Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Erik's Inaugural Ironman: IMWI 9/13/09

IMOO was an amazing race! (Ironman = 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run)

Little background:
I have cheered at every IMWI since 2002 and couldn't have imagined doing my first Ironman race anywhere else. Wife Julie coaxed me into trying one loop of the bike course last summer and I had a blast, so I signed up to volunteer for the 2008 race just in case I would grow a pair and sign up for the 2009 race. Honestly, the distance has always worried me, but with all the fun and excitement, I took the plunge and signed up the day after. I promptly had the feeling of "what have I done?!?!" My coach (Jared Berg) brought
me around and put together a plan that really worked for me.

Couple of points:
The 30 minutes of down time before heading to the swim start had me more nervous and uncomfortable than I had been since before one of my high school football games. If I looked calm on the outside, it was all a front because my guts were churning and every little thing seemed to bug me. The walk down to the swim start with Julie, Cathy and Kerry seemed juuust a bit like a death march. Swimming is definitely my weakest event, in fact 8 months before, I was lucky to make it to the pool once, maybe twice a month. An 800 was a full workout.

Race Report:
Swim- 1:23:XX
Multiple people have told me that staying to the inside of the first corner buoy is the way to go. I came to realize that if you do this make sure to be near the front (I think Cathy Lee mentioned this). Every slower-than-me swimmer was just in front of me when the canon went off.
The first 5 minutes were total chaos and if someone would have told me that I actually went backwards, I would have believed them. Eventually, I worked my way to the outside of the buoys and about halfway to shore. There were less sighting-challenged swimmers there, but there were plenty of arm throwers. Good grief, I was prepared to get knocked around quite a bit, but the back of my head was smacked multiple times, I caught the heel of a spaz kicker right on my
goggle lens, sending the right goggle into my brain...well it felt like it at least. I didn't receive the intentional punches that I have read about, and my guess is that I inadvertently smacked a few people too, but man was I ready to exit the water. Oh, being a left side breather, the view from the back side of each loop was
beautiful. The Monona Terrace with the Capitol and other city buildings was quite a view.

T1 (transition from swim to bike) - slow

Bike- 6:20:xx
The first few miles of the bike seem like a waste of time, plus that one section of road after the convention center was pretty rough...lots of bottles and salt tabs all over the place. The road to Verona felt good and restrained. The road between Verona and Mt. Horeb was much better this time because unlike my training ride
5 weeks ago, there was no 20mph wind in my face. The hills on both loops were great. I have learned to really like this bike course. Somewhere between Verona and Mt. Horeb I developed a slow leak in my rear tubular. After the rollers just
past Mt. Horeb, I stopped to check the now bouncy rear tubie. I couldn't see anything obviously leaking, nor hear anything so I decided to just use some CO2
and pump it back up. This lasted until just after (I believe) Stagecoach Rd. I stopped again to check and then add more CO2.

Just after leaving Verona (about miles 96-7) for the way back to Madison, I had to stop again to fill. This only lasted until about mile 104. At this point I was out of CO2. A course official asked if I needed anything and I said CO2. He didn't have that, but had a pump. I asked if that was okay for me to do and he said as long as I pumped it up myself I was legal. I was able to get in about 80psi before my arm got too tired to pump any more, see, I wasn't clear enough mentally to set my bike down to pump. I think the term is mashed-potato-brained. This air lasted about half a mile, so I got to ride in the last 7+ miles on a flat rear 808. The helix was no problem, but me and my parts were ready to part with that bike and saddle.

T2 (transition from bike to run) - slower
Run- 4:10:xx
Mad dash to biffy, then out on the run course. After about two miles, I realized that my legs felt really good. It's strange how on the bike they can feel so fatigued, but once on the streets, they were great. At each aid station I would combine two half-cups of water and Gatorade for a total of two cups of liquid. Then I would dump a cup of ice in my hat and grab two sponges. Each hour, I would take 4 Thermolites. The miles just ticked by and I had my most enjoyable marathon ever, including standalone I PR'd my marathon by ten minutes. I stopped taking in liquid at miles 24 and wouldn't you know it, about 300yds from the finish I had my first and only twinge of a cramp. That just meant that I didn't get to sprint and "ruin" someone else's finish line photo.

Total - 12:12:xx

Kerry is just about the best training partner a guy could have. Our brick (bike/run combos) work including mile repeats with aid station, allowed me to learn how to run really well after walking. The longest post-bike run we ever did was 15 miles. Cross-Training really allows you to do less overall miles and still make it. If I ever do a standalone marathon again, I'll use the same training, just with faster miles.
I couldn't/wouldn't have done this race without the support of family, friends and
team mates that always had positive energy to give.
Nutrition is/was key for me. Pre-swim (2 hours) I ate a concoction that Jared
shared that consisted of oatmeal, protein shake power, applesauce, peanut butter, brown sugar and raisins. It was over 600 calories that really sticks with you. On the bike, at the start of each hour, I took in 224 calories of CarboPro, 90 calories of Hammer Gel (chocolate of course) and 4 thermolites. On the run, I stayed with the 4 thermolites each hour along with gatorade, coke, water, ice and sponges...well, I didn't eat the sponges.
Sorry this was so long, but I couldn't have imagined a better first Ironman race.
Thanks for reading,