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Ironman Chattanooga - Triathlon

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Chattanooga, Tennessee
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
Total Time = 11h 54m 42s
Overall Rank = 815/
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 90/
Pre-race routine:

Arrived in town on Thursday so I could get settled and check out the course. I was able to drive the bike course on Friday and the run course on Saturday. I realized the bike course was much flatter and faster than I anticipated but the run course was going to be hilly and difficult on the back side of each loop.

Woke up at 4:00 and headed out the door of the hotel around 4:30 since we were 15-20 minutes outside of the city. I arrived in transition, pumped up the tires, placed the bottles on the bike, and headed to the shuttles for the ride to the swim start.
  • 48m 30s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 09s / 100 yards

The swim was as fast as advertised. Honestly I have always been a fish so I prefer more difficult swims as it is the biggest advantage I have. Most people gained 10-15 minutes over what they normally would average with the poor swimmers making the biggest gains.

I learned my lesson from IM Louisville last year and made sure to get toward the front of the swim so I wouldn't be fighting through traffic the first half of the swim. The cannon went off a little before 7:30 and I was in the water within about 10 minutes.

I jumped in and immedately made sure to calm myself and prepare for 144.6 miles, not just a 2.4 mile swim. I eased into my rhythm and just started moving down river. I noticed how quickly the first sighting buoy came and went and that is when I realized just how fast the swim would be. I ran into a few feet along the way but for the most part I had pretty clean water to get around slower swimmers. I was excited for the speed of the swim but just wanted to make sure I stayed within myself. In no time I saw the last turn buoy and was swimming over to the steps. This was by far the easiest 2.4 mile swim I have ever done.

My average IM swim is generally about 57' so I picked up about 10' with the current. I felt like I nailed my pace and effort to set myself up for a great rest of the race.
What would you do differently?:

nothing. I got there early to avoid congestion and paced myself perfectly.
Transition 1
  • 06m 20s

The run from the swim out to transition was an uphill one that totalled about .3 miles. I would have been much faster in transition without the long run up.

I was out of the water with the FOP so there were plenty of awesome volunteers to help get my bag and get me on my way. I got the tri top on while my volunteer helped me get my socks and shoes. Then it was helmet and sunglasses and a jog to my bike. I had a volunteer go straight to my bike and helped me get it unracked and under way. After that it was onto the bike.
What would you do differently?:

Could have been a little faster but there was plenty of race left and the run from the swim exit added some extra time.
  • 5h 48m 12s
  • 116 miles
  • 19.99 mile/hr

Unfortunately I joined the race facebook group so all I heard about for the last 6 months was how the bike course was 116 miles and how hard it was. Well the 116 miles turned out to be accurate, the difficulty of the course must be in the eye of the beholder. I train in the foothills of SC and this course was much easier than what we use.

The roads themselves were mostly flat with rolling hills. There were a few climbs on the loops that required the small chain ring but that was maybe 6 times all day. The rest of rollers really provided plenty of opportunity to gain speed going down a hill in order to get you up and over the next one.

I left out of town ahead of most others as I usually do. I learned the hard way that I cannot bike with the superbikers and I have to just let them go and keep my steady pace. However, my steady pace at home is generally in the 17-18 mph range. I was averaging 20-21 for the first 40 miles and my first thought was how I was going to blow up later. However, I took a body inventory and didn't feel like I was working too hard and my HR was in a very happy range so I just decided to roll with it.

I hit my nutrition spot on for the first 90 miles and took water at every aid station. I dehydrated in Louisville last year because of the heat so I didn't want that to happen again. I knew I was well hydrated when I had to pee about 35 miles into the bike. I knew I kept well hydrated because I peed 5 times total on the ride.

At about mile 90 I went to take my last pack of gel chews and they slipped out of my hand. Unfortunately they slipped out on a fast downhill so turning around and finding them was really not an option. I still felt good so I just let it go. Unfortunately, about 4 miles later my stomach started begging for solids and I came very close to bonking. There was a little bit of a climb about 3 miles later and this is when my paced dropped drastically and my head started spinning. I honestly wasn't sure I was going to get to the top of the hill. I pushed up the hill and luckily it was a 1-2 mile descent after that and at the bottom was an aid station. I took on a perform, a banana, and a bonk breaker. There items settled my stomach, cleared my head, and had me headed back to town feeling 100%.

The only other thing I will throw out is how disappointed I was in the draft packs that formed. I know I was passed at least 3 or 4 times by what looked like a team time trial. I only saw 2 officials the entire race and I am not sure why they even bothered with a penatly tent. I wasn't in contention for a Kona spot anyway but I know in my heart I raced straight up and didn't cheat. I wish others took pride in the same thing.
What would you do differently?:

The only thing I could have done better was hold onto my nutrition at mile 90. I guess I need to be less clumsy.
Transition 2
  • 03m 55s

I came rolling into town with a head of steam and legs that felt good. I got the feet out of the shoes right at the end and left them clipped on while I handed my bike to a volunteer and was on my way. Another awesome volunteer helped me in the changing tent. I wasn't changing clothes so he set out my shoes and running socks as I got my bike socks and helmet off. I then threw on the shoes and socks, grabbed the visor and run number and was off.
What would you do differently?:

Transitions could always be a little faster but in the scope of a 12 hour race I don't want to make a crucial mistake here. This went as well as I could have hoped.
  • 5h 07m 45s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 45s  min/mile

As much as swimming is my strength, running is my weakness. I enjoy running, I am just not fast. With that said, I told my wife before we started that I would be thrilled with a 5 hour marathon. I drove the course the day before and realized just how difficult this run course was going to be.

The run was a 2 loop figure 8 type course. You run along the riverfront for about 4 miles on the way out of the city. You then turn around and come back to the city on the highway for a total of about 8-9 miles. The other 4-5 miles are across the river into a VERY hilly area of town.

I did a good job managing my pace and ran aid station to aid station for the first 9 miles at about a 10:30 pace. I had already decided when I hit the big hills I would walk the uphills at a brisk pace and run the downhills to save myself for the second trip around. This proved to be a very good strategy. I made my way back into town with the walk/run combo and felt pretty good for the second half of the run.

At this point the rain really started to hit hard and it was honestly a welcome feeling. I felt sorry for the volunteers and spectators but for the athletes it felt great. My strategy for the second 13 miles was simple, run as much as I could and walk when necessary. I was able to continue a descent pace of about 12' miles for the flat section on the second loop with an average of about 1-2 short walk breaks each mile.

When I hit town again for the run across the river for the final 5 miles I realized I had a shot at a sub 12 hour IM. I was excited at first but also realized I had the super hilly section to navigate. I decided I was still going to walk the uphills but at as brisk of a walk as I could manage and then really push the downhills. With 1.5 miles to go I looked at my watch and realized it could still happen but I would be close. I knew I would hate myself for walking any more from that point and missing a sub 12 so I decided to throw the hammer down and if I fell flat before the finish then so be it. I threw down about a 9' mile pace (it felt like a sub 6' pace at the time) and went for it. I ran across the pedestrian bridge back to town and knew it was all downhill from there.

The people around the finish were fantastic. I slapped a few high fives, spaced myself for a finish by myself, and just soaked in everything that led to this point. I heard Mike Riley call my name and relished a goal that I never thought was possible.
What would you do differently?:

I was the idiot who reached down to stop his watch at the finish line so most of my finish pics are of me stopping my watch. Oh well, there were still a few good ones.
Post race
Warm down:

grabbed my medal, shirt, hat, and had pictures taken. I had a great catcher who walked with me and asked me plenty of questions to make sure I was going to be fine. I felt good and kept walking through the line. I found my wife at the end and had some pictures taken but knew if I stopped for long I would never get moving again.

The race, the city, and the volunteers were amazing. The course was fantastic and I would have no problem coming back again.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I went about an hour faster than I really expected possible. I will never win my AG but this was the best race I could have asked for.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2013-10-02 12:00 AM
00:48:30 | 4224 yards | 01m 09s / 100yards
Age Group: 17/
Overall: 159/
Performance: Good
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 06:20
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
05:48:12 | 116 miles | 19.99 mile/hr
Age Group: 54/
Overall: 448/
Performance: Good
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 03:55
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:07:45 | 26.2 miles | 11m 45s  min/mile
Age Group: 90/
Overall: 815/
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2014-10-03 1:56 PM

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Subject: Ironman Chattanooga

2014-10-05 4:02 PM
in reply to: #5056607

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Washington, DC Metro
Subject: RE: Ironman Chattanooga

Awesome race!

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