Ironman Louisville

Four Madison residents
prepare to tackle Ironman

They say training includes
learning how to gauge
their caloric burn rate

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(August 2012) – The second time may be the charm for triathlete Joe Laskowski. After competing in the Ironman Louisville triathlon last year, Laskowski, 33, has decided to give it another try.
The Madison, Ind., resident will join hundreds of local and national triathletes Aug. 26 in the Louisville stop on the Ironman tour.
Laskowski had never competed in a triathlon prior to the Ironman. Although he was constantly involved in sports in high school, competing in this fashion is something new to him.

Joe Laskowski

Photo provided

Madison's Joe Laskowski will make his second appearance in the Ironman.

Laskowski chose to compete in the Ironman Louisville competition because it was “close to Madison so that my family and friends could come and watch,” he said. Having previously run in six races, “I was tired of doing marathons.”
The Ironman Louisville triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Corp. The Louisville race was added to the series in 2007.
When it comes to such a race as the Ironman, “it’s a mental and physical challenge,” said Laskowski. The age range he competes in, 30-38 year olds, is “very competitive,” he said. By this time, competitors have reached the maturity level needed to seriously focus on the race and win.
Because he has one year of experience in the Ironman under his belt, “I have a better idea of what to do this year,” Laskowski said. He has also learned how to balance his energy, so as not to tire out too early in the race.
Athletes who compete in the Ironman race are required to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles on a course that winds throughout Louisville’s scenic areas. The path includes Waterfront Park in Jefferson County, the city of La Grange and other parts of Oldham County, and a portion of Henry County. The race finally ends with a finish line celebration at Fourth Street Live! in downtown Louisville.
Laskowski’s original goal was to finish the race in less than 12 hours. “You have 17 hours to finish,” he said. “I had hoped to do better this year.”
But he doubts whether he will make his goal, since he had walking pneumonia several weeks ago. He said it took time to get back into the rigorous training he must do to compete in the Ironman race.
On a normal day, Laskowski, “tries to find as many hours as possible in a day to train, but it’s still not as much as I want to train.”
He gets up at 1 a.m. to go to work, has a workout when he gets off, picks up his kids from school and then squeezes in another workout session with them. He coaches his kid’s sports teams as well.
Sometimes on the weekend he trains by going on a four-hour bike ride. During the week, in addition to lifting weights and doing Pilates, he often combines swimming and running or biking and running sessions. He extends these sessions on weekends when he can and once in a while he is able to combine all three in one day.

Stacy Crawley

Photo provided

Stacy Crawley (top) and husband John (above) of Madison are gearing for their first Ironman event.

John Crawley

“I’m not the best swimmer and biker, but I’m getting better at it,” said Laskowski.
During training, he estimates he burns 1,800 to 2,000 calories, while burning 9,000 to 10,000 during a race.
In November, Laskowski plans to compete in the Ironman series again in Panama City, Fla. The race will essentially have the same setup as the Ironman Louisville, “except on a much flatter course,” he said. For that reason, “it will go quicker. In Kentucky, you’re riding through horse country, and it’s hillier. Temperature-wise, it will also be a lot different in Florida.”
The Florida Ironman will probably start out in the 50s and progress to the 70s, he said. During the Ironman Louisville, temperatures will begin in the 70s and soar from there.
John and Stacy Crawley are husband-and-wife competitors from Madison. Stacy said the race is a “personal challenge” for the both of them. “We’ve trained and worked really hard to be there.”
This will be the couple’s first time to compete in the Ironman triathlon, so they “don’t really know what to expect,” she said. They swim, bike and ride three times a week, practically eating, breathing and sleeping everything Ironman.
Stacy is originally from Madison, while John is from Virginia. Both are swim coaches for Madison Consolidated High School.
The couple has competed in several marathons and triathlons in the past. They have already set goals for next year in terms of racing. John, 43, wants to be able to qualify for the Boston Marathon, while Stacy, 39, wants to enter the Olympic Distance Age-Group Nationals held in Vermont.
Stacy said the couple has several advantages over the competition. The fact that they “get out and swim and ride on an active course,” is a plus. Another positive factor is that the event is literally in their backyard, she said, therefore they are familiar with the terrain.
While training for the Ironman race, Crawley said that “triathlon athletes have to be aware of how many calories they take in and maintain a certain sodium level to prevent cramping.”
When it comes to race day, “you can’t consume as many calories as you burn.” She estimates burning between 12,000 to 15,000 calories during the race, “but every body is different.”
John Crawley said a good way to look at is it to figure burning 300 calories an hour on race day.
Once they have completed the Ironman race, Stacy said the next step will be plenty of “rest and recovery.”
At age 74, Madison, Ind., resident Kurt Kahl was the oldest competitor in the Ironman Louisville event last year. It was his 40th Ironman competition and 17th time in the Ironman. Long retired from the Madison State Hospital, he began competing in Ironman competitions at age 50. He is expected to return this year to compete once again, now at age 75.

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