Tim Walsh and Paul Lentini finish their first Ironman!

The Spin/Second Sole Multisport team’s count of Ironmen went up by two this weekend at Ironman Wisconsin as Paul Lentini and Tim Walsh completed their first.  Paul’s wife, Tammy, posted some pictures of the boys and some more Cleveland crew here.  Tim came across the line at 11 hours 43 minutes, and Paul finished in 13 hours 17 minutes.  Paul and Tim have both promised some full race reporting, but here’s some of Tim’s stream-of-consciousness thoughts on the race.
*edit: Paul’s awesome race report added below! Must read!*

Some random thoughts over the course of this 4-day IM weekend… Man what’s wrong with me, I’ve been asked 100 times if I’m excited and 3 days before the race the answer remains “no, just nervous”… so glad to be flying to Wisconsin, I gotta thank Paul for taking my bike… downtown Madison is so much nicer than downtown Cleveland… $200 bucks a night for this place and there’s no fridge!…no way I’ll be able to sleep tonight, I wonder if there’s a hotel bar… I’ve been treading water for 15 minutes, its getting cramped, I hope that cannon sounds soon… there it goes, we’re off, I love it!….dude you’re drowning me!….just get through this first 800 yards….ok, drafting isn’t in the cards, just avoid the wrestling….difficult to show off my stroke in this environment….out of the water on time, but tougher than I wanted….wetsuit stripping station, what a great idea!….T1, nice, 9 minutes and still forgot the butt’r cream….don’t worry about those guys cycling past you man, it just means you’re a better swimmer….get it going – endurolytes, carbopro, water/gatorade….this fan support is unbelievable! I don’t know whether to hammer it or get choked up….so many hills….holy cow, there goes Paul, attah boy!!….i gotta go the bathroom….ok, last 25 miles, go a head and drop the hammer….T2, darn-it, tri-suit totally ripped in port-a-john, not a bare-chested run!….running way too fast but I cant slow down with tons of cheering fans, they’re calling my name….this run course is perfect, varied just enough to distract the pain….i wonder if girls take off their wedding rings during tri’s, what the heck, “how’s it going?”…..shoot, like clockwork, cramping at 17, ok, manage it — endurolytes, chicken broth, Gatorade, slow down….not working, think of a happy place….cool! finishing shute, give ‘em something to cheer about: wave, high five, no jumping though….finishing tape — nice, feeling a little proud of myself! What a fun time! That meandering paragraph doesn’t capture the whole experience by a long shot, rather just a few of my trivial thoughts, hope that’s not inappropriate. It was one race that I did but was only able to do because of the help of so many; so thank you! 

And, from Paul:

Ironman Wisconsin (aka IMMoo)
What an experience. Racing an IM is the closest that an amateur athlete will ever come to being treated like a professional. The IM experience is just that, an experience not just a race. The difference between this event and any of the others that I have done is that you are treated like a Rock Star every step of the way.

The swim: The course is a twice around 1.2 mile rectangle. They give a one minute to go warning and then a canon goes off at 7am. I seeded myself toward the middle of the start line (between the buoy line and the shoreline). If you saw the pictures that Tammy took I was on the shore side of the water-ski ramp, about 20 people back from the line. The first lap was as expected with a lot of bumping, pushing, shoving, kicking, punching, elbowing, etc…. I swam over several people, which told that either I was seeded too far back or they were too far forward. About the time I was rounding the corner to start my second loop I had gotten myself in along the buoy line (shortest distance, two points, yada, yada) unfortunately the buoy line is much more crowded then the outskirts and I was kicked in the left eye by a guy who decided it would be a good time to try the breast stroke. The kick dislodged my goggles (and apparently my marbles as well) and the left one filled with water. I stopped to fix it and couldn’t keep the water out. Maybe it was cracked but I wasn’t taking the time to figure it out then. I swam without much vision in my left eye for the second loop. When I exited the water I removed my goggles and swim cap only to find that I still couldn’t see out of my left eye. I never got a chance to inspect my goggles since I dropped them and a guy coming out behind me through up on them. Needless to say I didn’t want them after that. Back to the problem at hand, my eye was very fuzzy as if I were looking through coke bottle bottoms that were tinted white. I smacked the side of my head hoping this might help. (Cartoon character style) All I accomplished was to freak out the guy who was trying to peel me out of my wet-suit. After convincing him I was alright and didn’t need medical he peeled me and sent me on my way. 1:21:16 swim.

Transition 1: I exited the water to roaring crowds (did I mention Rock Star treatment) who line the route. I ran along a carpeted driveway that leads to the “Helix” and after what seems like an eternity of running I popped out on the top level and head into the hotel were I was handed my T1 bag. My transition volunteer was awesome. He dumped my bag, got me what I needed as I called for it and then sent me on my way leaving and he was left to clean up the mess I made. I ran out to the bike racks where there is a guy holding my bike waiting for me to grab it and go. ROCK STAR! Run to the mount line and jump on the bike, ride down the other Helix and out onto the bike course. 9:21 T1.

Total time: 1:30:37

The Bike: The course is described as a lollipop. There is a 14 mile stick, and a 42 mile loop. Out the stick, twice around the loop and back in the stick is 112 miles. There are three significant hills on the loop and one on the return of the stick. The first loop was pretty uneventful. I regained vision in my left eye about 5 miles into the ride but was feeling very bloated. Didn’t know why but knew it wasn’t good. I caught Tim Walsh at the beginning of the second loop, we exchanged some words of encouragement and then I continued on. As I started on the second loop the wind was out of the West and increasing. This wasn’t much of a concern as miles 60 through 80 were into the wind but the last 32 would be with the wind. I had ridden the course a couple of weeks ago and knew that the first loop would be relatively easy. I was concerned about climbing the hills on the second loop as they had given me problems on the training ride. What I hadn’t accounted for was the crowd support of Race Day. If you’ve ever seen the mountain stages of the Tour de France then you know what I am talking about. The swarm was huge. They only parted enough to let me ride through and then collapsed behind me. There is the one crazy guy who runs next to you at a full sprint trying to keep up and some how he manages to all the way to the summit where he pats you on the back and then peels off to head back down to his perch and run the next rider up the hill. Each hill also had that very serious looking guy who saw that a little word of encouragement was needed and he would say “you’ve got this” or “you’re looking strong” and then turn his focus to the next rider. The other great part is that it is required that all competitors wear a race bib on their back during the bike and on their front during the run. It has a race number and racers name on it. So basically, every time I pass a group of spectators they can see “Paul” and they start calling out my name. The people farther up the hill hear this and start calling out my name. I had no problems climbing any of those hills. Back down into the town of Verona where I saw Tammy and then it was back to the stick and a nice tail wind to push me back to transition. Tim passed me back up on the stick and we cheered each others performance. Back up the helix into T2. Did I mention that the route in most places was lined with spectators? Tried to keep the gear small and spin my legs up the helix. I was pretty fired up because I knew I was close to my goal of six hours on the bike and if I had a fast transition then I could be out on the run under my goal of 7:30. It was all I could do not to hammer the pedals and try of a better time. I still had a marathon to run. 5:56:57 Bike.

Total time: 7:27:34

Transition 2: I rode to the top of the helix, headed to the entrance of the hotel and dismounted my bike. By this point not only did my abdomen feel terrible but my lower back was screaming at me as well. A volunteer took my bike from me and another herded me into the hotel. I was handed my T2 bag and met up Tim in the changing room where we sat next to each other and discussed our ailments as our transition volunteers took good care of up. I think the guy even put on one of my socks and shoes! Rock Star treatment!!! We headed out of transition together, hit the port-o-lets and away we went with only a marathon to go. 4:52 T2.

Total time: 7:32:26 (missed my goal by 2:26)

The Run: The course is sort of a “U” shaped out and back 13.1 mile twice around. The hardest part of the course was that I had to turn around and head back out on the second loop with the finish line in site. As I leave the hotel I see the familiar faces of Gary and Ginger who had made the trip up from Chicago for the day. What a great feeling know that people will go so far out of their way to watch you beat yourself up. I took off running at a fairly reserved pace knowing full well that it was going to be a long afternoon. My right ankle that I had twisted in July was already flaring up and my abdomen was in knots. I made it about 5 miles before I had to break down to a run/walk scenario. This consisted of running from one aid station to the next (about a mile in between) and walking through them. This progressed into more and more walking which made it harder and harder to get running again. Between my stomach, ankle and now my legs were screaming at me it was a huge welcome site to see Tammy every chance I could. She would walk with me and tell me who had called or texted and what they had to say. At mile 15 or so, I had left the stadium behind for the last time and was headed out to do the last loop. I hooked up with Alan Wong (a Cleveland Tri Club member who also races for Snakebite Racing Team) and we spent the next 10+ miles run/walking as best we could. After hitting the other turn around at Lake Mendota Drive I knew we were on our way home. From there on out all I kept telling myself was that everything I passed would be the last time I had to pass it. No more out and backs, just a straight shot home, 4.2 miles to go. I saw Tammy one last time with about two and a half miles to go. She then headed back to the Finish line to see me finish. Back past the UW football stadium one last time and now we were really headed in the right direction. With about two mile to go a teammate of Alan’s and a training partner of mine rode up on his bike. Marc Durno had been all over the course (both bike and run) that day taking pictures and offering much needed words of encouragement. He had also been drinking one shot of Jack Daniel’s for every hour that a Clevelander was on the race course. He gave us updates on everyone else’s times and then disappeared again. He popped up about a mile later, took a couple of pictures (almost crashed his bike crossing some railroad tracks) and then rode with us for another mile or so. With a little over a mile to go, he stopped his bike, pulled out a shot glass, informed us that we had cost him another shot as we crossed over the 13 hour mark. He pulled out his water bottle, filled the shot glass, toasted us and downed his final shot of the day. Once again he was gone, I assumed to the finish line to catch us there. As we ran up State Street toward the Capitol building we could here the roar of the crowd. Half a lap around the town square, one final left turn and we would be there. Alan, having completed IMMOO in 2006 insisted that I go first as it was my first time. I took off running as if just starting out on a easy training run. There was no pain, no suffering, just the elation of having completed an Ironman. Even over all the noise I heard “Paul Lentini from Lakewood, Ohio, you are an IRONMAN! I ran through the tape, feeling like a Rockstar. I was luckily caught by one of the finish line catchers who thankfully held me up for quite some time. My legs were a little wobbly. Debbie Sidol from CTC was there to take off my timing chip and give me my finisher’s medal, hat and shirt. I was handed my timing splits and then had my picture taken with Alan. At the end of the shoot was Tammy. Big hug, kiss and congratulations. 5:44:50 Run

Total time: 13:17:14

IMMOO 2008 DONE.

Thanks to all the people who made this whole journey possible. From SSSMST teammates and CTC members for all their advice to friends and family for their support and understanding.

Words can’t express the thanks that need to go to “Coach” Reddy. He is the epitome of IRONMAN. He mentioned in a post back in July about paying it forward. I know of four guys who can call themselves Ironman because he did just that. Pay it forward. Thank you Rob.

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6 Responses

  1. hearing reports and seeing pictures from an IRONMAN really makes me feel lazy and out of shape

    Congrats Boys Job Well Done- Rest Well

  2. You sure you were racing ironman? There didn’t seem to be enough delusion going on between miles 17-22 of the run.

    Now….you two need to find some more racing to do to take advantage of that post-IM form and prevent the inevitable post-IM depression from setting in! (:-)

    good job!

  3. sweet

  4. Tim and Paul
    You guys rock.
    When are you planning another? I ‘ve heard that they become addicting.

    Great job for all the hard work you’ve done leading to the race.

  5. Awesome race report Timmy

  6. Great Job paul and tim!! Welcome to the Iron ranks! don’t it feel good? Glad I was there to see you all finish! Awesome reports

    Debbie

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