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Ironman Chattanooga - Triathlon

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Chattanooga, Tennessee
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
97F / 36C
Total Time = 11h 10m 15s
Overall Rank = 100/2739
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 16/337
Pre-race routine:

I slept as badly as I have for any race I've ever completed. I went to be bed a little bit earlier than normal because I seemed relaxed more than usual, I believe it was about 9:30. All things were going we'll and I was asleep somewhat quickly until my mom sent me a text message, then it was staring at the ceiling for a while. About 2AM I was back awake until sometime after 3AM and probably very close to 3:30 before dozing off. When the alarm went off at 4:00 I pretty much jumped out of bed and got moving.
I made some coffee and got myself as ready as I could before heading to transition. Lis was ready before me except for breakfast. It seemed like things always drag in some form or another and to day was no different. I was the cause of some of the delay as I was trying to take care of normal business but seemed unable.
I ran into Mark as I was headed out of transition and he came back in with me. He had a tire pump and that saved me a lot of time. At my bike and airing my tires started the first problem of the day. After inflating my front the valve stem broke off and all that was holding air was the back pressure. Mark had another 80mm tube that I was able use, thankfully, and I made the change in a few minutes, hung my nutrition and water and headed out of transition. Mark also mentioned about running on the asphalt in bare feet coming into T2 may burn my feet if I go sock less on the bike. This triggered a memory that I hadn't put socks in my run gear bag. I had been planning to use compression socks but ad chosen not to because of the heat. luckily I was wearing socks in my shoes and placed them in the run gear bag on the way out of transition.
From here Mark and I met up with Lis and headed to the bus and the swim start. We arrived at the swim start line and took our spot. We were a way back in the line but I was probably closer than I was at Lou last year. Now it was a waiting game....
Event warmup:

The warm up was swatting for my goggles.....
  • 52m 43s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 15s / 100 yards

The excitement was building in the final minutes of the wait to get the race underway. MArk, Chad and I were in line and getting plenty of family pictures taken, and of course getting them posted on social media was key for many people.
The walk to the dock where were were jumping I was incredibly motivivating. We high fived each other and we were off.
I jumped in the water and disaster almost stuckimmediately. My goggles weren't on correctly and they flew off my head, completely off my head. I hadn't held them on my head like I normally do and they were gone. The bout of panic that began was brief as I swatted through the water trying to find them before they sunk to the bottom. thankfully one of the first swipes I felt them and another swat or two later they were in my hands and on my head. I anticipate this little adrenaline surge cost me about 30 seconds as I was trying to find them, put them on my head and place them properly before heading off.
Once I was moving I could feel a little water coming into my goggles, I considered stopping to get them better fitted but decided to see how things went. I felt I had already cost myself enough time doing stupid stuff that I didn't want to lose any more time, and seconds count sometimes.
This entire swim was incredible! I was hoping to have the swim I could only imagine and things seemed to be setting up well. It was really hard to tell just how fast I was moving as I passed people because everyone wold be getting the same push from the current as I would have been.
As I was considering times for this race I began to compare my swimming ability to others, namely Meredith. She is an incredibly fast swimmer and one that I can come close to when swimming in the pool. She did the Choo last year and swam 50 minutes and I hoped to be able to get close to that myself on the same course. Her encouragement in the week or two prior to the race became an important mechanism for me as I jumped into the warm waters of the Tennessee River.
The scenery was absolutely astounding. The sheer rock walls, the shoreline was all part of the best swim views I can imagine. I wanted at times to be able to stop and smell the roses of the course, take it all in and relish the opportunity to see creation in all it's splendor....I chose to keep racing.
The course was not really all that easy to navigate. The wide body of water and some of the buoys being somewhat small made sighting a little more difficult. For the first several hundred yards I tried to stay close to the buoys and navigate using them. this worked well as I actually brushed 2 of them so closely that I was slowed slightly by swinging my arm into them. Once this was because I was trying to pass someone on the inside and we were crowded. the second time was a mistake on my part misjudging the distance and how fast I was approaching.
Through a very short section I found an athlete that was making me look like a rookie in the water. He was blasting by me! I didn't see him at first, probably because I didn't notice his gills expelling water. I tried to hook up to his feet but he was moving far too fast and we had approached one of the buoys I had accidentally swatted. I believe both the speed of his approach and the buoy helped keep me from jumping into his draft. had I been able to hold onto him, even for a while, I would have had an incredible swim.
After this second bump with a buoy and the crowds following the same line, I decided to pause for an couple of seconds, come up for air, sight further downstream and determine a larger object to use for sighting. The plan was that getting that further sight distance would allow a straighter, more direct l one toward the finish. This also allowed me to get clear of other swimmers and find my own water. I am always more comfortable in my own water but I try to take advantage of drafting whenever possible.
As I began to approach the island in the river I began to get pushed by the guards back toward the buoys. While I didn't appreciate their gestures to get me on a course that was less direct I appreciated that they were trying to get everyone closer together to allow for better safety of all of the athletes, so I moved in line more closely. I still didn't try to get close to the markers at this point. I was still looking to use the advantage of straight l ones as much as I could but s perfectly straight line was never an option here.
It was in the area of the west end of the island that really got me wanting to stop and enjoy the scene. The sheer rock walls here jutted above the rivers edge, possibly over 100 feet high. The rocky crags overhanging the river were almost too much to keep my body moving. The spectacle was ar better than any swim, anywhere, I have ever done. It was a glory to behold.
It was near this location that I began to work my way back toward the shoreline slowly. The run every make another turn here as it heads toward the swim out. In keeping with my strategy, I was looking to keep the lines as straight as possible. According to the mapping on my Garmin I was slowly creeping from the center (ish) of the river toward the shore making as short a swim as possible.
Once able to see the swim exit I kicked my legs like a mule a few times to get them a little more livened up, although without a wetsuit I had been kicking more than usual anyway. approaching the out a crowd began to develop. The crowd was large enough that I felt I might get slowed down coming out of the water. I didn't feel the pace I was keeping was going to allow me to catch and pass these athletes...I turned on the jets and really hammered for a short time. I passed these other swimmers in a wave of fire. I think I anticipated their pace and mine inaccurately. I blew by them like they weren't swimming. looking back now I am certain I would not have had to work as hard for those 10-20 seconds and would have passed them ahead of the exit.
What would you do differently?:

This is simple, make sure I hold onto my goggles before jumping the water. This was a boneheaded move and it almost cost me. Thankfully they were found quickly and didn't cost me much time. Looking a the data from Iroman, if I had gotten this right I would have come out of the water in 4th place. either way, a 5th place AG placement on the swim is something I once thoughtful would never have been possible.
In hindsight, this was the first success of the day.
Transition 1
  • 06m 4s

The run into T1 was pretty good. Not particularly long but there is a short, sharp hill that had me worried on Saturday. This didn't even slow me down, or at least anything noticeable today. I really don't even recall being winded from running up the hil but that certainly would have had to have been the case.
the volunteer in the tent was great. I had decided to purchase arm coolers for this race after never having used them prior to trace day. He helped me struggle with putting them on and pulling them into position. Not an easy feat when your running water from your arms. He also grabbed things from my bag and placed them in front of me, while I was getting ready to put them on.
I did put on the calf sleeve in T1 too. This was a game time decision based on wanting them for the run for sure but also trying to keep the unrelenting sun off my skin a little more. I have no idea if the extra layer helped or hurt me at the end of the day.
What would you do differently?:

Probably not much. MAybe be a little more organized with the way I went about everything. I didn't really work through a system here, but then Ironman transitions aren't like any other transitions making it harder to have a system at all.
  • 5h 20m 29s
  • 116 miles
  • 21.72 mile/hr

I hit the bike feeling very strong. I felt primed and ready to do battle but willing to dial things in slowly. Although the dial things in slowly part is admittedly hard for me. I tried to manage well early but the first lap came in at 225 NP watts, 5 watts higher than target for the overall ride. I have done this in the past and remained reasonable successful for the day so I wasn't concerned just yet. I kept telling myself control, control control!
The first 10-15 miles of the course winds through Chattanooga and into Georgia on streets and highways. It was mostly flat or false flats here but nothing that really will slow you down much when hills do arise. This early part of the ride was easy to ride being fresh and recovered for a race. I'm sure I could have done better at controlling my effort here, and I felt like I was trying, even though I was checking my watch regularly.
From here the elevations began to increase but again, there weren't any big climbs. Most the hills were rolling and generally easy to hold onto speed. A few of the hills did cause me to drop into the small ring and some of the larger cogs, maybe even the lowest gear I have, a 27. Garmin says this was the largest elevation increase over the course of the 5 mile splits I choose to record on my watch.
I had been very cognizant of taking my nutrient to this point. I planned to take 1 shot of EFS liquid shot every 30 minutes beginning 30 minutes into the ride, sip on my EFS every 10 minutes to make sure the fuel flowed normally. I knew if I were mistakes made at the beginning of the day it would make for a longer day later. Taking in salt and fuel seemed to be in good shape so far and I was trying to make sure I stayed on track.
Having driven the course the day before I knew the road consisting were going to be good to very good. The potholes and rough patches were clearly marked. There had been some discussion in the FB page about how rough the tracks can be in places but I didn't seem to have any issues. I actually saw more bottles and cages on the back road sections of the course. Most of the poor spots in the road were once turning off the highway onto W Cove road. Even the poorest of places on the bike route were better than man of the roads I am used to riding on, so this was a nice place to ride.
Early in the ride I made another decision to make sure I took on as much water as I could. The only aid station I passed on the bike was the second one. All others I took some form of water. The second aid station seemed to have come on a little faster and I didn't need anything. I was still mostly full in my earo bottle and didn't require topping off. The third aid station was just before the big turn onto Hog Jowl Rd. This was one of the turns I had been concerned about as I drove the course. I have a history of pressing hard on the gas until the very last second before braking. Many times I have barely been able to remain upright after going off the road on these corners. I was determined to remain in control better than previous attempts.
The turn on to Hog Jowl went pretty well. I hit the brakes in just the right spot and cleared the corner while carrying an appropriate amount of speed. I was now headed back to the north and back toward Chickamuga and the special needs stop.
There was now a general descent on the course for several miles. I was able to hold onto some speed as the course rolled up and down while gradually decreasing elevation. For the next 15-20 miles I was holding onto the highest average speeds I wok see for the day. The splits for miles 35-50 held on to 22 mph plus, and one of the splits was nearly 23 mph. This simply fueled my desire to have a solid split and get off the bike in good position. It is also important to note that I was staying on target for power or slightly below. One split was 221 NP while the others were 215 and 220 respectively.
The turn upward did increase my power for the next lap split as well as my heart rate. Garmin was now recording the temps as they began to creep upward. Lap 11 (50 miles) recorded the temp as 83 degrees and it was beginning to go up fast from here. The temps over the next 25 miles increased 11 degrees to over 94 and my body was beginning to feel the beating.
AS the temps were increasing I was also developing some signs of the internal struggle with nutrition. My stomach wasn't emptying. It felt like everything I was taking in was sitting in my stomach. I felt full most of the time and somewhat bloated other times. The mistake I believe I made was not being aware of my HR. I had been into Zn3 HR since 45 miles while the temps were climbing. The exertion seems to have shut down my digestive system and it was beginning to effect how I felt. I never felt like I was going to throw up or even nauseous, just really full and beginning to feel uncomfortable. It. Was here that I finally began to check my HR and discovered I was riding too hard as the heat was beginning to effect me.
From miles 30-90 I didn't feel like taking any nutrition but I took as much as I could anyway. The real fullness didn't really begin until mile 45 or so, still not willing to pull the power down or even knowing, based on HR, I was riding in harder than planned.
I made it into the feed stop in Chickamauga for my special needs bag, more EFS liquid shot and EFS drink. On the way out I saw Lis, Laiken and Zach waving and encouraging me. I still felt pretty good despite having a full stomach and I blasted out of town and on to the biggest climb of the day, for the first time. This was a long, steady climb of about a mile and a half. It was nothing harsh, just steady. There were a couple of short harder graded sections that were small ring, large cog efforts and they. Had me dealing with high power numbers too. still this was a good effort and I was still feeling like I could nail this bike split for the day.
Next came the big descent. When I had driven this out I thought it was going to be an awesome downhill bomb, but it wasn't as steep as I thought initially. I also thought, based on the assessment on Saturday, that there was one slight corner that would make me nervous, especially after my bike crash in Tennessee a few years ago (high speed corners are now approached with a little more caution these days). As I was descending it was exhilarating but I was never able to spin out as I thought I would. Generally, I have always pedaled throughout an entire race regardless of downhills until I am out of gear and begin spinning a very high cadence, and today never saw that high cadence.
I can now say that this first trip down this long descent was still pretty awesome, hitting 42 mph for thre peak on this trip down. I completely killed this lap 23.7 mph for this lap and felt good seeing that kind of split, too bad it wasn't on a flat.
Once into the bottom and onto loop 2 for the course things began to settle in on me from the fullness of my stomach. It was somewhere around mile 60 that I decided I needed to check my HR. I was solidly in Zn3 (avg this lap was 153) and knowing I had to pull things down. I also knew at this point that I had to do something about the nutrition I didn't want to take but felt I had too. The problems is once your full, you have to back down or things won't free up. So pulling the intake down as well as letting the effort come below where I wanted it to had to happen or face other problems later in the day.
I also knew that once I pulled things down it was going to be more difficult to bring them back up IF it would be advisable. That time never really came.
During the he secon loop the battle became trying to maintain some form of speed and effort while bringing things low enough to allow my stomach to clear. With all of the miles ahead of me and having a bike split I thought may never happen I didn't want to let things go, at all. Then I wondered how others were doing. I knew it was hot, very hot! I was seeing some carnage along the road. Other athletes, men and women, sitting along side the road in the shade. Obviously first loopers who had spent longer in the water and were much slower on the bike causing them to have to face the conditions much longer than I. I say it time and time again; I'm thankful to have been blessed to be as fast as what I am, but the real athletes are the ones who can stay on course in these type of conditions and still cross the line. They have to endure so much more than I do. Only a few of these riders were changing tubes or other mechanical issues. so many of them were along side the roadsitting against trees or sprawled out on the ground. On several occasions I heard and saw ambulances headed to riders I had passed. thankfully I never became one of them.
One occasion I saw a homeowner tending to an cyclists sitting in his front yard under a tree trying to get a break from the heat. A few minutes later the wail of a siren came screaming by headed in the direction of the gentleman I had passed a minute or so prior. this happens Ed at least 3 times that I recall....
  • ...And the conditions got worse!
  • For me, by the time I got 5 miles or so from Chickamauga, I was beginning to get my stomach back. I was nearing the 90 mile mark and I could finally fell like things were moving again. But this had cost me a lot of time. For this split I normalized 164 watts and my. HR finally dropped into Zn2 (avg 144) for the first time since the ride got underway. I had also finally caught some of the heavier traffic of the first loopers that I'd been expecting to catch for some time now. I thought much of the my second loop to this point that something must be going on because I really hadn't many people, at least like I had experienced at Louisville and Madison during my previous Ironman races.
    I head into Chickamauga and passed the through the special needs area on the opposite side of the road to avoid any confusion or potential collisions involving other cyclists leaving and create less congestion for athletes needing to stop and get their fuel.
    This was near the 95+ mile marker and I knew things were getting closer and closer to being done. Now I was beginning to think not about how awesome it wold be to get of this blasted bike. and I had the big descent to do again. this time I hoped to nail it a little faster with more confidence in knowing what the hill was actually like and knowing it could be faster. But then it was some of the traffic I had been wondering about. It showed up in a few places before the descent during the long climb out of town but really didn't impede me there. It did however slow me as the descent began.
    I hit the top of the peak and saw the drop in elevation, grabbed the big ring and a few smaller cogs and picked up speed slowly while trying to maintain reasonable power. Within a few hundred feet there was a lone rider, sitting on the left side of the lane. I was approaching rapidly, although not too fast at this point. I yelled "passing" and got no response. I yelled again and got no response. finally a third time yelling and now I'm sitting on the yellow (no traffic oncoming) and she finally moved over, yielding to me. then a second rider, a third, and yet again, a forth rider before I could reach the bottom of the hill. Where I had hit 42 mph on the first descent I now was only seeing 40 mph, but I didn't crash nor did anyone else, so there's some success there.
    With the big drop gone.I was now past 100 miles and dreaming about being off the bike! my shoulders were stiff and sore, my neck was aching and off course my backside didn't want to sit anymore. on the homestretch and missing some of the power I would like to have had. Now for the last 13 miles I was normalizing about 180 watts but still maintaining decent speeds of 21.1 and 21.2 mph. while the speeds felt good for the most part, I wasn't happy with the power drop I'd seen. The goal was 220 watts and I had dropped to 205 overall. 15 watts lower than plan isn't something I have even done. I think I have only been 2-3 watts low in previous races, and those were hard on me mentally. Now,as I am coming into T2 I am seeing I am that far off the mark?? Really?
    What would you do differently?:

    As much as I would have like to have seen what 220 watts could have done for my bike split, there is just no way in the world I could have run off the bike at all for the marathon had I hit that target.
    I should have checked HR far earlier and began to adapt an alternate plan to keep things together and save myself for the run. by doing this my nutrition would have been on and I may have had the power to have a good run and much better placement.
    Transition 2
    • 03m 41s

    as I came into T2 and got off my bike I could barely walk upright. I was hobbled by the stiffness in my hips from being so long on the bike. after the race I asked Lis if she noticed the way I was running and she commented that even she and Laiken noticed I was struggling.
    The transition seemed to go by faster than it really needed too, or maybe even should have (more on that later). Taking a mother minute in T2 wouldn't have hurt me, but in this case it may have helped me tremendously.
    What would you do differently?:

    Assessed my condition a little more, okay, a lot more, and recovered a little bit before heading out onto the run course.
    The reason I have chosen to give the overall rating of this transition is the condition I was in when I got off the bike..
    • 4h 47m 18s
    • 26.2 miles
    • 10m 58s  min/mile

    Coming off in off the bike was brutal. I had barely been able to hold myself upright after being in the aero position for such a long period of time. My hips were really tight and I felt like I was running hunched over.
    AS I started the run I saw Lis and the crew shouting for me to have a good run as I slogged off. Within a few steps I switched my screen to HR so my only view would be the metrics I needed to keep my run headed in the right direction. I don't recall my HR at the time but it or ally runs a little high during the first mile or so after getting off the bike as I settle in.
    The run started along the river where we had exited the swim and I knew there would be a little hill to climb from the river walk in a minute, what lied ahead was unknown at the time but would reveal itself soon enough.
    As I began the tun I felt like trash. My legs were still reeling a little from being on the bike but they didn't immediately feel like trouble was on the way. After coming up the hill off the river and onto the street another hill appeared. This is where the first signs of problems were going to show up.
    As I headed up the hill my left quad began to roll slightly, going inn signs of a potential cramp. then it rolled again several steps later, and again nearer the top of the hill. While this was going on I was developing a stitch in my upper right rib cage, a location I don't recall having one before. My pace was pretty slow to this point but the goal was to hold my HR in check in the heat and that's what I was shooting for.
    My average for this mile was pretty much on track for the first mile or two but the stitch was getting worse. HR averages for 1-2 were 145 and 143 respectively but the stitch was getting much worse as I tried to run along (run being relative). Keeping moving was becoming more and more difficult and I was only 2 miles into the run.
    WHen I hit the aid station at mile 2 I finally, for the first time all day, felt like I needed to relive myself. I had tried to take on all kinds of water on the bike but apparently it wasn't near enough. I actually knew I was not taking in enough but could do nothing about it while on the bike. When I stepped into the Porto the heat was exhaustingly oppressive. It was purely stifling when the door shut. I honestly felt like I might throw up because it was so instantaneously hot. I did my thing, came out of the hotbox and immediately felt more naseous. I stood as the aid station trying to fill my bottles with cold water to carry to the next aid station and got really dizzy. The stitch during this rest period didn't even relent.
    As I left the aid station I tried to run again but only got so far, maybe 1/4 mile at best before I was audibly groaning in pain. I tried a little longer to keep "running" but it was only getting worse. THe pain became so bad at times that I coldn't even breath shallow without suffering and groaning. This was all while walking. And walk I did for at least a half mile before attempting to run again.
    Walking became my thing for almost 2 more miles. Everytime I tried to run the stitch would return in agonizing fashion causing me to groan and walk again. I finally decided I had to walk longer than I ever dreamed I could during Ironman and sucked it up. I tried to think about others hopefully having to slow down drastically and allowing me some room to recover and perform a little later. My hope was that I could get rid of the stitch and finish my race running and finish stronger than I appeared capable of right now.
    I crossed another aid station, refilled my bottles and fast walked away. My goal was still to collect myself and get running again. It was going to take some time but I was going to get there. But to be completely honest I was beginning to think not about having to walk far more of the marathon than I could stomach. Somewhere past the 4th aid station , after several short attempts at running I got started and was able to keep running. I recall after having run about a mile or so that I had been running for a while as the stitch seemed to be subsiding. I felt I was finally going to be able to run the rest of the race. I knew it was going to be hard, but I was beginning to turn mentally in a positive direction.
    At the 5 mile aid station I kept with the plan to stop and refill the water bottles with ice water. This had been keeping me cool for the first few miles and allowed mt to recover from some of the heat stress that had hit me during the bike and early on the run. I hated stopping and taking the time but the stitch and the oppressive heat were going to take bigger toll if I didn't keep it under control. My goal was to stop and fill one bottle at a time at each station and use the other one until the following aid station. This would allow me to take sips and spray myself down, arms head and legs for the remainder of the day.
    For the next 6 miles I was able to run but it was much slower than I had trained at and ever seen in any race. The miles slogged by and my mental state varied from ready to quit to thinking about being able to still get into the finish in a decent time. The best part of the run and the fastest miles of the day were in the first loop heading into the hills on the north side of the river.
    At mile 8 I saw Lis, Laiken and Zachfor the first time of the day, but only after having them have to chase me down and catch me as I walked refilling water and ice. Lis came up from behind me, asked me how I was doing and talked for a second about my slow paces. I told her here to text Zach (coach) and tell him I was unable to take nutrition from mile 30-90 on the bike, which she never did, and tell her it was going too be a long day.
    After passing over the bridge the real work of the day began. The hill climbing was starting in earnest. Mile 9 had a huge hill that seemed to go on forever. And this wasn't a bump in the road, this was a full on hill that seemed like it was a mile long and a steep grade. The first loop had nearly everyone walking. I felt good enough here to keep the walk on the back burner and I was able to run the entire hill, of course running is a relative term here. Compared to almost everyone else I was running and unwilling to give up my pace. The top of the hill turn downward and it seemed as if my quads were already trashed from the abuse I'd been facing all day from dehydration. I had felt like I was drinking copious amounts of water but not enough for sure.
    Mile 10 was a beautiful stretch of the course that overlooked the Tennessee River from a high bluff. It was an awesome place to have the run course when looking out and running. I tired to focus on the beauty of this place as I continued to struggle on. Ironically, this was my fastest mile of the day according to Garmin.
    Following this mile the next 2 mile were mostly downhill and still causing my quads to respond with pain as I ran down the steep hill I had come up before. It was painful to run downhill but plenty tolerable. Note: the pain was muscular rather than joint related. There dodn't sseem to be any issues going on with my left knee from all of the previous surgeries.
    As I crossed the Walnut street bridge my mind was ready to take on the back half of the course. I was nearing the 13.1 marker and the excitement to see the finish line was beginning to get into my head. I knew the beginning of the 2nd loop was going to be difficult because of the uphill that had lead out of transition, but I felt better prepared to take this on.
    When I reached the 13 mile marker I felt like some GI issues might start so I made a pit stop and thankfully there was nothing going on. The stop was quick and I was happy to be out of the sauna of a Porto. Then I was headed back up the hill for the start of lap 2.
    I made it through the first hill on lap 2 and into the sun on Riverside drive. This was the hottest place on the course, it felt like I was running on the surface of the sun. I ran into Kim at the Base Salt tent on the way back out and she ran along with me for a short distance. She offered words of encouragement that carried me for a mile or so.
    I made it to about mile 16 running and stopping/walking the aid stations but it was about to take the worst turn of the day. Mile 17 was a slugfest that came with the onset of my exercise induced asthma taking control and causing me to begin to cough as my lungs tightened up. This condition only worsened over the this mile as I was forced to walking again. At one point I began coughing hard enough that I felt I might puke, which sometimes the harsh coughing seems to allow things to loosen up. That didn't occur today. after walking what seemed like 5 miles I ass blue to get moving again but my pace had to be reduced even more. I tired to get things moving a little quicker but was immediately reminded that my legs were going to become spasmodic again and I dropped my effort. The frustration of all of this going on took a tremendous mental toll on me. I wanted to quit because I felt like this race was going to be an embarrassment to my Ironman record of sub 11 hour finishes. A main reason I was able to keep moving is that I looked at the overall time for the race on my watch. It was giving indications that I was still in track to finish under 11 hours.
    At one of the aid stations about mile 18 I met a guy running my pace and we hung out together. Our conversation was a nice distraction to the constriction going on in my lungs and a way to maintain my slower pace, saving me from walking agai, at least for a little while. He and I stayed together for maybe 2 miles. At one point just past and aid station I was groaning again, the stitch was coming back again. He had been slightly behind me heading out of the aid station, caught me and asked if I was doing alright. I responded I'd be fine and he tried to pick up his pace a little and wished me well.
    I was now approaching mile 20 and the aid station with Base Salt again an ether seemingly Mount Everest hill that led up to the tent and aid station shortly after. As I was climbin this hill I wanted to run it, and I attempted to run until my lungs began to seize up again and cause me another coughing fit. It wasn't far to the aid station from there and I was looking forward to the break that would come from getting water refreshed. The trouble however got worse for me as I tried to climb. The coughing got worse and I was forced to walk yet again. By the time I reached the top and the aid station all I could think about was wanting some air. Thankfully there was an angel at the top that had dropped an inhaler and I was able to pick it up and take it with me. I took a couple of puffs as I refilled in the aid station.
    As I left the aid station another problem capped knee! With all of the history with my knee I have learned that during these long races I can run and keep running, but if I stop it can bring on problems and today was one of those days when it seemed everything was against me. I was now walking with a very distinct and strong limp. This went on for some time as I crossed the bridge over the river to the most difficult part of the run course. I stopped and stretched my knee out by flexing it against the bridge forcing the fluid out of the joint. A after doing this I could again run but it was slower than the pace I had been running.
    This time the trip up the hill was slower for a couple of reasons. My knee always weakens after having to deal with the pain that results in walking with a limp and I can't run or walk uphill without pain when that strikes. so I walked most of this bigger hill, and this be me the slowest mile I had for the day.
    the remaining 4 miles or so allowed me to keep running, a slow pace, but running nonetheless. I was happy to do it at this pace. I only hoped I could hold onto the running for the remainder of the course. I tried again to enjoy the view from the bluff again but I was in too much pain. My left knee was aching, my left quad was struggling to keep me upright from the weakness resulting from the pain and my lungs remained constricted but less than before using an inhaler.
    After being able to run the long uphill (still shorter than the big climb at mile 21) at mile 24-25, I was into the long downhill that would lead me to the Walnut street bridge and the homestretch. I wanted so badly to bomb down the hill and finish strong bt there was no easy my quads would allow me to remain on my feet if I didn't use strong control going down the hill. This was a long downhill anyway and I would challenge that many people would be able to maintain the ability to keep from faltering if they bombed the length of this one. so control it was. I ran into the guy that had dropped me around mile 19-20 agin as he had lost his pace as well. we chatted for a few more minutes as I powered past him. he was heading out onto his seconds loop anyway and was vocally envious of me for having the ability to finish already. We wished each other luck and I dropped him this time.
    Now on the bridge and leaving the 25 mile marker behind I was turning into the brighter thoughts of being a 3 time Ironman but there was still a battle to complete.
    I tried to press the pace a little bit, but now it seems really funny to have considered the pace fast. I was struggling to breath as my lungs began to seize a little tighter as the pace increased. looking at my HR data now it appears it was decreasing rather than increasing with the effort. I'm not really sure what to make of this other than my body was refusing to respond to the increased level of exertion.
    I reached the point in the run where the 2nd loop begins and the finish turns to the left. I had been looking forward to this moment for 2 hours; the time when the volunteer would tell me to go right and on to the 2nd loop and I could tell him to "buzz off, I'm headed to the finish pal." ....there was no one there at the time. No joy!
    The turn downhill to the finish seemed like it took forever. It seemed like I was going to go another ear mile before finishing. The noise from the finish was muffled and I couldn't see the finishing chute for far longer than I wanted. when it finally came in sight it still felt like it was a half mile away.
    running down the chute I saw Lis, Laiken and Zach. I wanted to muster a smile but I was, and had been since before making the final turn, audibly groaning as I tried to get air into my lungs. I passed them at a snails pace and crossed the finish line. I was never more happy to finish than this day. Other finish lines have been hard to cross but this one ranks as the hardest, most intense mental and physical strain I have ever faced. It seems like I say this with each race and maybe that's the way it works, but I cannot imagine ever having to battle through so much and still finish.

    What would you do differently?:

    I think the problems on the run are a result of the effort on the bike. While I was trying to follow the plan I had biometric feedback that was telling me to slow down but my internal competitive mind wouldn't let it go. Had I paid mind to doing what was right I believe I would have had a better overall run.
    Carrying the water bottle through this race allowed me to cool myself thoroughly throughout the day. If I have another to race in the future I will plan something similar but will have the knowledge and experience
    Post race
    Warm down:

    This was the hard part of the day. I know how Lis struggles with me in the aftermath of these races. Having her nursing experience she knows what can happen and I hate putting her through all of the mental strain I place on her. As I sat in the finishing area struggling to breath, rocking back and forth in a chair trying to open and expand my lungs I was in mental denial that I was going to go to medical. This would be 3 WTC races that I would land myself in medical and I was bound and determined to stay out of there.
    I was 10 minutes sitting outside medical trying to allow myself to recover and no relief had occurred. It was actually the opposite, I was getting worse. I was headed into a full on coughing frenzy and I knew it, still for a few more minutes, I refused medical treatment. Finally, when asked by one of the medical staff if I needed to go to medical, I acknowledged I required something.
    What I didn't realize at the time was how bad a shape I was in. I, after at least 10 minutes of sitting down, was almost completely unable to hold myself up. I stumbled to stay upright when only one of the nurses was holding me to walk. the second one came to help and they basically carried me To a chair outside the tent with little help from me. (Frankly I didn't understand why they took me from one chair to another in a different area.)
    I was in this chair for another 5 minutes or more before telling the nurse I needed to lay down. Again I was supported by two nurses as we headed back to the overflow tent but I was much more able to support myself this time, but still very weak.
    On the way back one of the male medical staff was sitting in a chair blocking our access to the overflow tent. The nurse told him we needed through and he stared at her, unmoving. he didn't hear her at first so she repeated herself. this time he looked at the opening available and looked back at her, again, unmoving. The space we needed to get through would have been barely wide enough for 2 skinny people to walk through sideways much less 3 people side to side. Finally my patience had run out. I barked at him and told him "you need to move!" He finally got up and moved leaving his chair in the way. Oneto fate nurses assisting me had to kick it out of the way.
    Once back on the cot for a few minutes I was able to stop coughing and Begin to think about taking another puff from the inhaler, but this took 10-15 minutes before I felt I could hold the medicine in my lungs without coughing it out immediately. They also gave me IV fluids of 1 liter after taking some vitals.
    During one point, and I think this is really funny now but it sure wasn't then, the nurse asked if I wanted a cold towel placed on my legs. I was hot and thought it might provide relief so I suggested she place it on my legs. She didn't even have the towel completely on my legs before I too her to get it off. As soon as the towel touched my legs I began to chill badly. So much so that I asked her to get me a blanket. the shaking began instantaneously all over my body in an almost uncontrollable fashion.
    After applying the Mylar blanket I was able to get warmed up pretty rapidly as the IV fluids flowed. After being in the tent for close to an hour the bag finally ran out and they released me.
    For the next hour, while were eating and collecting my gear I had to wear the Myra blanket to keep from chilling again. I was hot under the blanket but would immediately chill if I opened it or removed it. This was just another experience I don't want to have again. I really want to learn how to race and not land in medical. If not for myself, for Lis. She doesn't deserve to have to see me in these situations.


    What limited your ability to perform faster:

    The oppressive heat! That's really about all it was.

    Event comments:

    A great race experience again. I was able to meet with an accidental friend I met on FB while preparing for IMLOU last season and I could put a voice to a face. It was also great teat Laiken was able to see this event and experience firsthand what something like this can be like on both myself and her mother. I have a feeling she will use this type of event for inspiration in the future.

    Last updated: 2016-09-26 12:00 AM
    00:52:43 | 4224 yards | 01m 15s / 100yards
    Age Group: 5/337
    Overall: 68/2739
    Performance: Good
    Lap indications on my Garmin were set for 500 yards. Most of these splits were between 1:15-1:24 averages. It was clear that we were getting a push from the current pretty hard.
    Suit: Blueseventy skin
    Course: Point to point river swim, with current.
    Start type: Plus: Time Trial
    Water temp: 83F / 28C Current: Low
    200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Good
    Breathing: Good Drafting: Bad
    Waves: Navigation: Average
    Rounding: Below average
    Time: 06:04
    Performance: Average
    Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
    Suit off:
    Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
    Jump on bike: No
    Getting up to speed: Average
    05:20:29 | 116 miles | 21.72 mile/hr
    Age Group: 3/337
    Overall: 52/2739
    Performance: Average
    There are some sick splits here. Never would I have thought I could ride an IM course this fast. However, HR data suggests I was riding at the bottom of Zn3 from the beginning. Now it looks a little more scary and more telling of where I seemed to have been heading late in the day. Avg HR: 149, 2 beats above the bottom of Zn3. Other split averages were into the middle of Zn3.
    Wind: Little
    Course: Lollipop course with 2 loops.
    Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 90
    Turns: Good Cornering: Average
    Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
    Race pace: Too hard Drinks: Too much
    Time: 03:41
    Overall: Bad
    Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
    Jumping off bike Below average
    Running with bike Below average
    Racking bike
    Shoe and helmet removal
    04:47:18 | 26.2 miles | 10m 58s  min/mile
    Age Group: 16/337
    Overall: 100/2739
    Performance: Bad
    Target here was 146-150 HR for the majority of the run. I averaged 136 and peaked at 154....Long day!
    Course: 2 loops through the river walk and the hills on the north side of the Tennessee river.
    Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
    Post race
    Weight change: %
    Overall: Below average
    Mental exertion [1-5] 4
    Physical exertion [1-5] 4
    Good race? No
    Course challenge Just right
    Organized? Yes
    Events on-time? Yes
    Lots of volunteers? Yes
    Plenty of drinks? Yes
    Post race activities: Good
    Race evaluation [1-5] 4

    2016-09-28 10:31 PM

    User image

    Fort Wayne
    Subject: Ironman Chattanooga

    2016-09-29 8:52 AM
    in reply to: #5200236

    User image

    Tyrone, Georgia
    Subject: RE: Ironman Chattanooga
    Nice write up. Sorry to hear about the med issues and hope you can get that figured out for your next race. You absolutely crushed the swim!
    2016-10-01 2:47 PM
    in reply to: dandr614

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    Mastic Beach, NY
    Subject: RE: Ironman Chattanooga
    Dirk great race report as always. You absolutely killed the swim and the bike. I know the run wasn't what you were expecting it to be but you did overcome quite a bit of adversity, stuck it out and still finished with an awesome time especially considering the conditions you were racing in. You know it's Ironman and there are never any guarantees.

    Yes you probably should've adjusted your game plan and backed off on the bike and hydrated more but even then there's no guarantee you still wouldn't have had any issues on the run. It's always easier said then done as we all know how competitive we are when we are in those situations. Hindsight is always 20/20. Regardless of all that you did an amazing job of getting to the finish and the experience gained from this race and the lessons learned will help for future races.

    Congrats again 3 x Ironman!
    2016-10-02 9:55 PM
    in reply to: #5200236

    User image

    Subject: RE: Ironman Chattanooga
    Nice work out there. Rough finish after. One hot MFing day.
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