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Ironman Wisconsin 2021 - Triathlon

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
68F / 20C
Total Time = 15h 44m 48s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Amber, Lisa and I were all back at IMWI for our "10 year" race reunion that got delayed a year. Only Amber and I were racing this year, though, and Lisa was our sherpa extraordinaire. On race day morning, we were up at 4am. I had a packet of instant oatmeal at the hotel and got dressed and went though my morning checklist so we didn't forget anything. We left the hotel at 4:50am and made it to our usual garage a little after 5am. I was anxious about there being no spots still left in the garage by the time we got there, but thankfully it wasn't an issue. We dropped off our Special Needs bags first and then walked to Monona Terrace to add stuff to our bikes/T1/T2 bags.
Event warmup:

We waited inside Monona Terrace until about 6:15 (so nice to have access to real restrooms before a race!). Then got our wetsuits on and started walking down to get in line. The corrals they made were way too small, and people were crowding in. Thankfully, I was right where I needed to be, just a little behind the 1:30 flag. But I'm sure lots of people weren't able to seed themselves appropriately. We were packed into the chute like sardines. I got a little nervous during this section, just waiting to get moving. Finally, they were playing the National Anthem, and the gun went off right at 6:45. It took at least 15 minutes for us to start to move, but once we got going, it went pretty quickly. They had 5 people go every 3-4? seconds. I crossed the line right after 7:07 am, to start Ironman #6.
  • 1h 35m 1s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 15s / 100 yards

This swim was pretty uneventful. The lake was a little choppy and there were some pretty good swells closer to Monona Terrace on the return side, but nothing too crazy. I didn't feel like it was particularly crowded either, probably because I was seeded appropriately. The kayaks on the out section were maybe a little too close in, so that the course was pretty compact, but I suppose that helped with sighting and staying on course. I was also glad that I chose to wear my full-sleeve wetsuit.
What would you do differently?:

I'm happy with this swim. It was slower than the last time I did this course (1:27), but on par with my swimming abilities this year. The only thing I'd change would be to put more bodyglide on my neck - I got some chafing on the right side.
Transition 1
  • 17m 7s

Well, this was ridiculously slow. I stopped just before getting to the helix to take my wetsuit off - there was another girl doing the same so we acted as each others' wetsuit strippers - that helped a lot. Running up the helix was fine, getting my T1 bag was no problem. But I must have entered a time vortex at this point to take so long. What in the world was I doing??? I know I took my sweet time toweling off my feet and applying sunscreen, but 17 minutes worth? I also stopped at least twice while walking my bike out to take my bike shoes/socks off to get more grit out them. I can't stand cycling with debris in my shoes.
What would you do differently?:

I think the index card checklist I made to help "streamline" T1 ironically made it more cumbersome. I need to simplify the stuff in my T1 bag next time and make it dummy-proof so I don't even need to think about it. But at least I was comfortable getting on the bike this time.
  • 7h 27m 29s
  • 113.5 miles
  • 15.22 mile/hr

I loved this bike! I hadn't ridden this course for over 10 years so it was really fun to do it again. I felt pretty good the entire time, paced myself well, and did my nutrition just as planned. Stopped for the first time at special needs to grab my pre-frozen gatorade and peanut m&ms, use the potty, and reapply sunscreen. This all somehow took me 6 min. I think maybe next time I should pack an almost-empty spray sunscreen bottle, since that might be quicker. I stopped one other time around mile 85 for another quick potty break.

I felt great on the first loop and still pretty good on the second. Seeing Lisa cheering me on in her cow costume on Timber Lane hill #2 on each loop was great! And the Midtown Rd hill was amazing the first time around - I felt like I was climbing one of the Alps in the Tour de France with all the cheering crowds. The second lap was a different story - almost all the spectators were gone and there was a speaker playing an Erectile Dysfunction ad rather loudly. Quite a change in atmosphere from the first time around! lol

The most annoying part was when I realized around mile 108 that there were still 6 miles left (i.e. this course was longer than 112 miles) thanks to the 70.3 mile 50 sign. I was really confused by that - apparently it was somewhat publicized that there was a longer detour, but no one I talked to knew about it. That was really annoying because I was trying hard to get done before 7.5 hrs and that made it more difficult. But I still made it in the nick of time, and saw Lisa cheering for me as I pulled into transition!
What would you do differently?:

I think I did very well in pacing myself overall. I felt well-prepared for all the hills since I rode so many in training. I would have liked my overall speed to be faster, but it is what it is. I still felt strong getting off the bike in T2, so I think I did a good job of not over-doing it. My rolling pace was 15.4 per my Garmin (I forgot to turn off the auto-pause feature). Again, I'm happy with that, given my current fitness level and the difficult course.
Transition 2
  • 17m 1s

Another ridiculously slow transition. And I didn't even apply sunscreen here, since it had been so overcast all day (and even sprinkled a little bit during the bike) and was already 4:45pm. I did wet wipe my face, which felt amazing after the bike. And I did a full change + visited the potty. I think I could save a lot of time if I got a really good trisuit that I could just wear the entire time. Maybe next time!

I didn't run any of this transition and it was pretty long (had to go across the length of Monona Terrance twice). I'm sure that also contributed to the slow time. But I just didn't feel ready to run yet.
  • 6h 08m 11s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 14m 03s  min/mile

Oh, the marathon. I've been battling injuries in my left calf and right foot for a couple months, so I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. But I started off strong, and ran the first mile before starting a run/walk combo. I actually didn't feel too bad at this point, and didn't even take any pain meds until later in the run, I can't remember exactly when. (I had taken a couple tylenol and ibuprofen hours earlier on the bike).

I ended up running with a guy named Joshua (HS principal from Chicago) for several miles in the first lap, since he was doing a run/walk and was a very positive person. At some point he wanted to walk a little longer and I decided to go on ahead and didn't see him again until after the race. I was on my own then for a long time. I got to the turnaround and by this point, my stomach wasn't feeling great. It wasn't bad per se, but just... unsettled, and nothing sounded good. I grabbed my clif bloks, an extra bag of OTC meds, my headlamp, and a little baggie of shelled pistachios just in case, but never ate them.

As I was heading out for lap # 2, I saw Amber on the side cheering me on, which was nice, but also confusing/disappointing, as that meant she hadn't made the cutoff somewhere. I didn't see Lisa here as she was volunteering at the finish line. At this point it was starting to get dark. I stopped around mile 14 and took some Pepto and visited the port-a-potty, since I was feeling gassy - thankfully that's all it was!

I did a lot more walking here, sometimes only a 2:2 ratio run/walk. I was definitely hurting more at this point, and the second lap gets dark and lonely so it's easy to slow down. I took more Pepto a few miles later and that helped settle my stomach, but I couldn't eat anything from about mile 20 on. All I had from that point on was Gatorade and chicken broth. Around mile 21 at the farthest turnaround point, I got another girl (Emily from Chicago) to run with me. I figured that it was going to hurt either way, so we might as well run and get it over with. We stuck together for most of the next four miles, keeping each other accountable to run, and only walked the aid stations. We picked up a few other stragglers here and there, but ended up all separate by the end.

I was really proud of myself for rallying in the last 5 miles and running most of them. I was very emotional coming around the capital into the finish chute. I had the entire chute to myself and high fived people along the way and just felt amazing. The finish line chute definitely made all the pain and struggle worth it!
Post race
Warm down:

Got my finisher's hat, shirt, and medal, and got my picture taken. When I left the finish area Lisa and Amber were right there. It was so good to have my friends there with me! We walked back to Monona Terrace to pick up my bike and our gear bags, and then just went back to the hotel. We all showered and cooked some frozen pizzas and sat around eating and talking about our days.

Event comments:

This was a well-run race and despite some challenges (not having as many volunteers) I felt like it was still very well-supported. I was happy to be able to race in Madison again!

Last updated: 2021-09-16 12:00 AM
01:35:01 | 4224 yards | 02m 15s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Suit: Xterra Vortex fullsleeve
Course: 2 clockwise loops
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 17:07
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:27:29 | 113.5 miles | 15.22 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: The stick including some extra mileage for a detour + two loops. Wind 10 mph from NE. Overcast with some sprinkles and high of 77.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 17:01
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:08:11 | 26.2 miles | 14m 03s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2021-09-16 2:32 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Olathe, KS
Subject: Ironman Wisconsin 2021

2021-09-16 2:44 PM
in reply to: #5278079

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Bronze member
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin 2021

Amazing job! Way to go - loved hearing how you persevered on the run! 

2021-09-17 7:05 AM
in reply to: #5278079

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin 2021
Congrats on another IM finish!
2021-09-17 12:31 PM
in reply to: #5278079

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Alpharetta, Georgia
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin 2021

OMG the erectile dysfunction ad on the loud speaker at Midtown Road SENT ME! hahahaha
It was an HONOR being there with you for your 6th Ironman! I'm so proud of you! Until the next "last Ironman" ... 

2021-09-17 3:11 PM
in reply to: #5278079

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, Minnesota
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin 2021
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