IM MOO 08

Below find race reports and photos from FastForward’s inaugural Ironman training program, culminating at Ironman Wisconsin on September 7th, 2008.

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By – Mary McMahon (added 9/18/08)
Well, just like everyone has mentioned this ‘journey’ began last Sept. (the 12th to be exact) for me and the rest of the F4 IM MOO Crew. Doing an Ironman was something I knew I always wanted to try, little did I know I would enjoy it as much as I did. I know I would have never gotten to the start line (let alone the ‘finish line’) without my coaches, teammates, and support ‘system’.
Scott, Michael S. and Michael K. thanks for your all your guidance the last 12 months. Being an F4 ‘vet’ I knew Scott would have us physically prepared for the day, but I never realized how mentally tough /prepared we would be. After watching film, writing out plans (checking them and re-checking them at least once or twice), discussing the ‘day’ and coming up with our individual game plans- I felt like I was ready and never looked back.
Arriving in Madison a few days early was great. It allowed me the time to get checked-in, deal with any problems, drive the course, relax, and soak in all the pre-race excitement. On Friday we were able to jump in Lake Monona and get a feel for the course. The water felt great and I could even see the tip of my hand while swimming – I was in ‘heaven’. My water-temperature anxieties were put to rest. {Being a non-wetsuit swimmer (neoprene allergy) I become a bit ‘OCD’ about water temperatures.}
Race morning was exciting. I ate breakfast, had coffee and headed to the Monona Terrace. Checked my bike (thank you Michael S. for your help), got body marked (thanks Di for reminding me), and headed to the F4 tent. The F4 tent was great. It was full of nervous, smiling, encouraging, confident people. I got my sunscreen (thanks Jackie), took pictures and followed Michael and Susan to the water. As we gently got ‘pushed’ in Susan and I both fell on some rocks – no worries though. I made my way over to as close to the shore as I could get and found some teammates – it was great waiting those final minutes with friends. Kay (from Headsweats) yelled to me from the shore with a big smile and the cannon went off.
I had a decent start, as I half doggie-paddled/ half free-styled for about 8 -10 strokes. After that a nice ‘line’ opened up and I made my way to the big red buoy very far away. My goal was to stay in my bubble and not let the ‘others’ bother me. It was a full-contact swim, but I was proud that I never got flustered and actually enjoyed the swim (except for the part where the man behind me thought it might be easier to swim over me and tried 4 times pushing off my back basically dunking me – I checked out his race # on his cap and was looking for him on the bike ; )….). The nice thing about swimming in a crowd is that I really had a chance to practice drafting – something I’m not great at – I loved it! I came out of the swim feeling good/ saw Scott and Michael and was anxious to jump on my bike!
Well, my T1 was very LONG…..I thought I was moving quickly but not even close. I guess it’s hard to put dry clothes on in a steamy room when you are damp and sticky from a swim – enough said. Also, my goals for the day were not ‘time driven’. Being my 1st IM I wanted to make sure I was comfortable and didn’t forget any part of my plan throughout the day. I knew I had a long day ahead of me – so I was all about ‘staying in my bubble & sticking to the PLAN’.
The bike was beautiful and hilly. It was tough at times, I think (at least HOPE) there was a headwind out there. Right after Special Needs I hit a wall/headwind. My Payday bar was not paying off, as I was pedalling away going maybe 12mph. One thought I had on the bike was to stay a gear below what I could be riding. I didn’t want to blow-up (done that too many times) & I definitely respected the hilly course. Around mile 80 things picked up. I started feeling good and legs were feeling strong. The guy next to me was thrilled we were done with the headwind, but he was ‘cooked’ as he said. I felt bad for him, but good that my training and plan were paying off. One of the best parts of the bike was riding through Verona. The streets were lined and the people were cheering for me – I loved it. Throughout the bike course I got to see many F4 supporters – what a boost that was, thanks!!
T2 arrived and I was pysched to be off the bike. I waddled into T2 and was greeted by an extremely helpful, nice, energetic girl. She helped me get ready for the run by making clothing decisions for me ( I think she realized I was a bit tired), I changed, we chatted a bit and I was on my way. The crowd support leaving T2 was AWESOME!! I couldn’t wait to get back to that finish line. Reality quickly set in and I knew had some running to do.
Legs felt a little dead the first few miles, but nothing too terrible. My nutrition plan had worked great all day, so my stomach was feeling good. I decided to drink Gatorade on the run, use Bloks if necessary, eat at the aid stations AND walk through eat aid station. Overall, my goal was to move as swiftly and efficiently to each aid station, looking ahead a few aid stations at a time. I never wanted to feel overwhelmed – I was still in my bubble. The crowds were great the entire run and I was able to see Jay, Diane, Kevin, and many others calling out my name all day (it was on my race bib). Around mile 17 I started feeling the ‘fatigue’ feeling all over. From there I continued moving forwards, fed off the crowds and the whole idea that I was going to hear “Mary McMahon you are an Ironman” sooner rather than later (& I hoped ‘he’ pronounced McMahon correctly). It was great to see familar faces those closing miles (racer s and supporters) and I tried to let it all soak in. I loved seeing fellow F4’ers on the course realizing we were all accomplishing soo much that day. With about a mile to go I heard my name, & then Scott came from nowhere and we were running together. We ran, in the dark, awhile and then he sent me on my way with many encouraging words. I ran through the chute – heard what I came for (& YES, McMahon was pronounced correctly ; ) ) and met Michael Stone and Jen Szabo who had my medal and foil blanket! Thanks guys!
After I met up with Jay and Diane, I got a massage (a very long one), ate and cheered on the rest of the racers! We had a great time ‘closing down’ the race at midnight & we were lucky enough to cheer from the VIP stands. The support from family, friends, F4, everyone in Madison was overwhelming and I really can’t thank you enough. This was a great experience – something I’ll always cherish!

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By Michael Kelly

Well, another Ironman has come and gone. Each one has left a different impression. After my first, I remember thinking, “Check! Done. Don’t have to do that again.” I had enjoyed the experience, but I had done lot of the training solo, and left Susan alone for much of that time and had decided I wasn’t interested in that experience again. When Susan said she wanted to do Ironman Coeur D’Alene, I decided that I would rather do it with her than watch her do it, so I signed up too. Halfway through the training, I was ready to quit. I was again doing the vast majority of my training solo, and was sick of it. With Susan’s help, I rallied, found friends to train with, and finished the training relatively happy. Unfortunately, after the race and despite the fact that most of the summer was still ahead of us, I was completely unmotivated to train for any late summer or fall races. As the season progressed, Susan started talking about doing another one. The idea was interesting, but I definitely didn’t want to repeat the mistake of training alone. So when my friend Scott floated the idea of a Fast Forward group training experience for Wisconsin ‘08, I was intrigued. I knew that I would still struggle to find training partners my speed in the group, but I felt that the group atmosphere would still provide a lot of support and would actually be a lot of fun. Again, I waited to see what Susan would do, and when she signed up, so did I. I really enjoyed training with the group this year, and I attribute the lack of burnout and the excitement I still feel at the end of a long season of training and reason to the quality of that group training program.

So with the training completed, we get to the race itself. I had set time goals for the race, based on my current fitness and race results this year. I always set a series of goals so that no matter how the race is going, I have something to shoot for. My A+ goal for the day was to break 11 hours. I would need a virtually perfect day for this to happen: 1:05 on the swim,, 1:45 on the bike, and under 4:00 on the run. My A goal was to make last year’s A+ goal of 11:15. My B goal was to break my time from last year: 11:28, and my C goal was again to finish under 12 hours. And of course, the unstated goal is to simply finish. This is a tough race, anything can happen out there, and it’s important to respect the difficulty and the distance of a race like this.

In the days leading up to the race, we traveled to Wisconsin, got checked in to the race (a multi-day affair) and did our best to relax and not obsess about the weather. They were calling for rain, and despite having trained in the rain, raced in the rain, and packed appropriate gear for rain, I was nervous and not at all excited to be doing an Ironman in the rain. Fortunately, we got luck and race morning was clear and pleasantly cool. Even the chance of scattered thundershowers for the afternoon had dropped to 20%. It was looking to be a perfect day for racing.

I picked what I thought was a good swim start spot: about 3/4 of the way from the inside buoy line. This meant I would swim about an extra 6 yards, but I figured it would be a lot less congested. I guess when you cram 2200 people into the water, no matter how wide the start is, you’re bound to see some congestion.

I had set a goal to not get mad when people tried to swim over me, and although I did better than I’ve done in the past, I did reward a few of the more obnoxious competitors a gentle shove to the chest with my legs to ensure that they did not attempt to simply swim directly over top of me. I wished I could stop and tell each one of these people, “Around, not over – it’s so much easier!” The second lap was definitely better and I did my best to draft my fellow swimmers, but next time I’ll try to do that more. I could tell as the swim was wrapping up that I probably wasn’t going to make my time goal, but I couldn’t worry about it. I had swum as well as I could, and I had the rest of a long day in front of me. Swim: 1:07:56

I made an effort not to run hard up the long parking ramp that leads into the hotel for transition. A lot of people passed me, but it’s a long day and there’s no sense in going too hard at any one point. My transition was smooth, and I exited on the bike about a minute faster than 4 years ago, with extra sunscreen on and with less effort. 0:06:57

The bike course is beautiful, but difficult. There is almost no part of the course that’s flat, and there are about 100 turns. While this certainly breaks up the monotony of riding for so long, it doesn’t make for a fast course. I tried to keep the effort under control, but a look at my avg. HR for the bike showed it to be just a little harder than I had hoped. I was trying to hit my goal time of 5:45, and I was willing to risk going a little harder than I thought possible in order to try and get it.

Success in an Ironman depends greatly on how well your nutrition plan goes. I was doing pretty well – it was nice and cool out, so I wasn’t drinking as much Gatorade as I had planned, so I was eating a little more to compensate. The down side to this was that although I had packed extra food, I was completely out by about mile 90. I still had about 1 hour to ride, so I picked up a couple of extra PowerGels from the aid station. Not my favorite food on the bike, but I choked them down and ended the bike right where I wanted to be. My bike time was a little disappointing because I felt I was fitter and had ridden harder than last year but the time was slower: 5:53:23.

I switched quickly from bike to run, but made a funny little mistake in transition. I dropped off my bike and ran into the hotel to pick up my run gear. In the changing room, I took off my helmet and sunglasses put on run shoes, a visor, grabbed my salt pills, and little med ziplock with some pepto pills and took off. Transition is inside, so it didn’t occur to me until I was actually outside and 20 steps into the run that I had forgotten my sunglasses! That’s never happened to me before in a race. I thought about borrowing a pair from some of my friends spectating on the course, but decided since technically that’s illegal I would just suck it up and pull my visor down a little further. That totally worked and I never worred about it for the rest of the day. 0:02:53

I started the run knowing that I needed a miracle in order to get in under 11 hours. I would have to have an absolutely perfect run in order for that to happen. I needed something like 3:50 or so in order to pull in off. Now, given that I haven’t even been able to break 4 hours in an Ironman marathon, this seemed a bit ambitious. I figured I would just run at my target HR and see what happened. The first miles were really good. I wasn’t having any of the stomach issues I had experienced in previous races, but I was having trouble getting food down. I was hungry, but at the same time I felt that if I ate anything more I was going to puke. I tried a banana…not good. I tried some pretzels, really dry and not that good. So I started hitting the flat coke really early. That was tolerable. I put down a few pepto pills in the hopes that would settle things, but it didn’t really seem to matter. I knew that I was in trouble from a calorie perspective, but I was out of ideas and just trying to put down as much coke as I could tolerate. I think I held between 8:30-9:00 minute miles for the first half with a HR about 10-15 beats below my half-ironman race HR. That’s should have been a very comfortable pace, but by the end of the first lap, my legs were totally on fire. I was working really hard to stay focused, and it seemed to be paying off.

I started out on the second lap but I could see that my mile times and my HR were starting to fall off. I was putting the same effort in, but my body just wasn’t able to respond. I was just out of calories. The pushed hard for the next 13 miles. The downhills actually hurt worse than the uphills and I started to get tightness in both my IT band and my Achilles which had not been tight or bothered me at all in years. I stopped quickly to stretch them a couple of times and that seemed to help. As I got closer and closer to the finish line, I did my best to “empty the tank”, but the tank was pretty much dry already. I was going as fast and as hard as I could. When I saw the clock on the final turn, I thought for sure that I would be able to make it in under 11:10, but I just didn’t have any kick left at all and finished just a few seconds over. Since I had been timing mile splits I actually didn’t know until later that I had made one of my big goals for the day and put in a sub 4 hour marathon: 3:58:58.

When I crossed the finish line I did not have the vertical leap that made my prior finishes so memorable. That’s actually a good thing – my stomach problems in years past have left my legs relatively fresh. This year they were cooked and I was just happy to put my hands up over my head and slow to a walk. My post race experience was spectacular. It started the moment I crossed the line when my friends Scott and Michael were right at the finish line to hang the finishers medal around my neck. Scott then walked me out and did everything to make sure that I was OK. It took about an hour for my stomach to come around, so in the mean time Scott took me down to get a quick post-race massage . After that I was ready to eat and started putting down some food in the athlete tent. I saw the first of my teammates there and congratulated her on a fantastic race. After that, I went back into the finisher’s area and was treated to the hospitatlity of the VIP tent, courtesy of our friend Kay Martin from Headsweats. I gotta say, THAT is the way to experience Ironman. I got to hang out with my friends, and then watched as each of my teammates crossed the line. I was there to greet and congratulate them just after they had received their finisher’s medals from Scott. We then all gathered on the VIP platform which overlooks the finish chute and screamed our heads off as the final finishers made their way in just under the midnight cutoff.

Overall I was really pleased with my Ironman experience. Although I didn’t hit my A+ goal for the day, I made the absolute most of my fitness on the day, and came away with a personal best of over 18 minutes on a harder bike course, and with longer transitions. The best part of all is how I feel now. I’m energized and excited about next season. Susan and I have been talking about trying to race IM Canada for a long time, but historically you have to go onsite in order to register for the next year’s event. This year a few spots opened before Wisconsin and we decided not to enter. Then a few more spots opened after Wisconsin and we jumped at the chance to go with our good friend Kitty. All three of us got into the race (200 spots sold out in 4 minutes) and along with a few of our other training partners from Wisconsin this year (Jocelyn, Doug, and Michael) we’ll be heading up to Canada for more adventures next year!

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WISCONSIN IRONMAN 2008

Race Report

By Heidi Hebert

Team FastForward IM MOO

Doing Ironman was something that crossed my mind over a decade ago.After a good number of years of triathlon under my belt, I felt like it was time to take a turn at the big one.The first month of training I was feeling great and super excited when I pulled my hamstring while on a ride. This continued to get worse as I thought it was just a tight muscle and didn’t take it seriously initially.I finally went to my Physical Therapist who had me low intensity only for over a month.A pulled muscle simply takes time to heal. With the dream of Ironman at my fingertips I was willing to do whatever it took to just be able to do it.I slept more, took extra vitamins, ate super healthy, iced three times a day, did strength exercise, massage, and acupuncture. As I had no choice but to opt out of the early races, I managed to gradually increase my intensity and after a few humbling races felt like my racing self come August.By September 7th I was mostly uninhibited by this nagging injury.Besides learning to stop when I feel pain, my eyes were opened more than ever to how much fun it is just being with the wonderful people who do this stuff.I am so thankful for my team and others out there training; just being with them kept my spirits high through the tough moments and made the good times even better.

Taper:

Ya, I felt sluggish and crappy.This is normal for some people and for me is how I often feel pre-race.Again one of those things you have to just let your body rest and feel as it wants to feel while focusing on the things you can control- massage, getting more sleep, eating well, reducing life stress, resting and planning.Oh ya… and I got ENGAGED!!! 😉 !!

Pre-race week:

Getting Logistics out of the way early and planning as much as possible allowed for optimal chill time.Thanks to guided planning of our coaches, I was able to get my packet on Thursday and knew my race day equipment and nutrition.I visualized myself in the ironman a fair amount during my training so that I was used to the idea of being out there for 12 + hours and had already been over the idea of “OMG, this is a long time!”I had built some confidence after getting through a couple tough races with blood sweat and tears and had key phrases that I found security in such as “I have put in the work, I belong”“all I have to do is follow my plan and I will make it just fine.”I felt like I was ready for any scenario.I found a lot of relief in the idea of “just keep going” and even more so in the idea of “go slower.”From having 99% of the races over the course of my life being about going faster, it was nice to have a different challenge ahead of me.

RACE DAY!

Surprisingly, I slept great the night before and felt spry as a spring chicken race morning.I said good bye to family and hello to 2200 of my closest friends.

Swim

Starting 50 yards wide only actually added a matter of seconds to my time compared to jamming myself into the bottle neck at the turn point and coming to a complete stop.I expected bodies to spread out but the entire swim was pretty much a steady stream of people all around me which made it feel a bit stuffy at times.I wasn’t able to find a consistent draft but jumped on people’s feet and hips whenever I could.I focused on swimming with ease, keeping my stokes long and strong and HR at goal of 135-140.I had practiced this pace for 2+ miles and knew I could comfortably do this and keep going. The helix we ran up was awesome; felt like a superstar! Transition was quick, sun screened up by volunteers and off on the bike!

Bike:

Got monster passed by a ton of people which I expected (561 to be exact).Keeping in the bubble I set my heart rate at my goal of 150 average and max of 155.I was very busy eating, drinking, and shifting through the terrain while monitoring my effort.My animal crackers and pretzels hit my hungry spot at mile 57.Mile 65 left me at a lul even after a red bull.I reviewed my fueling and saw that I was right on.I noticed that I was in the upper pace of my goal range so figured either I had been a bit too zealous or I was simply passing through one of the expected lows throughout the day.I let up a bit and by mile 85 I came back around and cruised home with a second wind. Time at mile 56= 3:10, Total time = 6:35.

Run:

As I left T2, I was reminded again of my stardom by thousands of spectators calling out the name printed on my race number.Runners were going every which way as they laced through the race course.I was feeling a bit shaky in transition probably due to the 300 mg of caffeine (about 2 ½ cups of coffee worth) since the race start.I had abstained for about a good week so I could have a good ergogenic effect and was more sensitive than I expected.I had had caffeine overload in an earlier race and ended up having a bonker of a run so wondered how this time around would effect me.I didn’t give too much energy to this thought because I had no choice but to just keep going and deal with whatever.Just start moving.Light.Quick. Form check.At mile 1 I started my sipping.I sipped on Gatorade at most of the water stops and cola when I felt like it.I had a banana half when I got hungry and just kept sipping.I got a bit tired at mile 12 (lul #2) but kept the pace while knowing that I could slow down if this feeling didn’t pass in the next mile.I slipped some goodies (cliff blocks) from my special needs bag and moved into my third wind.Keeping my HR 145-150 the first 20 miles I was within about 20 seconds of even splits.I was tempted to step it up but held back remembering a talk with Coach Scott- “the race begins at mile 20, that’s when you can turn it on.”I was so excited to see the sign for mile 20, knowing this was the home stretch!I had been so curious to see how it would feel to be at this point; it was time to step it up and make some deals with myself.I gradually increased my pace by deciding to keep the heart rate above 155 until mile 22 and re-assess.Then it was up 5 more beats the next mile and so forth.I ended my last mile above 165 and crossed the line out of breath.I had passed all the people who got me on the bike plus 276 more (total of 837).I expected my legs to cramp like none other but I felt just fine.I got to grips of what was going on and realized holy begibees! I’ve just become an Ironman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

POST RACE:

I was excitedly greeted by Coaches and family on the other side of Ironman.I ate a bunch of food and stuck ice on my hams and quads.10 years ago I could not do a single lap in the pool, I did races on a mountain bike and a 5K was about all I had in me.I am so thankful to God for life and breath; it was icing on the cake to be able to celebrate my fitness built over the past 28 years in this special way.

Key things I learned:

1. Focus on things in your control and let go of the rest

2 .Don’t’ train through pain

3.Visualize racing and practice race strategy on a regular basis

4.Remember highs and lows throughout race day are normal

5.Stay in your bubble

6. Just keep moving forward

7. Just Keeps sipping

8. Most of all, no matter how it goes be thankful for health, fitness and the unique experience that few ever get to have.

Swim Goal Range = 1:05- 1:20 Actual= 1:10:59 Place: 673/2200

Bike Goal Range = 6:30- 7:00 Actual= 6:37:21 Place: 1234/2200

Run Goal Range = 4:00- 4:45 Actual= 4:05:37Place: 397/2200

Total time= 12:06:35

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By Russ Klein (added 9/16/08)

Scott, Michael – first, thank you both for putting together the IM Moo 2008 program, and the always plentiful and regularly dispensed individual advice you were willing to give to help me tailor my training to meet my individual needs. I enjoyed the program thoroughly, and while the day did not end exactly like I would have liked or as I planned, I keep thinking back to the initial e-mail explanation from Scott that we will not be “putting our eggs all in one basket.” I raced plenty of good – and some great – races this summer, and while I will probably not ever qualify for an “age group award” or anything like that (at least in Boulder), I don’t race for those accolades. I race for myself, in part to remind myself what I’ve been through, and how I’ve recovered, and that I am not the person I was 5 years ago. I am happy to improve, and while I set bars and guidelines by which I expect to improve in a given race (analyzing the data I have), I don’t judge myself by what others do or can accomplish. I can push myself to limits that many people who have never had a sniff of my medical problems couldn’t dream of. So now that I’ve had a few days to think about it, I wanted to send you my comments. Since many in the group have asked me “what happened” I figured I’d cc them on it as well.
When the swim gun went off, I followed to the letter the plan that Michael (Kelly) suggested. I counted to myself to 5, let my heart rate settle down during those 5 seconds, and then began the work of swimming. I started from a spot that was comfortable (which was hard, because there are a LOT of rocks once you move away from that little entrance area). I swam the tangent, and aimed to come in about 10 to 15 feet wide of the furthest buoy on the first leg. It went completely flawless. I swam the entire first loop wide, about 10 to 15 feet. I barely had anyone swimming over me. What I did have, that I didn’t anticipate, was a lot of people swimming around me. Second loop, I assumed eventually that the fast people were past me. I moved closer inside. Same thing. Nobody really passed me, and I was in what felt like a large group of people most of the time. At the start of the second loop, I assumed that the only people I would see were very fast swimmers passing me, and it would otherwise be like the 5430 races, where I am one of the last swimmers getting out of the water. So, while I was not used to other swimmers being around me, I was very pleased that I had the experience. It made me think “I belong here” – I felt good, and I remember being very happy when I got out of the water, because I saw the clock and it said 1:48. Not a world record time, but my “best case scenario” goal had me getting out of the water at 1:50, and I assumed that I would really be somewhere between 2:00 and 2:20, testing the cutoff for the swim. The “helpers” helped me out of the water, and as soon as they let go of me, I tripped over the timing mat (really, I lost my balance – classic). Got back up. No worse for the wear. I still felt good. Falling on my butt wasn’t going to hurt me today.
So I ran through the carpet area, hit the wetsuit strippers – best race feature EVER.
Ran up the helix. Felt good (actually, I would say that I felt better than I have at any 5430 race – I truly felt good). Had a lot of help at transition. Probably more than I would have wanted, actually – I probably could have put my socks on faster than the guy doing it for me (not for lack of trying, but just – I would have been smoother). Still, I cannot believe all the help you get in transition. Realized that I made a mistake in packing my bag for the two transition areas…I packed my bags and dropped them the day before, but the morning of the race, I came in and added some food and beverage items, because I wanted to be able have cold drinks, not melted/stale food, and I wanted my Garmin to be fully charged for the bike. Turned out, I swapped my two bags in the morning – so no Garmin for the ride, so I just stuck with my Timex that I used for the swim. I guess it did mostly what I needed, since I don’t really use hear t rate, but it would have been interesting to have that reading.
Got out of T-1, ran and got my bike. Volunteer pulled it out and had it waiting for me. Sweet! Can a race have a better set of volunteers?
Rode down the helix and headed out to Verona. Ride to Verona was uneventful. Passed a couple of folks heading out.
First loop was hard. I expected a hard bike course, but now I understand what they mean by saying that you have to respect this bike course. It is an extremely difficult bike course. I don’t think I got a feel for how hard it was by the drive. It felt like there were a lot of points that were just constantly up and down. But what got me about the up and down is that, whereas in Boulder (for example, highway 36 from Boulder to Lyons), you could build up some nice speed and let it carry you up the uphills (with proper gear selection, pacing, etc.). But in Madison, the hills (at least to me), generally carry you down hill, on to a slight flat area, and then up a steep hill – ie, I lost momentum very fast – and when you are a big guy like me (ok, I recognize that I am not 300 lbs, but I am probably bigger than your average triathlete) on a downhill, I have an advantage over many people since I can power down and build up some good speed – but having that all evaporate the first 5 seconds of the uphill was demoralizing in Wisc.
Made it to the second loop and the special needs area. Stopped, ate some M&Ms, drank some coke, changed my camel back, and moved on. I was starting to get fatigued. But, I was also relatively within the time constraints I figured I’d need to hit mentally. There are only 2 sustained downhills on the entire course. Mile 35 and mile 75. The loop was 40 miles, so the downhill at mile 75 is the same downhill as mile 35, and its relatively fast for a little distance. So I assumed that some sugar, a treat, and fresh fluid in the camel back would do thet rick, along with a few minutes off my butt.
Second loop was slow and tedious. Stopped and chatted with Ashley on the course for a minute. Mentally, I was having a very hard time, and physically, my legs felt low energy. I will come back to this phenomenon in a few minutes. Picked up the encouragement I needed, headed out…
… passed the last aid station, passed a couple more people, and then it happened.
A couple of volunteers stepped out in to the road and stopped a couple of other riders and myself. Time was a few minutes after 4:30. Distance on my bike computer (and another racer’s garmin) was 95 or so miles.
Why, you ask? You might be wondering “but you had until 5:30 to finish the bike course!
Apparently, there was a cutoff that you had to meet at around mile 95 of 4:30. I say “apparently” because it was not announced, although other mid-point cutoffs were announced. One rider was especially peeved because he claimed he specifically approached a number of course/race officials at the pasta dinner to clarify what all of the cutoffs were and to make sure that there were no other unannounced mid-course cutoffs.
I still have the bike course and elevation chart in my office on my wall. It would have been 17 miles, virtually all of it relatively fast downhill.
Could I have made it? I don’t know. Its always hard to say. I was mentally pretty tired, and my legs were kind of bonked. But I would have liked to have tried. I actually thought they were coming out to say that we were pressing the final cutoff time, so we would need to move things along with purpose if we wanted to have a chance to meet the cutoff.
Had I known about this middle cutoff, I highly doubt that I would have spent more than a minute (if any time at all) at special needs. I would not have tried to conserve energy like I was doing at that stopping point (make no mistake, there were times where I was struggling, and nothing was being “conserved”), but I suspected that the last part was largely downhill, and I was trying to not burn myself out before that point.
I elected at that time to not argue with the volunteers. They were obviously just enforcing what they were told to do from the race directors. So it seems to me to be vaguely unfair, how the race handled this. And while I had a positive attitude the day of the race, and the couple of days afterwards, I admit I get a little more irritated with each passing day about it. I feel like I worked a little too hard to get knocked off the course when there was still a realistic possibility of making it in on time on a cutoff that nobody knew about. Again – maybe I feel more confident about making it in today because I am well rested… But I would have liked to have tried.
And with that van ride back, my race ended. So now its back to the drawing board for me. Why DID the bike, and consequently, the race, go like it did for me? The swim went great. I could not have asked for a better swim. I identified threestruggles. First, mentally, I really struggled on the bike. Ashley thinks it could have been due to a general lack of self-confidence/pessimism that I have in myself in racing. I had a very hard time focusing on the bike though. I am not sure that anything I ate/drank went to my head. Second, my stomach was bothering me on parts of the bike, but I think it was because I was struggling to eat. I ended up eating 3 or 4 PB&J sandwiches on the entire bike. When I did our century ride in July, I ate 7 1/2 PB&Js. Finally, I had no kick in my legs. I would be in the easiest gears struggling to generate any power. I just couldn’t make it work.
Interestingly (to me, possibly not to you), I had a lot of problems with nutrition over the summer. Many of you have seen me puke after hard workouts. PB&Js and lots of gatorade solved the problem of puking, but I simply do not think that its resulting in me having enough energy transfer into my legs and my head. This is an area that I need to “solve” in the future. I also need to better understand how much my heart medicines impact my racing for very long distance races.
So, I have taken a week to recover and think about the race, and where to go from here. I think my plan is to take next season and work on the 1/2 iron distance. I have had some great success in improving my spring and olympic distance races. Many of you recall that my 5430 long course was not that great this year. I chalked it up to food poisoning earlier in the week, and then a medicine problem. In retrospect, I doubt that was the problem… or, at least, I am not 100% sure that this was the problem. However, I think that this next year will be a good opportunity for me to step back from the brink of ironman training and work on perfecting the 1/2 iron distance – getting my nutrition down, getting my pacing down, etc. I also feel that I need to work on the “mental game” of it, whatever the cause may be. So next year I will do Ironman 70.3 Boise, and the 5430 Long Course as my “long” races. Mentally, I want to ” conquer” the 1/2 iron distance before I contemplate the full again.
Also, I also want to thank the group for a year of truly excellent training. I have enjoyed virtually every minute of it, whether it was the Friday swims at Rally, running with Mark, Tim, Jiva and Susan, biking with Susan and Jackie, and everyone else who has shared in the journey (including also our sherpas Jen and Jenn, our friend JJ who didn’t forget about us on race weekend, and most importantly, of course, Ashley). I look forward to training with all of you again in the upcoming years for the next challenges.
Looking back on Sunday, I was able to line up with: (A) some of the finest athletes (and friends) that I have trained with in my years of doing this, and (B) some of the best athletes in the world. I was never a threat to win (that would have required approximately 2,400 catastrophic events to impact all the other racers), but I was able to start confidently and I have nothing to be ashamed of. That doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed at how the race went or ended – DNFing is one of the most hallow feelings I’ve ever had. But I do have my work cut out for me for the next time, and it will not stop me from conquering ironman in 2010 or whenever the opportunity may present itself.

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By Jocelyn Hayes

Hi everyone!

I started this journey to doing my first Ironman a little over a year ago when I signed up with over a dozen other crazy triathletes from my triathlon club, Fast Forward Sports, here in Colorado.On Sunday, September 7, 2008, 13 of us ventured on the journey of completing an Ironman race which covers 140.6 miles (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run).

After waking at 5 AM and not sleeping so well the night before the race, I started my race morning ritual and headed down to Menona Terrace in Madison, WI which is a convention center during the week, but an Ironman venue this particular day.Menona Terrace overlooks beautiful Lake Menona (well, beautiful, until you actually put your face in the murky water).I pulled on my wetsuit and with some final hugs and goodbyes to our wonderful sherpas, I ventured down to the water with 2200 other fellow athletes.As we all waded into the water for the mass start, there were looks of fear, excitement and even some tears.

SWIM

At 7:00 AM, the cannon shot off marking the start of a very long training day (with free food as Mike O’reilly, the voice of Ironman, likes to say).I started in a less aggressive position near the shoreline and had a pretty comfortable start to the swim.After about 3 seriously hard hits to my nose – one by elbow, one fist and one foot, I got used to the constant physical contact.After the elbow to my nose, I lifted my head and yelped a very loud ‘OUCH’ to which one of the lifeguards in a nearby motor boat yelled ‘Are you ok?’ I quickly replied yes and got on my way.

I also had a few guys grab my ankles and use me as leverage to propel themselves forward in the water.But never fear – they are working far too hard and I am sure I passed them later on the run.I kept repeating to myself the wise words of my coach ‘swim comfortably and look to the people next to you as you exit the water and say to yourself – I worked a lot less hard than you to get here’.The key in the swim is to conserve energy for the bike and run and just get through it.As I exited the water, I was pleasantly pleased to see my 1:17 swim time. I also saw my coaches, Scott and Michael as I exited – and they seemed surprised to see me so soon too!

As I ran up the helix (circular parking ramp leading to the conference center), my favorite Sherpa, Mike, gave me a high five and 9:30 minutes later, I emerged from the other side of transition dressed in cycling clothes ready for my 112 mile ride through the ‘rolling’ hills of Wisconsin farm country.

BIKE

As I headed out on the bike course on this beautiful, sunny day, I started to think about what I needed to do to be successful on this day.I knew I needed to do 3 things –

1.Ride in my bubble – this means to ride my own race and not think about the people passing me or trying to pass those ahead of me.

2.Stay on my nutrition plan which entailed eating 300-400 calories per hour and 900 mg of sodium (I know, some of you are having a heart attack just thinking about that).I had to eat about 100-125 calories every 20 minutes and take a sodium pill and drink 6 oz of h20 – I have a pretty simple plan and it worked perfectly!

3.Don’t eat the paste – no matter how tempting, do not climb the hills like there is not another one right on the other side, and another, and another, and – oh yeah – a marathon at the end of this lovely bike ride. The ‘don’t eat the paste’ analogy came from an Ironman article one of my fellow athletes shared with us that basically says ‘just because Jimmy is eating the paste (or in an ironman – Jimmy is riding too hard), don’t do it’.

My first and ONLY problem started somewhere around mile 40.I started getting a horrible aching and sometime sharp pain in my knees.I figured out pretty quickly that this was due to my saddle being too low.I had taken it off for a trip where I rented a bike, but brought some of my own bike parts and did not put the saddle on in the correct position.Around mile 60, I stopped and adjusted it. It did not resolve the issue immediately, but at about 90 miles, the pain was much better.I did start to question how this pain would effect my later run, but it really did just work itself out.I am pretty happy with my problem solving skills on that near-race ending mistake. I would attribute the pain I was experiencing to about 30 minutes of my total 7:09 ride time which averages just under 16 mph.I was hoping to average 17, but I will take it.

My favorite part of the course was the crowds in Verona and on the two steep climbs.It was like riding down the Champs Elyse in Paris during the Tour – the cheering crowds, the cow bells going.And riding up the climbs could be compared to Alps Duez with the fans running up the climb along side you and cheering you up the hill (sometimes trying to get you to EAT the PASTE – but not me – I just sat and spun!). The course was beautiful and challenging.Rolling hill after rolling hill…And lots of COWS – who knew they had so many in Wisconsin – MOO!

RUN

A smooth T2 (2nd transition) and I was off on the run.I could not have asked for better weather on this run!It was sunny and not too hot – maybe 70 degrees.

My run started off fantastic.Again – my favorite Sherpa, cheering me on most of the course.I kept looking at my watch in disbelief – seeing paces in the 8 minute mile ranges.I did settle down and kept chugging along in the 10 minute mile pace – and I felt wonderful!I never had any trouble breathing – gotta love training at altitude and dropping down to sea level for a race!I was passing tons of people – just like Coach Scott said we would do if we followed the bike plan.

I did get some blisters along the way that did not feel great – but overall – the run was incredible.The people of Madison do a great job of coming out and cheering the athletes through the marathon.In some places, they were 3-4 people deep along the route.In an Ironman, they print your name on your race bib, so everyone cheers for you by name which is so encouraging.We also had a great contingent of race sherpas cheering for us out on the course – and of course, our coaches, Scott and Michael.

As I pushed through the last 10K, I just kept hearing the sound of Mike O’reilly’s voice saying ‘Jocelyn Hayes – You are and IRONMAN’ and as I plugged through the final miles, I felt my pace speeding up and I knew it was just a matter of time.

At 13:20:24 – after a 4:38 marathon, I sprinted down the finisher shoot, did a quick jump as I crossed the finish tape and heard that infamous phrase – ‘Jocelyn Hayes, 1st time ironman from Longmont, Colorado – YOU ARE AN IRONMAN’ – almost as cool as ‘Jocelyn, meet your son’.

Final stats:

TOTAL TIME

LAST NAME

FIRST NAME

RACE DIVISION

DIVISION PLACE

SWIM TIME

T1

BIKE TIME

BIKE PACE

T2

RUN TIME

RUN PACE

13:20:24

HAYES

JOCELYN

W35-39

47/134

1:17:53

9:34

7:09:07

15.7

5:26

4:38:25

10:38

 

Thanks to all my friends, family, coaches, and colleagues who supported me and cheered me on through this amazing day.And yes, I am doing it again next year – in Canada!

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Returning as an Ironman Sept 7, 2008

2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 miles run

By Jiva Jagtap

I’m on my flight back from beautiful Madison, WI. Staring out of the plane window I could see the beautiful sunset. Twilight also happens to be my favorite time of the day. That’s when I said to myself why not write about the wonderful journey that I just completed that made me an Ironman.

Less than 24 hours ago I was still out on the run course trying to complete my first marathon run and that after a grueling swim and bike. The only thought that was in my head as I was about to start my run was “How am I going to physically complete this run? All of 26.2 miles? I was pretty beat up from the bike ride. The second bike loop had very strong head winds for most of the ride. With the start of the run, I was definitely questioning the whole reason for taking on something crazy like this. That’s when I remembered the two very basic principals I live by: “there is no substitute for hard work” and “you never quit”. The first principal has been ingrained into me by my father for whom success came only through intense struggle and sacrifices. The second one is my own personal belief.I want to pass on these same values to my children and wanted to demonstrate to them by action. I must say that is what got me to the finish line. I do not think there is any amount of training that can prepare you for this grueling event. At the end of the day it’s a true test of mind over body.

My wife and kid joined me on this wonderful journey. As much as possible, I wanted them to share the journey with me and have them experience first hand what Ironman racing is all about. On race day my wife Purnima, who has been very supportive through this entire journey, took the kids out to various parts of the course. I was able to see them when I got out of the swim, during the bike and both loops of the run. Every time I could hear my son Tanish’s loud high pitched voice screaming out “Daddyyyyy………..” with the biggest smile on his face. It definitely helped me to keep going. Every time I had a down moment and moving forward became difficult I would see Tanish’s big smile and say to myself “How can I not keep the promise made to my son?” I had promised Tanish that we would run across the finish line together. I knew he would be waiting for me patiently (not a word that I would usually associate with him). I knew, since I had given him my word that he would wait no matter what. And did we have a blast. We both ran across that finish line hands in the air waving to the crowd and the announcer saying my name “Jiva…… You are an Ironman”. That’s my gift to my son that I hope when he grows up he can look back on.

There have been hundreds of books written on Ironman racing and having just completed one myself I do no consider myself an expert on the topic. However, I do really believe that Ironman racing is more than just going the distance. It pushes a person in every possible way. It was when I was in India that I had heard about Ironman racing. I could not believe that a human being could actually travel that distance, let alone in a single day. I still don’t think its possible but having just completed it I can tell you its darn hard!! So the only advise I can offer for someone thinking about completing an Ironman is that you better have a dam good reason that really motivates you because when the going gets tough and I mean really tough that’s all there is that you can fall back on to take you to the finish line.

This journey was special for me. Having watched it enough on television I knew some day I would like to take part in one. I started by doing small triathlons in and around Boulder. I had a bad back but I kept pushing through the pain. Eventually the pain got to a point that required me to undergo surgery. I was not to hopeful that I could every run long distances, let alone complete a marathon. Running is the worst thing you can do for your back. When these facts became clear to me, I wrote a quick note to my mentor and coach Scott. The gist of the email was “Death of my Ironman dream”. Scott being Scott, quickly called me and told me not to give up hope. He directed me to some of his physician friends and helped me get a second opinion. This was couple of years ago. Scott never gave up hope and always had encouraging words always pushing the envelope. When Scott announced the IM program I asked myself do I think I can do this? Keep in mind that when I decided to sign up for Ironman I had not completed a half Ironman race nor had I ever ran a marathon. Scott never had any doubt or at least he didn’t tell me if he had one. Falling back to my first principal, I stuck to the training plan. Starting in March, I did everything that was on the schedule. Along the way I did have my doubts on being able to go the distance but I also had complete faith in my coach.

I did my first half Ironman in Lubbock, TX on June 29, 2008. When I finished I told Scott there is no way on earth I could go out and do this distance again. He told me keep training we are not done yet. Then I did my second half Ironman 5430 Long Course on August 10, 2008. I finished the race with a PR that was over 50 mins better than Lubbock and at the end of the race I felt like I still had some more juice left to continue. That was the first time I felt little confident about the IM MOO event and that maybe I may just be able to complete the race.

My biggest fear was making the bike cut off in 10:30 hours. I passed Susan on the race when she got her first flat. I wanted to stop and help but I said to myself it would take about 4-5 mins to fix the flat. She is also a much stronger rider than I am so she would be able to catch up quickly. But for me on the other hand if I would have stopped that mean’t even more trouble trying to make the cut off as I would not have been able to make up lost time. At that time who knew Susan was going to end up with 5 flats. I finished the bike in good time and was set for the run. I nailed the nutrition and hydration on the bike and had kept my heart rate under control. Thus my legs felt great to start the run. I was in high spirits till I got out of transition and saw that folks were finishing. At this point I still had 5+ hours of running to do. The first couple of miles felt good but then it started to hurt. Legs were tired and the going got tough. I did not get any cramps but my toes were hurting. However, I kept running though every part of my body and mind was telling me “You idiot stop and just walk you have enough time to finish just walk the dam run”. I had Micheal Stones message ringing in my head “Walkers bread other Walkers”. I was afraid I would become one of them so I just kept running trying to keep the line of walkers behind me. When I got to the finish and took my shoe and socks off I saw that my feet were completely covered in blood. This was due to several blisters that got worst. No wonder the dam run hurt. None the less I was waiting to get to the finish were I knew my son would be waiting for me. He was standing in the children hand off section for over an hour all by himself. My wife had to leave him there as she was not allowed to stand there. When I came through I saw the same big smile on his face and right there I realized it was all worth it to be an IRONMAN!!

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First Time Ironman Report

By Mark Loehr

This all started back in August of 2007, when the call came out to join a new training group with Fast Forward Sports for the Ironman Wisconsin race in September 2008. As I was only in my second triathlon season and had never even raced a ½ Ironman yet, some thought I was crazy, but it was an opportunity that I wanted to be part of, both for the fitness and for the team training.

After making the commitment and sitting at the computer with 15 other F4 athletes on that Monday in early September 2007 to get our spot in the race, there was no turning back. The race sold out in 22 minutes one year in advance!

I raced my first ½ IM a week later in Aurora, CO at the Harvest Moon. To put it frankly, it was a disaster. Nothing went as planned. With only one nutrition plan, which failed mid way through the bike, I was in big trouble. I got to spend a lot of time heaving my guts on the run walk. Needless to say, I learned a very valuable lesson that day that remained with me throughout our training for this Ironman race in WI.

The training leading up to the IM race was developed and designed perfectly. During the early season (base development), many of us, including myself, wanted more, thought we needed more. But our coaches Scott and Michael really had to rein us in. I wanted to be doing 20+ hours a week, when we were only building. As the season went on, I got my 20+ hour weeks and did not want more than that. For a first timer, it was patience that I lacked during this phase of the training. As I mentioned, we eventually got all the training we could handle and then some.

Several “test” races were run during the training season to test different aspects of our fitness and nutrition plans. The one thing that became apparent for me was that a good nutrition plan has to be tested at intensity and not during a long easy 6 hour ride. The body handles the nutrients differently when the HR is up and the stomach has shutdown production of solids. For the group, our trip to Lubbock and the Buffalo Springs ½ Ironman was one that gave us the opportunity to try a few things, including dealing with rain and cool temps. After a double Peak (Olympic distance) workout in mid July heat, we got another chance to test our plans at the Boulder Long Course in August. One workout that I did, against the recommendations of Scott, was the Triple Bypass ride in July. For me, this was a ride I will do only once since it’s meant for hardcore cyclists, not Ironman trainees. But, I was able to pick up a few things on the downhill (one of my weaknesses), especially down from Loveland Pass.

Madison loomed big as we started into our Taper phase of the training. Several teammates had overcome injuries and illnesses, but I had not had any to deal with specifically (knock on wood). Everyone said to allow taper to do its job. And they were right. Though you go from long intense workouts to shorter less intense ones, your body needs the time to get ready for the big race. “Caging the tiger”!

I arrived in Madison a few days before the race and this was a big help. I never felt pressured to get to the registration, get the bags packed, or get to the race. With a little extra time, it certainly helped with the mental preparation. The weather was a completely different story. Rain and cold temps greeted us on our first 2 days in Madison. Forecasters were calling for rain and scattered thunderstorms right up to the day of the race. What a job they have, ALWAYS wrong! And thank goodness they were again this weekend. Early on Friday, we had our first chance to swim a bit of the course and plan a little of our sighting for Sunday’s race. The water was warm and not near as oily as we have here in the Boulder Res. Later in the day, we got a chance to drive the bike course on Friday afternoon and actually off load our bikes and ride one of the three big climbs to get a feel for the course. It felt really good to get on the bike and spin for a few minutes. If this was the case for Sunday, it would be a great ride.


The morning of the race went as planned. I actually was able to sleep about 4½ hours the night before, something that has always managed to elude me the night before a big race. I was happy about that! With my 2 bowls of oatmeal, one PBJ and a banana, I was ready to head out for a long day of work/fun. After dropping special needs bags, it was time to head to the bike for topping off the air pressure and packing nutrition needed for the first ½ of the ride. Now, it was time to meet up with the other F4 athletes at the tent for wetsuit prep and saying our goodbyes to family, friends and coaches. This was going to be an awesome DAY!

A small group of us gathered on the shore of the lake waiting for the cannon to sound. It was an opportunity for one last hug, high five and goodbye. Yes, we were all there to accomplish something for ourselves, but we had built this Ohana over the past year that we also wanted to see succeed as well. The sun was shining bright as the cannon sounded for the start of this massive swim.

The first leg of the Ironman is the 2.4 mile swim. That’s only 76 laps in a 25m pool. Big difference though, there are 2000+ others swimming next to you, on you and over you, especially during that first 800m. The first turn of the two loop course was a real shock for me. It was the closest thing to drowning there is. I tried to turn wide and avoid “the line”, but so did about 400 other people. When I popped up and tried the breath stroke, I was run over by numerous swimmers, so I put my head down and just barreled forward. Being a right handed breather on a counter clockwise swim course has its disadvantages, for sure. I always have a tendency to drift right, which pushed me further away from the perfect line and resulted in a zigzag swim. Nevertheless, this part of the day was, by far, the easiest of all and over quickly.

One of the great things about an Ironman (and some ½) is the wetsuit pullers. Basically, you pull your wetsuit down to your waist and lay down and someone grabs it and pulls it down and off. This saves time! Just remember, you have been horizontal for the past 1 – 1½ hours and standing, walking, running takes a little time to get used to. Afterward, it was a walk/jog/run up the helix to the 3rd floor of the Monona Terrace and into T1 (swim to bike transition). Once I grabbed my bag and hit the men’s changing room, I immediately had a volunteer there to help me with all the changing. This was incredible! This guy actually helps you do everything, including putting your socks on. As mentioned, it helps bring you back to normal after swimming. Now, it’s time to hit the sunscreen appliers and the bike.

At the beginning of the bike, it is great to be moving forward quickly, but Just Riding Along. As many riders sweep past me, I am sure I will see them again later on the bike as they run out of fuel. It is 112 miles of riding and will take a long time. I started my nutrition with a PBJ and it tasted great. I highly recommend Uncrustables from Smuckers. They are in the freezer section of the grocery and they make no mess. (Thanks Barb!). The sun is out and the day is warming nicely. This is going to be a nice ride. Hills are everywhere. I am not even sure how many hills we actually climb on this course, but there is little time for flat riding, as up and down is the standard for this Madison countryside. This course is best described as a lollipop course. A 16 mile ride out to Verona and then two 40 mile loops before returning the 14 miles to Madison. My plan was to restock my supplies at special needs on the bike, so I focused my ride on 2 separate nutrition plans. The first dealt with more solids, while the second half of the bike would begin to focus on more liquid nutrition as the ride progressed. After a quick stop at special needs to restock my bike for the second ½ of the ride, the wind has picked up and the ride was heads down and into the wind. Boy, I am looking forward to turning and getting this wind behind meJ. Turns out, the wind really helped with the 16 miles into Madison. I was barely pedaling and yet still hitting 20+ mph.

T2 (bike to run transition) was a much similar experience as T1. A volunteer was there to help (push) me out onto the last leg of the IM. Another swipe of the sunscreen and I’m on my way. There are a lot of people lining the roads and as I round the corner to start the run, the pros are finishing. Maybe I should just hang a hard left and finishJ.


The run of the Ironman is 26.2 miles, a marathon by many definitions, but for today, it is 26 one mile repeats with aid stations at each mile. God, it feels good to run. I see Scott and Michael as I start the run and they have lots of words of encouragement. There are so many people lining the streets, you feel great. I just want to bottle up this enthusiasm for later in the night, when I’ll really need it. The course is two 13 mile loops, so we actually get to return here for another dose of support. Speaking of support, I had some of the best support available. In addition to my parents, my two good friends, Dave and Scott had also made the trip to Madison and I got to see them many times over the course of the day, from swim out to several times on the bike and run. Thanks for their support!! The run is, by far, the hardest part of the day. Up to this point, things have gone as expected. Now it is running and I am tired. By mile 10, I am negotiating the run of 10 cones and walking 2 cones. The final 16 miles are going to be tough! And they were. I am sure my support group wondered what happened to me on that final loop. One lesson that was taught during training was to always have a backup plan. When I forgot to restock my SaltStick tabs at special needs, I actually thought about going back, but no way was I running an extra ½ mileJ. My backup plan became to take chicken broth and Gatorade at every aid station for the last 13 miles. Not a bad plan B except for the one aid station that served the broth cold. YUCK! It got dark and cool and then the rain at mile 23 reminded me that I should be done and out of this rain. I met a lot of people on the run and we were all at the same point of struggle. And there goes Jackie. She is looking fresh as if she just started. I’m not sure what drug she’s on, but I want someJ. Way to go Jackie.

I am glad I grabbed a long sleeve tech shirt in special needs on the run, as the rain was cold and the night air was cool. As I got back to the capital for the final run into the finish, I ditched the long sleeve along the road. There were 100s of people lining the street as I turned the corner for the finish. The cheers were deafening. Everyone was happy to see you (and I was happy to see them). And then, as I approached the finish line, I could hear the announcement, “Mark Loehr from Boulder CO, you are an Ironman”. That is what this whole season has been about. Proving, to myself, that I could do it! First seeing my coaches, Scott and Michael at the finish line for a medal and a wrap and then a few F4 teammates, I made it out to my personal support group, where there were lots of hugs and excitement. Now, it’s time for some pizzaJ.

A couple of last thoughts. Thanks very much to Scott Fliegelman and Michael Stone for their continued coaching and support during this long season. They took 13 people to Madison, 9 of us IM virgins and made us Ironman on that day. They are the best! And secondly, thanks to all the volunteers in Madison for their continued encouragement throughout the entire day. They are the ones that always had a positive word for me, no matter how bad I looked or felt.

Oh yea, I also forgot, I can’t wait until my next IronmanJ!!

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The week before IM MOO, F4 athlete Lisa Boatright completed Ironman Louisville, the location of our IM LOU 09 race:
So, about the race….it was reallly, really HARD! Here’s my summary as well as some tips that may or may not be useful to your IM group for next year.Swim- NO wetsuits! I was so concerned about training for the bike and run this whole time that I failed to realize the water temp would be 83 degrees and thus a no-wetsuit swim. I actually figured this out Wednesday night, the night before I left town and ordered a speed suit online to be delivered overnight to my hotel in Louisville. I was a little concerned about using a new piece of clothing on race day but I got one practice swim in with the speedsuit and it proved to work great on race day!

Swim course- loved it! Quite refreshing the be in warm water with no wetsuit. Although it was tempting to go much harder, I took it pretty easy knowing I had a long day ahead of me. Make sure your athletes next year know that they should swim out away from the buoys towards the center of the river to take advantage of the stronger current there. After rounding the top buoy to head downstream, I probably kept a good 50 yards distance between myself and the buoys hugging the shore. The current actually pushes you towards shore as well as downstream and I saw many athletes too close to shore and having to make a sharp overcorrection to keep the buoys on their left.

Note about swim start: Because it’s a TT start and it’s first come first serve in terms of getting to the swim start that morning, it felt like the days’ racing actually started at 5 am when the transition area opened. Race to your bike, pump up tires, put water bottles and food on and then speed walk the 3/4 mile to the swim start. I got to transition at 4:45 only to sit in line to get in and after doing all the above in a calm but speedy manner, arrived at the swim start to find myself a few hundred people back in line. I did have to swim through many, many people at the start of the swim being careful not to run over anyone before it thinned out and I swam in no man’s land the rest of the swim. I did not find anyone to draft off the entire swim!

Bike: Hilly! I was not prepared for the constant up and down and shifting of gears (in and out of the big ring up front)! The terrain is unlike anything we have here in Colorado. Not sure how I could have come more prepared for this (?). The heat really got to me on the second half of the bike. If I were to do it over again, I definitely would not have worn an aero helmet. At every aid station I was dumping water on myself and over my head to try and cool off. With the aero helmet only a small amount of water actually make it into the ventilations slots and it felt like my brain was boiling!

Nutrition: the Snickers Bar proved to be a gut bomb in my stomach, causing nausea that carried over into the run…may have to skip that one next time!

My body really started to ache around mile 80. I have had problems with my feet falling asleep in the past bringing pins and needle pain with it and unfortunately I was not spared from this on race day. My lower back didn’t feel so hot either….I found myself just coasting the last 30 miles back to town.

Run: Snickers gut bomb was still present the first few miles of the run but eventually went away. Sometime around mile 5 the intense hip pain started up. I felt like an 80 year old woman! Looking back, I don’t know if it would qualify as cramping, but it certainly brought be to walking. Like everyone else, I was glad to see ice at every aid station which I promptly shoved down my bra, under my armpits, and down the back of my shorts- any way to cool off! My HR was in Zone 0 (around 110 bpm) the last part of the bike and the entire run- pain and heat were my big issues.

Now, three weeks out from the race, the feelings of pain are long gone and I’m thinking about another IM next year- perhaps IM Florida. Some things I might change for next race: Start my training 9 months out (easier to do with a race in the November); get some more long rides (100 mi +) and brick runs (2+ hrs after a semi long ride); leave the aero helmet at home!; wear a light colored race outfit in the heat; take ibuprofen with my endurolytes or perhaps even a stronger pain killer during the race?!

I really enjoyed my IM experience and all the training it involved. Thanks so much Scott for all you help in making it possible with my screwy work schedule. I couldn’t have done it without your guidance!!

Lisa Boatright

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3 responses

12 09 2008
F4 IM MOO 08 « FastForward Sports Blog

[…] IM MOO 08 […]

12 09 2008
Brodie’s first plane ride « Photos, Videos, and Stories from the Fliegelman Family.

[…] tent, and also a picture of some of the F4 group after their spectacular finishes!  Please see the F4 Blog for their race […]

16 10 2008
KarenL

You people rock!

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