Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
50F / 10C
Total Time = 11h 39m 44s
Overall Rank = 355/2439
Age Group = M30-34
Age Group Rank = 77/310
Pre-race routine:

Went to bed around 10:30 PM Sat Night. Woke up at 0130, 0315, 0400 and finally at 0443. Didn't have a chance to get my usual Bacon Egg and Cheese Microwave Biscuit, so I had 2 Quaker Oat bars and 2 Peanut Butter and Honey crackers on the walk over to Monona Terrace. I had 1.5 oz of Hammer Gel about 30 min before the race started.

I didn't feel like eating at all, but knew I had to eat something.

I also took my pre-race shower to get myself ready. Got to get clean to get dirty is my motto!
Event warmup:

It was a 10 min walk up to Monona Terrace. Nancy carried my special needs bags, so I just tried to stay calm. Put my water bottles, gel flask and Triple Threat Bars on my bike, pumped up my tires and checked everything else. I also removed the condom (swim caps) from my bike seat and aerobar pads that I put on there the night before to minimize the wetness.

Got down to the swim start with about 20 min to spare. Used the Porta Potty and got into my wetsuit (which one???..can't tell you yet!) I also helped JC get into hers. Gave Nancy one last hug and kiss and swam to the start line.
  • 1h 07m 15s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 35s / 100 yards

I choose to start near the front and by the ski ramp. The start line is technically from the buoy all the way to the shore line. I was about 50 meters from the start buoy and about 10 people behind the start line. I think this was a good choice for me because I didn't over or under seed myself. The first 1/4 mile was a battle to find open water to swim in. I only got jostled around, never really kicked or pushed too badly.

Once I got out of the toilet bowl, I tried to pick good lines not too far from the buoys. I managed to keep my 3 breaths per side before spotting technique up for most of the swim. I took a breath every stroke and it kept me very aerobic. This also allowed me to surge if needed to prevent being clamped down on by other swimmers. I tried to keep my line on the buoys, but drifted a bit from time to time.

The worse parts were the corners and the 100 meters between them. Everyone was fighting for position here since it was a short distance before the next turn. I only had to fight off one person that tried to swim across my back. But that wasn't bad.

The first lap I tried to stay relaxed and kept consistant the second lap. The only 'holy shit' moment was during the second lap. I had just come out of the second turn and was getting my groove on when a larger swimmer came up next to me and literally pushed me over to the left with their hand. I moved laterally about 2 feet!! I was like, "Damn that a big guy". But, in was probably a girl. Other than that, not bad.

I'm glad that I put my swim cap over my ears because when my head slapped back into the water coming off of a swell, it hurt less.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really. I think I had a good start and was fairly consistent with my swim.
Transition 1
  • 08m 28s

It was a long run from the lake to the changing rooms. I was so excited when I got out of the water that I forgot to take off my cap and goggles. It wasn't until I saw the strippers (no poles btw), that I unzipped the top of my BT issued Black Pearl. The strippers took my shoulder straps off and said, "Get on your butt!" So I did what the pretty girls told me and they yanked it off before I knew it.

On my way up the helix, I realized that I dropped my top and looked behind me. One of my fellow competitors picked it up and handed it to me. He said, "You owe me a beer". And I said, "No Problem!"

As I came out of the water, the reason I was excited was because I looked at my watch and it said 1:07. My goal was 1:15!! And then I heard my Name announced over the loud speaker. If I had to pee, I would have pee'd my pants (wetsuit bib). But the T1 is still pure.

I got to the rooms and was handed my bag and as I entered the changing area, I heard a big, "Go Dan...Marvarnett". It was TriGods! How awesome is that. A volenteer dumped out my bag and called out where everything was. Like, Glasses are in your helmet and things like that. He even turned my socks partially inside out. That was awesome. I put all of my stuff on and headed out the door. When I got to the parking deck, I realized it would be better if I took my shoes off. So I did and ran with them in my hand. I stopped and hit the porta potty.(not literally).

There were so many people screaming and yelling it was amazing!! The energy alone could have propelled us along. Little did I know that the rain gods were formulating their plans out on the Verona Loop. As I got by my bike, I put my shoes on and a volenteer helped me get my bike out.

I was only about 50 meters from the mount line, so I didn't have to run very far with my shoes on. Heading down the Helix wasn't that bad. We were all doing about 15 mph so no one was really braking that bad and causing a hold up.
What would you do differently?:

Keep my shoes off until I got to the bike. Find a way to keep both part of my T1 together in case I don't have nice people behind me that I owe beer to.
  • 6h 03m 27s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.49 mile/hr

The Triathlon Gods first began their "We're going to make Dan earn this title" plan early. About 1/2 mile from the Helix, while still on my swim high, I hit a bump and off goes my Gatorade bottle. I stop and it makes it's way to me. So not too much time lost, just some momentum. At mile 5 or so, I look down at my watch and my cadence monitor isn't working. So I fiddle with it a bit and manage to turn my watch off in the process. (AARRGG!)

No biggie, this is relaxation time so just keep plugging along. At mile 10, (the first climb) a guy is yelling out how many people have passed that point. I was number 277 at that point. Then the Gods decided that the 50 degree temperature wasn't enough for the Florida Boy...No lets add some Freezing Rain! So the rain came down in sheets for the rest of the day.

I picked up a fresh water bottle at around the 12 mile mark right before you start on the loop. And wouldn't you know it...I hit a bump 1/2 mile later as I entered the loop and it gets launched. I leave it and continue down. A guy came by me and said, "Good thing you didn't lose both of them". That's what I heard...what he SAID was, "You lost your flask too". Dan didn't realize this until it was time to take another swig of Gel.

The Gods thought that was check-mate...but oh no...I had stashed an extra gel flask in my back pocket for just such an emergency! I kept it there in case of more unforseen launches. I do believe this really pissed them off! Because about 25 miles into the ride, the wind starts to pick up. Not bad at first, but then nasty steady stuff. Luckily, the course has lots of turns, so it never hit you in the face directly for any long stretch of time.

At this point, my nutrition plan is shot, I'm cold, wet and slightly frustrated.

I would like to take this moment to Thank one of my two Saviors for the ride. AJFreddy went out to a local bike shop and bought me the last pair of Arm Warmers they had! She dropped them off at my hotel for me. Granted, they were female XL and were made by She Beast (I can't make this stuff up), but I was happy!!!

I stayed in my HR zones for just about all of the ride. I was determined to let the race come to me. I didn't feel like eating that much, so I drastically altered my nutrition. I was suppose to take in 400 Kcal/hr (2400 total) and I took in about 1200. I didn't realize how little I took in until after the race.

I was so cold that I was literally shaking on the descents. I had to use the pad of my thumb to change my gears and it hurt to squeeze my gel flask. I couldn't even push my bars up like toothpaste to eat them. I just ate them through the wrapper. Good thing I cut the top off of them.

At special needs, I had to refill my half empty gel flask. I was refilling them from a larger Hammer Gel Bottle. I turned it over and I couldn't squeeze it out. Enter my second Saviour. A boy about 12 yrs old was picking up the special needs bags and asked me if I was done. I said, No, but could you please squeeze this bottle for me. He did and I was back on the road after another pee stop.

The second loop was tougher than the first. Not only because I was running low on nutrition (to be found later), but the winds got worse and the rain got worse. I couldn't feel my body and I hadn't even gone through my first bottle of gatorade. I picked up water at every aid station, but when I got rid of it, it was never more than 1/3 empty. On a happy note, I made 3/4 goal shots with my water bottle. (If you don't know, they put up little soccer nets that you can aim for right before the water stops.

The upshots of the ride: I stayed positive the entire time. I churned up the hills and no one touched me on ANY climb! On the 3 major ones on the back side, I had several people yell, "Keep that cadence, you know how to climb my man!!" Going through Verona, I got the crowd charged up by encouraging them to ring their bells and yell. They responded something fierce!

With about 2 miles to go, I came across a Motley Crew (BTers yelling for me) and then with 1/2 mile to go, Nancy was in the median ringing a bell and yelling. That rocked!!! I flew up the Helix and passed, no kidding, 20 people. One guy actually said, "Damn".

The downsides: Did I mention it was cold, raining and windy? was!! I was in major debt in regards to Nutrition and I couldn't feel much of my extremeties.
What would you do differently?:

Perform a sacrifice to the Tri Gods if Necessary. What's a chipmunk and Llama amongst friends??

I would have placed an extra gel flask, empty in my Special needs bag just in case one got launched. Pack something as simple as a bike vest and arm warmers for every race.

Stick to the Nutrition plan...NO MATTER WHAT THE CONDITIONS!!

Don't be like Dan kids...Don't do dumb.
Transition 2
  • 06m

I was only able to release one of my shoes using the red release button. My left shoe I just pried my foot out. But once I got it out, I had a great dismount. Once I got to transition, I had some major issues!!

I couldn't feel my fingers and I didn't have my "own" volenteer. I struggled taking off my socks and fought with my new pair. One day, try putting on socks without your fingers. It's damn near impossible!!

Once I performed that trick, my shoes became an impossible feat. (No pun intended). A volenteer saw my struggles and pulled open my shoes for me.

JC had given me a long sleeve running shirt that morning that I put in my bag. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!
What would you do differently?:

Sign up for IM Equador during the summer season!

I did everything I could to be speedy. I was actually surprised...I though I was there for over 10 min.
  • 4h 14m 36s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 43s  min/mile

This is where I thought I had check-mate and the Tri Gods laughed at me. I felt great for the first 7-8 miles of the run. My first mile was WAY too fast, so I adjusted and kept telling myself that I would catch the people passing me. Right off the bat, my HR monitor kept slipping off of my chest. I think this is because I had lost some weight and my body was shrinking due to the rain. I finally got it settled. I also had to reattach my number while I was on the stadium field. That's the only time I verbally cursed the entire marathon (that's saying something). I knew I would need the encouragement of the crowd, so I made sure that my number was showing that had my name.

It went from Bad to Worse around mile 11 - 12. I was eating everything I could get my hands on and it wasn't enough. My legs were heavy, I was water logged and every time I dropped my arms below my waist, I got a stinging pain running down my hand. Imagine how it feels when you hit your funny bone on your elbow!!

I was reduced (and I DO NOT mean this in a negative way) to walking the aid stations and running between them. And that took tons of mental energy. I think it was harder, mentally, to do that because you had to restart running. I never knew how hard that is to do.

I saw Nancy at the turn around (which is at the finish line...TEASE!) and it made me really happy. I asked her just to talk to me so I could get my mind off of the cold, tired pain I was in. She didn't know what to say, so she just started talking. I walked through the aid station, blew her a kiss and I was off again.

Miles 13 - 20 were BY FAR the hardest in my life. It was harder than the last 3 miles of Boston. I contemplated more times than I care to admit quitting. That was the lowest I had ever been in racing. I got motivated on State street by some random boys (10-13 yrs old) that looked me right in the eye and said, "We're watching you!!! You had better not stop) I think it was then that the Tri Gods decided that we could call it a draw and we would both win.

State Street is a turnaround and as I came back by, sure enough those boys were there and they kept their promise. They were watching me and motivating me. That puts me to mile 20. I tried to convince myself outloud that anyone can do a 10K. I hope I didn't offend two women right next to me if it was their first loop.

My mind started to work now and since I couldn't feel my body anymore, what did it matter that it hurt and I wanted to sit on a curb and cry. I focused and trudged along. That lasted until about mile 23. It was then that I just simply got MAD. I was tired of feeling sorry for myself, I was tired of being passed by people, I was tired of being cold and I knew that I was going to finish vertically and with my Honor intact!!

I picked up the pace and redoubled my mental efforts, because that's all I had left. I was feeling better and then I saw the unexpected...the back of one of the runners that had passed my like a gazelle a few miles back. I remembered about 10 of them by 'uniform'. I picked them off one by one and I churned my way towards becoming an IronMan. I made my last stop with 2 miles to go in the aid station and was repassed by a new Nemisis. I downed the last of my chicken broth and stared right at his back.

I kept picking them off and fought off the thoughts that I was about to become an IronMan. I was going to earn it with all my might and head held up high. The last 1/2 mile is slightly uphill, but I didn't care. I was passing people left and right. I was in agony, but I was going to do this MY way Dammit...MY WAY!!

I entered the Finishing Chute and the whole world opened up to me!! I had been so focused that I didn't hear the crowd cheering for ME. A random person that had pushed their body to its limit and beyond, who didn't think he could make it but kept going, who finished his WAY! No words can explain that instantaneous feeling of joy. I think the Chesher Cat would have been jealous of my smile at that finish line.

Chris (TriGods) caught me and Nancy quickly came up to my side.

Dan Arnett....YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!
What would you do differently?:


I'm an IronMan....that's All that matters.
Post race
Warm down:

Rename this section: Warm-UP!!

I was walked to the Monona Terrace so that I could start to feel my body. I sat in a corner with towels around me and Nancy helped me take off my tops and she even took off my shoes and socks (Now that's LOVE!!)

Nancy had some flowers waiting for me and I basked in the moment until some food came my way. It took about 45 minutes before I moved again. I waited until the pain of feeling coming back into my extremeties went away before I dared move.

What limited your ability to perform faster:


Yes, the conditions were horrible, but you can't do an IronMan with only half the calories you're suppose to take and that you've trained with.

Event comments:

I don't know how Volenteers managed to stay out there longer than I did. I at least got to move and create some heat. They were out there and were relentless!! I have to Thank them and everyone that yelled my name, told me (incorrectly) that I was looking good and strong and my BT Friends for pulling me through. There were many times that I went through my mental roladex and recalled the Inspires that I was sent prior to the race. It helped me to not DNF when I would of so easily just stopped at my hotel. (literally 100' from the course)

But most of all, my IronSherpa...NANCY. She earned this just as much as I did. And anyone that trieds to do this alone, Good'll need it.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2006-01-05 12:00 AM
01:07:15 | 4224 yards | 01m 35s / 100yards
Age Group: 58/310
Overall: 330/2439
Performance: Good
Overall Avg HR: 153 Overall Max HR: 161 Water temp: 70 degrees 1st lap: 31:23 (doesn't count the about 100 meters from the start line to the shore. Avg HR: 154 Max HR: 161 2nd lap: 35:46 Avg HR: 152 Max HR: 157
Suit: BT Provided Black Pearl....AARRGGGHHH
Course: Deep water start on a rectangular course. 2 laps with the long sides being about 1/2 mile each. Approx 100 meters from the start buoy to the shore/finish line. Water was fairly clear and you could see about 10' around you which helped. That way you could attempt to prevent your face from being kicked.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: High
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 08:28
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
06:03:27 | 112 miles | 18.49 mile/hr
Age Group: 80/310
Overall: 379/2439
Performance: Average
Avg HR: 128 (Target 130) Max HR: 160 (LT 154) 1st loop avg: 19.2 mph Max speed: 42.8 mph Avg Cadence: 85 Ascent: 7600 feet
Wind: Cross-winds
Course: Lollipop shaped. Go up the stick, do two 40 mile loops and back down the 'stick'. 4 Aid stations one of which was just water
Road: Rough Wet Cadence: 85
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 06:00
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:14:36 | 26.2 miles | 09m 43s  min/mile
Age Group: 106/310
Overall: 557/2439
Performance: Below average
Mile 1: 7:39 (143 HR avg) Mile 2: 8:52 (144 HR avg) Mile 3 & 4: 16:40 (143 HR avg) Mile 5: 8:48 (142 HR avg) Mile 6: 9:31 (142 HR avg) Mile 7: 8:46 (141 HR avg) Mile 8: 9:25 (138 HR avg) Mile 9: 10:35 (135 HR avg) Mile 10: 9:29 (137 HR avg) Mile 11: 9:35 (137 HR avg) Mile 12: 9:46 (134 HR avg) Mile 13 & 14: 20:20 (126 HR avg) Mile 15: 10:55 (125 HR avg) Mile 16: 9:41 (126 HR avg) Miles 17 - 26: 1:31.49 (129 HR avg) Watch ran out of memory so I just got the last split.
Course: 2 lap multi turning, multi surface course. 1 decent 2 sectioned hill but overall relatively flat and beautiful. And if it's beautiful on a day like's a Georgeous run!
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5