1.  Madison is great city and well worth the extra money to stay downtown.

2. The Essen Haus has a power packed breakfast on Saturday morning.  I had Walleye and Eggs.

3. Starting in the water next to the ski ramp was a good decision.

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4. The swim congestion isn’t as bad as you’d think, but you will experience a lot of contact, often when you least expect it.

5. Sighting is difficult and I should have trusted the flow of the masses a little more, especially on the first leg.

6.  Stay away from the first two turn buoys.

7.  Somehow get to the far end of the course and pick out a sight guide for the long leg of the swim box.

8.  Running up the helix is not as hard as it sounds and a great indicator of the crowd support to come.

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9.  If you drive the bike course, take it with a grain of salt because it seems much worse in a car.  The ride is definitely hilly, but if you recover on the downhills it is a very enjoyable ride.

10.  The first 20 miles of the bike had a tail wind (and I understand this is common) so you can go fairly fast and not over-extend.  But don’t forget to save something for those same 20 miles into the wind at the end, because it’s brutal.

11.  The “3 Bitches” are legitimately reminiscent of the Tour de France with people running along side and screaming inspiration.  Soak this in on your first time through because the second loop takes a lot more focus.

12.  The helix will be a sight for sore eyes after that ride.

13.  When you get back into transition, you hand off your bike and basically go straight inside to gear up for the run.  I expected a much longer distance and I can’t explain how much of a relief this was.

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14.  About half of the run loop is awesome and covered with spectators, the other half will test your mettle.

15.  The run hills are not monsters, but they are definitely not easy after 112 miles on the bike.

16.  There is a ton of energy on both State Street portions, engage with the spectators.

17.  The out and back in the park is the worst section of the run, by far.

18.  The State Capitol is the most beautiful sight in the world as you corner it for the last time and take a left turn into the Finisher’s Chute.

19. Convince as many friends as possible to come watch.  They are guaranteed to have a good time.

20.  You’ll be sore, and it could be the furthest thing from your mind, but seriously consider preferred sign up for next year’s race.  I wish I would have.

20 Things I learned at Ironman Wisconsin #IMWI

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