Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ironman Wisconsin: Misc Stuff and Goals for the Race (last post till after the race)

I am heading out to Madison this Friday, September 9, for Ironman Wisconsin (IMWI) which is on Sunday September 11.  This will be the last blog post till after the race and hopefully when I'm back I'll report that the race went well and I finished it.  There will be thousands of people out there to participate (2500+ registered) and many others to volunteer, watch, and support those in the race.  You can watch the live minute-by-minute updates of the Pro division athletes as they fight it out, clocking crazy speeds that most people can't comprehend.  If you want to keep tabs on the race and track individuals while the race is going on, here are some links that you may find useful:
  • For the IMWI official site, click THIS.
  • Click HERE for the participant list with bib numbers (BTW, I got #1879)
  • Click HERE so you can track people in the race by name or number (did I mention bib #1879 : )
If any of the links above don't work come race-day, go to and you'll find the links there.
How the live tracking works: Every time an athlete crosses a mat for a new section of the race (Swim, Transition to the bike, Bike, Transition to the run, Run), their time for the section they just completed will be available on-line.  There is a delay most of the time.  For example, the race starts at 7am.  Lets say you expect a friend of yours to be out of the water at about 8:15am so you check and track them at 8:30, but there's still nothing listed--be patient and check again in a few minutes.  It will eventually post.

When the common person enters an event or race, they want to finish it--that's an obvious goal that doesn't need to be said.  If you are prepared and have a plan and follow it, you're likely going to finish. It is my opinion that finishing should never be your ONLY goal--even if it is a 140.6 mile race.  The first goal, of course, is to finish, but having a goal within the goal is ideal. Helps you stick to your plan too. (However, there are many who enter a race with the intent of not finishing--to train for other races using a specific race to work on a specific section--but that's a whole other topic).  Pick something, anything, as a goal within the goal of finishing: split times, an overall time goal, to keep your level of exertion by way of heart rate (HR) or power/watts within a certain range, have a specific average pace for one or more sections, etc.  Pick something... While you're working on the goal-within-the-goal, you will finish. With an Ironman distance race, however, I think its a bit different.  Due to the time and distance, you may be perfectly trained and ready, but stuff can go wrong as there is a bigger window of time for odd things to happen--even forces out of your control (but the weather looks perfect this weekend!).  I am expecting to finish and doing so within my desired time(s), but I realize that I am not exempt from bad luck (or making a choice or two that may not be the best). Finishing is a big part of it, but still, if you don't set at least a time goal for an IM, they've set one for you: 17 hours or it doesn't count (start at 7am, finish by mid-night). 

When I first registered for the 2011 IMWI about a year ago, my first time goal was to finish in under 13 hours. Then I started to narrow it down by discipline as training progressed over the last year (more specifically, the last 12 weeks).  I am budgeting a lot of time for Ironman to account for things that could happen.  With that said, here's a couple scenario's of how it could play out for me:

Scenario #1 (to go sub 13 hours)
My first goal is to finish under 13 hours.  For the swim I am going to swim leisurely, bike moderately, and run fairly steadily.  Many people fall apart on the run. Good runners that know they can do 3 to 3.5 hours can sometimes take 5+ hrs if something goes downhill. 4 hrs is still a long shot for me as I've never even ran a marathon! With that said, here's what I have to do for each section to go sub-13:

Swim: < 1hr 45 min
Transition 1: around 10 min, give or take
Bike: < 6hr 30 min (17.2 mph)
Transition 2: around 5 min, give or take
Run: < 4 hrs (9:10 pace per mile)
TOTAL= 12 hrs 30 min

Scenario #2 (best case scenario)
I think I have the potential to hit the times listed below if all goes absolutely perfect--meaning I float thru the 2.4 mile swim with little effort, I ride 112 miles as if there is no wind except for tail wind the whole way and my butt doesn't feel the saddle, and my feet/legs/body don't know that I am running 26.2 miles until its over:

Swim: 1hr 20min
T2: 10 min
Bike: 5hr 45 min (19.5 mph)
T2: 5 min
Run: 3hr 45min (8:30 to 8:45 pace)
TOTAL= 11 hrs 5 mins

I'm sure there will be times during the race where I will beg my body to just keep going.  "Please just let me finish! I'll take any finish time under seventeen hours.  Please!"  I'd prefer for one of the above times, or something in between to play out without begging myself and talking God into letting me finish. 

Throughout the race, like most, I will constantly be taking in calories, monitoring the way I feel, watching my HR and just going at the fastest pace I think I can sustain given the distance in front of me...even if that's not very fast at all.  Maybe at the fastest pace isn't the right wording.  How about at whatever pace I think I can sustain  : )

One more thing...  Other than going to the the official IMWI site for info, here is a real life article that explores how to succeed at IMWI and what the course really like: 10 Ways To Succeed at IMWI

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