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Ford Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ford Ironman
85F / 29C
Total Time = 13h 21m 27s
Overall Rank = 1139/2797
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 25/85
Pre-race routine:

This was my second IM WI. I had a great race last year and felt I was ready for even a better result in '11. My training had gone well under my new coach, Brett Petersen from PPL. He and I worked hard on my biking and swimming. We also nailed nutrition pre and during my long ride/runs so I was pretty confident going in. I felt far less nervous starting given last year's experience.

Spent three days before the event CHO loading. The morning of I woke up at 2am to coffee, then oatmeal, then a bagel. Was done with solids by 4am.

Event warmup:

Got to the terrace before transition opened and it was already packed. Paul (husband) and I met Kim (KT65) and we went in to set up our fuel on the bikes, then headed off to the SN drop before chilling in the lower level of Monona Terrace. I wasn't nervous. I sipped Carb Pro. With about 30 minutes before the start we got our wetsuits on and headed outside. I snuck in a gel. I started to get a little nervous. We said good-bye to everyone else and headed to the swim start. Kim and I watched the pros go off, put on our second caps, gave each other a hug and with 5' to spare headed into the water. I was still a little nervous, but having gotten through the swim fairly unscathed last year, I was good to go.
  • 1h 34m 46s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 14s / 100 yards

1:09 better than a year ago.

Last year I started on the line, but 3/4 of the way back. Having done 2 2.4m swims at under 1:20, we decided this year I would start on the shore side about 1/2 way back with the goal of swimming wide to avoid early traffic and then getting closer to the buoys after the first turn. I got in and was looking for that perfect position. What I didn't realize is that 100s of people stand on the rocks/shore before getting in. I had no idea where half way back was and I had no ability to be all the way to the right of the traffic. I didn't like the position I was in, but I was like a deer in the headlights. I froze.

The gun went off and I started to swim. Within a few seconds, I had the shorehuggers on top of me. I've been dunked before, but never by multiple people. I freaked. I came up for air and got a swift kick in the side of the head. I had to pull up and wait for the traffic to pass. I was breathing way too hard and people were passing me because I was standing still. I finally told myself if I didn't get on with it, my day would end here. I had taken in a lot of air and I knew I needed to get rid of it before I got out of the water. My mantra was "calm down, stay long and relax". I needed to stay in the moment and focus.

The remainder of the swim went fine. I was passing people and I honestly thought maybe I was doing ok timewise. Finished the first loop and the traffic was far less (just like last year). I made the final turn on the second loop heard Mike Reilley's voice and smiled. I once again was making it happen.

I was not supposed to focus on the clock at all, but I had to see how I had done given the fiasco and then my recovery. The clock read 1:44:xx. My heart sank. That was 9 minutes worse than last year. What I didn't know, is this was elapsed time and included the pro start.

I ran out of the water, got stripped quickly and immediatley saw Dino. Had to hug him. Then I ran up the Helix too fast again and would see someone pivotal to my training and hug them. I knew it wasted a little time, I didn't care. I am always so happy to get out of the water!
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. I made so much mental progress swimming this year only to have panic at the start when I had none last year. Technique wise I also made a lot of improvement and think I was able to call upon it further in the swim. Need to talk through what I should have done with my coach.
Transition 1
  • 12m 32s

This is 2:18 better than last year, but still slow. I know the multiple hugs held me up a bit :), but I do a full change and it takes time. I stuck to my list and only let my volunteer empty and refill my T1 bag. I did stop at the bathroom on the way to my bike, but did run all the way to my rack and then to the mount line. As I was running to my bike, I realized how few of them remained. That hit me in the gut because it reminded me how slow my swim was once again when I had the opportunity to be faster.
What would you do differently?:

Stop hugging people!
  • 6h 58m 41s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.05 mile/hr

21:00 minutes better than last year (could have been at least 46:00 better than last year--read on).

I had a solid plan that we broke into four pieces. The first 30' were ez to let my stomach settle (which was remarkably good from the beginning). I got down the Helix with little issue, through the no passing zone and into the first parking lot. I went to change into my 53 and nothing happened. I kept fiddling with it, thinking it was me. It wasn't. I had broken my front cable 3 miles into the race. My heart sank. I am not a mechanic, so I wasn't sure if it was even safe to ride it this way. I had visions of my race being over, but kept going. I was doing fine on the hills, but the descents were a reminder how slow this ride was going to be. People were passing me. I finally decided to stop and ask a volunteer to call SAG. They told me to wait, but it would be a while. More and more people were passing me. After 15', I couldn't take it. I told the volunteer to have them find me and kept going in my 39. I figured I could finish this way, but it would be a lot slower than I had hoped for. I got almost to the end of the stick (16m) and I saw SAG up ahead of me. I screamed like a crazy woman and flagged them down. A guy came running to me and it turned out to be a mechanic I used to work with. He checked the cable and had it changed within 6'. Post analysis, I had lost 21' at the side of the road and a lot of speed early on with no 53. I didn't care. I was good to go. Ironically, the bike fiasco made me forget all about the perceived sucky swim :)

At this point, I had two options, wallow about how far behind I was in my goal or stick to the plan. I decided to go with Option 2 and make the most of my day. I stuck to the plan and was passing people left and right. I was the tail of the swim and at that moment the tail of the bike. I didn't care. I told myself to stay in the moment and focus on what needed to be done. I smiled at people just like last year and decided to have fun. The hills were great. Like being in the Tour with people running beside you cheering. I saw Ben (ChasingKona) in his speedo cheering for me on Old Sauk Pass. I loved it! I saw Paul and my posse on Midtown both times and I loved that too!

I felt great on the first loop and decent on the second, much better than last year. I felt this was going to set me up for another very good run and that made me HAPPY!!! I was fueling on the 12'and had no stomach issues. I was taking salt caps regularly. I refilled H20 at every station and thought I was drinking enough given the heat. I went to the bathroom at 30 miles and was expecting at least one more stop. It wasn't happening. I was concerned by it, so drank more. Still nothing.

I had a feeling even with the bike delay I was doing better than last year. On my second loop people were still on all major hills cheering and in Verona. Last year there was nobody. It was a ghost town.

When I got off the bike, I had no idea how long it had taken me because I wasn't watching the clock, but I felt decent about the effort.
What would you do differently?:

I had a mechanic do a tune up before the race. I had questioned the cables at that point and was told I was good to go so not sure I could have done much else.

The smartest thing I did was not let this overwhelm my day. I stuck to the plan and felt good about that.
Transition 2
  • 07m

1' better than year.

I was stiff coming off the bike so walked into T1 which sucked up time. I changed shorts and my tri top and that was it. Grabbed my fuel belt and was running out the door when I heard Scott (Schmize, another PPL coach) yell to me that Brett was in town. I did a mental happy dance. He wasn't going to make it for any of the race and he was out there somewhere! Stopped at the bathroom and still nothing. I knew if I didn't drink seriously I would be in trouble.
What would you do differently?:

Run off my bike.
  • 4h 28m 25s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 14s  min/mile

7:00 slower than last year. I ran the entire marathon in '10. My goal was to do the same this year only a little faster.

The plan was to run to each aid station, walk it to drink, throw ice down my shirt and sponge off. When I hit the edge of the last table I needed to run just like last year.

I was tired, a little dazed, but I remembered this is exactly the way I felt last year so figured I could handle it. I also had bad cramps, girl kind, but my nutritionist told me no Advil. I saw Brett in the first mile and he told me to stick to the plan we had created and drink, drink, drink. I did feel behind on hydration so drank a cup of H20 at all the beginning water stations and intermingled it with Carb Pro. I didn�t feel great. My legs were fine, my head was shot. Kept telling myself aid station to aid station and that worked pretty well the first half. I was once again passing so many people who seemed to be walking the whole marathon chit chatting. Ingested 60 CHOs during that time although the Carb Pro was not going down easily. Still no bathroom. I saw Paul and my posse multiple times and tried to muster up the energy to smile at them while they cheered for me. Sometimes it didn't work so well :). State Street was electric and so much more crowded than last year that it did spur me on some. I saw so many friends both cheering and running and was thankful for them all.

I hit the second loop and SN and grabbed the remaining 4 bottles of Carb Pro. I got one down before my stomach said forget it. I remembered Brett told me about Coke so I started drinking some at 8-12m. Here I was doing something I never did in training, but I didn't care. They were tiny little Dixie cups and it made be bloated, but was better than the Carb Pro. I couldn�t handle any more H20 so quit that all together. Last year I was so good at running and only walking during aid stations. This year, I wasn't as good. I bartered with myself a lot that last 10K, run to this sign, that flood light, etc. I made sure I ran downhill, but walked Observatory (both times) and then anything that seemed like an incline. I would then kick myself and get going--kept telling myself to focus. When I was running I was at a solid pace and passing a lot of people who were walking, but then my head would question why I was running and I�d walk. Ugh. I never looked at my watch, went completely by RPE so I had no idea how long I had been out there. It didn't seem quite as dark to me as last year. I did walk some of the last mile, but once I made a turn onto the Capitol Square I kicked it in. I saw Jessica from SBR and yelled to her! I thought for sure my PR was out the window with the swim, the bike issues and the walking, but I was proud of myself for holding it together with so many issues along the way.

I made the final turn to the chute and almost passed out with joy. I couldn't believe the clock said 13:20:44. I was actually going to PR the day by almost 19 minutes. I heard the crowd cheering and I was on fire. I literally flew down that chute to the finish line with no thoughts of how tired I was. WOW--adapt and overcome had worked! I had passed over 615 on the run!

What would you do differently?:

Given the fact I went to the bathroom once at 30 miles and then never again, I believe I got behind on hydration with the distraction of the bike issues.
Post race
Warm down:

I felt pretty bad after crossing the line and nearly passed out. Tracy (gofish) caught me again this year and we slowly marched over to the med tent to make sure I was ok. Only down 3% of my body weight so was good to leave.

Caught up with Paul and then Brett, but I really wanted to see Kim. She had finished about 20' before me. We hugged. It was a great moment.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My whole day was one of adapt and overcome from the very start. Neither the swim or the bike issues completely knocked me off my plan and I give myself three cheers for that. I had read a book on mental training to make myself bullet proof and that helped immensely throughout this day. While it certainly did not turn out to be the final result I wanted, I was satisified with my performance.

Event comments:

I love everything about this race. The fact it is in my hometown means I'll be back next year!

I couldn't end this RR without a shout out to a few people:

1. My husband Paul who spent four solid weeks moving us into our new house while I trained, tapered and slept. He never complained. He's my rock.

2. My coach, Brett Petersen from PPL who improved every aspect of my game in 7 months, both physically and mentally to help me grab that PR in the face of adversity.

3. My great SWBKRUN Mentor Group for supporting me and my best gal pal Kim (KT65) for coming to do this race with me.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2010-09-22 12:00 AM
01:34:46 | 4224 yards | 02m 14s / 100yards
Age Group: 68/85
Overall: 2086/2797
Performance: Average
Course: 2 loops
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current: Low
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 12:32
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:58:41 | 112 miles | 16.05 mile/hr
Age Group: 43/85
Overall: 1667/2797
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: Hilly
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 89
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 07:00
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:28:25 | 26.2 miles | 10m 14s  min/mile
Age Group: 12/85
Overall: 512/2797
Performance: Average
Course: 2 loops, this year included the return of the large Observatory Hill Section. Last year it was under construction so the course was much flatter.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %-3%
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
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

2011-09-14 7:02 AM
in reply to: #3684567

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.

2011-09-14 7:12 AM
in reply to: #3684567

Extreme Veteran
Greendale, WI
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin

Great job out there Suzy!!!  It was great seeing you out on the course!!


2011-09-14 7:28 AM
in reply to: #3684567

metro west, MA
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin
Suzy, you are truly an inspiration!  Amazing job!!!
2011-09-14 8:46 AM
in reply to: #3684567

Sendai, Japan
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin
Suzy,   I am impressed and inspired.  Incredible effort and nice to see the hard training pay off.  Great foundation for next year.
2011-09-14 9:14 AM
in reply to: #3684567

Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin
Super impressive day!  You overcame so much and still grabbed that PR!  It was a lot of fun tracking you over the day.  Can't wait til next year.
2011-09-14 9:29 AM
in reply to: #3685813

Charlottesville, Virginia
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin

Great job Suzy, way to stick with it through the problems.

Impressive as always.

2011-09-14 9:41 AM
in reply to: #3684567

Waukesha, WI
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin
Looks like we were all in the same boat on Sunday....adapt and overcome.  Way to get thru that beast AND PR it.  It was great to see you out there.  You are amazing.  Happy resting, Ironman Squared 
2011-09-14 10:05 AM
in reply to: #3684567

Madison, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin
Congrats Suzy!! You are Awesome!!
2011-09-14 11:27 AM
in reply to: #3684567

Wherever the trail takes me, WA.
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin
YOU ROCK!!!!!!!  I love reading this, and I love following your progress all year every year!! Round 3 here we come!!!!!
2011-09-14 12:01 PM
in reply to: #3684567

Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin

Congrats on #2!!!

Lots to overcome, and of course you powered through it all.

See you need year at Canada!

2011-09-14 1:35 PM
in reply to: #3684567

Guelph, Ontario
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin
great report and race Suzy. I didnt get registered so no MOO for me next year. Great pics also. Congratulations you 2 timer.

2011-09-14 2:28 PM
in reply to: #3686460

Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin

Great day, Suzy!  Way to overcome the swim and bike issues to finish strong! : )

Thank you for your advice about the swim start.  I was trying to go around the outside too and there just was not room to do it at the cannon. 

2011-09-14 3:28 PM
in reply to: #3684567

Liverpool, New York
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin

awesome job Suzy!



2011-09-14 7:42 PM
in reply to: #3684567

Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin
Great job out there!! Way to roll with what the day handed you and stay positive!! congrats
2011-09-14 9:49 PM
in reply to: #3684567

Extreme Veteran
Overland Park, Kansas
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin
Mechanical's seemed to be the theme of the day for many! Great job hanging in there and finishing with a very impressive run!
2011-09-15 5:25 AM
in reply to: #3684567

Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin

It's your McFarland bud! Nice R/R and of course your my hero. What a great year of training to go right along with a great race exacution. Just a great job!!

2011-09-15 10:12 AM
in reply to: #3684567

Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin
Suzy, I admire you so much.  You do it all like a machine and you have fun too. Adapt and overcome served you well and congratulations on PR with the bike issues too! You are amazing!!
2011-09-15 11:46 AM
in reply to: #3684567

Germantown, WI
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin
Great job out there ignoring what was going wrong and focusing on what needed to be done. Nice race and congrats on the PR!
2011-09-15 3:02 PM
in reply to: #3684567

Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin
Congrats!  Well done!
2011-09-15 4:55 PM
in reply to: #3684567

Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin
you handle everything like a pro.  Great job and congrats.  How did you break a bike cable?
2011-09-15 5:21 PM
in reply to: #3684567

Sin City
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin

Awesome job on your PR Suzy! I was watching your Athlete Tracker forever!! :-)

2011-09-15 5:58 PM
in reply to: #3684567

Sun Prairie, WI
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin

Nice race under some tough conditions.  Funny as you mentioned on my report, we did have about the same race.  We both did better on the swim and bike and were impacted on the run.  I will still trade your running ability with mine anyday!  Good job dealing with the adversity on the bike, I know it can be frustrating and mentally draining and you handled it well.

Best of luck next year.


2011-09-15 7:05 PM
in reply to: #3688548

Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin

trying1 - 2011-09-15 4:55 PM you handle everything like a pro.  Great job and congrats.  How did you break a bike cable?

Stan-all I did was press the lever and BOING! 

2011-09-15 7:12 PM
in reply to: #3684567

Lexington, KY
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin

Wow Suzy, I had no idea you had all those problems out there.  Great work pushing through all of that to a PR.  I've had a front deralieur cable snap in training, and it is VERY frustrating.

Given all you went through this year, it sounds like you could have an even better year in 2012.

And next year, we're going to meet!  (I'm in again for 2012.)

2011-09-16 9:16 AM
in reply to: #3684567

Subject: RE: Ford Ironman Wisconsin
Great job Suzy.  When I saw Brett on Sunday he told me what had happened with your bike.  I felt so bad for you, but you overcame it and had a great race.  Congrats.  
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