Bernie Brosnan's Ironman Diary
The swim was crazy. It was a deepwater start and was 2 laps
in the 72 degree water of Lake Monona. The cannon was shot
off and me and 1800 of my fellow racers set off. For about
the first 1/2 lap it was pretty brutal. But I managed to find
some open water about 20 meters off of the buoys, so that
made it easier. I settled in to my pace. Before I knew I was
at the final stretch headed towards shore. When I got out
I checked my time 1:09:38, right on schedule! Nothing like
a 2.4 mile swim to get loosened up.
|Aerial view of the swimmers.
After getting the wetsuit off I dashed up into the changing
area to get ready for my bike ride. I want to say this. The
folks who organized this race did a phenomenal job at taking
care of us. Everything was so organized and the preparation
was first rate. It really was something to see, and I'm sure
that it is hard to appreciate unless you see it. Back to the
story...I got dressed and went back out to mount my valiant
"steed." While on my way, I heard some people calling
my name. I looked all around (and then finally up) to find
my Dad and brother cheering me on. I felt an immediate surge,
pumped my fist a few times (which really drew some cheers)
and headed out. My whole transition time 12:47 and that included
a brief (but necessary) potty stop.
The bike ride was incredible. The first 1/2 of it I was flying.
The wind was low, and I was on a mental high. The only problem
I had was inside of the first mile I lost one of my water
bottles. It was my special bottle that had my nutritional
powder in it. So I had to back track about 200 meters to pick
it up. I covered the first 56 miles in just over 3 hours.
I stopped off at this point and grabbed my peanut butter and
honey sandwiches (they NEVER have tasted so good). At this
point of the course we went through this town called Verona.
Let me say this, I will remember riding through Verona for
the rest of my life. They had about a mile stretch of people
(5 rows deep) cheering us on. They had signs up about every
10 feet. They had names written on the street in chalk. It
was like something out of the Tour de France. Very exciting
and exactly what you need to get you over the hump. The second
loop was not as easy especially since the wind kicked up a
bit. But I kept rolling on. Again the crowds in the various
towns (especially on the BIG hills) were inspirational. I
finished in 6:43:55.
My bike to run transition was fairly unremarkable. I changed
out of my bike clothes and into my running stuff. I had felt
pretty calm because so far I have followed my plan and I have
hit all of my goal times. I headed out onto the run course
doing some calculations to figure out what my pace needed
to be in order to finish under the 17 hour race limit. I figured
that if I averaged 3 MPH I would finish. My whole transition
time was 9:12.
My plan for the run was to run the flat spots and speed-walk
the uphills and downhills. By the way, Madison, WI is not
what you would call a flat city. I managed to run quite a
bit at the start and then I saw the first mile marker. I did
a quick time check, 9:10! I was happy that I could run a mile
at that speed, but I knew that I had to slow down and get
to a more reasonable pace. I still had 25 more miles to go.
The miles kept ticking down and my energy just seemed to grow.
I felt better and better every mile. I just kept to my run/walk
plan. When I completed the first loop I saw my family there
cheering me on. Dalton and Joe were beaming. I found out that
the Lions lost (a slight downer). At this point, I could barely
contain myself. I knew that I was going to make it to the
finish line. I tried to encourage every athlete on the course
that I saw. I ran with some and I walked with some. I had
about 3 miles to go. I did a quick time check and realized
that if I picked up the pace I could finish in less than 14
hours. I figured that I owed it to myself to make a stab at
it. I started running. And the funny thing was is there was
no pain at all. I felt so light on my feet. I got towards
the finish chute, and Joe and Dalton came out and ran the
last 100 meters with me. We finished it and got our pictures
taken. My marathon was 5:41:50 (less than an hour slower than
my marathon time from March).
Altogether, my finish time was 13:57:20. I feel great right
now. I haven't had to take any pain meds (besides a couple
of Motrin). And I can even walk up and down the stairs today.
Out of the 1801 people that started the race 1726 people finished
in regulation time. It was a great day. I don't have any pictures
yet, but I would love to share them with you all when they
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