Posted by: dougandem | September 21, 2012


Ironman Wisconsin 2012

Swim, 2.4 miles, 1:08:30 (1:46/100m)

1st Transition (swim to bike) 8:14

Bike, 112 miles, 5:53:20 (19.02 mph)

2nd Transition (bike to run) 6:45

Run, 26.2 miles, 4:01:55 (9:14 min/mi)

Age group rank, 53/267

Total rank, 294/2827

Total 11:18:44

Couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day or a more perfect venue for an Ironman race. Spectators lined the entire route. They were visible along the shore and on the Monona terrace during the swim, on the road during the bike and partying in the streets along the run. The temperature in the morning was in the mid 50’s and warmed to a comfortable 72. I felt calm and confident in the morning. For breakfast I ate handfuls of Kona granola, a Blueberry crisp Clif Bar, a banana and water. Looking back, I should have stuck with what I was used to, honey and PB on toast and no granola. No blueberry Clif bar.


The swim was a mass start in the water. All 2500 athletes had to be in the water before the cannon went off. The sun was beginning to rise and they started singing the national anthem as I was walking down through the arch and into the lake — it was almost scripted. I decided to start just left of the ski jump. I thought that would position me behind the fast swimmers and ahead of the slow. This was a strategic blunder. Everyone who started right of the ski jump began to swim to the left to get close to the buoys. Therefore, I had to fight the cross traffic. I assumed that after 500 yards or so it would clear up. It never did. I was kicked in the face, slapped, hit, pushed and punched. I even kicked, slapped and hit a few people as well. It was a battle. But I soon settled in a steady rhythm and reminded myself to stay calm.

Support crew watching from the top of the Monona Terrace.

Spectators along the helix of the terrace

After the last turn I heard a funny noise and realized that it was the announcer which I then picked up my pace. I pee’d five times during the swim. I was okay with my swim time but felt that if I had planned a little better I could have trimmed about 5 minutes. After exiting, there was a line of volunteers who guided me to the ground and stripped off my wetsuit. It was amazing!


The transition went pretty smooth and soon I was running out to my bike. A volunteer was waiting with my bike and my family was cheering me on the cross walk directly above the bike transition. I fell into a smooth pace pretty quickly and before I knew it had finished the 16 mile stem of the course. The bike consists of a 16 mile stem and then 2-40 mile loops. Soon after beginning the first loop my worst fear was realized, I was slapped with a drafting penalty and told to serve my time in Cross Plains. I was not thrilled, but told myself not to dwell on it but make the most of it. It had rained the night before, so all the food that I had on my bike was wet. I found that I was struggling to drink the EFS fluids that I had on my bike and that the Clif bar, energy chomps and protein blocks were a struggle to swallow. After serving my 4 minute penalty in Cross Plains, I soon came up on Old Sauk Pass where I knew my family would be. After passing quite a few characters, some in speedos, I neared the top of the hill and there my family was to cheer me on. It was awesome!

Probably the best moment of the race was when I came to Verona. Spectators lined both sides of the street and were cheering the whole way. As I was riding, I decided to soak it all in, so I sat up and stretched my arms wide and started yelling, “yeah baby let’s hear it!” The crowds went wild. Never again will I get that level of cheering in a bike race. It was my little taste of Tour de France. It was awesome!

Half way through the bike, I grabbed my special needs bag and drank some Coke and pocketed my PayDay candy bar. There was a pretty strong head wind at the beginning of the second loop, but I still felt great! I had ditched the EFS fluids and was predominately drinking water and eating some bananas and GU energy gels since the food was not sitting well. My family was on the same hill for the second loop as well and Emily ran a little with me and gave me a love push on the rear. It was awesome!

When I saw the 100 mile sign, I was thrilled and felt I was giving a solid effort. I worried whether I gave too much and I also worried about my food intake since I had eaten very little. I forced myself to eat my PayDay and drink what fluids remained on my bike. I pee’d once on the bike during the second loop. After I dismounted my bike, I heard my name. I looked around and there was my family cheering me on. It was awesome!


During the transition, I lathered myself with vaseline because I could feel the burning from the chaffing. I put on compression socks and grabbed two energy gels. I ate one immediately and knew that my stomach was not going to tolerate too much of that. My legs felt great, however, and I soon started running an 8:15 minute/mile pace. I maintained that pace for the first half of the marathon. At each aid station, I drank water, Coke and some Ironman perform and usually sucked on an orange, took a bite of a banana or ate a grape or two.

At the half way mark, I grabbed my special needs bag and drank some Red Bull. Between mile 18 and 19 was when I started walking. My stomach was kaput and I did not feel well. At that point, all I could stomach was water and ice. I picked back up the pace and at mile 21 decided to take some GU to boost my energy. It did not stay down. Multiple times along the route I saw my family and each time was an incredible boost!

Seeing the mile 22, 23, 24 markers pass by was extremely encouraging. Running up to the capitol, turning the corner and running past the 2nd loop turnaround towards the finish line is hard to describe. I slowed my pace in the finishing chute to enjoy the final moments and right before I crossed I heard Mike Reilly calling me an Ironman.


Two volunteers grab each athlete as they cross the finish line. I felt great as I crossed and as I was escorted to a chair. The volunteers asked how I felt and if I wanted anything. They wrapped me with a foil blanket and encouraged me to get a picture taken. It was then that I started feeling very queasy. The one volunteer convinced me to go to the medical tent just to lie down.

Long story short, I had lost 8 pounds, threw up in the medical tent and received an iv. After I left the tent, the only thing I could stomach for the rest of the night was chocolate milk.


Will I do another Ironman? Absolutely!


Katrina Pon for the support and informational emails.

Harry for Ironman training tips (I took extra care so no barns fell on me)

TraceyJo for convincing me to do an Ironman and often acting as my coach.

Mom and Dad Stahr for adding more miles on their well-traveled summer.

Mom and Dad Durrant and Rob for supporting, cheering and helping with the kids.

Emily, Ben and Claire for rising early and organizing an outstanding cheering crew!

Everyone who followed and cheered at home. It was an awesome experience and I would encourage anyone (Amanda, James) to do it, you won’t regret it!

– Doug



  1. That is awesome! Way to go!

  2. Doug, you amaze me! What an accomplishment. Well done.

  3. That’s freaking amazing. Good job man.

  4. Awesome Doug! You are an inspiration to us all.

  5. Awesome Doug, I think I would be happy if I could run 3 miles again. I imagine after that you feel like you can do almost anything.

  6. That’s awesome Doug! Congrats to you again! I am all ready to register for Ironman AZ 2013 in November!

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