Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
82F / 28C
Total Time = 13h 39m 17s
Overall Rank = 1424/2912
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 27/81
Pre-race routine:

This is LONG, but the desire to do this race started 8 years ago!!!

How it all started:
I watched my first IM in 2002 and thought "one day I will do this race". I ran a little, biked casually on a hybrid, but didn't know how to swim and was afraid of the water having nearly drowned when I was 27. I started marathoning the following year and started and stopped swimming lessons multiple times frutstrated with my progress and still afraid of the water. In 2007 and 2008, I BQ'ed, ran Boston twice and decided I had gotten what I needed to out of running and committed to learn how to swim no matter how long it took and how humiliated I felt getting there. A friend and BT'er suggested I meet with her tri coach, Steve Janowiak (Steve-) from Endurance Sports Institute, that he had helped her a lot with her stroke so I did. I hired him 2 days later, May '09. Within my first lesson, I felt progress and over the course of the next several months, I knew I would be able to get ready for my first IM. I volunteered at IM WI and signed up the next day, September '09. I had a fantastic journey training for IM WI '10. I became a better bike and water was no longer something I feared. I was ready!

Pre Race
Three days prior: Focused on getting more good carbs into my diet without increasing calories. Started eating fruit smoothies with bananas/berries/yogurt and OJ to boost carbs without eating a ton of grains. Added potassium and magnesium supplements to help avoid cramping during racing (similar to what I used to do for marathons). Avoided all caffeine.
Two days prior: Increased water and took a Salt Stick cap at Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Avoided all caffeine and sugar.
Day Before: Extra water throughout the day, 1 Salt Stick Cap at Lunch and Dinner, limited fiber significantly to whole grains and one apple. Avoided sugar. Used to eat a spinach salad at lunch, but eliminated it to avoid any GI issues.
Dinner: Split pasta I had ordered between lunch and dinner. Nothing else.
Went to bed at 8:30pm and slept reasonably well until midnite. Felt rested when I woke up at 1:20am. I had formulated my safe race time so my friends would have an idea of where I would be when. As I was laying in bed before I fell asleep I formulated my ideal race plan if things went well. I wanted a stretch goal.

Race Day
Race Breakfast: Woke up at 1:20 to coffee/soymilk creamer, limited supplements to Amino Acids. Had Steel Cut Oats with Brown Sugar (210 calories) and 1 piece of low fiber oat toast with PBJ (210 calories) and my seizure meds, 2 Salt sticks. Total morning calories=420 .

Right before swim: Ingested about 100 calories of Carb Pro.
Total Calories= 520 calories

Event warmup:

Walking down the Helix and trying to maneuver myself among the masses to get into the water.
  • 1h 35m 55s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 16s / 100 yards

The swim start was crazy with people. While I had a little anxiety stuck up on the Helix, I was pretty calm about the swim itself. I walked down to the area where you get in the water with my training buddies and the next thing I knew I was in the water and swimming to the left of the ski jump. I seeded myself very far back and slightly right of the buoys. Suddenly the anthem was done, the gun went off and I was swimming. The initial start wasn’t too bad because I was so far back which allowed me to settle in. I did find myself catching up to other people which caused some contact, but nothing too severe and I was able to take it in stride. I sited less frequently because I seemed to be moving in a straight line although I did find myself right on the buoy line so I had migrated somewhat. As we hit the first buoy there was a lot more chaos, but that cleared and then would clog up again. The next thing I knew it, the first lap was done. As I was heading out to the second lap, I got breast kicked in the left goggle really hard. I thought for sure it would cause leakage, but I think the fact I wear double caps prevented it. It hurt like crazy and I thought I would be sporting a black eye. As I was on the backside of the final lap, I had no idea how long it had taken me, but there still seemed to be a fair amount of people swimming so I knew I was ok on the time. I started hearing Mike Reilley's voice and I knew I was home free. If a person can smile underwater, I was. I swam that last 100y kicking to wake up my legs. Was totally thrilled when I popped out of the water at 1:35. That was my optimsitc goal.

That swim set me up for the rest of the day.

Overall, the swim had significantly less contact than what I thought it would. That gave me a great deal more confidence through all 2.4m. I really believe this experience will make my next IM so much eaiser.
What would you do differently?:

While this swim gave me the confidence I need to swim in OW with lots of people, I would like to do it faster and more efficiently next year. Back to the pool!
Transition 1
  • 14m 50s

I was so excited exiting the swim, I saw Dino from my BT mentor group, SWBKRUN and he was cheering like crazy because he knew I beat my goal time so that started me running up the Helix smiling like a crazy woman. I saw a sign for Mark Peterson my first swim coach who had died weeks earlier and that made me want to do even better for him so on I flew. I saw all my friends cheering me and that was a continuation of a very good day.

Before people start harrassing me, this is a long run up a Helix parking structure into a changing area before exiting to the bikes for another long run. Didn’t dawdle, but the time would suggested I was eating breakfast. I changed clothes completely. I did the best to follow my list, but a nice volunteer was trying to dress me and I forgot to put on sunscreen before putting on my clothes and didn't put on enoug Assos either. Sunburn city and a little chafing. I did feel a little stomach bloating from swallowing water so took a Maalox in T1. Went to the bathroom on the way out and then had to run the full length of the parking structure. I decided to put on my shoes and run in them so that slowed me down. I was also having issues with my PT HR and had to reset it while walking with the bike.

What would you do differently?:

Follow my plan on dressing.
  • 7h 18m 45s
  • 112 miles
  • 15.32 mile/hr

One of the big benefits of living in Madison is I get to ride the course frequently. Steve had me do multiple rides at varying zones, but today's plan was to ride this all in mid Z2 allowing myself to climb into Z3 on the hills, but to spin, spin, spin and not fatigue the legs. It meant a lot of people would pass me, but having tested this strategy in HIMs I knew it had the ability to set me up for a good run which was our goal. I let those grinders pass me, knowing I would see them again.

I was so happy coming out of the swim (have you heard that before? :)), you couldn’t rub the grin off my face. I thanked every volunteer and smiled at every spectator. People kept telling me I had a great smile and attitude. I was happy to be doing IM--I'd waited so long!

I still had a little stomach distress so popped another Maalox before starting my fueling at 30 minutes, I fueled every 15 minutes when my Garmin alert went off. The first half was going fine, but it seemed to be taking me longer than I thought it would. My watts were right on target so I just kept at it. By the second loop, my legs seemed tired and I worried that maybe I was pushing too hard even thought watts would suggest not, but I also worried that I might miss the bike cut off. My head was starting to play games with me and suddenly I didn't feel so good. At that point, I saw a friend and fellow 11 hour IM'er John and expressed my concern. He told me not to worry about it, I looked great and was totally fine on time. I wasn't so sure. He popped up twice more as I was heading into Mt. Horeb with the same encouragement. He told me I would easily be in T2 by 4:30pm according to his calculations. Given that, I decided to stick to the plan. Interestingly, my bike splits got better as the miles progressed although watts stayed the same.

BIKE SPLIT 1 40 mi. (2:41:01) 14.91 mph
BIKE SPLIT 2 43 mi. (2:47:51) 15.37 mph
BIKE SPLIT 3 29 mi. (1:49:53) 15.83 mph
TOTAL BIKE 112 mi. (7:18:45) 15.32 mph

I was only able to carry 700 calories of Sustained Energy/Gel/Salt Stick (5 scoops, 2 gel, 3 SS) on my front mount but had back up Carb Pro in my jersey if needed. Also had ½ PBJ (200 calorie) so I could take my seizure meds. My goal was to eat only enough to take the pill and rely solely on liquids because I usually felt better on the run. My goal was 115 calories per hour. At the time, I thought my ride was going to be closer to 8 hours so stopped at SN for a refill on Sustained Energy. Since I was feeling drained, I upped the amount per feeding slightly, but still only every 15 minutes. Took in 900 calories of SE so 124 calories an hour and felt good. Ate one small bite of PBJ at 2pm just to get the pill down.

I refilled water at 5 different aid stations ingesting around 150 oz of H20. Took in 7 salt stick caps, one every hour. I went to the bathroom at 42m, 75m and exiting T2. I had a sore throat coming out of the water and was really thirsty the entire ride, but felt like I drank plenty.

Came off the bike at 4pm (even earlier than John calculated) feeling pretty good,the dark period had passed and I had no GI issues to worry about on the run.
What would you do differently?:

More time in the saddle. I've improved quite a bit, know how to manage my effort, especially on the hills, but believe there is untapped potential. Something to work on in the off season.
Transition 2
  • 08m 1s

Decided to change only my shorts and shirt to save time. This time I dressed myself and managed to the list. Put more sunscreen on, grabbed my fuel belt, hat, reset my Garmin to run mode and hit the bathroom on the way out.
What would you do differently?:

I wanted to fill at least one bottle with H20 and mix Carb Pro in transition, but forgot to do it.
  • 4h 21m 46s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 59s  min/mile

Goal was to get my HR down into Z2 so that I could start fueling. I don't look at pace ever when doing these long events and only occasionally monitor HR so had no idea of how fast I was going. This strategy allows me to use RPE vs freak over how slow I might be running. In the beginning it felt like a shuffle, I felt tired and wondered how the heck I was going to run a marathon, but I kept at it to get my legs under me. The crowds on State Street were amazing, but I did not let that speed me up. I almost forgot my strategy of walking through every water stop, but caught myself and stuck with that tactic. The only difference between this and the Racine HIM is I walked only enough to drink one cup of water and threw some ice down my shirt or sponged off on the fly so I could keep moving. I found this very manageable and did it right up to the last 5K.

My goal was to drink carb pro interchangeably with water and I was diligent about getting it down. I had taken in only 150 calories at the half and wanted to increase that for the last 13.1m or I knew I would fade. Ingested 375 total calories on the run and a lot of water, but I never was able to go to the bathroom. I also took 3 Endurolytes because my legs were very near that cramping phase particularly up or down hills. My stomach was on the edge of rebelling, but I just kept drinking knowing the trade off of lack of calories would be worse.

The longer I went the more I knew I could keep pushing--my managed bike was leading to a really great run. All those people who passed me on the bike were walking (passed 656 of them), while I was running full steam ahead. My form was good, my head was good although the body was tiring. I had so many people tell me I looked strong or was holding an amazing pace that I believed it. When people told me I looked fantastic, I knew they were lying :)

The last 10K was HARD and the last 5K was HARDER, but I was ticking off the miles knowing shortly I would be an IM. I caved and walked twice for 30 steps (yes, I counted them) to get my bearings because I knew I was so close to the finish line and didn’t want to blow up right before it. I saw more friends, Lori (retiretotri) high fived me. It helped. That last 1K was a blur, but I saw all the Donks on the square cheering for me, Davey high fived me and I knew I was home free. I didn't accelerate as I neared the chute because I wanted to take it all in. I saw my best friend Diane, my husband Paul and Jim and hit the finish line totally spent, but escatic over my run and the day overall.

I really had no idea how well I had done on the run or that I negative splitted it until Paul told me. I couldn’t have given more than I did. Other than my first BQ, it is the best executed marathon I’ve done.

RUN SPLIT 1 6.35 mi. (1:03:46) 10:02/mile
RUN SPLIT 2 6.65 mi. (1:08:33) 10:18/mile
RUN SPLIT 3 6.23 mi. (1:01:06) 9:48/mile
RUN SPLIT 4 6.97 mi. (1:08:21) 9:48/mile
TOTAL RUN 26.2 mi. (4:21:46) 9:59/mile

What would you do differently?:

Post race
Warm down:

Got caught by BT'er Tracy and then Scott from my OWS class. Scott was taking me to the food tent, when Paul showed up. Tried to eat some pizza and that made me sick. Steve wanted me to get a massage so I did that and that felt amazing. I got in the car and felt horrible, showered for 6 seconds when I got home and layed on the floor until Paul made me go to bed. Hardly slept because my stomach was so distressed. I knew it would pass, but I would be an IM forever.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My performance was better than expected (estimated 14 hours). I found I can dig deep and give a lot more of myself than I ever thought possible. I felt totally prepared going in and couldn't have asked for a better first IM.

One of the things that Steve drilled into my head is it's all about execution based on my ability at this point in time and not to worry about what others can do. Trust the training and over time the results will continue to pour in. Today, I believe it. This race was all about crushing those demons related to nearly drowning so long ago. I knew if I finished this race that would be erased and it has been. Now it's time to set my sites on bigger goals so let the training continue. Here's to IM WI '11!

Event comments:

This race report wouldn't be complete if I didn't thank all those people who got me ready for the day:

1. Paul,my husband who gave up long weekeneds at our house in Minocqua to allow me to train on the course, had to listen to all things IM all the time and never complained and cheered so hard for me on the course all day long.

2. Steve Janowiak, my coach. He not only taught me how to swim, he developed a plan over the course of the year to make me feel ready to tackle my first IM with confidence. He has been my mentor and constant supporter, even when I questioned myself. He put me in more challenging situations, some which I totally hated, and each allowed me to evolve towards the goal. I would not have been able to do IM '10 without him and I am totally psyched to have him in my corner to train for '11. It's going to be a great year.

3.Jessica Laufenberg, my local OWS coach who helped me with technique and constantly told me I was ready to kick butt in IM WI. Awesome.

4 My great training partners this summer, JAM, Kristi and Marlo. Lots of laughs on those 120m rides! Geat advice from the veterans.

5.My BT mentor group, SWBKRUN. They have been by my side through the entire journey over several years and provided encouragement when I was ready to give up. I appreciate every one of them!

6. To my friends who came to cheer me on the entire day. People that I had not seen in weeks or months due to training were there for me. I'm blessed.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-10-04 12:00 AM
01:35:55 | 4224 yards | 02m 16s / 100yards
Age Group: 63/81
Overall: 2178/2912
Performance: Good
Suit: Xterra Vendetta
Course: 2 rectangular laps, counter clockwise
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 65F / 18C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Rounding: Average
Time: 14:50
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:18:45 | 112 miles | 15.32 mile/hr
Age Group: 51/81
Overall: 2080/2912
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: Hilly, technical, considered the 2nd hardest IM course in the NA.
Road: Rough  Cadence: 87
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 08:01
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:21:46 | 26.2 miles | 09m 59s  min/mile
Age Group: 5/81
Overall: 1424/2912
Performance: Good
Course: Two loops within the city
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4