Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
85F / 29C
Total Time = 13h 01m 6s
Overall Rank = 1001/2797
Age Group = W45-59
Age Group Rank = 22/85
Pre-race routine:

Flew into Madison on Thursday evening and got to meet Suzy and her dog Cooper!

Friday morning swim with Suzy's (ssminnow) OW coach and her group at Lake Monona. Had a bit of a freak out when I overslept my alarm clock but raced down there and made it in time to get in the water without holding up the group! Had a very good swim and it was very good for my confidence.

Registration at 10 am only took about 30 minutes, since I had my USAT card, I think it was a bit faster. We stayed at the Hilton so everything was super easy. Had to pick up my bike, then Suzy took me on a pre-drive of the bike course. I was distracted just having fun talking while she was trying to point out various important hills, turns, quick descents or ascents and the major highlights of the course. I did remember a few important things. The turn onto 92. Garfoot. Bathrooms at Mt. Horeb HS are good ones to use. The rest I actually felt would be intuitive. Suzy told me to make some notes when she dropped me off.

Um, well, I did make a few mental notes, like the cows that she had to wait 10 minutes for to cross the road one day. And the tall cylindrical buildings are called "silos". And there was a very bumpy road that her friend Julie used to curse at. All of these things made me smile because I knew that on race day, I could think of them not just once, but twice!

After that, we went to dinner with my partner Kathy and her husband, Paul at their favorite Italian restaurant, Vin Santo, and it was truly delicious and the portions were otherworldly...but then again, we were in Madison! And everywhere Kathy and I went, we noticed that they do not skimp on portions at all.

Saturday morning, did my T1 and T2 bags and bike drop off and then met my coach Steve for lunch. Met Tripletmom01, Tammy there too, and tried to be reassuring about her crazy eye thing. Didn't have too many questions for Steve, but I meant to ask about when I might need to drink coke or chicken broth, but I forgot. Headed back to the hotel, did order out pasta from Francesca's and hit the sack at about 8:30pm. Slept until 11pm, got up for 30 minutes and then awoke again at 2:30 and started preparing my breakfast. Oatmeal, bagel with peanut butter and a banana with half a cup of coffee and a few glasses of water. I started to get those morning jitters and my stomach was not happy! Emptied it as much as possible and then got dressed, went down to meet Suzy in T1 at 5am. Got bodymarked, put nutrition on bikes, dropped of SN bags in front of Walgreens, and then I made some changes to my T1/T2 bag, one of which would be very smart. I had bought some white Zoot icefil arm coolers on Friday after Suzy mentioned it was going to be mid-80's. Okay, when we were in San Francisco, the weather said, high of 74...I actually packed some arm warmers and gloves for early morning bike and late night running.

And now, 85-87F? My long runs were all done in 52-55F. I wilt in the heat but I was not going to let it ruin my day. Adapt, improvise and overcome, those three mottos had gotten me through some tough long bike days when I had a flat tire and blew through my tubes and cartridges, a bee sting, a broken cable 80 miles into a 120 mile ride, a headache that lasted over 5 hours of a ride, spraining my ankle to the size of a tennis ball 2.5 weeks before IM day. So I bought these arm coolers and the night before, decided to move them from my run bag to my bike bag.

Went down to one of the lower levels of the terrace and just hung out with my coach, Steve and our significant others. Apparently, I was nervous. And Suzy could tell, but I just needed to breathe. She was like you are not freaking out on me, right? Um. No. It's just hot down here. Smiles. Breathes. Goes to the bathroom. Smiles. Breathes. Take some pictures. Breathe. Let's get these wetsuits on and get outside.
Event warmup:

Stood and watched the pros go off, gave our support crew hugs. Steve fixed my goggles like I was a little girl...and told me to have a great day out there. Remember, no banking time on the bike and the pain cave is for the marathon!!! Um. Yeah. Got it. Let's get through this swim first before talking about biking and running, can we??? Gave Suzy the biggest hug I could...and I tentatively followed my twin into the water. Oh boy, here. we. go.
  • 1h 47m 30s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 32s / 100 yards

I came into this race knowing that it would be the longest swim of my life in both time and distance, but excited because I had done a bit more open water swimming this season and definitely knew I had the endurance to make it based on my training. At Friday's practice swim with Suzy's swim coach, I had felt confident in the water and my stroke and sighting felt very relaxed. Water temps were perfect and there was very little chop on that day.

I had decided even before seeing Lake Monona, that I would start closer to the buoy line, but maybe middle/back, to avoid being swam over. I am such a slow swimmer, that I rarely have to swim around people but my sighting has improved a lot, so I would not mind navigating around people if necessary. I don't get flustered anymore by incidental bumping, but those videos of the swim starts were intimidating. I did notice that there was a lot less arm flailing towards the back and that's where I wanted to be. After talking to Suzy's coach, she confirmed this would be a good idea for me. I figured I'd rather swim 75-100 yards extra to get to the line than have to worry about being dunked, clawed, or worse.

So that morning, as Suzy and I were entering the water with about 5 minutes to the start, we gave a hug and off I went in search of my spot. I was so focused on getting over there, I didn't stop to adjust my goggles which after my initial dunk had seemed nice and sealed. Well, they started leaking. No problem, I treaded water a bit on the way over and adjusted my new (swam in 3x to make sure they were good to go) goggles and dang it if they weren't still leaking on the left side! Started to get frustrated, but wanted to get to my spot first, so swam over to a little area half way between the buoy line and the ski ramp and about maybe only 25 yards from the start line...I am not sure if I am remembering that right but it seemed lots closer than Jessica had pointed out 2 days before that! I had about 10 feet of clear water all around me! I looked behind me and saw very few swimmers directly behind me but lots to the left, right along the buoy line. Oh, well, this seemed pretty good to me! I rolled on my back and just tried to make a seal. I was trying to hear what Mike Reilly was saying but it all sounded like one big jumble and I don't even wear earplugs! Next thing I know "BOOM" the cannon went off and I decided, well I'd better roll over and start swimming!

Well, that left eye was still leaking but I would deal with it later. I felt some bumping as we made our way past the ski ramp, but nothing major. I was having fun, I am a right side breather, so sighting off of the caps was making time go by and next thing I know we are past the first few buoys. Well, I tried to empty out some water out of my goggle because it was getting hard to keep my left eye closed, but ended up swallowing some water, ugh. Forget the goggle, forget the goggle, I repeated to myself. I had something similar happen at an oly race this year and ended up really letting it affect my whole swim. Head down and go! Next thing I know, I get a huge breaststroke kick to my left eye and it somehow sealed the goggle! Kind of hurt, was worried that I would have a huge black eye it hurt that much, but it wasn't leaking anymore and that made me happy.

I started to try to move closer to the buoy line and I really had very clear water. The first turn I didn't hear any Moo-ing, I said moo to myself at every turn. I felt really lucky as I was able to find someone swimming a similar speed who kept me from drifting right...I would sight every 20 strokes or so to verify, but I was trusting! On the second lap, I was pretty much on my own, and had more trouble staying on the line, but the kayaks had moved in a bit so it was not too hard to stay on course.

At one point I heard aircraft flyover which was cool. I got it into my head that 1:30 had elapsed, I felt like, okay, 20 more minutes of swimming and you are out of here! I started to swim a little harder, I really wanted to be done. Made the last turn and I was so happy to see that finish line! Passed the turn buoy and started kicking harder to get the blood into my legs...swam til I could touch the ground and stood up without needing help! So happy!

Now, being 2341/2700+ swimmers would not make some people happy, but I was thrilled to be moving on. I think I even said to myself as I was nearing shore, I am going to become a frickin' ironman today!!!

What would you do differently?:

Not much other than take a few moments to get water into the suit, really make sure the goggles do not leak! I am going to rate my swim good, because I stayed calm the whole way and didn't get off course much at all.
Transition 1
  • 08m 40s

Ran out, glanced at the clock and thought, 1:47, not bad! My hope was to get out of transition by 9am. I wanted to move fast. I ripped my caps and goggles off and pulled my sleeves off, pointed to a big tall volunteer, he and this woman had that suit off me in seconds! It was so awesome! I ran out and up the helix so fast it was crazy! I loved the crowds along the swim finish and helix, they were loud and ringing their cowbells like crazy! I saw Kathy and Paul cheering for me on the second level and they got video of me smiling like a crazy person! Ran all the way in, grabbed my bag, a volunteer asked me what I needed, I told her I had a list...we pulled the list out and I went right down the list, she handed me what I needed. Towel down, she handed me the towel, chamois cream on, she handed me the opened jar, bike shorts on, etc! She even saw that I forgot the hairband which was on my list and I am forever grateful! My bangs would have driven me mad! I highly recommend making the list, what you will do, step by step, when I got there I was flustered, my volunteer really calmed me down and said, what do you need, and I said, let's go by the list. Ah, thank you Coach Steve, for helping organize this Type B girl. It also helps to eliminate putting stupid extraneous things in your T1 bag that will just confuse you.

So, fully sunscreened, helmeted, sunglassed, and even put on my arm coolers and wet them with water (a last minute purchase at expo Friday because of the weather forecast for sunny skies and hot!)...I thanked my volunteer (who was quite impressed by my list!) I ran out of there carrying my bike shoes and socks, of course my bike was one of the only ones out there so I had two volunteers to help me! First thing I did was turn on my Garmin, then I put socks and shoes on, grabbed the athlete tracking device off of my bento box and put it face up in my tri top pocket. Ran down to the mount line and off I went!
What would you do differently?:

I was really happy with an 8 minute T1 here, it really is a long way up the helix. Maybe I could have put the socks on and then ran, but I kept thinking what if I step in a puddle! Ick. I know what people do in transition! I passed 45 people in transition alone. HA!
  • 6h 38m 43s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.85 mile/hr

I loved this bike course! It is quite bumpy on the path leading out of the Monona Terrace. It was here that I realized that I did not secure my aerobottle with the velcro strap when I placed my nutrition and water on the bike, when it started bouncing up and down! Aiyah. So, had to pull over to the side and fix it. Cannot see close up very well with my contact lenses, so fussed with the strap and wasted some time here. Argh...that's what I get for being nervous in the morning. Should have put that on my with velcro!

Anyhow, got started again and things were going along quite well, I was passing lots and being passed some, too, most people seemed very relaxed on the stick...I was keeping my effort really easy and drinking water as much as I could. I started my nutrition at 30 minutes and then every 15'. It felt nice and cool, but it was already sunny and I sweat a lot. I was enjoying the feel of my new arm coolers! I was wondering if my tracking device was facing the right way, but didn't want to reach back and risk a wipe out, so just trusted. It felt so easy going out, I was worried we'd have a big headwind coming back...but I was told "no banking time on the bike"...I had a plan and I was sticking with it!

I didn't stop at special needs, although I looked at the bathrooms there and thought about it. There were some hills before the next aid station where I would stop to pee. I think this was at mile 22? I refilled my front water bottle and squirted water on my arm coolers. None of the hills were too challenging, but they seemed longer than when we drove the course. Once on the loop, it got fun! I enjoyed the ride so much! So many downhills that lead to uphills, you can get a lot of momentum pushing down those hills and then only have to spin up the remaining 1/2 to 1/3 while gearing down. That is the main difference between this rolling, hilly course and the hills I ride back home...I loved it! On the first loop, I said to myself, I can't believe how much fun I am having. I kept leapfrogging with this guy Arnez, from Chicago, he was a good cyclist, spun up hills, powered down...but he wanted to chat! and I didn't want to risk a we said we'd see each other on the run. I looked for his one blue and one yellow compression sock out there on the run, but never saw him!

The first time going through Old Sauk, I didn't think it was too tough. It definitely felt harder the second time through, but the crowd support was fabulous, I think it was here that there was a young lady with a twinkie at the end of a pole running up the hill teasing me! It was funny and made me smile. Well, I smiled pretty much the whole way, yes, there was a headwind on the second loop, but I was happy to know what was coming after having completed loop one and there were parts of the course that I really enjoyed, like the twisty turny stuff that had caution signs all over the place! And the cows that were not allowed to cross the road that day...and the many silos!!! And of course the crowds in Verona and Midtown where I saw Suzy's Paul and their crew, twice!

My power dropped a little on the second loop, my heartrate though did not get too high...I was keeping it right at 130, which while high end of zone 2 for me, due to the temps being about 15F hotter than where I train, I thought seemed reasonable for a similar effort.

Used the port o' potties 2 more times out there and the volunteers couldn't have been any nicer...I really wish I knew the names of the roads but all I remember is it was before special needs stop.

I was so happy to see the split where you go to the finish! The rest of the way had a few hills and then to my suprise, a tailwind!!! Must have been a good one, I was at 90 watts going 22-23 mph and while I felt good, I was definitely ready to get off that bike! The bumps earlier in the ride were NOT my friend.

I got water at every aid station and usually filled with one whole one and then another to top it off and wet my arm coolers...which by the way were working fabulously! I finished both bottles of my liquid nutrition (Cytomax SE) 1080 calories total. I calculated my water intake to be somewhere between 260 and 280 oz which is a lot, but I had to reduce my effort and increase my water drinking everytime I had that gastric feeling...which I think started at about mile 75 or so. This kept coming and going until about mile 100, and then the course evens out and that I think helped. This slowing down/drink more water seemed to work well for me on my long training rides and yes, I had some long training rides, 2 x 100, 3 x 120!!! I think I took about 6 endurolytes, but they were more to supplement my sport drink due to the heat.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing! Well, secure aerobottle with velcro!!!
Transition 2
  • 06m 54s

I was a little stiff coming off the bike, but did remember to grab the gus along with my baggy of endurolytes and tums that I did not use and put it in my tri top pocket next to the tracking device.

I took my shoes off outside so I could run more easily and I was happy to see that my bag was amongst a bunch of other bags! Yay for not being last anymore.

I took the time to wipe down with some wet ones, that felt so good! I had to tape my crazy ankle with the kinesio tape that I pre-cut back in SF. Decided to just do the one I had sprained 2 weeks ago more as a precaution against that late run fatigue. Followed my list and felt quite good about my ability to keep moving.

Put my spibelt on, and it already felt annoying with all the stuff in my back pocket, but I didn't want to slow down. Ran out and immediately hear my name being screamed up on the next level, I wave but am focused on these ladies with latex gloves!!! I kind of didn't want to do the sunscreeners, but had only sprayed my legs in the change room, so let them glop it on my shoulders...I must have looked a mess with my white gloppy shoulders and dripping wet arm coolers. Turned looked up and saw Kathy with her crazy video camera, so mugged for that, gave an air kiss and a scream and I was O.F.F. Had turned my Garmin on but it wasn't picking up a satellite, I stood still for a few moments but then said screw it, I gotta GO!!! Moved my tracking device around because everything started feeling too bouncy in my back pocket, what with gels, my skibelt with race number and 4 gels in just all felt weird back there, but I wanted to start running!!! Ran out the transition as easily as I could.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe have put all of the gels in my spibelt before leaving the change tent. Maybe have worn different shorts with a pocket. Maybe have tried out how all that stuff felt back there before race day. Stop chuckling, Suzy! I would not find out until much later how all of that stuff back there would create a flurry of worried emails, texts and confusion throughout my mentor group!
  • 4h 19m 19s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 54s  min/mile

Well, I still wasn't getting a satellite for over a half mile and so I didn't know my exact pace but because it felt very hot to me, I tried to slow down as much as possible, apparently I shot out of there at a 8:30 pace, but actually started walking at about .5 miles to move stuff around with that stupid back pocket, so took the gels out and put them in my zip spibelt and then must have somehow dropped the athlete tracking device in doing so! Ran on oblivious to that. Uh Oh.

Saw Kathy, my coach Steve and his son and Paul and his group of friends all within the first 2 or 3 miles and it was wonderful. My legs felt pretty heavy, but I could jog...I was just really hot. I had my handheld little fuel belt water bottle so sipped alot of that and poured water on my arm coolers at every aid station, ice in sports bra, cold wet sponges, you name it! All in the name of staying cool...oh, yeah and being able to walk a little while doing all of these things seemed like a little treat.

My first 6 miles were at a 9:35 pace which I think was a good target on a day like today when the sun was really beating down. It was fun to run through the stadium and especially nice to run on the soft surface. My goodness, the soles of my feet just were aching and hot and I have never felt the bottoms of my feet hurting so much, especially during the second half of the marathon. I started taking my roctane gus at 30' and it went down without any issues, but I really needed to use the port o' pottie! So I did and managed to get rid of whatever was bothering me. Btw, every one I used including those on the bike course were absolutely immaculate! Men at Moo must be the most considerate aim'ers ever! Or I was extremely lucky!

I have a very hard time remembering miles 7-13 other than I didn't feel that bad...must have been okay, my pace was 9:05 or something like that.

I think the inspiration station came somewhere in these miles, Kathy had written me a note saying some craziness about me being a rockstar. and being proud of me. And I didn't want to cry but of course, well, it was just the culmination of many months of not always easy to juggle training, family, work, life and here we were, with maybe 3 hours left in this journey? Holy Moly, can you keep running please, turn off the stupid faucets.

I was SO hot! Oh, I said that already. I was taking 2 salt tabs every hour and gu every 45' after that first one. Even that was hard to figure out by the 2 hour point. Drank tons of water. By mile 16, everything was hurting, my feet, my quads, my brain. Oh, my brain, I couldn't really make a plan, other than try to run to that aid station and you get to walk...that hill on Observatory basically kicked my rear end, so I had to walk (both times). Second time, I heard a girl tell her friend, it is 6:41...I tried to do math, where am I? How many more miles, can I make it under 13 hours? I honestly couldn't figure it out and it was making my brain hurt, so I decided to just run down the hill, which felt good and I kept running up the little one after that...and kept going until I hit a weird wall at mile 22 where I just couldn't run.

I. couldn't. run. another. step. And I looked at my Garmin after to see how long I walked. 5 minutes, yes, five frickin' minutes to the next aid station, I did a body check to see what was wrong, did something feel crampy, no. sore? everywhere, but what else is new? C'mon, do something. I resolved to try the coke! And maybe a new gu, since I went through all my roctanes and only had some gus with no caffeine, I tried a perform gu with double caffeine and a shot of coke to follow (maybe it was pepsi?). OMG. I felt immediately better. I started RUNNING! and running and running and running! I remembered at about mile 24.5 seeing the firefighter in all his gear going out as I was coming in and he was talking into the media truck camera-it was inspiring and made me resolve not to stop until the finish!

That run up State St. to the Capitol was amazing, so much better than the first time through, when apparently Dave/Dino from our my MG was running beside me and I didn't even recognize him or remember it until he told me after the race!!!

The crowds were going absolutely nuts, suddenly my feet didn't hurt, I had the biggest smile on my face and I came around Walgreens and felt I was flying. I came into the chute and there were people in front of me, but not many behind, so slowed down, saw 13:00:xx, knew I didn't break the elusive 13 hours mark, but it was fine, I came down that chute with my arms overhead, I was so extremely thrilled to be crossing that line!

I heard my name being called out by Mike Reilly but I didn't need him to tell me what I already knew...what I had rehearsed so many times in my mind while walking the dog after a really long swim or bike or run and it was always then that I would have tears in my eyes...sometimes from fatigue, sometimes after a particularly long day at work or trying to keep up with housekeeping or gardening or seeing family or friends and really trying to stay positive and not getting snappy with the people I love when all I wanted to do was sleep...but when I hit that timing mat all I felt was pure joy at the accomplishment of not only the day, but the whole year. And I looked upwards and smiled with my heart open wide.

What would you do differently?:

Not sure of this, but perhaps if I had gone just a bit slower at the start, like stupid slow, might I have had more at the end? Of course I would have loved to negative split, but would I have been just as much a wreck at the end? It seemed more mental than physical to my HR was in high zone 1 even at the end, even with the last 2 miles at 8:15/mile.

Maybe longer brick runs after long rides? Not sure, will talk to Steve about that. I think we did mostly 30 minute runs in easy effort other than one double brick.

Other than that, I think I did a good job of slowing down less than others. I passed over 600 people on the run.
Post race
Warm down:

Got caught by my catchers and they deemed me to be in good shape. I was tired but took my finisher photo, saw Kathy and Paul up in the tent and asked where Suzy was. They said she had a bike mechanical but was coming soon. I was excited to see her finish but confused as to why I had never seen her out there! So happy to see her finish and give huge sweaty hugs and then saw Dave and had to give him a huge sweaty hug. Forgot they had food and drink but drank water while we waited. Ice bath and walking to Paisan's for pizza was my warm down.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Heat and lack of experience at this distance were probably number one. That and a little bit of loss of mental focus at about mile 16 of the run and again at mile 22. But proud that I pulled it together and finished strong.

Event comments:

They say you only have one first Ironman, and to really just enjoy it. And I sure did. And I am so glad I picked this race. To share this with my partner, Kathy, my good friend Suzy, to have my crazy mentor group going nuts with worry when the timing device showed no forward progress and they all thought something had happened to me until someone got a hold of Suzy's husband Paul and there was a collective sigh of relief.

I owe gratitude to Kathy for being as patient and as supportive as possible when it counted most.

To Steve Janowiak, my coach who has been instrumental in helping me to achieve this dream of mine.

To Suzy, my good friend, who is a tremendous person in every way. For carting us all over town, but moreso for making my IM experience so less nervewracking than it could have been by keeping me calm, especially on race morning.

To my crazy MG, you guys rock. Sorry to scare the bejesus out of you!

To my Mom and Dad, who taught me as a little girl, to reach for the stars and you can do anything you set your mind to.

To my big brother, Jeff, who made me cry the night before the race when he sent me a text message that said, "You have Mom's strong will, Dad's athleticism, but most of all, you have always had all heart"

I loved this race and I will be back again!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2010-10-06 12:00 AM
01:47:30 | 4224 yards | 02m 32s / 100yards
Age Group: 80/85
Overall: 2341/2797
Performance: Good
Suit: Blue Seventy Helix Full
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 08:40
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:38:43 | 112 miles | 16.85 mile/hr
Age Group: 33/85
Overall: 1339/2797
Performance: Good
watts average 103 heart rate 132 cadence 83
Wind: Some
Road: Rough  Cadence: 83
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 06:54
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:19:19 | 26.2 miles | 09m 54s  min/mile
Age Group: 11/85
Overall: 401/2797
Performance: Average
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5