Archive for September, 2009

IM Louisville 2009 Race Report – Nikki P

IM Louisville

Have you ever shown up to a party and felt so out of place that the only thing you wanted to do what high tail it to the nearest exit.  That is how I felt the when I showed up on Thursday to IM Louisville.  First of let me put this out there, I never, ever, ever dreamed of being a triathlete .  I was always one of those people who “worked out” at the gym, but not really; ya’ll know what I am talking about. As I walk around and stared at everyone, all I could think of is I am going to get my bandonks kicked.  My mantra that day was I can’t swim, or bike well, maybe I can run 26.2; maybe…
So I did the only self-respecting thing I could do at the time.  I called my coach Laura Sophiea and had a meltdown.  All she said was, “You can do this Nikki.  You are mentally tough.  You made it through all of your training.  You will prove them all wrong”; meaning the thoughts in my head.  I went to bed that night feeling a little better, and woke up the next morning feeling empowered to do my practice swim.  As I jumped into the water, I felt calm as I repeated my mantra over and over in the water; this is something I worked on a lot to not freak out in the water.  As, I exited the swim, I felt great and was smiling.  This momentum me carried through the remainder of my pre-race activities Friday and Saturday .  Tip-always throw the junk out of your head and replace it with a positive(s).  Junk bogs you down; empowering thoughts can propel you to achieve your goals.
Flash forward to race day morning-Laura was now with me…I got up at 3:45, feeling anxious.  I reluctantly ate my breakfast because I felt like my stomach was about to jump out of my body; but since Laura kept telling me to eat, I ate and drank my water.  Laura and I then walked down to transition and she kept filling my head with positive thoughts.  I checked my bike one last time, looked around in amazement and left the scene.  I met up with Laura and friends again, and we did the long walk to the swim line up/start area.  The line was long and we had a over an hour to wait.  I took this time to mentally go over my race plan and have some quite time to myself.  Before I knew it the line was moving and time to jump in the water.  I said my goodbyes, and within 5 minutes, it was my turn to jump in the water.  I jumped in with three other people at the same time; they seemed to use the cannon ball technique, while I did more of a modified toothpick.
The water experience was a little weird, since you could see above water, but not below.  This being the case, there was some bumping and slapping in the water, but not much.  I felt good in the water, stuck with my mantra and did my best to keep moving forward in a straight line.  When I exited the water, I excited to get ready for the bike.  The thought in my head at this point was, the hardest of the race for me is over, now it is time to have some fun.  Tip for swim-do whatever you need to do to stay calm in the water.

T2 was a little weird at first, since I am not used to people helping me get ready.  I was thankful though because they keep you moving.  Once dressed I ran to my bike named, “THE HELLO KITTY”, and thought wow I am really doing this.  I got to the mount line and once again Laura was cheering, I could not hear exactly what she said, but I knew it was good stuff.  I hopped on my bike and was off.  Earlier in the summer I came down to practice on the course with my friend Neal two different times, so I knew what to expect.  This made it hard for me not to go balls out from the get go.  I also think this is hard for any person doing an Iron distance for the first time to really gage how fast they should start and when to really push it.  For me I wanted to do a negative split, so I was conservative the first half pushed a little harder to mile 100 and then really raced the last part.  I did do a negative split, but looking back I think I could have gone a bit harder on the bike…but don’t we all think that. Overall I did like the bike course and all the rolling hills that went with it.  I thought some parts were very narrow, people racing up and down a hill at the same time, but doable.  Tip for the bike: stick to your nutrition plan, no matter what, and always put chamois butter on before you get on the bike; wet bike shorts and 112 miles without it = ow!!!
T2 was  fantastic, I had people drying my feet, putting on my socks and shoes, and cheering me on at the same time.  I was really fired up for the run, since this is what I love to do the most.  I made sure I hit the bathroom; since I did not want to stop later, and away I went.  During the first mile I felt pretty good, but somewhere between 2 and 3 my stomach was not being nice to me.  As this was occurring Laura came up next to me on her bike.  I told her what was up, and she said, “Nikki, this is your rough patch, you will get through this, and once you do you will be ok.”  I ran on, and emptied my stomach twice, while running; I thought that was pretty talented…  Then right before mile 6, I knew I was in for it, and grew very upset that I would now have to stop at the bathroom.  I flew inside, and gave myself 5 minutes to get everything out; I hate losing time like this, but I had no other option.  When I got out I began to take in cola.  This seemed to help, but I had to get it every mile; because once you start cola you have to keep using it.  The rest of the run was good.  I did slow down a little bit after the stop, but I stayed positive.  Tip for run: keep running, stick to nutrition plan, and do not give into those pesky little thoughts that try to creep into your head.

As I approached the final mile, I was over the moon with pride, excitement, and gratitude.  I was high fiving, dancing around, whoo-hooing until I hit the finish line!  12:21:57  Wow, what a day!I

New Photos Added! – IM Wisconsin 2009

Photos from Ironman Wisconsin 2009 are now available in the Photo Gallery!

Andrew C. – Ironman Wisconsin 2009 Race Report

Ironman Wisconsin 2009.

Pre-Race weekend-

Overall, The days building up to the race were good, but mentally taxing. I was prepared to be more excited during the weekend, but even my time resting was a bit more tiresome than I thought it would be. I had a lot of friends and family come in for the race and being around lots of people who were all as excited as me and even more curious was difficult to handle at times. This being my first IM, I knew that there were going to be things to change and adapt for the future, but the most important one is going to be reserving my own private room for at least the night before the race and probably the whole time I am in the city.

The expo in Madison is awesome, but expect lines. I don’t know if this compares with other venues: the expo itself was nice, but limited. The Chicago tri expo is still #1 to me with the sheer amount of great stuff available. I would recommend arriving Thursday to Madison and maybe even checking in then to have a day totally off in between being at the expo and around all that energy. The bike/ gear check went smoothly, although I was on my feet for a while. Thursday also seems like a lighter day in terms of the amount of people who are there at the race site so it seems like people would be up and in line less than I was.

In preparing my nutrition, I wanted to be on the safe side of too much rather than too little. This mentality might have cost me during the race, but I am still glad that I prepared that way. I planned for 2 bottles of perpetuum for the bike, with a third in my special needs bag in case I lost one of my bottles during the ride.

The swim.

There is not a whole lot to say about the swim. There was a small wait getting down to the start, but overall the swim was very smooth. The first and second turn on the swim were very physical, but the race seemed to settle after that. The swim was especially brutal for me because my goggle strap broke twice from people kicking it. I was forced to tread water and tie the straps together, but they still worked and the swim was fine after that.


The run to T1 was long and required a run up the helix into Monona terrace. The run is awesome though because there are so many people cheering. The transition is inside the terrace and was very smooth.


This was by far the most difficult part of the race for me. Weighing in at 200+, I knew it was going to be hard and the heat of the day did not help. I kept my HR at 155 during the 40 miles of the loop and it went quickly. I think that I began my nutrition too soon though, because at about mile 30 my stomach was feeling full and over done. As a result, it was difficult for me to keep drinking fluids. The second loop I began cramping very badly. I took about 25 endurolytes during the whole bike and I probably could have used more. The second time around the big hills were tough, but there are a ton of people on the hills cheering and it can help a lot. I drank lots of water on the second lap, trying to recover the fluids that I didn’t take on the first lap, but they didn’t help my cramps much until the run.


Finishing the bike is a great feeling- especially because the last 5-10 miles are very flat. The very end however is tough- biking up the helix to Monona terrace on tired legs. T2 is the same as T1, and things went smoothly during it for me.


The run was both good and bad. I started out feeling great and having to hold myself back to a 9 minute pace. However, all the food and water that I had just consumed at the end of the bike would greatly affect how I felt and ran. I stopped at a bathroom at mile 2 and thought that would be it. But the next 8-9 miles I was constantly stopping in the bathrooms. It killed my times, but I actually felt good- I just had way too much water in me. I was able to run consistently, but slow. The people along state street are great support and help the mental downer that sometimes comes during the turnaround to loop 2 because you are 100 yards from the finish, and then have to turn around again.

Overall, while I was disappointed with my time, I was happy to keep a good mental attitude and as a result, loved the whole race (maybe not all the terrible cramps). The truly invaluable thing that my training did was prepare me for all the things that go wrong during the race. On my training rides, if something would go wrong, I would think that this might happen during the race and I need to be ready for that. So, during the race from my goggles, to my cramps, to my frequent bathroom stops, I kept thinking that I was going to keep going and finish well if I was able to keep going. I met a lot of really great people on the marathon and finishing was an experience that I will never forget.

Kelly B – Ironman Wisconsin Race Report

September 12, 2009

After having a few disappointing races I have been determined to have a good race. As you know Laura coached me and I did ALL the work – mentally and physically!

It was a beautiful cool morning at the start Jon, Peter, Roman, Julie Bedford and I all met at the toll booth and had Neil, Laura, Jim Stromberg, Mark Savedes and Julie’s family there cheering us on. You were all in our thoughts especially Tom as we all wanted to have a good day for him.

Jon and I started the swim together on the inside – we had a great spot away from all the chaos. He quickly took off and I being nervous about going hard and hyperventilating decided not to go with him. It was a very nice peaceful swim until you got to the corner bouy’s then madness hit. I was pretty much on my own and happy that way. Jon said he saw me going around the start buoy for the second lap but I didn’t see him and assumed he was ahead of me until he passed me early on the bike. Victory!

The bike was interesting. I was suffering from major bloating which felt like it was resricting my breathing and a pounding heading. Despite all of that, I blocked it out of my head. My legs felt amazing and it was cool and no wind. I checked my heart rate because I had a feeling I was getting a little carried away and noticed my HR monitor filled with water and quit. Oh no, I felt lost! The Wisconsin course is very fun – twisty, turny and on fresh legs easy to get carried away! I told myself not to go too hard but without HR I threw my advice out the window. I started the second lap with a Starbucks Double shot (wonder who’s advice that was:-) This took the edge off of my headache but I didn’t get the boost I had hoped for.  The second half was noticeably more challenging especially with the temp creeping to 83 and a decent breeze picking up. I hung in there determined to break 6 hours which I missed by a few minutes.

I was so ready to get off the bike and get running – I thought 4-10k’s no problem! I started with a lot of stomach bloating and pain that stayed with me through the bike. For a few miles I wasn’t sure what was going to happen but hoped it would work itself out which it eventually did. I was taught to try and block most thoughts out of my head which I was able to do – I would start trying to make deals with myself and told myself to be quite and just think about one foot in front of the other and was able to plug along with very little walking.

It was truly a great day! I ended up tenth in the AG and Hawaii went to fifth but I am still extremely happy with a PR by an hour! We are all truly blessed to compete at the level we do. Thanks to the calls and emails from everyone both before and after the race. It is great to be apart of this team! Gi Mongi!


Testimonial – Kelly B.

Laura taught me so much this year and her personal approach to each athletes needs really allowed me to excel. Through her coaching, motivation and friendship I matured so much as an athlete. This summer has been the most memorable and fun out of my seven years of racing. Laura inspired me and taught me the focus required to have an incredible season and have a blast while doing it!

Thanks to her coaching I had a PR at Ironman Wisconsin by an hour!

Looking forward to continuing in the spring!


Testimonial – Mark S.

Thank you very much for the GREAT coaching, council, motivation, encouragement and friendship! These last months have been awesome! I have been more focused, driven and inspired than my entire 14 years of triathlon.  Working with you has taught me a lot about my self as a person and an athlete.

Thanks to your coaching and keeping me accountable, I have accomplished the following:

–   Overall Winner of Motor City Triathlon
–   Age group winner of every sprint triathlon
–   4:36 for IM Rhode Island 70.3 with a PR of over 40 minutes
–   10:13 for IM KY with a PR of over 47 minutes

Looking forward to continuing with you in the fall and preparing for IM NZ 2010.

Thanks again,

Mark S.