Archive for October, 2008

Laura’s Ironman World Championship Race Report 10-11-2008

Kona 2008 Race Recap



It was a fantastic day in the lava fields as Madam Pele threw everything at us from head winds, to cross winds, to full blown sunshine.  It would have been nice if she had remembered how cyclists like a tail wind after all the head winds, but on October 11th , 2008 that was not to be.


Race Morning:

All was calm in Kona at 5:00 a.m.  The weather, race week, had been overcast, voggy, and calm winds so I thought we were in for more of the same…but I was a bit wrong on that one. In fact I was a little disappointed , since I believed a windy day would benefit me since I had so much experience of riding the howling trade winds with the 20 to 30 MPH cross gusts. A hard day helps the cyclists and hurts the stronger runners, since hard conditions take the “sting” out of the runners. Be careful for what you wish for!!!


 I had set my phone to wake me up at 3:45 a.m. for breakfast.  That was a new plan for me.  I had spent about 90 minutes early in the week with Steve Born from Hammer Nutrition going over my race day calories and pre-race breakfast.  I learned eating 3 hours before the race is optimal for capping off my liver glycogen stores.  Two hours before the race is my normal time to eat, as I love sleeping but thought I would try his plan.  It worked perfect for my race day.  (More on that in a bit)  I finished my breakfast by 4:00 and then rested until 4:30.  We left for the Pier and body marking at 5:15. Body marking was a breeze unlike previous years where it took as long as 30 minutes to get marked.  Incredible volunteers happily marked out bodies with our age on the calf and race number in big block letters on my arm…which you are still able to see 24 hours later J


The Swim


Although this is my 18th Ironman, I always worry about  the start of the swim. It is ALWAYS a fist fight, and never seems to clear out. It was a beautiful morning for a swim with 1800 of your closest friends and I mean close.  I was always tapping someone’s feet, or swinging arms, or rubbing shoulders. This was the first time I was not swum over and come up gasping for air.  I must be learning to fight my way through the mix a bit better than previous swims in the bay.  I came out in 1:06:17 for 2nd in my age group.  I am always happy when my feet touch the ground.


The Bike


My wish came true. To everyone’s surprise, by mile 20 of the bike we began to face stiff winds and hot temperatures…a return to the conditions that make Kona so famous and brutalize so many athletes..  My plan was to keep my power output below 200 at all times.  I was mostly successful riding and paying attention to the watts.  I had the fastest bike in my age group at 5:36:26 and felt strong the entire ride.  I used 2 bottles of Perpetum and Hammer Gels to make it though the bike.  Mile 65 feeling hungry, I ate a Hammer bar and within 5 miles promptly threw it back up.  I guess when Steve told me no solids, I should have listened but real food just sounded good at the time.  I am glad I didn’t opt for a PBJ in my special needs bag.  Oh, did I mention the cross winds?  While riding down from Hawi you are able to experience great speeds.  I got up to 39mph but along with that speed comes the cross winds.  I was able to watch the cyclist in front of me go from riding upright to being blown 5 feet to the left and riding at a 45 degree angle and I just knew I was next!  I kept repeating my mantra: RELAX”.  All counter intuitive when you are riding at a 45 degree angle to the ground and veering into the wind. I felt comfortable actually and loved the challenge of the day!


The Run


No matter how strong and well prepared I am, the Run is ALWAYS a “death march”. PURE SURVIVAL. The run is my least favorite of the three events as I am just trying to protect my lead and hang on to the finish.  This year, I was injury free which is a bonus when getting to the start of any ironman and I had a plan to run fast…well fast for me..  Running out of T2 you run up a short hill and on to Kuakini surrounded by hundreds of people and then down  Hualali road to Alii Drive and more people cheering you along.  When I came to the Mile 1 sign and checked my watch I had run a 7:47 pace…way to fast and I knew I needed to back off or I would blow up before I made it out to the Queen K highway. Mile 5 of the run at the Alii turnaround, is the first opportunity I get to see where I am vis a vis my competitors. At the turn around I push my lap timer and start counting. I check my watch every few minutes, seeing my margin increase, until finally at 7 minutes (double it to 14 minutes) I see the my next age group competitor, then the next competitor at 14 minutes (double to 28 minutes) . But instead of relaxing I start doing the math. If they run 30 seconds per mile faster, #2 could catch me, so I keep telling myself,”keep it going. Stay focused. Don’t let up”.


I had my 2nd fastest run of my 18 races in Kona.  I was able to stay focused and mentally strong and keep running.  The cloud cover about mile 13 helped bring the temperatures down as they told us it was about 100 in the Energy Lab, the last turn around point and 7 miles to the finish.



The Finish


Finishing on Alii Drive still gives me goose bumps and tears as I run the last 200 yards to the cheering crowd of thousands of people. Smiling and waving my arms in the air, I finished the race in my second fastest time of 10:38:46.  Good for first in my age group and the chance to keep the Age Group Champion title for one more year.  The 30th anniversary ironman is over and I am looking forward to 2009 Ironman World Championships.


A quick thank you to the people who made this day so special.


Gary Shields, the best massage therapist in Kona hands down.  For all the work he did on my body to get me ready to race, with your work and encouragement I knew my legs were ready to withstand the challenges of the day…Thanks Gary.


Steve Born and Hammer Nutrition without your help I could not of met and exceed my marathon time, let alone my bike split.  The 90 minutes we spent going over my plan was money in the bank.  You understood what I needed and Perpetuem, Endurolytes, Energy Surge, as well as Recoverite leading up to the race and during the race were key to my victory.  I would not have been able to ride strong, and run that pace without all of people from Hammer Nutrition being behind me.  You are all so amazing and you understand what we crazy athletes do for fun!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


All3Sports…you guys are TERRIFIC! 


Darren Broome (from CO who for the past 8 years does the final check of my bike!) and all the people at HP Bike Works in Kona..  I know my bike is ready to ride on race day!


Talking to Tom, while running, is truly an amazing part of my day.  Katie, he is always there for me. J


Finally Kevin…your encouragement and support, were the cornerstones of my day






Julie’s Race Report Ironman Wisconsin

Wisconsin Ironman September 7, 2008


Morning of …

Due to an early dinner and having the whole bed to myself I actually slept fairly well.(thanks Matt for putting up with the boys elbows all night) I woke at 5:00 am and planned to be in the lobby of the hotel at 5:30 am,  which to my surprise, I did without a problem; I think I wanted to just get to the start. After eating the typical carb breakfast, chitchatting with Laura and Terese, Matt and I headed to the start area. Once there we did the typical checking of the bike, dropped off the bags, and headed to the port potty. While waiting in line for the bathroom, the announcer stated that the previous doom and gloom rainy forecast had been changed and the weather promised to wonderful. This was welcomed news and I was convinced this had happened because I had prepared for the rain by taping my coat to my bike and just to cement this new forecast,  I left my coat alone – did not want to mess with the weather gods as they were shining on me  J


As Matt I made our way down to the water everyone came to send me off. As I hugged my buddies: Terese, Laura, Matt, Mom, Sam, Seth and Ed, I found tears came easily. Silly I know but they came anyways. This was the moment I had trained for but to be honest there was a part of me that did not want this moment to come, I wanted to stay in the training mode with the event in a far off distance, wanted this day to remain a dream, but as with all dreams, they come to an end. It was time to quit imagining what it was going to be like and time to make the dream a reality. Into the water I went…..


The Swim

The water was perfect, no lightening like Muncie, no huge waves like Steelhead. Just calm clear water with 2,200 people nervously waiting for the start. My goal was to start mid pack so I swam over to the middle, right between the large red buoy and the ski jump. Once in my spot, I lay on my back and tried to relax. It really didn’t work but I yes, Laura I gave it a try. Also Neal, as you told me to do, I kept telling myself that I was trained and I was ready – thanks for that advice you were right, the mantra helps.


When they gave us the two minute warning all I could think was, “Let’s go I am ready”


The first five minutes were not what I had anticipated, actually they were very calm and just when I thought I had made it through the tough part, the crowds started to swim over me. I think those to right of me moved in towards the buoys and I got caught up in masses of men, large men, very large men. Several swam over and over me so I moved to the left of the buoys, way inside of the perfect line and really not where I wanted to be. Yes, moving to the inside helped but not by much. At one point, after one guy swam over me for about the sixth time, I grabbed his head, pulled it out of the water and told him to cut it out – I think I might have shocked him, but it worked as I did not see him the rest of the swim. The whole first loop was fairly rough, especially on the corners as we all had to swim around the outside of the buoy. It was so crowded around the turns that you could not swim and had to just push your way around. The corners were the hardest part of the swim as it was hard not to panic when your feet were being pushed down and you could not swim. By the third turn I learned to just go with the flow and the corners went easier.


The second loop was much smoother and although it was still crowded, especially around the corners, I found more space to actually swim in a rhythm. Ed, I looked for someone to swim next to and found a few but none as good as you. Yes, Laura I worked at finding bubbles and on the second loop there was one girl among all the blue caps that I did find and I used her bubbles as long as I could.  As we swam to the shore, I felt really strong, I pushed as hard as I could and realized phase one was done and two to go……1:17 swim time – not as good as I had hoped but I would take it.


The transition was a blast, the wet suit strippers were having way too much fun and they had my wet suit off me as fast as they could (If I ever volunteer at an Ironman I want that job). Running up the helix was interesting and difficult as most were walking and it was hard to get around them. Once inside the building, I quickly got ready for the bike and the volunteers were awesome. Again, I listened Neal and did not put my bike shoes on until I had reached my bike and yes, Neal I could run faster then most. Gotta love these little tips! Down the helix and onto the bike – the long bike ride.


112 mile bike ride…..

Hills, hills, hills and lots of them is the best way to describe this course. Silly me knew this was the case and everything I read about Wisconsin’s bike course stated not to bust the first loop as you would pay for it in the second loop so that was my goal…. Stay calm in loop one and push in loop two. Sure that worked some but not really as it is difficult to pick up the pace when you are in a nice easy rhythm. (Next year I might adjust these thoughts)


The popsicle stick was hillier then I thought but the hills were not that bad as all ups lead to nice downs where speed was easy to find. Once on the loop the real hills began. There were sections where the hills were really tough and speed was slow…. I found I could spin up but lost too much momentum. The downs were awesome, I pushed as hard as I could on the downs and did not hold back …. I actually saw 49mph on my computer….way cool as I think it may be the fastest I have done. There was one section of downs that lead into this twisty down section, by far my favorite part of the course. On the second loop I could not wait to do that section again. The head winds on the second loop were a little hard but the tail wind on the way back in was great. Throughout the ride I stayed with about six women, we would all take turns leading and following. Most would pull ahead of me on the up hills but as we would hit the down sections I would pass them only to be caught again on the ups. Thanks to all of them, especially Christie, as they made the ride better and we actually had a few laughs at all the hills and the demented minded person who made this course…..Towards the last 10 miles, I made it my goal to drop the group, which I did and in the end I finished with a group of guys.


All during the ride I focused on nutrition. If Laura had drilled anything into my head it was that I had to get my nutrition in on the bike. Yes, Laura I heard your little voice in my head the whole ride especially the part about it being cool and me not thinking I needed it. Yes, I drank three double dosed bottles of accelerate, numerous gels, peanut butter bagel and lots of water. All did me well as I felt great coming off the bike. Maybe too good?   6:26 bike time – slower then I wanted. Immediately thought about how to make it better next time –need speed on the up hills, I can do it.


The Run….

During the swim and bike I was hesitant, did not know how hard to push but in the run, I was home. I knew I could push, I knew what it felt like to run 26.2 miles, I knew what it felt like to crash on the run and I knew what it felt like to run on the edge. I could not wait to start running. On the bike, I tried not to think about running a whole marathon as it was overwhelming when I did and I could feel myself crumpling. Yet, as the last few miles of the bike came I could not wait to get off the bike and run. Tom told me to think about the simple fact that most folks dreaded the run where I loved the run. He was right, I do love to run.


I moved through the transition area as fast as I could and I as I began the run I felt good, really good. The crowd kept yelling, “Go Julie, you are running awesome.” At mile one I looked at watch, 8:00 mile – ok too fast – slow down do not be stupid – mile two 8:02 – again slow down do not be stupid – by mile four  8:44 – good, stay in this zone and do not look at your watch again, which I didn’t. I broke the marathon into 4 sections with each section having 5 miles each. Yes, I know that leaves 1.2 miles left but I figured by the time I reached 25 miles I would no longer need my mental game. The whole run I just focused as I have never focused before, ran how I felt and just kept moving. Stayed away from the Gatorade and drank coke at every aid station and ate gels every now and then – I found a new flavor – caramel – yummy. Sorry, Laura I did walk my water stations as I got more fluids in me and I needed them.


All along the course I saw my support crew: Terese, Laura, Tom, Matt, my boys, my mom and Hoyt. Thank you for all your support I found myself running around corners looking for you and every time I saw the group I felt better. I was having a good day……


Last two Miles…..

I knew the end was near and I wanted to look at my watch but I promised myself I wouldn’t so I didn’t. Instead I just focused on passing folks. One by one I would pick them off, yes that felt great. As I passed mile 25 I felt great. Only 1.2 miles to go, I could do it, no more mind games needs. At this point Laura started to tell me I could break 12 hours, way cool. As I came around the capital and my boys jumped in with me the finish was not what I had imagined, reality is never what you think it well be and maybe that is good thing because this was real and not just a dream anymore. When I heard my name called and when the announcer said, “Julie Bedford of Fenton Michigan YOU ARE AN IRONMAN….. I couldn’t stop smiling. When I had dreamed about the finish, I had always imagined myself crying, but as I crossed the finish line, my eyes were dry but the smile was huge. The crowds were awesome and as I crossed the line I realized I had broke 12 hrs….11:56… not bad for a first time. I was an Ironman. The months of training and the months of dreaming were over it was time to celebrate.


By the way, the tears did eventually come but did not happen until midnight when the finish line was closed and the announcer yelled out to the crowd, “Wisconsin, I only have one more thing to say … You are an Ironman.” Yes, I am.


 I am already signed up for 2009….crazy I know but it is fun…..




  • Which is harder, the 100 mile run or the Ironman… to totally different beasts and you cannot compare them. I am however, happy to have had the mental strength I learned running 100 miles as it helped me throughout my ironman.
  • Push the bike harder and trust my swimming, move up to the front area on the swim and push the up hills more.
  • Nutrition is key……get your calories in on the bike
  • Run how you feel – do not worry about the clock as you can only run as well as you are trained for.
  • Work through the hard parts, they will pass.
  • Nine months of training is worth it … I was ready


Thank You…..


  • Terese – you are my rock and I adore you. Yes, my friend we will still be running when we’re 80 years old and maybe by then you can do an ironman so you can win your age group! Seriously, we have been through a lot together and together we continue to push each other to higher levels. Thank you for helping me through this journey and yes, with your help and support, I did paint my dream J
  • Ed, my swimming buddy and my friend. Wow, who would have known last January when we swam together what a team we would make? Thank you, for pushing me to faster times then I thought I could do. We will rock next year and will swim even stronger – I did miss you in that big open water.
  • Tom and Neal – my new tri buddies – thank you for riding some of my long rides with me. Tom, next year will be awesome for you and I cannot wait for Worlds in Florida were the party will continue J Neal, thank you for yelling at me during our long ride – I think I will need it more next year – especially on the up hills. Also, thanks for the words of advice I did use them.
  • Laura, my coach and my friend. When I meet you last fall I knew I had found a great coach but what I did not realize was I had also found a friend. You have been awesome and it is really hard to express my gratitude in words. I would not have done so well without you and look forward to continuing this journey with your help and support…..the goal is not completely met yet but it is within reach and yes, I am definitely up for your challenge – bring it on J
  • Matt and my boys – ok so here is where the tears a flowing. Thank you Matt for always being my rock and for always supporting me. For 23 years you have always had my back and together we have completed some pretty awesome things. We sure have come a long ways from the village apartments and cruising Milford. I love you with all my heart –  I did Matt, I am an Ironman –  and just know McKinley is making its way up the list but Kona is first!

Andy’s Race Report Ironman Louisville

Dear Sandy & Paul, Donna & Don, Tara & Jason, Gerald and all my friends from IM,
I'm sitting in the plane to Europe now and I can't believe that it is
already over one week ago that I did my longest race ever!
And what a crazy week before that... but I try to start at the
beginning. Last year some club members had plans to do an Ironman race
in 2008 and I started thinking about that, too. Ok, maybe it's easier
to suffer if the pain is loaded on some friends, too and you are able
to talk about your problems and concerns. So the goal for 2008 was set
and since I couldn't get on the race in Lake Placid I found that
Louisville would also fit into my schedule.
The training started in January with the spinning classes at Fraser
Bike two times a week and lots of x-country skiing. A big milestone
was the Alabama cycling / triathlon camp then in April together with
Patty and Gerald. A great time with Renee and Aldo from the camp and
Laura Sophiea as coach (thank you so much guys) at a beautiful
location with rolling hills. I hardly recommend that camp for
everybody who wants to get early miles and a perfect combination of
vacation, training and theory coaching in all three disciplines!
And then May came already and I flu to Florida for my first half
Ironman; what an experience! But that half marathon was really hard
for me so I had some doubts with the full distance and tried to stick
to my training schedule. Another training step were the Belle River
sprint race in Canada and the olympic distance in Erding / Germany
before Gerald and I had another half distance experience in Muncie /
Indiana in July. I can really recommend this race, because of a
perfect organization and a nice location with no high cost (in most
points it was the opposite of the race in Orlando which I would not
recommend to do!).
Since I had to leave my house in Rochester Hills before the race the
weeks in August became really busy and all that had a big peak in my
race week when I had my last day at work and the final preparation for
the move. So the container came on Wednesday then (ouups, lots of work
and no time for training) and I could drop off the house and some more
things on Thursday and we could start the 6 hour drive to Kentucky.
Arrival was around midnight and on the following day I felt a little
dizzy and had some problems to adjust into a "vacation mood"...
It took me some time to schedule my things to do and I went out for a
short run. Additionally I worried about my worn rear tire and tried to
rent a set of race wheels. Unfortunately that did not work and
eventually Gerald could help me out with a spare tire that he brought
from Michigan (Gerald, thanks a lot for that). Talking to Gerald was
very surprising for me, too. Because he announced that a group of 7
was expected to come down from Michigan --> you guys are unbelievable
On Saturday morning I went down to watch the practice swim (I decided
not to do it myself because I had already some rumbling in my stomach
and I didt want to make it worse with some Ohio river water).
After checking in the bike and meeting Mike and his family for dinner
we drove altogether along the bike course and were not very happy
about all the hills that we had to climb (this time with the car)!
A little dinner in the hotel and an early night at 9.30 finished the Saturday.
Raceday – Oh my gosh!
Alarm at 4.15, breakfast, getting dressed and then rushing to the
transition area. What a teeming mass; 2500 athletes running around in
flood light! After putting all gear to the bike we went with all the
others for the 15 minute walk to the swim start. Before the pros
started the national anthem was sung by a female singer; time for
goose bumps again!
Since this is the only Ironman race in the world that has a time trial
start for all age group athletes we waited in a very long queue and
started with individually starting times by jumping of the boat launch
The swim was very nice, one third against the current and then after
the turnaround buoy you had the current with you and a great view of
downtown Louisville and the three bridges crossing the Ohio river.
What a motivation!
The transition to the bike was very easy and everything felt very good
when I hit the pedals and my friends were cheering for me on the first
The first 10 miles have a slight incline and then you hit the first
steep incline. And from that moment it was nothing else than ups and
downs through a beautiful landscape on really nice roads. I passed
lots of nice horse stables, summer fields and green forests. After
mile 22 we had to turn right into an out and back in turn around
section with a very steep decline into a valley, then up on the other
side and after the turn around the same again. Wow, that was amazing,
lots of cyclists on both sides and most of them going down the hill
with speeds around 60 to 70 km/h --> What a big adrenaline kick!
After that, we had to ride two laps and I was surprised about the
atmosphere in La Grange, the asphalt seemed to cook and you could not
get your heart rate down with all the people cheering! During these
6hours of riding I had only one stop at mile 66 when I picked up my
special needs bag and refueled my bottles and nutrition snacks. The
second loop felt much harder than the first and on my way back to
Louisville I had little cramps in my right calf and I almost fell
asleep on my aero bars! Goodness me it went slightly down and I
reached the transition area again. Back in the changing tent I was
happy to see a chair and started changing to my running gear very
slow. My biggest wish at that point was just to sit on that chair and
wait... maybe for a beer or so. But nothing happened, so I decided to
stand up and see how my legs will feel. I was very exhausted already
and I just couldnt imagine to run a marathon now! But then, walking
was ok and I came out of the changing tent and tried running.
Wow; I was still able to run and nothing hurt so I ran out of TA into
the crowd and then I saw all my friends again, cheering, making photos
and running with me! Thank you so much, this was soooo nice and a big
The first section of the run included a run onto the steel bridge over
the Ohio river and back which was great. There was a nice breeze
cooling you down (the temperatures were peaking around 95 F at noon
and decreasing in the afternoon only very slow...) and an amazing
As I tried to drink from my fuel belt bottles for the first time I had
to puke almost! The drink had gone off while it lay in TA last night
and during race day! What a shame, all my preparation was been done
with Perpetuem and now I couldnt use it! I tried to use water, bananas
and gel instead, but after a couple of miles I became stitches on the
right side that forced me to walk for the first time. This continued
until mile 13 when I received my special needs bag with fresh
Perpetuem in it. The run was better then, but most of my energy was
gone and I still had to walk very often. The people along the course
were great. Cheering for all the athletes, making music or dancing in
the street. What a day! It was after 8pm now and getting dark. Since I
had to wear my optical sun glasses it must have been strange looking
when I finally reached the finish at "4th street live"!
What were my thoughts? Hm, I didnt have a lot and they were very slow,
exhausted like me...
But I did it! I'm an Ironman now!!
And this was the story about my longest day ever, it took 14 hours and
22 seconds!
I'm very happy to see my family now again, but I'm also very sad about
leaving Michigan and a great club that doesnt have race results in
mind only. It's about the people and the IM-team! Thank you so much
for your friendship and your support all around the time being there.
And I would not have been able to do that race without this club!
I have ever lasting memories of my first race on Belle Isle in 2006,
all the race weekends in Mackinaw City, Cleveland, Chicago,... an
awesome snowshoe race in Traverse City and lots of training weekends
(especially these in Lake Placid)!
So now it's time to say good-bye via email, all of you are great
characters and the club is something to live for, way to go!
I hope to see some of you in the future again and wish you happy
training, great races and a wonderful time (don't do too many bath tub
and fish strokes in the upcoming swim trainings 😉
Viele liebe Gruesse,