Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
Total Time = 13h 10m 38s
Overall Rank = 1172/2550
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 177/293
Pre-race routine:

Can't believe I was able to sleep at all before my first Ironman, but I managed to get a good 6 hours. Up at four, ate an energy bar, drank an Ensure, and got started with the coffee. Caught an early shuttle and made it to the Terrace around 5:30. I'm usually real nervous before races, but for some reason I had a strange calmness. Since it was my first attempt, perhaps ignorance can be bliss.
Event warmup:

None what so ever. Despite knowing better, I was late getting in line to enter the water. As the pros started, I was starting to get anxious wondering if the race would start while I'm still up on land. About a minute later a pro went running by screaming to stop the race and wait for him. Unfortunate for him, but it was exactly what I needed to relax. At least my day was starting better than his. I wasn't there to compete for money or even a Kona slot, my whole day was centered around hearing Mike Reilly say "Kevin Trapp, you are an Ironman" and losing a couple minutes at the start wasn't going to make a difference in the long run. As it turned out, I got in the water at 6:59 and managed to get out in the lake a little bit.
  • 1h 28m 37s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 06s / 100 yards

There's just no way to describe the feeling of being in the middle of a mass start of almost 3000 athletes. Even starting at the back of the pack, it wasn't until the second loop that I found my own little space of water. The fact that I was only kicked in the head once seems like a small victory. Swimming is a weakness (one of many), so I was happy that I managed to stick to my plan of an easy 90 minute swim. My right shoulder started to ache a little halfway through, and had to start breathing out of the left side. But other than that, things went per plan. Checked the clock as I got out and found I was right where I hoped to be. 2.4 miles down, 138.2 miles to go.
What would you do differently?:

Get in line to enter the water early. I've read it, I knew it, yet I still didn't do it.
Transition 1
  • 11m 28s

Running up the helix was my first taste of what the crowds would be like all day. They are simply amazing. The only thing better than the crowds were the volunteers. I can't believe how much they do for you. I felt pampered, like a day at the spa. Did a full change of clothes, took my time to make sure I had everything I needed, and headed out. Saw my 4 year old son cheering right outside the door and went over for a hug and kiss, got sunscreened up, then it was on to the bike.
What would you do differently?:

Next time I'll try to be quick, but this was all about not screwing up so I was in no rush. My brother would later ask me if I stopped to take a nap.
  • 6h 59m 55s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.00 mile/hr

Another weakness, my goal was to ride easy for 80 miles and then see how I feel. My mantra for the entire ride was "remember the run". The first loop went per plan, sit up going up the hills, don't pedal down the hills, and absolutely no standing. The second loop, not so well. I swear that those hills had gotten steeper since I had last seen them 3 hours earlier. Ended up stopping several times to use the bathroom, although honestly it was just an excuse to get out of the saddle for a minute and stretch.

Hit a real mental low climbing the hill to Mt. Horab on the second loop. The wind, the sun, the fact that I had so many hours left on the bike started to wear on me. But once I got to the crowds things got better. I managed to spin up every hill throughout the entire ride, until the last b*tch when I finally stood up and immediately felt both quads cramp up (cue the ominous music). Sat back down and the cramps went away, but I decided to not push it the rest of the way back to Monona. Repeat the mantra, repeat the mantra. Had a pleasant conversation with a woman stuck in traffic on John Nolen Drive, and finally it was up the helix.
What would you do differently?:

More centuries.
Transition 2
  • 05m 12s

Stilll amazed at how much order the volunteers make out of such a chaotic set-up. Love those volunteers. Another full clothing change, more sunscreen, time to run a marathon.
  • 4h 25m 28s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 08s  min/mile

Ahh, finally a strength. Exited T2 to the loudest cheering I'd heard so far that day. Felt pretty special until I realized everyone was cheering for the blind athlete in front of me. That guy was amazing, still can't figure out how he made it through the swim.

I'm not a biker and definately not a swimmer, so it's always a great feeling to finally get to the running. My run strategy was simple, run as far as I could, then start walking, then if necessary start crawling. Made it to about mile 7 before both quads finally cramped up. After feeling the tinge of cramps on the bike, I knew it was only a matter of time before it happened. Stopped and streched it out and the cramps went away. About a half mile later they'd come back. Push through the rest of the mile to get to an aid station, stop to stretch, eat/drink, lather, rinse, repeat. A couple miles later one calf decided cramping was fun and joined in the party. At one point as I stretched, an aid station volunteer came over and massaged my calf. She said she'd be working the massage tent after the race. It felt wonderful. Did I mention that I love the volunteers?

At the end of the first loop, I got my first taste of how sweet the finish line would ultimately be. You can almost feel the disappointment in the crowd when they see you turn around. Sort of like a baseball game with a deep fly ball that gets everyone out of their seat, only to get caught at the warning track. No matter, I knew I'd be back in a couple hours. Grabbed a bag of gummi bears out of my special needs bag, and heard my kids yelling "Suck it up buttercup". That's been our motto every time I dragged myself out the door for a training run. Scooped my youngest up and told him I just got a little half marathon to run, be back in no time.

Somewhere around mile 18 was the only time in the run that I had some doubts. I was resigned to the fact that my cramps were not going away and I was questioning if it was worth it to keep running or if I should just join so many others in their death march. It was at that point that I passed the one-legged athlete who was highlighted in the pre-race banquet video. He was sitting down with his prosthetic leg off, changing his knee sock. Here I am whining about some cramps, and he's 8 miles away from finishing his 5th Ironman in five months on one leg. That was my HTFU moment. No more crying, no more walking, time to shut up and become an Ironman. I literally ran the last 8 miles with a smile on my face. Ran through the inspiration mile and saw the message that my wife had typed in. Apparantly Ironman is pretty strict on the censoring, because "Suck it up buttercup" came up as "it up ercup". Got to remember next time, no suck or butt will be displayed. Every mile I felt stronger, ran faster. The cramps didn't go away, but I was able to run through them. My joy must have showed, because spectators kept yelling out how good I looked, which only gave me more strength to push harder. It's pretty impressive how pain can disappear when you're close enough to taste the finish.

Turning the last corner was one of the most amazing moments of my life, really second only to the births of my children. I saw my family and stopped to give my 4 year old a big hug and kiss (my poor 2 year old missed his daddy finishing by falling asleep 10 minutes before I got there). Gave him back to his mother, told him I'll be right back, and started my victory sprint. High-fived every hand I saw and finally heard the words I've been dreaming about for the past two years "Kevin Trapp, you are an Ironman!"
What would you do differently?:

The cramps were unfortunate, but I'm not sure where they came from. Whether I screwed up my race-day nutrition or if the mistake was made in my nutrition in the days leading up to the race. Guess I should actually buck up for a nutritionist before the next one.

I ended up passing about 700 people on the run, so it's hard to say that I had a bad run. But I wonder if I could have run a sub-4:00 marathon without the cramps.

On a side note, most of the aid stations I passed were out of cola. I'm guessing that people were like me and not wanting to drink the Perform. Anyway, one aid station was yelling out cola and I sent up a little prayer of thanks. Grabbed a cup and gulped it down, it was Diet. Really? What was the point of that? Nothing like a sugar free drink to get you through a 140.6 mile race. I really hope it was a well-meaning volunteer that bought the diet coke, and not a race official.
Post race
Event comments:

Since I'm just a lurker here, not sure if any of you will ever read this report. But if anyone does, I can't thank the donkeys enough for all of the help, advice, encouragement, and support posted here. I've read this forum religiously for the past year. All the locals for their first-hand knowledge and updates on the course (since I'm an out-of-towner), DB and Lisac957 for the advice they gave my wife on spectating, 1stTimeTri for volunteering (of course, being a lurker I didn't introduce myself). This community is such an asset to have.

I didn't know what to expect coming in to the race. It was both harder and easier than I ever imagined, which I realize makes no sense. There's something surreal about starting a race with a beautiful sunrise over the lake, and not finishing until after sunset. There's so many things about this day that I'll never forget, but the greatest moment was when my son told me I'm his favorite superhero. He said I'm the real Ironman, not like the fake one in the movies. I promised the wife I would not do another full next year, but I'll be back in 2012 and cannot wait.

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Last updated: 2010-07-15 12:00 AM
01:28:37 | 4224 yards | 02m 06s / 100yards
Age Group: 252/293
Overall: 1879/2550
Suit: Blue70 Reaction
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 11:28
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:59:55 | 112 miles | 16.00 mile/hr
Age Group: 251/293
Overall: 1823/2550
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 05:12
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:25:28 | 26.2 miles | 10m 08s  min/mile
Age Group: 106/293
Overall: 611/2550
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]