IRONMAN MADISON 2015 Race Report

The morning started off cold and early!! Woke up at 4am and pretty much laid there until 4:15am. I had not slept AT ALL that night, which is not typical I can usually get a few hours of good sleep before the race but again this wasn’t just any race. The temp was about 45 degrees, so I put on my swimsuit and lots of fleece over it to keep me warm! We started off at 4:50am and after a brief google map issue we found the parking garage. I’m very thankful I had my husband with me as my support crew or I would have freaked out at that moment (I don’t do well with getting lost). Oddly my stomach was not the best, it didn’t feel like butterflies but I’m pretty sure that is what it was along with no sleep. I tried my best to get in as much nutrition as I could in.

We got a shuttle to the Terrace where everything is and got there about 5:15am. We dropped off my 2 Special Needs bags and I headed to bike transition to fill up my bike water bottles and do one last check of my tires. They had great bike tech support in transition so I decided to just take my bike to them so they could check the tires. They went to fill my front one up and “POP” the value on the stem came out and it went completely flat….OMG….the younger tech asked if I had a spare tire (which I did) but the older tech said “Oh no don’t worry we just need to rethread the valve, repump, and you should be fine”  Well let’s just say I was not fine and was freaking out a bit especially since my husband couldn’t be in there with me and I had to trust 2 bike techs. UGH, I worried about that damn tire through the swim, transition and first 60 miles of the bike!

I then found my husband after that fiasco and we went inside to keep warm, go to the bathroom (again), and just walk around to help with my nerves. We walked up to the very top of the Terrace and thankfully the water looked great along with a very pretty sunrise! 11143646_10206512463723026_4463787388272135669_o


At 6:15 Team World Vision was going to meet for a quick prayer and then it was time to put on the wetsuit. I had heard to get into the water no later than 6:30am for the 7:00am mass start and honestly I should have headed there earlier than that. I ended up just standing in line trying to get past spectators like all the other races. I finally got in the water around 6:50am. I was able to take some quick strokes but that is all. With the crowd of racers already in the water there was no way to get in a warm up. So I ended up chatting with fellow racers in the water while we all held onto a paddle board.  I met some firemen that told me about a dead body they had found in the lake a few months ago. Gee thanks guys!! And then one of the fireman started to laugh and say all of us hanging on to the paddle board was like a scene from Titanic and started to recite the lines. LOL, we all had a good laugh. They then announced 5 mins till start and the volunteer told us we had to let go of the paddle board. We thanked her and let go.

If you have never done a mass start with 3,000 racers, well let’s just say it is an experience!!! The gun went off and it was mass hysteria. I got punched twice in the face, kicked numerous times. Instead of trying to draft and sight, everyone was just looking for open water to swim into for relief from the crowd. As usual it took about 500 meters for me to get comfortable. I was able to sight well and find some clear water. After 1,000 meters it started to get crowded again so I just started drafting as much as I could. I didn’t sight stroke forward as much because the sun was in our eyes, but since I breath on both sides I was able to see fellow racers, boats, swim buoys and the shoreline and figure out where I was on the route, so I just kept doing that. About 1/2 way through the swim I also realized that my stomach felt so much better! THANK GOD!! I finished my swim in 1:21 which is what I was predicting it to be.



Here I am wiping my face off. There was lots of seaweed at the end.


Swim to Bike Transition went well. The wetsuit strippers were quick and efficient and I ran up the helix with my wetsuit in hand. There is quite a distance to cover in this transition so that is why this one takes a lot longer.  Headed inside to grab my transition bag and then into the women’s transition room. I quickly stripped off my swimsuit and put all my bike gear on. Right in the middle of this the lights went out in the room…YIKES…It was brief and added a little comedy to the transition.


Got to my bike and THANK GOD my front tire was still full and looked good!! Hopped on my bike and off I went for the next 112 miles of the race.  About 3 miles into the bike I knew I needed to start eating and it was nice and flat so I found my favorite espresso chip Bonk Bar that I was planning to eat first and enjoy. I got 2 bites in then BAM I hit a bump and my bar flew through the air 🙁   The guy behind me yelled while laughing, “Dude, that thing FLEW” LOL  and I was left with 2 bites of a delicious bar in my belly and the empty wrapper in my hand.  LOL  I felt solid on the bike. I took it easy the first 30 miles just focused on pacing, hydration and nutrition. When you get to the loop you get to the hills and sharp curves and turns. WOW is this course the most hilly technical course there is. No wonder it is often ranked as the top 3 hardest Ironman races just based on the bike course.  My pace was solid, I handled the hills well, was extremely focused the whole bike segment which is what I had planned.  I was able to toss my jacket to my husband who was with a co-worker at a tent around mile 43. It was great seeing him and hearing everyone cheer for me. For the rest of the bike my nutrition and hydration is where I wanted it to be. Can’t complain about that!

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Bike to Run transition went very smoothly and was much quicker than my other transition which I knew it would be since I didn’t have to strip off a swimsuit and try to dress a wet body with clothes.  I had taken it easy the last part of the bike so my legs would be ready for the run. The weather was PERFECT and I felt good. I headed out on the run with the pace I wanted. I had planned to only take liquid calories during the run because that is what I always do. For the first 15 miles I was feeling really good, legs felt good,pace was good, I was stopping at every aid station for some liquid calories. Then I HIT THE RUNNING WALL….NOOOOO…. around mile 16 I started to get very sharp pains in my stomach to the point I had to start taking walking breaks. I was not happy. I had a goal of under 14 hours and I knew this would throw a wrench in that plan. I decided to be conservative and just keep up my walk/run pacing and get some salt in my stomach to see if that would help.  Around mile 18 I was among other suffering racers and it was starting to get dark. A fellow male racer said, “try the chicken broth I promise it might help and you will like it.” Of course I’m like…chicken broth…that is the last thing that sounds good! But I tried and was surprised that it did help my stomach a great deal and by mile 21/22 I was back to running again.  I was so lucky to see my family often during the run! Just them being there was great!

The energy those last 2 miles is amazing, the music is thumping, the crowds are cheering and you can faintly hear, “_____, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN” over a loud speaker. If there was one big goal I had it was to finish running, upright and with a smile at the end!  And I DID!!!

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I sadly don’t remember a lot in the finishing chute. I just wanted to finish! I was so focused. I slapped a ton of high fives in the finisher’s chute and couldn’t wait to hear my name…TIFFANY MATTES, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!


It was so great to cross that finish line and see a friendly face  12019876_10206520104272978_2207796129441074819_n One of my husband’s co-worker’s wife (also a triathlete) was volunteering as “catcher” and had stayed longer than her shift to make sure and “catch” me at the finish.



BIB 214
Division 40-44
Edad 40
State MN
Country USA
Puntos 2649
Swim 01:21:07
Bike 07:12:00
Run 05:11:04
Overall 14:05:39

SWIM DETAILS | Division Rank: 52

Total 2,4 mi 01:21:07 01:21:07 02:06/100m 52 290 1290

BIKE DETAILS | Division Rank: 64

Total 112 mi 07:12:00 08:48:15 15,56 mph 64 345 1673

RUN DETAILS | Division Rank: 56

Total 26,2 mi 05:11:04 14:05:39 11:52/mi 56 311 1463

Transition Details

T1: Swim-to-bike 00:15:08
T2: Bike-to-run 00:06:20
 More to come about changes I would have made and what the future holds…and probably more pictures 🙂