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Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman


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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
55F / 13C
Precipitation
Total Time = 15h 18m 40s
Overall Rank = 1805/2475
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 338/411
Pre-race routine:

I was nervous as hell going in to this race. (Ask BadgerIronman, Lar Dog and Xtera Tri - whom I rode the course with on Saturday) Despite having set the alarm for 4, I woke up at 3 and could not get back to sleep. I got up and started to get ready. I ate some cereal and granola. Drank some Powerade, and immediately felt like I was going to puke. The nerves in my stomach just would not cooperate.

I turned on the TV to check out the weather forecast, and found out that it had changed yet again. Now they were forecasting temps in the 50's, rain and "breezy" conditions all day. I was not happy to say the least. My wife was up and watching with me by then. She tried to give me the glass is half full perspective on things. It didn't work. I just kept thinking: "I trained a year to race in terrible conditions."

At 4:30 I got a ride to the race site from my father, who flew in from New York with my mother to see the race. I dropped off my special needs bags on State Street and headed to the transition. When I got there something amazing happened.

I walked in to the transition area and was overcome by an overwhelming sense of calm. I recognized all of this. All the bikes racked and waiting for their owners; people milling around with their wetsuits in hand; body marking; the hiss of tires being inflated; these were the the sights and sounds of triathlons, and somehow there was comfort in that. I can't explain why, but it made me realize that I had to trust my preparation (no matter how shitty it was) and rely on my will. I could only do what I could do. It was a really great feeling.

I took the garabage bags off my bike; checked my tires; loaded the bento box with gels and power bars; reset my cyclometer and took my stuff in to the convention center. I found a spot on the floor and sat down next to 2,500 other would be Ironmen. When the time came I put on the wetsuit and walked down to the water.
Swim
  • 1h 32m 43s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 11s / 100 yards
Comments:

The swim went as I expected. I started toward the back so as to avoid the blender at the outset. I quickly started passing people in the back though, and that put me in the blender anyway. It was fine. I stayed relaxed and calm throughout the swim, and my time was almost exactly what I would have predicted based on my training swims.

On the west end of the course, the water seemed to get a little choppy, and I had a few mouths full of water. Also, there was one guy who grabbed my ass so many time I thought he was trying to pick me up. Other than being groped, I was happy with the swim.
What would you do differently?:

Start further up, and get in the blender sooner. I think I sacrificed some time for piece of mind.
Transition 1
  • 12m 17s
Comments:

I got out of the water, and ran to the strippers. What a bonus these guys are. I'm was on my ass and out of my wetsuit in 2 seconds flat. I ran up the helix to the transition, and my family was waiting for me half way up. My kids were screaming like lunatics, so I high fived them and screamed right along. It was awesome.

I ran to get my transition bag. I took my time to dry and change. (Little did I know how useless drying would be) I had bought a water resistant wind breaker at a local Dick's sporting goods the day before because of possible rain. (Thank God I did!) I put it on over my trisuit and went on my way

I got out and found my bike. The Iron bike was upon me.
What would you do differently?:

Not much - maybe go a little faster, but I wanted to make sure I had everything I needed.
Bike
  • 7h 40m 59s
  • 112 miles
  • 14.58 mile/hr
Comments:

I know that the bike is my weakest link, and I worked hard to improve it this year. Nothing could have prepared me for the 7 1/2 hours that lay ahead though. Ultimately my time was not good, but I got it done. I will never know how much of this ride was me and how much was the weather, but on some level Ironman is always about surviving. I survived.

Loop 1: The plan was to take it easy on this loop, keep my heartrate down, and remember that I have a long day ahead. I did that, and for a brief time felt like I was almost enjoying myself. I was holding steady, and felt like I had alot left for the second loop. As the ride went on, the weather got worse though. The raim got heavier, the wind blew harder. Descents on the wet roads were scaring the crap out of me. Still, I was sticking to my game plan. I was drinking enough and taking in plenty of calories. I was uncomfortable, but not miserable.

One note on this loop. The crowds on the climbs were fantastic. The number of people, and the way they crowded the road really made it feel like the Tour. I can't tell you how much these folks lifted my spirits. At the top of one hill this guy started running next to my bike and yelling: "you own this hill - kick its ass." Despite my better judgment, I got out of the saddle, let out a war cry and climbed. I know it was wasted energy, but I don't regret a second of it.

Second Loop: Now the suffering begins. The weather got MUCH worse. By mile 70 I was soaked, freezing and miserable. The descents scared me even more than on the first loop. It seemed like all the flat sections on the course were in to a screming head wind or brutal cross wind. (At one point I was hammering in to the wind, only to look down and see I was doing 11 mph. Demoralizing.)The hills started to look like the Rockies. I hit mile 80 and realized that I had to pedal through 32 miles of this crap and then run a marathon. The idea of quiting became a constant companion.

Somebody on this site has a signature line that reads: "Pain is temporary - failure lasts forever." I started repeating that to myself out loud, and kept doing it for the rest of the bike. I'm sure the other people on the course thought I was nuts, but any port in a storm baby! It worked well enough to get me through the bike.
What would you do differently?:

Figure out how to become a better cyclist.

Not race in crap conditions.
Transition 2
  • 13m 35s
Comments:

NEVER have I been so happy to get off my bike. As I pulled in to T2 my family was standing there screaming. It really helped. I knew I had made the bike cut off (my big concern), and once I got off the bike I felt surprisingly ok. (Based on how I felt on the bike I expected to feel like death.)

I got my transition bag and went in to change. The changing room looked like a red cross tent. Guys were wrapped in blankets and shivering uncontrollably while they decided whether to go on. I actually thought to myself: "well at least you don't feel like they look."

I changed in to my dry running clothes, sat and drank some warm water for a few minutes, shook out my windbreaker, put it on, ate some fruit and walked out to face the marathon.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing - I took a long time, but I needed some warmth.
Run
  • 5h 39m 8s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 12m 56s  min/mile
Comments:

My wife was there when I got on to the run course. She screamed: "I love you Bill." I screamed my love back. Some guy standing by her then screamed: "I love you too Bill," which was a perfect start for this marathon because it was all about the spectator love. The volunteers and spectators were amazing. They cheered, clapped and cajoled me through this race. Every "looking good," cup of broth, handful of pretzles or cup of coke pushed me another step along the way. They were amazing.

First Loop: I felt surprisingly good at the start of the run. I ran (run being a relative term after that ride) for about 5 miles, stopping only at aid stations. I felt great. Then very suddenly something happened. Everything started to hurt. My knees, my shins, my lower back and my neck. My right forearm, an area of my body I was barely using at this point, started cramping up in a terribly painful way. I realized that walking was going to be prominently featured in my marathon. I walked as needed on the first loop, and "ran" the rest. As the rain continued to pelt me I began to feel miserable again. The windy stretch by the lake was particularly bad. It became an exercise in putting one foot in front of the other, but I finished the first loop.

Second Loop: As I made that unbearble turn at the finish line to begin my second loop I looked at my watch, did some math, and realized that I might pull this off. That gave me a burst of energy, and I started my second loop much like the first - with a few miles of "running." It didn't take long for the pain to return though, and I started lying to myself to get through the race.

First I told myself that all the wonderful people cheering me on didn't think I could finish. That they were only there to see me fail. I had to finish just to prove them wrong. (I'm sure I need intense therepy to figure out why crap like this motivates me.)

Then, with about 9 miles to go I started to tell myslef that this was like any run after a long day of work. ("You run 9 miles at night all the time - no big deal.") I then started visualizing my run course at home, and for some reason it helped. There was still plenty of walking up hills and through aid stations, but I started to feel better.

Random stuff from the marathon:

- At some point (I lost track of the mile marker) a volunteer handed me a glow stick. I responded with: "I've been waiting for one of these all day." For some reason she thoughts that was really funny.

- At mile 22 a female cop who had been standing in the rain for hours, and was obvioulsy delusional, told me to "bring it home" because I have "great legs."

The Finish: I can't describe how great it felt to round the corner toward the finish. I started screaming again, and the crowd reacted by cheering me on. My wife, oldest daughter and parents were waiting for me. My 11 year old stood in the pouring rain for 15 hours and change just to cross the finish line with me. She steadfastly refused to go back to the hotel. How lucky am I?

There were hugs all around. Holding my daughters hand, and yelling at the top of my lungs, I became an Ironman.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing - I gave everything I had under the conditions. Next time I would like to run more and walk less, but this time this was just fine.
Post race
Warm down:

Went inside to warm up!

Event comments:

The conditions (life leading up to the race and weather on race day) interferred with my first Ironman in a big way. Still I was very happy with this race. I feel like I really accomplished something by toughing it out.

No Ironman next year (too much "life") but definitely in 08. I just need to decide which one.




Last updated: 2006-09-12 12:00 AM
Swimming
01:32:43 | 4224 yards | 02m 11s / 100yards
Age Group: 318/411
Overall: 1852/2475
Performance: Good
Suit: Sleeveless QR wetsuit
Course: Two lap rectangular course in lake Monona
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 73F / 23C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
T1
Time: 12:17
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
Biking
07:40:59 | 112 miles | 14.58 mile/hr
Age Group: 364/411
Overall: 1953/2475
Performance: Below average
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: Two rolling loops through the beautiful Wisconsin countryside.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Below average Cornering: Below average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
T2
Time: 13:35
Overall:
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
05:39:08 | 26.2 miles | 12m 56s  min/mile
Age Group: 315/411
Overall: 1737/2475
Performance: Average
Course: Two loops through city streets of Madison.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall:
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Evaluation
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

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2006-09-12 7:47 PM

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Master
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Subject: Ironman Wisconsin


2006-09-12 7:55 PM
in reply to: #538723

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Expert
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Sherman Oaks, CA
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
What a gruelling race!

Congrats. That is amazing.
2006-09-12 8:04 PM
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Master
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Atlanta, Georgia
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
I'm getting cold just reading these race reports. . What a day, for sure!

Way to go Ironman - You did it under really tough conditions and that must make the achievement that much sweeter!

Good luck in '08.

c
2006-09-12 8:09 PM
in reply to: #538723

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T1
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
I love the image of your daughter waiting all day to cheer you on the end...awesome!!

Congrats, Ironman!!
2006-09-12 8:15 PM
in reply to: #538723

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Pro
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Wisconsin near the Twin Cities metro
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Way to go IRONMAN!!!!!!! You showed grit and got it done. I really enjoyed reading about your family cheering you on. It was an epic day for all of us. Good luck with future training and that next IM in '08!
2006-09-12 8:39 PM
in reply to: #538723

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Extreme Veteran
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CT
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
congrats on such a awesome accomplishment. YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!!!


2006-09-12 8:55 PM
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Champion
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Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
aw man, I thought you looked a little panicky on Fri night...  I was nervous you would fry yourself up with worry. BUT YOU DID IT!  way to go, Ironman!
2006-09-12 9:01 PM
in reply to: #538723

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Champion
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Dallas, TX
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
What a fabulous report!

It sounds like it was a REALLY ROUGH day out there. I can't imagine having to race for that long in rain, and wind.

That is so cool that your kiddo stayed out there and waited for you! She is on her way to being an Ironman!

Thanks for sharing your race report... simply wonderful.

YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

2006-09-12 9:08 PM
in reply to: #538723

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Veteran
213
100100
Los Angeles, CA
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Congratulations! I know life was really getting in the way of your training way to stick with it and put together a terrific race.
2006-09-12 9:15 PM
in reply to: #538723

Champion
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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Great job Ironman, nobody can take that title away from you!  It was fun following you guys on the web!!

 

2006-09-12 10:14 PM
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Master
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Delafield, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Way to push through all the adversity and finish this race. I was a spectator and can't begin to tell you the amount of respect I have for you to keep pushing until you crossed that finish line. Also it is nice to know, as a spectator, that the enouragement we yell means something to the athletes.


2006-09-13 8:28 AM
in reply to: #538723

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Extreme Veteran
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Denver CO
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Wow, this race report might be the best I've ever read. You really did a great job, especially considering the conditions AND the fact that it was your first ironman. Now I'm going to take my scheduled run in the rain tonight and not whine about it.

Way to go! And thanks for the inspiration.
2006-09-13 9:12 AM
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Champion
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Atlanta, Ga
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

That was an AWESOME RR and Epic Journey.  You used everything at your disposal for motivation as we all did. 

Those people on the climbs were nuts.  Moving over at the last second...just like the Tour..I suppose.  Way to let out a War Cry!!

Awesome job...IRONMAN!!

2006-09-13 10:04 AM
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Elite
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In The Peleton
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
So inspiring Bill, great RR! I was in the cheering section all day, and the weather got to me, I am totally in awe of all the athletes. Congrats on a great race!
2006-09-13 10:28 AM
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Champion
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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
WOW great RR   congratulations ironman!!!  Tough conditions and you did it!!
2006-09-13 10:33 AM
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Veteran
251
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Burbs north of Chicago
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great race, must have been great to have your wife, daughter and parents there to share it with you.  I'm not sure if this is bad for me or good for you but I understand your mentality of turning the crowd into your competition.  In a day like you raced in whatever it takes.  Great job, Ironman.


2006-09-13 10:54 AM
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Elite
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New City, New York
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Congrats Bill! I know you had your doubts through training, and with all all you endured you were entitled. In the end, you pulled it off, in brutal conditons, I might add. Perserverence personified. Outstanding and inspiring!
2006-09-13 11:18 AM
in reply to: #538723

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Crystal Lake, IL
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Reading this report was, like others, inspirational.  I've used that word a lot lately but it really fits.  What an amazing day for you.  Congratulations.

 

2006-09-13 12:45 PM
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Regular
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MD
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
What a terrific report- one of the best I've read. Congratulations on a great accomplishment that let you know how deep your well goes.



2006-09-13 12:53 PM
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Veteran
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Oak Park, IL
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Way to go Ironman!  I was out there cheering on Sunday and just couldn't stop saying, "I can't imagine trying to complete an IM in these conditions."  And you did just that.  Like Hangloose said, very inspirational indeed.
2006-09-13 2:25 PM
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Expert
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Mukwonago, WI
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Nice job Ironman! I wasn't there watching this year but last year I volunteered in 90+ degree weather with wind. I am not sure what is worse but you endured under miserable conditions - great job!


2006-09-13 2:26 PM
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Elite
2768
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Raleigh
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Way to go... I stood outside in that stuff and was happy I was not competing...

 

You are a Ironman,,,, so it to yourself over and over

2006-09-13 3:13 PM
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Pro
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Libertyville, IL
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Awesome race Bill!  I was following your progress from afar and rooting for ya all day.  Way to go IRONMAN!  If you ever are up for a ride and want to stoop to heading out with a non-Ironman, let me know.  Enjoy the time off!
2006-09-13 3:22 PM
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The Original
7834
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Raleigh/Durham
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Wow- great race!  Way to stick it out and become an IM!  You had a great run time!  I can only hope that I'll run a sub 6 marathon in my first IM!  Congrats!
2006-09-13 4:21 PM
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Master
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Chicago
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Way to go Ironman...I am not only in awe and inspired by you, and every other Madison Ironman, but so very proud of all of you who finshed this race!! My sister did it as well, so I was out there at 5:30 a.m. until she crossed the finish line for her second Ironman at around 7:44!!

I just recently started doing triathlons, having just completed my first Sprint distance this year at Accenture. I can totally see how people get hooked on these things, as it feels like such an accomplishment, and I've only done a Sprint distance, so for you, having just finished your first Ironman, in those hellish conditions, has got to feel pretty sweet.

WONDERFUL job on Sunday...like Mike Reilly says..."You are an Ironman!!"

Best of luck to you in the future!!
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