: Below average
Course: From Capitol Square, through downtown, through campus and back with a spin around Camp Randall Stadium and a nice run along the lake.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
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] 5

2009-10-07 11:14 PM

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Brooklyn, NY
Subject: Ironman Wisconsin

2009-10-08 2:47 AM
in reply to: #2448912


Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Incredibly inspiring. Thanks. Also, great blog with pics, also inspiring. I have plantar problems too, it's torn. It hurt like hell doesn't it! I have been running on Asics 2140's and that has helped a bunch. The run/walk is the thing that makes me cringe when I think Ironman. But, I have also heard that lots of people run/run-walk/walk it. So, after this summer (2010), after a 70.3, I think I'll do the full. We'll see. Anyway, I just wanted to say congratulations.
2009-10-08 7:28 AM
in reply to: #2448912

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

You finished your first Ironman completely on your own terms and soaked in every moment of the day -- the good and painfully bad -- that in and of itself is simply amazing.  You were calm on the swim, had the bike of your life, and then let dozens of people help you traverse the 26.2 miles.  Amazing.  This is what Ironman is about.  Thanks for sharing this epic journey with us.  Otis is certainly very proud 

2009-10-08 7:46 AM
in reply to: #2448912

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Congratulations Ironman!

You accomplished something huge through adversity that truly reveals your strength of character.

It is an amazing experience the energy you feel and gain from others in an Ironman and how a random stranger can make all the difference in turning your mind around and making things better.

Thanks for sharing your day with us~
2009-10-08 8:58 AM
in reply to: #2448912

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Madison, MS
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

I think you must have an unlimited amount of perseverence and guts. So many other people would have pulled the plug on the day entirely. Congrats on your experience. Now, go heal up, and come back even stronger!

2009-10-08 9:44 AM
in reply to: #2448912

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Silver member
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

That's all that needs to be said.

2009-10-08 10:27 AM
in reply to: #2448912

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Roswell, Georgia
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
So, so SOOO proud of you!
I have a video of you running by us in the finish chute. I'll have to remember to post it one of these days!

2009-10-08 11:17 AM
in reply to: #2448912

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

YOU ROCK!!!    I am soooooo thrilled that youwere able to do the race after the injury. 


2009-10-08 10:31 PM
in reply to: #2448912

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Loved, loved, loved your RR!!!!!  I am soooooo thrilled that you were able to realize your Ironman dream THIS YEAR!  IM-MOO 2010, watch out....someone got some azz-kickin to do  

Congrats Ironman!
2009-10-09 8:56 AM
in reply to: #2448912

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NW Suburbs, Illinois
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great job.  Great race report.  Great determination.  Awesome.
2009-10-11 11:40 AM
in reply to: #2448912

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piece o heaven
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

It was great meeting you that weekend.  You truly pulled an Iron Achievement.  I am amazed at your perseverance and patience.  Not many would have done what you did.  Congrats and Enjoy -


And . . . heal now! to get ready for next time!

2009-10-13 8:47 AM
in reply to: #2448912

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East Side of the Bay
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Congrats! Although it was not the race that you trained for and planned on, it certainly was a race in which you learned incredible things both about yourself and others.  What a gift! Your blog version had me once again trying to short out my keyboard with tears.  I hope your PF heals quickly! Thanks for sharing your journey with us both here on BT and in your blog.
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