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Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman
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Had a lot of conflicting opinions on where to begin the swim. Some people recommended closer to shore, some said right of the boat ramp, others said left. Some suggested inside the buoy line and others recommended between the buoy line and the boat ramp. The conflicting advice was overwhelming and it didn't really help me much.
The week before the race I was talking to fellow friend and Donkey DJDavey who suggested I place myself left of the boat ramp and maybe even consider starting closer to the main buoy line. I honestly didn't care where I started and figured the most important thing was where to position myself so that I was not too close to the fast swimmers, but also not mixed up with the extremely slow swimmers. I don't want to be the guy swimming over people. I really wanted to be somewhere towards the middle because I am basically a MOP swimmer.
I was in the water by 6:40 and treading for 20 minutes. Ironically the water temp was warmer and more comfortable than the air temp. As I floated around, my face would get chilled, but my submerged body was nice and warm. After some thought I decided to position myself in as close as possible to the buoy line. I figured I'd try to swim the minimum distance possible. I was way to the left of the boat ramp and almost directly in front of the giant red buoy. I was maybe 30 feet back from the start or middle of the pack. I felt comfortable here and this is where I stayed until the cannon was fired.
As I floated around and relaxed, I looked back at the Monona Terrace and was really impressed by the huge fan support. There were people everywhere that I could see. I also noticed hundreds of green and pink caps still waiting to get into the water and it was less than 5 minutes until start time. Although I was in the water for twenty minutes, I felt like I expended no energy and was perfectly relaxed until...
BAMN...the cannon fired and everything went wild.
I got a good bit of contact initially, but then things loosened up. It was amazing because I had people directly adjacent to me and very close in front of me, but I seemed to be in a good pocket where we were all moving about the same speed. However after a few minutes the contact picked up again and my watch got smacked pretty good causing the band to come somewhat undone and flapping around. I was not going to lose my Garmin, so I stopped for a second and got it back on correctly.
I got bumped and knocked around pretty good but nothing too terrible. I did manage to mooooo around the first buoy even though that was extremely congested. I swam everything up to the first turn inside the buoy line and then continued outside the line on up until the second turn. The third (and longest) side of the rectangle (1700 yards), I was right on the line the whole way. Sometimes inside, sometimes outside, but I managed to have very good sighting and was rarely off course.
Up to the halfway mark, I felt like this was an effortless swim and my pace was really quite good. I started to think I could possibly come out of the water in 1:10 if things continued like they were going. Unfortunately that changed and quite dramatically.
At about the halfway mark, the contact picked up again. It wasn't horrible, but someone behind me kept grabbing my leg. Not hitting my leg, but grabbing it....several times. Again, and again. A simple rule to follow in open water is DON'T GRAB anything. If you hit someone with your arm, let the arm gently glide off the person and continue on. It got to be so annoying and it was slowing me down I decided to give a little extra kick to get free of the grabbing arm. Unfortunately that back-fired on me and my calf completely cramped and locked up....bad. I had to stop for probably a minute or so to stretch it out. Meanwhile people swam over me making it very hard to stretch it out. Finally it got to the point where I could begin swimming again, but I was afraid to start kicking and was basically all arms and one leg kicking. I continued on like this and made the third turn. Some contact around that turn, but not terrible.
Made it to the final turn and started heading back to the Swim-Out. I'd say I had about 200 yards to swim and the calf cramped up again. Once again I had to stop and stretch for a minute. This time there were fewer people so I had some space and could actually stretch it out good. Not making excuses, but I lost more time here and now I was concerned that this could be a big problem for the rest of the race.
I started swimming again with no kick and propelled myself back into shore for those last 200 yards. Once I stood up, my calf hurt and I gingerly walked up the ramp and saw the time of 1:15:13. I was actually happy with this considering the situation, but I wasn't happy with the way the calf was feeling at that moment.
What would you do differently?:
Not try to kick off the grabbing hand.
Up out of the water and felt pretty good, but my calf was definitely very tight after the cramping incident. Got the suit removed quickly by the strippers and I was on my way up to the helix. Crowd support was so awesome all the way up the helix and into the transition area. Madison rules.
I didn't expect my T1 time to be much over ten minutes, so 16 minutes was a bit of an ugly surprise. However, it was important for me to make sure I had everything and I was willing to spend the extra time if needed. A couple of my delays were a result of putting on compression socks which I most likely would NOT have worn if I didn't half the calf issues in the swim. In addition, I also put on arm warmers because it was unseasonably cool. Also stopped to get lubed up with sunscreen and a restroom stop as well.
All said and done, I'm not complaining too much about my time.
What would you do differently?:
Saw some guys really cruising fast through transition, so I could have acted more like them, but I didn't really see the need.
Because my calf was so tight I wouldn't say I was panicked at this point, but I was definitely concerned how it was going to respond on the bike and specifically the hills. After stopping for sunscreen and restroom, I made my way to my bike where the volunteer had some trouble getting it off the rack, so volunteer #2 assisted. No worries for me because I was just glad I didn't have to monkey around with it myself. Because I was on the far NE side of transition, I kept my shoes off and ran the entire length of the structure with my bike before stopping about 30 feet in front of the mounting line. A volunteer was stationed here to hold my bike while I put on my shoes. This worked out well and then I only had to walk 30 feet in my cycling shoes.
I jumped on the Mad One (my bike) and down I went via the helix. My goal was to ride the stick and most of the first loop fairly easy at a max of low z2. I would push things a bit on the second loop and the stick if I felt acceptably peppy. This portion I would be ok with higher z2, but hopefully mid-z2.
After several miles I noticed the tightness in my calf wasn't getting better. I started to have some bad thoughts about how this is going to affect me on the hills and whether I would be able to run a full marathon. I began stretching it out on the bike, but it continued to nag and irritate me.
Rode the stick easy and then hit some of the rollers on Whalen and almost immediately the leg started gradually loosening up feeling better. By the time I got to Verona it was feeling great and I declared myself back to 100%. I can't begin to explain how happy this made me feel. Even if it came back to haunt me later, the important thing is that it was gone NOW and all I can control is the here and now. Then shortly after leaving Verona and hitting the hill on Valley Road, I ran into my good friend Leslie (you might recognize her as the only female participant sporting a pink bike and wearing a pink tutu). We did several training rides together over the summer and it was great to see her and spend some time chatting it up on the bike. Ironically as we were chatting a couple guys on a motorcycle rode up alongside of us. I thought we were going to be carded for drafting or some other crap, but it turned out he was videotaping us for Ironman. I may have snuck into the video and gotten my claim to fame in the Ironman world! That was kind of cool.
As far as nutrition and hydration I grabbed water & filled the aero bottle at every station. Took 1 salt capsule every hour on the hour. Ate 4 Special K meal replacement bars over the course of my 6.5 hour ride (720 calories). Also threw in some jelly beans, pretzels, a few banannas from the aid stations and Ironman Perform throughout. That was my nutrition/hydration and it worked perfectly. No issues of any type and no complaints on my part.
First loop flied by and the crowd support on the three big hills was nothing short of unbelievable. Between Sasquatch/Chewbacka, the Creepy Clown lurking around the trees, the naughty nurses, and the leprechaun they all made the climbs on those hills much more enjoyable and borderline tolerable. Once again, hats off to the spectators. Coming through Verona was equally awesome.
By the end of loop one I knew I did a great job hydrating because I had to pee pretty badly. I was planning on making only one stop on the bike and that was going to be the special needs area at the halfway mark. I also knew there were porto-potties there as well so that was my opportunity. When I got to special needs I quickly restocked my nutrition, ate part of a PB&J sandwich and drank about 1/3 of my Cherry Pepsi I had packed. I probably spent no more than a couple minutes doing this. The bad news was that I noticed all four porto-potties were occupied and there were people waiting in line, so I decided to skip it. My goal then was to try something that I have never been able to do in my life - pee on the bike.
Second loop began and I felt very good but I also knew my tough times don't usually begin until somewhere south of mile 80 which would put me around Cross Plains and getting very close to the final big 3 climbs of the day. By the time I was coming up on those hills on my second lap, I had to first get through Stagecoach Road. This is probably the bumpiest part of the course and because I still hadn't relieved myself the bumps were a pretty big problem. Even after all that jostling, I still had no luck going on the bike, so I knew I either had to make it back to Madison or stop somewhere along the course. Interestingly I saw several guys stopping on the side of the road, but I still did not stop.
Finally got to the hills and the crowds were still pretty solid. Once again they helped make the climbs easier. There is no doubt they were tougher the second time around, but I believe I had paced myself well because after Midtown I continued to feel good and knew I could turn things up a notch to get back to Madison.
Leaving Verona via the stick I kept a good solid work effort. The final climb on Whalen was definitely a kicker, but once that was over I kept moving steady. Made it back to Madison fairly uneventful and rode up the helix, clipped out and a volunteer quickly took my bike and asked me if I needed anything and she pointed to my Garmin. YUP..I needed that and mentally rehearsed forgetting it on the bike a million times, so I am glad she helped remind me!
And just like that, I had completed my first Ironman bike course. Even though I've ridden century rides and did 4 of them this year, the largest was 106 miles. So this 112 mile ride was officially the furthest I have ever ridden.
Over the summer I rode the course twice and each time it beat me up. Usually post ride I was not feeling real great and I always seemed to struggle with my nutrition out there. Fortunately on Ironman day I had neither of these problems. I felt like I had solid, consistent power throughout the race and my stomach did not revolt to anything. Maybe it was the taper, maybe the adrenaline of race day, maybe the nutrition leading up to the race, or maybe it was just dumb luck. Whatever it was, I was very happy with everything because I came off the bike feeling great and definitely had something left in the legs to run. I really never expected that.
I love everything about this bike course and I love that fact that it is one of the toughest in all of Ironman. This was the main reason I choose to do this race as my first full Ironman (and the fact that I live 80 miles away).
My Garmin showed 6450 feet of elevation & that I burned 3011 calories - Awesome.
What would you do differently?:
Volunteer took off with my bike and I took off to T2. Was able to find a seat and another volunteer dumped out my bag, sorted everything and helped hand me stuff as I requested it. Took 2 tums, drank some more Cherry Pepsi, ditched my arm warmers (which I wore the entire ride), put on running shoes, visor and sunglasses and I was off before stopping at sunscreen and FINALLY the restroom. I think 5 of my 7 minutes in transition was spent peeing.
What would you do differently?:
Figure out how to pee on the bike.
Came out of T2 feeling way too good and like usual after a long ride, the start of my run was way too fast. Looking down at my watch the first mile came in at 8:54 and that was a recipe for disaster if I wanted to actually finish the marathon. I said to myself, "this is an Ironman marathon, not a standalone marathon" and suddenly my legs started slowing down. It wasn't until about mile 3 that I found a comfy pace that I was hoping to lock into somewhere around 10:30. This seemed to give me the low to mid z2 that I wanted.
Plan was to walk every aid station as well as Observatory Hill. At the aid stations I was going to take in water and/or Perform as well as whatever type of nutrition that appealed to me at the time. Lastly, I planned on continuing with one salt tab every hour.
Inside Camp Randall, I ran into Leslie again in her tutu. I didn't realize she was behind me, so seeing her on the run course was nice. However, I knew I probably wouldn't see her again after she passed me, and I didn't. The first 6 miles came fairly easy for me and I felt pretty good. After getting to State Street the massive crowds helped keep my energy level up.
Miles 6-13 were getting tougher, but it seemed like I was still able to run most of the way minus the aid stations and Observatory hill. I was happy I could keep running albeit slowly. I finished the half marathon in about 2:20 and started to think maybe I could negative split the back half and potentially have a chance at breaking the 13 hour mark. I felt this was a possibility because I felt pretty good and the numbers said there was some HR room to push myself a bit harder.
Suddenly everything was set up for me to reach my secret goal of breaking 13 hours. As I made my way through the Capital Square and back out to do my second loop, I knew I had a tough challenge ahead, but I had to give it my best shot.
Made it down past the Kohl Center and saw Colleen, my brother and sister-in-law and their kids, Trent, Quinn & Ellie. It was GREAT seeing all of them out there. Also loved seeing the Donkey contingent at the Kohl Center aid station. I know for sure I saw Gitterdone, Amyjotris, KBreitz & KimK. Seeing all those peeps was definitely awesome.
Unfortunately it wasn't long after that where things started to take some turns for the worse. I passed the Kohl Center and made my way under the bridge/train track/tunnel-thing and somewhere down there I saw the legendary donkey 1stTimeTri. He helped fire me up and said he'd be waiting around to see me on my way back in. I knew that was going to be a couple hours and I might miss him, but I thanked him for his good Donkey mojo.
This is where things start to get a little fuzzy. The nutrition wasn't going down as easily as it was in the first 13 miles and even water and Perform was starting to look real bad. It was at an aid station at either University St or Spring St where I took a salt tablet with some water. The salt tablet didn't sit with me and after walking through the aid station, I proceeded to throw up in a garbage can. I looked at my watch and I was at mile 16 and thought to myself I have 10 more miles to go and need to find a way to finish strong. Things turned around so quickly for me between mile 13 & mile 16 I couldn't believe it. After throwing up, I was able to start running again and felt okay, but my stomach wanted nothing to do with any nutrition or hydration. Ironically I could still run. In fact, I started running through the aid stations because the smell of chicken broth and the sight of pretzels, potato chips and Perform would make me gag and start to throw up again. It was odd. Yet, I could still run. VERY odd.
I believe it was shortly after mile 16 that I saw another fellow donkey, badgerintx. I mentioned to him that I could no longer take in any food or liquid. He asked if I tried the chicken broth and I had, but it made me sick. He then told me it was time to go to the coke. That was a valuable piece of information because I knew I would need coke at some point, but I kind of forgot about it once I started taking the stay-away mentality from the aid stations.
I did find that I could stop for a second at the aid station and take in a a small amount of coke without getting sick. It didn't necessarily make me feel better, but it didn't make me sick, so that was good. I continued with a run/walk type of plan all the way to the State Street turnaround which took me to mile 20. I had 6 more miles to suck it up and become a first time Ironman. At one point around mile 20 I still thought I could break 13 hours. I believe I needed to run the final 6 miles in under an hour which for some reason I thought I could do. There was no way I could do that. I had only taken in a little coke since mile 16 and I was also noticing the cardiac drift syndrome kicking in. Suddenly my RPE was high, my HR was entering Z3 and I was going slower than ever even though it felt like I was running hard. I needed to squeeze out 6 more miles somehow.
I still felt like I was putting in more running than walking and that made me happy. I saw my buddy Brad as we crossed paths somewhere out by the picnic point turnaround. He knew I had maybe 4 miles to go and told me to finish those 4 strong. I definitely was going to try.
Mile 22-26 I was able to choke down a little more coke at the aid stations, but every other food or drink option continued to look awful. I struggled up to mile 24 and then suddenly the concept of this almost being over seemed to give me new energy. Mile 25 & 26 I believe I ran in entirety. Or maybe that was my imagination...I am not sure. Looking at the numbers, my last two miles were sub 12 so it was barely running, but it was better than some of the 13's and 14's I was logging.
As I climbed up to the Capital I knew I was almost there. Some guy yells out to me and says, I saw you a couple hours ago and I know this is your second loop. YOU are going to be an IRONMAN SOON! Suddenly all the pain, GI issues, and mind games were coming to an end. I was excited, happy, and couldn't wait to cross the finish line. There were huge crowds around the capital and even larger crowds along the finisher chute. I almost hyperventilated in excitement as I thought of my dad and how I wished he could see this crazy shit going down.
I came through the finisher chute and heard the Donkey contingent again and saw a bunch of those crazy mofos on my left. I raised my arms to fire up the crowd and heard Mike Reilly say, "First Timer Scott Stoltmann.....YOU ARE AN IRONMAN" and I crossed the finish line.
KimK was catching and came over to help me. I told her I didn't feel too good and after seeing my finisher picture I was white as a ghost and looked pretty nasty. I thank her for hanging out with me and helping me recover.
What would you do differently?:
Not much. I felt like I did all I could do and I played my cards as there were dealt even after reshuffle and dealt again and again.
I went to the food area and grabbed a single piece of pizza that I played with and looked at for about 15 minutes before I finally threw it in the garbage. I actually took one bite and spit it out because it was making me sick. I was able to drink a can of coke and that seemed to temporarily rejuvenate me.
Met up with Colleen, Brad, Tom, Ginger & Kari and we chatted about our adventures. Got the picture of the three of us finishers below. We decided to go back to the hotel, shower up and then come back at 10 to watch the last finishers come in before midnight.
It's amazing how after a nice hot shower at the hotel and two hours after my finish I was completely starving. I went back to the food tent and plowed through 4 pieces of pizza, 2 bottles of water and another can of coke. Suddenly I felt GREAT and hung with Brad, Tom & Kbreitz until midnight to watch the last finisher cross the line.
It was a great conclusion to a great evening.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Nothing. I did the best I could and am very happy with the completion of my first Ironman.
Without doubt I can say this is the most demanding physical endeavor I have ever taken on. The amount of time, work, sweat & effort that was involved is something I will never forgot. There were a ton of people who helped me in this multi-year journey and a special thanks to all of them including the fellow Donkeys and triWI member who swam, biked & ran with me. And lastly and most importantly, my wife Colleen who supported me through all this nonsense and all my crankiness..especially leading up to race day!
Also a great job to Ironman & WTC for being a class act putting on a great race in a great city. I loved everything about Ironman Wisconsin and would recommend it to anyone.
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World Triathlon Corporation
72F / 22C
Overall Rank = 1281/2452
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 226/
Ironman Wisconsin 2012 - I am not sure where to start because there is just so much I would like to say. I think I should start by saying this was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had and by far the toughest and most challenging endurance event I have ever undertaken. I've had this goal of completing an Ironman for several years, but I never really knew if it was something I could do.
I decided I was going to embark on this journey in the memory of my dad who passed away 13 years ago back in 1999. He was a very goal oriented man who loved sports and was as athletically gifted as they came. He did not know much about triathlon, but I can guarantee if he knew about Ironman he would be amazed and impressed by any athlete who could complete this distance.
He did not get to see me graduate from grad school. He did not get to see me get married. He did not get to see us buy our first house. And he did not get to see me become an Ironman. However I would bet every penny I own that he would be so proud of me in my accomplishment. This race was for him.
This is going to be a long race report with a lot (maybe too much) detail, but I really have a lot on my mind and don't want to forget any of it, so please bear with me. I started blogging (http://imwi2012sbsmann.blogspot.com/) about my Ironman journey a year ago when I volunteered in at Madison in 2011 so I could sign up to race in 2012. I've kept all my workouts in BT and tried to document as much as possible for my own records and to share with others who might want to do Ironman as well as those who just love endurance sports & triathlon.
My wife, Colleen and I arrived in Madison early Friday morning because I wanted to get through the athlete check-in process early to beat the Friday afternoon rush. Got my packet and was all checked in by 10am. We headed up to the Ironman store where we ran into my buddy Tom. The three of us spent a few bucks at the Ironman store and then decided to hit breakfast at Marigold up by the capital. After breakfast we got checked into the Concourse hotel which was about 5 blocks from the Monona Terrace.
Friday night we planned to meet up with Tom and Brad at the athlete dinner. I also ran into Leslie at the dinner as well as Aaraon from TriWI. I thought the dinner was very good and I really enjoyed the inspirational theme of the speakers and I find Mike Reilly to be a very good, entertaining personality. He has become the face of Ironman and IMO does a great job.
Saturday morning I had a nice big breakfast buffet at our hotel before heading out again to Monona Terrace to check in my bike and transition bags. Everything went smoothly with no issues & we were off to lunch at Cosi where I had a tuna melt sandwich.
Most of Saturday I layed around at the hotel watching TV and thinking about the race and some of my goals. With this being my first full distance Ironman, I had some uncertainty as to what was really obtainable as far as a finish time. I had done every standalone distance in a race/timed event scenario over the years, but I've obviously never done all three together. Even in my IM training, my biggest single training day was a 2.4 mile OWS, followed by a 105 mile ride, and then an hour long run. That certainly helped give me confidence to know I can do an Ironman, but running for an hour versus running for 4,5, or 6 hours after a huge swim and bike is a much different story. So with much trepidation and uncertainty, my goal was a) to finish, and b) finish somewhere between 13-14 hours based on prior workouts. I must admit I also had a secret goal of breaking 13 hours, but that would have probably involved perfection on my part. And quite honestly, I am far from perfect.
After spending Saturday afternoon stressing and thinking about the race, it was nice to go out to dinner in the evening. Colleen and I met up with my coworker Martha and some of her family and friends including her son Ted at Noodles restaurant on State Street. I had the beef strogonof in honor of my Czech & German heritage and was VERY tempted to get a Hopaliscious, but I declined because I promised myself no beer this week. I was impressed I had the mental fortitude to pass on the beer. Anyway, it was a very good dinner and I really want to give a shout out to Martha who is an expert on all things related to Ironman fan logistics. She helped Colleen firm up a good game plan for getting around the bike course and some good spots to spectate. In addition, kudos to Ted for finishing 2nd in his age group and going to Kona....again. Ted provided a lot of tips and help to me in my Ironman journey.
We were back at the hotel by 7pm and took it easy for the rest of the evening. I knew I would have a hard time sleeping so I took two good shots of Nyquill which always helps me sleep and I was out by 9:30. The alarm was set to go off at 3:50am, but I woke up on my own at 3:30 ready to go. Skipped the shower and went right down to the special athlete continental breakfast which ran from 3:30-6:30. Now that's service! I took in a full bagel with peanut butter, bananna, yogurt, water and a chocolate milk. Oh, and some coffee too to clear out the pipes. They had Alterra coffee which was nice.
I headed back up to the room and threw my special needs bags, bike pump, and all my nutrition into a big plastic garbage bag. Also lugged a gallon of water with me to fill up my bottles which were at my bike. Colleen and I made the 5 block walk to the Monona Terrace and stopped at the capital square on our way to drop off the special needs bags.
Got to transition and got everything squared away including body marking by one friendly lady known as Freezerpop. It was 50 degrees and fairly windy outside so Colleen and I found a place in the terrace to relax and for me to stretch a bit. Did some general streching, saw irunfit and said hi and basically relaxed a bit.
Wanted to beat the crowds down to the swim-in area so we headed down the secret back stairway and avoided the helix around 6:05. Got down there by 6:15 and planted ourselves very close to the swim-in. I got lubed up, got the wetsuit on, googles under the cap and the cap on top. Ran into travisvb24 who snapped a picture of Colleen and I right before I headed out (I gotta get that picture). I was calm, collected and ready to go. Gave Colleen a kiss and then followed the lemmings in line to enter the water.
My favorite part was that there was a volunteer handing out safety pins and strongly encouraging people to pin their chip straps together so they don't get ripped off. That was an encouraging, feel-good sign as we entered the water. The good news is that I had already pinned my together at the hotel, so I was already set for battle.