New Site Coming Soon....

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ironman Wisconsin - Swim Course Preview

***As of 3/30/12 the Ironman Wisconsin course has changed and will now be a single loop swim***


Course: 2 Loops counter-clockwise
Turns: 7 left-handed turns
Distances: 2x800 meter out portions, 2x125 meter "turns", 100 meter return to shore
Water conditions: Low visibility, usually flat, watch out for the snakes and deadbodies!
Water Temp: Wetsuit legal all but one year, usually between 64-72 degrees
Buoys: You only need to swim around the turn buoys, all other buoys are fair game on each side, including the start.

WARNING!!! If you want to be in the water for the start, make sure to get down to the swim entrance early. Athletes are bottlenecked every year at the swim entrance and it can take, what feels like an enternity to get in the water. In 2010 I got to the swim entrance at 6:40 and got in the water during the anthem at about 6:55. One you are in the water everyone is self seeded. If you want to get a short warmup in I would recommend getting into the water no later then 6:50. Pros go off at 6:50 and that is when it gets really crowded towards the entrance.

The picture above shows the start of the 2006 swim seconds after the gun. This is a great picture to show you the places to start. Everyone seems to use two markings to guide where they will start the swim. The red start/turn buoy and the boat ramp in the middle that divides the start line down the middle. Everyone I have ever talked to has said that if you want/ plan to swim under an hour start inside the turn buoy (legal at the start) and between the boat ramp. For everyone else it is best to start on the otherside of the boat ramp or behind those between the buoy and boatramp.

Seeding Yourself

Where you seed yourself can really set your swim up for success, or really put you in a bad spot quick. Generally the weaker the swimmer you are, or the more you do not like contact the further back you should start. Contrary to belief, if you are a strong swimmer (sub 60) you do not need to start on the inside of the boat ramp on the turn buoy. Feel free to start anywhere on the first row all the way towards the shoreline. Fish always try to stay away from the shoreline because of the "added distance" well a simple measurement shows that you will swim at most 25-50 meters more, so really you trade about 20-50 seconds for a little less contact, and more open water at the start, if those seconds are truly that valuable to you, or you are trying to win the AG swim then swim inside. If you are looking for a rather less crowded swim and to avoid all contact, it would be your best bet to start wide and about 3-4 rows back. Once the cannon goes off let everyone take off and follow in their wake.

The First Turn

It's gonna get crazy here, but if you approach it the right way you can really avoid a mess, just make sure to "MOOO" as you round the first turn buoy. In 2010 I swam wide of the turn and had minor contact. I talked to racers after that said that were breaststroking around the buoy and trying to protect themselves from the onslaught of arms and legs crashing into everyone's bodies. If you don't like contact and don't care about swimming a few extra yards take the first two turns wide. If you don't mind the chaos and want a fast split then just make sure to be on the pointy end of the group.

Video of first turn buoy


Besides the buoy's there is not too much to aid in your sighting. On the way out the first time, sight for the bridge, that is, if you can see it will give you a good line to the first/fifth turn buoy. At the end of each loop there is a large silver condo that is directly above the swim exit, this is a great aid and visual help if you cannot get your head out of the water high enough to see the swim exit. The sun will be rising mostly from the northeast, which means if you breath strongly on your right, it will be hard to see on the return leg of the swim, but if you breath on your left, it will be vice-versa. While swimming on the return portion of the loop, make sure to take some breaths to your left and watch the Monona Terrace pass by, it's a good sight to watch slowly pass by each breath you take, as well as see just how many spectators come out from Ironman Wisconsin.

2011 AG Times

Below is a list of AG times of when swimmers came out of the water by place. As you can see less then 4% of the field swims sub 60, with the majority of the field coming in between 1:05 and 1:40. Based on these times you can approximate when you plan on being out of the water and what place you may be in.

51:31- 1st
1:00:00 - 92nd
1:05:00 - 226th
1:10:00 - 536th
1:15:00 - 909th
1:20:00 - 1297th
1:25:00 - 1622nd
1:30:00 - 1895th
1:40:00 - 2255th

Once you are out of the water you will veer to the left on land and be met by plenty of volunteers to strip your wetsuit off. Once that is done you get to run through this!

And up this!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

This Week in a Nutshell

Well another week of training is in the books, and while the winter months of training seem to be very boring, this week I was able to escape the boring repetitiveness of winter training, with some unexpected slip-ups. The week of higher volume so far this year just had to match with a heavy work and school load too.

I took multi-tasking to another level this week and decided that I wound't wait for the the pizza man to come when I was off the bike, so called for delivery halfway through my training ride. It was the pizza guys warning when I called and was breathing hard to expect something out of the norm upon arrival. With a well timed call ahead for delivery, the driver showed up in the middle of my final set. I yelled for him to come in, and as he did, he got the sight of a sweaty male in bib shorts, heart rate monitor across the chest and about 4 bottles of water on a stool beside me. Of course all the while watching other males in spandex run around on TV in lava fields. I probably took the cake on oddest encounter for the night.

Why do you ask was I ordering a pizza from dominos? Fridge was empty this week and me and Kate had no time to get to the store. So I had to resort to dominos and many other leftovers in our fridge wrapped burrito style!

Thursdays run required me to run up to threshold pace on the tready at a 3% incline for 3 minutes, 4 times. This is a staple workout each week with some variety thrown in weekly. This week somehow I found a new way to embarrass myself and tripped in the middle of one of my sets. Only to make it more embarrassing as I saved my face from eating rubber a 9.4 mph was the fact that the women next to me, told me after that maybe I shouldn't put the incline so high (hers was at 0%), and use the safety rails as I run (she held herself up with the safety rails for the duration of her run).

Oh don't worry though, I tripped again tonight on my long run, which I decided to run at dusk, sometimes the best time for a run, except when it gets dark halfway through. With this challenge in diminished light I tripped yet again over some uneven sidewalk and bit it right in front of a grandma walking her pug. This was not my best run and I had warning signs early on. Needed a gel or coke about 5 minutes in, the next 85 were spent in survival mode, still got in some good mileage!

Swimming went well, even got the chance to swim in a saltwater pool! They just need to add some marine life into the bottom to get the full effect of an ocean swim.

The prevailing thought from this week was that I got all the workouts done and was able to put in some good mileage. Mother nature has also decided to grace us with spring on schedule this year, she must have realized how much of a b*tch she has been to Wisconsin the past few years during this time.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Race "Bucket List"

I have been struggling with posting about something of interest while we finish off this very modest winter in WIsconsin. So I thought I would shy away from my posts about my trainingWith the surplus of races being born each year recently, the desire to add travel to triathlon has increased dramatically and I have even started to assemble my must do races in triathlon. Without further ado here is a list composed a races. Hopefully I can shy away from the lure of Ironman racing to check off some of these races soon, although given the distance and timing of some of these races, they would make for great prep going into Ironman.

This list is limited to triathlon only and in no particular order:
1. Leadman Epic 250
2. American Triple T
3. Wildflower
4. Escape from Alcatraz
5. Roth
6. Ironman St George
7. Ironman Melbourne
8. Norseman

Leadman Epic 250
The race report from the inaugural race's winner Jordan Rapp was enough to get me interested in this race. Then I watched a video and saw pictures of the course, and that was all that I Fitness Minneapolisneeded to know that I had to be racing through the "valley of fire". The distance is unique in itself 5k swim, 223k bike, and a 22k run, a distance that replicates the survivor type race that I have learned to love so much. Put the race in a desert and add in a crazy amount of elevation and you have one serious challenge. I may just give this race a go in 2013!

American Triple T
4 races in 3 days? If you enjoy racing, pushing yourself, and self-inflicted pain, then this race is right up your alley because it has it all (1 sprint, 2 olympics, 1 HIM). This goes along with the theme of survivor races that Leadman presents. It is an early season race, so top form is not to common with those racing, most are training for a summer Ironman and use this weekend to get in a big block of big training. I have been told that the camaraderie at TTT is unparalleled and thet you will make friends for a lifetime over a weekend of racing, sounds just like my backpacking adventures in Europe. The relative ease of traveling to this race makes it a sure possibility of crossing this off the list very soon!

Ah yes, the "Woodstock" of triathlon as it is called. I do not know much about the courses that are offered, nor do I care really. The whole reason this race is on my list is for the atmosphere and history behind it. Camping out all weekend, partying, sharing stories, all while racing and getting in some good man-tan weather too.

Escape from Alcatraz
I have been to San Francisco and figure that if I were ever to race a triathlon thru a big city it would have to be San Francisco. The swim is one of the more famous swims in triathlon, and a challenge as well with currents strong enough to push you under the golden gate bridge, a bike course that seems to be like the IMWI course packed into 24 miles, and a run that climbs a "sand ladder". Yes please! I just know not to expect a PR performance here

Germans love their triathlons and the crowd support on this course seems to be unrivaled. Add in the rich history of a race that is only 10 years old and a course that is surely willing to set you up for a IM distance PR, I can't help to wonder why this wouldn't be on my list. The german bier gardens as well provide for great post race recovery make this race hard to pass up. I figure I'll race Roth someday, once I can pull out from my retirement fund as their is a huge bike race that isn't too far away that would make for a great month visit to Europe.

Ironman St. George
Bring back the old run course and count me in, but not until I learn how to run an IM marathon. This race in a lot of ways attracts me the same way that Leadman does as well. I really cannot picture many other races that offer the spectacular scenery that St. George and the surrounding areas offer. Throw in a great location for post race activities and this race is on the list.

Ironman Melbourne
We are still 4 weeks away from the inaugural race and I already want a piece of it. The course that is laid out is very untraditional of triathlon, no loops and it is all point-to-point. What may be a logistical issue, is a dream to race through 140.6 miles of Aussie land. Never been to Melbourne before, or even Australia for that matter and I couldn't think of a better way to explore the area for a first time. Maybe once my friends 10 year ban from Australia is up and he is living in Melbourne again I will make a trek "down under".

Okay so really I have no idea why this race is on here. Swimming in freezing temps, biking in horrid cold winds, and running a marathon with the last handful of miles up a steep mountain really epitomizers everything that I hate about each individual discipline and maybe that is why I have "interest" in this race. Anyone who even gives an attempt at this race has respect in my book.

If you were wondering why Kona isn't on the list, well it is, it just deserves it's own post about why I want to race on the big island.

Hopefully a can start to check off some of the boxes on this list next year!