The Ironman Wisconsin Plan
1. Have a goal
2. Make a plan to achieve goal
3. Execute goal
Simple, right? Depends on what one is attempting to achieve I would imagine. I’m not much for the word “can’t” but I do believe I know my limitations. Subtle difference.
1. My goal is to qualify for the Kona Ironman World Championships.
2. I have a coach and I have a plan to achieve #1.
3. On September 7th in Madison, Wisconsin I executed my plan.
I have on more than one occasion said people can accomplish anything if they just put their mind to it. It could be marathons, triathlons, eating healthier or quitting smoking.
I’ve had my head down for a few years now building and working towards my goal. My swim, bike, and run have all improved. I’m more efficient and stronger.
So then the question is what happened in Wisconsin??
I ate my breakfast. I drank my coffee. I had my gel about 30 before the swim.
Everyone knows the swim is my weakness. But I felt good about my swim for this race. Knowing one’s own limitations is very important. Apparently many in the swim didn’t know theirs! Self-seeding could be a good thing if done correctly……..GUN goes off and I’m near the buoy line but not on it and in the middle (so not in the front and not in the back). I start swimming and within 100 yards I’ve swum into a rolling road block and pretty soon the back markers are beating my legs down. I got kicked in the face (actually each eye) including one that knocked one of my goggle eye pieces off. So I stopped for a second to fix. I was the little fish in the big sea. I couldn’t get out. I was trapped so I swam though as best I could. I drank a little more then I usually do as well which made me start thinking I wasn’t feeling wonderful. Fast forward to swim exist and I got out feeling aggravated by my time…for a second and then moved on to the strippers (wet suit strippers that is). Then the long transition up the garage helix four stories or just about .5 mi. I was dizzy by the time I arrived to get my bike gear bag. I changed and off I went out on the bike.
Swim in Lake Menona
On the bike I had 75 oz of heed (2 scoops in each bottle = 200 cal) 1.5 PBJ’s, 5 Gels, At least 80 oz of Powerade, and I have no idea how much water. I figure I put in at least 150 oz of fluid. And one Red Bull at the half way point.
An amazing weather day it was.
Wisconsin is a technical bike course with a bunch of tight turns, a few great bombing downhills and some Tour de France like up-hills with people on both sides cheering you on. They were short hills, but that was really the only time my legs burned the whole ride. There were lots of rolling hills too that didn’t run into each other to often so you have to pedal up nearly every one of them. I rode within myself and am quite happy to ride that course in 5:34 with 5700 ft of vertical climbing. For those that did Mt. Tremblant, I think Wisconsin was more challenging.
Remember I still have a run to complete.
I came off the bike with good run legs and immediately settled into a pace between 8-8:30 trying to keep my HR right around 130. The nutrition goal here was to take a gel every 20 minutes and drink water often. As you may have seen by my splits I was running comfortably for the first 10 miles and then my legs began to cramp. For the next 13 miles I would run till I started cramping and then walk. I would walk the cramps off and when they subsided, I’d start running again. I did start to nibble on the course offerings as well. Some coke here, Powerade there, a cookie, a potato chip. Didn’t want to risk to much distress in my stomach although I was already experiencing a little pain in that area. Then around mile 23 I started running and my legs didn’t cramp. Suddenly I could manage 8:30-9 min pace and that’s how I finished.
Running along Lake Mendota
Running in Badger Stadium
The Finish in front of the WI State Capitol
I finished thinking I didn’t achieve my goal. I finished thinking of what I endured. I finished thinking about how challenging this year has been for my family. I finished because there was no other option. I finished.
Now the back story. NOT AN EXCUSE!
· I went to the doctor in December because I thought I had a hernia. The Doctor swore I didn’t. He was wrong.
· After Eagleman (which was a mostly great day) I COULD NOT AND DID NOT run for 5 weeks. I was very close to not going to Wisconsin. Both my Coach (Eric Hodska) and I felt I had great fitness from my bike / swim focus (during my non-run time). Turns out it wasn’t my hip as I thought but my back. Dr. told me to take Alieve and if I could run go for it. So sometime in July I started running and with 7 weeks of running with my longest run being 2 hours (about 15 miles) I had in my head I had no choice but to succeed and that’s all I told myself. I believed I could do it. In the end, I executed my plan as I had laid it out. I can speculate that my inability to succeed in WI was due to lack of time on my legs. That part only matters for the next time. On that day I couldn’t have done anything different once I went in motion.
· Remember all that fluid and food I consumed? After I crossed the line I saw my uncle at the finish. I went over to hug him and thank him. I then began to tingle in my face and arms and got really weak. Medical swooped in and took me to medical. Then weighed me and told me that I had lost 12 lbs. At some point I thought to myself, self, so how much do I have to eat and drink to not lose that much weight in a race?
· Then of course there were much bigger distractions then anyone should have to deal with. For anyone who looks closely at my pictures on you’ll notice I had one white sock and one black sock on. That was for Austin.
So my season if officially over. I may find something to do with all this fitness because that’s just the way I’m wired but I just don’t know right now. For now I must recover. Well I wanted to provide some pics with the report and it's a week post. I'm already chomping at the bit. I think I'll throw some swim and bike in in the next few days. I'll give my run legs a break. Cheers all. Thank you to everyone that allowed me to train by just being there. I realize you were helping for other reasons but all the help was so awesome. Thank you.