Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
Ironman North America
70F / 21C
Total Time = 10h 36m 29s
Overall Rank = 127/2204
Age Group = M2529
Age Group Rank = 17/151
Pre-race routine:

I used the 30 week intermediate program from the beIRONfit book by Don Fink. I followed it pretty closely, but started the swims a few weeks late because of a broken wrist. I also slacked off on the swims later in the peak phase because the pool workouts were getting boring and I had trouble getting motivated to get myself to the pool. I also didn't hit all the high intensity bikes and runs, but I did get all the long runs and rides in. Overall I liked the program and for my next IM in 2009, I'll follow the same program and may add in the optional weight training and add a couple long bricks, which are missing from the program.

On Thursday, Danielle and I arrived in Madison. I picked up my bike and gear bag from Tri-bike Transport and did an easy 50 minute ride on some of the trails around town that afternoon. On Friday morning, we went to the swim course and swam around for 20 minutes. The water was really choppy from the wind and I thought it would be really rough if the water was like this on race day; it would be like an ocean swim. We drove the bike course and got lost a couple times. It looked a lot tougher than I expected it would with all the hills and tight turns. Later that day I went for an easy run. My knees hurt and I felt slow and was getting anxious for the race to get started. I was more interested in tasting some of the beers at the several brew pubs in town. I got my race packet that day and started piling my gear that would go in the bags. I couldn't think of anything I'd need during the bike or run that I couldn't carry from transition, so I decided not to do the special needs bag.

On Saturday I ran for 20 minutes in the morning and still was not feeling too good. I finished packing my bags and I rode my bike with the transition bags in my bike messenger bag from the hotel to the race site. Dropped everything off and called Danielle to come get me. We went into town and walked around State Street for a little while. I had noodles for lunch and some beer bread from the Great Dane brew pub along with my tall bottle of water for a snack. I was jealous of Danielle and Breck's tasty looking beers. We went to Paisan's for dinner and I ordered spaghetti and sauce. The bowl was tiny and as I looked at it in disappointment, Danielle asked the waiter for more. He brought another bowl out and I mixed it with my leftover sauce. It ended up being $20 for about two cups of noodles and a little sauce - not the best deal for a hungry triathlete.

I went to bed at around 9:30 and was able to get to sleep within a half hour or so. I woke up once in the middle of the night to pee and ate some leftover bread and drank some water. Woke up at 4:00 and went downstairs for breakfast. I got a bagel, coffee and a yogurt. We brought it back upstairs, but I only had a bite of the bagel and instead had more beer bread and a Clif Bar and Gatorade. Went to the bathroom and then left to catch the shuttle bus from the Alient center to the race site. Filled my Aero drink with Gatorade and put two bottles in the cages. At the pre-race meeting we were informed that there would be a stretch of 18 miles without an aid station on both loops, so I wanted to be sure I was never without Gatorade. I stopped by the Bike-Run bag and dropped a couple more GUs in there for a total of six. Got marked and went to swim start to put on my wetsuit. I was outside the area where the athletes were waiting to get into the water and I had to walk through everyone backwards to drop off my dry goods bag.
Event warmup:

Filed through the arch over the timing mat and into the water. Swam out and floated there for 5 minutes.
  • 1h 07m 5s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 35s / 100 yards

I started about 3/4 of the way out, just passed the second black bouy. I was 10 yards behind the start, but there were not a lot of people around, everyone was giving each other plenty of space. The start was not bad, but about 200 yards in, everyone started converging into the lane and there was a lot of contact. I swam over some people and others went over me. The tough part is when you try to swim between two people and they start moving close to each other. Then you are stuck and have to back off and try a different way around. I didn't sight on the bouys until I was near the corners, the rest of the time I just watched those around me and went the same direction as them. I got a kick in the face once which made me bite my tounge and a girl knocked my goggles off my eyes. For sighting at the finish, I looked for the tall silver building with round balconies and swam towards it.
What would you do differently?:

I slacked on my swim workouts, and could be faster if I put more effort in. I also learned to keep my teeth clenched when exhaling to prevent biting my tounge when getting kicked in the face.
Transition 1
  • 08m 6s

I wish all races had wetsuit strippers. I got out the water, got my suit off to my waist while running to the strippers, sat down, and they yanked it off the rest of the way. Followed others up the helix inside (running bare foot on concrete hurts), got my bike bag and went into the change room, put helmet, socks, and shoes on, put my Clif bars in my pockets and applied some suntan lotion. Put my wetsuit back in the bag, ran outside, got my bike and off I went.
What would you do differently?:

My time was slower than many, but it didn't feel like it. I should have used the official suntan lotion appliers, but they were outside and I didn't realize. I've got a nice burn on my back where I couldn't reach myself. There was also no voluteer helping me, and I probably should have found one.
  • 5h 48m 37s
  • 112 miles
  • 19.28 mile/hr

I drove the bike course to see it for the first time on the Friday before the race. Being able to ride or train on this course would have been a huge advantage.

After going down the helix, I took a couple of 8 hour Tylenols to stave off any joint inflamation and pain. After getting past the no pass zone, I shifted into the big ring to get by the people I was following. My chain falls off, so I have to stop and put it back on. I start going again and wave to Danielle as she directs the bike traffic. I asked her to send all the Male 25-29s the wrong way, but she sent everyone the right way.

The bike loops went farm, hill, farm, hill, curves through woods, hill, farm, lots of people cheering and repeat. There was a lot of bikes, but I didn't see any blatent drafting and the marshals made several passes.

I ate a GU at 0:15 and had another every 30 minutes. I had half a Clif Bar at 0:30 and another every 30 minutes until all four bars were gone. I drank Gatorade constantly and had one bottle full every half hour. I had some enduralytes when I thought of it - maybe 6 or 8 total.

On the way back from the loops, I started relaxing and taking it easy to get ready for the marathon. My chain fell off again when shifting to the small ring for one of the hills and I had to stop again and put it back on. Lots of people passed me between here and the end, but I kept my HR in mid Z1 and chugged along. I saw my time was going to be 5:45 or so, which was slower than my training paces, but since the course was tough and new to me, I was not concerned.
What would you do differently?:

Looking at my splits and HR, I could have pushed harder towards the end. Training and racing with a powermeter would help since I'd be able to see instantly when I am not working hard enough. Also I need to change the front gear slower so I don't drop my chain so much.
Transition 2
  • 02m 57s

When coming off the helix before the dismount, I took my Garmin off its bike quick change mount and put it on my wrist. I didn't press down hard enough and it fell to the concrete. I stopped, got off my bike, went back to retrieve it and then just ran the rest of the way to give my bike to a catcher. The Garmin survived the fall without a scratch, which is good because I might have been in trouble without my HR, pace and distance data on the run.

After giving my bike away, I ran inside, got my bag from the pile and went to the changing room. This time I had my own volunteer who helped me sort my stuff out so I could get all my GUs in my pocket. I used the sunscreen appliers this time, which was a funny experience. I think I hade 10 hands wiping sunscreen on my body and then they let me go.
What would you do differently?:

Be more careful getting my Garmin attached.
  • 3h 29m 44s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 01s  min/mile

I flew out of transition and took two more Tylenols. The first miles are downhill, and my pace was fast. I've had trouble with pacing at other races, so I was a little worried that I might blow up and had to concentrate on relaxing and taking it easy. I had to pee for the first couple miles, and decided to wait until mile 5 before stopping. A full bladder is good motivation to keep moving. My knees were sore - it feels like quadriceps tendonitis. I'll have to keep an eye on that this fall.

At every aid station I had Gatorade and grabbed a sponge. GUs every half hour and some water at the next aid station to wash it down. I saw Danielle on State Street on my 6th and 19th mile and told her I felt good both times.

Around mile 11 or 12, I took some sponges and noticed my feet were getting wet from their water, so I stopped getting sponges for the rest of the race. My bib tore and I walked for a little while to reattach it using another hole. They should use better bib number material. The water and sweat wrecked it and my shorts were covered with pills of paper. The cheap 5Ks have better bibs than these!

After the first loop, the people on their first loop were getting in my way at some of the aid stations. I'd run to the left and dart in to get my Gatorade between people walking or jogging. I also think my pace got slower on the second loop partially because of the congestion.

Around mile 20 I started feeling like I'd had about enough and started picking out people ahead to run to and then repeating as I reached them. Big guy, yellow hat guy, blue jersey guy, pony tail girl. I felt better after doing that for a few minutes and then thought to myself that I only have 5 miles to go and I started pushing the pace a little bit. The last mile and a half I was really moving and passed a ton of people. Twice I yelled "Look out!" to people when I ran into their arms as they reached out to high five someone.

Right by the end some guy that I passed passed me back and he didn't have an age on his leg and looked young, so I didn't bother catching him since I wanted to enjoy the finish a little bit. I heard his age announced as 26 and was annoyed for a second that I didn't race him in because I could have beaten him. I ran across through the tape and vagely heard "from Middletown CT" being announced, but it was not the dramatic announcement that I've expected from reading all the race reports here.
What would you do differently?:

I am happy with my run. My pace was exactly what I had trained my long runs at and a 3:30 IM marathon is pretty good. At the end I didn't feel bad which makes me think I didn't leave everything on the course and something should have been faster.
Post race
Warm down:

The catchers grabbed me, I got my finisher stuff and a Coke. Dumped my Coke on the grabber guy when I reached to turn off my stop watches. They walked with me down to the end of the finish area and they let me go. I saw Danielle outside and the first thing I said was "That was easy." She took some pictures of me with the finish area and Capitol area behind me and then walked out and went to the massage room. Got the massage and then went to get my dry goods bag and used Breck's room at the Hilton to take a shower. Gathered up the rest of my bags, brought my bike to the Tri-Bike transporters and went back to my hotel to wash out my stuff. Went back into town around 8:00 and had a burger at a restaurant that was beside the run course and watched people jog and walk up the last hill of their race. Had a chocolate milk and then finally got a local beer to wash down the tasty burger.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I bought into the myth of the grueling, brutal Ironman and was intimidated by the distance. I raced very conservatively and pretty much cruised in high Z1 through the whole thing. Now I know it is really not that bad as long as you are prepared and I will not be afraid to push a little harder and get higher into Z2 next time.
I also might have gained some weight during the taper and should have counted calories in the last few weeks.

Event comments:

They do an awesome job at this. Everything is organized so well and the support on the course from spectators and volunteers make it a fun day. Some of the reason why it was easier than I expected was the amount of support. I wish I had people to hand me bottles of Gatorade every twelve miles on my long rides and cheer for me and offer me food and drinks everytime I go for a run. The price of the race is absolutly justified since all their planning and support made the race a lot of fun and much lower stress than I expected.

The worst part of it is the stupid way the roads around the Capitol are designed. I got lost everytime I drove and went in circles trying to find anything.

The time and money comitment, especially when travelling to the race, is huge and I think I'll take next year off from IM racing and do a couple of halfs and a stand alone marathon with the goal of qualifying for Boston. In 2009, I'll go back to IM and see if I can earn a trip to Hawaii.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2007-01-15 12:00 AM
01:07:05 | 4224 yards | 01m 35s / 100yards
Age Group: 49/151
Overall: 401/2204
Performance: Good
Suit: Blueseventy Reaction
Course: Wide floating start and then a rectangular counter clock wise double loop.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 75F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 08:06
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
05:48:37 | 112 miles | 19.28 mile/hr
Age Group: 40/151
Overall: 316/2204
Performance: Average
mile mph hr; 5 19.7 150; 10 19.1 150; 15 21.3 147; 20 20.1 149; 25 19.2 147; 30 18.0 153; 35 20.6 150; 40 21.4 142; 45 17.9 149; 50 22.1 144; 55 21.9 144; 60 20.4 146; 65 20.4 147; 70 18.4 148; 75 17.3 148; 80 19.3 141; 85 19.1 138; 90 18.7 147; 95 19.3 143; 100 18.9 142; 105 19.1 138; 110 18.3 138; 112 16.2 141;
Wind: Some
Course: People said this bike course is hard, but I didn't believe them until I saw it myself. I thought the mid-west was all flat with corn fields everywhere. I was wrong! This course is tough. There are no really long climbs, but there are tons of short and steep ones. The two steepest climbs have people lining them who cheer and clap. The road surfaces were very good, some of it was brand new two days before.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Below average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:57
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
03:29:44 | 26.2 miles | 08m 01s  min/mile
Age Group: 8/151
Overall: 67/2204
Performance: Good
1 7:00 164; 2 7:11 166; 3 7:18 168; 4 7:26 166; 5 7:32 165; 6 8:45 160 (pee stop); 7 7:33 164; 8 7:45 163; 9 8:02 161; 10 8:02 160; 11 8:39 157 (fixed bib); 12 8:16 156; 13 8:29 159; 14 7:53 156; 15 8:10 157; 16 8:24 159; 17 8:18 156; 18 8:10 158; 19 8:53 155; 20 8:11 158; 21 8:28 157; 22 8:24 156; 23 8:14 161; 24 8:24 157; 25 7:41 165; 26 7:49 166;
Course: Double out and back urban cross country route that goes over streets, sidewalks, astroturf, gravel and cobblestones. There are a couple steep hills in the college area and some other sloped areas near the Capitol, but overall the course is flat.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
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