Sunday, September 30, 2007

IMMoo Bike and Run

Well well it's good to be back in the posting mode. Obviously Tac's life is allowing for little else then work right now. It's fall in Minnesota and that means all the projects that clients (and certain painters) were holding off on are now needing to to get done. By mid November the exterior painting ends so the harvest is ripe and Paradise is in a bugs-life like gathering mode. The madness will probably end near the time Mama and Tac leave for IMFL in early November.

Speaking of Ironman Florida. We just found out this morning that Bigun and Mrs. Bigun are making there way north to Panama City Beach. Tac will have his favorite (and only) script writer by his side while they cheer on the Iron athletes.

Finally, here is the conclusion of the Immoo race report.


Coming out of T1 Tac felt calm. The pre-race course drive with Simply Stu and riding the course in July gave Tac a good sense of what he was in for. Many Ironmen Tac spoke with prior to the race consider this bike course one of the most technically challenging in all of Ironman. So steady and slow was the plan. About mile 5 Tac got behind a guy named Trey who was going slower then he liked. Yet Tac looked at his conditioning and his serious bike and realized that this was the pace to stay. Trey was the wise rabbit and Tac traded spots back and forth with him for at least 70 miles.

In order to break up the 112 miles, Tac divided the two loop course into 4 sections.

Section 1: The ride out and arriving at the gas station around mile 28 (not that Tac boy needed gas he took care of that in the carbo load dinner) just before the climb to Mount Horeb. This section kinda blows. Simply Stu agreed that this portion of the course is boring and annoying because the hills are continuous, but not very fun or scenic.

Section 2: The Mount Horeb climb. This was the fun part. Tons of crazy fast rollers and beautiful views as we reached the highest point of the race. Then a nice 8-9 mile downhill/flat reward after all that climbing.

Section 3: The monster climbs. These began as you reached the rock quarry lake. It was hard to miss this because the perfect sunny day caused the water to illuminate a neon like turquoise glow. When you reached this you were about to begin the three big hills.

Hill 1: Long and nasty-TONS OF CROWDS! Although on the second loop Tac was really looking forward to those crowds and when arrived there they were down to just a few near the top :( O.k. He knows he's slow but come on people...

Hill 2: Short and very steep. Awesome crowd support. In fact he was really struggling on the second lap and his tri club friend Iron Tim ran along side the tac-mobile banging his cowbell and shouted him right up to the top! Thanks Tim, you have no idea how important that was.

Brief aside. Fan support. Tac's volunteered at 3 different Ironman's prior to this race and he had no idea how meaningful that support can be. You may not know when your "good job" or cow bell clanging matters, but sometimes it's just what that athlete needs in the darkest point of his day! For Tac seeing the tribe in their red capes throughout the day kept his spirits high and that constant reminder that Mama was an Ironman and quitting would be very bad for Taconite Boy.

Hill 3: Long and punishing. This hill seemed less difficult then the first, but wow did it hurt. Especially on that second loop.

Section 4: This final part began after the third big hill and continued into Verona. This section is fairly easy and flat which is a nice break after what you just did.

Keeping a fairly granny like pace kept Tac feeling pretty good after the first loop, but the second loop started on a bad note. The wind shifted by noon and we were now heading into the wind during section 1 which already stunk. By the time Tac got to the top of the huge hill just before the rollers began he had to pull over.

Something was happening with his feet. A unbelievable burning sensation began. Trying to move his toes and stretch out didn't seem to help very much. Jumping back on the bike Tac hoped this would subside as he began the big roller sections up to Mt. Horeb.

The burning didn't stop. It got much worse. By the time Tac finished the second loop he literally was thinking that he was going to DNF. The thought of doing a marathon (which Tac had never run) with his feet feeling like they were on top of two blow torches was totally demoralizing. That's why when Tac climbed the second hill and Iron Tim was screaming at him to get up that hill and get to the run, it seemed to penetrate the clouds in my mind that were saying 'quit'.

As we turned back to Madison the road was supposed to be fairly easy. The wind was against us on the way out so we should have a nice tale wind.

Unless it shifts the opposite way.

Which it did...and Tac's feet were still hurting...

damn it.

There is one final big hill climb as you head back into Madison. Tac had mentally prepared for this hill many times. He knew that it was coming and new it would be difficult. He had no idea. Before reaching the base TacBoy pulled over to grab a gel, cuss and take a drink of water to calm down. That helped alot, not the cussing, but the water, the gel and some good self talk. It's funny when your in that much pain how you need to stop everything in order to reassert control over your thinking.

The final 6 miles into Madison was spent dealing with excruciating pain in my feet, but I had mentally turned the corner and determined to just get to T2 and sit down. When Tac could see the helix he had imagined the whole year the joy of that...ironically there was little. Just get me off this bike right now. When the Tac mobile rolled into T2 a very kind volunteer took the bike shoes and helmet. People were cheering for Tac until he started walking, I was limping so bad that I could literally hear the small crowd quiet under concern/sympathy.

Tac found his chair in T2 and sat with a 'thank God'. Sitting there Tac patiently took off all his bike junk, carefully grabbed new socks, put his shoes on and clothes and headed gingerly out..until he saw the ART massage people.

"Hey, could you work on my feet?"

"Sure sit down"

Within 5 minutes both feet were massaged, Vaseline applied and shoes re-laced. Tac moved out of T2 and he could already sense the pain was starting to subside.

This burning feet sensation Tac's only felt maybe once or twice in the last three seasons of bike riding. Couldn't tell you why it occurs, but it made the last hour of the bike the darkest moment of my day. Ironically it quickly faded as I stood and started to run.


The sun may have been setting in Madison, but every mile Tac ran he felt brighter and more awake. O.K. the ridiculous amount of latte power gels helped too. By the time mile one passed, Tac had to slow himself down because his heart rate was climbing to his a little bit to fast pace.

Wow. How 10 minutes can change an entire day at Ironman. Quit? What the bleep was Tac thinking, he was running and he was determined to smile at everyone he came across. Smile, laughing, joking with fellow runners, this was the type of run I was hoping for! Tac wouldnt allow himself to think about the finish line until mile 19. At that point he could begin to realize his impending finish. Until then he just plugged away, walked the big hills and through the water stops.

Reaching mile 7 was fun as he began to hear the screams for Taconite Boy and soon was being shadowed by 4 caped wonders known as the Tribe. With a kiss from Trimama, he headed back to the finish line to start his second loop.

Coming into the capital was exactly as expected. Don't listen to the finish line announcements, turn the corner and get it done. The second lap felt like the first. No kidding, it was awesome. The only problem was the last 4 miles. Tac's stomach went south around 21, 22 and he had to take it easy from there on out. Mostly walking the final 3 miles.

Coming out onto State Street Tac could see the capital. He was 1/2 mile from finishing an adventure that started a full year ago with sign up. Training began in February to Wildflower 1/2 in May, Liberty 1/2 in June. 12 weeks of training to this day and Taconite Boy was about to finish. The last mile Tac's stomach was still bugging him, but he didn't care, he just took in the beautiful site of that capitol building as he walked around it to the finish. Of course no superhero could go down the finish chute without running, one fist in pre-flight extension and one planted on the hip. Joined by his super daughter Sopinator, Tac glowed as he heard Trimama screaming for him.

Hoping for a 13:30 finish...came in at 13:59:20. No matter..Taconite Boy becomes an Ironman. That's all that counted.

After finishing photo's and lots of talking with family, Tac decided to hang out and watch the rest of the peeps finish. Did Tac mention that Papa John's and coke is REALLY good after an It is. Frank Farrar finished at 16:56, Tac Boy found Greyhound and we headed home....

To get up 3 hours later for iron schwag...

Yep...Tac followed his Iron day by becoming a complete schwag whore. Although not nearly as promiscuous as Hound dog. We need Pics Greyhound it's so pornographic you have to share!

And of course this...

Tac out...and apparently doing the TWIN CITIES MARATHON IN SIX DAY (details to follow, maybe)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Final Immoo Swim-

The two lap swim was supposed to be easier on the second loop, but tac found it to be very crowded as well. Again not the 'Oh, I think death is on the doorstep' kind of bumpy, but just really annoying. Tac did appreciate the music as he rounded the corner for the second swim spin, Panama-Van Halen, it was perfect.

One thing Tac forgot to mention about this race was the weather.


Tac had seen the weather the two previous years as a volunteer. Ugh. It was the two most hideous days for an Ironman that one could imagine. 94 and high humidity in 2005 and darn right freezing and rain in 06. Tac figured to bet the odds. 4 bad years in a row needed a break, and 2007 had to be that year.

Sunny, dry with a high of 78. Pretty dang good if you ask this tri-caped wonder.

Swimming into the finish line area Tac literally yelled underwater, probably scared the swimmer right next to me, but Tac was stoked. Finishing this swim put him on the Ironman map, the swim was completed.

Runing into the peeling area Tac was only thinking one thought,

"where is my Mama?"

Approaching the peel area there stood Peeling captin and WIBA host Robby B. He told me about his amazing swim (54 minutes Tac thinks?) several years ago. When he came out of the water the crowd was fairly quite, so he cupped his ear and whooped up the spectators. I stole his signature and did the same. 1:21 not exactly Robby B, but tac's a really good ear cupper. Typical Madison response, huge cheers and a big high five from RB.

Walking past the peelers Tac could not find Mama, looking, peelers motioning me over, looking,...finally


There she was, near the back on the right. Pretty much the exact opposite of where she told TB to look prior to the race. Love you dear.

Big hugs, stripped suit (Yeaah that's it baby) and a kiss to the forehead and TB was running up the helix. RUNNING UP THE HELIX. Tac had mentally rehearsed this very moment over and over throughout the training year, that is an awesome feeling.

Getting into transistion was interesting, Tac spotted coach Chris from Gear West and he was surprised to see me. No, really was quite shocked to see TB up the helix this early. Feelings of pride and humiliation at the same time, very interesting :}

T1 was quick. Changed with great help from the volunteers and headed out to the bike, but first got sun-screen slathered by the bloggy home girls 21st Century, Iron girl Nyhus and of course Iron Jen. Found the bike, mounted and began one of the most difficult bike rides Tac's ever had....

Tac out...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Little more

Wow. One week since Tac last posted. That busy. The leaves are changing here, the fall winds are blowing and so many new things are happening in Trimama/Tac land as well. Much of that for future posts. Better later then never, here is another part of the Wisconsin Ironman race report.

The previous days the one thing Tac was fretting was that da-- swim. 2400 people and so many ankles, legs, heads and elbows that could knock tac a good blow caused much fretting prior to the race. The feeling that your in a aqua based street brawl never really occured. Don't get IronTac wrong, LOTS OF BUMPING, nudging and one good hit to the goggles but otherwise fairly uneventful. One annoying aspect was getting boxed in. Early on in the week Tac determined to be in the back of the pack and just move up from there.

Big Mistake.

Tac was weaving through so many swimmers for the entire 2 loops. Many times being boxed in on all three sides. Several times this required Tac to stop swimming just to get outside the box in order to pass. T-Boy's time was around 1:21 and that's exactly where he should have been in the pack, somewhere between halfway and 3/4 the way back.

Live and learn.

The other interesting part of the swim was blonde surf board girl,

2nd loop

to the right

(Some of you guys know exactly what Tac is talkin about)

Black full sleeve wetsuit.

Oh boy...Let's just say it was a good motivator going into the second loop :)

As I exited the water.....oh look Tac has jst been kidnapped again by evil Dr. Anti Post who's forcing me to to all those silly activites that keep me away from finishing a SINGLE POST.....

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ironman Wisconsin-The swim

Your supposed to have very little sleep the night before an Ironman, but Tac managed to get in about 5 1/2 hours so when that alarm went off at 4:00 am he was feeling as ready as any iron virgin could. The previous 3 days had been filled with meeting up with new bloggers, eating and basically waiting for the inevitable. One thing Tac will never repeat for his next Ironman is arriving too early. There's no doubt that getting into registration the hour it opens, with virtually no line is nice, but standing in line is a good trade off to sitting around and fretting about a race of this enormity. Hounddog and resident superhero arrived on Wednesday night, next time the earliest Tac is coming in is the day of the carbo-load dinner. That way he can occupy his time until departure with comic book like heroics and other stuff until the last moment.
It's funny, Tac has never really enjoyed those feelings leading up to a race. They are the most irritating emotions he experiences in triathlon. Ironman is that much more exaggerated. Instead of being nervous the night before it's literally the WEEK before. My point is that when that alarm went off on Sunday morning, it was business time....Thank God!

Taconite Boy and Greyhound sitting for the last time on Iron Day. We arrived down at Verona Terrace around 5 am and waited for Trimama and Iron Steve to show. After saying our goodbye's Tac went back to his T1 bag because he forgot SOCKS for the bike ride. OOps. Before you knew it, it was 6:30 and we all were instructed to get on the helix and head down for the swim. Walking down, Tac looks to his left and there is Tri Shannon! We talked a little strategy said good luck and headed towards the water. Of course Tac forgot his wetsuit was still around his waist until he was about 100 feet from the water. The quick zipping of a fellow iron-athlete and a hefty pat on the back fixed all of that.

Entering the water. Surreal. No other word can descirbe this experience. I moved to the middle back of the swim pack (a mistake I would soon learn). Treading water I started to look around. The water temperature was perfect, the sun was rising to our left(east) like a burnt orange orb coming over the lake, in front of tac was 2400 swimmers treading water and getting ready to go. Tac looked to his right on Monona Terrace and easily could see 5000+ people watching from the shore line all the way to the top of the terrace. Suddenly Tac's heart was racing and the feeling of being a rock star started overwhelming him. Mike Riley was 'strongly' encouraging the remaining athletes to get in the water...

ACDC begins to boom over the lake...

Mike Riley "30 seconds....Are you ready to be called Ironmen today?"

2400 swimmers "Yeaaaahhhhhh!!!"

Heart racing.....Smile as big as Christmas morning


Ironman Wisconsin 2007 had begun and Tac was swimming...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Head not quite above water line yet...

OMG (oh my g-willickers) Tac's not even close to catching up on Paradise related issues along with general household stuff, so race report is still pending. Here's a few pictures Iron Tac loves.

If you look close Trimama is giving Tac a kiss after stripping him...oh yeaah, it's business time!

Sopinator running along side Tac, second loop near Mt. Horeb

Iron Taconite Boy (which is sorta redundant, were going to need to figure that one out) and the awesome Tribe!

Monday, September 10, 2007

How long is this run?

Two college age kids inquired of Tac around mile 18 on the run.


"This is a Marathon?"

"Yep, which followed a 112 mile bike and a 2.4 mile swim...This is Ironman"

priceless looks and stunned silence

...and Tac is one.

Tac out...and one heck of a race report to follow

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Calm

The inescapable calm is here. Tac's excitment has a strange way of quickly becoming very tempered. He feels the urge for the cannon to go off, but am quietly waiting by rehearsing the race plan over and over again. Can hear the voices of all his good friends and family assuring him of his successful day, but he refuses to completely believe their assurances (which he DEEPLY appreciates) until he conquers the three disciplines. He wants to have fun tomorrow, but numbness is the main emotion right now.

This race tests the unknown. The unknown of severe emotional highs and lows. Tac's ready to test and he strongly desires to pass.

The names of all the families affected by suicide are with me for the entire day. I'll look to them from time to time and pray. Lord I pray that you will calm my fears and my doubts and help me focus that energy into prayer for those who have lost so much.

Psalm 140 Verse 6

I say to the Lord, “You are my God; give ear, O Lord, to the voice of my requests.”

Tac out...and calm

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ironman is everywhere...

Tac is surrounded. Surrounded my Madison Iron fever. M-dots as far as the eye can see, the nervous chatter of athletes rehearsing their game plans and schwag temptations that if pursued would put your superhero in the Trimama penalty box.

Greyhound and Tac have settled nicely here in Madison. While sitting at breakfast this morning Tri-Shannon walked up to us. She's here alone so Greyhound and Tac got a new nervous pre-race chatter buddy. Yea.

We all headed down to registration this morning and picked up our bags and schwags. Tac was even greeted at the end of the registration table by our local Tri Club Captain, Coach Chris! We spent the afternoon retrieving bikes from tri-transport and drive touring the course with Simply Stu. Re-visiting the course was a good reminder that this bike course SUCKS DONKEY HOO HA. Wow a very technical and hilly ride is in store for Sunday. Tac's plan is to take it easy on those hills and plan for a longer bike then he would like.

Getting ready for a Gatorade swim in the morning, meeting up with a bunch more bloggers and then more nervous fretting for the rest of the day :)

Special thanks for all of your support regarding my Janus Charity Challenge...The goal has been met! Yea!

Finally this weeks, ehmm, months episode of "The Adventures of Taconite Boy"

Tac found his way down to Madison on Wednesday night. The tac-mobile was on the rack and his trusty other sidekick Greyhound was in the co-pilot seat. Just as we were arriving into the Dane County area, Tac noticed a strange light in the horizon.

"Holy Capitol dome's Taconite Boy, Someone has shut off the lighting on capital hill. What will happen to all those Ironman Finisher photo's!"

"Great point Hound dog, this could only be the work of...."

Bigun/Trimama? have fun

Tac Out