General Discussion Triathlon Talk » IMWI-Race Report 9-9-2018 Rss Feed  
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2018-09-11 4:08 PM

New user
Wauwatosa, WI
Subject: IMWI-Race Report 9-9-2018
On Sunday- I became an Ironman! It wasn't easy- and things didn't go exactly to plan- but overall I couldn't have hoped for a better day or event. The 2 weeks before the start, Madison, WI had record rain and flooding- there was speculation that the swim might be canceled, the course shortened or the race postponed. But on race day- we had a 70 degree sunny day - you couldn't wish for better racing conditions.

Swim- Rolling Start- in theory you were supposed to be seeded with like ability swimmers. The swim is a 1 big loop- with the back stretch where you head right into the sun. There was some decent chop out there that got worse as the wind picked up. I took this nice & easy, hugged the buoy line and enjoyed the swim. No issues on turn 1- but on turn 2 someone started swimming breast stroke and I jammed my finger into their back. I thought for a moment that I might have broken my finger and had to swim fist drill for a few strokes- fortunately it was just sprained and it is double the size of my other fingers today. The other thing I noticed is that everyone else swam really wide- and at first I thought I was off line- but it was everyone else!?! This unfortunately prevented me from drafting until the last 500 yards. The swim was over before I knew it. I felt great.

T1- Everything is based in Monona Terrace Conference Center- but this also makes T1 a little bit longer than usual. First you run a 100 yards to the parking ramp (helix), then up the 3/4 story helix into the changing room staffed with more volunteers than you can count! I did a quick change, hit the port a potty, got sun screen, ran another 100 yards to my bike and was off!

Bike, IMWI is a tough, technical course- lots of hills and turns. There were wrecks out there and 1 guy actually hit a deer (yes, this is Wisconsin). You ride the 16 mile stick out, ride the loop twice and see the 3 big hills (can't print their Nick Name on BT but they rhyme with Itch) 2 times and then head back in. The stick out was great, then I started to have a few issues. First, my bike computer switched to metric??? and I really didn't feel like the idea of converting kilometers to miles. No problem, I was wearing my Garmin Watch for my HR- and switched back to my old settings so now I had average mph, distance and heart rate. The first loop was solid and I stayed within myself. I did see riders clumping up and drafting. I was not going to get a penalty so I just dropped off the pace and saved my matches. Then, I dropped my chain on one of the smaller hills- again no biggie, and then ejected a water bottle as the roads were a little rough. But, I had Aid Stations, Volunteers and a bike course that is lined with some of the best spectators in the world. You felt like you were in the Tour de France on the hills.

Then, my HR monitor stopped working- reading 00, this wasn't good as my whole strategy was HR based. OK, time to use Perceived Effort and I still had Average Speed on the Garmin. The pain started on loop 2- the wind picked up and I have always had cramping issues between my shoulders- I was taking Advil,Tylenol, Salt Tablets and keeping up with nutrition- it doesn't matter- the hills on loop 2 were harder, my average mph started dropping - but the fans were still there willing us up the hills! The last 20 miles hurt... but then I was back on the stick heading back in!

T2 - You ride up the parking ramp and hand off your bike, my new best friend (volunteer) saw I was hurting and starting massaging my back- it helped. I took my time and did a full change- keep moving.

Run, this is a 2 loop run right through the University of Wisconsin Campus- you exit through the bike ramps, out of Monona Terrace- and are greeted by a hill- great! I was able to fix my Garmin- and got my HR reading for the first time in 3 hours - but after a 10 min T2, 8 minutes of which I was sitting- my HR was 183- way too high and it shook me. My friend Mike was waiting outside T2 and walked up the hill with me- telling me I was doing great (I wasn't). Then, I saw my family on the Capital Square- they were so excited to see me- but when my wife asked me how I was doing I couldn't talk- I saw concern in their eyes and I almost lost it. The next 20 minutes I went to a dark place- I knew it was coming, just not at the beginning of the run.

My run strategy was simple- run 10 minute mile pace, walk the 27 Aid Stations and Observatory Hill- the good news is that the first Aid Station is just 1/2 mile into the run still on Capital Square. I hit the port a potty, drank water, put ice in my cap, and readjusted my mind. Maybe I can't hold a 10 minute mile- but I could break 5 hours. It was time to play defense- keep moving, walk anything that was a hill and get my HR down. 12 Minutes later, I was at the 2nd Aid station feeling just a little better, mile 3 you run through Camp Randall (the Wisconsin Football Stadium)- and then my legs were back! I was feeling good, I was smiling. The Aid Stations were fantastic- I started chaffing- no problem- here's some vaseline, tired of crappy gels- have an orange or banana, can't drink Gatorade- they have Cola & Warm Chicken Broth. There was also amazing crowd support- I saw my family at Mile 6 and got a huge boost! My half marathon split was 2:23- and I felt good. I remembered Scott writing that Ironman is all about setting up the Run- there is not such thing as a good bike with a crappy run, go for a negative split.

Second Loop, you run almost to the finish line, turn and head back out. I spectated last year and always felt this was a little cruel- but as I turned back out and I was on a mission. I knew what to do and I starting passing people (lots of people, lots of carnage). I was able to run a little faster, run up the small hills that I walked the first time- and kept walking those amazing Aid Stations. Somewhere on the course, I lost my Salt Tablets- no problem, the Aid stations had pretzels & potato chips. At 6 PM, it started getting colder- and Warm Chicken Broth was added to the menu. I kept on seeing my family and friends on the course and I was getting stronger- 6 Miles to go - there was No Marathon Wall, 3 Miles to go - I was feeling amazing, and then I was back were we started. I have read countless race reports and one of the things that really stuck with me is unless you're racing for Kona- stop and hug your family- and let everyone have their finishing moment- don't be that guy who ruins someone else's moment. I looked back and there wasn't anyone close- I high fived both sides of the crowd- took my time and finished with my arms held high as I finished. Second Half Marathon- 2:15 a negative split and the most fun I have ever had running 23 miles, lol.

Official Splits
Swim 1:08
T1 10 Min
Bike 6:15
T2 10 Min
Run 4:37
Total 12:22

Age Place (Male 45-49)
29/210 Swim
69/210 Bike
58/210 Run
56/210 Total

I knew going in that things don't go as planned in an Ironman- it's long, it's hard and it's going to test you like nothing else. As I write this just 24 hours after my finish- I feel better than I should. I'm a little sore, my finger is swollen, black & blue and I'm going to lose a toe nail- but I did it. I am an Ironman!

Last thing I have to say - especially as a local, IMWI might be one of the harder courses - especially the bike course but the crowds, energy & volunteers are amazing. I don't know if I will race an Ironman again - but I do know that I will be there Volunteering in Madison,WI next year- cheering everyone on.

2018-09-11 7:13 PM
in reply to: Turner100

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Columbia, South Carolina
Subject: RE: IMWI-Race Report 9-9-2018

Woohoo!  I did IMWI in 2011.  Probably the worst race of my life, but I still loved it.  I agree about the crowds -- they were superb.


2018-09-12 5:12 PM
in reply to: Turner100

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Subject: RE: IMWI-Race Report 9-9-2018
Congrats on a great race and becoming an Ironman! I have done multiple 70.3 races including Lake Placid 70.3 this past weekend. Was thinking of doing IM Wisconsin as my first 140.6 next year. Would you recommend it?
2018-09-12 9:09 PM
in reply to: lagomorph

New user
Wauwatosa, WI
Subject: RE: IMWI-Race Report 9-9-2018
Originally posted by lagomorph

Congrats on a great race and becoming an Ironman! I have done multiple 70.3 races including Lake Placid 70.3 this past weekend. Was thinking of doing IM Wisconsin as my first 140.6 next year. Would you recommend it?

Absolutely!!! The bike course is tough, but crowd support is amazing. Plus, we’ve had really good weather the last 2 years.
2018-10-09 6:24 PM
in reply to: #5249217


Subject: RE: IMWI-Race Report 9-9-2018
I did the race. Was my 20th IM race. Without a doubt the best crowd ever!! The swim kinda sucked, due to the flooding the swim chute was narrowed down... I swim 1:10-:20 and started in the 1:40-1:50 slot because there was no way to advance...had to swim around lots of people... chop increased but It wasn’t anything like the day before so I was thankful. I hate the transition... tons of volunteers but the length in between water exit to bike exit gave me my longest transitions ever... the bike is hill after hill after hill and something like 75 turns..some really good pavement but there were a few spots that were like washboards.. It was like the tour d France with the crowds though.. Absolutely amazing, those people are having a blast... wind sucked! The run was cool! You run thru badger stadium, plenty of aid stations, and tons of crowd support. I hammered the chicken broth.. I’m going back next year just to watch and party with those people!!! Weather was perfect! Parking can be an issue so be prepared.
2018-10-10 12:43 PM
in reply to: lbkironman

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Subject: RE: IMWI-Race Report 9-9-2018
Congrats, That's a great race. That's an amazing accomplishment and awesome perseverance.

My only comment is don't let Scott know he is right too often.

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