Wednesday, September 09, 2009


It’s the week before Ironman Wisconsin and things are starting to get a little crazy.

I have 22 athletes doing the race. 16 of them are in the Well Fit IronMoo training group. 6 of them are from my Multisport Mastery roster. Any way you shake it, that’s a lot of athletes to watch out on the course.

They are all busy buckling away their last minute details for race day. Some have made lists of lists of lists on laminated notecards that they are checking off with a precision Sharpie marker and having their spouse double check. Others have boiled it down to an Excel spreadsheet with numbers and times. Some have retreated quietly in prayer into their Ironcave. And still others – the procrastinators – haven’t thought about it at all.

But you know what – they are all prepared. They are all ready. How they choose to organize their day in their mind or on paper is up to them. And it works for them.

When preparing for Ironman it’s common to have the feeling of not even knowing where to begin. You stand there with a blank look on your face not sure if you’re undertrained, overfueled, underhydrated, overstimulated. You feel fit but fat, calm but edgy, unsure but ready. All that I can say is this: when all else fails - go home, make lists and put things in baggies.

I’ve seen so many packing lists, race plans and spreadsheets that I’m not even sure what I should do on race day. I spent a few hours walking in a circle, biting my nails, obsessing when finally I said to myself – make a list. So, here is a Coach ELF cue sheet (soon to be plugged into an Excel spreadsheet):

6:00 am: Stand at the Helix looking for Ironmoo group, give them a proper send off. Remind Ryan to focus, Melissa to keep an eye on Bruce, Bus to f*ckin crush it, Keach to pace himself, Jen to stick with her fuel plan, remind Karin to breathe, so on and so forth.

7:00 am: Watch swim start and tell myself for the 100th time this year thank god I am not doing Ironman. In case I have doubts about this, instruct Chris to kick me in the shin – hard – when the gun goes off.

7:15 am: Sprint at vV02max speed to Starbucks to avoid monster line (pack race flats).

7:45 am: Stand on the Helix trying to recognize the wet faces of said 22 athletes, when I do recognize a face jump up and down and scream like an animal

8:30 am: Go watch the (wetsuit) strippers. Tell husband to put away dollar bills.

9:00 am: If they’re not all out of the water by now, I’m going in to get them (pack wetsuit).

9:15 am: First feeding, according to my fuel plan this feeding should contain approximately 500 calories, 60g of carbs and 250 mg of NaCl.

9:30 am: Head out to Verona to stand at Old Sauk Road. Turn this into Heckle Hill. In true Ragbrai style I’d like to bring some beer cans and caution tape but I have a feeling that triathletes will not have the same sense of humor as Ragbrai and no one will be interested in playing Poo Dollar or Caution Tape Limbo on the longest hill of the course. Regardless, try anyways.

11:30 am: Continue heckling. Disqualify anyone wearing compression socks or arm warmers. Chase after them with a red Sharpie threatening to slash their number if they don’t get their ass up the hill faster.

12:30 pm: Head back to State Street for second feeding, second caffeination, a little shopping (find Jen Harrison).

2:30 pm: I realize that 2 hours has all of a sudden disappeared but I do plan on taking a nap in one of the bus stops along State Street just like the competitor I saw doing that last year (and about 30 minutes later she emerged back on the run course fresh as a daisy).

3:00 pm: Speaking of daisies, buy Bridge Mix to throw into the street with Miss Daisy (JH). Listen to her overcautious old lady talk about someone twisting their ankle if a malted milk ball rolls into the street. Throw malted milk balls at her instead.

3:30 pm: Tell….squinting, can’t really read name, oh yes it says Jane, tell Jane “YOU LOOK GREAT!”

4:00 pm: Bring out the bullhorn because at this point I will have lost my voice. If Sharone really didn’t buy me a bullhorn, “borrow” traffic cone from Madison Public Works Department.

4:30 pm: It is time for another feeding. Sub beer for caffeine.

5:00 pm: Chase Jen with a red Sharpie, make a slash across her shirt, tell her she’s been disqualified.

5:15 pm: Cut husband off so he stops making comments such as “I’d like to be her compression sock”.

5:30 pm: Avoid all course porta potties after this point.

6:00 pm: Everyone is starting to look really fast. But that might be the beer goggles talking.

6:30 pm: Head toward the finish line.

7:00 pm: Find way to run across finish line to declare myself first in the Spectathlete division. Find way to carry husband across the line with me.

7:30 pm: Remind Patty that if she's given birth to 3 kids, she can definitely give birth to Ironman.

8:00 pm: Tackle anyone with a cowbell.

8:30 pm: See if someone will trade me their glow necklace for a Red Bull.

9:00 pm: At this point I expect to bonk and demand a caffeine IV to get me through to midnight.

9:30 pm: Make compression sock puppets. Talk to people only through the puppet.

9:45 pm: Declare myself “gone mad in Madtown”.

10:00 pm: Realize that I haven’t seen Chris in hours. Realize he passed out in the bus stop after 1 beer.

11:30 pm: Declare this as the longest day of my life next to getting married.

12:00 am: It’s over? So soon? Oh come. Let’s just sit on the curb and shout a little longer.

12:15 am: Look for me in a bus stop.

On Saturday we’ll be heading up to Madtown (in same county as Crazytown) to get some rest before the big day. The IronMoo group has been meeting since February. We’ve nearly seen four seasons change and I’ve seen some amazing physical transformations since then. I’ve watched them evolve from a group of people who signed up for this thing called Ironman to a group of athletes. They are fit, educated and ready. I can’t think of any better combination on race day.

See you all Sunday!


Molly said...

How exciting! Clearly you have this spectathlete thing down to a science - I'll have to pass this on to my friends coming to AZ :)

Wes said...

much much to organized... Hmmmm... I'll need to see your spectathlete card or you'll have to pay the 10 yahoos one day waiver....

Jennifer Harrison said...

It is crazytown here too !!! And, I think we decompressed last night well! :) I have so many racing too and friends, I can NOT wait.

See you up there. I will bring the Bridge Mix. But, I do not want someone to hurt themselves!

Sara Cox Landolt said...

This was fun to read - great post!

JennyLou said...

Okay.. I think you've done it. I am going to pack now. Precious got some bike shop love today. I'll see you there! AND.. I gotta find elf ears for you!! They are a MUST! NUT Party starts 7am on Saturday!

GoBigGreen said...

If Jen is worried about the circular malted milk balls may i suggest candy corn? it is bright and the ankle turning capacity is .00001% in all the recent studies I have seen to date:)
Have fun you crazy coaches...:)!

TriEVIElon said...

Lucky MOOs to have you screaming for them. Personally, I would love for someone to throw malted milk balls at me. YUM!

Drew said...

Reading this post more than anything else has made me wish I was doing this race again this year. I like the compression sock puppet idea, brilliant!

ADC said...

Well that day sounds like so much fun. I will do all that with the lap top in my lap.

Angela said...

Awesome! Now I know what I'm missing in the Specathlete training plan. Heckling and malted milk balls.

Shevaun said...

What a great check list. I'll have to send the link to my husband, so he knows how to do it on Sunday.

Dave said...

Have fun up there!

Jennifer Cunnane said...

Thanks for the great laugh this Monday morning.... maybe instead of trying to figure out when in my life I will tackle my first IM I will instead try and determine when I can join you in the fun of being a spectathlete at my first IM!

Mommymeepa said...

This was one of the funniest blog posts in a while that I have read and having just lived through IMWI I can totally agree with all of it. You made me laugh. Thanks. :) I cannot wait to hear more about your day and your athletes day. Have a good one.