Summary: first IM, first marathon.
Goal: 12:57:35; Actual: 13:06:34 (#1145 of 2398).
Fun race, finished right around expected time.
Training this year began in earnest Memorial Day weekend. I bought a powermeter over the winter, which made indoor biking sessions incredibly productive. (A lot of money upfront, but I quit my gym, so it evened out over the year.) A good Columbia oly and decent Kinetic half got race routines down, and going into the summer, it was nose to the grindstone. All summer, it was 12 hrs/week, with 1-2 hours after work Tu-F, and the balance spent riding on Sat./Sun. That turned out to be manageable. No morning workouts during the week, and only a few super-long days on the weekend. Critical events were the Garrett County Gran Fondo and Total 200, as much for testing nutrition/hydration/pacing/bike fit as fitness events. Three week taper.
Flew in on Thursday, picked up the bike from TriBike Transport, registered, and cruised through the expo to see how many things you can brand with the M-dot logo. Thursday there were _no_ lines at registration. Friday, the place was a madhouse. Went to hotel, dropped off my gear, and then drove the hills (Garfoot, Old Sauk, Timber Lane, MidTown) before it got dark. Friday, ran part of the marathon course to check out part of campus (and to get a Peet’s coffee at the Union), went to the race site to atttend the Endurance Nation talk, then a 15-min swim to check out the lake. After lunch, took the bike and drove the whole loop, riding the technical downhill sections a few times. Packed gear bags and final bike prep. Attended the dinner, which was worthwhile (not for the food, but for the Saturday, it was a lazy morning, drop off the bike and gear bags around noon, check out the farmers market (no pre-race cheese curds, but carbo-loaded with cider donuts), then chilled out and did very little until dinner at 7.
Woke up at 3, ate a bagel and some coffee, then hopped on the shuttle at 4:30 to the start. Starbucks opened at 4, so I got a decaf and chilled out until it was time to gear up the bike, then wetsuit up. One last bathroom break at 6:20, then a dash for the swim start. Hopped in the water literally 20 seconds before the cannon. A few folks were still on shore at 7:00.
Swim: Goal: 1:30:00; Actual: 1:30:31 (2:22/100m)
Water was mid-60s and calm. But there were 1200 first-time IM folks, and 2550+ in the water. The course is two-loop half-mile rectange parallel to shore, with short sides of a few hundred yards. The scrum on the first loop was pretty massive. I only got kicked in the face once, but there was lots of grabbing and groping going on. Sighting was pretty easy (on the bouys and shore), and there were plenty of feet to follow in the first loop. The second loop spread out more and folks drifted away from the buoy line, so you had more space, but didn’t necessarily benefit from a draft.
- Lap 1: 42:58
- Lap 2: 47:33
(I can explain how I set goal times later.)
T1: Goal: 7:50; Actual: 9:04
Yes, the helix is unique, but it’s a parking ramp, so it’s not that steep. Wetsuit strippers are right after the swim exit, so it’s easy to jog up the ramp. T1 bags are in order and easy to find, and the change “tent” is a ballroom with folding chairs. Did a full change into bibs and jersey, then ran out the door in socks until the bike rack, where I put on shoes and ran with the bike to the mount line. Volunteers getting your swim gear into your T1 bag and sorting out your stuff are fantastic, and they also have your bike is waiting for you in the aisle by the time you get there.
Bike: Goal: 6:00:00; Actual: 6:12:31 (@18.0mph)
My strength of the three sports, the goal was to get on the bike without having freaked out on the swim, hydrate, eat, and get to T2 by 3pm via as little effort as possible. The 16-mile route from Madison to Verona was a parade lap, with hundreds (or really, more than a thousand) people in front of me. The rollers were not very big compared to what was to come, but that didn’t stop people from standing on the pedals and stomping their way to the top of every little rise.
On the loops, Verona-to-Cross Plains is underrated in its importance. You have rollers that can leech away energy and time, so riding smart is important. People talk about the crowds on the hills between Cross Plains and Verona, and it’s all true -- the race has a shuttle from Madison to Verona, so they have barriers down the main drag a la finishing chutes at bike races. Volunteers at the aid stations were great, and spaced just about right. I just took water and gels, so no comments on the new Ironman Perform drink, good or bad. The wind picked up on the second half, and core fatigue from the swim made for a tight back on the second loop. Stretching helped fix that, and the 16 miles back were a great run-in, with a tailwind pushing me and my disc along past folks who had overcooked themselves on the loops.
- Avg power: 118w (ftp 230); NP: 132w ; VI: 1.16; IF: .57; TSS=203
- Avg HR: 149 (LTHR 168)
- 16mi out: 50:23 (@19.05mph)
- 40mi loop1: 2:16:39 (@17.56mph)
- 40mi loop2: 2:23:25 (@16.75mph)
- 16mi back: 42:04 (@22.8mph)
T2: Goal: 4:45; Actual: 3:47
Cruising along the lake, I had time to take my feet out of my shoes, and pedal up the helix into T2 with my feet on top of my shoes. Slowing down, I swung my right leg over the top tube, did a on-the-run dismount, and ran my bike into the waiting hands of a bike catcher -- with my Garmin still on the bike. Oops. Quick change into T-shirt, running shorts, and shoes, it was off to my first marathon with my backup watch.
Run: Goal: 5:15:00; Actual: 5:10:41 (@11:51/mi)
First marathon, so there were no real expectations here. Longest run was 17 miles, so what would the “wall” feel like? Feet swelling? Blisters? Balky knees acting up? Nutrition? Hydration? Overall fitness? All unknowns. The hope was to run 10:00s and if possible hold or accelerate. I finished the swim and bike without mishaps and on my time targets, so I knew I would finish, it was just a matter of how. The first mile felt great. I rounded the capitol building and tried to go slow, and hit the first mile marker in 8:30. Whoops. Waaay too fast. Walking the aid stations just for pacing purposes got the pace down to 10:00s.
Right before the stadium, stomach cramps kicked in. This was not unexpected, but I haven’t found a great way to deal with them yet, other than slowing down. Heat was picking up, and I felt like my hydration was low (from not drinking enough on the 16 miles back from Verona), so walking 1/4 mile (so the water didn’t cause more cramps) and jogging 3/4 mile became the plan. While I was in no mood for gels or cookies or pretzels, 3 or 4 grapes per aid station (every mile or so) were perfect.
Campus was pretty quiet, but the State Street area is at mile 6 and 19, where you get a few blocks lined with folks having a great time cheering everyone on, and you get the finish line crowd. Finishing the first loop, I felt pretty good, so just kept on the same Plan B of walking aid stations+100m and jogging in between. Was wearing my DCTri t-shirt and got a few shout-outs from DCTri folks (sorry, I couldn’t recognize folks while in the race-day mental fog) as well as Team Z folks, who deserve credit for a strong showing of green. By the time I reached State Street the second time, stomach issues had sorted themselves out, and I did some quick math - if I ran 10:00s, I could finish under 13hours. That was enough of an incentive to start running between stations rather than jogging, and the last three miles were definitely sub-10. The aid stations had run out of coke at this point (how?), so my preferred end-of-race rocket fuel wasn’t around.
Heading up to the capitol and finish line, it’s a slight uphill before you round a soft left, then take two rights before the last left. At this point, I was already at 13:0X, so I was ready to just cruise in, but upon seeing the capitol building, I found that I had enough in me to chase some folks down, including two right before the last corner. That gave me a clear finish chute under the lights, and it was all over in 13:06:34. The catcher at the finish line asked me if I was ok, and I said I was fine, but I just wanted a coke. Four cans later, I watched some of the 14:XX hour finishers come in and was ready to catch the shuttle back to the hotel. As much as I wanted to see the last folks come in, I was beat.
- Leg1 (6.35mi): 1:07:08 (@10:34/mi)
- Leg2 (6.65mi): 1:25:32 (@12:51/mi)
- Leg3 (6.23mi): 1:20:19 (@12:53/mi)
- Leg4 (6.97mi): 1:17:42 (@11:08/mi)
= Total Goal: 12:57:35; Actual: 13:06:34 (#1145/2398) - Pretty much on-target, though I never hit any fitness difficulty on the run, which makes me think that 12:4X-12:5X was entirely possible had I realized how much was left in the tank at mile 13 of the run.
Post-race/Misc. (thanks for sticking around this long)
What a wonderous thing, eight hours of solid sleep is. Dropped off my bike at TriBike Transport, cruised through the expo and cursed KSwiss for crappy finisher gear, then went to the airport, where the post-IM exodus meant that the afternoon flights were overbooked, but there was a seat open for me in first class on an earlier flight back to DC. That’s when when you know you had a great weekend!
For a first-time IM, it’s a fun race. (Apparently nearly half the field thought so too, since it was their first M-Dot 140.6 as well.) People aren’t gunning for PRs, the crowd support is fantastic, and it’s the perfect time of year. Also, Madison hotels are easier to book than other venues (unless you want to stay within a few blocks of the finish. I was 2 miles away and it was ten minutes to go from the hotel to Monona Terrace. Shuttle to Verona and farmers market are handy for hangers-on. Good luck to all in 2011!
Congrats on a great race. I saw you out there a couple times on the run and we exchanged encouragement to each other.
P.S. I found a couple pictures of you in the lost and found:
Amazing race! Thanks for the race report too.
Congratulations, Ihan on your Ironman finish! You did awesome! Enjoy the off-season and if you need any tips on how to handle that, just see me at the Public Bar HH on Thursday.
Hey Angela - thanks for id'ing those pics! See everyone at HH on Thurs.!
[Add'l note: My oddly specific goal times were concocted using the following: I took my most recent 70.3 race (Kinetic) and last year's IMWI results and dumped the results into sortable excel spreadsheets. I figured out the percentile for my split in each discipline at Kinetic and figured out the corresponding time for that percentile was at Madison '09. That gave me a "virtual" set of splits. 70.3-to-140.6 worked out pretty well, but my Oly-distance numbers don't correlate using this method.]
Ihan, that sort of goal split calculating does not scream "Type A" at all..not at all... Great job on the race! Nice report.
Hugh-- I am thinking for next year we should make you "Official Offseason Counselor and Director" instead of Race Director.