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Ironman Wisconsin - Triathlon

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
78F / 26C
Total Time = 11h 47m 7s
Overall Rank = 490/2826
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 91/417
Pre-race routine:

Stayed at my cousin's in Sun Prairie, about 20 minutes away. Woke up at 4:30, had banana, cereal, yogurt and gatorade for breakfast. Drove with wife downtown, went to check bike tires and fill up bottles with water. After that, went up to drop off special needs bags. No rush at all, had plenty of time. Went back to parking garage to get swim stuff, and got into wetsuit around 6:20. Started making way down towards swim start, anxiously awaiting arrival of other family members. at 6:50, seconds before I headed toward the swim entrance, my daughter, parents, cousin and aunt all showed up. Great timing. Gave hugs and kisses and went towards the swim entrance.
Event warmup:

Not a thing. The light walking around loosened things up a bit, stretched my arms some but mostly shoulder shrugs. Didn't need to do any more. I'd been training 9 months for this. I was ready. I took a moment to look back at the spectators and be amazed by the sight. It was incredible. I went towards the ramp and found a spot about 4 or 5 rows back with 2 minutes to go until the start. Now I just had to wait for the cannon to go off..
  • 1h 07m 32s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 36s / 100 yards

Hole. E. Shit. That mass start was insane. I've had some bumps and contact plenty of times before, but never to this extent. For the first 200 yards I felt I was fighting for survival. Contact on all four sides and nowhere to go. I took three elbows to my right goggle by the same guy (not intentional, I'm sure). I tried breathing to my left but couldn't get clean gasps of air - mostly water. It was a struggle, more difficult than I had thought. But I bore down, knowing at some point it would get better.
It wasn't better by the first turn (I gave a brief "moo" but didn't stop). I was trying to draft but was also being drafted, and I kept almost swimming over the person in front of me. INSANE.Don't get me wrong, I was guilty of plenty of contact myself. One person was drafting too closely - I'm talking arm and hand up my backside close - so gave a few donkey kicks which gave the appropriate message. After the second turn things finally opened up and it was relatively smooth swimming the rest of the way. I just could never find a steady draft partner to work with. But I kept reminding myself that this was the best part of the day for me (I enjoy the swim) and that the hard parts were yet to come.
It was great to see the swim exit come into view. I had my Garmin set to go off every 10 minutes so I knew I was where I wanted to be. Got out of the water and saw 1:07, almost exactly what I had hoped for.

What would you do differently?:

Tough question to answer. I've talked with so many people, the general consensus is to set up very wide to avoid traffic. But I'll always be setting up near the front so that doesn't help me. I guess try to get faster so I can be in front of the contact!
Transition 1
  • 09m 5s

First full Ironman transition went just OK. Volunteer didn't have my bag ready, but I saw it and grabbed it when I came by. In the changing area no volunteer came to help me until after a few minutes, and he wasn't much help, he just mostly sat there. I forgot to pack socks for the bike, but I shrugged that off since the weather was nice. Clumsy with my sunglasses - they fogged up right away inside, had to take them off and wait until I got outside to put them back on.
What would you do differently?:

I know volunteers are awesome and overwhelmed, but I need to quickly scan and find one who looks like he knows what he's doing since my poor guy seemed pretty lost.
  • 5h 57m 50s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.78 mile/hr

Got out on the bike easy enough, no issues. Was having pleasant chats with a few people as they passed me by. I knew I'd be passed a ton and was OK with it. I knew if I was to have a good run, I had to keep my HR down on the bike, be steady and smart.
Well, right off the back my HR was up in Zone 3 instead of Zone 2 where I wanted to be. Early on I figured it was due to adrenaline, and it would come back down eventually, so I kept an eye on my cadence and worried only about the area immediately in front of me.
Five miles in, I feel a weird itch in my left armpit. I reach up, feel some sort of bug that turned out to be a BEE and it stung me! It was the last thing he ever did, although I did feel his bite the rest of the day. Good thing I'm not allergic. Then a few more miles down the road and another fly goes into one of the vents on my helmet! I loosened the adjustment strap to reach up and squish him before he could annoy me. I didn't dare take off my helmet, as the course marshals were in my vicinity quite a bit.
I got to Verona in the time I expected, but HR wasn't dropping down yet. Maybe nutrition and water would help. They didn't, I was going to have to dial it back more or risk a bad run. But my legs felt fine - I didn't want to go slower if I didn't have to!
Around the 20th mile, some guy passes me and then reaches back for a bottle. When he tried to put it back, he couldn't guide it back in properly. He thought he had it, but he wasn't even close and dropped the bottle - directly in front of me. I had nowhere to go, prepared for the worst, and caught it with my front tire but not the back. "FUCK!" I yelled out, and the guy glanced back, but didn't even toss out an apology. Three miles down the road I saw the same prick throw his food wrapper to the side of the road. What an asshole. (side note: I caught his bib # and thought about reporting him, but when I saw the results he had a terrible run, so hahahah you jackass - that's karma for you)
If you've read or heard anything about IMWI, you know the hills are legendary and so are the crowds. The crowds did not disappoint. I had great rides up the hills, passed many people each time. Saw my coach and training buddy on the second, they gave me some advice and encouragement (take it easy, save some for the second loop).
Finishing the first loop going through Verona's main drag, I saw my family going crazy. Awesome. Stopped at special needs to get my advil because my back and neck were getting sore, and also grab my honey stinger waffles since the bonk breakers were getting harder to eat.
Second loop was a bit slower. I made every effort to stay in Zone 2 as much as possible, and did a good job of it. More great climbs on the hills. I kept changing spots with a woman named Tina (bib 277). I passed her around Mile 80, but she caught me later on the run. I never stuck with one person too long, so I just did my thing. No winds made for a great ride. Coming back up the 3 Bitches on the second loop, however, my left hamstring gave a few yanks. I didn't like that at all. Another sign to dial it back, I guess. Coming back into town I knew I had a chance to get it done in less than 6 hours, and I was satisfied with that. Could have come back in a bit faster, but there was traffic on the path coming back in with very few safe places to pass.
What would you do differently?:

Go out even easier, get my HR under control sooner. Find a better way to get nutrition - maybe some Infinit. Switched between GU, Roctane, Bonk Breakers and Stinger Waffles made for some variety (took in about 250 calories/hr), but think I could do better.
Transition 2
  • 02m 54s

Loved coming back in and just handing my bike to someone. That was cool. Didn't have to worry about shoes either, even better. Just took my helmet off and went for a quick T2. Changed out of bike shorts into running shorts for comfort (glad I did). Already had my bib on from the bike (I know it wasn't necessary, but I was using MyAthleteLive GPS tracker on my race belt) so that made it go just a bit faster. Shoved a few GU gels into my back pockets and took off. MUCH better volunteer help this time.
What would you do differently?:

Can't think of much. I think a sub 3 minute T2 is pretty respectable.
  • 4h 29m 45s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 18s  min/mile

I knew I had to go out super slow, especially given what I had done early on the bike. I hit the first set of porta-potties I saw on Mile 1, then hit an aid station manned by a friend of mine from Iowa, Doug (he was everywhere that day!). He gave me a great boost out of the gate, and when I came around the next corner there was my whole family going crazy again! My wife even ran with me for about a block, asking how I was feeling. They were great boosts, but I was still going too fast. I slowed down even more, and found a comfortable zone. I went station to station, walking at least 10 seconds but no more than 20 - just enough for food and water. This worked out well for me early. My training buddy Steve found me around Mile 4 and he ran with me for a good 2 or 3 minutes, giving me encouragement. He was great out there, all day.

Then about Mile 10 my stomach started acting up. I didn't have any Tums or something similar in special needs. I mentioned it to my coach when I saw him, and he said to just do what I could. I tried changing up food at the stations, pretzels at one, chips at another. Nothing helped. I also knew there was a very small, tiny rock in my left shoe somewhere. It wasn't painful, just annoying as hell. I figured I would stop on the second loop sometime to try and get it out if it got worse.

I hit the turnaround at exactly 2 hours. I saw Carl right near special needs, and he shouted something to me but I wasn't able to make it out. I saw Doug again at that same aid station, but only my cousins at the next corner. Oh well. I could tell the stomach issue wasn't going to go away, and if I couldn't get nutrition in my body, this was going to be a tough run. And it was. The walks turned into 30 seconds, and my pace slowed considerably. I stopped in Camp Randall stadium on the turf to take off my shoe and ditch the annoying pebble or whatever it was. Thought I got it out, but it came back not even 50 yards later. I would later realize it was in my SOCK, not my shoe.

The best part of the day was making the turn at State Street at around Mile 20. My entire family was there along with a high school friend, and they were incredible with their cheering! I needed it most at that point. I gave my parents high-fives, and my daughter ran with me for a block, asking how I was doing. "Tired," I told her. "But I'll see you at the finish line soon."

I wanted to do 4 hours, but I had known at the start of that second loop it wasn't in the cards. Luckily my primary goal of finishing with an overall time of sub-12 was very much a reality, and I took comfort in that. I saw my coach one more time with less than 2 miles to go, told him again how I was feeling, and that I was readying myself for the final push with no stops. Off I went, up State Street, towards the capitol, scanning for my family left and right. No sign of them.

Finally, coming around the final turn with the chute in sight, there they were, as loud as they had been all day. I ran over to them, gave my sunglasses to my wife and tried to hug everyone. I almost burst into tears right there. But I had to go claim my prize. I heard my name as I came down the final yards, followed by "You are an Ironman."
What would you do differently?:

Pack TUMS. That alone would have made the difference.
Post race
Warm down:

With a queasy stomach, I had to sit for a bit. I was able to sip on some chocolate milk, and it did an OK job. I wasn't starving like I usually am after races - probably because I was afraid I'd throw up like I had come so close to doing the final 10 miles. A local friend Ashten finished while I was sitting, and I got up to give her a huge hug (it was her first IM also) and got our finisher's photos taken.My family also came over at that point to offer their congratulations before they all had to start diving home. It was great to see them and thank them.

I sat back down, and when my catcher asked me how I was doing and I said I wanted to lie down, he took me to medical to be on the safe side. I got weighed, blood pressure and HR checked, was asked about my nutrition throughout the day and they gave me some broth, thinking my lack of sodium may have been an issue. I think that - along with the rest - helped, and I was back on my feet.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Hard question to answer. I know I still need to improve on the bike, and engage my glutes more instead of pedaling with my quads. That alone will make a huge difference. Dial in my nutrition better and try some all-fluid solutions instead of gels and waffles. Plus be better prepared for anything - I had Advil, why not back Tums as well?

Event comments:

I don't think I could have picked a better event to do my first Ironman. With my T1 exception, all the volunteers were amazing. The crowd support everywhere was spectacular. If you want to feel like a pro, go do IMWI. Yes, it is one of the more challenging courses on the circuit, but you will be rewarded my more cheers than you can imagine. It's inspired me so much, that next year I want to go back, but as a volunteer - I can be right there on the course with my friends and training partners, cheering them on. And I'll use the volunteer perk to early register for IMWI again in 2016!

Last updated: 2013-09-17 12:00 AM
01:07:32 | 4224 yards | 01m 36s / 100yards
Age Group: 47/417
Overall: 337/2826
Performance: Good
Suit: Helix Fusion full
Course: Single loop rectangle with 4 left turns
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 09:05
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
05:57:50 | 112 miles | 18.78 mile/hr
Age Group: 87/417
Overall: 455/2826
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: Stick and two hilly loops
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 81
Turns: Good Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:54
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
04:29:45 | 26.2 miles | 10m 18s  min/mile
Age Group: 91/417
Overall: 490/2826
Performance: Below average
Course: Two loop course
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %2
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2014-10-15 7:44 PM

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New user

Des Moines, Iowa
Subject: Ironman Wisconsin

2014-10-16 2:46 AM
in reply to: #5060317

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Co Louth, Ireland
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
nice report - congrats on the achievement!
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