Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
78F / 26C
Total Time = 14h 34m 13s
Overall Rank = 1785/2556
Age Group = M 35-39
Age Group Rank = 259/352
Pre-race routine:

Just a warning, this is going to be long and I'll probably update it as I remember things. :)

Drove up to Madison on Wednesday with Bob, Pat, & James. Stayed at Staybridge Suites in Middleton. Awesome hotel.

Thursday, we did a short swim/bike/run at Monona Terrace. Water was cold (69 degrees). I'm not a big fan of cold water and had a little trouble getting started, but after a little swimming it was tolerable. Short bike on the bike path, where we went easy enough that we got passed by roller bladers (they were doing 20+ mph). Got checked in, weighed (191.2), a little swag, and our wrist bands.

Friday: Another swim at the terrace. This was probably the choppiest water I've ever swam in. Very happy to get that swim in. It meant that neither the cold water nor the chop would be a surprise on race morning. Fire & Rescue did pull 2 people out of the water, one while we were walking to the water. A bit of an eerie feeling. Went back to hotel and did a short bike and run. Cleaned bike and started packing things up. Went to athlete dinner. Better food here than in Louisville. Some interesting things from the dinner: over 1200 "IronVirgins", 7 people who IMWI would be their first triathlon, 3 guys who had lost over 100 lbs training for IMWI including a guy who had lost 167.

Saturday: Took wife and kids to volunteer meeting, kids got to make Janus signs, and I got my transition bags and bike checked in. Got some very pasta from Noodles & Co. and watched Bama whoop Penn State :)
Event warmup:

Sunday: up at 3:30, ate PB&J bagel and some other misc. stuff. Did the final checks of special needs bags and headed to the terrace. Once at the race site, it was one step at a time. Got body marked by my wife (which was pretty cool), set up bike, dropped off bags, said goodbyes, and walked to swim start. Ran into Ryan Case and talked to him for awhile. He was looking to qualify for Kona, we wished him luck and waited until about 6:40 to get into the water.
  • 1h 22m 13s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 57s / 100 yards

Swam out to the Ford sign and hung out there with Pat and James until after the pro start. Pat and I then floated up towards the start line. I wanted to be about midpack so I could catch the draft.

As we got closer to start time, more and more people were coming into the water and clogging up behind me. I looked around and realized I was too close to the front, so I drifted back a ways. While doing this, I got knocked into a bit as some of the people who got into the water late (trying to stay out of the cold water?) swam aggressively up to the front to start.

I heard Mike Reilly start the countdown and then the cannon went off. This is where everything got confusing. In my dealings with triathletes, they have usually been nice and supportive, but not so in a mass start Ironman swim, lol. The people in front of me where not moving yet, but the people behind me where trying to swim over me. I felt like I was swimming in people instead of water. We start moving, finally, and I swam up on a guy who was having some trouble. He looked panicked. I asked "are you alright?" he replied "help" I told him to get to a kayak. He had a wetsuit and was floating good so I let him go. I felt a little bad about not taking him to the kayak, but I'm not sure 2 of us could have made it through the people soup.

The entire first lap I took a beating. Everytime I put my face in the water, I saw feet. I got knocked in the head by elbows and hands (fists) a lot of times. Let me tell you, some people have a very strong recovery stroke. Some people were kicking so hard it was scary. There was hardly a time that my feet, legs, and back were not getting hit, scratched, or pushed (yes pushed, not sure how you push someone while in the water, but it was done). One guy in a wetsuit with some green panels, had some sharp fingernails. I would have loved to have gone out wide, but it was just not possible, there were people everywhere. I worked through some calf cramps 3 or 4 times, but nothing serious.

The turn buoys were worse. Traffic got backed up, but the people behind would just try to keep swimming right over everyone.

On the front stretch on the second lap, I finally got out a little wide and found some open water (for awhile). I could see open water in front and to the sides, but still had people try to swim over me. On the backside, I ended up in the mix again. Just tried to go with it and knew it wouldn't last much longer.

Made the last turn and headed to the swim in sign. What a welcome sight that was. Got a little kick going and cruised in. Ironman swim Done!!!

I was thinking 1:30, but said with my recent rib injury 1:45 would not ruin my day and anything around 1:20 I'd be stoked. 1:22, I was happy.
What would you do differently?:

First, having the OWS opportunities at Lake Windermere this year were HUGE. I never panicked and, other than getting beat up, I was comfortable swimming.

I have no desire to start in the mix again. That was a crazy swim where I felt fortunate nothing bad happened.
Transition 1
  • 10m 1s

Jogged up to the wetsuit strippers and saw Pat getting his wetsuit off. Got the suit stripped and headed up the helix. That was fun. It was packed with cheering people. "Rockstar!!!" :) I was not in a huge hurry and just wanted to make sure I set myself up for a good ride.

The volunteer who was helping me was great. He told me step by step what to do as he helped me do it. I decided against the arm warmers, the weather was warmer than we thought it might be. Put my helmet on and carried my shoes and headed out. I saw Ryan Case sprinting out of T1 passing us leisurely transition people.

I let the sunscreen people rub some on me. Something I thought was gross prerace, but just didn't care and knew I needed it. Long run to my rack, put shoes on, and headed out.
What would you do differently?:

Could have gone faster, but might have forgot something. I have not issues with a 10 minute IM transition. If I was actually racing someone or looking to qualify (yeah right), then maybe speed up.
  • 6h 33m 12s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.09 mile/hr

Down the helix and out to the course. Some bike path riding, some no passing zone, some sharp turns, and parking lots before I got to the road leading out of Madison and to Vorona. The bikers were grouped up and everyone was just trying to sort things out.

I was really trying to take it easy and just spinning. Overall on the bike, I feel like I paced it about right. Didn't eat too much paste (very little to be honest). Most of the ride, I tried to follow the "find a comfy gear and upshift one" advice. I played leapfrog with Pat a few times. He looked to be doing good.

There were some long stretches against a little headwind. I was looking forward to the hills. Once you get to the hills, things get interesting and time goes faster. I got up Mt. Horeb no problem, just spinning. Going through Mt. Horeb was fun, the spectators were great. I hit the roller coaster stretches and spun up those hills as well. The course was a little crowded, which made the downhills a little scary. I had to use the brake a little to keep from running over people. Got to Cross Plains and decided to stop at the bathroom (I still refuse to pee on my bike and felt like a #2, but it wasn't to be)(Sorry for too many details, BT full disclosure :)). My neck, shoulders, and lower back were starting to get sore. My neck and shoulders would get sore on some practice rides, but never this early and not this bad. I thought it might have been from all the heads up swimming and sighting I was forced to do. Had to wait a little while for the porta potty, but the break was nice.

Not sure where, maybe have been the turn after Cross Plains orin between 2 of the hill, going around a right hand turn with a guy passing on my left. He took the turn tight and didn't leave me but a little room. Now, I'm not a crit rider, nor do I have much close, group riding experience. He will probably never know how close we came to having a bad day. I really thought we were going to get tangled. I'm sure he saved like a second or two though, by cutting the corner.

I knew the hills would be coming soon and my family would be a the 3rd (last) hill on this loop. Up Old Sauk Pass without much trouble. Did get out of my seat, but mainly to stretch my legs. Nice and slow, no paste. Up Timber Lane, have to get out of seat for this one. On all of these hills the spectators are awesome. Probably the closest I'll ever come to a Tour De France experience. Got to Midtown Hill and got to see my family. What a great shot in the arm. They looked like they were having fun. Bob said Pat was a few minutes a head. I figured he would be from my bathroom stop.

Headed towards the Vorona party. I was looking forward to the special needs stop. Going through Vorona was awesome as well. Heard Gene yell as I went by the aid station. After all the excitement, headed out of Vorona was a little demoralizing, but knowing I'd get to do it again was enough to keep going. Hit the special needs stop and took some time there. Tried the bathroom again, but again it wasn't to be. Talked to the volunteer as I replaced my nutrition and such. The long stretches seemed longer on the second lap. I tried to just keep a steady, controlled effort and pace.

The course was a little less crowded the second lap, so the downhills were a little better. Stopped in Cross Plains again, but for a 3rd time, no dice in the porta potty. Headed out to the hills, where I knew my family would be at the first one this time. The hills were a little tougher this time, but not unmanageable. Got to Old Sauk Pass and started up. Towards the top, Bob ran beside me for a little bit and we chatted. Saw the rest of the family and that was great.

On the 3rd, and last, big hill, the guy in front of me had his 2 sons running beside him, one was throwing water on him. Some spectators didn't like this and yelled at the kids, that someone was behind them. Shoot I didn't care. I caught the guy a little while later and told him that I knew some people had hollered at his kids, but not to worry, I thought it was awesome. These spectators spend all day, hours and hours, on the course to see their athlete for a few seconds at a time. I was happy that his kids got to have a little fun.

Back through Verona, saw Gene this time. Made the turn back towards Madison. The road back was very bumpy and I felt like the swim again. It beat me to death. Really wanted off my bike. Counted down the miles and made it back to the terrace. Up the helix and my IM Bike was Done!!!

Prior to seeing and riding the course, my goal time was 6 hours. After, I thought it might be possible, but would be a stretch and might set up a bad run. I was going to be happy with anything under 6:30, but with the bathroom stops and a long time spent in special needs, I'll take 6:33.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe put a 27 on my rear cassette. Not spend so much "wasted" time in the porta potties.
Transition 2
  • 11m 57s

I knew this was going to be a long transition. I took the time to tape my foot for the plantar fasciitis that I still deal with. Took care of my foot and made sure I lubed everything. Drank a bottle of 5 hour energy. Let the sunscreen people smear lotion on me again.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really. Was not in a hurry.
  • 6h 16m 52s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 14m 23s  min/mile

Ran out of terrace, got slathered with sunscreen again. I was surprised to see my family here, a great boost. I stopped and talked for a minute to ask about my friends on the course. Sounded like everyone was doing well.
Running down State Street was a blast. I was really trying to go slow and "run" as much of this marathon as I could. Legs felt ok starting out, but my lower back was hurting. I was jogging good and walking the aid stations. I had planned on taking a gel at miles 2, 5, 7, 10 and then repeat through the teens and see how I felt. Also, to take an e-cap every odd mile.

I noticed pretty quick that the aid stations did not line up with the miles. Sometimes there would be 2 aid stations within a mile and sometimes I'd pass 2 mile markers without passing an aid station. This threw me off a little. I just tried to take what I had planned as close as I could to my plan along with water at every aid station.

The first 1/2 of the out bound run was in the sun. It wasn't hot, but it was warm and I was sweating (but that was a good thing). I did notice I was pretty crusty which meant I had lost a lot of salt. Ran into Camp Randall stadium and around the football field. That was pretty neat. Somewhere on the path, I saw Pat up ahead. He looked to be hurting a little. I walked with him for a minutes or two and then jogged on. I would notice him, not far behind, for the next hour or two.

Made it to the turn around on State Street and saw the support crew. Chatted a little. I was still feeling ok. I think this is where Gene asked how I was doing. I told him, "my calves are cramping, my groin is cramping, and my lower back is killing me, but other than that, I feel fine." The groin (upper inner thigh) cramps were something new. I seemed to be able to walk away the lower back pain. Headed back towards the terrace. Saw James and he looked to be doing good, said he had a tough bike ride, but he looked good running. Made it to the turn around and special needs. I took quite awhile in special needs again, but I wanted to be sure to get what I needed. I had to switch race belts and move my tracker and number to the new belt. I drank about 1/2 a 5 hr energy and headed back out.

13.1 to go and I was looking forward to getting to single digits. Just before running back into Camp Randall (mile 15.5 or so), I stopped at the porta potty. The little bit of pee that came out was a very scary color (copper). Uh, oh. I knew I'd have to start hitting the water a little harder, but my stomach was feeling full. As I was leaving the stadium, Pat was heading in. Ran to the next aid stating and forced down a gel and as much water as I could. The gels were not going down great, but I knew I needed them.

A couple of miles up the road, I hear someone behind me ask me about my tattoo. It was Gragkl from BT. I walked and talked to him for awhile until Pat caught us. Pat was doing 2 min run/2 min walk. So went off together with that plan for awhile. Jogged State Street and saw everybody again. We then talked about just finishing the race together. We did quite a bit of walking from like mile 19 to 23.5. The volunteers continued to be great. With about 2.5 to go, I started doing a little math and figured if we did some jogging, I could beat my Louisville time. So we jogged most of the rest of the race.

Ran down the chute together and across the line. This time I heard Mike Reilly say those words. Got ushered to get medal, hat, shirt, and pic taken. Found family and did more pics. Went to athlete tent, where they were taking care of an athlete who passed out. I sat down for about 3 minutes, when Bob came and said James was less than a mile from finishing. I jumped up and headed up to the finish line and watched him become an Ironman. He had a great run. If I had known he was gaining that much ground on us, I'd have waited and we could have all finished together.
What would you do differently?:

Use a time based nutrition plan rather than a mile based plan and carry my own water bottle. This would eliminate the problem when the aid stations are not evenly spaced.
Post race
Warm down:

Headed back to hotel. Ate some pizza, shower, pool, hot tub. Then let my wife (ER Nurse) give me a back of fluids by IV. My 2nd IV of my life. I hate needles, but think this helped.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I have no excuses. I have some things to learn on and improve upon. This is a list for me to look back on before next time (yep, I said next time :))

1. My plantar fasciitis. Really didn't effect my race too much, but did get in the way of some of my training. I didn't do but a couple of bricks and skipped alot of short runs on the plan. I had to tape my foot for each run. I did have to tape my foot in T2, but that only took a couple of minutes. Foot did hurt late in the run, but nothing I couldn't manage.

2. Cracked rib/Strained rib muscle. Had zero effect on race day, not even during the swim. It did affect my training, especially during the taper.

3. I did not have a "race" attitude. I really focused on this being a long training day. I "wasted" a lot of time in transitions, special needs, and porta potties. 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there, really add up. I'm happy though, I really "raced" without pressure and without worrying about time. I just wanted to pace the race as I thought I should and see where the cards fall.

Event comments:

Great race, great venue, Great spectator support, they put on an EVENT. Only complaints were the water was warm on the bike course and the oddly spaced aid stations on the run.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-09-20 12:00 AM
01:22:13 | 4224 yards | 01m 57s / 100yards
Age Group: 212/352
Overall: 1431/2556
Performance: Good
Suit: Xterra Vortex Sleeveless
Course: 2 lap rectangle
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 67F / 19C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 10:01
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:33:12 | 112 miles | 17.09 mile/hr
Age Group: 214/352
Overall: 1349/2556
Performance: Average
Actual ride time (minus bathroom and special needs stops) 6:19:49 10 mile splits: 34:12 31:30 35:00 31:45 35:30 33:19 34:50 33:45 36:04 35:31 30:15
Wind: Some
Course: Lolipop, rollers, hills, rough roads, lots of bikers, great spectators.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 11:57
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:16:52 | 26.2 miles | 14m 23s  min/mile
Age Group: 297/352
Overall: 2108/2556
Performance: Average
Mile splits starting with mile 2: 10:21 11:00 11:47 12:16 13:43 12:28 12:54 13:06 14:41 13:16 14:43 13:50 16:46 14:28 15:51 15:26 15:16 15:58 16:00 18:52 20:17 19:18 16:42 13:53 13:01
Course: Some inclines, some road, some trail, great spectators.
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]