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Ironman Wisconsin - Triathlon

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
75F / 24C
Total Time = 13h 45m 9s
Overall Rank = 1432/2544
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 248/404
Pre-race routine:

This section is sort of long since I included some comments on my arrival to Madison too. (This was my first IM)

First and foremost I would like to thank all the volunteers for this race. They were all great and helpful with my questions. I arrived on Friday afternoon for athlete check-in and was in awe of the "grand" spectacle of the event. Heck, right when I parked a professor rode by and asked me if I was participating in the race and we chatted for awhile. The people in Madison are incredibly supportive; I can't count the number of times I got "good luck" from total strangers. (Now of course they could be thinking "I'm glad it's you and not me"......ha!). Check in went smooth, but there the line was somewhat long although it did move fast. The pre-race swag was sort of cool: backpack, poster, license plate frame, and luggage tag. I didn't know that you don't receive the shirt and hat until AFTER you finish.....make sense to me! I talked to several other athletes while in line and it was nice to trade stories or talk about the event. Anyways, after I signed my life away I went to the Ironman Store and bought race-specific gear (long sleeve shirt, ss shirt, coffee mug, stickers, water bottle, and car emblems...whew! ) Then immediately put them away since there was no more looking at them until I finished. The rest of the day was just walking around and getting familiar with the venue (which is quite large). The different helix structures that you have to run up from the swim and bike down /up were definitely cool although I wonder I would feel about doing either on game day. The Expo was your typical fare, but if you love shopping then have it since there was pretty much every conceivable piece of tri/run/bike gear available under the sun.

Saturday was bike and bike/run gear check in and again, it went very smooth and organized. It also allowed me to see how the changing rooms were going to be set up. This was done all pretty quickly so I had a lot of time to myself. They had the swim buoys and boy were they intimidating to see. We all have done the distance, but to see it laid out was eye popping to me. Stay calm! Took a nap, had dinner with my coach (meatloaf, potatoes, green beans) and tried to sleep at 9. Yeah, right......(Oh, I took a electrolyte and salt pill before I slept)

Got up at 3:15, ate a bagel and some craisins, drank some EFS, stretched, and watched a hilarious MTV showed called "Silent Library" or something which eased my mind and nerves. I arrived in Madison early enough to get my desired parking spot (yes, I am a creature of habit) and laid down to rest before transition opened. When it was time I dropped my run/bike special needs bags off at the designated spot and was now just soaking it all in and picturing how my day was going to go. Relax!

Goal for race: Enjoy every moment, keep smiling, finish strong, and, based on my training, try to fall between 13:30 and 14:30 hours.
Event warmup:

None. I did do a very short 30 minute bike/15 minute run on Sat. morning. I just stretched for about 10 minutes at the hotel before I left.

Note: The day's weather was absolutely perfect - overcast with a high of around 75. Sort of weird how this fell on race day since Saturday was close to 90 and humid and the next day was also going to be hot. Someone was smiling upon us.....
  • 1h 34m 51s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 15s / 100 yards

FYI....I wore my tri top and calf sleeves under my wetsuit.

This was a mass start swim and boy was it awe inspiring. When I got in the water I looked all around me and it was hard to believe 2500 people were there with me. Crazy! The canon went off and it was just hectic. I expected it so basically I swam with my head out of the water for the first 25 yards or so just to get my bearings. Once I found a spot I did my best to keep my breathing steady and keep calm.

My sighting could use improvement, but I really didn't have to use it that much since there were so many people around. I just made sure I could sight off them. For the most part there was always some jostling around throughout the whole course. It probably wasn't until the last turn where it got open a little bit. I rounded the most of buoys OK, with the exception of the last one which angled a lot sharper than I thought so I probably swam an extra 100 yards or so.

Oh, there were swells, but very manageable. You just had to get used to the ebb, flow, and bobbing.
What would you do differently?:

I think I executed my plan well: stay calm, keep breathing steady, and try to sight off people next to you. I'm an average swimmer at best, but my form has improved.
Transition 1
  • 11m 23s

Transition was cool. I got help out of the water and proceeded to the wetsuit strippers. I used the technique of keeping the goggles/swim cap in my hand so when took my top off I could let go and they got "trapped" in the sleeve. Two less things for me to worry about.

The run up the helix was motivating. People were lined up all the way to the top! I basically walked trying to keep my heart rate down and soak in the moment.

The transition changing room seemed chaotic, but I found a couple of empty chairs and changed into my dedicated bike shorts, put on my gloves, sunglasses, helmet, and shoes. My shoes were pre-sprayed with Triglide since I don't wear socks (this is how I trained). Oh, I also put on my GPS belt since I hat tracking for my friends/family. Off i go, go, go.....

Got my bike and walked to the mount line. Down the helix (don't get dizzy!) and on to the course.
What would you do differently?:

Plan worked well. Didn't panic, had everything laid out in my bag how I wanted it. Took my time and stayed calm.
  • 56m 1s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.15 mile/hr

I felt I executed my plan perfectly here. Talking to my coach it was best to treat the first 40 miles at a "conversational" pace. Don't worry about people passing you and whatnot; focus on MY race. That worked very well and by the time I got to 40 my legs still felt good. My nutrition strategy was to take in approximately 250-300 calories per hour (I'm 150lbs) and at the bike special needs to eat a nutrition bar......yum! This also went according to plan since I kept a close eye on my Garmin so that every 20 minutes I was taking in some nutrition. Oh, I had swedish fish and offered some to the volunteer; she was happy to have it!

By the time I hit the second loop I really felt good/strong. I knew that I didn't want to push it though since it is a long day and I wanted to save something for the run. Took it easy up the hills and really enjoyed the downhills. Went to the bathroom just once when I picked up my special needs bag.

I was smiling quite a bit and lots of the spectators were making fun of me because of! I guess I'm supposed to be in pain, right?! BTW....spectator support was fantastic. Lots of people yelling, soccer horns blaring, cowbells, people running along side of you on the hills.......awesome stuff indeed. And it was just the hills as there were people lined up on many parts of the course.

There was some wind, but not too bad. At least not so much that if you had aero wheels it would push you around. I think on one or two decents I felt it a little bit. There were times when you went against the wind, but it didn't feel like it was holding you back.
What would you do differently?:

Plan worked perfectly. Had strength in legs, no GI issues....and smiled (apparently too much!)
Transition 2
  • 07m 58s

Riding up the helix was not as bad as I thought. Sort of funny since as I was riding the guy next to me said "This wasn't as bad as I thought it would be" and I said I felt the same way.

Volunteer took my bike at the top and I was off to the changing room. Took off helmet, changed to tri shorts, put on shoes (pre lubricated with TriGlide), put my race number belt on (with electrolyte and salt pills), put on GPS belt, and took a couple of deep breaths before heading out to the course.
What would you do differently?:

Everything went to plan. Again, stayed calm and had my gear organized in a proper manner.
  • 4h 54m 56s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 16s  min/mile

This is it! When I was finally on the course it took awhile to get my pacing down since the crowds were so enthusiastic and made you want to run fast. Take it easy! Ideally, I knew I wanted to be around 10:30/11:00 splits (Yes, that is slow, but my goal for this race) and it was important to save some in the tank.

I handled the first half of the run well. I knew I was going to walk all the aid stations and Observatory, but didn't realize there were some other smaller hills which I could use to save some energy. Remember for me it was about enjoying the experience and finishing strong. Crowd support was, again, fantastic. I can't say enough about the spectators around State street. Great people.

Saw some friends at certain points in the run and it was awesome. It kept me going! I definitely felt stronger on the 2nd loop of the course and it was evidenced by my slightly better split times. To be honest I was a bit surprised at how many people were walking even the very flat portions of the course. I could only imagine what would have happened if we had a hot day......yikes. Several spectators even yelled "great pace" at me even though I wasn't running that fast at all; just relative to the walkers! At this point I knew I was going to make it and make it according to my goals. It was hard not to get a little bit emotional out there!

My Garmin 910XT ran out of juice at the 19 mile marker and that sort of bugged me, but I just used perceived exertion since I knew how I was feeling anyway. The funny thing is that I didn't even use it on the swim to try and save power......wrong!

So nearing the finish I felt like a rock star: people yelling my name, cheering, high I was making my last 200 meters to the finish line I made sure I had some distance from the people in front of me so I could hear my name, make a decent pose, and hear "You are an Ironman!" by Mike Reilly. It happened and now I am an IM.

Friends/family/coaches saw me finish and hugs were spread all around. I knew that I executed my plan perfectly since both volunteers assigned to me at the end kept asking me if I was OK and said "I feel great". Nuff said :)
What would you do differently?:

Get encapsulated salt pills since some of mine disintegrated when I splashed myself with water and it got on the pills. Otherwise, plan went well and I finished strong with a big smile on my face.
Post race
Warm down:

Stretching and eating some carbs/protein.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Nutrition and Race Pace Plan executed well. Finished Strong. Recovering somewhat quickly.

Event comments:

Fantastic organized race at an excellent venue with great, supportive volunteers. What more could your ask for???

Last updated: 2013-09-09 12:00 AM
01:34:51 | 4224 yards | 02m 15s / 100yards
Age Group: 291/404
Overall: 1822/2544
Performance: Average
Suit: Full Length
Course: Point to Point
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 74F / 23C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 11:23
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
00:56:01 | 112 miles | 16.15 mile/hr
Age Group: 294/404
Overall: 1723/2544
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: The course was set up in a "lollipop" type manner. Meaning there was the "stick" part of the course which took us to the "loop" which would be done twice and back down the "stick" to Monona Terrace.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 07:58
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:54:56 | 26.2 miles | 11m 16s  min/mile
Age Group: 248/404
Overall: 1432/2544
Performance: Good
Course: Mostly flat, but there were a couple of uphill challenges (Observatory St.), but I was prepared for it.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2013-09-09 9:58 PM

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Subject: Ironman Wisconsin

2013-09-10 11:10 AM
in reply to: #4851434

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Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Way to execute the plan.  Congratulations!!
2013-09-10 12:08 PM
in reply to: #4851434


Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Congratulations! Reading race reports like this one are really inspirational -- I have signed up for IM-WI 2014 and would appreciate any advice you have to share. How soon will you do it again?
2013-09-10 2:46 PM
in reply to: Tri-Badger

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Madison, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Congrats on a great race!! 
2013-09-12 7:43 PM
in reply to: amyjotris

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Mastic Beach, NY
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Congrats Ironman! I enjoyed reading your report I think a lot the things you mention reminded me of how my race went and what I observed and felt on the course. Great swim in tough condiitions and you did a great job with your race execution especially on the bike and then the run. Congrats again.
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