Ford Ironman Wisconsin
September 11, 2005
Friday, September 9
- Woke up to a nice day after 8 hours of sleep, no humidity, took a shower, and headed out with Jon, my training buddy, to Denny's.
Gorged myself on the Lumberjack Slam (pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice and coffee)!
- Went to the grocery store to buy more Gatorade, plastic bags, bananas, PB&J, and energy bars.
Brought it all back to the hotel.
- Arrived 10:18am at Monona Terrace for athlete registration and packet pick-up. Line was a little long as we entered, but moved
efficiently. It pays to have a USAT card if you want to move along. Went to one floor to get weighed
(161.8 lbs of carbo-loaded machine!), then went to another floor to have all the numbers, the ChampionChip (I used my own),
and transition bags explained to me.
- Went to the InsideOut Expo. Didn't buy myself anything except one 700x23 tube for my special needs bag.
Jon practically bought out the IMWI merchandise. I was scared to jinx myself. I also got a Timex cap and lanyard, PowerBar water bottle.
- Decided to ride the bike course. Flat at the beginning, but the hills begin to roll once the loop portion of the course begins.
One winding portion has loose gravel going downhill. Note to self: slow down! Grabbed an organic burrito at Mile 31 at this health food store.
Jon gets tired of driving at Mile 45 / 87, so I take over. Whoa, 2-3 hills roll steeper before tapering! Went back to hotel to kick it for a while.
- Head out for the Mandatory Athlete Meeting. Lots of hoopla at 7:15pm, followed by the GTG rules, which are the same as USAT.
Out of there in 35 minutes. While there I have leftover salad, a cup of pasta marinara and cup of veggies.
- I drop off Jon at the hotel, then proceed to the house where my family is staying. Hosts Jining and Eugene have opened their house to Michael,
his wife Belinda and three boys, Candy and her husband Curt, and David. Full house! Have a BBQ sandwich. Before I leave,
they pull out a birthday cake for my 40th birthday. I also get a pair of sandals! And I got big hugs from the nephews. Family reunions are great!
- Woke up after
6 hours of sleep at 7:15am, and ate a banana and granola
bar. Headed out for Gatorade swim @ Law Park.
conditions and 8:23am at the park. 77 degrees at 8:15am. Water is reported at 75 degrees, but I think it's
warmer. Swam for about 1/2 mile, nice and easy. Found the return a little
challenging, because there was a counter-current. Made a mental note for
race day. I also felt the twinge in my left shoulder, and am again worried
it may act up during the race. Too late to do anything, but take it easy
if it does. Got a Gatorade water bottle. Exited to pick up my Felt S22.
- Picked up
bike from TiBike Transport. I am convinced this is the one of the most
civilized ways of transporting a bike to an event if offered. Offer came
complete with one bag full of equipment. Can't beat that for $220! Took
the bike for a test ride, and all systems go. Glad to see that SBR Multisport
did a proper tune-up on the brakes/derailleurs. They gave me a cap.
my bags for transition by the car. Tore my number for my bike, but
repaired it somewhat. Must be nerves. Brought the bike to transition area,
covered it in plastic (you never know). Brought transition bags to
appropriate rooms. Stopped into Expo for PowerBar T-Shirt.
- Joined my
family for lunch at Great Dane Brewpub. Had a tall glass of water, a
chicken pot pie and some of the hummus plate. The boys are playing pool
and everyone is having a good time.
- I return
to the hotel, where I pull together clothes for the Big Day tomorrow, take
a shower, and do some mental exercises, reading Dean Karnazes' UltraMarathonMan
(great inspiration for the day before), and nap for about 20 minutes. Jon
heads out to the whirlpool.
- I head
out to the family once more for dinner. While they eat steak and some trout
they caught that afternoon, I eat two cups of pasta and a slice of roasted
pepper. David joins me as I head back to the hotel for some last-minute
preparation, and shut-eye.
- The Big
Day - alarm goes off at 4:15am,
and for once, it beat me, though I only slept 4 hours total. All bags and
gear are ready to go. Dress, read directions, a cup of oatmeal and water quickly
before heading out by 4:45am. 5:05am arrival. Nervous as hell as David pulls the car away.
- I get bodymarked
upon entering the transition area, then proceed to my bike where I get the
tires topped off, put Gatorade in my drink systems, check gearing and hit
the Head. I also drop off Bodyglide into my swim-to-bike bag, drop off all
special needs bags, then head down to swim start with swim gear and
morning clothes bag in hand.
Michael and David waiting on the garage helix as Jon and I descend to swim
start. I am relieved to see them, though I know there's not much they can
do for me at the stage, but be there. Am grateful.
- Get rid
of my morning clothes gear and use the toilets (again). I decide to go
over to wave to my brothers at the helix once more before donning my
wetsuit. Now I am completely anxious.
- I see a
friend from Equinox gym, then another friend Biff, with whom I enter the
water after downing a gel. I pee again, and position myself in the front
middle of the pack. It was then 6:48am.
explodes promptly at 7am. Mass
swim start. Nice, easy strokes, even though there are bodies hitting me
from all sides. Someone lands one kick to the goggles but quick recovery.
though the crowd is definitely thinning after completing 1/2 of the first
loop, a swimmer comes up and pushes down on me as if we are in a crowd. I
move away, but she pursues, pushing down on me again. Then, a three-peat
performance. Third time, I take it personally, slow down, then give her
right leg a quick yank. That solved that.
- I sense
my rhythm is going rather well, and can feel myself gliding better than I
have done all season. I gain confidence as I see myself passing some of
ripcord gets yanked as I am about to complete my first lap. I try to do
damage control on the fly, but no good. I then face down, fixing up my
wetsuit once more before I start up again. The wetsuit actually feels more
secure this second time.
lap is a breeze, and goes faster than expected. However, rounding up the
last cone, both calves tighten, sending me into sudden panic, because I
can't swim and am now worried for the bike portion. I stop altogether, and
relax 10 seconds before moving forward. All pain ceases, and good to go.
- I see 1:14 out of the water, 6 minutes faster than anticipated. I
see my brothers as I run up the helix. Their smile tells me they're proud.
I am too. I head into transition, and am overwhelmed by the melee. Find a
seat, and start prepping for the bike.
1-14 - Down the other helix, and trying to establish a moderate tempo, on
mostly flat terrain (one major hill and a few rollers). About 80 degrees now,
and headwind is about 7-8mph. I catch my family at Miles 9, 11 and 13.
When they see me, Candy screams at the top of her lungs along with Belinda
and Curt, while the nephews look at the entire spectacle bemused. The
field is so thick at this point, it’s nearly impossible not to draft.
- Mile 10 -
The right arm pad on my aero bars dislodges. I have to turn around to get
- Mile 15 –
Beginning of first loop, mostly flat at the beginning for a couple of
miles, then here come the rollers. Decidedly relentless.
- Mile 30 –
First aid station. It occurs to me my back tire is beginning to flat, and
so decide to change it there. By then I have gone through one PowerBar, ½
of a second, and two gels, in addition to a bottle and some of Gatorade. I
also down ½ a bottle of water and 1/2 banana. The hospitality is amazing!
Even though they can’t help me change the tire, they ask if I want water,
and run off to prep it along with more gels and PowerBars, as I continue
to repair. Great people in Wisconsin!
- I am
biking along and want to check my pace. No go. My cyclo computer is shut
down now, because I must have shifted something when changing the tire.
Now I decide to perceive speed rather than stop to adjust. Bad move.
- Mile 36 –
Loose gravel road winding downhill. I slow down. Glad I checked out the
- Mile 46 –
Second aid station. Ride by it, but grab another Gatorade. By then, I have
gone through the second PowerBar, and have finished off a third, one gel,
another 1 ½ Gatorade bottles.
- Mile 49 –
Devil Hill, considered the portion of the course with the highest degree
of difficulty. I cruise up it with little problem. By this time, it’s
getting hot and we are again facing a headwind which is now gathering
steam. After this hill, the course rolls more steeply (2 significant hills
in particular) for the next 4-5 miles before flattening out for the first
- Mile 56 –
Begin second loop. Town of Verona is cheering, and I grab yet another Gatorade, and pour
water over my head. One PowerBar, two gels, and two containers of Gatorade
later, I can’t believe I have to endure this diet once more around.
- Mile 57 –
Special needs area, and I stop at the end, but do not grab my special
needs bag. I borrow some lubricant off a competitor, because I am
beginning to chafe badly under the arm. My quads beginning to kill, and so
decide to hit a slower pace, but do not think to check my computer until I
am back on the road. Ugh. Time on bike has been 3 hrs 15 min.
- Mile 73 –
Aid station where I changed my flat. I stop to grab even more lubricant,
but aid station doesn’t have any. I also have a headache from the heat,
but aid station can’t provide medication. By then, finished off one gel
and one PowerBar, 1 ½ containers of Gatorade, and ½ banana. Re-stock and
- Mile 87 –
Aid station. I decide to stop for water, and take a 5-min break after
grabbing a Gatorade. Don’t know how much I’ve eaten since the last aid
station, but am not feeling hungry. Weather is reaching 91 degrees now,
and I am about to face a 12mph headwind to complete this second loop. My
quads are not happy. I am beginning to see competitors dropping in the
shade at the side of the road.
- Mile 89 –
As I am going up a difficult hill, both quads suddenly seize up, and I
almost fall over. I can’t get one leg over my bike, so a spectator has me
lean on him, so I can properly dismount. I walk the bike the rest of the
hill, then spin lightly in preparation for Devil Hill.
- Mile 90 –
Devil Hill. Painful, but no muscle surprises. At this point, I have my to
face either choice of a rolling hill or a flat with headwind from there.
- Mile 98 –
Second loop completed. I stop at the side, drink ½ water, grabbed another
Gatorade and switch out one water bottle for another. Between now and the
last aid station, it’s been 1 PowerBar, 2 gels, and another 1 ½ bottles of
Gatorade. Decide to rely more on gels from here on out, since I need to
get ready for the run. Beginning to feel slight nausea, and the sun is no
- Mile 99 –
My quads seize up once again. This never happened in practice long bikes! I
stop just in time and walk for a ¼ mile. Painful to think I have another
13 to go.
- Mile 101
- My left aerobar armpad pops out. I am now kicking myself with energy I
have left for not securing both with Velcro strips.
- Mile 112
– Finally arrive back at Monona Terrace. I see Michael and David who seem
excited I am back. In transition, I find some lube for my underarms and
apply. It stings. Now I am feeling really sick and my quads give up all
hope. Completed bike in 7 hrs 12 min, about 3 min ahead of mental
schedule, even with all the breaks and quads/calves mishaps. Not bad, all
- Mile 1 –
I run it, but only to get past the crowd, so I can walk. I decided, at
this point, I know I will finish, but my stomach is upside down. My quads
are killing me, but I could get over that, again. The real problem is the
stomach pain, and so I begin the long walk.
- Mile 4 –
I test running on and off, but can only make it 1/10 of a mile before my
stomach says no more. I eat ½ banana, gel and Gatorade Endurance Formula,
but that collectively seems to make it worse. Bananas are the first to go
off that diet. First time in Badger stadium. The awesome stillness of this
huge arena makes one feel really lonely.
- Mile 5 – Entered Univ. of Wisconsin campus. The course has been
all but FLAT, but I can’t move faster than walk pace. I try to run again,
but no good.
- 10K – I
am in the middle of the campus downtown, a pub crawl area. The crowd is so
supportive, I surprise myself by giving running another go, to the great
delight of the crowd. I stop immediately once I have past them, about a
- Mile 9 –
Running is beginning to feel like a possibility, but this attempt makes me
feel defeated. By now, my strategy of a gel every other mile, has stopped
in favor of Gatorade Endurance alone, since I am not making much progress.
Again, bad move.
- Mile 13.1
– Am beginning a humiliating second loop, and have asked someone in the
crowd the time. I estimate I have been speedwalking 3 hrs 40 min. People
are trying to make me look on the bright side with their encouragement. I
don’t see it.
- Mile 14 –
I see Eugene, who walks with me for just less than two miles, except
Badger stadium. Comfort to have a familiar face around me. We then meet up
with the rest of the family. My nephew Andrew approaches me, but I think
he realizes I have to keep moving, and stops himself. I can tell he wanted
to hug me.
- Mile 17 -
Curt has now begun to walk with me after leaving the family. I feel
ultra-nauseous at this point, and vomit. Instantly feel better and think I
might be able to run, but walk just in case.
- Mile 18 –
I meet up with my family again who is waiting for Curt in the UW campus.
The nephews are cheering me on, but I feel like a failure. Once Curt steps
away to go with the family, I decide to run as far as I my body will take
me. It feels good, and I pick up speed. I can hear my family begin to roar
with excitement as I pull away into the night.
- Mile 19 –
I figure it’s the Gatorade Endurance that exacerbated the nausea, and cut
that out in favor of water and gel every 2-3 miles. Now feeling too good
(relatively) to stop my pace. A guy I pass acknowledges I am in the same
40-44 age group as him, and I announce to him and the crowd, it’s my
birthday. As I continue on, the crowd starts up with a rousing Happy
Birthday. Let the tears start rolling!
24-25 – Still running. I interpolate an 8-min mile by the times shouted at
each aid station (a mile apart). I then look at the ground, and see 1066
MANALO written in chalk by David, as I am headed up to the Capitol
building. And so close to the finish. My emotions are all over the place.
- I finish
and it’s over. 6:00 and change, 1 hr 30 min slower
than anticipated. Wish I would have barfed sooner. Final time: 14:49:32! With all the adversity I faced today, I am
okay with my time.
- 2076 competitors registered. Only 1682 of these
finished. The rest did not finish, did not meet the cut off times, or were disqualified. This rate
marks the highest drop-out rate for IM-MOO in its four years, but its
percentage is remarkably high by any standard.
- Weight is 158.3 lbs post-race. Medical staff commented
I must have hydrated and eaten well. Still, I am convinced it was my
downfall for the sour stomach on the run. Will study up on it for the next
time (!). Never want to see another GU, PowerBar or Gatorade
- On to the New York
Marathon. So…when is
the next Ironman?