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Ironman Chattanooga - Triathlon


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Chattanooga, Tennessee
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
70F / 21C
Overcast
Total Time = 13h 58m 52s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Awoke at 0345. On the road to the race site at 0430. Breakfast in the car, 2 boiled eggs, protein shake, a couple sips of coffee because that's all I could stomach. Arrived at race site shortly after 5am. Got body marked and did final preps on my bike.
Event warmup:

Got on school bus for the short trip to the swim start. No warm up allowed. Got in line, somewhere near the back it seemed like. Later found out wetsuit swimmers would be starting after everyone else so I moved closer to the start. Once the line started moving it went quick. I was in the water in less than 20 minutes.
Swim
  • 58m 44s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 23s / 100 yards
Comments:

I was really jumping into the unknown at the start as I had not done the practice swim in the river the day prior. I swam with a group above the dam where the where the water is always warmer. I had already made the decision not to wear a wetsuit. Temps were in the upper 70s the entire week. Current would be an unknown factor based on the power plant upstream. I later learned they turned off any flow.
I spoke with another athlete who had done the practice swim and she warned about not overshooting the final turn buoy because of the current.

Race morning I entered the water in a loose cannonball fashion with my nose plugged and other hand on my goggles. I surfaced and just started swimming easy. It felt like bath water and I got warmed up quickly. I swam toward the center of the river and found my area wide open and easy. MANY athletes were sticking closer to the buoys and I imagine were running into each other.

Navigation was easy. The line of buoys stayed within sight. I'm sure I could have swam a straighter line but I never got that far out of line. Mid point I started to feel hungry even though I had a banana and breakfast bar just before the start. I also noticed the water was starting to get a little choppy and more athletes were around me. I noticed we were along side a cliff and nearing the first of three bridges. I started taking advantage of the draft for a bit until I found myself behind a breaststroker, again... Once I got around him I saw the final red turn buoy and cut a tight corner.

After I rounded the corner I sighted the steps to the exit, and it was crowded. The number of swimmers had created quite a bit of chop against the concrete wall and I was smacked in the face by a wave. The final 20 yards was a mix of breast stroke and freestyle to sight and make my way around others.

I was helped up on the steps by a volunteer and was on my way once I got to the sidewalk.
What would you do differently?:

Given my good swim time, I was happy with the line I chose and my effort. I only needed to eat more breakfast.
Transition 1
  • 06m 54s
Comments:

Used the wetsuit strippers because they were there and ran the steep climb up the hill to T1 and grabbed my gear bag. Changing tent was packed. I found an open chair and got myself ready. Gel flask in my pocket, with salt tabs, chapstick. I took a Tums to help ward off any issues from the swim. Shoes on, helmet and sunglasses on. Ran out of the tent and stopped at the sunscreen people and got sprayed down, unfortunately, so did my sunglasses... I was able to run to my bike and a volunteer had my bike in hand for me once I got to it.
What would you do differently?:

Take more than one Tums.
Bike
  • 6h 40m 13s
  • 116 miles
  • 17.39 mile/hr
Comments:

As crummy as I felt for most of the bike and given to number of times I stopped I still think I had a pretty good bike time. This is a fast course and I'd like to see what I can do when feeling good.
What would you do differently?:

Nutrition changes are needed... and I need a hydration mount on my aerobars
Transition 2
  • 05m 32s
Comments:

Handed my bike to a volunteer and walked to collect my run gear. The thought of taking off my bike shoes and running through transition crossed my mind but it was a welcome break and I hoped to move around some gas a bit since the pains were still very severe.

Walked into the tent and was greeted by a cheerful volunteer. The first thing she pulled out of my gear bag was my goodie bag with twix, tums, and tylenol. Yes please. I took a few tums and put the twix and tylenol in my jersey. I put on my socks and shoes and grabbed my visor and number belt and was on my way. I knew this wasn't going to be a pretty run because with each step there was stabbing pain.


What would you do differently?:

Take my bike shoes off
Run
  • 6h 07m 29s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 14m 02s  min/mile
Comments:

My original plan was to run 5 minutes and walk 30 to maintain a 10minpace. Cramps changed that plan then it turned to run as much as I can when I can while still fueling.
What would you do differently?:

Mentally I wanted to run, physically it was painful.
Post race
Warm down:

Was assisted in walking to the finisher picture area and then to the food. Once I was handed off to Bryan I found a chair and decided I was done for the night. I wanted to stay to watch the final finishers but I just wanted a shower and bed.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Cramping. I need to work on a better fueling plan. Possibly cramps were caused by swallowing air during the swim?

Event comments:

I can't wait to do this race again. There are talks to change the bike course. I hope it stays the same. Chattanooga and Georgia really came out for this and made it incredible. Ironman volunteers are amazing.




Last updated: 2013-09-24 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:58:44 | 4224 yards | 01m 23s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Suit: Tyr Torque Speedsuit
Course: Downriver with the current, point to point. Cloudy water.
Start type: Dive Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 77F / 25C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
T1
Time: 06:54
Performance:
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
No
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
Biking
06:40:13 | 116 miles | 17.39 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: I attended and Endurance Nation talk on proper IM racing and planned that strategy. Hopped on my bike after T1 and headed out at a leisurely pace. I had previous experience with going out too hard and blowing up midway through. I wasn't going to let that be an option today. As the coaches had said, I was getting passed A LOT in the first several miles, even though I was going 20+ mph. First 20 miles were basically flat with a couple small ups and downs with very rough roads and many railroad tracks that were covered and taped with carpeting. The carnage from loose water bottles was apparent. My nutrition plan was water every 10 minutes with a gel every 20-25 with 1-2 saltsticks/hour. I learned I need to set a timer for reminders because I was getting annoyed having to pay attention to the clock. I was sticking to my plan though. Once I got out to the highway there was a bit more space to spread out but I was with the main pack of racers. It was hard not to draft or maintain a 3 bike length from the rider in front. I saw the course officials multiple times and did not see any penalties given. Roads here were nice and smooth and maintained what felt like a ridiculously easy pace. Still, many people were passing me. After making the turn into the main loop, the roads were still mostly smooth but turned more rolling into a false flat uphill to the turnaround point. I spun easy up the hills and used the downhills as free speed. The countryside was gorgeous and I was enjoying it at my easy pace, and chatting with fellow riders. Many locals were out in their yards cheering. I eventually came to what I thought was a construction area with cones to put us into oncoming traffic but later learned someone had dumped oil and tacks on the course. Thankfully no one was hurt but many suffered flats and the next 20 miles were littered with riders changing flat tires. After making the turn onto Hog Jowl (yep, that's a road name in Georgia) our false flat going up turned the other way so we had a gently rolling downhill. By this point I was starting to have rumblings in my stomach and wasn't sure why. I continued to eat and drink and take my salt as planned but nothing seemed to help. In fact it was getting worse. By the time I reached the Special needs bag, my belly was so bloated and I was in pain. Eating, drinking, and movement hurt. I stopped and a volunteer grabbed my bag where I had a stash of tums and popped a couple more. I re-lubed the chassis and ate my candy bar I had waiting for me as the gel was no longer sitting well or tasting well. I had to pee by this point but was unable to get myself to let go on my new bike. For some reason there were no porta-loos at special needs, they were at the next aid station. I hopped back on my bike and was on my way through the town of Chickamauga. Where I saw Bryan, and my aunt and uncle. This small town was packed in a Tour de France-esque atmosphere with cowbells, cheering, unicorns, and superheroes, even scantily clad men holding signs, threatening to drop them.It was hard not to smile here. I made my way to the next aid station where the potties were and waited, and waited. There were only 3 and the line was 10 deep. I think I lost 15 minutes here waiting to learn if I could trust a fart. Right after this I made the turn to start the second loop. By this point my stomach cramps were so painful I was just eating and drinking when I could. I did fairly frequently, but I had a hard time getting anywhere near comfortable. My pace on this lap slowed greatly but I still seemed to be pacing right with everybody else. The oil and tacks had been cleaned up, and aside from my stomach issues, the ride was uneventful. Some light rain had started so I was a bit more cautious on the downhills. Once again I stopped at special needs in hopes to get my bag again for more Tums but I couldn't. The rain had smeared the sunscreen on my sunglasses so a volunteer cleaned them up for me. I stopped at the same aid station again for a bathroom break and only waited about 10 minutes this time. I had about 20 miles back to town and finally found a decent rhythm again on the flats and began passing some people. The railroad tracks were still littered with bottles and people were still out cheering in front of their homes. I rolled back into transition and was happy to hand my bike off after 116 miles.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
T2
Time: 05:32
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
06:07:29 | 26.2 miles | 14m 02s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Course: I saw Bryan and family just outside transition and stopped for a kiss. I took off running then stopped to walk very soon, since the first hill was just outside transition. After the first hill, the next 8 miles are basically flat, along the riverwalk which is very scenic, then up onto the highway for the return to town. I think the first 3 miles took me 45 minutes because of the cramps. I stopped at an aid station and laid down in the grass and stretched and moved. This would be a long marathon if I can't run continuously. For the next 3 miles I ran when I could and walked when I couldn't. I started taking chicken broth and coke and every aid station since the thought of gels made my stomach turn. At aid station 8 I lay down in the grass again to stretch. I must've looked bad because several volunteers asked if I was ok and wanted to bring me something. I stretched it out and kept moving. This time a young man working at this aid station walked with me for almost a 1/2 mile. I don't remember exactly what he had said but he was talking about how amazing this day was (even though it was now raining enough for some people to be uncomfortable). He reminded me of how much work it took to get here and that I was an inspiration for everyone on the sidelines. A much needed pep talk and with that, I ran. I got back into town and saw Bryan and family. I was feeling ok at this point so I didn't stop for more than a couple seconds, the I was off to cross the bridge...to the big hills. I knew the north section of the loop would be painful. Once I got off the bridge and made the turn and looked up at the death march going upward. I started walk/running the hills and soon realized my run going up was close to the same speed as my walking uphill. I still didn't feel great but was getting better than I was. 5 miles worth of hills worked it out for me. I stopped for a bathroom break before heading back to the bridge. The second bridge was a wooden pedestrian bridge lined with people. Now I was feeling good and running felt ok, everywhere but my toenails. I didn't care at that point and kept running. I saw Elvis somewhere in the middle and I was back in the groove. My smile came back and I headed out for the second 1/2 marathon. Bryan was once again there and got some video. No stopping this time! I was once again on the flat part of the course and was cruising nicely. It was a slow pace but it was forward running motion. I was passing many people who were now reduced to walking, some crying, some limping. I'm not used to passing people on the run. I kinda liked it. I got through the next 8 miles in good time. I walked the aid stations to take in nutrition and ran the rest. I still had to stop a couple more times for bathroom breaks. One more time through town and onto the bridge towards the last 5 miles, of hills. At this point I was tired and hurting so I was to run uphill when I could, always run downhill and on the flats. The problem with that was there was a lot of uphill, and I was overhydrated and needed to pee more often than I wanted to stop. I kept ticking off miles and got to about 2 miles left. My toenails hurt, I wanted to walk and didn't see a problem with that until I looked at my watch. 13:37. I was in reach of going sub 14 hours. It was slower than my initial time goal but it was still my #3 goal in case things went wrong. Nothing was stopping me now. That really was the longest 2 miles of my life. I knew I ran past people but my eyes were on the road ahead. I crossed the bridge and made the turn home, and was greeted by the downhill that I climbed when I started the run. I stretched out my stride and saw a guy in a tutu... I guess he was the distraction for what felt like was the neverending corner to the finish line. I rounded the corner and saw the lights and the crowds. I entered the finish chute and spaced myself from other finishers and crossed the line in personal best time.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

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