Wisconsin 2012 Race Report — Brian Comiskey, 11:55, 22′ PR!

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Brian Comiskey: 43 yr / IM #6

Ironman® Wisconsin 2012 (11:55 – PR of 22’)

Social/Fun Stuff:

Friday: Drove out to Timberline to test ride bike and check front shifting issues.  Everything seemed to be sorted after 4 hours in the shop on Thurs and change from DA to Ultegra front derailleur and FSA to SRAM Red chain ring.  Hung out at Barriques on West Washington drinking Red Eye’s and chatting with friends.  Dinner at Restaurant Muramoto for sushi and then walked next door to Great Dane for EN meet up.  Got schooled by Coach Rich on the pool table.  Dude is a boss.

The only time I was not losing…

Saturday: Got bike and bags checked in at 10:30am and then signed up for 2013.  Later, had an awesome brunch at Marigold’s with EN team member Chip Pearson and his wife, Nicole.  Afterwards, I drove Chip and Nicole through the bike course since he had not rode it this year in training and was doing his first IM.  I had dinner at Chipotle on State Street and back in the room at 6pm and chilled out.

Race Day: Pre-Race

 Shotgun 2 Ensures at 2:00am for 500 cal and go back to bed.  Wake up at 4am and eat breakfast of 2 cups unsweetened applesauce with one scoop protein powder added and 1 more Ensure.  Total cal of about 530.  Had 3 Starbucks Via with 8 oz water.  Went to transition at 5am to get body marked, put bottles on bike, and air up tires.  On bike nutrition consists of aero drink with water in front, 2 x 750 cal bottles of Infinit. Layed down inside Monona Terrace on ground level with Kid A on the headphones and folded wetsuit as a pillow.


Ninja-style pre-race


EN Chi South members, John Molchin, Brian Pautsch, and Jeff Shoemaker came by to start their epic day of “spectating”.   They were awesome with helping me out after the race as well.

Gear Choices:

Swim: Speedo Vanquisher tinted goggles with J&J baby shampoo for anti fog, DeSoto Forza Tri Short with pockets, EN Singlet, Blue Seventy Synergie wetsuit, Tri Glide (awesome!).

Bike: Cinqo Quarq Power Meter with 50/34 cranks and 11-28 cassette, Garmin Edge 500, Zipp 808 FC CC Front, Zipp 900 Cincher Disc rear, Vittoria OC EVO CX tires with 700×20 front and 700×23 rear. Latex tubes at 110psi.

Run: Newton Distance Racers, Xtenex Tri Laces, Balega Enduro Socks, Garmin 310XT

Swim: Goal Time: 1:15 / Race Time: 1:16

Due to work and family constraints, I was only able to swim 1-2 times a week so expected to be a bit slower.  I think the increase in number of athletes starting the race this year, made the swim seem more crowded than last year despite the change to a one loop format.  Crazy long stretch from John Nolen Road to smokestacks.  Got elbowed pretty hard on left eye but goggle stayed in place and just took a little water in.  Could have been worse.

Bike: Goal Time: 5:40 / Race Time: 5:47

My plan:

  1. JRA to Valley Road and then slowly up to 70% (210W)
  2. Always be thinking strategically about momentum into turns/climbs
  3.  S-Caps: 3-4/hr
  4. Aid stations: drink one bottle water every station
  5. Mile ~ 80 – have 2 x 200mg caffeine
  6. No huge wattage spikes

For nutrition, I drank water only the first 30’ and then two sips of Infinit every 15’ to average out to 250 cal/hour.  The weather forecast was ideal with temps in low to mid 60’s.  This was loop 19 and 20 for me on the bike course since 2009 and definitely the windiest day ever.  I knew it was coming mostly from the north but never really seemed to get a tailwind.  I kept looking at flags to see if NE or NW but none of it really made sense in terms of what I was feeling with a cross wind.  There are not too many open parts of the course so never felt dangerous rolling a disc.  Fortunately, I ride in rural areas where it is always windy and I have a decent position on the bike so felt this would be worse for others than me.

Pushed a little bit on the stick out to Verona when there was an opportunity to get more momentum on some of the descents.  For such an awesome bike course, it really starts and ends in a shitty way with lots of admin stuff on trails, parking lots, and access roads.  Nothing can be done to change this given the start/finish location.  I was happy to get onto a newly paved 92 and ride past the hellish Town Hall Rd. detour.  I had to stop on climb to Mt. Horeb with chain locking up when shifting from big to small ring.  Everything felt really good and passing people.  I saw lots of motorcycles monitoring the bike course but no one getting penalties.  I even saw a rider go over the yellow line and cut in front of a motorcycle.  Nuts.

I knew Rich, John, Brian, and Jeff would be on Old Sauk so was looking forward to seeing everyone.  Huge crowds on Old Sauk, Timberline, and Midtown make that stretch actually kind of fun.  Plus, once you hit mile 50/90 on Midtown it is net down hill and super fast.  I have my Garmin set to show Power and NP Lap on one screen with speed/time/distance on the other.  I have auto lap set to 10 miles so breaks down to about a 30’ interval.  Something did not seem right with my power data as I was seeing pretty low numbers relative to speed and effort.  I started feeling this around mile 40 and thought that either my power meter was jacked or I screwed up my day by going out too hard.

Here is the (suspect) data from the ride:
































































This includes bathroom stops in Cross Plains on Loop 1 and Marsh View Road aid station on Loop 2.  I also dropped my chain shifting to the little chain ring on the stick back to town.  Total time stopped of 9’.  Grrrr.

Going through Mt. Horeb on the second loop I concluded that my power meter was definitely jacked and would have to do the ride based on RPE.  Fortunately, I have been riding with power for two years and had lots of time on the Wisconsin course. On the second loop, it was all about getting to Mile 90 being smart and then push the pace back into town knowing I would need to back off on the admin stuff for last two miles.

I was able to pass 600 people on the bike.  Like last year, it is a big mental boost to have a strong ride back to Madison from Mile 90 as most are phoning it in at that point.

Run: Goal Time: 4:15 / Race Time: 4:34

My finish time goal was sub 12 hours so I felt pretty good knowing that I could run a 4:40 marathon and still make my goal when I got off the bike.   Saw EN Chica Rockstar, Melanie Neumann out of T2 and gave her a big hug.

The days before the race I was running different scenarios with Matt S’s Heat Impact Pace Calculator.  Assuming temps of 75 degrees yielded an adjusted pace of + 4% or ~ 30”/mile.   My VDOT easy pace is a 8:57, so should run 1-6 in 9:55 pace and then “speed” up to a 9:25 pace.  The Ironman® Wisconsin run course is very disjointed as you are doing lots of out and backs in and out of town.  The aid stations are also oddly spaced as sometimes they are 1.5 miles apart and then .5 miles apart.  It really helps to know the course to mentally break it into sections to try to get some kind of rhythm for each section.  Nutrition plan was water and coke at every aid station and S-Caps every 4-5 miles.  After Observatory going downhill back to State Street here “BRIAN!!” crazy loud from 500’ away.  It was EN Rockstar Lauren McDonald being awesome.

I stopped drinking soda 8 years ago and now only do it during Ironman® races.  It was so friggin’ awesome to drink real Coca Cola compared to that nasty ass Walmart Cola served in Panama City Beach.

I started getting a calf cramp around mile 12.  More nagging than a stop right now cramp.  I upped my water a bit but still came back every time I tried to pick up the pace.  Since I was not able to hold my target pace, the new mantra was JFR, JFR, JFR.

I saw a woman holding sign that said, “Someone else is not wearing underwear, Guess who?” which made up for absence of Inspiration Station on run course.

I broke the run down to the following segments:

Miles Pace    
0-6 9:33    
7-12 9:40    
13-18 10:43    
18-26.5 10:59    
 Total: 4:34 10:18    

No bathroom stops at all.

Lessons Learned:

  • Need to really really focus on run execution in the first six miles – like stare at the garmin the whole time focus.
  • Totally fixed lubrication/chafing issues that I suffered last year.  I used Aquaphor pre-swim, pre-bike, pre-run, and during run.  The little tubes fit in the Forza short pockets perfectly.

Thumbs Up IMOO 2012 and EN!!

Go here to listen to Brian’s race report interview with Coach Rich



Coach P

All stories by: Coach P

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