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)


Bigun said...

Ha! A marathon in a week! Enjoy that bit of torture, TM...

The feet on fire thing is all nerves - trick I learned; ride with your feet on top of your shoes for a while - instant relief!

Great report! Great IM! See ya in a few weeks!

greyhound said...

Marathon? Now? uhm. No.

Brent Buckner said...

Marathon? I'll leave you to it - shaking my head and wishing you a good day!

Thanks for the report!

JekuL said...

I'll make sure to cheer for you if I see you next weekend. Any plans on what pace you'll be running? Nice work on the finish!

Tri-Dummy said...


Biking and running and tattoos, oh MY!

Marathon? Ruh. Roh. (in a Scooby Doo voice/accent/soundy)

Jumper 2.0 said...

Hey TacMan,

Great Report!

Would these help with the feet?

I know that it states its for the knees but I thought I read somewhere that it helps with "burning feet" too!

Sorry that I can't find where I read that!

Dan Seifring said...

Thank you for sharring your journey with everyone. It was a great read.

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

Nice report!

tarheeltri said...

Great report Tac! Congrats on your race and a TREMENDOUS season!