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Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
71F / 22C
Total Time = 10h 59m 44s
Overall Rank = 204/2826
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 37/297
Pre-race routine:

I stopped eating at 4pm the night before and then switched to a liquid diet. For the morning breakfast, it was mostly a liquid diet + a banana. This got me to over 1,000 calories for breakfast. I then cleaned out a Mountain Dew bottle and filled it with tap water. Buying water was something I forgot to do. I sipped half the bottom until race start.
Event warmup:

No warm up. Went to restroom a few times and then had 10 minutes to get to swim.
  • 1h 14m 45s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 46s / 100 yards

My liquid diet worked well. Perhaps too well in that I didn't really need to do to the restroom at all. Fearing this would screw me over on the race, I went to the restroom yet again before the race and tried to get something...anything to happen. Well doing this made it so I only had 10-15 minutes to get to the swim start. I had no idea where I was going as 95% of the athletes were already at the swim start.

Insert "oh shit!" feeling now.

Well I made it to the start and found myself in a giant line. I dropped off my morning cloths bag and freaked out for a second since I thought I dropped my goggles. Luckily I put them in my wetsuit sleeve and they didn't move. I'm standing with everyone and they tell people to get in the water, even through the national anthem. Guessing they were behind. Well I finally get into the water with a whole 2 minutes to spare. Here's where I messed up.

This was my first mass start. I see a whole bunch of people hanging back. I'm not the best swimmer but I improved a lot and am better than what time I got. I move forward a little thinking I'd be in a good spot but I was dead wrong.


The race starts. I swim for a good 10 seconds and then am stuck with hundreds of other swimmers. I didn't think anything of it but I'm taking two strokes and them having to tread water for 2-5 seconds for the first 10 minutes. I was a little peeved since I wanted to get going. More so since people kept nailing me and then they'd just nail me 2 seconds later...over and over again. Well this fish in a can of sardine swim lasted until past the half way point. At that time, there was FINALLY a little open water to where I could swim semi normally and go around some people. I still hit a lot of traffic but I kept telling myself that next time I'm starting at the front and will just have people pass me if they need to.

I'm going along and am thinking about PSI vs Bar air measuring systems (seriously...) while swimming, and then I see the swim exit. Insert next "oh shit!" feeling again. At this point I had to pee. I've done this twice before and I figured it would be easy to do. I relax my legs and don't use them at all. I'm using arms only but nothing...nothing at all is coming out. I think I swam 200m slow as hell before I finally said screw it and then just swam normally towards the exit.
What would you do differently?:

Get in water sooner and position myself more near the beginning. I'm not a FOP'er but I know I'm a faster swimmer than this. Learn how to swim and pee at same time. It's a skill I don't have anymore I guess.
Transition 1
  • 09m 23s

I'm out of the water! I stopped my watch and see 1:15 or so (stopped it slightly after exit). I kept thinking to myself, "Wow, that swim went by super fast!" I do 3,500yd strait swims every 1-2 months and they are not too exciting... Anyway, I'm out of the water and the strippers get me out of my wetsuit instantly. At this point I'm freaking out since I forgot to pack my water bottle to clean off my feet but there was no sand at all anywhere so my feet was spotless. Score! With my wetsuit in hand, I run towards T1. To get there we had to run up a three story helix ramp. They blocked off 1/2 of it for fans and 1/2 of it for athletes to run up. Man I never experienced anything like it. People were shouting and making noises like crazy! Running around in circles and hearing the fans shout was intoxicating!

I then get to T1. This if my first full IM branded race and their transitions are different than what I'm used to. I had to run inside and get my gear bag I dropped off the day before. I get my bag from a volunteer and go to the men's changing area. *Insert random nude dude in corner of eye*. Err... I am not doing a full change here. Instead I just put on my biking shorts over top of my tri shorts. I am completely out of it though but I had a volunteer to myself who emptied my bag on the floor, reminded me what I needed on, and then packed my wet suit for me. Totally awesome! I finally get everything on, thanked him a lot, and am out the door towards my bike.

I put on sun screen before I left but I should have used the volunteers since they were outside and they put it on thick (which is good). I thought I'd be fine (my still red sunburns today tell my otherwise). I skip them and am going towards my bike and I see the line of port-a-potties. Err...I should just pee on the bike but I never have before so I go to them. Opened one, dude in it. Opened another, and a dude is pissing in one of the plastic holder things where you put your stuff while doing your business. "WTF!?!" I thought. Finally I found one that was green (open) and didn't have someone in there. I take a long long piss and almost fall from the slick floors and my biking shoes, which are not meant to be on wet plastic.

I did my business, found my bike, and run with my bike out of T1.
What would you do differently?:

Wew....a 9:23 transitions. Lot of things could be better. The transition area was HUGE so I'm not going to break any records here but peeing while in the lake would have saved ~30 seconds and also practicing my transition routine with a chair. Next time I'll do this better.
  • 5h 35m 6s
  • 112 miles
  • 20.05 mile/hr

My low goal was 185 watts and I really was aiming for 190+. In the end, it ended up being closer to 177 (for the 4.5 hours of data I recovered) but I was at 189 normalized power.

This was the first time I got peed on and as one would expect, it's not a fun experience. A guy passed me and then I felt the lightest of light sprinkles. I didn't know what it was but then I got some glitter around the guy's shorts and knew he was peeing. I was pretty ticked off that someone would pass me and then decide to pee. I was going to say something but I just passed him and never saw him again. Actions speak louder than words, or so they say.
What would you do differently?:

Hit me target zones and stick to my training plan. I was sick so many times this year (medical issue) that I skipped a lot of key workouts. Overtime, those all add up.
Transition 2
  • 05m 28s

New experience for me. I'm done with the bike part and a volunteer takes my bike and racks it for me. Pretty cool :)

I run inside the building to the T2 changing area and get my run bag. This is a simple transition. Take bike shorts off, put hat on, and off I go. Volunteer takes my packed bag with my biking stuff and store it. I'm off! Ooops....still have my bike gloves up. Backup a minute. I take them off. I don't see a volunteer around so I find where they put my bag and toss in my gloves. OK! Now we're off.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing much. 5 and half minutes sounds like a lot but it's a big area and I was running after my running shoes on. My legs were hammered on the bike and I was not running that great with my bike shoes on.
  • 3h 55m 2s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 58s  min/mile

And I'm off! "Oh shit...I'm tired and sore". I normally have a HUGE problem of starting my brick runs way too fast and it come back to haunt me later on. No worries today with that problem! First of all, I lost my GPS signal while running inside to T2 and I never got it back. Looking at my watch over and over and seeing no pace was not going to fly with me. I kill my watch and turned it back on. It finally started to show my pace. I hit the lap button at the mile one marker and I estimated I was at a 9:00ish/mile.

Things start to feel better after mile one. Those non-stop crowds and cheering at the start were intoxicating and kept my spirits up. I see aid station one and I put some ice in my hat, put it back on, grab some water, and Perform. I walked through the aid station. I walked through them all except the 2-3 that I skipped entirely.

That ice is starting to cool me down a little. I thought to myself, "what the hell is that smell?". Oh...that's me. The dried lake water, sweet, and melted ice gave me a light musty smell. Not unbearable, just not something I'm used to smelling.

I keep on going and see my pace is in the mid 8 minutes/mile range. Great I tell myself but I really want to be under 8 minutes if I can. Well that never happened. I kept looking at my HR and told myself I was NOT going to screw over my entire race because I wanted a few miles to be faster, so I just stayed the course. I'm going and going and feeling good. My mind tells me I should stop and walk. I respond with "WHY?! I'm not tried and the more I walk, the longer this day will become." I am able to fight the good fight with myself as long as I could but then at mile 17ish I shut down. I timed my GUs wrong since not all aid stations had them and I was a good 20-25 minutes behind on eating. I walked almost 1/2 a mile and grabbed a GU from the aid station. I took it with my dehydrated mouth and I could slowly feel my systems come back to life.

I look at my watch. Eeeks 11:01 minute/mile. I'm slowly running and then I reach a hill and it was like everyone in the race just gave up at the same time. It was funny but sad too. 20+ of us were slowly jogging along but we all walked up that hill. I overheard some moaning comments about how the run was too hilly and had too many turns. I sort of agreed on the turns, but like a sign on the sidewalk said: "Suck it up buttercup!"

Wew, I'm over that hill. Now I can "run" down the hill. run was more of an all out effort not to fall on my face. I was slowly going down it but I refused to walk down a hill. I mean come on! The race continued and I jogged the rest of the way but walked through the aid stations and was very slow to start back up. My times were inching towards 10 minute miles. At this point, I knew I wasn't going to get my sub 11 hour goal and just sort of gave up.

"BEEP!" Next lap happened. Wait a minute....that sign says mile 24 and not 23. My watch is off from starting late + me not taking the straightest path. Mental math time... the clock said 7:15 when I started. I'm pretty sure the actual time is 7:05 since the pros went 10 minutes before us.

  • Oh shit I can make it! I need to get my ass in gear though! Here's where me ending some of my long runs with a 30 minutes Z3 comes into play. I book it...I book it hard! My pace is not at Z3 but my HR is there. I try to find a fast sustainable pace and keep it up. I pass a guy who passed me 5 minutes ago who I thought would beat me no matter what. Sorry buddy but I have a goal to achieve! I make it to the last mile and the crowds are pretty thick. The cheering is going on, the music is going on, and people are giving it all they can, whether they are on their first or second lap. I past the Run special needs and I know the last .3-.4 miles is around the turn.

    I squint and I see the running timer at the finish line: "10:59:20". At this point I went berserk. I turned to the crowd and gave out a loud roar! I then raised my fist in the air and they went wild. I held my arm out and then 20+ people held their arms out to give me a slap. I ran over and slapped them all. I then ran back towards the middle of the road. "Oh shit!!!!" My calves and quads cramped up instantly from that little spectacle. My body was about to give out and I was about to fall over. I was freaking out. All that stands before me and my goal is about 15 seconds and legs that are going to have to topple over at this very moment. I correctly my form and things just synched back up and it was game on!

    3...2...1.. Arms up!

    I did it! Two volunteers hold me and made sure I was ok. I couldn't stop smiling. They have my arms like I'm going to fall over at any second. They walk me over to the water station and I ask for some chocolate milk instead. They give it to me and get my finisher shirt for me while another volunteer medals me. I'm feeling ok and then get my picture taken and find an empty seat. My smile just was not going to come off easily, that's for sure.
    What would you do differently?:

    Not get sick. Increase run fitness. I would LOVE to run under a 3:30 IM marathon. My PR is a 3:24 standalone marathon so I have a lot of work to do.
    Post race
    Warm down:

    I did what I shouldn't have done and sat around a lot. I massaged the hell out of my calves and legs though. I did get all my stuff and rode my bike 2 miles back to my hotel though with all my transition gear, so I'm sure that helped a little.

    What limited your ability to perform faster:

    Swim position, bike and run fitness could be better. Nutrition on bike and run did not worked out as planned with losing Perform bottles, water only aid stations, and not have GUs when I should have one the run.

    Event comments:

    This race was awesome. 11 hour was my soft goal that I barely hit. My real stupid goal was a 10:30 IM. That was my cut off point where I knew if I hit it, then I could work my ass off to try to KQ the next year but this race was so insane I decided to skip the 1-2 year IM break and signed up for it again. I won't KQ next year but I'll hopefully be one step closer and be a few minutes faster. Either way, I know I'll have another great experience!

    Last updated: 2014-09-09 12:00 AM
    01:14:45 | 4224 yards | 01m 46s / 100yards
    Age Group: 104/297
    Overall: 652/2826
    Performance: Below average
    Suit: Wetsuit used
    Course: The course was a giant rectangle like shape with the bouies on the left side and a in water mass start.
    Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
    Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: Low
    200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Below average
    Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
    Waves: Average Navigation: Average
    Rounding: Average
    Time: 09:23
    Performance: Below average
    Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
    Suit off:
    Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
    Jump on bike: No
    Getting up to speed: Average
    05:35:06 | 112 miles | 20.05 mile/hr
    Age Group: 37/297
    Overall: 204/2826
    Performance: Average
    I was only able to get 4.5 hours of the bike off my Garmin by importing the Fit file into Golden Cheetah and then manually uploading to Garmin. I noticed at the end that my power was reading 0 randomly when I was pedaling for over 3 seconds, so something was messed up. Either my watch or battery it going out. GC says that 72% of the time I was in Z3 and 25% in Z4. Don't know if I trust those numbers or not but it is what it is. I went off power and perceived effort alone in this part of the race. This is my older (but still useful) HRM. Had to use it until I get my new one replaced under warranty.
    Wind: Little
    Course: Welcome to IMWI! You thought this was going to be flat?'re screwed buddy! I'm on my bike and am going along. I have 5 GUs on my aero bars (100 calories each) and a Cliff Bar (220 calories) in my tri top. I start to eat my Cliff Bar about 20 minutes into the bike. I didn't want to eat or drink anything until at least 15 minutes into the bike course. Eating these things is not easy though. It's a big wad of dryness. I nipple on it for over 5 minutes and drink the Gatorade I had on my bike. "Mile 10" What the hell!?! 10 miles already. This day is going to fly! I felt as if I just got on the bike. I was feeling pretty good except the saddle sores I had. These hurt the second I sat down but not like I'm going to just give up today. Onward I go. The course so far is not too bad. It has hills but nothing crazy yet. I did most of my training on flat bike trails and the trainer though. I make it out to the start of the first 40 mile loop and here's where things get crazy. I reach a hill that is pretty steep. Crowds are all over this hill though and cheering people on. Everyone by me slows down to a crawl. Me? I put it into my 25 gear (was worried I should have got a 28 but this worked), and I just charged up the hill. I'm not the best cyclist but I'm a good climber. I don't know why but no one, I mean no one, came even close to me on the hills. I wasn't trying to burn matches here but it's easier for me to increase the watts and go at 80-100 RPM at 300+ watts than it is to do 50-60 RPM in Z2-Z3. I'm over the hill and we get some down hills. About 3-5 miles later though insane hill #2 emerges. This one seemed like it was never ending but up I went. Again I passed people left and right but at the top of the hill my left quad is cramping up pretty bad. I get up to speed on the descent and then just coast a while to let it recover. Some of the downs on this course were insane. I couldn't even peddle to make myself go faster so I just coasted a lot of them. I reached speeds of over 35mph on some. Throughout the course, I was thirsty as hell. I drank 50-100% of the Perform in between the aid stations. One station was right before some damn rail road tracks so after I got my new bottle, I lot it somewhere within 2 minutes. I was pissed about that.~40 minutes later I finally made it to another aid station and downed it instantly since I was so thirsty. This happened twice for me. At mile 90 I had 50% of my bottle downed but I grab another and put it in my spare slot. I finished up the bottle and hit some bumps and "POOF!" out went to the full bottle of course. No idea where or when exactly but sort of mad that my full one (the heavier one) got ejected and not the empty one. Final notes of this: Loop two got to me. The hills caused my leg to REALLY cramp up. It hurt like hell but again slowing too much down on the hills would only make it worst for me. It went back to normal about 20 minutes later.
    Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: ?
    Turns: Good Cornering: Good
    Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
    Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
    Time: 05:28
    Overall: Average
    Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
    Jumping off bike Bad
    Running with bike Good
    Racking bike Good
    Shoe and helmet removal Good
    03:55:02 | 26.2 miles | 08m 58s  min/mile
    Age Group: 37/297
    Overall: 183/2826
    Performance: Good
    Avg HR: 156 (with some crazy 190+ spikes due to me using my old/crappy HR monitor).
    Course: I really liked this run course! I did the full Vineman last year and really enjoyed it but the run was in, what felt like, the middle of nowhere. This course had us going all over the city with the start/finish next to the capital building. We even got to run inside and around the Badger stadium. I've finished in the Lincoln station though (Lincoln Marathon) so that part didn't impressed me too much but it was still pretty damn cool to run around the football field...twice.
    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: Below average
    Race evaluation [1-5] 5

    2014-09-09 4:30 PM

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    Subject: Ironman Wisconsin
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    2005-09-19 12:18 PM tnickerson
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