Ironman Wisconsin 2008

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I went into this race with two goals in mind

  1. Qualify for Hawaii
  2. Execute a solid Race

I knew that executing was something completely under my control, but I did lose a lot of sleep over my ability to qualify “ mainly because I figured if I couldn’t break 10 ours I didn’t stand a chance. Given that the fastest I have ever ridden in Madison is 5:51, and I never once cracked 20 mph on a training ride on similar terrain this year “ I was very nervous about my ability to ride the needed 5:30 to get in range of 10.

Privately I told my wife a 9:44: 60 swim+ Transitions, 5:20, 3:24 (my first open marathon time) would be nice, and would be a 2 minute PR over IMAZ 2007 “ but didn’t know if I could handle the bike.

52:33 1st AG/12th OA
I never have much to say about the swim, it tends be what it is. I lined up in the first row, with the intention of finding a good draft to get pulled to a fast swim, but expend as little effort as possible. When the cannon fired there was the usual mad 200 meters or so where œfast swimmers try to play with the fast swimmers. Once the œfast guys fell off. I fell in behind a nice pair of feet, but after about 45 seconds decided it wasn’t speedy enough. I shifted around and swam in some nice clean water along the buoy line. I swam a nice steady pace and didn’t see anyone around so was just content to swim in clean water trying to keep the ever shrinking speck of Austin Ramirez from getting to far away. Probably pulled a good number of folks along.

That’s the way the swim went until the beginning of the second lap, when I spied a guy pulling a LONG train off to my right “ he was wider then I liked to swim, but I started to edge over to him. I dropped in the train and ended up spending more energy then I liked just trying to maintain my spot amongst the jostling so I just drifted back to the clean water and stayed even.

Once we rounded onto the backstretch the locomotive dropped his train, so I swam over and latched on to him. Followed him into the finish.

Transition “ 5:01
God I hate the IMWI T1, the helix sucks. Got stripped and moved slowly and calmly, but with purpose. Made the mistake of putting my bike shoes on in the changing room instead of the dismount line probably cost me a few seconds, but not much more, if at any.

5:26:51 18th AG/126th OA; 216 AP, 232 NP
The plan for the bike was to ride 220 or so real time watts, and ride as easily as possible up the hills. I started out on the bike at the same time at Nat Faulkner (fastest OA bike of the day), as he rolled by me on John Nolen I figured I’d try to pace off him for a while. This is a skill I am terrible at, so wasn’t completely surprised to see him pull away from me quickly, but was astonished at how quickly he blew me away. Turns out he’s just a bit of a better cyclist then me¦.

Anyways, rode my power was amazed at how many guys killed it up some of the hills as I’d look at my Power Control and see 280-300 on some of the steeper hills “ I have a terribly hard time keeping the power from spiking to near FTP any true hills, a true climb would frighten me. While I was able to easily hold the power I wanted for the first few hours, my legs were constantly complaining of joint and muscle soreness in addition to the normal fatigue and my legs were failing the Snappy test:  “Do you guys feel snappy on the short stint up out of the saddle after that turn?” Nope was always the response.

On the first loop just after the Garfoot downhill my right aerobar extension started to get a little loose. I’ve had this happen before, and wasn’t going to worry about it because I could just twist it back up, or just let it be.

As I was rolling into Verona the extension started to get some up/down movement to it. I told myself that I could deal with an extension that was lopsided, but one that moved up/down, would likely have the bolt come undone and become a real PITA. No one in the Verona aid station new what an Allen wrench was, but fortunately at the penalty tent into the second loop one of the volunteers had a multi-tool, so I stopped and cranked the bolt as tight as I could not caring if I cracked the carbon of the extension. Fixed I rolled along. Less then 60 seconds on the side of the road.

The stretch between Verona and Mt. Horeb was rough. Very windy, that is probably my most hated stretch of riding anywhere in the world. Fortunately, I’d popped a few Advil at some point and the joint soreness from earlier was not bothering me anymore. However, my legs still failed the Snappy test, and my arms were starting to given twinges of cramping and I was starting to feel a little short on nutrition. To top it off my power was starting to fall off a bit. Hours 3-4 was 207/224 vs. the previous 218/23X.

I decided at the next few aid stations to pick up a Gatorade in addition to the water I was grabbing (to this point I was gel/water/salt tabs). Long story short that did the trick. By cross plains I felt like a million bucks. My legs passed the Snappy test, no more cramping and my power was back up. Hour 4 to 5 was the highest average of the day  220/237.  5 to 5:25 fell off a bit, but I blame that on the MAJOR tailwind we got back into Madison.

I rolled into Madison very pleased with my effort with my legs screaming that it was time to run.

T2  2:06
There was nothing slow and steady about this transition,
the clock was ticking and my body was ready to go. I got through it as quick as

Run  3:19:13 7th AG/40th OA
I started out the run knowing that no matter how slow I ran it would be to fast. I honestly left Transition feeling like I was heavy footing it out onto the road just out for a jog with the dog knowing it was to fast, but feeling the only way I could slow down would have been to walk.

As I got up into the square I got a little bit of a carrot, Terry Harth was just up the road from me. Terry has bested me a few times this year, so the prospect of returning the favor was motivating. I passed Terry before I left the square and ran on my way. When I hit mile 1 the sign wasn’t up yet, but in the area I remember it being I was under 7. Yikes. Mile 2 under 7 again. On and on and on. Mile 5 still sub 7 pace. I told myself I wasn’t going to let myself worry about the consequences of my pace. I did allow myself a small exception to this when I saw my wife on State Street.  Too fast, this will hurt.

To this point I was trying to take in a gel every couple of miles and water + Gatorade every aid station, I intended to hold off on the coke for as long as possible. I sort of stopped paying attention to mile splits as I left State Street, I still took them on my watch but didn’t want to look. Mostly out of fear of thinking about the pain to come later, or seeing the realization that the pain had arrived.

Shortly after the motivational mile I caught my friend Lauren Jensen, who went on to finish 5th Woman. I passed her a few words of encouragement and sped on my way.

The aid stations became a blur of water, Gatorade and sponges. Before I knew it I was at half way in 1:35. Around mile 15 I added coke into the aid station dance. The blur was now coke, water, sometimes Gatorade and sometimes gel. Things kept going great until Observatory Drive the second time, I just trudged up it, but my quads really let me know that they were going to make me pay for my first lap, starting now. I fought off the quad cramps down the back side of observatory and up State Street. On the way out of State, I popped my last Advil and last of my salt tabs.

The suffering really picked up at this point, the brain was still firing on all cylinders, but things were starting to get desperate in the control center “ way to many pain signals coming in.

To distract myself I started doing the math on my ETA around mile 22 I had about 32 minutes to hit my 9:44, the last four miles I just kept working on that math. Occasionally promising myself that I only had to deal with this for a while yet.

Looking at my splits I would say I never really lost it. There are a few slow miles in there, but then the next one is much better. I’ll have to look more closely, but there is a bad mile, then an OK mile, OK, BAD for the last 8 miles or so. Probably more to do with lapses of concentration then anything else. Overall the trend was slower then the first loop, but the door never appears to have slammed.

Summary – 9:46:01 5th
AG/30th OA
I finished in 9:46:01, a PR by 32 seconds over IMAZ 2007 at that, had a solid swim, 25 minute course PR on the bike, and an 8 minute IM marathon PR.
All in all it was a solid day, while I am disappointed that I was 5th in my AG and we only got 4 slots, you can’t argue with a PR.