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Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
75F / 24C
Total Time = 12h 12m 46s
Overall Rank = 679/2550
Age Group = M 30-34
Age Group Rank = 114/293
Pre-race routine:

I still can't get over the fact that it was a full year ago that I signed up for this race! At the time, it seemed like having a year to get ready would be more than enough time. Bethany and I had planned our race schedule for 2010 to have 2 early season when we would be racing NOLA 70.3 and Gulf Coast, and the other being IM Moo. With this in mind, I really didn't event think about WI until June. At that point in the season I had completed some 5 & 10ks, NOLA 70.3, John Tanner Sprint, Gulf Coast HIM, the bike leg of Macon HIM & West Point Oly. Honestly, I was getting really burnt out and could've used a couple of weeks away from training. But, I really had not put in the long training rides or runs so I knew it had to be done. To compound things, having the hottest summer I can remember made for the perfect storm of crankiness! If not for the more dedicated half of Team Rutledge I would've probably bagged a bunch of these crucial training sessions. So glad I didn't!

Coming into the race I felt good about my bike training, having gotten multiple 100 mile rides in as well as adding at least 1 loop of the Buckhead Bellyache each week. I think the BB was great preparation for Moo's hilly course. I did an open water 5k (probably a little short) without a wetsuit and felt fine, so my swimming was on track. My big question was on the run. I did run a few 16 milers, but only ran one 18 miler leading up to the race. The marathon was to be a big experiment for me!

Fast forward to Madison...check in and getting around Madison was easy. We had both sets of parents in town and had a nice birthday dinner for Bethany on Friday night. The following night we had a great time at the ATC pre-race dinner. Beau told a great story about his experience at IM Lou, we celebrated B's birthday again, and watched an awesome video that Claire put together.

We were able to get to sleep early and I slept straight through until about 3:00 am. At 4, we went down and got some breakfast...eggs (a daily staple), toast w/ peanut butter, and a banana. It was really great that the hotel (Holiday Inn Express) opened the breakfast early so all the athletes could eat pre-race.

About 5:00, we made our way down to drop off special needs bags, fill up water bottles and pump up tires. I felt pretty calm all morning and was just glad the race was finally here.

Event warmup:

None other than the 50 yd swim to pick out our starting spot.
  • 1h 13m 41s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 44s / 100 yards

Goal Time: 1:10-1:15
Actual Time: 1:13:41

At the pre-race dinner, Ron talked about how we would experience a range of emotions throughout the day...I didn't realize it would be before I even got in the water! As Bethany and I headed down to the lake I saw my parents cheering for us, heard Mike Riley over the loudspeaker, and looked out over a see of swim caps...I can't believe it's about to start! I almost started tearing up because of the rush of emotions thinking about the hard work it took to get to this day and the joy of starting it with my best friend! I kissed B and we slowly made our way to the start line.

I think we were treading water for about 10-15 min, but it was mainly floating w/ the wetsuits on. Finally the cannon went off and the water started boiling w/ arms, legs and bodies! I feel like I am pretty comfortable swimming in a pack, but the 1st half of this race definitely tested me. A couple of times I got kicked in the head or pushed underwater. My goggles also fogged up horribly and so I felt like I was swimming through a cloud. Each time I felt like I started to freak out at all I said a little prayer and just focused on my breathing. Being leery of being kicked in the head, I felt like my stroke suffered as I was almost doing catch-up drill in order to keep an arm extended as protection.

After what seemed like an eternity, I made the turn near the swim exit to start the 2nd loop. I tried to catch a glimpse of the race clock to get an idea of how I was doing, but I couldn't see it. Loop 2 was way easier except that my arms were starting to feel numb being uncovered in my sleeveless suit. My form continued to break down until it felt like I was just throwing my left arm forward and giving a token effort at a pull.

As I rounded the last turn toward the swim exit, I stopped to clear my goggles and both calves seized up for a couple of seconds. This scared the crap out of me but didn't end up recurring. Getting out of the water I was curious to see what my time would could've been 1:05 or 1:45 and I don't think I would've been surprised!
What would you do differently?:

I think I handled my 1st IM swim well, though looking back, I think I could've pushed the pace a bit more. Although, the extra effort may not have saved much time. I definitely need to learn to draft better and hold a straighter line. Overall, I was pleased with my time. I was able to get out of the water still feeling fresh and strong.
Transition 1
  • 09m 44s

Goal Time: 8:00
Actual Time: 9:44

This is by far the longest distance I've ever had to travel for a transition. In fact, I think we all did 141 miles rather than 140.6! After exiting the water, wetsuit strippers quickly got my wetsuit off and I jogged up the helix into the conference center. Once there I got my bag and made my way to the changing room. On the way out I hit the porta potty and then made my way to my bike. I had put on an extra pair of arm warmers B had given me but felt warm by the time I reached my bike, so I ditched them there. A volunteer helped me with my bike and I was off to ride the longest ride of my life!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Maybe hustle a little more, but I figured it was a long day and there was no point in getting all anaerobic this early!
  • 6h 16m 59s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.83 mile/hr

Goal Time: 6:20-6:30
Actual Time: 6:16:59

On previous century rides I'd experimented with different food/liquid combos and never really settled on exactly what my nutrition plan would be. I ended up mixing a 700 cal Perpetuem bottle and packed 2 Clif bars, 2 Clif Double Shots (mainly for caffeine), 5 or 6 Salt Stick tabs, and figured I'd drink IM Perform on course. At the end of the ride, I had consumed everything except for about a quarter of the Perpetuem I'd seems like I never finish a whole bottle of it.

My pacing plan was to really measure my effort on the 1st loop, trying to keep my avg HR around 140 (LT is somewhere between 150-155), then letting it naturally rise the second loop as I tried to maintain the same pace. Overall goal HR was to have an avg HR around 145. Actual avg HR ended up being 145...mission accomplished!

This course was deceptively tough. Most of the hills were no worse than what we all train on every week, but after that many miles, the fatigue really starts to add up. The 1st loop of the the ride, I must have been passed by 1000 people! I really tried to spin up hills in the granny gear as I saw the majority of people pushing out of the saddle in the big ring. Around mile 20, Giorgia flew by me and I tried to hang for a while but eventually decided I shouldn't try and stay with her. I think it was around mile 40 when Todd passed me. I knew that the next time I'd see him we'd probably have pizza in our hands.

The miles and hours continued to pass fairly quickly and I would've been really comfortable except for some pain from sitting on the bike for so long. I stopped at the bike special needs to "re-lube", but it was a little late to totally prevent the chafing. Next time I'll pack multiple single-use chamois creams on the bike.

It was awesome seeing family and friends out on the course. Seeing my parents always gave me a lift and seeing Beau in the Elvis costume running up the hill is something I'll never forget! Thanks to all the cheering squad for your encouragement!

Coming back to Madison I was so ready to be off the bike. I feel like I managed what I ate and drank really well and I also paced myself well in order to be ready to run. I was about to find out!

What would you do differently?:

Definitely bring extra chamois cream on the bike. Other than that I felt like IM bike ride #1 was a big success. My actual pace ended up being a little faster than my goal pace.
Transition 2
  • 05m 30s

Goal Time: 8:00
Actual Time: 5:30

It felt so good to finally be off the bike! I changed out of the bike shorts into the ATC tri shorts for the run. Volunteers were really helpful in getting us through T2 as quickly as possible.
What would you do differently?:

Move a little quicker? I don't know...just get out on the course in less time!
  • 4h 26m 55s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 11s  min/mile

Goal Time: 4:20-4:30
Actual Time: 4:26:55

Finally getting to the run, I felt like the race was just starting! I was very curious to see how my legs would hold up after my longest ride ever, doing my 1st run over 18 miles ever! My plan was to shoot for 9:00-9:30 pace while walking all aid stations in order to get liquids down and settle my HR. My "Gallo-walk" strategy worked well and I ticked off miles one after the other and was actually enjoying the run. I was really trying to listen to my body to determine what I should drink/eat. This seemed to work well. The first half of the run I would have Perform at one station and then usually water at the next. It was starting to warm up outside (probably close to 80 degrees) so I also put sponges w/ cold water under each shoulder and carried a cup of ice after each station. The sponges and ice really helped keep me cool. The 1st 15 miles were actually pretty uneventful. The only item of note is that I changed shoes and socks at the halfway mark because my feet were getting blisters from being wet. I'm glad I went ahead and packed these in my special needs bag.

It was great seeing other ATCers on the course. I saw most everyone some time during the first loop...some looking really strong and others in obvious pain. I felt a really cool sense of camaraderie on the run; you could sense the struggle in everyone, but also the determination to keep going. The crowds were really supportive, calling out names they saw on race numbers. It was a HUGE boost seeing the Moo Crew out there! Volunteers were also awesome! I tried to thank as many as I could along the way.

Here are my splits for the first 15 miles:

Mile 1- 8:36
Mile 2- 9:30
Mile 3- 9:32
Mile 4- 9:30
Mile 5- 9:24
Mile 6- 9:31
Mile 7- 9:21
Mile 8- 9:18
Mile 9- 9:37
Mile 10- 9:37
Mile 11- 9:30
Mile 12- 9:44
Mile 13- 10:00 (additional time from changing shoes)
Mile 14- 9:13
Mile 15- 9:51

Miles 16-24 were some of hardest miles of running I've ever experienced. It was really strange too, because I was never out of breath...just couldn't get the legs to keep moving. In fact, my avg HR for the marathon ended up at 146 (run LT around 160). My quads were at the point where they couldn't help propel me forward, so I started the IM shuffle for a while. My knees were also killing me from all the pavement pounding. I really looked forward to the section near the halfway mark of the loop that was on crushed gravel.At about mile 16 or 17, Bethany came flying by me looking really strong. I was really happy to see her race was going well and would've run with her, but couldn't get myself to run at this point! Around this time I started thinking about if I could keep this jog/shuffle/walk thing going. I was really doubting my ability to suffer through 10 more miles of the pain and fatigue. I couldn't easily walked it in and turned a 4:20ish marathon into a 6 hour marathon. I remembered Ron talking about how chicken broth saved his race 2 years ago. I started drinking broth at every other station and drinking flat coke. This seemed to revive me a little and allow me to at least continue shuffling.

Mile 16- 10:12
Mile 17- 10:38
Mile 18- 12:21
Mile 19- 11:09
Mile 20- 11:51
Mile 21- 10:44
Mile 22- 10:41
Mile 23- 11:06
Mile 24- 11:26

At mile 24 or so it started to dawn on me just how close to finishing I was...I was determined to finish it strong. I ran the last 2 miles with a only a very brief stop at an aid station. The sun was beginning to set so I knew I had to keep pushing to reach my goal of finishing in daylight.

Mile 25- 10:30
Mile 26- 10:36
last .2- 8:54 pace

Running up to the capital building was an awesome sight and scene...I saw a bunch of people from the Moo Crew and also my in laws cheering me on. As I turned the corner close to the finish I saw Casey, K Lo & Beau...they were awesome the way they screamed for all of us! There was a guy finishing right in front of me so I slowed down a bit to get a little distance between us. Running down the finishing chute and hearing my name called out was an experience I'll never forget. The combination of severe fatigue, exhilaration, pride and a massive sense of accomplishment felt overwhelming! I pumped my fist and probably would've jumped after finishing, but I don't think my legs were capable of it at that moment! What an amazing rush!

What would you do differently?:

I'm very happy with my 1st IM run and 1st marathon. In time, I think I can improve both my biking and running endurance, but I did as well as I could given my current fitness level. I was also pleased with nutrition and major GI distress and definitely kept the HR in check. I also accomplished my goal of experiencing as much going on around me as possible. I tried my best to interact with other athletes, volunteers and supporters.
Post race
Warm down:

No warm-down for me. After getting my finisher photo I met up w/ my parents, then eventually caught up w/ B and her parents and some other teammates.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I think I have the potential to go faster in all three disciplines...not sure if I have the motivation to put in the work necessary to do it! Racing at the IM distance requires so much time and dedication that I don't see how people could do it year after year. I'm looking forward to doing this again in 2012!

Event comments:

This ended up being one of the best weekends ever! I really enjoyed spending time w/ family and friends participating in a sport I truly love. Doing the race w/ so many teammates made a world of difference too...I know it wouldn't have been the same if only a couple had done it. We are truly blessed to have the ability to compete and enjoy such an fun hobby.

The race itself was perfect from the standpoint of organization, volunteers and on-course support/nutrition. After being treated like a king by the volunteers I feel obligated to pay it forward by volunteering more often at races. The course was tough, but fair. Weather was great. I would highly recommend this race to those considering it.

Last updated: 2009-11-28 12:00 AM
01:13:41 | 4224 yards | 01m 44s / 100yards
Age Group: 103/293
Overall: 703/2550
Performance: Good
Suit: 2 piece DeSoto w/ sleevless top
Course: 2 counterclockwise loops of a large rectangle.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 09:44
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
06:16:59 | 112 miles | 17.83 mile/hr
Age Group: 160/293
Overall: 998/2550
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: For a detailed description, check out someone else's report. "Lollypop" course with a slight uphill going out on the "stick", 2 loops of the hilly, "candy" section, then downhill back to Madison. It was hilly...lots of subtle up/down false flats, a good number of tougher rollers, and 2-3 tough out-of-the saddle climbs.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 05:30
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:26:55 | 26.2 miles | 10m 11s  min/mile
Age Group: 109/293
Overall: 634/2550
Performance: Good
Course: Mostly flat, 2 loop course around Madison and the Univ. of WI.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
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

2010-09-19 11:10 AM

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Subject: Ironman Wisconsin

2010-09-19 8:26 PM
in reply to: #3106637

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Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great results!  You met or beat every one of your projected times, WOW!
2010-09-20 6:44 AM
in reply to: #3106637

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Atlanta, GA
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Congrats on making it to the top of the mountain!   You are an Ironman...too cool.  As I like to race was strong as garlic! 

Edited by thecaptin 2010-09-20 6:45 AM
2010-09-20 2:18 PM
in reply to: #3106637

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Excellent Fe!  Great report too.  Felt like I was out there with you.  Congrats on enjoying every minute of it.  That's why you do it.

2010-09-21 10:14 AM
in reply to: #3106637

Extreme Veteran
Atlanta, GA
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Congrats Ironman! Awesome job managing your race. You and B both had amazing races and it was fun sitting at home tracking the 19 ATCers. I caught some finishline footage of you and B from the LM Live feed... send an email to Ron if you haven't already gotten a copy.

2010-09-29 4:43 PM
in reply to: #3109671

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Chicago, IL
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Congrats. Great race!

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