Friday, September 21, 2007

Personal Race Report: Ironman Wisconsin (September 9, 2007)

My summary results:
Bib Number: 1435
Overall Place: 1662 (2209 starters, 2106 finishers)
Overall Time: 14:18:20
Division M40-44 Place: 270 (346 starters, 334 finishers)


I started to get into my wetsuit at 6:10am, already stationed on the helix of Monona Terrace leading down to the swim start. A couple of stitches on an arm seam gave way, but nothing serious. Once zipped up by a friendly fellow partipant I wound my way down. Mishele K called out a greeting to me, and I stopped for a few words. Further along I saw Laurie, and again swapped greetings. I encountered Rural Girl, Stu, and Bold, and exchanged good wishes. Dropped the morning dry clothes bag and squeezed along with the rest through the arch.


Swim Time: 1:26:01
Swim Overall Place: 1607
Swim Division Place: 254

The swim (two loops) is freshwater with mediocre visibility. The temperature was about 75F - fine in full-sleeve or sleeveless wetsuit. I was in my Orca Sonar fullsleeve wetsuit, this time with a high-necked surfer's rashguard underneath.

In the water I lined up between the shore and the ski jump, well outside of the buoy line, seeded toward the front (looking to be about one third of the way back in my particular file). I didn't get a great start - managed to leave myself a bit boxed in. By the time I was free to chase feet, appropriate feet were relatively sparse.

Angling in to the first turn buoy put me back with the pack, but I continued to work moreso than drafting. I guess this caught up with me; stomach started heaving somewhere on the return leg of the first lap. Everything stayed down, but that combined with a developing headache from too-tight goggles had me wondering about my day. Tried not to think about not thinking about throwing up and to just swim in the tube.

Rounding the buoy to start my second lap I rolled to my side to check my watch. I was 39 minutes into the swim - headachy, a touch queasy, and feeling as though this were work. I decided to deviate from plan - stop working and just draft. That choice made the second lap easy and fun - and slow.

No major contact in the swim. No kicks or hits to the goggles (strap safely beneath my cap). I did end up clipping someone with my right hand. I was raising my head to sight and my right arm was swinging. Some woman had slowed and popped her head up high. My right arm forearm glanced off the back of her head. She let out a plaintive, "Not again!" I coughed out, "Sorry," and kept swimming.

At the end, two volunteers helped me out of the water. I walked, somewhat unsteadily (even though I had upped my kick near the end of the swim) through the arch, eyes on the ground in front of me.


T1: 18:58

The wetsuit peelers quickly stripped off my wetsuit and did so without pulling down my trishorts. For both I am thankful.

I walked the helix (yeah, pretty clear from my T1 time). Mishele K was there, and called out some encouragement to me.

Once I had my T1 bag and was in the men's changeroom, putting spray sunscreen on my neck informed me that my rashguard had done well, though not perfectly. The only minor sting of the wetsuit hickey told me that the rubbing was much reduced from IMAZ. Nice!

Spotted TriGreyhound on my way out of the changeroom. He was set for a great day, *very* happy to be finished with the swim.


Bike Time: 7:11:45
Bike Overall Place: 1719
Bike Division Place: 288

OK, somebody passed me in the second "No Pass" zone coming out of T1. Come on, I wasn't *that* slow. Or maybe I was. Perspective.

Not long into my ride I shifted my front derailleur to the big chain ring (BCR). Soon after, I shifted into the small chain ring (SCR). Or rather, tried to. Derailleur wasn't having any of it - it stayed on the BCR. Pulled over to the side. Got some coaching from a friendly bystander who could keep his eye on things - pushed the derailleur to the small ring. Not willing to tempt things further, I just stayed in the SCR for the ride, doing my imitation of Cliff at IMUSA.

With this slowdown, Greyhound and I ended up playing tag team for a while. I don't know how many times one of us would pass the other on the first half of the first loop - 3 times each? It was a bit of fun, but it seems that eventually we both settled into our paces, and they were just slightly different.

Nutrition on the bike went fine. I had deviated from plan, kitting out with Clif bars instead of gels. I accepted the extra grams of dietary fibre in exchange for some protein and fat - and also not fighting with slow flowing gels in the cool part of the morning. I took in at least a bottle of Gatorade Endurance per aid station (and a little more in the big gap of stations around mile 53). I swallowed Succeed tabs as fluid intake merited.

The biggest oddity on the bike occured on my first loop at the Wild West aid station. Along the suburban tree-lined boulevard, some stinging insect was swept up in the airflow around my helmet vent. The insect was trapped against my head by the laminar airflow above, and was not happy. I will count the sting as a non-permanent injury. I actually had to stop to get the insect out of there.

I asked after Spandex King at the aid station, but no one knew anyone by that name. Strange.

Not clear on the sequencing here, but it was on this loop out at Verona that my sister Wendy spotted me and called out. I did a bit of a doubletake - nice surprise!

On the second loop I encountered Erin coming up to what she said she considers the worst part of the course - still, she was smiling!

Outstanding in the field I saw Greyhound's posse with their red capes: Mrs. Greyhound, daughter Superpounce, and Soapinator (a member of the Tribe - the family of Tac and Trimama). I stopped for the photo op.

Very late in the ride I came up on TriDummy and TriShannon.

Most of the ride itself is hazy in memory. I don't pay that much attention to my surroundings, and I was out there a long time - it blurs together. The weather was fabulous. Started cool and sunny with a little wind. The wind picked up by the time I was on the second loop, but seemed moderate. Some clouds rolled in also, to the point that I was wondering about some rain, but none materialized.

The course is quite scenic. On the first loop I did moo at some cows, and one did turn her head to track me going past. The Old Sauk Pass Road hill had me thinking that compact cranks might have been a better idea (hellooooo zone 4 - and is that zone 5a I see approaching?), but generally the 27 on the rear cassette was good enough. Being small and having legs like tree trunks meant that even though I always stayed seated I would out-climb any of the other participants going around my pace. My average heart rate was 149 - with my zone 2 being (roughly) 145 to 154 that was very good, but I did burn some matches on the hills. I was somewhat resentful of the descents where I had to slow for safety (mostly course design, but my poor bike-handling was a factor too).

Later I was told that there was a lot of blood in T2. I gather some folks laid their bikes out and that there were a few outright crashes. I know I saw a couple of ambulances.


T2: 11:21

As I left the T2 changeroom, a volunteer reminded me to turn my racebelt to the front. In so doing, I tore my bib. Oops. I went back and grabbed my second bib from my T2 bag, so I went through the run labeled "Buckner" rather than "Brent".

I stopped for sunscreen from the volunteers on my way out. As my slathered self stepped away from the volunteers one of them piped up: "Brent? I'm Pamela - 21st Century Mom." Thanks, Pamela - not burned!


Run Time: 5:10:18
Run Overall Place: 1433
Run Division Place: 235

first run segment (13.1 miles): 2:13:01 (10:09/mile)
second run segment (13.1 miles): 2:57:16 (13:31/mile)

With my usual outrageously slow transition I had another couple of opportunities to catch up with TriShannon and TriDummy not all that long after heading out onto the run course. TriDummy was having some stomach issues - we went through the standard checklist, and then I let our paces diverge. Throughout the rest of the race I kept seeing TriShannon after turn-arounds, but not TriDummy. Funny that. Also kept seeing one raceAthlete jersey - Chris? John?

Further along on the course, out by the water, I came across TriBoomer. He was doing 8 minute run/2 minute walk (coming back from GI issues, working the problem) so I joined him for a couple of minutes walking. I gave him the few updates I had on tribloggers and he told me to look for Kona Shelley out riding the course as an official. I saw him once again on the course, going toward a turnaround I was coming back from, and this time Shelley was with him. I hollered and waved, and Shelley pedalled over to say hello (and to emphasize that she really wanted to meet my sister Wendy - didn't happen on this trip, so we'll all just look for another opportunity).

On my first out-and-back through the bistro section I saw Laurie in her costume. I need more cow belle! What a great mood boost. Also, a fellow stepped out of the crowd with a camera pointed at me, and called "Brent!" I think I waved, but I didn't immediately place him - he then said "It's Nick". That clicked - I called back "Excellent!" over my shoulder and carried on.

Coming in toward the end of my first lap Wendy hollered. I'd know that anywhere! Nice to get a lift before the wistful moment of taking the "second lap" turn instead of the "to finish" turn.

On the way back out, just starting the second lap, another voice called me. I turned and waved at the nice man with the camera; the woman next to him thought to add: "He's SpandexKing!" As Duane would say, blogger royalty.

Just one more meet-up to mention: Hyphen-Girl (of the Tribe), recognizable by her red cape, was working an aid station. I got a Gatorade from her and said hello.

Okay, out on the second loop much less sighting of people. First, more and more people were finished. Second, it got darker. Third, I probably went into a bit of a perceptual tunnel. Too bad. The signs planted in the grass were nice glimpses, the volunteers at the aid stations were great, and the spectators were wonderful. The course itself was scenic (including the 1960s-themed aid station at the University), with a run inside the football stadium, along the waterfront, through a stretch of bistros, and on a line with the state building dome.

Running in zone 2 and walking aid stations was going OK until about mile 16. Then the perceived exertion started to climb and my heart rate really wanted to go down. I tried to up my calorie intake and walked all inclines but the downward spiral was set. It was chicken broth from about mile 20 that I was throwing up on the grass approaching mile 22. Stomach shutdown. Rats.

So I walked it in. Kept a reasonable pace on the walk - collecting gear after the event, one man (looked to be in his mid-50s) told me that my walk was faster than his run - he'd watched my back ever so slowly pull away over those last miles. But it was a walk, contrary to plan. That was as much as I would do for my One Thing - and not all that many participants passed me in that last stretch.

I did a standard finish chute run. A couple of nice volunteers served as my catchers as my sister moved out of the crowd to join. Then Mishele K came across and took over as my catcher - thus she bookended IMMoo 2007 for me - how nice (and aesthetic)!

End Note

I didn’t PR; I didn’t Just Keep Running; I didn't leave it all on the course (though some on the grass). When out of carbs, I chose to limit the scavenging of my body for fuel.

I did collect a wonderful bunch of triblogospheric community moments. I enjoyed myself on the course, and had fun with that large number of spectators. I may have learned a couple of things that would be useful if I ever choose to do this again.

My thanks to the volunteers, spectators, organizers (including raceAthlete and other triblogospheric social organizers), and sponsors. Special thanks to my sister Wendy for being IronSherpa.


Blogger Bill said...

Wonderful report, Brent. Timely for me, too. Especially the refresher on "The One Thing". I'll be re-reading that momentarily.

Glad that you had only minor issues throughout the day.


9/21/2007 07:58:00 am  
Blogger Wendy said...

Good race report!

Sounds like overall you were pleased ... and the oodles of bloggy peeps really did make it special. And you got IM moo'd.

I was very happy to be along for the experience.

9/21/2007 08:11:00 am  
Blogger IM Able said...

How in the world was I NOT going to read every single word of that! Great race report! What an amazing day we had out there!

9/21/2007 08:27:00 am  
Blogger Jenny Davidson said...

That is the most lavish and wonderful race report, I am hanging on every word! Frustrating about the stomach stuff on the run... but I am glad you got some good cow belle at any rate...

9/21/2007 09:06:00 am  
Blogger Iron Eric said...

What an awesome athlete you are. You have such a great race report too. Fantastic job. You are so amazing and know so many bloggers. Wow.

Have you thought about next year's races yet?

9/21/2007 01:51:00 pm  
Blogger Spokane Al said...

Great race. You seem a bit too modest over your terrific accomplishment. Well done!

9/21/2007 05:22:00 pm  
Blogger Duane said...

Great report! Congrats!

9/21/2007 08:51:00 pm  
Blogger Laurie said...

On the first loop I did moo at some cows, and one did turn her head to track me going past.

I thought you were talking about me! Ha! Congratulations again Brent. It was nice meeting you and cheering you on along the course. You did a great job! I hope you get your stomach issues sorted out before you try this again. I know you want to ;)

9/22/2007 11:28:00 am  
Blogger Tri-Dummy said...

It was great sharing some time with you during the race.

Your report was very detailed and I'm going to pass it on to some friends preparing for Ironman.

Well done, Brent!

9/22/2007 01:06:00 pm  
Blogger mishele k said...

Nice report and congratulations on an excellent race! It was great to meet you and see you at the finish line... I had no idea you were having stomach issues since you were so cheerful, but I guess it's easy to smile when you're finished with such an epic race. :) Very well done.

Congrats again!

9/22/2007 10:03:00 pm  
Blogger ShirleyPerly said...

Enjoyed reading every word of your race report. Though perhaps not according to plan, I think you did very well, particularly in the "deal with things as they come" department.


9/25/2007 08:42:00 pm  
Blogger Dying Water Buffalo said...

Yay! Nice race report, Brent. I, for one, am impressed that you remembered everyone you saw out there racing. It seemed to go by in such a blur for me, I remember people saying "hi" but that was about it!

Brent, I think you coined a new term, "triblogospheric."

All in all, awesome race and it sounds like despite some setbacks you still had a great day out there. :)

9/26/2007 07:48:00 am  
Blogger Dying Water Buffalo said...

Also, btw, you have a GREAT smile in your finishing photo!

9/26/2007 07:50:00 am  
Blogger TriBoomer said...

Sorry it's taken this long to comment. Seeing you on the run was a huge boost.

I look foward to following you in your future events.

Stay tuned...

9/30/2007 07:16:00 pm  

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