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Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman


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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
75F / 24C
Overcast
Total Time = 13h 30m 50s
Overall Rank = 1359/2200
Age Group = M30-34
Age Group Rank = 195/265
Pre-race routine:

Wednesday:
When I got to the hotel, I had my first heart attack of the weekend when the woman initially said "I don't have a reservation for you. Are you maybe coming in tomorrow?"
After she found my reservation, I called AjFreddy for dinner and a Target run. Picked up the requisite water, Diet Coke, and Gatorade.
Highlight of the night was finding the racy Homer doll: Bow to my magnificent Man Balls!

Thursday:
I went to do the Gatorade swim with AjFreddy. I had a feeling this race was going to turn out okay when I checked my bag in and was handed #12, right off the bat. 12 has always been my lucky number, dating back to elementary school and 5yo Soccer.
My objective was a full loop of the course and feel comfortable in the wetsuit. Mission, Accomplished.
I hung around the Gatorade swim and hooked up with Craig (FirstNet911) to go get our registration packets.
My next heart attack came when I realized that I didn't bring the right USAT card with me. I had brought last year's membership card. So, I had 2 choices: wait until 2pm to come back or find a computer with a printer in Monona Terrace. Luckily there was a kiosk in the area with a printer so I only got delayed a few minutes.
After the USAT debacle, registration went through really quick and I walked out with my shiny silver bracelet and a stomach-full of nerves. :)
At lunch with Craig, Bob Stocks called after he had gotten checked into his room and came to meet us for lunch and a recon ride of the course.
This was my first real look at the course with my own eyes. It looked hilly but managable. Even the three "bitch" hills were tough, but not leg-breakers.

Friday:
Easy playful 15' swim in the morning. Then the Trixie tornado arrived in town and all hell broke loose. :) After lunch, I got to pick up Sue from the airport. It was the first time I had seen her in 5 weeks and I was dying when she kept texting me saying that her flight was delayed in Chicago.
We went shopping in the IM store and dropped a few bucks and met up w/ Trixie, Zilla, and Buck-Seventy-Nine. Finally, 10 months after her own IM experience, Sue finally got her picture with the BlowUp M-dot.
We went for an early dinner, since Sue was starving and my coach wanted me to eat my last big meal early.

Saturday:
Sue had her volunteers meeting while I went and did my swim of the course. Then I hung around with everyone else until she was able to get her swim done and we went back to the hotel.
I was supposed to do a 20 minute easy bike ride and I didn't want to go by the Gatorade swim, so I headed out down some other streets. I was crossing a set of RR tracks when I noticed the board by one of them was really worn and I was going to hit HARD with my front tire. My bike gear bottle flew out of its holder and I heard the inevitable HISSSSSS of a blown tire.
I hopped off the bike, changed the tube, and was back on the road in 4 minutes. It was the best tire changing experience I have ever had and it was just the confidence builder I needed the day before the race.
The rest of the day was spent off my feet watching movies like Miracle. Something to inspire me and get me pumped for the next day's adventure.
Event warmup:

Got up at 3:30, hopped in the shower, ate my Panera sandwich, and paced the room a bit. Sue had to tell me to sit down because I was going to be on my feet enough later in the day and I should save my legs as much as possible.

I packed my Special Needs bags, called Bob, and headed out to start the day.

First task was to drop off the Special Needs bags, then off to see Trixie and Linda (regimom) to get marked up. After hugs, some whoop-whoops, and some FIIIINE Sharpie work, I was off to make my last "procelain" potty break of the day and then wait for my parents to arrive.

We found them a good spot on the helix to hang out so they could see the swim course
Swim
  • 1h 18m 50s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 52s / 100 yards
Comments:

I got in the water really early, around 6:40, and found a spot with Joe (jszat) and hung out until it was time for us to start. I was feeling pretty nervous but looked at my HR and saw that I was still below 100, which was good for treading water.

The cannon went off and the show was ON!!

I was firmly planted in the main pack during the entire swim. I found no clear water and couldn't go more than 30-45 seconds without someone crossing my path. I caught the obligatory IM 'kick to the jaw' but threw a nice elbow later in the swim to someone else's face who wouldn't get off my left arm.

I never really needed to sight much on the day because I was just able to follow the draft of everyone else.

I did take a moment to look at Monona Terrace as we were swimming by and it was such an amazing sight seeing so many people lined up all over the place. You could just hear the cacophany of noise coming from the shore.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing.
Transition 1
  • 11m 2s
Comments:

This was my first "stripper" event and it showed. I got the zipper undone and started to pull it off my shoulders when they grabbed me and got it off my arms and down to my waist. I didn't wait for them to get it over my butt before I sat down. So I had to lift my hips and they just YANKED it off from there.

I was a little upset while I was running up the helix b/c I realized that, in the heat of the moment, I lost my swim cap. :( But I wasn't going to go back and look for it.

I had originally planned to walk up the helix but there was so much energy and so much cheering that I couldn't bear to simply walk up in front of everyone.

Once I got into the change tent, I sat down to put my stuff on and bring my HR down. I wasn't trying to rush through transition b/c I really didn't want to forget anything.

Headed out of the change area, stopped to pee, and then went to get my bike.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing.
Bike
  • 6h 09m 23s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.19 mile/hr
Comments:

The ride down the helix was as much fun as everyone had led me to believe. I kept going 'Wheeee' on the way down. :)

The 16-mile out portion was really crowded since I had come out in the main pack and I kept worrying about starting my bike with a drafting penalty.

The peloton didn't really start to break up until we hit the first bit of hills out around Verona and that is where I steadily moved up. I wasn't trying to go too hard, but I wasn't sitting back and sand-bagging either. Of course, never really learning where my "race-pace" threshold was for 112 miles was a bit of a concern but I felt good so I was going to ride it as long as it lasted.

I held to my plan of spinning up the hills in an easy gear and not attempting to grind my way up them. The game-day decision, though, was that I would push the flats in the big ring to make up some of the time I lost on the climbs. This was what really worried me when I hit the half-way point in around 3 hours. I just had a bad feeling that I was going to blow up on the 2nd loop.

Thankfully, that blow up never really materialized. Even on the 2nd trip through the climbs, I was steady and smooth.

The best part of the day was riding up the 2 big hills out by Old Sauk. It was such a gorgeous day out and there were people lined all over those hills. People had told me that it would look like a scene from the Tour, but I didn't beliee them until I saw it for myself. There was enough room between the people to pass one bike and there were points when people would run up the hill next to you yelling encouragement in your ear. I had never been a part of something like that before and it really felt special.

As for nutrition and fluid, I paced myself well on the 800 calorie bottles of eFuel, taking a drink every 15 minutes, and stopped at Special Needs to pick up my turkey sandwich and Snickers bar.
At each water station, I took a bottle and topped up my AeroBottle with water and poured some over my body. I also made the right call and grabbed a 2nd bottle at the stop before the big hills and put it in my jersey as a backup, if needed.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing.
Transition 2
  • 09m 37s
Comments:

As I rode up the helix, I was sooo happy to simply be off the bike. I almost wanted to hug the guy who took it from me. :)

As I hobbled into the transition area, I heard 'SHAUN!!'. I turned around and saw Sue standing at the railing. Talk about a welcome sight. I ran over (don't know where I got THAT energy) and gave her a huge hug and a kiss.

Then I got my bag and into the change area. Unlike T1, the change room was sparse with competitors, like most had told me it would be, so I had my own volunteer helping me get everything set for my run.

I slathered up my feet with BodyGlide before I put on the socks and the shoes. Then I put BodyGlide all over my waist to keep the tri-shorts from cutting into me with the hydration belt (didn't really work). The volunteer took my water bottle and filled it for me with some ice-cold water.

I pulled out my visor and just looked at it. For 2 years, I had been weary of putting on anything with an M-dot for fear that it would curse me. (Kind of how hockey players will not touch the Stanley Cup until he has won it for himself.) I had decided on Saturday that, if I made it off the bike before 5:30, there was nothing that could stop me from becoming an Ironman. So, I had decided to put the M-dot visor in my run bag. I put it on, slid the bottle into my belt, and went out to finish what I had come to Madison to accomplish: To Become An Ironman!

What would you do differently?:

Nothing.
Run
  • 5h 41m 58s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 13m 03s  min/mile
Comments:

Loop 1 (2:44:50):
As I exited transition, I was actually coming onto the course with the lead men who were starting their 2nd loop. I stayed stride for stride with one of them for about 5 steps before he smoked past me. :)

As I turned the corner around the Capitol, I was greeted by the group of Jockstraps Extraordinairre: Trixie, Regimom, Zilla, and ADollar. I stopped for some hugs and a quick picture before heading off again.

One of the coolest parts of the run course was running through Camp Randall Stadium, home of the UW Badgers football team. You never realize how big a stadium is until you run through it when it is empty.

Other than that, the 1st loop was pretty mundane. I kept up my 8/2 structure, keeping my HR in the right zone, and switched off every 30 minutes between Gatorade and water at the nearest aid station.

Loop 2 (2:57:08):
On the way back out for the final 13.1 miles, I was greeted to the most witty display I have ever seen from a set of jockstrappers. I had to stop and get another picture with that crew.
The 2nd loop was really going to test my limits. I knew that I had enough time even if I walked the whole thing. But, it was about my ability to will my legs to do more than just walk. Over the 2nd loop, my pace when from 8/2 to 6/1 to 4/1 to, eventually, 2/2. But I never stopped running completely, which was one of my biggest goals.
I kept waiting to hit the wall between miles 17-20, but it just never came. There was too much energy coming from the spectators out on the course. At mile 18, I headed down State Street for the 2nd time. By now, there were all kinds of people out having dinner on the restaurant sidewalk patios. When some of them would cheer, I replied with a 'Can you hook a brotha up with a biscuit?'
I saw FitPhd at mile 19 and had her call Sue to let her know where I was. That was a real boost.
The next several miles were a blur. Just keeping moving and going from aid station to aid station in my quest for chicken broth. :)
Finally, I came back under the train tracks and towards the Capitol.
I stopped one last time with the crew to say my Thanks and then headed for the finish line.

It was here where I really expected to get all emotional but, for some reason, I didn't. I expected that a build-up of tensions from the past year would come crashing over me with this accomplishment, it didn't. With 500m to go, I simply put my hands to my face in disbelief. I was going to do it. I was actually going to finish an Ironman.

That final chute is such a blur. I remember feeling the carpet of the chute. I remember pulling down my top and zipping it up. I remember saying to myself 'Raise your arms when you finish'. I remember hearing my mom yell my name and giving her a thumbs up. I remember Mike Reilly saying 'Shaun Gallagher from Columbia Maryland; Another First Time Ironman'.

That's the last thing I remember of the race. I don't really remember breaking the tape or how it felt. I don't remember holding the arms-up pose for the finish line photographers.

The next thing I knew, I had arms all over me. First, there were 2 people in tan shirts, then there was 1 person in a tan shirt on my right and a red shirt on my left. I looked down at my left and there was Sue. She had waited in the finish chute for me to come across and body-checked the 2nd catcher out of the way.

What I can remember of that moment, of seeing her smiling face, of hearing her voice, was that all the pain, all the agony, all of it was simply gone.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing.
Post race
Warm down:

As I stood there in the finish chute, I knew I wanted 2 photos. One of me at the finish, and one with Sue.

After that, I wanted to sit down and have food. The food tent didn't have pizza when I got there, so I had a ham and cheese sandwich and a coke. Then the pizza arrived and I had some of that.

At the same time, Sue had gone off in the quest to find my parents. When they finally found me, we took some photos and I headed back to the room for a shower and a massage.

Trixie and Regimom came over and brought some McD's fries. After 2 years, they weren't really what I had remembered.

My original thought was to go back and watch the 11-midnight finishers, but I simply had no energy and crashed HARD!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Nothing.

Event comments:

For 2 years, I had built up this vision in my head of what it would be like to be able to call myself an Ironman. I still don't think I truly comprehend the magnitude of what I was able to accomplish.

I will say one thing though, I would never have actually made it to this level without the wonderful support of so many people leading up to the race, and on race day itself. Thank you everyone.




Last updated: 2007-06-16 12:00 AM
Swimming
01:18:50 | 4224 yards | 01m 52s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/265
Overall: 0/2200
Performance: Average
Suit: QR SuperFull
Course: 2 Loop Rectangle
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation:
Rounding:
T1
Time: 11:02
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
Biking
06:09:23 | 112 miles | 18.19 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/265
Overall: 0/2200
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: 16mi Out and back with 2 40mi loops
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
T2
Time: 09:37
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
05:41:58 | 26.2 miles | 13m 03s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/265
Overall: 0/2200
Performance: Good
Course: 2 loop course through Madison and University of Wisconsin
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
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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2007-09-12 10:12 AM

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Champion
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Subject: Ironman Wisconsin


2007-09-12 10:23 AM
in reply to: #961448

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Master
2808
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, Minnesota
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Good to see you on the course.

Great RR. Congrats, IRONMAN!

2007-09-12 10:29 AM
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Master
2052
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Colorado
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Awww, Shaun! Yay you! Great work.
2007-09-12 10:30 AM
in reply to: #961448

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Elite
3223
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Hendersonville
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Wow, that was a great race report!! No wonder it took you so long!!
2007-09-12 10:51 AM
in reply to: #961448

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Champion
5850
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Michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
i can't tell you how amazed i am by you. seriously, i 'm a truly amazed at the transformation that you've been through. From the MCM last year that you struggled to finish (yet could still belt out baby got back with me) to IRONMAN WISCONSIN on sunday when you looked like you were out for a stroll in the park.  i am in awe.  i am honored that you have allowed me to become part of the gopher crew and am thankful that i was there to witness your first ironman.  i love me some you.  congratulations.
2007-09-12 10:55 AM
in reply to: #961448

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Champion
5850
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Michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

btw, your girlfriend is seriously HOTTTT.

 ROOM SERVICE!!!



2007-09-12 11:00 AM
in reply to: #961448

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Master
1978
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Chelmsford, Massachusetts
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Yay, that was awesome!!  Great RR!  Made me smile alot!  Funny, we had some of the same experiences...the not remembering the finish and the crashing hard even though we wanted to watch the other finishers just to name a couple.  I'm so glad we can share stories now!  I can't wait to hear all about all the little nuances that didn't make it into the report.  CONGRATS IRONGOPHER!!!   Whoop whoooooooop! 
2007-09-12 11:06 AM
in reply to: #961448

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Champion
19812
50005000500020002000500100100100
MA
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Congrats Shaun on becoming an IM!

Great RR and well executed race...interesting post race thoughts....

Enjoy your well deserved rest!

2007-09-12 11:23 AM
in reply to: #961448

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Pro
3906
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Libertyville, IL
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Nice meeting you and awesome job on the race.  I still dont know how we kept getting pulled into the vortex of doom before the swim start cuz it didnt seem there were any waves at all.  Go figure.  Congrats Ironman!
2007-09-12 11:54 AM
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Pro
4292
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Evanston,
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Fantastic Job, Shaun!  Congratulations, IRONMAN!

I love how you describe the spectators -- amazing.  The best Ironman RR's have to be tearjerkers. 

2007-09-12 12:07 PM
in reply to: #961448

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Champion
7704
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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Takes a while to sink in   I don't think its ever what anyone expects it to be.  Congrats on a great race and meeting all your goals!!  Thanks for letting me share the day with you.....Hope you had fun


2007-09-12 12:18 PM
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Champion
8936
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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Woot!  Congrats, IronFarmShaunGopherType!!
2007-09-12 12:23 PM
in reply to: #961448

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Extreme Veteran
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Greenwood, SC
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great race! Congratulations!
2007-09-12 12:30 PM
in reply to: #961448

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Master
2571
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Tiger's Den
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Awesome, just awesome. Thanks for the great RR. I feel like I was there experiencing it with you!

2007-09-12 12:57 PM
in reply to: #961448

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Champion
6962
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Atlanta, Ga
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Great job man.  Welcome to the club!  It will take a while to sink in and I bet every time you read, hear or think about an Ironman...you will get emotional.

Right now,  just know that you did it and no one can ever take that away from you.

2007-09-12 1:15 PM
in reply to: #961448

Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great race report! Awesome job, Congrats!!


2007-09-12 1:41 PM
in reply to: #961448

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Master
1732
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Delafield, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Awesome race Shaun. Great report too. I saw you out on the run course a couple of times and you really looked focused. I shouted out to you, but you were in the zone. Congrats. Ironman.
2007-09-12 1:48 PM
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Elite
2515
2000500
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Sweet RR, Shaun. Congratulations on becoming an IronMan and thanks for sharing your journey with us.

Cheers!

Tom

2007-09-12 2:06 PM
in reply to: #961448

Iron Donkey
38643
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, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

It's too bad I didn't have a chance to meet you. You RAWK!

Congratulations now that "YOU ARE AN IRONMAN"!!! 

2007-09-12 2:55 PM
in reply to: #961448

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Elite
3687
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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
What a great report.  Very sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you.  Congrats on reaching your goals.
2007-09-12 3:17 PM
in reply to: #961448

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Master
1790
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Whitsett, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
What an awesome story and race report. Congratulations Shaun. You did it brother.


2007-09-12 3:20 PM
in reply to: #961448

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over a barrier
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great report...I met you around mile 21 I think...
2007-09-12 3:24 PM
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Expert
1148
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NW Suburbs, Illinois
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Great job and great race report!!

2007-09-12 3:25 PM
in reply to: #961448

Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Congrats Ironman!! That's something nobody can ever take away from you.

BTW, were you the Shaun in the BT jersey that I kept seesawing with on the first lap of the bike? I was #828 RYAN. If so, we finished with very similar bike splits.
2007-09-12 5:36 PM
in reply to: #961448

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Champion
5529
500050025
Nashville, TN
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great RR.  We all had a blast cheering for you this weekend.  Hopefully it is just the beginning of many more races for all of us!  Congrats Ironman
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