This was my second Ironman-distance triathlon. My first was Coeur d'Alene 2007, and this race report references my first Ironman pretty heavily, so if you haven't read that one and you're interested, you can read that here.
For those new to the Ironman phenomenon, an Ironman-distance triathlon involves a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a full marathon (26.2 mile run) back to back, beginning at 7am and having to be completed in under 17 hours (by midnight). And yes, we do this for "fun".
Fair warning: This race report is long and perhaps uninteresting to anyone who's not me, so don't feel obligated to read the whole thing if you're not interested. I won't be offended.