Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ironman Wisconsin - Bike

The bike course goes out on the country roads of Dane County. It’s a nice 12 mile ride out to the city of Verona where the loop begins. People refer to it as the “stick” and the “lollipop” due to how it looks on paper.

The race plan called for a very controlled heart rate on the “stick”. I was to be in the low 130’s. My body however had different ideas. I was running around 140 BPM all the way to Verona. I finally saw 130 as I passed the special needs area. I was feeling fine, legs weren’t getting pushed hard, just a high heart rate.

I was eating and sipping Gatorade for the first hour of the ride along with a Z-Bar to eat. I would then switch to Perpetuem for the second hour. I planned on switching like this each hour to mix solid and liquid calories during the bike.

The bike was a normal ride through the country, only the hills were constant and sometimes steeper than expected. Hodska posted on his blog that this course will keep you honest. It will be rewarding if you prepared for it or punish you if the bike was neglected. My training was good for this course and I was hoping for the best.

You can’t explain a 112 mile bike ride in too much detail but I’ll at least give some highlights.

I was trading position with a girl that was riding very strong. Her race number was folded under her race belt so I didn’t know her name. Her bike was a nice Aegis painted green and yellow. I asked her if it was painted for the Green Bay Packers and she said no. As I rode in front of her she called out my name and asked if I do any power lifting. Something about power squats. I responded that I rarely weight train and actually hate weight lifting. She was impressed with my calves and said they looked good from her view. I told her I play soccer and the ham hock calves come from that.

At Mount Horeb I saw Hodska and Baker. Eric said he would call Angela with my status and Baker was taking video. I hope to see it some time. Not much further was an aid station where I took some water and a banana. My mom and dad had driven to this aid station and were cheering for me and waving signs they had made.

My favorite aid station was at Cross Plains. The volunteers and aid station were dressed in a Pirate theme. As I approached the aid station I raised my arm, hooked my finger and yelled “AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH”. The bottle drop was also labeled, “drop your booty here.”

After Cross Plains I had my first sighting of Mark Durno. Mark is an SBR teammate who was watching about six of us from Cleveland. He surprised me by being on the bike course but I managed to give him a wave as he took my picture. I knew I would be seeing him again.

Depending upon who you talk to there are 2, 3, or 4 hills on the bike course. There are many rollers but the actual hills are another story. I really only thought there were two major climbs and that is where the fan support is awesome. People were lined up on both sides of the road beating drums, ringing cowbells, waving signs, cheering you up the hill.

Heading into Verona there is a section near the high school where all of the spectators gather. There is an aid station at this point as well. The cool part is riding down a street that is covered in chalk. It’s hard to read all of the writing on the street when you are going 20 MPH but just the fact that the street was covered proved the crowd support was tremendous. Aimee, Rosana, Tammy and a couple other wives had taken the shuttle to this point to watch us ride by.

We zipped down the road between two rows of barricades. This got me all jacked up as I powered through the city. I looked down and saw my HR was 150…..whoa big fella….slow that heart rate down. After the barricades we approached a left hand turn. As I headed into the turn my bike was tracking right towards a small hole in the road. It was the natural way to take the turn but I was heading right for this thing. So in mid-turn I took the risk of giving the small hole a bunny hop. If the roads were wet I would have been down, but the dry pavement grabbed my wheels when I landed and I completed the turn.

After a couple more miles I was back to where we started the “lollipop” loop. Time for loop two. Just outside of town the bike special needs bags were lined up waiting for us. I stopped at the volunteer who had my bag and replaced all three bottles on my bike. I still had enough fuel with me so the remaining items stayed in the bag. While this was a nice break from riding I made sure to keep it short. I thanked the volunteers as I passed them.

As we headed West we could tell that the wind had picked up. Fortunately we wouldn’t be heading into the wind for very long. Most of the second loop was just a repeat of the prior. I saw my parents at Mount Horeb again which is always a boost to your morale. I also saw Debbie taking pictures on the course. She was waiting to see our friend Amy on the bike course.

As we headed towards the hills of the course I was passed by another rider. I looked at his calf and saw his age. I almost couldn’t believe what I saw. This person was 60 years old and riding strong. At one point I commented to him that I hope I will be riding that well in twenty years. Checking the results after the race he won his age group. He also came out of the water behind me….meaning he caught up to me on the bike. Damn.

The fan support during the second lap was still as strong as the first lap. At one point I was riding by and someone shouted out my first AND last name. I tried to look behind me at who it was but I couldn’t get a good view. I think it was a co-worker who lives in the Madison area.

As I went through Verona I kept myself under control and didn’t push the pace like I did the first time. The intersection with the hole in the middle of the corner was marked this time with orange paint so I could make the turn without any problems.

Heading back to Madison I kept the final 12 miles under control. There is one last hill that some people tend to forget about. Once I made it past that hill it was smooth sailing. I didn’t push hard into transition but put forth a solid effort. As we approached the helix up to the top parking deck I slipped my feet out of my shoes so I wouldn’t have to worry about it during the climb. Some spectators were cheering on the ramp and were telling people to take their feet out of their shoes. When I went by I heard one say, “oops he already did”.

Once I reached the top of the helix I rounded the corner and headed toward the bike handlers at the dismount line. One person yelled “orange” indicating the top of my jersey. I coasted toward him and handed off my bike.

I jogged into the room with our transition bags. A volunteer grabbed my bag as I approached and handed me the bag as I went by. Once inside the changing area I slipped off my helmet and grabbed my hat and race belt containing my PowerGels. There wasn’t much in the bag. I did a quick inventory, told the volunteer I had everything and said he could pack away the bag.

As I headed out the door I found the two guys I was looking for, ART doctors. ART is Active Release Technique. It helps release the tension in the muscles through the use of pressure and active movement. I asked them to work on my hamstrings. I did the same thing in Lake Placid and it worked wonders. They each worked on my legs to prepare the hamstrings for the marathon. Once they were done I thanked them and headed outside.

So yes Alan, I had another massage in T2 with a smokin’ transition time.

Through the door I was greeted by a line of women waiting to rub my body. Of course they were wearing rubber gloves covered in sunscreen. A quick rubdown with sunscreen and I was heading out to the run course.

Bike time: 5:46:53
T2 time: 3:48

Monday, September 22, 2008


Blogger: Hello

Blogger: Helloooo....TriEEEEEriiiiiiic?


Blogger: Is there anybody out there? Heh heh..I like quoting Pink Floyd.

Blogger: One Ringy Dingy....Two Ringy Dingy.....

TriEric: Who's there?

Blogger: It's me Blogger.

TriEric: What do you want?

Blogger: How about a post?

TriEric: What?

Blogger: A blog post. Remember, you write a blog. Type type type...publish post....Blog post.

TriEric: Yeah....I've been busy.

Blogger: Excuse me. This is your blog. You posted last Saturday. Not last Saturday the 20th, but last Saturday the 13th. What the hell have you been doing?

TriEric: Work has been hellacious.

Blogger: Is that even a word? You are in the middle of a race report for Pete's sake.

TriEric: I know. I'm heading towards my bike in transition.

Blogger: You have people waiting for the rest of your race report. An IRONMAN race report!!! What is more important than that?

TriEric: The work that helps pay for my triathlon lifestyle. I'm not a pro you know.

Blogger: Puhleeeaaaassssse. Spare me the drama.

TriEric: Watch it Blowhole. I've been busy. After my last post I had to drive down to a customer between Dayton and Cinci. I had to spend the entire week there. I drove down Sunday just as the remnants of Hurricane Ike blew through the state. I was driving with a nasty cross wind pushing my car around.

I then get to my hotel around 9PM only to find that the area is without power, including the hotel. I'm a triathlete...I can go with the flow.....I stayed in a darkened hotel for the night.

My customer had power but I needed to work during the day. I moved to another hotel about 40 minutes away. When I got there, the hotel's power had just been restored. Power...but no cable and a very weak wireless signal.

So for the entire week I had no internet, except at my customer, and was too tired to do much else. Then I drove back Friday, worked at a customer that night, did yard work all day Saturday, drove to another customer Sunday to work almost all day, and now it's Monday and YOU ARE BITCHING AT ME FOR NOT POSTING!!!!

Blogger: But...

TriEric: NO BUTTS munchface. I'll get there.

Blogger: But....

TriEric: LEAVE ME ALONE. Yes my race report is important. There are alot of memories I have stored, especially from the run part of the race. I will get there.

Blogger: But......

TriEric: ENOUGH!!! I will get the report posted when I can. I know my readers will understand. They are real people....unlike you. I'm not going anywhere. The race report will be posted soon. Thanks for understanding.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ironman Wisconsin - PreRace and Swim

Race Day – Pre-Race
Aimee and I left the hotel around 5:00 AM. We watched one couple get into a cab for the short drive. I mean come on…..what’s a one mile walk compared to the rest of the day. Our short/private walk to Monona Terrace was a nice time for us to spend together before the long day ahead of us began. A quick stop to drop off the special needs bags and we continued to the Terrace.

I got body marked quickly and made my way to the bike racks to load my nutrition and pump my tires. I let someone borrow my pump for his tires then went to wish Tim Walsh good luck. Tim was a couple of racks away and ready for his first Ironman. We saw Rosana waiting for Alan so we all waited together for him to come back out of the bike area.

Alan and I then went inside to check on our transition bags. I put the MyAthlete.biz race belt in my T1 bag and reviewed my path to retrieve the bag. I also went over to the T2 room to spot check my second transition bag. I’m glad I did because the bags were placed slightly different from what I expected. It’s always good to review the transition layout.

I hit the porta potty then joined Aimee, Alan and Rosana to wait out the remaining minutes before heading to the swim start. We were at a good spot to see other Cleveland friends and wish them good luck. We enjoyed each others company which helped us stay loose and relaxed.

Alan and I finally slipped into out wetsuits before heading down the helix with our girls.

I was excited to get into the water. I had no problems with getting in and either treading water or floating on my back. I made sure my goggles weren’t leaking and got into position. Coach and I agreed that right of center and 5 rows back would be a good starting position. Tom Zeibart sang the National Anthem while I floated on my back with my hand over my heart. We got in position and the cannon was fired. It was time to be Iron again.

I tried to get into some sort of rhythm but the congestion wasn’t helping. I soon found myself surrounded and feeling anxious. Anxiety soon bordered on fear as I started to fight the feelings of panic. The heart rate and breathing were out of control. I was swimming with my head out of the water trying to find open water and keep from getting pummeled.

At one point I swam across the legs of four swimmers as I headed to my right searching for less traffic and some space to swim. I don’t know when I regained control but I was finally able to get my face in the water and actually swim. To the first turn buoy I was breathing each stroke to the right watching the people around me, getting as much air into my lungs as possible and avoiding the rising sunlight to my left.

As I swung wide around the buoy I was able to start swimming with my normal race stroke, three strokes/breaths one side then switch to the other side for three strokes/breaths. During the return trip of the first loop I got too close to a foot and caught a toe to the left eye. Fortunately it pushed the lens into my eye instead of off. I got away from that foot to avoid another kick. At some point I also received an elbow to the head. It wasn’t hard but I thought to myself, “should I be wearing my bike helmet out here?”.

I stayed wide for both loops of the swim course. I could judge my distance to the buoys and I seemed to be holding a good distance. My sighting was working well for me so I didn’t feel like I was zig-zagging too much.

As I rounded the final turn I spotted the exit and tried to pick up the pace just a little. My pace to that point was solid and felt just at the edge of too much. I swam until my hand dug into the small pebbles at the exit and stood up in barely a foot of water.

I didn’t see the clock but hit my watch button to record my split. I didn’t look at my watch but felt it was a good swim time. I quickly started to peel off my wetsuit. I raced past several volunteers and made eye contact with one of the last volunteers. I slipped as I stopped and landed a little hard on my butt. No damage and they had my wetsuit off with two pulls, it’s hard to get the legs off with my ham hock calves.

Back on my legs I ran towards the parking ramp known as the Helix. People were all lined up along the side as we ran by to transition. Reaching the top of the Helix I saw Aimee along the fencing and ran to her for a quick kiss.

This is the bike exit. We had to run up this same spiral after the swim at the other end.

Entering transition I stood in the door not remembering which aisle to go down for my bag. Some volunteers were asking my number and I just shook them off and saw the row number I was looking for. I ran down the aisle and grabbed my bag. I had the MyAthlete belt sticking out the top so it was easy to see.

I found a place to sit and started getting my bike gear on. I put on my….Helmet…..Sunglasses….Socks….Race Belt. There wasn’t a volunteer to help with my bag so I stuffed my swim gear into the bag and tossed it along the wall. I grabbed my shoes and headed out the door.

Outside the Terrace the sunscreen girls were all lined up with gloves covered in white stuff. Three girls covered my arms and back with sunscreen as my mom yelled for me. I looked her way and acknowledged her cheers. I ran towards the entrance of the bike racks. I waved to Aimee again and went to my bike.

Stopping to get some sunscreen

My rack was five rows from the entrance. I had to run the entire length of the bike area with my bike. The volunteer helped pull my bike off the rack with me and wheeled it to the aisle for me. I ran with my shoes in hand pumping my arm in the air encouraging the people watching to cheer for all of us. As I approached the end of the bike racks I handed my bike to a volunteer so I could put my shoes on.

This the only HALF of the bike area. My bike is at the far end of this picture.

I thanked her and headed towards the mount line. I heard Eric Hodska yell my name and I pointed to him in response. I mounted my bike with the smoothest cyclo-cross slide onto the seat I’ve ever had and heard a spectator say “suhweeet”. That’s right baby….that’s how I roll. I rode down the exit ramp and was on the bike course.

Swim time: 1:06:57
T1 time: 6:05

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ironman Wisconsin - Race Report Status

Do not fear....I have started my race report. I will be posting the pre-race and swim soon. I'll check it tomorrow and publish. When it comes to the report you know it has to be right. It's just good journalism.

So much to write about. So many thoughts and feelings. Such an awesome race.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Ironman Wisconsin

Before I crash and burn in my bed and get some sleep I want to just post a quick recap of the race.

If you were tracking me you already know the results.

Swim 1:06:57
Bike 5:46:53
Run 3:59:53

Total 11:03:36

Despite an immediate panic attack at the start of the swim, once I got myself under control I had a great swim.

The bike was awesome except for the winds that started blowing during the second loop.

the run was decent but I think I burned too many matchsticks on the bike. the highlight of that was finishing the final four miles at a 9 min/mile pace after slipping to 11 min/miles.

I specifically want to thank a host of people.

I saw Aimee a huge number of times on the course and even gave her a couple of sweaty kisses.

My parent and in-laws (Tom, Liz, Becky/Kyle) for being on the course and cheering for me quite loudly.

Alan Wong and his girlfriend Rosana for spending some time with us over the weekend and before the start of the race.

Mark Durno for being out all over the course, bike and run, to cheer on the Cleveland crew.

The main people I saw alot of and made for a special weekend were Paul, Rob, Dave and Tim. You guys rock.

Debbie Sidol was out on the bike course then took my timing chip off and gave me a big hug at the finish line.

Eric Hodska and Baker for being on the the bike and run course and looking out for me, making sure I was doing well and reporting back to Coach Angela.

Coach Angela for getting me ready for this day and finish. Her workouts encourgement and friendship have become invaluable to me.

Finally I want to give a shout out to Halle Nanda. She was with me during the final 4 miles, just like the hard brick runs giving me strength to run well.

More to come. There is so much to tell...a.fterall it was an 11 hour day.

Thanks to you all for supporting me on this second Ironman Journey.

Game was definitely on.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Ironman vs Cancer - Roll Call

This is who I will be thinking of during my race.......

Tina Hoban - Survivor
Chris Armstrong - Survivor
Jamie Whitmore - Battling
Bolder - Fighting
Dan Van Luvender - Survivor
Rita Moher - In memory
Debbie Jerrome - Survivor
The fathers of Roger and Donna Lozinski - In memory
Grandmother of Jen - In memory
Gerri Herbruck - In memory
Linda's sister Karen - Survivor
Annie, Jan, Lisa, Kim - Support
Ralph B. Lunt - In memory
Michelle Elkins - In memory
Sara's Aunt Judy Wuennemann - In memory
Jan Ptacin - Survivor
Margie Paltani - In honor
Judy Joseph - In memory
Abe's sister Becky - In Support
Jason Hendricks - Survivor
Dakota Hendricks - Fighting

HALLE NANDA - In memory

Each one of these people have been with me during training. Halle in particular has given me strength on those hard days. I know she will be with me again tomorrow.

My fund raising total today was $3,375.69. That's $24 per mile. That's cool.

On race day I will be reminded to Harden Up.


And to Galvanize

Game On

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Let's Do It Again

Aimee and I are heading to Wisconsin today. It's finally here and I'm ready to do it again.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I need something....

.......something that I'm used to. This taper thing is nice but the legs are ready to go.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ironman Thoughts

Ironman does not define you, it is a part of who you are!

Thanks for the reminder Coach Angela.

Game On.