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Ironman Wisconsin - Triathlon

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
80F / 27C
Total Time = 13h 34m 26s
Overall Rank = 1352/2554
Age Group = 50-54
Age Group Rank = 15/74
Pre-race routine:

After a broken cable in 2011 and a kidney issue in 2012 I really felt this was my year to break that 13 hour barrier. Best laid plans are made to change when in May I fell off my brand new tri bike (Parlee) and broke four ribs and missed 4 weeks of training. Onward! In my highest volume week, I had to have some surgery that kept me off the bike and out of the water for another week. Even with all of that, I felt pretty strong and ready to tackle the course I live on. With good execution sub 13 was mine.

Event warmup:

usual carb load, went to bed early and woke up every hour or two. Up at 3am for my 100CHO breakfast and out the door by 4:45am.

I purposely didn't look at the forecast until Friday. Temps were going to be perfect, upper 70s, but wind was going to be very strong, 18mph ENE with gusts to 30mph. I figured I could handle it on the bike and tried not to think about what the lake would look like. Keeping positive.
  • 1h 49m
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 35s / 100 yards

In a word, awful. I waited to get into the water with 6' to go which is pretty typical. There were many more people staying on shore or in shallow water because of the conditions. I debated doing the same--these are the scardy cats afterall, my brethren. I figured it was a bad idea to get tangled up with them so headed to my position close to the line but fairly far back. The waves were hitting me as I was trying to swim out and I was panicking. Floated on my back and tried to calm down. It wasn't working. Two weeks earlier I had done a swim like today, white caps and all. On that swim I held on to a kayak a lot. I was determined not to do that this time. Even though my fastest IM swim only 1:34, I draw the line at holding on to a boat.

The gun went off, I waited a minute for things to clear and tried to swim. More panic. A kayak was next to me asking me if I wanted to hang on. No way. If I did that it would be end. It took until Monona Terrace for me to calm down enough so the kayak left my side. I was ok the rest of the way, but would get slammed with a wave, swallow a lot of water and on it went.

The 1.1m backside was the worst. I was going into the waves so siting was an issue. I would look up, get slammed, swallow water or cough and keep going. I was most worried about the water and air I was taking in. If I don't get rid of it, it's a big problem on the bike. Fortunately I was able to burp or fart it out --it's the one thing that went well.

I knew it was taking forever, but I also knew I was passing a lot of the scardy cats at this point. I figured I was well ahead of the cut off.

I finally got out of the water and hit the strippers who had a very hard time getting my suit off for some reason. I didn't care, I was ready to be on with my day.

What would you do differently?:

I've decided to take a year off from IM and one of the reasons is my OWS skills. I don't want to go through another IM being 20-30' down from people in my AG. Time to put a more concerted effort into handling bad conditions in big bodies of water.

I suppose the only saving grace is even the winner thought the backside of the course was St. Georgeesque. Of course, he still finished in 52', about 4' over his normal time.

I later heard that many people quit, were pulled out or didn't make the cut.
Transition 1
  • 11m 52s

My goal is always less than 12' given the long run up the Helix, through the Terrace and back onto the bikes. Even with the wetsuit stuck and bathroom stop, I finally did something right! Onward.
What would you do differently?:

  • 6h 44m 1s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.63 mile/hr

I have a knack for leaving the swim performance behind me and focusing on the task at hand, the bike plan. I started the first 30' easy to settle my stomach which was remarkably good given how much of Lake Monona I swallowed. Up to 35m, I goosed my power up to low Z2 and felt fine. Once we hit Mt Horeb the wind was a factor, but I kept going. 35m-77m, the effort went up a bit more, feeling good, taking in nutrition as planned. Drinking lots of H20 since it was still very humid and I sweating a lot. The only problem no need to go to the bathroom yet. Hmmm. Hit 78m and started to have some back tightening, oh no, this happened last year. Purposely stopped at two aid stations to stretch my back. It would help and then tighten up again on a hill. Crap.

I started having some fatigue around 80m, the wind was higher and gusty and my power output wasn't where it needed to be. I wondered if I pushed too hard early even though I stuck to the plan. I don't look at my elapsed time to determine effort, but I knew I was going to be off my 6:30 goal.

Finally hit the stick to hit the last set of hills and more wind. I was fading, but determined to get off my bike and have a good run.

Still no need to go to the bathroom.
What would you do differently?:

Every year I get to the 80m and start fading. In '14 one of my goals is to strengthen my bike so that isn't as big of an issue.

Would really like to solve the back issues too.

Transition 2
  • 06m 10s

Handller took my bike and I took off my shoes for the long run into transtion and the changing rooms.

My goal is around 5' here so I was a little long. I started putting on my shoes before taking off my bike shorts, so that was the big gaff. I stopped in the bathroom (which were really gross at this point) to see if I might have to go, NOPE.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really.
  • 4h 43m 23s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 49s  min/mile

It's never easy coming up the first little teeny hill out of transition, but lots of people line the chute so you get plenty of encouragement. Lots of "GO SUZY" comments. I never know if those people know me or are reading my bib so I smile and wave anyway. I've never been someone who looks at my watch on the course,but I was planning to look at pace occasionally. I felt like I was set to run around a 4:08 based on training. First mile, 9:08. Cool. My plan is to walk the water stops, get H20 down and go as soon as I hit the end of the station. Did that at the end of the first mile and the searing back pain returns. WTF!

I'm running downhill at this point which is easiest on my back so I keep going. When I hit the first little hill my back reminded me who's boss. I walked. Dang. I stretched. No relief. On this went through the 10m mark. I knew the sub 13 goal was out the window and i was dangerously close to losing PR at this point (needed sub 13:21).

When the back started loosening up, I ran. I walked the aid stations, sometimes too long. I saw my coach Brett throughout the rest of the race and he told me my form looked great and I needed to goose things up a bit. I knew that had something to do with the PR. I ran A LOT, but I also walked too much and took too long through a few aid stations.

I would see my IRON sherpas and get a boost and lots of other friends on the course for more of a boost. Everyone told me I looked strong and when I was running I think I really didi. :)

I hit State Street which is the last hill before the finish and it was lined with so many people,many of which I knew. I ran the whole thing, probably not as fast as I think I did.

I hit the chute, I knew sub 13 was gone, I knew that sub 13:21 was also gone, but for some strange reason I wasn't as disappointed as last year. I really felt given all that I went through this year and in the water I had given it 100%.

This year I high-fived a few people as I was running down, smiled and took it all in. I finished my fourth consecutive IM WI.
What would you do differently?:

Solve the back issue so the first 10m are not walk/run and equally important get some more mental toughness the last 10k. I have it in me. I know I do.
Post race
Warm down:

Catchers grabbed me and I am always a little wobbly. Overall, I felt decent. I wanted a finishers pic this year and also took some chocolate milk while I waited. Met up with Paul, Diane, Matt and my coach Brett for pics and a chat and then headed home.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My OWS ability was and is my biggest limiter. When you pass over 900 people from the time you get out of the H20 to the finish time you know you have a lot of work to do. Spending that extra time in the water not only takes away from my ability to be competitive, but it is a big mental and physical energy suck. It's going to be a big priority for me in '14. I won't do another IM until it's solved.

With no IM on the horizon in '14, I'll be focusing more on strengthening the bike as well.

I'm disappointed about not breaking that 13 hour mark. I've felt like I was ready to do it the last three years and something always gets in the way. It'll happen, but not until '15.

I am pleased with a top 15 finish in my AG, up 6 spots from my previous best. It's not enough. I want more. :0

Event comments:

I love IM WI. It's hard not to when you live in Verona on the bike course. I will be back, stronger and ready to get my 12:XX in '15.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2012-09-20 12:00 AM
01:49:00 | 4224 yards | 02m 35s / 100yards
Age Group: 58/74
Overall: 2247/2554
Performance: Bad
Suit: 2XU
Course: One loop
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 74F / 23C Current: High
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Bad
Breathing: Bad Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Average
Time: 11:52
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:44:01 | 112 miles | 16.63 mile/hr
Age Group: 22/74
Overall: 1752/2554
Performance: Average
Wind: Strong
Course: 16m stick, 2 very hilly loops, 16m stick back to Monona Terrace. I live on Timber Lane just past the biggest hill on the course so I always know what to expect.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 86
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 06:10
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:43:23 | 26.2 miles | 10m 49s  min/mile
Age Group: 9/74
Overall: 1352/2554
Performance: Average
Course: 2 loop course around campus and State Street. Some big hills to contend with,but nothing like the bike course.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
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] 5

2013-09-10 6:12 AM

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Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
Subject: Ironman Wisconsin

2013-09-10 6:49 AM
in reply to: #4851522

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South Alabama
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great to push through in tough conditions. No doubt you will tackle the areas that give you trouble and return stronger for your next IM. Nice job! 
2013-09-10 7:08 AM
in reply to: slornow

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Simsbury, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Like Randy said to me - the swim, our nemesis

So proud of you! You finished and you finished STRONG!

Congrats IronWOMAN.
2013-09-10 8:18 AM
in reply to: #4851522

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

You toughed out a lot of issues on the swim and the back tightening up to have a great finish.

Congratulations on putting it all out there!

Good focus to rebuild for '15.  Great plan. 

2013-09-10 8:39 AM
in reply to: #4851522

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Way to pull it all together, Minnow!!! You hung in there through it all. Congratulations on another great race!!!
2013-09-10 9:04 AM
in reply to: QueenZipp

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Extreme Veteran
NW Georgia
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great job, Suzy! Enjoy your trip!

2013-09-10 9:30 AM
in reply to: #4851522

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Reading this made me smile..and tear up...and get my stuff together to go swim! Reading what you have overcome..the determination..and the optimism for next time..can't thank you enough for the inspiration. Big Congratulations for a race to be proud of.!
2013-09-10 11:08 AM
in reply to: isis

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Extreme Veteran
Collierville, Tennessee
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great race, Suzy! Good job keeping up the pace ad work in trying conditions, especially on the swim!
2013-09-10 11:34 AM
in reply to: WoodrowCall

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great race! I tracked you and a local friend all day. He finished just before you. I hope I have the same mentall toughness you had in Augusta
2013-09-10 11:53 AM
in reply to: mbehr1983

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Brevard, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin


You always demonstrate the most amazing determination, focus, and pure grit!  I get some anxiety just thinking about that swim.  Way to get through it and come out strong.  I like your plan for next year.  Again, Congratulations on a great performance.

2013-09-10 12:53 PM
in reply to: #4851522


St. Paul, Minnesota
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
I liked reading your report. Sounds like a very commendable time/race to me! However, I appreciate your competiveness. From your report, I venture to guess that its not a matter of "if" you will break 13hrs but when!

2013-09-10 1:05 PM
in reply to: hippt

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Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Great job out there in some really tough conditions!! 

With your determination, I have no doubt that you'll be back to break the 13hr mark!!

2013-09-10 2:03 PM
in reply to: #4851522

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Good job, Suzy! I actually saw you a couple of times on the run course and you looked strong.
2013-09-10 2:12 PM
in reply to: doxie

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Out running or enjoying a fine glass of red...
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Way to go in spite of the tough swim. You will beat OWS - no question about it.
2013-09-10 2:23 PM
in reply to: enders_shadow

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Madison, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Congrats Suzy!! You always looked great and very strong when I saw you on the course. Congrats! See you in 2015! My year to get revenge as well!
2013-09-10 4:07 PM
in reply to: amyjotris

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Almaden Valley, San Jose, California
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
You rocked it, Suzy!  Hugs, congrats......and can't wait to see you in November!!

2013-09-10 6:19 PM
in reply to: velcromom

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Sendai, Japan
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Wow Suzy!!  Sounds like one tough race, but you still made it happen.   Good luck on getting your swim together - you've already come a long way (do you think you would have been able to do that swim last year?).
2013-09-10 7:46 PM
in reply to: dcon

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Very inspirational race report. Digging deep from the start and never giving up on your goal. Love it, congratulations.
2013-09-11 10:49 AM
in reply to: trigal38

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
you look so short in that pic of you in the shoot.  hahaahaha!!!!   nice job.  so excited to have you and paul in atlanta this summer. 
2013-09-11 2:56 PM
in reply to: fattyfatfat

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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Well done!! Super run out there esp with your back issues!! Got ot eh beach a LOT and swim lots...of course living in WI I understand your OWS season is limited so CLEARLY you must take lots of vacations to warm places in teh winter to swim outside more  
2013-09-12 5:11 AM
in reply to: Socks

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great RR, do you think the back issues might be due to being too tense on the swim??? Have a great time in Africa!

2013-09-12 11:37 AM
in reply to: copa2251

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Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Great race (and that swim sounds brutal)!

What stands out most to me, though, is your terrific attitude.  It just comes through in everything about this RR (from dealing with the swim to already targeting next year!).  Love it.  Laughing

Thanks for a great RR and congrats on a super strong IM!


2013-09-12 12:03 PM
in reply to: mcmanusclan5

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Mastic Beach, NY
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Suzy congrats on finishing again this year, 4 times in a row is something to be very proud about. The swim was absolutely brutal, the bike was pretty tough with the wind and you had to deal with the back issues during the run. You really overcame quite a bit this year and even though you didn't have the race you were expecting to have you still did great. Very inspirational and no doubt you'll be back better than before. Congrats again.
2013-09-12 3:09 PM
in reply to: #4851522

Iron Donkey
, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin



You and I were probably within each other on the swim until the cramps hit me sometime past the halfway mark - you may have seen me hanging on the kayak inside the buoys on the back side of the swim course.

2013-09-12 8:58 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Suzy, I know you are disappointed about that time goal, but really, I hope you focus on your place in relation to your competition. You moved up 6 places in your ag! That is freaking awesome! And, I think it shows just how well you prepared for your day and dealt with the crap conditions. I've no doubt you'll come back and meet your goals (time or process) for 2015. Nobody works harder or smarter than you!

Enjoy your recovery, and I look forward to all those swim pr's you'll be blogging!

Edited by TrishM 2013-09-12 8:59 PM
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