TFP Muscles







Ironman Madison 2007 - Dave Bartoszewski

My wake up call was set for 3:30am. Surprisingly, I slept great the night before. Although I woke up a few times and checked the clock, that is pretty normal for me. It was almost like my body knew I would need the sleep. I stayed in bed for a few minutes, thinking that this journey was about to become a memory. It had consumed me for over a year, and now was the time for me to see what I am capable of doing.

A special Ironman Breakfast started serving at the hotel at 3:30am. I had 3 pancakes, one piece of French Toast, and one slab of ham.  In addition, I downed 20oz of Gatorade and went back up to my room. 

I triple checked my swim gear and it was off to the car with Ana at 4:45am.  We parked and walked over to the Hilton to meet the rest of the group.  Dan, Lauri, Brian, and Matt seemed to all be in good spirits, but I could tell they were just as nervous as I was.  I needed to use the bathroom 3 times before the start of the race. 

I got body marked with my race number 432. I would be known as #432 for the entire time on the bike, so now I’m a little partial to that number. After getting marked, I headed over to my bike. I filled my Gatorade and had Matt check my tires. I took a moment to stand there and survey all the athletes giving their bikes one last look. 

After that, it was about 6am and my family and friends were starting to arrive.  I was able to see a few of them before I needed to make my way down to the swim start.  I think maybe they were more nervous than I was.  Especially Ana, I thought she was going to bust out into tears when I walked away. 

I met back up with the group and we all walked down the Helix together towards the swim start.  My last thought was, “Shoot, I am going to have to run up this thing.”

The Swim:  2.4 miles
I pulled my wetsuit up over my green Speedo and realized that, in my nervousness, I forgot to put my bib all the way on. I have a two piece wet suit, and I was so spaced out that I didn’t put it on correctly. Of course, the group all made fun of me, so I took it off and fixed it. We all walked down to the start line. As I waited for the others to catch up, I stood in front of the timing mat. If you don’t cross it, you won’t get an official time. This was a moment of truth for me, no turning back once I stepped on it.

Well, I did it and into the water we went. Dan, Lauri, Brian, and I made our way to the pre-determined meeting spot at the far end of the start line. 15 months ago, I could have barely even swum to that spot without gasping for air. Once we got there, we all turned around and instantly the nervousness disappeared. We looked onto the terrace to see no less than 20,000 people lining the Helix, the top of the terrace, and the walkway on the shore line. I wish I had a camera, because it was one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen. At that moment, I got REALLY excited.

I knew I was ready for this. For the swim, for the Ironman, for everything to come together.

The gun went off at 7am exactly. Me and 2,300 of my new closest friends took off. The first 400 meters were as crazy as I had heard. People fighting for position, elbows flying, doing everything to prevent getting kicked. I got nailed by someone’s foot square in the goggles. Lucky for me, I was able to fix it quickly. After the first turn, the madness thinned out like everyone said it would. Plus, there was a great natural draft. I could feel myself swimming fast without working too hard. Towards the end of the first loop, I could hear the crowd cheering and Mike Riley (the voice of Ironman) commentating. What a rush!

The second lap was pretty uneventful. At each breath, I kept looking for the terrace, as I knew it would signal the end of the swim. Finally, swim out appeared. I exited the water and felt great! Almost like I hadn’t even swum at all. My time was 1 hour and 11 minutes, about 4 minutes faster than I expected. What a good start to the day.

I ran a little bit and let the strippers pull off my wetsuit. About half way up the Helix, I saw my “crew” for the first time. They were SO LOUD. It was awesome. I can’t tell you how much of a boost it was to see everyone out there. It was truly the proudest I have ever been in my life. To see the people closest to me cheering me on like that was unbelievable. I gave them a little dance in the Speedo that Ana made me wear and ran into the transition area.

T1: Unmentionables
The swim to bike transition was fairly smooth. I ran in and saw a bunch of dudes getting naked. So, I got naked in front of an old man volunteering. That is all I have to say about that.

The Bike - 112 miles
Coach Matt wanted me to start slow for the first 25 miles. For the mos10/25/09as difficult to avoid drafting the other riders since there were so many, but it was a nice relaxing ride out to the Verona loop. I saw my family and friends again at mile 22, which was right at the top of a short climb. That was a huge jolt. After being on the bike for a litt10/25/09t from them!

At mile 25, Coach Matt allowed me to kick it up a notch, since I was cruising along with very little effort.  People were passing me left and right and I felt like I was crawling.  However, I knew I had to stick to my plan. The Madison loop is very hilly, and I would need my legs on the second loop. I was amazed at how many people didn’t ride the course, or at least drive it, before Race Day. People kept asking me where the hills were!  I told them all to chill out, but of course, none of them listened. I would see every one of them again. 

Half way through the bike course at Mile 56, I got to see my crew again. I snuck up on them, though, because I was going a little faster than I had originally planned.  I stopped for a minute or so, chatted, and continued on my way.  I was going to see them again in the hilly section and I couldn’t wait.  I stopped at a special needs station, downed half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and half a can of Red Bull. I took the remaining Red Bull with me in my Gatorade bottle. . Click to continue to Page 2...

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