Monday, September 25, 2006

And you thought Ironman was tough!

I have been following Greg Kolodziejzyk's journey over the past few months and I've even received help from him for my 'fat loading' diet that I implemented before Ironman Wisconsin. He was more than helpful and kept a very detailed journal of his training and diet. He is definitely an adventurer and his site is something to check out.

Kind of makes Ironman seem like a hobby for this guy once you look at his past and future endeavours!

He has a lot of info and great links and info on the right hand sidebar, lots of stuff about past Ironman experiences, etc.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Next up?

I doubt I'm the only OCD Triathlete who has finished an Ironman, really enjoyed the experience, and now craves another!

Due to work commitments I felt it wasn't right to try and squeeze in Ironman training for a September race, so IMW'07 was not a possibility :(

However, to compromise with the addicted 'devil' on my other shoulder I'm taking a serious look at IM Florida for '07!

I can't believe the effect one race can have on a person. Why would I want to commit to all that training again? Is my memory that selective that it forgets all the hours it takes and how a training ride/run can end up taking up most of your weekend when you include rest, recovery and eating?!?

I'm sure there are lots of other OCD's out there wondering if they too think a CAT Scan should be our next stop.

I'm trying to buy my finish line video, but for some reason my order has been declined twice. I'll try and have something up when I get answer back from them.

Fall is setting in quickly here, the trainer is only a few weeks away. I need to find a DQ in warmer climates!

Run Forrest Run

Finally, the bike was over. Now the run...something I've practiced so much in training, but nothing in training is ever the same on race day. Would I cramp...could I hold a steady pace...what pace was too fast? Would my HR monitor start working properly (it never worked well during the bike, too cold to keep enough sweat on the monitor). So many questions would quickly get answered as the Marathon began.

Out the door I went, wow, I felt really good. I think most of it was that I was done the longest part of the day (hopefully) and I was just happy to be off the bike. I did forget to move my race belt around so my bib was on the front. Another volunteer mentioned it so I grabbed the race belt and spun it around. Unfortunately it was caught under my Fuel Belt so I had to take everything off and put the bib (now ripped away from the race belt) under the fuel belt. This meant my bib was not longer visible, but not a big deal...spectators simply called my "runner" instead of "557!"

Deeeep down I wanted to have a sub 3:45 run, but I was prepared to be happy with 4hr, even higher if it had to be. What I wasn't ready for was the most steady marathon I've ever done. I cruised along around 8min/mile and hit the turn around at about 9hr into the race. I did some math and was unbelieveably excited to know A) that barring any major disaster I was definitely going to make it, and B) if I could hold pace I would make it in under 11hr.

I was dreading this 2 loop system and didn't know what to think about seeing the finish line so close and having to head out for another 13.1. Turns out the course was pretty much perfect. Just enough support at key points along the way to keep you motivated, and enough time to just run and put away some miles. State Street was so cool and the spectators and volunteers were so great for staying out in that weather.

I was also so pumped to see that finish line, even though I knew I had another 13.1 to go. It gives you something to look at and motivate you to dig down and make it back to that hollowed ground!

I plugged away and took it 1 mile at a time. My pace was good, I felt o.k. overall and managed to keep my stomach in check with mostly water, Hammer products, and some pretzels and warm chicken broth.

The last couple of miles were a blur. I ran past the last few aid stations and started to grin somewhere around 23 or 24 miles. I knew I'd have to hold my bib in one hand so they'd know who I was. I think I had the bib out for nearly 1/2 a mile!

It is an amazing feeling coming to that finish line. The volunteer at the turnaround yelled out her instructions if you are on lap 1 or lap 2. I pointed straight ahead and gave it my best Forrest Gump all the way to the line.

I had the arms in the air and was so pumped to have reached this point. It was an amazing feeling. Now that it's been almost 2 weeks, I know why I always go on a downer after a race. I miss thinking about the finish and how it will feel. Strangely, I miss some the training that was a key part of this stange thing called Ironman. I couldn't believe how well they take care of you afterwards. Another thanks to the "catchers" and how cool was the food! Pizza, cookies, subs, etc. I took all I needed and in I went to change clothes.

The warm Terrace was again a welcome site. I changed, was lucky enough to get in for a massage, and even heard from dear old Dad who was at home watching the progress on the net.

Overall an amazing experience. I met so many great people and I'll always remember this 1st Ironman as the best. Everyone who partcipated did great. Just battling those conditions and pushing yourself to the limits is what the day is all about. We all learn so much about ourselves through the journey of training, but we learn even more during the race itself.

Thanks to all my friends and family for their support. Thanks to all those in Madison for putting on a great event. Thanks again to the volunteer crew who made this possible. See you again some day.

Manitoba Guy!

A cold wet bike ride

I enter T1, heart rate is out of control but I don't care. I'm ready to get on the bike and see how the rest of the day goes. It was a rush going up the helix and having all those fans and spectators cheer you on. You almost forget you are only part way into a really long day, but it sure is nice to have everyone cheering.

This is when things get interesting and my next move will haunt me for the rest of the bike ride. I sit down, dump out all my bike gear. For some wierd reason I feel tough today and don't want to bother pulling the arm bands on. My gloves look like too much of a burden, so they too are sent back into the bag. I LEFT MY ARM BAND AND GLOVES IN MY T1 BAG. I could have easily put them in my jersey pockets and decided later if I needed to pull them out. But no, I had to worry about time and made a rash decision without thinking. Lack of experience or too much trust in the weather forecast.

In the video and pics I look naked compared to those around me. I remember standing up on a downhill to stretch the legs and I was shaking. I felt cold right down to the core. Lap 2 was a lot better than the first for some reason. My time was steadily slipping away on lap 2 and my knees ached liked never before, but I didn't feel quite as miserable about the conditions. I think after almost 3 hours I came to accept that it won't clear off anytime soon.

I did almost end my day on lap 1 as we turned near Verona. Spectators were lining the course and I took a right turn and felt my front wheel slide out from underneath me. Somehow the bike stayed upright and I caught my breath while I took a second to make sure both tires were inflated and still attached! That was scary, my whole day could have been over with one bad move.

I took all corners a lot slower from then on. Maybe cost a bit of time, but it takes a close call or an accident to realize that I'll be a lot slower if I'm my bike isn't in one piece.

I was really hoping to see my wife, my poor IronWidow!, and my Mom in Verona. I knew it would be busy an I might not get more than a glimpse at best, but the boost would have been great. I also knew that they'd be yelling like mad if they saw me coming. Unfortunately, no sign of them and I started loop 2.

SimplyStu told me to take it easy on loop 1 or you'll pay for it later on. Trouble is, I'm bullheaded and it's hard to tell what 'easy' feels like on a new course. Welllll, apparently I went a little too hard as my avg. speed dropped more than I would have liked as I pushed through the second loop. This course does deserve a lot respect, but what a beuatiful place to ride, even in the rain! I did manage to see my family on the second trip through Verona. It was awesome to see them and it was nice to have that boost late in the bike ride.

The turn back to town was a nice feeling. Except the headwind and memory that we still have some inclines to conquer. Other than the chain slipping off a couple of times the bike worked great. I managed to not flat out which was a big worry. I haven't changed a tubular on the fly before, and my fingers were numb which would make for a long change.

I was so very glad to see Monona Terrace. No matter how much you love cycling, being out there for 112miles is long enough. I wanted to get in under 6hr and was lucky enough to be about 10min ahead of that goal. Things were going well so far.

I was assessing how the legs felt during the last 20+ miles and trying to remember back to some of the big training rides. I was hoping to have the marathon as my best of the three disciplines, but I was worried that the tough bike course and cool weather might have ruined this for me.

I get rid of the bike to a great volunteer and headed into the warm Terrace. How nice to have a warm place for a few minutes.

I knew T2 would be a smooth transition, and I didn't have to worry about warmth. Nothing could have been as cold as the bike! Overall a quick and painless transition. Now the run...so many questions!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Some IMW Pics

Some of our pictures can be viewed at:

www.flickr.com/photos/lairdlidster

More will be added soon, thanks for looking!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Cannon Fires!

I could hear the announcer from where I was in the water. I could just make out the clock. I was counting down the time out loud as if I was having a conversation with someone. I think it was nerves. I surveyed the area around me, lots of bodies, but it shouldn't be too bad.

BOOM! The cannon fires and I start my watch. Like a well trained trithlete I start swimming. Like those around me I'm searching for a piece of water I can settle into and find a groove. I expected quite a bit of contact but this was starting to get out of hand. There were arms everywhere, legs in front of you, arms grabbing your legs and chaos all around.



It's a pretty simple procedure, but it gets all messed up being that simple. It's like a marathon start. You can't start running until the group in front of you get's some room, so on and so on. So why does that simple logic disappear in the water?

I forged ahead trying to find some space and just started to get some when we reach the first turn. Everyone naturally goes to the inside. A guy beside is trying to get people to settle down and realize that we are all out here for a while and we'll all make it around the turn.

The backside of the first loop is when the choppy waters took affect. I felt slower and took on a bit too much water. The room got better and I figured the worst was over. Another turn, not as bad as the first or second, and I'm thinking things will be o.k. for the second loop. I feel another arm on my leg and this time my chip slides down from under my wetsuit and is now loose on my leg! I know it's held on with velcro and other swimmers are without wetsuit and have their chips loose on their leg, but I liked knowing it was secure under my suit.

Now all I can think about it the next guy grabbing my leg and accidentaly pulling my chip off! I have to apologize to anyone out there I might have kicked, but if a hand came near my leg I was protecting that chip!

The second loop was a lot better. Except I found that with more room came more drifting left and right. I'm sure I swam more yards than necessary, but overall a decent swim. Especially considering the chaotic start and choppy conditions.

I exited the swim in just under 1:15. I wanted about 1:10 so I was o.k. with what the clock read.

Now it's time to get stripped and make a dash for the bike. I found some awesome volunteers who tore my wetsuit off and had me on my way. I looked down at the heart rate just to see what was happening on the inside...173! My max is approx. 189 and I'm spiking at 173 just from a short run up to the helix. I slowed down and took a little bit more time to get my head on, at least that's what I thought I was doing. I think I left common sense at the hotel that morning as my next few minuted in T1 were about to make for a loooooong bike ride.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

RACE DAY!

Up at 4am. Sit in the chair in the dark eating cereal as quietly as possible. Unlike my new IronFriend Sara, I elected to not eat in the bathroom! I ate a good serving of Vector cereal and a banana. Then a shower to actually wake up. A last minute check for the bike special needs bag and make sure I have my nutrition for the bike (Hammer Perpetuem, Sustained Energy, Endurolytes and Gel) and my Fuel Belt for the run (much the same).

I met Sara in the hallway at 4:45 and we both realized this was it. We were off to try and become Ironmen. We rode in her car to Alliant Energy Centre to catch the bus over to the start. I didnt' bring any money for parking (ooops) so I had to rely on Sara to pick up the tab. Not much of a gentleman am I!

We dropped off our special needs bag and then managed to find Stu. It was cool that he was there so early. I think he was more excited than we were! I was trying to stay calm, but I think I was more nervous than I was letting on. We caught up with Tracy and off to Monona Terrace.

After body marking we went to the bikes and said "good bye" and "good luck". My bike was down at the other end and I figured it would be hard to meet up with them again.

Once inside I found a quiet spot in the Terrace and chatted briefly with other athletes as we stretched and waited to enter the swim zone.

It was about this time that I realized I screwed up and was not holding on to my dry clothes bag. I must have misplaced it. The bag I had in my hand contained my wetsuit, etc. but that doesn't do much good as it doesn't have my race number so I can't retrieve my dry clothes after the race. What a start to the day!!!!

Luckily this guy beside me had a marker so I put my number on this bag and off I went. I dropped off my dry clothes bag and was walking to the swim start when I realized I still had my shoes on. OMG! Now I know I'm more nervous than I thought. I'd have forgotten my head inside if it wasn't screwed on.

I run back and beg the volunteer to find my bag for me and put my shoes in it. She smiles and says they'll do their best. I found out after the race that she did find my bag. Another "thank you" to the volunteers for their dedication and hard work.

I also happened to find Sara and Tracy at about this point so we were reunited and walked together to swim start area. I was ready to get wet to I forged onward trying to get in the water ASAP. The line wasn't moving very fast and we had to start in about 5 minutes.

I swam over to the main area and tried to find a comfortable spot. I should have gotten wet about 10 minutes before I did. It turned out that my spot was not the greatest and I was in store for some interesting swimming...MORE TO COME!!!

Day before IMW!


Saturday was more of the same, get in a quick swim, an easy run and get your gear ready for drop off.

I elected to get my stuff ready in the early afternoon. I packed my transition bags and made sure the bike was ready. We headed off to Monona Terrace around 1:30 when all the UW football fans were tailgating and making their way to Camp Randall stadium for the afternoon game. My Mom has never seen this type of craziness for college sports and it was pretty cool to hear a few of them wish me luck as we made our way through the crowds.

We arrived at the terrace and dropped off the bike. It was amazing how many awesome bikes are on hand for this occasion. Then it was inside to drop off the Transition bags. Again, I was amazed at how many athletes were on hand. It's so cool that this sport has so much momentum and so many people take the ultimate Ironman challenge.

I retired back to the hotel to rest a bit and then off for supper and my mandatory Cookie Dough Blizzard from DQ!

We actually got to bed in good time and I was surprised that I fell asleep when I did. I probably got 5-6 decent hours of sleep!

Nothing left but sweet dreams of a finish line!!!

Arrival in Madison IMW '06

My wife, Mother and I arrived on Thursday before the race. It was a great day and I was excited to finally be there. Only a few days before the big event.

I was lucky enough to meet Sara during check in. We both arrived earlier than expected and the hotel put us across the hall from each other. She mentioned something about going for a bike ride so within 1/2 hour of arriving I was out on the roads of Wisconsin with a new IronFriend.

During the ride I mentioned Simply Stu's website and asked if she'd seen it. Turns out she was going to meet Stu that night at his round table discussion. I read about this Thursday dinner meeting but never pursued it. I thought about going but decided to hang out and have supper with the family.

Friday morning rolls around and I decide to head to Lake Menona for a swim. I see about 4 people hanging around the ski jump so I swim there rather than fight the other swimmers coming in from the actual course. My plan was to go from the ski jump, join the actual course, and be done with the swim for the day. I get to the ski jump, say a basic hello to those already bobbing there and find out it is Sara. The funniest part is the next guy to swim up is Simply Stu. What a small world. He invites me and my family to dinner Friday night at his house! In the matter of a day I have a handful of new friends and we're going to dinner at Stu's house.

Dinner was great, met some great people and had relaxing conversation about Ironman in general. We managed to talk about Ironman but not get into heavy Ironman discussion. Instead of attending the pre race meeting we let Stu and another guy tell us about their IMW experiences and what to expect.

First day and half were a blast...more to come about Saturday and Race Day!

P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon, Phoenix!