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Ironman Chattanooga - Triathlon

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Chattanooga, Tennessee
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
97F / 36C
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

We (3 racers and our wives) got to 'Nooga on Thursday afternoon. Did some sightseeing on Friday, and took it easy on Saturday. We drove the bike course since we hadn't seen it before.
Event warmup:

Woke up at 5:10. Although there were some nerves, I didn't go to the bathroom as much as I usually have to before a race. We walked the 2 blocks to the transition area and got things set up before we boarded the bus for the swim start. At the swim start we sat and waited for about 30 minutes. Did some stretching, ate a little bit (I can never eat very much on race mornings) and had a pre-workout drink before we headed down the ramp and jumped into the water together.
  • 1h 05m 32s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 33s / 100 yards

The water was warm and calm. Felt good and hit my rhythm right away. It was easy to find some space, and did try to draft off of a few people as much as possible when I could. My left arch on my foot started to cramp up a little bit about halfway through. This has never happened in open water before, only in the pool. I was able to stop kicking with that leg and flex my calf a little, and it held off the cramp. A little while later my right foot did the same thing. Got to the swim exit ramp without troubles, and a volunteer pulled me up onto the steps. Nice easy refreshing swim was done.
Transition 1
  • 10m 21s

I saw my wife and friends on my way to the tent. Got my bag and made a full change into my tri outfit. Put on sunscreen, ate an uncrustable, put on arm coolers and took my time and made sure everything was ready for a long hot ride.
  • 6h 39m 54s
  • 116 miles
  • 17.40 mile/hr

The first 20 miles were quite enjoyable after we got out of town. Didn't lose any bottles over the railroad tracks either. It was still relatively cool and the sun was low enough that we had a lot of shade. I averaged 18.8 mph for the first 32 miles, and was only pushing about 145-148W, so that as promising. On the back side of the first loop things started to get warm. I drank a bottle of Endurance before the first aid station, and then took a water at every aid station. With each new bottle I took a salt tab, and took 2 salt tabs a time or two at the aid stations.

I stopped at special needs and went to the bathroom and ate an uncrustable. I re-applied some chaffing cream and was back off on the road within a few minutes. At mile 59 I started the 2nd lap, and was happy but surprised to see my wife, her aunt and a friend going crazy for me as I passed by. That helped my moral. But a few short miles later I could REALLY start to feel the heat of the day. With the sun higher in the sky we didn't have much shade at all, and battled a little bit of a headwind from mile 59-81. For the first loop I was in my big chain ring, but stayed in my small chain ring for most of the 2nd lap. I tried taking it easy, drinking lots of water, and pouring water on myself to keep me cool. Before each aid station I would empty my water bottle onto my arm coolers, back, and into my helmet. I did stop once more to go the bathroom and apply a last little bit of chaffing cream.

It got really long and hot on the last lap. There were EMT's with their lights on going all over the place. I knew there were going to be a lot of people that didn't finish the bike ride. I was focused on just getting to the finish line. Any race plan had long gone out the window, and I was just trying to finish. The bike ride was beautiful though. A lot of nice rolling hills and good scenery. We were definitely in deep red Georgia though.

I was so happy when we took the right turn back in to town. Got to T2 and was totally shot. I knew I was at least a little dehydrated, and was just physically exhausted. I knew that ride in those conditions did me in.
Transition 2
  • 10m 12s

Stopped and talked to me wife for a little bit. She could tell I was spent. I walked to the T2 tent, changed my shoes and took my time. I knew I had 26.2 miles of hell in front of me, so I didn't hurry too much.
  • 00m
  • 26.2 miles
  •  min/mile

Since I knew I wasn't in a great place to begin with, my plan was to walk for the first part of the marathon and try to hydrate myself, then as I got fluids in me and the temps cooled off, to start running. Well, I started running right from the start at a very slow run (for me). Anything that was uphill I walked, and I walked the aid stations. After the first few miles, I knew if I kept doing this things were only going to get worse for me, and I knew I had to walk if I was going to survive. I tried drinking water and taking salt tabs. By mile 6 I was feeling OK enough to implement a run/walk strategy and did that for a little while until I hit the hills on Barton. I walked up the hills, and job/shuffled down the hills. Between my stomach not feeling right, my feet hurting worse than they should have and the pure exhaustion, I couldn't run that much.

I ran across the bridge back to start the 2nd loop, and shortly into the 2nd loop things went downhill quick. I started walking again from mile 14-17. I tried drinking chicken broth and a little coke, while still trying to take salt tabs. The sun set on me and I was on the dark trail next to the river. I kept having to pee, but nothing would come out. Just after mile 17 my stomach was feeling so bad, that I thought maybe I need to empty it out and start over, so I made myself puke. At first I didn't think I'd be able to, but then it came out in 4 big pushes. Chicken broth and all.

After I puked I actually felt a lot better and started running again. Sipping water and shuffling at about a 12:00/mile pace. That went well for a couple of miles, and then things started to go south again. I started walking again at mile 19. At mile 20.4 I saw my wife.

I sat down next to her. My intention was to just take a break, access the situation, and rub my feet. As I sat there, things went from bad to worse in a hurry. I was getting nauseous again, and my fingers were starting to tingle a lot. My legs were cramping up pretty badly. I didn't know if I could even physically finish. And I REALLY didn't want to walk all those Barton hills in the pitch dark while feeling nauseous and cramping up. I made the decision to drop out. My goal for the run was to finish without going to the med tent. Instead, I didn't finish and still went to the med tent.

At the med tent, they didn't want to give me an IV. So they gave me Zofran for nausea and wanted me to hydrate with fluids. About 10 minutes after the Zofran I left the med tent and immediately puked my guts out. I dry heaved all the way back to the med tent and they gave me some much needed fluids through an IV. That helped solidify my decision to not continue.
Post race
Event comments:

I was in the best shape I've ever been in, and much more prepared for this Ironman than the last 2. Yet between the heat, humidity and who knows what other factors, I got my first DNF ever. It's really hard emotionally when you train and prepare all those countless hours for one race, and then you don't even finish. Sure I can say I tried my best, or that I made it 138 of the 144 miles. But in the end, I didn't finish. But I figure I have 2 options. I can either wallow in it, or I can move on. In the end, crossing that finish line doesn't define me. It doesn't make or break me. It's just part of life. Sure it's disappointing, but there will be other races, and I'll use the DNF as motivation for the next one.

Last updated: 2019-10-08 12:00 AM
01:05:32 | 4224 yards | 01m 33s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Start type: Dive Plus:
Water temp: 80F / 27C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 10:21
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:39:54 | 116 miles | 17.40 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Wind: Little
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 10:12
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:00:00 | 26.2 miles |  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2019-10-09 10:35 AM

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Sioux Falls, SD
Subject: Ironman Chattanooga

2019-10-10 2:51 PM
in reply to: #5263191

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Simsbury, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Ironman Chattanooga
I did choo last year - with the cancelled swim. I would take a cancelled swim day over the heat and humidity that you had. Clearly you made the right decision. And it's ok to wallow for a little bit but then you get up, dust yourself off and move on (sounds like you are doing just that). We live to fight another day.

Congrats. A LOT of people DNFd that were definitely not alone.
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