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Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman


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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
Total Time = 11h 07m 16s
Overall Rank = 236/???
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 34/395
Pre-race routine:

Saturday morning, I met up with Rob (wiky) and his friend Chris to drive the course. During that ride, I started thinking carefully for the first time about what, realistically, to expect. I think that being on the course triggered a sense of realism. Anyway, later that evening, I had an honest think about what my goals were for the day, and went in to the race with a pretty good attitude, and a pretty good plan: take it as easy as feasible on the swim; stay within myself on the bike; then see what is possible on the run. I came up with the following numbers, which are what I told the family to look out for: 1:10-1:20 for the swim; 5:30-5:40 for the bike; and 3:20-3:45 for the run. So let's see how that panned out...
Event warmup:

We all got up around 4:45. I ate a little (coffee, Cliff bar, and some sports drink), then we drove to the site, parked, and took care of business. I wasn't rushed, but there was no down time either. By the time everything was sorted, it was time to hand my stuff off to Misty and the kids, bid them adieu, take a gel, and head for the swim start. There is no 'warm-up', apart from treading water for 15 minutes waiting for the gun. I positioned myself wide right of the ski jump, about 4th row back. There was a lot of bumping, mostly just incidental, while we were treading water. A sign of things to come.
Swim
  • 1h 12m 33s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 43s / 100 yards
Comments:

Whoa! I've never quite experienced the washing machine to that extent. I got dunked several times, I hope by accident. I was grabbed several times, and I'm sorry, but that's not by accident and totally inexcusable in my book. But mostly there was just an awful lot of incidental contact and congestion. I was swimming strongly, and mostly wanting to pass people, but it was difficult sometimes with a phalanx of swimmers in front. I had to stop a few times because there was just nowhere to go. After the first turn, there was the occasional moment of clear water, but things didn't really clear up until the final turn to the finish.

I'm OK with the time, especially given my dearth of swim training. I never really pushed hard, and pushed semi-hard only a couple of times to try to get clear of the worst congestion. I did experience a cramp in my right calf at one point mid-way, but it was relatively minor. I swam through it, and it went away and didn't affect anything the rest of the day.
What would you do differently?:

I need to learn to go out hard for 400 then ease into a long-course pace. Doing so would likely help somewhat with the issue of wanting to pass people but not being able due to congestion. Of course, being able to do that and then recover requires actual training.
Transition 1
  • 06m 54s
Comments:

I put on arm warmers in T1. In retrospect, they were not necessary, and they definitely slowed my T1 a good deal, what with the wet arms and all. In light of the chilly morning on Saturday, I had purchased them at the expo for the race (I left mine at home) and damnit, I was going to wear them! Ironically, they said 'Aquaman' on them (beggars can't be choosers), which is a far cry from the truth, but it gave some guys in bikinis on Mt. Horeb something to chant as I climbed past them (lol). Other than the delay getting them on, T1 was fine. The volunteer who helped me was fantastic--kudos to him.
Bike
  • 5h 45m 36s
  • 112 miles
  • 19.44 mile/hr
Comments:

Right out of the gates I felt good, but really focused on keeping things under control. I knew that there was a no-pass zone coming up near the start, so I got around a few slow cyclists so that I wouldn't get caught behind them. I was feeling good about that move and then, right before the no-pass zone, I hit a big bump and my water bottle went flying, breaking the cap. I salvaged what I could from it, but of course lost the (admittedly tiny) advantage I had gotten by getting around those guys before the no-pass, as well as most of the water, and -- at least I think this is when it happened -- the lid to my draft box. Apparently I rode 20 miles with it flopping around back there until another cyclist alerted me about it. I replaced it while riding, but later I would have to get off and fix it. Twice...

Anyway, other than that minor fiasco, the first few hours were pretty good. I was on sub-5:30 pace, keeping the Watts under control, and feeling fine. By the second loop, the course was somewhat clearer, though we did begin to see some folks on their first loop. I hope this doesn't come out wrong -- I cannot imagine being in their shoes. I think it was Bill Rodgers who complimented AG marathoners by saying that he couldn't even imagine running for 4 hours. Passing some of these folks and knowing that they would be out there riding for another 6 hours or so made me want to cry for them.

Anyway, back to reality, around hour 4, I started to feel queasy, just as I have in many of my long training sessions this summer. I still don't know what to do about it. I eased up on calories, but to no avail. Around 30 minutes later, I hopped off the bike and puked in the bushes. Other than that, my only delay was that I had to stop twice in the second loop to put the damn draft box lid back on. I tried putting it on while riding, but couldn't really get it secure. I used to tape it shut, but I thought I had solved that problem. I guess not. I will tape it from now on. Compared to all of the equipment failures I had prepping for this ride during the past week, this one was pretty minor.

Overall my Watts were quite steady throughout most of the ride, though diminishing a bit towards the end. It amazed me to see guys hammering up the big hills, then coasting down the other side. So they'd fly past me going up, then I'd fly back past going down and on the flats. I say it 'amazed' me, but I admit that it also triggered a lot of self-doubt and desire to hammer away that self-doubt -- I had to keep reminding myself that there was still that marathon thing to take care of.

Speaking of other cyclists, I was a bit disappointed to see a fair amount of drafting on this ride, especially by one particular group that was making no effort to break themselves up even when there were easy opportunities to do so. After seeing it for about 2 hours, and as I was passing them on the flats yet again, I said something -- not even in a harsh tone, just "I know it's crowded, but let's try to keep it clean" -- and the reply was "F&# you, we'll ride however we want." Sad to hear, but I have to assume that the 'we' in there implied that they were working consciously as a group. As poor as my run was, I think I passed all of them by the end, so "F&# you too." Sad that you draft and then still blow up on the run, lol.
What would you do differently?:

On the point of queasiness, I have no idea. That's something to be worked out. But frankly, I have known for months that it is an issue, and I have not been sufficiently aggressive about finding a solution. I have no one but myself to blame for what happened out there. As for the rest, my bike training just was not up to snuff. Still, it was enough to get me through with a decent split, and feeling pretty good, so overall, I'm pleased with my execution, if not with my preparation.
Transition 2
  • 02m 12s
Comments:

Although I was definitely ready to get off the bike, and in spite of the puking incident, I was feeling good, and was able to get through T2 fairly quickly, despite changing from the tri top into a running top. Once again I doff my cap to the guy who helped me in T2. Another winner in my book. Thank you whoever you are. One little tip that worked out well -- I taped a small tube of sunscreen to the back strap of my hat, and pulled it off at the beginning of the run and applied it while running. I stuck the tube into my shorts until the first aid staton where I ditched it. Doing it this way saved a little time and allowed me the leisure of making sure that I got all of the important areas covered without feeling rushed in T2. Today I have slight redness on the back of my neck, and otherwise no issues with sun.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, really.
Run
  • 4h 00m 1s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 10s  min/mile
Comments:

My 'realistic‘ goal from the night before was to run something like 8:15/mile. That's how it went down...for a short while.

I was leery about taking in nutrition after what happened on the bike, but at some point I had to take in something. Around mile 3 or so (I forget) I did take a gel and immediately that felt like a mistake. My stomach started grumbling, and after a while each footfall felt like a punch to the gut. I slowed slightly, but I ran through it until mile 9, when I stopped and threw up into a trash can in the park. I will say this for the IMWI course: it had convenient locations to puke. From mile 9 to 14 or so, I threw up 3 or 4 more times. Something like that. I stopped keeping score.

At one point during this dark period, I sat down on the side of the road and put my head in my hands, fully intending to quit. I intended my next move to be to walk to the finish line and find my family. I couldn't bear the thought of going on. And yet, after sitting there for a few minutes, I couldn't bear the thought of quitting. I was one confused person. For the first time in a long time (as in, years, not days), I felt unable to think rationally, unable to control the situation, unable to control myself, frustrated, confused, and somewhat dazed.

I don't recall why I got up, nor do I recall having a rational train of thought -- the memory is more of a disconnected series of emotions than of thoughts, more like hazy recollections of people -- incuding myself and also some others here on BT -- sucking it up and going on in the face of very good reasons to quit. I think maybe those recollections had something to do with it, but honestly, I couldn't say exactly why I continued. I just did.

Once I started running again, the rational part of my brain kicked back into gear, and I started thinking about how to survive. I decided to wait until I was craving food before eating again, though I did keep drinking water. Around mile 16 or 17, I started back on calories -- no gels, just sports drink. Then at mile 19, I started with the Coke. I was feeling better, and the pace quickened. I thought of nothing other than keeping good form. I knew the pace was silly slow, and I didn't care -- it became all about 'lift the knees', 'stand tall', 'try not to tighten up'. I was passing loads of people -- almost everyone around me was walking at this point -- and that helped to make me feel stronger. The volunteers and spectators were great too. By the end I was really running, and it felt good.

I was running strong down the chute, and I saw my family as I crossed the line. I think this was the first time I ever raised my arms in 'triumph' as I crossed the line, but that's how it felt at the time.
What would you do differently?:

Again the issue was with preparation, not execution.
Post race
Warm down:

Warm-down, now that's funny. As soon as I crossed, I nearly collapsed. I had a great finish-line catcher and he dragged me over to a chair, where I sat for some indeterminate length of time. Then I did the picture (which I've now seen and it is scary), and tried to eat, but couldn't. I was getting colder and colder and nothing was helping, so I asked to be taken back to the hotel. Misty and Samuel collected my things while my parents stayed with me. They kept adding the Mylar blankets, but I kept getting colder and colder. Finally we made it back to the hotel and I sat under a warm shower for an eternity. I tried to eat but still couldn't and just went to bed.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I think that's clear by this point -- (lack of) preparation in various forms. I will not do another IM until two conditions are met. First, I have figured out how to eat during a long session without nausea and especially without throwing up. Second, I can guarantee myself sufficient time to train without compromising family. If those conditions are never met, I can live with it.

Event comments:

First: thanks to all the volunteers and fans that I encountered at IMWI -- you were great. You helped to make the race something special.

In addition to the point about preparation above, I think that I am just not ready for IM. I am going to take (at least) a year off and focus on shorter distances, and then we'll see.




Last updated: 2011-09-26 12:00 AM
Swimming
01:12:33 | 4224 yards | 01m 43s / 100yards
Age Group: 117/395
Overall: 0/???
Performance:
Suit:
Course: One loop, counterclockwise.
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Rounding:
T1
Time: 06:54
Performance:
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
Biking
05:45:36 | 112 miles | 19.44 mile/hr
Age Group: 38/395
Overall: 0/???
Performance:
2:40 through the first loop, so yeah, I faded on the second loop. That's also when I had to stop a few times, so the slow-down wasn't all due to fatigue, but some of it was.
Wind:
Course: Hilly, with loads of turns. Some wind, but nothing horrendous, Roads are a mix of horrible (Stagecoach), OK, and freshly paved.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
T2
Time: 02:12
Overall:
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
04:00:01 | 26.2 miles | 09m 10s  min/mile
Age Group: 50/395
Overall: 0/???
Performance:
Course: Mostly flat, but a couple of nasty (though short) hills
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall:
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Evaluation
Course challenge
Organized?
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

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2012-09-11 5:51 AM

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Champion
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Columbia, South Carolina
Subject: Ironman Wisconsin


2012-09-11 8:03 AM
in reply to: #4405012

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Master
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South Alabama
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Michael-thats a fantastic race report. You did an amazing job overcoming the bumps in the road you have had this season to finish IMWI.  Great job pushing through through the "dark place" and pushing strong to the finish. Inspirational!

Randy

2012-09-11 8:06 AM
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Member
247
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Loves Park
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great race! Can't believe you puked that many times and still put up that time. Mentally tough as nails....way to push through!
2012-09-11 8:39 AM
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Champion
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Knoxville area
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great report and race! Sounds like a tough day out there. Way to stick it out!
2012-09-11 8:42 AM
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Expert
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Wilmington, NC
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Kudo's on a solid finish even with some trying times thrown in. You are one tough competitor and I look forward to seeing you going fast in the shorter stuff.

You must have had a days rest by now, so get out there and start getting ready for that 78min half marathon.

2012-09-11 8:55 AM
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Master
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Guilford, CT
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Well done!

I'm with you on condition number 2.  Definitely a tough balance.  Hey, marathon training is easy from a logistics stand point after that.



2012-09-11 10:58 AM
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Master
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ann arbor, michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Way to push through in spite of some very dark moments. Mental toughness is a definite requirement for IM training and racing and you have it in spades. I can tell that you are disappointed in your level of preparation but you finished top 10% of your AG even with some real issues.

You should be proud of this race!
2012-09-11 1:06 PM
in reply to: #4405222


81
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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Impressive race, all things considered.  Hate it when there is obvious drafing, especially in a large group. 

Hope to see you back in Wisconsin soon.  Hope you get the stomach issues figured out so you can cross under 11 hours.

2012-09-11 1:20 PM
in reply to: #4405012

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Master
2563
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University Park, MD
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Wow - that's impressive. I was following the race splits on Sunday for you and some other BTers, and could see that some Bad Stuff was happening in the middle of the run, but of course the splits give no idea of all that you were going through. Great work on somehow pulling things together and making it to the end.

Here's looking forward to some speedy times over shorter distances in the coming year. Plus, you get to age-up to M45-49, no?

2012-09-11 1:34 PM
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2012-09-11 2:22 PM
in reply to: #4405012

Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great job Michael.  I know this whole process wasn't easy for you, but congrats on pulling it all together.


2012-09-11 2:54 PM
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Extreme Veteran
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In front of computer when typing this.
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Phew, that made me a little tired just trying to imagine how you felt. Brought back memories for me when I felt awful at B2B and I am glad for you that you continued. I was tracking your splits and wondered what had happened during those middle miles of the run. Anyway, 11hrs and change is pretty impressive if you ask me, so congrats. And congrats more on facing the dark side and not letting it win!

2012-09-11 8:44 PM
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Champion
7595
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Columbia, South Carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Thanks for the encouraging words, everyone! I look forward to following all of your races and accomplishments this fall and into the future.
2012-09-12 8:14 AM
in reply to: #4405012

Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Nice read and congratulations on your race!
2012-09-12 8:51 AM
in reply to: #4405012

Expert
1384
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Charlottesville, Virginia
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Congratulations, Michael.  You're an inspiring athlete and leader.  I think most of all, I really appreciate the openness and honesty of your race report.  Good recommended reading for those considering the iron distance in terms of understanding the demons you have to overcome.  Quite a year for you, my friend.  Well done.
2012-09-12 10:06 AM
in reply to: #4405012

Master
1967
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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
That is one impressive time for what you battled through.

Congrats!


2012-09-12 10:43 AM
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2012-09-12 10:52 AM
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Iron Donkey
38643
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, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Congratulations!  YOU. ARE. AN. IRONMAN!
2012-09-12 10:54 AM
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Master
3887
20001000500100100100252525
Overland Park, KS
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Really a kick-a$$ performance and report.  Well done.  A surprising comment from the small peleton on the bike course.  Guess they don't want as big a challenge as others.  Maybe for those folks Mike Reilly can come up with a way to say "You're an Iromman*" with an Asterisk.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

2012-09-12 12:21 PM
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Master
1411
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Lexington, KY
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Michael,

You're one of the brightest lights on BT and it was nice to get a chance to talk for a little while on Saturday.  I was really hoping you'd have a good day and was disappointed when I saw that you hadn't.  Enjoyed reading your race report though, especially the details on how you felt in that dark spot and how you worked yourself out of it.

Had similar thoughts about the people still on the first loop while we were finishing the second on the bike -- impressive perseverance;  sorry you had to deal with those few jerks on the bike; and it's always funny how there are inevitably a few people that hammer the hills, apparently they (still) haven't gotten the memo.

Looking forward to seeing you race fast again in the future.

2012-09-13 10:02 PM
in reply to: #4405012

Extreme Veteran
607
500100
Rochester, MN
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Impressive overall time with the issues you had on the run.  I did not see any organized drafting but it's disappointing to hear it took place.  Amazing you got out of the dark hole without knowing exactly how.  I think it speaks to what's deep inside you, the will to keep going.  I know these things happen especially at the longer distance races.  It makes my day of not even a random negative thought even more amazing to myself.  

Congratulations, Michael...You are an Ironman!

 



2012-09-16 3:06 PM
in reply to: #4405012


2

Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Way to get yourself throught the WALL, I've been there myself...through 3 IM!  When will learn??
2012-09-16 8:14 PM
in reply to: #4405012

Elite
3779
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Ontario
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great job Michael.  Quite a bit of adversity for you on the course that day, but you pulled through with flying colors.  Very nicely done.
2012-09-18 8:43 PM
in reply to: #4405012

Expert
1360
10001001001002525
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Great job getting back up and finishing the run after having those problems. 

2012-09-18 11:00 PM
in reply to: #4405012

Expert
1276
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Salem
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Wow Michael way to persevere and get through it.  I think in those dark moments your mind takes over to what it knows best and has always done....keep moving on and don't quit.  You have always struck me as a person who practices what he preaches and I believe it was your positive attitude and never quit mind set that took over and got you to your feet and moved you on your way.  Way to go.  Thanks for sharing your race with us. 
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