Sep 19

Ironman Wisconsin: The Run

If you missed my previous posts about Ironman Wisconsin, feel free to scroll down or follow the following links:

When I first started the run, I was happy to have met one of my goals for the day.  While more of a mental goal than anything, I started the run before the overall winners had crossed the finish line.  I call this a mental goal because I think it would have been a heck of a lot harder to start the run if I was seeing other athletes already finishing up for the day.

I started chugging along through the first mile. Unfortunately, my (or more accurately, Jennie’s) Garmin hadn’t synced yet so I didn’t know if I was going out too fast as I tend to do.  I should mention that I was using Jennie’s Garmin 305 instead of my 405 because on Saturday as I was packing my transition bags, I couldn’t get my Garmin’s screen to unlock because one of the buttons wasn’t responding.  Thankfully, Jennie had packed her Garmin and let me borrow it. Crisis averted.

In no time, I found Jennie and my support crew just after mile 1.  This run course was absolutely ideal for spectators as you will see by the number of times Jennie was able to see me.

2011-09-11 15.30.17-1

As I approached Jennie at the first mile, there was a second group of spectators at the corner.  As Jennie started cheering for me.  Upon hearing my first name, one of them went, “Oh! You are THAT Team Neumann!” Apparently, they had found the Spectators Guide I had posted on SlowTwitch for IMWI and were following the advice I had given for spectating the run. 

2011-09-11 15.39.49

Shortly after seeing Jennie, I realized that I was past the first mile and should take a sip of Perform.  Bad idea.  Within seconds of the sip, my stomach started retching. I burped a few times, but it didn’t pass. A few steps later I was hunched over extricating myself of approximately 36 Gu Chomps and multiple bottles of Powerbar Perform.  All I could think was that I just earned my first pukie. haha. It is actually the first time ever that I have ever puked during or after a race or even training day.  Once I got moving again, my stomach was still a little queasy.  So, I popped a Maalox which I wouldn’t have even been carrying if it wasn’t for Jon’s instance on the matter.  That helped settle my stomach down a bit.

The Maalox helped and I started to run again.  My initial plan for the entire run was to run between aid stations and then walk the aid stations.  However, this quickly evolved to run when I could, walk when I had to.  Even though my stomach had settled down a bit, I still couldn’t eat or drink anything but water without my stomach doing flip flops.

Shortly after mile 4, I came to the aid station Derek was working at.  He spotted me and quickly got me some ice and water.  I pushed on, but was starting to feel the affects of only drinking water and not getting any other fluids in me.  So, at the next aid station, I decided that I would take some Perform.  The bottle I was carrying was lemon-lime flavor, but the aid stations had orange and berry flavors.  Thinking that maybe my body was just rejecting the lemon-lime, I went with what the aid station had.  Not even 100 yards after the aid stations, it became clear that flavor wasn’t the problem I puked again and then again moments later.  Well, that answers that. Water only from here on out.  The second pukie actually happened at an opportune time because it gave me an excuse to walk up Observatory Hill.  After the second pukie, I did have the epiphany that I was thankful enough that my stomach issues were manifesting themselves this way rather than the other way.  At least with puking, I could just let loose on the side on the road and then continue on my way.

It was shortly after that when I hit State Street for the first time.  State Street is a long street that runs between the Capitol building and UW campus with a ton of restaurants, shops and bars.  On race day, it is lined with people 10 deep.  It is absolutely crazy.  Despite the energy, I was hurting.  But this is where the crowd comes in to play.  Because everyone’s name was on their bib number, fans would cheer for you by name throughout the day.  So, the entire time, you are hearing things like “Go Kevin!,” “You’re doing great Kevin!,” and “You’ve got this Kevin.”  Afterwards, I told Jennie that is a surreal feeling.  No matter how low you feel, EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON out there believes that you can finish whether or not you believe in yourself.

I knew that I would I see Jennie at some point here so I had my eyes peeled for her.  Sure enough, there she was, right at the turn around.  I think I worried one of the volunteers because instead of turning at the cone, I kept running to give her a hug. He started to chase me like I somehow missed the turn accidentally.

2011-09-11 16.27.12

I accidentally sort of freaked out Jennie a bit at this point.  While I wasn’t in horrible shape at that moment, I knew that if my stomach didn’t start cooperating, I was going to go downhill fast.  Unfortunately, as I was exhausted, I didn’t accurately relay that message to her and she thought I was really hurting at that point. Sorry babe!

Thankfully, after seeing Jennie at mile 6, things started to look up.  I wound my way back along Lake Mendota before rounding the cone at mile 8 to bring be back to the Capitol.  On the way back, I found my buddy Matt outside of Camp Randall Stadium.  Shortly after that, I saw Jennie at about mile 12.  I just had to head to the Capitol before turning around to start my second loop.

I was dreading the turn around to start the second loop.  You literally run down MLK Jr drive, the finish line street, before going around a cone to run another 13.1 miles.  However, the excitement of the crowd carried me straight through without even realizing it.  Run special needs was right at the turnaround.  The only thing I considered grabbing was a fresh pair of socks, but I didn’t want to risk stopping and sitting so I just skipped it.

The second lap went way better than the first loop.  While my first loop was still a bit faster than my second loop, mentally, I felt like a different person on the second loop.  I saw Jennie again at mile 14 and already had a smile on my face.  I decided to hand off my water bottle to her at this point because I couldn’t drink from it and I was sick of just carrying it around.

2011-09-11 15.38.23-1

If I could define the 2nd loop, it would be my socializing loop.  For whatever reason, I ran the first loop pretty much solo.  However, on the 2nd loop, I found more people to run with throughout. Running with another person makes all the difference in the world.  It makes the time fly by.  Right after the turn around, I caught up with a guy who had way too much energy. He said he was hurting, but you’d never know it from his enthusiasm.  He was one of the many first responders (Chicago FD) racing. We ran together and chatted for about 2 miles before I walked up a hill and let him go.

The second loop would continue much the same way – moving from one group to another.  I even ran into a woman from Grand Rapids. Small world.  I ran with a fellow ND fan for a mile or so and we both commiserated about the disappointing start to their season.

2011-09-11 18.42.13

As I approached State Street on my second loop, I saw Rob Verhelst, the firefighter completing the marathon in full gear.  He was stopped at an aid station getting his shoes tied by a volunteer (he couldn’t bend over with all his gear).  I took a minute to shake his hand and give him a “Thank you” before continuing on.

2011-09-11 18.39.33

On the back half of the 2nd loop, I saw D-Rog out cheering. This guy is awesome. He was out there ALL DAY. I saw him at the swim start. He saw me (and I heard him, but didn’t see him) cheering during transition, then volunteered at a run aid stations, and then cheered some more! He grabbed a picture of me running by after I rounded the final cone.  Less than 4 miles to go at this point.


I ran as much of the final 4 miles as I could knowing that every step I took was going to bring me closer to the finish line.  I hadn’t been paying a whole lot of attention to my time during the run.  However, as I passed mile 24, I heard a guy yell “636.” At first, I thought he was just cheering for #636, but when I looked around, I realized that I was pretty much alone and there was no #636 nearby.  I checked my watch and realized that he was saying it was 6:36PM! That meant that I had 24 minutes to go 2 miles and be under 12 hours.  What a huge pick me up! I had mentally kissed a sub-12 hour finish goodbye long ago so, needless to say, I was shocked.

The last two miles flew by and in no time I was in the finisher’s chute. I entered the chute with one other guy, but rather than race him, I dropped back a few steps and let him have his moment and took my time to enjoy the moment myself.  However, after watching the finish line video, we crossed almost at the same time still.

2011-09-11 19.54.21

I weaved back and forth high fiving the crowd on each side of the chute.

2011-09-11 19.54.25


Mike Reilly announced my name as I approached the finish line and then as I crossed, “You’re Ironman Kevin.” (Note: If anyone needs help downloading their finish line video from ASIOrders, drop me an email)

After the finish, I was immediately caught by two volunteers.  These two women were awesome! They each grabbed an arm and helped me over to get my finisher shirt, hat, and medal.  They got me a cup of Coke as I waited to get my photo taken.  After that, I was going to find Jennie, but they wouldn’t leave my side until I spotted Jennie.  I sort of felt like a first grader whose teacher wouldn’t release him until his parents showed up. haha.

2011-09-11 19.58.11

A huge thanks to Jennie and my support crew for all their cheering throughout the day!

2011-09-11 19.59.14
Jennie, Me, My Mom, My Brother, Mark, and his girlfriend Nancy

2011-09-11 19.58.41
Matt, Me, and Jennie

Overall Results

Total Time: 11:54:13
Overall Place: 434/2448
Gender Place: 367 / 1803
Age Group Place: 45/175
Swim Rank: 351 OA / 36 AG
Swim Time: 1:07:10
T1 Time: 6:48
Bike Rank: 419 OA / 45 AG
Bike Time: 5:58:46
Bike Pace: 18.73mph
T2 Time: 8:50
Run Rank: 434 OA / 45 AG
Run Time: 4:32:39
Run Pace: 10:24 min/mile

Post Race

After the race, I grabbed a can of pop and a couple pieces of pizza from the food tent.  Surprisingly, I was able to eat a bit of the pizza – my first food since the couple of bites of a PB&J in T2.  I was actually feeling really good after the race – better than I ever thought. I am sure it was mainly adrenaline though.

2011-09-11 21.32.58

After getting back to the hotel room (we totally made the right decision on picking the hotel close to the race site), the first task was an ice bath. Jennie raided the hotel ice machine and loaded up the tub with some ice cold water.  As soon as I was done, I got changed and we headed out to find some food and watching the midnight finishers. I’ve been told before that if you only watch two parts of an Ironman, make sure it is the swim start and the midnight finishers.  I watched the swim start last year, but missed out on seeing the finishers last year.

2011-09-11 22.51.36

Jennie surprised me with a sign on the door as we left for dinner. Ironman By Thirty – Check! We headed directly to the Brocach Irish Pub for dinner. I had been craving a Dublin City Burger all week.  That and a Guinness.  However, as soon as I took my first bite, the weirdest thing happened.  It felt like my throat swelled up on me or something.  I think it was just the fact that my mouth was still really dry, but it made it hard to eat. I ate as much as I could but filled up surprisingly quickly.  The food went down great though and I had no stomach issues. 

2011-09-11 23.26.55 2011-09-11 23.27.09

We finished up dinner at about 10:30PM and headed over to watch the final 90 minutes of the race.  I was getting pretty antsy at dinner to get back to the race.  The Brocach is close enough to the race that you can hear it, but can’t see it.

I am so glad that I was able to make it back and watch the end of the race.  If you ever have a chance to watch an Ironman finish, do not pass it up. It was so freaking exciting!  Shortly after we started watching, we saw Rob finish in around 16:15 with a huge smile on his face.

2011-09-12 00.25.30

The crowd got louder and louder as the night went on.  I was starting to lose my voice from all the cheering.  The smiles on everyone’s faces was incredible.  And then, just before midnight, we got to watch the final official finisher cross the line.

What a day. What a night. One I will never forget.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for one final wrap-up post!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2011/09/19/ironman-wisconsin-the-run


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  1. Lisa

    How exciting! thx for writing up your thoughts and experiences to share. and congrats again!
    Lisa recently posted..What’s next?

  2. lindsay

    congrats dude! i well up every time i read these ironman reports. sap. i’ve been there with the stomach issues mid-marathon, except i didn’t swim and bike before it. so, i’m not sure an ironman is in my future. way to make those guys jealous with that finishline smooch!
    lindsay recently posted..in five years

  3. adena

    nice job! What an amazing time Kevin. I can’t beleive you were sick and not taking in anything for the entire run. Unreal!
    adena recently posted..check out these two hot babes

  4. Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race

    This is just awesome and worth every minute of being antsy to read it. You just killed it brother. Thanks for sharing the day in such detail. I have the chills still from your finish line video.

    Just flat out awesome.
    Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race recently posted..Orbana Healthy Energy Review

  5. Jeff Irvin

    Thanks for detailing the day for us Kevin, really felt like we were with you – even for the puking parts!

    It is amazing how those big Ironman crowds can make all the anguish disappear for a few minutes!

    Okay, enough with the reminiscing, time to start training for Mont Tremblant!
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Marketeers are in my head …

  6. Elizabeth

    Congratulations on acheiving your two goals (1) time under 12 hrs (2) completing an Ironman before thirty!! Completing a Full Ironman is such a huge accomplishment. Sorry to hear about the first loop stomach issues, but I am glad it came out the mouth instead of out the other way 🙂 So, do you think you will sign up for another Ironman?
    Elizabeth recently posted..Marathon training so far…..

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)


      I’m actually already signed up for number 2! 🙂 I signed up for Ironman Mont Tremblant in August 2012. It was sort of tough to sign up for #2 before completing #1 but I knew it would sell out.

  7. Jon

    Oh man! Bummer about puking right out of the gate! Good thing it happened at the start instead of half way? Maybe? Glad that the maalox helped!

    What did you do to get nutrition in on the run now that the Perform was litteraly backfiring?

    Way to gut it out! Glad you mentally had a better 2nd loop than the first. I think I read on Jennie’s facebook that you gave her a lovenote at mile? That’s awesome! I just gave Kelly disgusting kisses! haha!
    Jon recently posted..Today’s Advice

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Yeah, the puking was no fun, but it honestly wasn’t that bad and could have been worse. The puking really did make me feel better as I rid myself of the Perform. And yes, it was better that it happened out of the gate I guess. It really made the 2nd loop that much better.

      Yeah… nutrition on the run was pretty much non-existent. It was basically water only through mile 17 when I started to take some warm Pepsi. Not ideal, but I’ve actually done solo marathons on nothing but Gatorade and water. I think I have a better strategy in my mind for the future. I’m going to use my aero drink bottle up front. Pre-race I’ll mix up 2 or 3 bottles of powdered Perform at double or triple strength. Then, on the course, I’ll just take water and mix my own on the go.

      Yeah, I gave Jennie a note at the first mile. Forgot to include that in the RR. Crap. Totally stole the idea from John Proc though so I can’t really take credit for it.

  8. Morgan

    So awesome! I’m glad you were able to pull through the tummy trouble and still make your ultimate goal! You did such a good job with this race and I’m sure you’re still riding the high of it all! Congrats again Kev, so proud of you!
    Morgan recently posted..WWKD

  9. Heather

    Great report Kevin! I felt like I was right there with you guys! I truly enjoyed following your (and Jennie’s) journey. You guys are honestly the most awesome couple I have ever met. You truly demonstrate the commitment, support, and love that a marriage should be. This report brought tears to my eyes every time I saw a pic you you hugging Jennie or of her cheering for you on the sidelines! Truly an inspiring couple! I cannot wait to read about Jennie’s first Ironman someday!

    As far as the run, Matt and I had the same issues as you, only out the other end. We could not get the nutrition down to save our lives. I wish there was some secret to a happy tummy on the run. But excellent job staying strong and working through the issues. The second loop also seemed much better for us as well….probably the adrenaline of knowing you are ALMOST done.

    Very exciting day and congrats to you on your sub 12 finish!

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      I don’t know how I missed this comment the other day! Whoops!

      You are took kind! The same can be said about you and MattyO! (I feel weird calling him MattyO to you but it is the only way I can keep all the Matt’s I know straight – haha). Training with you guys was a blast and you have been awesome at putting us up before Glass City and for training days. It was awesome seeing you two train together and see both perspective during the journey (especially when MattyO would casually leave things out 🙂 )

      After the race, I went back to the hotel and honestly the first thing I did was pull up the Rev3 tracking site. I searched for yours and MattyO’s results and saw that the time was exactly the same. I think I actually cheered aloud! haha. And, if I remember correctly, I did tell you that you were going to be closer to the 13 hour goal than the 15 hour one didn’t I??? 😉

      I hope that we can coordinate our schedules next year and do some more racing/training together!

  10. karen

    Congratulations! Sounds like you had a fantastic experience. Love all the support you had through out the race – right down to the sign on the door at the end 🙂

  11. Elizabeth

    Awesome, awesome, awesome. You rock!! Way to go!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
    Elizabeth recently posted..Go Ahead: Walk a Mile (or 1,000) in My Shoes

  12. Derek

    Way to go man!!!!!
    You did it

    beautiful recap

    Awesome run – way to rally on that second loop after issues out of the gate on loop 1.

    was a pleasure to be able to see you at the start of your day preswim, and toward the end of your day with less than 5 miles to go on the run. Just awesome,..


  13. Viper

    Wow, epic report for an epic race. Great job. Cheers!
    Viper recently posted..Race Week: Taper Sickness

  14. kc

    What an excellent race report! So proud of you Ironman Kevin! I must find the male version of the t-shirt Jennie has on at dinner. Finishing video almost made me cry. An amazing day for you and I enjoyed following you this entire time. What’s next?
    kc recently posted..you’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’ …

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Thanks! I have seen a male version of the shirt before (I think it is black with yellow writing), but they didn’t have one at the expo. You don’t think your husband would like the purple one with glittery writing??

      Ironman Mont Tremblant in August is the next big one. Probably going to do a couple half IMs in the meantime as well. They also just announced MI Iron (www.michiganiron.com) as a full Iron distance race only 20 minutes away!! I’m hoping it is successful in 2012 so I can race it in 2013.

  15. peter takeda

    awesome report. congrats on your goal

  16. katie

    you puked your brains out and still went sub-12? am i allowed to hate you a little?

    congratulations, IRONMAN!
    katie recently posted..Philadephia Half Marathon: race report

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Haha! The puking actually helped in the matter. It was when my stomach was upset and I couldn’t puke that slowed me down.

  17. Matt Smith

    From watching your times on Ironmanlive, I never would have thought you were going through so many stomach issues. I think your run was an amazing time for an IM Marathon. Way to go, Kevin! You’re the man!
    Matt Smith recently posted..To Run or Not to Run. That is the question.

  18. Tim

    What an amazing show of perseverance! I’m already so stoked for your future Ironman races. Congratulations again on your amazing achievement! I look forward to talking more about your journey when mine begins.
    Tim recently posted..Playmakers Classic Triathlon

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      You have had a great start to your multisport career. I can’t wait to follow your journey in the coming years! I’m always available for questions whenever you want. As my uncle always said to me, “My advice is free and worth every penny.” 🙂

  19. Rob Boersma

    You’re an inspiration, Kevin. I’ve had a lot of fun tracking your progress on the blog, and I’ve learned a lot from it too. Keep up the good work – this is only the beginning! Let’s do dinner with our wives again so we can hear about it in person…

  20. BDD

    Wow, what a great race, congrats on so many levels!!

    Congrats on the Pukies!!!

    So, are you going to change the name of your blog since you completed your goal?
    BDD recently posted..It’s the Law

  21. Aimee (I Tri To Be Me)

    Seriously, you are awesome!! Congrats on an amazing race! Even though the run didn’t go as planned, you stayed strong and finished!!! Woohoo!!!
    Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) recently posted..A Handful is all you need!

  22. Kyle

    Awesome job in the race. I started following your blog a month and a half ago and its been great counting down the days while I read. Finishing under 12 hours is such a great accomplishment. I signed up for Placid for my first Ironman and reading everything you write has given me tons of advice. Good luck with your future races and I look forward to reading more

  23. Matt Oravec

    Good stuff man. Shocked you had stomach issues???? H and I knew we would, it was a matter of time, but you had your nutrition down to a T! That really surprised me.

    Luckily… ours was the opposite issue as yours and we each only had 2 epidsodes. So I have no complaints on anything we did throughout the day.

    I do agree with you if you have someone with you on the run, it goes by SO MUCH EASIER! You are no longer “alone” out there and something just checks out in your head.

    So glad you got sub 12hr on this. Seriously, I knew you would haha 😉

    Great job!
    Matt Oravec recently posted..Lessons from a 140.6

  24. Colleen

    Ahhhh – got the chills reading this! Such a roller coaster of a day, isn’t it? I’m so glad that you started feeling a bit better on the second loop. I know how mentally draining it can be to really feel like crap. The thought of perform makes my stomach flipflop! 🙁

    Dude… you went sub 12 hours on your first Ironman. I’m mega impressed, although not that surprised! You are awesome!

    Congrats Kevin… you ARE an Ironman!

  25. Bruce Babcock

    Sub 12 hour at IMW is out of sight! Definitely one of the toughest bikes on the IM circuit, right behind Lake Placid.

    You have a sparkling future in multi-sport.

    Bruce B

  26. thomas troncoso

    Congratulations!! I enjoyed reading your race report. I am glad you had Jennie and friends there to cheer you on.
    thomas troncoso recently posted..Swim & Run

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