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Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
80F / 27C
Total Time = 14h 34m 46s
Overall Rank = 1663/2244
Age Group = F 35-39
Age Group Rank = 80/
Pre-race routine:

We drove to Wisconsin and rolled into town Thursday evening. We got in bed at a decent time that night and then on Friday morning I swam a little with Laura (Whizzzzz), Shannon (swgtri), and Kristin (lazymarathoner). I've loved living in Colorado, but I was happy to be back in the Midwest racing with some of my Midwest BT peeps. They've played a big role in my life for a long time and I was glad that I got to come back to do the Ironman with them.

After the swim, Shannon and I did a quick ride. I realized a few minutes in that my front brake was still open from the drive in. Phew! Glad I caught that before the race.

I did transition bags and bike check with Jen (jschmitchicago) on Saturday, and Saturday night we went to dinner with Laura, Chris (coredump), Shannon, Ocky (odanelli), Jen (jah2212), and Craig (docshock1964). I didn't get any pictures of the whole group for some reason, but here's a cute one of Drew and I, and one of the girls.

The next morning I woke up at 3:45am knowing it would take me a long time to force a decent amount of food down and ... ahem... get the pipes moving adequately to take care of business before I climbed into my wetsuit. Around 5:00 we met Laura and Chris in the lobby and headed to the swim start.

We got bodymarked, pumped up our tires, took pictures, saw Shannon and Kristin in transition, and headed in to Monona Terrace to sit for awhile.

Then we headed down to the swim start area and suited up. I started getting really nervous and emotional at this point. I wanted to cry when I hugged Drew goodbye and the whole time we walked to the water. When they did a moment of silence for the victims of 9/11 and played the national anthem, it was almost impossible not to get teary eyed.

After that, there was nothing left to do but get in the water and wait for the cannon.
Event warmup:

Not much. I got into the water much, much later this time and I don't think I'm a fan of that. We only had a few minutes to say goodbye to each other and get ourselves situated where we wanted to start. I started to the back and wide.
  • 1h 32m 15s
  • 3862 meters
  • 02m 23s / 100 meters

I started to swim with everyone else when the cannon went off, but it was just crazy so I actually stopped and treaded water for a minute and let everyone go before I started up again. I stayed wide and when I got to the first buoy I realized I was way too wide. That cost me a couple minutes to get back in where I should be. From there on out I didn't have a lot of problems.

Here's the swim getting underway. Can you tell which one is me?

I drank a lot of water before starting the swim so I had to pee by halfway through. I have never mastered swimming and peeing so I stopped and treaded water. One of the kayakers asked me if I needed help. I told her no, just peeing and she laughed and started chatting with me. Apparently I got performance anxiety because after sitting for a minute, it was clear I couldn't go.

I did get kicked once. It was really hard and I was glad it was on my arm and not my face. I almost got kicked again as we were exiting the swim. I was probably 10 meters from the ramp and I felt the water flow by my face and actually saw the foot in front of my goggles. I was glad that one missed me. It was monstrous and I fear it would have done damage.

I stood to pee before I left the water and I think volunteers didn't like it. They kept rushing me. I held my ground and finished. And then I was done.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe not start quite so wide. Maybe swim a little harder and be more aggressive. That's about it.
Transition 1
  • 15m 4s

Good Lord! What was I doing in here that took so long?

  • Take swimsuit off
  • Try to put bike shorts on over wet skin (NOT a quick process, but it doesn't take THAT long)
  • Have volunteer put a half gallon of sunscreen on your legs and then figure out what to do with it all
  • Get ponytail stuck in helmet so you have to take it off and start over from scratch
  • Stop at porta potty
  • Stop to kiss Drew when you see him sitting on the wall by your bike and he's saying, "You're in a RACE! Go!"

  • Okay. It's all coming together now.

    I saw jschmitchicago running into the change room, which was awesome. I knew she had been worried about the swim and she seemed really happy with how things went, so I was glad for her. She was out of transition way faster than me, so I was jealous about that.
    What would you do differently?:

    Do all of that faster, minus the sunscreen and stuck ponytail, which I would not have happen at all.
    • 7h 31m 41s
    • 112 miles
    • 14.88 mile/hr

    Ahhh, the bike. My nemesis! I trained my @ss off for this bike and I really wanted to see a better bike split this year than last time.

    I started out and I could tell my brakes were not working like they should coming down the helix. Then things seemed fine until we got to the sharp turn onto the bike path and I couldn't really stop. I rolled off into the grass, got myself to a stop and realized that somehow my back brake was wide open! It had had been closed when I rode on Friday so I don't know how that happened.

    I felt good loop 1, but knew I was probably going a little too fast. I didn't care. I smiled up all the hills, and saw the guys when I was climbing B!tch #2. The crowds were awesome, just like the Tour de France, and it was good to see familiar faces cheering for me, especially Drew. I couldn't help but smile! Then I smiled through Verona and on to special needs.

    I was also glad I wore my Colorado jersey for the bike. People saw the jersey and yelled things like "Go Colorado" or said something about the hills should feel like nothing compared to Colorado. It was good to have a few extra people cheering for me like that.

    I spent longer than I should have in special needs, but I decided I would inhale half a Payday bar and half a bottle of Gatorade way faster standing still than when riding the bike. After a few minutes I took off and could feel the headwind right away. It wasn't strong, but it was enough to make you work harder. I knew I had to make a decision: Back off the bike pace and try to save my legs for the run or keep pushing knowing just how much I would pay for it on the marathon.

    I wanted a faster bike split. So I decided to give myself one. I knew what the consequences were going to be and I accepted them.

    I still smiled up all the hills. They were tough, but the crowds made them fun, even if things were thinned out a little this time around. I'll admit I was a little sad when I got to the second hill and didn't see Drew. I was really hoping he would wait for me on the second loop. I did see Jonathan though and he told me Jen was just about 20 seconds ahead of me. I rode like a maniac for the next 30 minutes trying to catch her because I knew it would pick me up, and because I wanted to see how she was doing. I never did see her though.

    There was some sort of club that had tents on the first and third hill and guys with megaphones. As I was riding up the third hill, he said, "I think we need more cowbell folks." He saw my smile and said, "She likes it! We definitely need more cowbell! Yay Kelly!"

    I came around to Verona and knew I was almost done with the second loop. As I was riding through Verona I suddenly saw Drew and Okcy! Yay! It was great to have them out there cheering for us, and how could I not smile when I saw Drew.

    Here I am cruising into Verona, checking my watch to make sure I'm going to have time for all that other stuff I had planned today:

    My pace was slower in the second loop due to the headwind, but on the stick on the way back in we had a tailwind and I worked it for all I could.

    As I was coming through the bike path near the end of the route, I was a woman holding a sign that said, "140.6 miles because 140.7 would just be crazy." Awesome.

    Overall I came in about 15 minutes faster than last time.
    What would you do differently?:

    Nothing. I wanted a faster bike split and I got it.

    And I have to admit, as glad as I was to be off the bike this time, I didn't hate it. I actually sort of had fun. I think having done this before I knew I could make it so I was less stressed about things.

    Yay! Progress!
    Transition 2
    • 08m 20s

    This was better than T1, but still slow.

    I did a full costume change, and then asked my volunteer to hand me my compression sleeves. Her response was to hand me the arm warmers I had just removed from the back pocket of my jersey. I had to put one on first and realize it was way to loose and way too long to be a compression sleeve before either of us caught on.

    I also stopped in the porta potty to pee and my legs were shaking. Eek! The marathon was only just starting for me!
    What would you do differently?:

    Eh. Not much.
    • 5h 07m 20s
    • 26.2 miles
    • 11m 44s  min/mile

    I don't know what to say about this. It was tough from the start. I felt 'okay' the first few miles, but I felt bloated. I knew I had started shutting down my digestive system on the bike and I knew I was going to need to slow it down on the run to get things restarted. So I did.

    I did see Tammy (tripletmom) starting her second loop right as I was coming out of T1 and I saw her a few more times on the first loop so that was nice. I also saw Laura around 5 miles in and we talked for a few seconds.

    I trudged along and it became very clear after I saw Laura that one solution to my problem would be to... ahem... clear the pipes. I stopped in a porta potty and a great big fat nothing. So I looked at my watch, thought, "Well that's three minutes of my life I can never get back," and I stumbled out dripping with sweat (the porta potties were about 11 million degrees inside), feeling dizzy, and trying to get a grip. I caught Laura shortly after the second loop and walked with her for a minute or so, but my quads were destroyed from the bike and starting to hurt pretty bad by that point. My knees felt like someone was taking a sledge hammer to them. I knew if I didn't start running again I never would, so I took off.

    From that point on, things were ugly. I saw Drew a few times on the run and that was awesome. I had to smile when I saw his sweetness out there cheering for me. I was always glad to see him. :) I had to force myself to run after walking the aid stations though and if felt like someone was tearing my quads when I did so. I wouldn't let myself keep walking though. I told myself, 'You made your deal with the devil on the bike course and you knew the consequences. Now that it's time to pay up, you don't get to walk just because it's tough.'

    Here I am, gutting it out on the run:

    I did see the message someone left for me on the electronic sign. It read "KMarzano good job." I thought maybe it was Drew, but he said no. Whoever left that, thank you. I wish they would have had the sign running on the second loop too because I really appreciated it.

    In the second lap I started on the chicken broth and took in as many calories and fluids as I could to rehydrate myself. Finally around mile 19, after multiple failed attempts in the porta potties (I think I probably lost 15-20 minutes on my run with these), I was able to clear the pipes and pick up my pace a little. By then all the stopping and starting for failed bathroom attempts, hills, etc, had taken its toll. I walked the aid stations and made myself run the rest, but my pace was still pretty slow.

    I don't care though. I finished. And I smiled for a good portion of this (although admittedly not as much in the second loop - heh). I was smiling as I came around the last corner to the finish, and then I saw Drew and a couple other people. I smiled even bigger, and then I heard Mike Riley announce my name as I came into the finish. Almost as if beyond my control my arms went up above my head, my smile got ear to ear, and then I blew a kiss to the finish line just before I stepped underneath.

    All the stress and struggle of training? All the 5:00am wake-ups, all the hours spent on the bike, on the run, or in the pool, and all the mini-meltdowns when I just wanted to remember what a weekend felt like without a multi-hour bike ride? Absolutely worth it. (Although I will ask Drew to remind me of those things when I start getting it in my head that maybe I'm not out of the Ironman business afrter all.)
    What would you do differently?:

    Not much. I made my choices on the bike and knew I'd have to live with them. And if I had to do it all over again, I'd stand by them.
    Post race
    Warm down:

    I was dizzy when I finished so they had me sit down and drink some water. Eventually I found Drew and he took me over where Shannon (swgtri) and Okcy were hanging out. I could barely stand or walk and it still felt like someone was taking a sledgehammer to my knees still. My knees have never ached so bad in my life, and my quads were useless.

    I had a piece of pizza and then we headed for the hotel. I got dizzy and had to sit again and we heard them announce Laura's name as she crossed the finish line. I was bummed we weren't over there to see her and even more bummed when I found out Chris proposed to her and we missed it!

    I hobbled my way back to the hotel, ordered a Jimmy John's sandwich, showered, and tried to sleep.

    What limited your ability to perform faster:

    Lack of bike legs. That I'm a slow swimmer. GI stuff. All the same stuff as last time.

    Event comments:

    This race was fantastic again. The volunteers were amazing, things were organized, and the day was all about celebrating the athletes and their accomplishments.

    They have gotten rid of a few of the perks that helped justify the hefty registration fee you pay for an IM branded race (no inspirational mile, the electronic sign that reads a message someone has left for you only worked for the first loop, really limited selection of finisher gear, stuff like that), and I would encourage them not to get ride of anymore, but it's still a top notch event. Those things are minor. I'm glad I was a part of it and I would absolutely recommend the race to someone considering an Ironman.

    Last updated: 2010-09-15 12:00 AM
    01:32:15 | 3862 meters | 02m 23s / 100meters
    Age Group: 101/
    Overall: 1999/2244
    Suit: Black speedo
    Course: Two counter-clockwise loops in Lake Menona.
    Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
    Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
    200M Perf. Remainder:
    Breathing: Drafting:
    Waves: Navigation:
    Time: 15:04
    Performance: Below average
    Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
    Suit off:
    Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
    Jump on bike:
    Getting up to speed:
    07:31:41 | 112 miles | 14.88 mile/hr
    Age Group: 100/
    Overall: 2064/2244
    Wind: Some
    Course: Check the website for a map.
    Road:   Cadence:
    Turns: Cornering:
    Gear changes: Hills:
    Race pace: Drinks:
    Time: 08:20
    Riding w/ feet on shoes
    Jumping off bike
    Running with bike
    Racking bike
    Shoe and helmet removal
    05:07:20 | 26.2 miles | 11m 44s  min/mile
    Age Group: 80/
    Overall: 1663/2244
    Course: Couldn't even begin to tell you. This is one of the most twisting, winding courses I've run. It all stays within a few blocks of downtown it seems like, but I couldn't really tell you where it goes.
    Keeping cool Drinking
    Post race
    Weight change: %
    Mental exertion [1-5]
    Physical exertion [1-5]
    Good race?
    Course challenge Just right
    Organized? Yes
    Events on-time? Yes
    Lots of volunteers? Yes
    Plenty of drinks? Yes
    Post race activities:
    Race evaluation [1-5]

    2011-09-17 12:00 PM

    User image

    Wellington, North Island
    Subject: Ironman Wisconsin
    I can't seem to get the video to upload to the race report, but here's a video of me finishing.

    Edited by MissKelly 2011-09-17 12:05 PM

    2011-09-17 2:09 PM
    in reply to: #3690517

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    Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
    Way to push through that run and still have a strong finish!  Love the pics intermingled with your RR.
    2011-09-17 2:42 PM
    in reply to: #3690517

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    , North Carolina
    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

    I love the pictures in your race report too.  I know this was about proving yourself on the bike and you did that and smiled the whole way.  So proud of you.

    ~ Mom

    2011-09-17 4:44 PM
    in reply to: #3690517

    Iron Donkey
    , Wisconsin
    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

    Agree with having the pictures since they really help telling the story!

    I was glad to see you again, if only briefly.


    2011-09-17 5:42 PM
    in reply to: #3690517

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    Oak Park, IL
    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
    Love your race report!  Congrats Ironman x2!!!  Sorry I made you chase me on the bike....I KNEW I should not have stopped at that porta-potty!   Was great to hang out in Madison.  Hope you are recovering well!
    2011-09-17 6:48 PM
    in reply to: #3690517

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    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
    Very nice report. It was nice seeing you at the swim on Friday, albeit for a very short time.

    2011-09-17 7:12 PM
    in reply to: #3690517

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    West Bend, WI
    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
    Great job Kelly!

      Thank you again for being so positive out there!  You really looked great when I was with you .. I have a hard time believing you struggled!

    Great to see you again
    2011-09-18 7:09 AM
    in reply to: #3690517

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    Ann Arbor, MI
    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
    Kellllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeee you are an ironman! Again! You bested the bike the stomach the quads and crossed that line that wipes it all away in a great big smile. congrats on a great race and a fulfillment of all the hard work you've put in every day leading up to the big show.

    Ps it's great to hear all the happiness drew brings you and how much it means having him at the race for you. Life really is so good with someone like that to share it.
    2011-09-19 1:44 PM
    in reply to: #3690517

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    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
    Congrats!!  You did awesome!  And in the next one you'll have the great bike split AND the strong run (although I still think this one was very good). Yup, the next one...
    2011-09-19 2:46 PM
    in reply to: #3690517

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    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
    Way to go Kelly! It was great seeing you after the race! Well done!
    2011-09-19 2:55 PM
    in reply to: #3690517

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    Madison, Wisconsin
    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
    Congrats Kelly! Great race report!

    2011-09-19 3:00 PM
    in reply to: #3690517

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    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin


    Great effort and way to get 'er done!

    2X Ironmaner!! What else can one say? I think that says it all.


    2011-09-19 4:16 PM
    in reply to: #3690517

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    Austin, Texas
    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

    Great job Kelly!!!

    After all the times that Tony has talked about you, it was really fantastic to finally meet you at the finish line! 

    2011-09-19 8:02 PM
    in reply to: #3690517

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    Jamestown, CO
    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
    YAY Kelly!  Great race and report!!  I hope you decide to do another Ironman so we can train by riding all over our beautiful state of CO together!  Not that we can't do that regardless of what you are training for next season either, though   Enjoy your off season - maybe I'll catch up with you on the slopes this winter!!
    2011-09-19 10:12 PM
    in reply to: #3692515

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    Wellington, North Island
    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

    mr2tony - 2011-09-19 1:46 PM Way to go Kelly! It was great seeing you after the race! Well done!

    blueyedbikergirl - 2011-09-19 3:16 PM

    Great job Kelly!!!

    After all the times that Tony has talked about you, it was really fantastic to finally meet you at the finish line! 

    Thanks guys! it was great to see the two of you. Sorry I wasn't in better shape to talk afterward. The pounding in my knees was overriding everything else at that point. Can't wait to see you guys do IMAZ!

    2011-09-20 3:33 PM
    in reply to: #3690517

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    Straight outta Compton
    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
    Congrats Kelly!  Way to tough it out and be an Ironman <squared>!  Loved the report- the pictures make it all the more real too.

    2011-09-23 2:56 PM
    in reply to: #3690517

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    Waukesha, WI
    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
    Great job Kelly and I couldn't help but smile along with you through your report.  Such a great attitude.  Wish I would've been running with so I would have only walked the aid stations.  Way to go.
    2011-09-23 8:14 PM
    in reply to: #3690517

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    Ann Arbor, MI
    Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
    Yah!!! What a great race! Great job facing your biking demons and telling them to suck it! This will give you tons of confidence in your next season, and you will run better off the bike because of it.

    And thanks for the great race report! Nothing like stories of love and poop to make me laugh at the computer screen
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