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Monday, June 28, 2010

Wisconsin IM Camp weekend!

In a nut shell......IT WAS AWESOME!
THe opportunity to go down to Madison and ride, run and swim the course was one of the best training tools that I could have spent money on.  I enjoyed every minute of the event(except for the terrible Super 8 beds)   I went down for the purpose of seeing the course and gaining a little familiarity before I get numbers painted on me and tackle it.  That was accomplished, otherwise I had not developed any expectations or come up with any conclusions about the rest of the weekend!  So, all the other things we did were a great bonus and will be put into my triathlon training toolbox moving ahead!
Needless to say, when we arrived on Friday tired was the one thing that I was feeling.  I was up at 4AM for the days travel fun!?  Our flight to Milwaukee was harmless and the drive to Madison was easy as could be. Even managed to visit a couple of bikes stores along the trip to pick up some necessities for the weekend(airport security took all CO2 catridges)
Friday night was spent at a presentation on IM nutrition.  A couple of interesting things came from that lecture.  1) A lot of people are very uninformed or ignorant to nutrition when it comes to long endurance events 2) the coach who is a 25 veteran in athletics, KONA racer, ranked US triathlete made a comment about the race as a whole, an IRONMAN is not a swim, bike, run race, it is primarily a nutrition race, you might be the best at any discipline, but without nutrition you are on the side of the road!  He presented ideas and his experiences on how to manage nutrition on IM day.  I found it to be a great review of the information that I have reviewed up to this point.  I will be using many points that he presented over the next few weeks to see how it works for me.
Saturday was the first full day, and that it was!  By 7AM we were in the water learning about many small things that new IM'ers may not consider.  Wisconsin is an in-water start which means you are on the lake treading water before the gun goes off.  We talked about the best way to be positioned when the canon goes off.  He brought light to the fact that you are going to get hit, so learn to deal with it. Strategies on how to minimize the chaos in relation to the course were reviewed.  We spent some time drafting and sighting over the 1 hour AM swim.  Overall it was a great session with one hour spent in the water treading water and swimming.
Immediately following it was time to get on the bikes and ride the course.  One of the big things that you hear when people talk about Wisconsin is that the hills can eat you up.  The opportunity to ride the course would help to define that for me and make certain that I was ready for the course and what it was going to hand me over the race day.  It is a 2 loop course that is primarily in the country with a lot of potential for wind.  So, right away a lesson learned and a mind set to be in is in my race strategy bag.
As we headed out on the course, the hills started early.  In the early part of the course they are not crazy, however, they are there often.  The course is up a big stick and then 2 loops, the loops begin to be a little more challenging.  Once again the hills are not crazy, they are plentiful and a good strategy is important. Otherwise, the second loop will kick you in the butt in a big way.  The course is awesome as far as scenery, the countryside has great vistas and a lot of time to enjoy the otherwise long ride.  The chance to ride it was a great bonus, I am truly satisfied with my investment.
Following the ride we spent the first part of the afternoon taking about some on course maintenance,  How to change a flat, surprise!  Some of the people in the room had never done it before.   I was lucky enough to change one just before the end of the ride so I was able to observe the various techniques in changing a tire.
Then, the part that I feel was where I need the most help was a running session.  We spent close to an hour talking about the dynamics o running and how to do it efficiently.  It was great. I have done one other running clinic in the past and found it to be a suggestion that I was running wrong.  This session was terrific in giving pointers and good studies technical advice on running form.  I believe that over the next few months and moving forward the hour will provide a lot of benefit to my IM running as well as my future goal to reach Boston on my own qualifying time.
We then did another great session on nutrition.  This session was great as it provided in depth techincal knowledge and methods of calculating requirements requirements.  Being a bit of a geek when it comes to wanting to accomplish this goal properly this was a great session.  It has given me more opportunities to work on my nutrition over the training sessions.
Then, a great session on mental preparation.  I believe that there are a lot of athletes who are spectacular physically, but let the mind bury them at race time.  This session was awesome from both a reminder of the importance as well as some tools to use leading up to and on race day!
The end of day one was a great finish.  Th owner of the camp invited us to his parents  house to enjoy a great dinner hosted by them.  What a great way to end a super day of training!  A good meal and a great rest at the end of the day!
Day 2!  Great start to the morning!  We headed to the lake that the course will be set on for a morning swim.  What a great morning.  The weather was perfect, calm lake, good water temperature!  We did the swim on part of the course that represented about half of the event day.  My swim was great.  I have found that my open water swims seem to be smoother and I get into a better groove than the pool practice.  I felt like I got into a great rhythm and was able to do the distance with little exertion.  I hope that race day has the same overall conditions as these were perfect.
The culmination of the camp was a great run on the course.  It starts on the helix that is the transition area of the course and then is 100% in the city.  It is a great course with no real areas that are away from support.  It is great as you are through many city landmarks and to the areas that you would visit if you were in Madison.  I was in Madison 3 years ago for a football game and got to run by the parking lot that I tailgated in that day.  The course is great.  Once again there are a couple of hills but nothing that is over the top.  I do realize that the run is after a 118 mile ride so it will be nasty, but knowing what I am going to encounter allows me to plan a run in a strategic and realistic way.  Overall it is an awesome run with a great finish area.   I am looking forward to the day that is not so far way when I am moving across it with 100's of people around.
Overall the weekend was tremendous, sending shivers down my spine like the day that I registered.  It is exciting to know that in a little more than 2 months I will be on the course for the real deal.  Like the day I signed up, I cant wait for the moment!
If you are going to do the IMWI at any time, I highly recommend this camp.  It is not a meat head blow your brains to show how awesome you are weekend, it is to learn.  To gain course knowledge and lessons from a couple of great coaches.  McWilliams Training and Dwight Sandvold were awesome hosts and I will train with them ad other athletes in the future!
A 10 out of 10 weekend and one that I am totally satisfied with!  I hope that your races and training were as awesome!


  1. that sounds truly awesome!, looking forward for some development in the nutrition tips!

  2. Great report. Loved the paragraph breaks, and no spelling errors, what's up with that. Did the camp teach spelling and grammar in the evening as well. haha.

    Your report is getting me thinking of doing WI one day.


  3. John it all sounds amazing! Please share the nutrition tips over the coming weeks :)

  4. FANTASTIC! I think Im going to go down and Volunteer for it this year...great report