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Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
84F / 29C
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = 2247/2449
Age Group = 35-39 Female
Age Group Rank = 0/128
Pre-race routine:

We drove up on Friday Morning, and got in around 1pm. Apparently this isn't the best time to check-in because the wait was about an hour long. After checking out the Ironman Store and walking through the Expo very quickly we drove over to the hotel. This year we did not stay very close to the Race site. I spent awhile organizing my gear, and then we headed back over to the Athletes meeting. I thought I was arriving to that early. Last year I missed half of the presentation, and wanted to catch it all this year, but apparently they do that BEFORE the meeting... so next year I'll have to attend the banquet. Was going to do so this year, but the tickets were sold out so my husband couldn't go. I tried to meet up with my BT friend Scott, but he ended up upstairs in the over-flow room and we were downstairs. We meet up briefly after to chat.

Saturday was pretty uneventful. Breakfast at the hotel, Dropped off the bike and gear, and grabbed a light lunch. Got to bed really early, but I didn't fall asleep until 11:30 or so despite hitting bed at 8pm. Not as much sleep as I wanted, but more then last year.
Event warmup:

Woke up at 4:15am, Dropped off special needs bags, pumped tires, put nutrition on the bike, got body marked, and headed down to the water. Just a quick swim over to the left of the boat ramp. I was able to get into my desired swim-spot with about 5 minutes to spare.
  • 1h 43m 55s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 28s / 100 yards

I was not nearly as nervous this year, since I knew what to expect. I started in about the same spot as last year, and swam along the bouy line. I figure I risk more contact there, but it's also easier to try and draft with lots of people around. Got clocked in the head twice but not too hard. One guy grabbed my legs and held on... what the heck? I started kicking to get them off me. Over-all I was happy with the swim I was breathing much better then last year, but because of the bright sun I wasn't doing bilateral breathing much. The swim felt long, but not overly so... Was super-happy to see the shore line and find that I cut off 9 minutes from last years time. I'm still slow, just less so this year.
What would you do differently?:

Work on form. I'm dropping my legs even w/ wetsuit. Also, work some dry-land exercises to increase strength in back and arms.
Transition 1
  • 10m 7s

Jogged up the helix. This year the plan was to not change at all, but given that I had bad sunburn a few months back at my Half Iron race I decided to Change my tank to a sunblocking t-shirt. Silly me put the helmet on before the t-shirt though. Smart move. Shaved off 1:30 from last year.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe change bottoms if I'm going to change anything. Also, NOT put my Garmin in my shoe (make sure it's on the bike already) and don't put sunglasses in my shoe either. I almost broke them when I tried to put the shoe on forgetting they were in there!
  • 8h 09m 53s
  • 113 miles
  • 13.84 mile/hr

Coming into the bike I was feeling really good. I had a good swim and I felt like THIS was going to be my day. I had pictured the whole thing in my head the night before... The finish line... I saw it. I felt it. It felt very real.

I was loving the day for about 2 hours into the ride keeping a conservative pace of about 15.5. My HR was still way too high despite some preventive measures, but there wasn't much I could do about it. I guess that's just the norm on a hard course after a long swim at my fitness level and weight. I tried to gauge more by exertion level this time and pressure on the peddles.

Mid-way into my first loop maybe around mile 40 I started to feel bad. I think I started to get really dehydrated despite trying to take in lots of liquids. It was quite warm (84), but it didn't feel as bad as last year. It seemed like forever before special needs at the half-way point. After the halfway point I just continued to sink and slow down. I tried to compensate with extra fluids and decided to start taking some extra salt tabs.

Started to feel really low mentally. I dropped my chain once on the roller-coaster hills right at the bottom of course before a big uphill. Before I even got to the 3 harder hills the second time there was once or twice I stopped just for a minute to catch my breath. One girl I had been leap frogging with said "Lets Go! I BETTER see you out on the run course!"

I stopped at the Bathroom... and little to nothing came out! I tried compensating drinking even more nutrition then planned. I saw my husband for a second time, and just short of shook my head at him and told him it was going to be hard. My back was bothering me but not overly so.

I got to the hard hills... I powered up them. I saw my coaches on the especially hard hills and they chased me up encouraging me. I really kinda needed it just about then. One of them said I looked good and I told her she must be kidding. She said no I looked just as good as the first loop, and I said I must have looked like hell then too. What can I say I was having a dark moment. I got up the hills finally even though I was powering through them with much more effort then one should really put out.

Just about then the ridiculous amount of fluids and extra salt tabs I took started to kick in and I was getting my energy back. Luckily I'm also told there was a minor tail wind going too and I HAMMERED back to Madison... It averaged like 17+ MPH and given that was after riding 100 miles... I was pretty happy. It made up for my pathetic middle split time a bit.

All in all I only cut off 1:30 from my time last year. Given I was 15 pounds heavier this year, and the bike was 113 miles and not 112... I guess I have to be OK with that. I really was hoping for closer to 7:30.

What would you do differently?:

Perhaps I need to move to more liquid nutrition and not worry about the weight it adds to the bike (Or use a concentrate / aero bottle if I get a tri-bike) because I really did NOT want to eat those shot blox on the second loop. Also, PB crackers were a bad idea. Too dry.

Also... I did not change my bottoms this year and got major chaffing around the bike seat, which NEVER happened before.
Transition 2
  • 04m

I'm really very happy with this time. There was no free volunteers, so I dumped my own stuff on the floor. I switched race belts and took off my bike stuff and put on my shoes/visor. Wasted about 45 seconds talking to a volunteer asking if I should just leave my stuff in a pile on the floor since no one was helping me.
What would you do differently?:

Elastic laces... Forgot to bring the pair of shoes that had them on. Forget bringing Gus because I rarely want to eat them at that point and live off the course.
  • 5h 30m
  • 21 miles
  • 15m 43s  min/mile

Getting to the run itself felt like a victory after a partially crummy bike. The plan was to work with 5/1 intervals. I started off running for about 10 minutes getting through the excited crowds and then started with the intervals. That didn't last long. I tried switching to 3/1... still too much. So it became more of a 1/1 for awhile. Then I did more walking for a bit. It became clear early on that this was going to be similar to last year as far as things being tight-time wise. I was keeping up about a 4-mph pace.

The crowds seemed even more exited, more encouraging, and kookier then last year. Everyone was pretty awesome. There was a lady with a tiny little wiener-dog who started running along side me encouraging me. There was the lady in the stadium who told me she was going to look up my race number when it was over. She told me to let the finish line draw me in. There was a overly enthused guy who kept encouraging me even when I was half a block down from them. Saw lots of familiar faces out there racing, Wellfit, BT'er, etc.

Right before the halfway point I was told I was only 2 minutes behind doing an even split on the run but I had to keep up the pace the entire way. I was feeling low at this point because I wasn't sure I could do that. I was running as much as I thought I could but then runs kept getting shorter. And here is where I ran into my coaches again. They helped me by telling me what kind of pace I needed to keep up and what kind of intervals I should target. They might have run along side me a bit but since they aren't supposed to... lets pretend they didn't. It's not like I was following them or anything. It was helpful at the time. Sometimes you need someone to believe in you.

As far as what I was doing at the aid stations. I didn't want my Gus so I basically was trying to keep hydrated. Several cups of the course drink at every aid station, a few pretzels here and there and even some coke which I only usually like the diet version of. I stopped at the bathroom and again didn't really have to go. Sheeze... shocking with all I had drank that day!

And a this point I was running more again and keeping up the pace I needed to. It was going to be close but if I could keep it up I was going to make this! Even though I felt super exhausted I wasn't as bad off as last year. My back was hurting but not nearly the way it did then. I was keeping steady and felt OK other then well... how one feels when you've exercised all day long. Off into the dark again... I got a glow necklace this time. Yeay! They even let me pick the color.

And then. Just as hope was returning... It happened. I'm on the gravel path in the dark... I pass mile 18... Next thing I know I'm passing a timing mat. Wait. What? There wasn't supposed to be one this soon?! I run for a minute and then I see the mile 22 sign. WHAT? Just then I see my friend I trained with last year. She is surprised because we passed each other early on and I was behind her. She was like "WOW look at you!!!" and I was like "I think I missed a turn". At this point she is right before the turn around and I'm right after. I walk for another minute... and I'll admit it I start crying. Not welling up tears but streaming tears. I don't know what to do. I'm not sure what I did at this point so I stop and ask one person. They don't know. I stop and ask another where I can turn in my timing chip because I somehow jumped a few miles. She's a bit clueless and tells me to continue on and just finish and "enjoy". I sorta grump back at her saying "I'm not getting what I didn't earn"

Then my friend who I just passed catches up with me. She wants to help me figure it out (I'm still crying at this point) I tell her I don't want to mess up her race and to please continue on but she wouldn't hear of it. She said she wasn't running anyway anymore. We figure out that somehow I missed a turn and turned around and cut off the observatory hill loop. She calls to the volunteers and asks for a race official.. Tells them we are going to keep walking and to come find us. Someone comes up to us and confirms yes, that I have to backtrack what I just did and do the part I missed plus the part I just did a 2nd time... My friend continues on in the proper direction and I head back. I'm very grateful for her being there just then. Thanks Tory.

As I am heading back I run into my husband. We walk trying to figure out how much distance I just added, but it looks like since I was on track to JUST about make midnight before the wrong turn I added too much distance. It turns out it would have been almost an extra 3 miles... and while I was WILLING to keep going that extra distance put me behind the last cut-off timing mat... a mat I had already passed and had a split time for! It's possible they might have let me past if we explained what happened, but I didn't feel right trying to argue it... and I wasn't convinced they would let me. An extra 3 miles at this point would have been an extra hour probably, and it didn't feel right getting there that late and making people wait. It would have put me at like 143.5 miles or something. My brain was friend about then you know and I had always planned to finish even if I was past midnight, but at a point it become obnoxious.

We called my coach to let her know we were pulling the plug reluctantly. I had Greg make the call. I felt like I was disappointing them. I felt stupid. I don't know if there was volunteer missing at a turn, if a volunteer was not paying attention, or if I just plain did something stupid and maybe came from a direction they weren't expecting. I still had my timing chip which we had to turn in so I sat down on a bus-bench and Greg called a cab. We took the cab to where Greg was parked and he went an turned in my chip for me at the finish line. I couldn't bare to do it myself.

It sucks, but I know I was going to finish. Hell I might have been that photo-last minute finisher even. I guess this makes me feel better even if it feels very tragic with all I've been through the past 2 years training for this trying to get here. To make this girl Ironman it's going to take 133 miles ('10) + 135 miles ('11) + 140.6. I keep telling people it's more about the training and the healthy lifestyle though so I guess it really shouldn't matter if I have the silly medal or not... I've basically done nearly the whole distance. Twice. So what can I say, Always the bridesmaid never the bride.
What would you do differently?:

I would NOT make the wrong turn. Duh.

I would have forced more intervals. I can run when I think I can't... to some degree it's mental.

lastly, Perhaps find out if they would let me past that last Mat a 2nd time before I pulled my own timing chip. If I knew for sure they would let me I would have continued even if it meant 143.6 miles and no Ironman status at 12:50am... but I didn't want to go another 4 miles and have them stop me there.
Post race
Warm down:

Sitting on a bus bench. :(

What limited your ability to perform faster:

It's VERY obvious that I really need to finish losing weight to pull this off with a proper cushion of time. I'm still a good 50 pounds over weight despite having lost 100lbs. It can be done with out losing it... with a another year of training and all, but it is just going to give me a better time cushion and make it slightly less of a strain.

Yes, i could pick a flatter race, but now Madison and me have unfinished business x2 and no other race would feel complete.

Event comments:

I love this race. I love the town, the volunteers, the spectators... they are all amazing. Yes, Ironman is expensive, but it's an experience and a lifestyle not a just a "race".

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-06-27 12:00 AM
01:43:55 | 4224 yards | 02m 28s / 100yards
Age Group: 121/128
Overall: 2298/2449
Performance: Average
Suit: Sleevless B.S.
Course: Double Rectangle no exit for second loop
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Time: 10:07
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
08:09:53 | 113 miles | 13.84 mile/hr
Age Group: 115/128
Overall: 2299/2449
Performance: Below average
Wind: Some
Course: Lollipop 2 loops
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Below average Cornering: Below average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Below average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 04:00
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:30:00 | 21 miles | 15m 43s  min/mile
Age Group: 119/128
Overall: 2247/2449
Course: 2 loops around Capital
Keeping cool Average Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 2
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Too hard
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 7:31 PM

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Subject: Ironman Wisconsin

2011-09-14 8:01 PM
in reply to: #3687052

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Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
I am so sorry that you didn't make it to the finish because of one wrong turn.  You did the training, the swim, the bike and were so very close to getting it done.  I love your attitude and that you're coming back to give it another shot.  I know you can do it.  And that wil be very very sweet!
2011-09-14 8:38 PM
in reply to: #3687052

Golden, CO
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
You Rock Debb..figure out which HIM we are doing together.  A bunch of us from Colorado are thinking about New Orleans.
2011-09-14 8:53 PM
in reply to: #3687052

Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
My hat is off to you for your integrity and your positive attitude. I look forward to reading your 2010 report and how much you enjoyed the finish!!
2011-09-14 10:10 PM
in reply to: #3687052

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
character always wins the day, you rock!!!! what an inspiration....thx for sharing!!!!
2011-09-15 9:54 AM
in reply to: #3687052

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Falls Church, Virginia
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Sorry that one wrong turn messed up your race so bad. I'd loved reading your report, and I love your attitude. I know you will give Madison a piece of you next time around!

2011-09-15 10:08 AM
in reply to: #3687052

Iron Donkey
, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

I do remember seeing you out there now that I see a picture.

It was a rough one out there, and I'm sorry that you couldn't complete the race.


2011-09-15 10:13 AM
in reply to: #3687052

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Redlands, CA
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Tough break, I'm not sure what to say, because other than that turn it sounds like you rocked the course!

2011-09-15 12:10 PM
in reply to: #3687052

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Extreme Veteran
Sioux Falls, SD
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
What a great attitude... I was volunteering that day, on top of the helix as a pointer for the bike finish and I was so impressed with everyone... You did a great job!! And you will get it done, and you looked great out wrong turn, gosh I am so sorry.....but your positive attitude is amazing...

So are you doing Ironman WI next year??

I will be there too? and I will cheer hard for you!

2011-09-15 12:31 PM
in reply to: #3687052

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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Way to keep plugging away at it!! So sorry about the missed turn.  Total suckage.
2011-09-15 1:51 PM
in reply to: #3687052

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Extreme Veteran
, Virginia
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Heartbreaking! Next year you will OWN this course!

2011-09-16 12:05 PM
in reply to: #3687052

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Lexington, KY
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Great attitude - third time is the charm!

Thanks for your contributions to the IMWI group this year.

2011-09-16 12:40 PM
in reply to: #3687052

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

What an incredibly tough turn of events.  

Impressive honesty to do the right thing.

I agree third time is the charm.

You fortitude is impressive.

2011-09-16 12:40 PM
in reply to: #3687052

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Falls Church, VA
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Total bummer that you missed a turn.

Great effort. You WILL master IM Moo some day! 
2011-09-16 6:50 PM
in reply to: #3687052

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West Bend, WI
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Huge bummer

Revenge is sweet...go back and own that course!!
2011-09-16 6:56 PM
in reply to: #3689630

No excuses!
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
KathyG - 2011-09-16 1:40 PM

What an incredibly tough turn of events.  

Impressive honesty to do the right thing.

I agree third time is the charm.

You fortitude is impressive.

x2 exactly like she said it, you'll have your day and it will be all the more sweeter!

2011-09-18 12:17 AM
in reply to: #3687052

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Highlands Ranch, CO
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

When I read what happened I said "NOOOOO" out loud.  Not fair!

Your attitude and drive are impressive and you are an inspiration. I might just have to go to Madison to watch you cross that finish line the next time!

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