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Ironman Wisconsin - TriathlonFull Ironman


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Madison, Wisconsin
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
70F / 21C
Sunny
Total Time = 13h 51m 4s
Overall Rank = 1515/2452
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 193/294
Pre-race routine:

So my journey to Ironman started on Aug 1, 2010 when my neighbor Scott invited me to go watch him participate at a local Triathlon in Omaha. I was 230 lbs. and very unhealthy. I was carrying my big bottle of Mountain Dew the whole time he raced. At the end of the race I tried to run and catch him at the finishline and he left me in the dust. I was coughing and hacking after running maybe 30 yards. I used to be a really good athlete when I was younger and I let myself go. I promised Scott that I'd do that Triathlon the next year and I joined the gym the following day. The weight started flying off and I learned how to swim, bought a Tri bike, bought all the gear. i was doing it. While I was doing my training I would stay up late at night watching Ironman videos on youtube just crying thinking about how cool it would be to one day do that. I told myself I was going to be an ironman, oh yes I was. Last year I did 5 Tri's, a full marathon, and many other local races. The year culminated with me beating Scott at the Hy Vee Triathlon in Des Moines. We both loved it, but I wasn't done. I had to become an Ironman. I signed up for Madison last year and there was no stopping me.
I did a youtube video of part of my journey last year leading up to the 1 year point where I did my first Olympic Tri. On this one Scott was videoing me doing the race. (he just got back the night before from vacation) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNP1UYZrPRk

Well, two years and a week after I decided to change my life I was waking up to accomplish what I set out. The greatest physical accomplishment of my life. Today, I am going to be an Ironman!

ok, race morning:
Didn't do much, I ate my normal pre-race breakfast of a Protein Zone Mango drink and a couple bananas. Drank a couple bottles of gatorade leading up to the race.
I also went through all my transition bags and setup one more time to make sure everything was in check.
Event warmup:

did some light stretching, but that was about it.
Swim
  • 1h 19m 21s
  • 3862 meters
  • 02m 03s / 100 meters
Comments:

I got in the water about 30 minutes before the swim start so I had a lot of time to think. I kept looking around and thinking to myself. "oh my god, I'm at the swim start of an ironman" I had to take my goggles off 2 or 3 times because I got emotional and they were filling up with tears. I just can't put into words the feelings I was feeling. Surreal is probably the best word to use.

I was most worried about the swim because I've never done a mass swim this big. I spent weeks researching and watching start videos to find the "best" place to start.
So, I decided to stand on the rocks at the far right of the pack towards the front. I figured I'd much rather have people swim up on me versus me swimming into peoples feet.
About 1 minute before the cannon went off I saw a larger opening up front about 10 yards off the shore so I swam up there and boom, the cannon goes off.
I had plenty of time to calm my nerves so I had zero problems with swim panic and breathing. I just hit it and felt awesome. After the start there were a couple rows in front of me that zoomed off and I had clear water in front of me. There was a gradual flow of people swimming around me because i'm not that fast of a swimmer, but it was very calm and I literally had zero contact on the whole first stretch. The water visibility was a good 15-20 feet. I've never done a swim like that so I had a smile on my face just watching everyone swimming around me and I was confident swimming on the faster swimmers feet and drafted better than I ever had before. Every time someone would pass me I'd lock on as long as I could, it was so cool.
At the first turn I stayed a good 15 yards or so off the buoy to keep the contact down. I had some light contact, but nothing other than some gentle bumps here and there. I heard everyone mooing and that made me laugh. Loving the race so far
At the second turn it was more of the same, I continued to stay a good 15 yards or so off the buoy line and just had some light bumps, but no major contact and then I was in clear water again.
About halfway through the back stretch I had a lady pass me and she hit my goggles with her hand and pushed them off just enough to fill with water. I just rolled to my back real quick and cleared them and was back on my way.
I had planned to gradually work closer to the buoy line, but it was just so clear 10-15 yards off the line and I had a steady supply of people to draft off of so I just decided to stick with it. What's another 5 minutes on an ironman if it keeps the stress down.
Another thing that was very cool is that I almost never sighted during the whole swim. Visibility was so good that I just watched the swimmers around me and stayed with the flow. I'd look up every 50 or so strokes just to make sure the pack wasn't going off course, but I could have done the whole swim without looking up. It was awesome.
I knew I was capable of swimming it in 1:15, but figured I would shoot for a sub 1:20 with my elongation of the course. I came out of the water and saw the 1:19 on the clock and was ecstatic. I saw my wife off to the left yelling and screaming at me. I waved with a big smile on my face. :) One down, two to go
What would you do differently?:

Absolutely nothing. Best swim of my Triathlon career. :)
Transition 1
  • 11m 58s
Comments:

With this being my first Ironman I wasn't concerned with time so much as I was with nutrition and taking it easy to conserve energy. I put a small collapsable cooler in my T1 bag with a Naked Protein Zone Mango drink so I could get a good nutrition base going before my bike. That took a good minute or more to drink, but I wasn't concerned.
I grabbed my 2 cliff bars and put them in the pockets on the back of my tri top and also had a small container of body glide I put in my shirt pocket just in case. Put on my race belt.
I got my helmet on and put my arm coolers on all the way in the changing room. This added a good minute or two as well, but I almost crashed in HIMKS trying to pull up my arm coolers on the bike so I took the time hit.
I grabbed my shoes and just carried them up to my bike. grabbed my bike and ran to the mount line and a volunteer held my bike while I put my shoes on. Jumped on the bike and I was off.
My wife was set up at the bottom of the helix and I was concentrating on the road so I missed her there. :(
What would you do differently?:

nothing really. I could have sped things up, but I wasn't really concerned with adding a few minutes to my total time. :)
Bike
  • 6h 38m 19s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.87 mile/hr
Comments:

The bike is by far my strongest portion of the race, so I could have hammered it but I made a conscious decision to baby the heck out of the bike. I hadn't ridden any of the hills but based on riding my century rides in the hills at home I figured I could do a 6:30 time with very little effort and that's how I trained. I'll admit it was hard to let people pass me and not want to just go smoke them, but I stood fast with my plan and stuck to it.
The down hills were insanely cool and as an adrenaline junkie I was loving it. Hit 50 mph on several occasions just coasting. haha
The uphills were certainly steep, but I was so refreshed from taking it easy I just motored on up them with little stress. I just sat back and soaked in the atmosphere of all the fans going nuts. That was truly my favorite part of the race with everything from a Yeti sighting, seemingly naked women hiding behind signs and clowns coming out of the cornfield. So fricken cool
When I hit Verona after the first loop I saw my wife and mom sitting on the side of the road. I gave them a big wave and I love you as I passed. Special needs was a few miles up the road so I stopped there and had to go pee. grabbed my nutrition reload and hit the road again.
I was slightly ahead of my pace so I babied it a little more on the second loop just to make sure I was plenty fresh on the run.
My nutrition plan was to have my Naked drink in transition and eat a clif bar every hour on the hour and a serving of GU chomps every half hour. At special needs I had a bologna sandwich in another collapsable cooler and a bag of fritos. I ate the sandwich and fritos on the bike as I was riding. I shared some fritos with people who were passing me, it was kind of funny seeing the look on peoples faces when I'd hold the bag out and ask if they wanted some fritos. :)

When I was coming in on the last leg of the bike I felt like I could go pee again. I could have held it for transition but saw an open restroom and made a quick pit stop. Like I said I don't care about a few minutes here or there, I just wanted to finish and enjoy the experience.
I strolled in and didn't notice the time, but figured I was around my 6:30 pace so no worries. Mission 2 accomplished and I felt GREAT.
What would you do differently?:

absolutely nothing. had a plan, executed the plan, and felt awesome
Transition 2
  • 09m 6s
Comments:

came into transition and a volunteer grabbed my bike. I just left my shoes on and walked into transition grabbed my bag and found a chair.
I had my shoes, sunglasses, hat, and some GU and GU Chomps for nutrition. I loaded up my pockets with nutrition. I didn't race to get through there, but I wasn't overly slow. I did make one mistake by not taking my arm coolers off. I put everything in my bag and gave it to a volunteer and then realized i still had my arm coolers on. They chafe my underarms so I can't run in them. I took them off but I had no idea which volunteer grabbed my bag and no clue where he put it. doh
So I just tossed my arm coolers (there goes $30)
I jogged out and saw the sun screen station and figured I better stop just in case. I had five ladies attack me with sunscreen. One on each leg, one on each arm and one rubbing my neck and back. They were done but I told them I wasn't done yet and they all laughed and kept rubbing and told me to let them know "when I was done" haha, it was like a mid race massage and felt great. :)
I did have to go to the restroom again so I hit the porta potty on the way out and then I was off for my run
What would you do differently?:

put my arm coolers in the bag
Run
  • 13h 51m 4s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 31m 43s  min/mile
Comments:

My plan was to take it easy on the bike and run a 9:00 pace marathon with walking the water stops. When I took off on the run I seriously felt like I hadn't even done anything, I felt very strong and was thinking "cake walk baby"
I ran along at a 9:00 pace taking my gu chomps every 45 minutes and drinking a full cup of water, full cup of perform and or coke while walking the water stops. Ended up averaging around a 9:30 pace overall the first half marathon.
I felt very strong through the first half of the run, but I noticed I was starting to not like my GU Chomps anymore and feeling a little nauseous every time I grabbed one. I grabbed a banana and it went down ok, but this started happening around mile 9 or 10. It gradually got worse where my stomach just didn't want anything and the only thing I could get down was water and perform. the wheels were coming off my nutrition plan, ruh roh raggy.
I was very smart about it and realized what was going on right away so I had a contingency plan in place. I hit the water stop and then ran for about half the distance to the next one and then walked to the next water stop, but even this plan wasn't working because I just didn't have enough fuel in to even make half the run. grrr
By about mile 15 or 16 I was pretty much walking full time and sucking down as much perform and water as I could get at the water stops and would grab some chicken broth, grab a couple pretzels, just anything I could get down.
The frustrating part was my legs felt great, I could go run stairs if I wanted, but I just didn't have the fuel to do it and when I'd start running I'd feel nauseous.
At about mile 19 I had a couple guys go zooming by me speed walking and they asked me if I wanted to tag along and I said sure. I looked at my gps watch and we were clipping along at 12 minute miles walking and it actually felt great. I thought, hey this could work. haha
Fortunately after I hit mile 20 and doing my speed walking I thought, I'm going to try running again and sure enough I was back in business. Everything felt great and I had no more stomach pains. YES, my nutrition caught back up to me.
I just started thinking, I've only got a 10k to run and that's around an hour. I figured I needed a goal so I was going to shoot for a 13 hour time. Lets do it.
So, I took off again at an easier pace of around 10 minute miles and just walking the water stops. I made it all the way to the 25 mile point before my stomach started acting up again. I saw I was more than 20 minutes ahead of 14:00 so I didn't bother pushing it. I walked to the next water stop and fueled up good.
Then I rounded the finish line corner and got to experience the absolute euphoria of finishing an ironman. The streets were lined as far and as deep as you could see. I just wanted to hear "Tony Underwood, you are an Ironman" so bad it hurt. I looked around me and made sure I had plenty of distance between the guy in front of me and nobody within half a block behind me. I was making dam sure Mike Riley was going to call my name. haha
Then as I was running down the chute I hear my wife yell out at me and I stopped and turned around to give her a big hug and a kiss. I was grinning ear to ear and went for my victory run.
I started pumping my fists in the air over and over just smiling and laughing and crying all at once. Mike Riley was calling out all these names but not mine. What the heck, there was a group of about 5 people who came up behind me on my little XO stop that he missed my name... NOOOOOOOOOOO
OK, I didn't care that much because I finished and I am now an Ironman.

There was this great lady who caught me at the finish line and asked me how I was doing. I told her I felt great and nothing at all was wrong. She looked a little surprised and stayed with me for a while. She wanted to known how I felt and I just proceeded to give her a verbal race report. haha. She was awesome and eventually took me over for my finisher pic and told me congratulations Ironman. :)
What would you do differently?:

Obviously the wheels fell off my nutrition plan, but I practiced and trained with it so many times that I really was confident in my plan. The only thing is I never ran a 13 miler or longer after a century bike ride so I need to incorporate some of those in my training to get a better (more realistic) training experience with my nutrition.
I peed 4 or 5 times on the run course so I'm pretty sure I was getting enough fluids and I was taking salt tabs every hour so I had plenty of electrolytes.
Post race
Warm down:

did some light stretching, but that was about it. I walked to the minivan and camped out while my wife grabbed my bike and transition bags.
I wanted to get online to see how all my BT buddies did as well as see what kind of crazy stuff people were putting on my facebook page. lol

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Nutrition plan on the run was really it. I easily cost myself 90 minutes plus with my little walking spat. It was frustrating, but overall I wasn't really disappointed. I was really happy I was able to run it most of the way in .
I had absolutely zero muscle fatigue, soreness, or joint issues the entire race so that made me feel very good with my training level and pacing plan.

Event comments:

Truly the best Tri experience of my life. The venue is absolutely incredible and I cannot recommend it enough. The bike is tough, but hey it's an ironman what do you expect. The run is epic with a capital epic. So many fans calling your name throughout the whole course. I felt like a rock star the whole run.

There were several times during the bike and run that I seriously started to sob. I just couldn't believe that I was doing an Ironman. So much work to get to this place. I just couldn't believe it.

There's so many great things that have come out of this. My wife caught the bug and started doing Tri's this year. She lost over 60 lbs. and completed several sprint Tri's. Next year she's moving up to Oly's. I have a whole new group of friends in the Tri community that are so supportive. I've got so many BT friends that are the nicest people on earth.

What a great great feeling!!! Awesome Awesome Awesome




Last updated: 2012-04-30 12:00 AM
Swimming
01:19:21 | 3862 meters | 02m 03s / 100meters
Age Group: 164/294
Overall: 1182/2452
Performance: Good
Suit: Xterra wetsuit
Course: 2.4 Mile single loop
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
T1
Time: 11:58
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Yes
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
Biking
06:38:19 | 112 miles | 16.87 mile/hr
Age Group: 193/294
Overall: 1275/2452
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: beautiful course with a ton of fan support. I just can't describe how cool the fans were. I felt like I was on the TDF on the big hill climbs with literally hundreds and hundreds of people lining the streets out in the middle of nowhere. Costumes, and sillyness on full display
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
T2
Time: 09:06
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
13:51:04 | 26.2 miles | 31m 43s  min/mile
Age Group: 212/294
Overall: 1519/2452
Performance:
Course: great atmosphere. most of the course through downtown was lined with thousands of fans. It was absolutely incredible
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
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

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2012-09-12 10:32 PM

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Subject: Ironman Wisconsin


2012-09-13 12:05 AM
in reply to: #4408705

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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great job!!!  Way to push through it.  Enjoyed reading your Race Report.  Now go get that Ironman tattoo and post it online.  Congrats Ironman.

Edited by Justin Scheele 2012-09-13 12:07 AM
2012-09-13 6:20 AM
in reply to: #4408705

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Silver member
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Congratulations!!
2012-09-13 7:03 AM
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Expert
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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Great race report, 

Congrats!!!

2012-09-13 7:03 AM
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Expert
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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Oh.. and MOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
2012-09-13 7:21 AM
in reply to: #4408705

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Regular
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Waterloo
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Cool backstory and nice race!


2012-09-13 8:07 AM
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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great report!  Thanks for sharing!
2012-09-13 8:34 AM
in reply to: #4408705

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Veteran
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Omaha, NE
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Way to go! Glad you had such a great race (for the most part)!
2012-09-13 10:51 AM
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Regular
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Chicago
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Congratulations! I loved reading this race report and learning your back story.

Any chance you wore a Nebraska jersey on Sunday?

2012-09-13 11:25 AM
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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
doxie - 2012-09-13 10:51 AM

Congratulations! I loved reading this race report and learning your back story.

Any chance you wore a Nebraska jersey on Sunday?

No, I've got a Team Nebraska Tri top and shorts but they're not quite as comfy on the long haul for me so I went with my black/white Zoot Ultra Tri top/shorts.

We did have one of our Team Nebraska guys out there sporting the colors though.  i

2012-09-13 11:31 AM
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Master
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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great race. Great report.

Congratulations Ironman!


2012-09-13 12:10 PM
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Chicago
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Great job out there...amazing feeling isn't it? DH and I used to sit around and watch the Kona videos and talk about whether we could do an ironman...I remember when I first started, he was horrified at the thought of a 2.4mi swim. Now we both did it, just like you. Enjoy the afterglow!

Q

2012-09-13 12:36 PM
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Oak Park, IL
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Awesome race report! Nothing like hitting that finish chute at an Ironman. Congratulations!!!
2012-09-13 12:38 PM
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Kenosha
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Tony...what an awesome accomplishment. Not sure if you remember, but gordon_mom (Amy) and I did HIMKS in June. We live in Wisconsin and watched the live coverage of the finish line until almost 10:30 that evening. I'm sure we saw you cross. Amy and I are planning on doing IMWI in 2014, so we'll take any tips you're willing to offer up!!

Congratulations on being an IRONMAN!

Cyndi
2012-09-13 12:44 PM
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Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

What an amazing day you had Tony!  Congratulations Ironman!  What an amazing story and way to motivate those around you. 

We did Kansas with you earlier this year but were never able to connect, met your mom though  I saw you on the IMWI forum so knew you were doing this one. Kept an eye on you and others Sunday through the Live stream.  You really kept it together and pulled through, nice work.  I feel like from the race reports I've read there were alot of tummy issues out there. Nutrition for this distance is so hard to nail down. Will you be doing it again next  year?  We're volunteering next year and then doing it in 2014!

Congrats again Tony,

Amy

2012-09-13 1:21 PM
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Master
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Crab Cake City
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Congrats on being an Ironman Tony!


2012-09-13 1:51 PM
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Omaha, NE
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
gordon_mom - 2012-09-13 12:44 PM

What an amazing day you had Tony!  Congratulations Ironman!  What an amazing story and way to motivate those around you. 

We did Kansas with you earlier this year but were never able to connect, met your mom though  I saw you on the IMWI forum so knew you were doing this one. Kept an eye on you and others Sunday through the Live stream.  You really kept it together and pulled through, nice work.  I feel like from the race reports I've read there were alot of tummy issues out there. Nutrition for this distance is so hard to nail down. Will you be doing it again next  year?  We're volunteering next year and then doing it in 2014!

Congrats again Tony,

Amy

Yep, I remember you guys.  

I was too broke to sign up again for next year.  two WTC events this year was about all my budget could handle.  

I'll definitely be doing Kansas again next year though.

2012-09-13 3:22 PM
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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Great RR.  Congrats on your race and the overall journey.  Well done.

2012-09-13 3:37 PM
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Menomonee Falls, WI
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great inspirational story Tony.  And kudos to you for getting off your azz and busting your butt to become an Ironman.  You should be very proud of such an awesome accomplishment!  Congrats Ironman!
2012-09-13 3:50 PM
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Kansas
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Love your whole race report - especially "ruh roh raggy!" hahaha

You did so awesome navigating the Ironman day. Congrats!!!

2012-09-13 9:47 PM
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Master
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University Park, MD
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great journey to get you this far so quickly. You've made impressive progress. I was tracking your splits during the race, and so glad to hear that the race was a great experience for you.


2012-09-15 11:11 AM
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Master
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Lexington, KY
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Congrats Ironman!  

I liked reading about how you got motivated by your friend to change your lifestyle and you made it all the way to IM.  Good stuff.

2012-09-15 5:50 PM
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Expert
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Western WI
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

i am so happy for you that this was the best tri of you life!  What a great day - very nice job keeping in under control on the bike and powering through on the run.  Well done!!  You're now an ironman for the rest of your life!!! yay!!

2012-09-19 12:47 AM
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Rochester, MN
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Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin

Congrats, Tony!  Great RR.  Very impressive jumping to IM distance so quickly.  Good job adjusting on the run when you experienced issues. 

 

You are an Ironman!

2012-09-19 11:12 AM
in reply to: #4408705


72
2525
Subject: RE: Ironman Wisconsin
Great work!  When is the Mrs. going to do her first Ironman?  She'll now have an expert to help her.  You coming back to race WI again?  Hope you'll be back here racing again soon.
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