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Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
CREATED: 09/17/10 by bad ford REPLIES: 16
bad ford's ravatar bad ford    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 184
Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/17/10 10:40 AM

First off: Thanks again to my wife for helping me train this year, and my family for coming out to support me and caddy for me. And Deb Bernades for sending all of those emails and teaching me to swim like a gorilla and run with floppy feet.

------------------

When I joined this club, I thought about making my screen name "DFL" due to my ability to finish at the back of any pack. Now I've worked my way all the way up to the middle!

Spoiler Alert: I did not get a Kona slot, but I did finish in the top half!

-------------------
Pre-Race Philosophy Stuff:

Last year for IM Louisville, I half-baked the training. I figured Ironman couldn't be 'that' hard, and really made an effort to get out there and not drown. This year, I stuck to the DC Tri Ironman Training Program surprisingly well, and you know what? That training stuff really works.

Also, I purposely lost an extra 6 or 7 pounds leading up to the race and didn't carry much water or food this time. My massive research effort (googling IM Wisconsin race reports) told me to expect hills. What goes up hills faster than a fat guy on a heavy bike? A slightly less fat guy on a lighter bike.

So the theory goes.

-------------------------
Race Morning:

If you're going to Wisconsin, figure out how you are going to get all the way to transition before 0600. It closes at 0630. That was a big surprise for me, but fortunately I was ready to take my PRD by 0615 and lined up outside the port-a-lets. By 0625, I had lost a couple more pounds, and headed down the ramp. Put on my rented full-sleave wet suit backward, then forward, then waited 20 minutes to get in the water and tried to swim at attention while the Star Spangled Banner played.

The water was cold as nuts.

-------------------------
The Swim:

All summer, I was swimming about 1:30 pace for 2.4 miles. But putting on a full wet suit is like gaining a superpower.

I was kicked in face immediately. Awesome! I was punched in the head by a windmill swimmer. All part of the game. At the first turn, I was nearly sterilized by donkey kick.

Thanks 5mm rubber suit!

Occasionally, the traffic lightened and I took full advantage of my 'gorilla' swim technique. Head down, arms to the sides like a Klingon Bird of Prey -- but, you know, slower.

The traffic on the swim accordioned like real traffic and I just accepted that there were plusses and minuses to that. There was the drafting advantage and the near impossibility of drifting off course like I always do. I was a plinko chip homing in on the $5,000 slot. I nearly swam under every single buoy. So I was pretty pleasantly surprised at crowd-pleasing 1:18 swim.

Thanks 5mm rubber suit!

Transition 1:

14 stinking minutes! A good part of that was running from the water up the parking garage, down a hall, and then about 500 yards to my bike. Another good part of it was putting my toe socks on the wrong feet.

Toe socks in a triathlon? Yup, I have flat feet and bad ankles, and I once lost all of the skin on both of my small toes on mile 22 of a race. Never again! The three extra minutes were ultimately worth it, but I was still cussing like a maniac when I got to my bike.

The peanut-butter-and jelly I ate before the mount line made everything all better, and soon the swim was a distant memory of a forgotten dream.

The Bike:

Here is a sampling of what I saw along the road:
1. 3 consecutive steep, long hills (twice) as advertised.
2. The biggest cow I have ever seen and 2 alpacas.
3. An Elvis, a Superman, 2 Satans, and The Children of the Corn
4. A guy wearing watermelons and grapes in his bra. (3 times)

Fortunately, I had been riding this summer in Tuan's group, and the bike just didn't seem that intimidating. Although he claims not to go fast, the pace in that group is like 18 mph. I went 16.0 in Louisville last year and 17.3 this year. So something went right!

I finished the bike in about 6:28, which was 32 minutes faster than last year. Holy Crap!

The Run:

You could say that I paid for a fast(ish) bike and a fast(ish) swim by getting busted early on the run, and you'd be right!

Two miles in my dreams of running the first 10 or so, just evaporated. Somebody told me this run was flat. It's really, really not. Now, it's not Charlottesville hilly or anything, but to me, flat means not having to go uphill for half the run and downhill for the other half. Those tiny hills demoralized me right away!

Then that fact alone demoralized me!

Then, about 6 miles in a guy said to me, "How are you holding up?"

And I said, "Okay, I guess, but I'm kinda done with it, you know? I just want to be done..."

Well, I don't know how to describe it, but at that exact moment, a miracle happened. Or maybe it was my last chocolate / caffeine excel gel. Or chicken broth or the cruddy orange Ironman drink...

The miracle that happened was that I could suddenly run. By mile 13 people were commenting from the sidelines:

"Just keep that rhythm" One-two-three, Flop-py Feet...
"You're making it look easy, bro." ...fraternity dudes.
"Look at the nerd with the glasses"...females.

Occasionally, I would take a short walking break and someone would fart-fart-fart past me. That made me laugh every time.

My stomach never went south. I never really felt tired. Just that one moment of doubt and pain at mile 6. I ran a negative split for the next 20 miles. Faster and faster. Think of that!
-----------
Soon, the sun went down and I made that final turn toward town. Eventually, the capitol building just popped into view.

"Holy sh..." I said, "There it is..." Then down into the chute with a million screaming fans, and a dozen high fives. Running full speed into the lights...

------------
Run time: 5:10 -- my third fastest marathon ever, IM or not.

Total time: 13:19:51. 54 minutes faster than Louisville last year in the exact same weather.

Number 1245 out of 2455 finishers.

Top half! Read 'em and weep.

dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1293
RE: Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/17/10 11:35 AM

Great job Brad. I guessed the moral of the story is that having a Vietnamese suck on your wheels for the entire summer has its benefits. I think that more people should adopt this approach ;)

Tuan

kev7's ravatar kev7    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 456
RE: Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/17/10 12:58 PM

Congrats on an awesome race! Wisconsin is a tough course and you smoked it!! You are going have to teach Tuan and I how to swim. I can only dream about swimming 1:18 in an Ironman.

Kevin

seewhatucando's ravatar seewhatucando    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 116
RE: Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/17/10 1:29 PM

Great race Brad...it was nice to meet you out on the bike course, however briefly!

bad ford's ravatar bad ford    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 184
RE: Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/17/10 2:00 PM

I forgot to mention out on the bike course I saw Lynn. Our conversation went like this:

Me: How are you holding up?
Lynn: Oh fine, I'm just riding along -- not racing it just riding it.
Me: Really? This is my top best speed.

----
You can look at our run times and see how our strategies worked out relative to each other.

LOL.

seewhatucando's ravatar seewhatucando    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 116
RE: Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/17/10 2:12 PM

That is hilarious! I am impressed you remember that conversation word for word. I think I dropped my chain and you passed me right after that, but whatever!

merlinkim's ravatar merlinkim    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 294
RE: Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/18/10 11:20 AM

Excellent job! We must've just missed each other on the run exit - I'm sorry that I missed you out there. Good to hear that all the hard work over the summer paid off!

bad ford's ravatar bad ford    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 184
RE: Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/19/10 9:43 AM

Thanks all...

Kevin and Tuan - just stick to running and biking. Why cut short a nice pleasant swim?

bad ford's ravatar bad ford    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 184
RE: Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/19/10 9:43 AM

Thanks all...

Kevin and Tuan - just stick to running and biking. Why cut short a nice pleasant swim?

bad ford's ravatar bad ford    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 184
RE: Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/19/10 9:43 AM

Thanks all...

Kevin and Tuan - just stick to running and biking. Why cut short a nice pleasant swim?

bad ford's ravatar bad ford    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 184
RE: Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/19/10 9:43 AM

Thanks all...

Kevin and Tuan - just stick to running and biking. Why cut short a nice pleasant swim?

bad ford's ravatar bad ford    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 184
RE: Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/19/10 9:43 AM

Thanks all...

Kevin and Tuan - just stick to running and biking. Why cut short a nice pleasant swim?

bad ford's ravatar bad ford    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 184
RE: Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/19/10 9:43 AM

Thanks all...

Kevin and Tuan - just stick to running and biking. Why cut short a nice pleasant swim?

bad ford's ravatar bad ford    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 184
RE: Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/19/10 9:43 AM

Thanks all...

Kevin and Tuan - just stick to running and biking. Why cut short a nice pleasant swim?

bad ford's ravatar bad ford    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 184
RE: Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/19/10 9:43 AM

Thanks all...

Kevin and Tuan - just stick to running and biking. Why cut short a nice pleasant swim?

bad ford's ravatar bad ford    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 184
RE: Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/19/10 9:43 AM

Thanks all...

Kevin and Tuan - just stick to running and biking. Why cut short a nice pleasant swim?

bad ford's ravatar bad ford    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 184
RE: Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - A view from the middle of the pack
POSTED: 9/19/10 9:43 AM

Thanks all...

Kevin and Tuan - just stick to running and biking. Why cut short a nice pleasant swim?

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