I love Chattanooga. Not only because it is a short drive from Atlanta, but this town has a lot of personality: bike lanes, lots of outdoor activities, good restaurants and really nice people; it is impossible to resist! I have raced another 2 times in town and even though, there were not my favorite ones, I keep coming up for more. It helps to know that I will have many familiar faces on course: cheering and racing too. Lots of triathletes come from Atlanta and you gotta trust me on this one: it is always more fun to race with friends!
The day before: I had plans of leaving home early, but taper week hit me really hard. I was tired and all I wanted was to sleep. It turns out that nothing went as planned. I woke up 9 am and had to pack right before leaving. I packed in 45 minutes and was ready to go. No use of packing list. Yes, you heard it right… Soon enough I would learn how many things I had forgotten. Note to self: never do this again. The drive is easy, 2 hours. I divided my time between: a cool playlist full of “Despacito”, “El Amante” like songs and an awesome podcast called Mindfulness+ that I am obsessed with. (I am really interested in Meditation lately and this podcast has some exercises that help ME be within.)
So as you can imagine, I was super zen when I arrive in Chattanooga. I stopped by the hotel, checked in and went on to check in to the Ironman 70.3 in Chattanooga. The other time I did this race, it was the inaugural year and my dad was cheering. If you want to know more about the race in 2015, you can click here. Anyway, I got a bit nostalgic but went on to do everything I had to. Saw a couple of my friends as I walked in to get my packet. Then, passed by the Ironman tent and did not purchase anything. I am still trying to figure out how I came out of there without anything. This has never happened before! Now, I wish I had a kit or jacket from the race. Maybe I will do some shopping online after I am done with this post. Ha! Got done and racked my bike and my boss’ bike. (I am such a good employee!!! He had previously arranged that with the organization due to a previous commitment.) The weather was HOT, HOT, HOT. IN roder to avoid all the heat, decide to rest in the hotel and ended yup taking a nap. Standing in the sun makes you exhausted. Can you imagine working out? Right! But that was in no one’s mind as the weather forecast was showing thunderstorms all day Sunday.
Dinner was early. We were staying at Marriot Downtown, no need to use the car at all. We took a stroll to Community Pie. The wait was long but food was delicious as always. The weather turned pretty bad by the time we got done with all the carbo loading. We had to take an Uber back to the hotel. By the time, I went to bed the thunderstorms were so bad that I was certainly that I was signing up for Ironman 70.3 Raleigh, two weeks away. To be honest, I felt some relief. After being injury not too long ago, that didn’t seem like a bad backup plan at all!
The morning of: Alarm on and open the curtains. Sky seems clear and No sign of rain?! God bless Mother Nature, it is go time. Breakfast: bagel, coffee and orange juice. Time to prep my bottles and nutrition (things I usually do the night before, but giving the circumstances I decided not to), nothing like a added little rush in the morning prep. I realize that I do not have my measuring cup from Accelerade. Well, how bad can this be? I do it some eye measuring and move on with my prep. All packed, all done and it is time to wait for the shuttle. The city and the hotel provide shuttle to the starting line. How awesome is that? I don’t have to drive or find for parking in the morning of the race. There is no added stress. I am loving it. I see familiar faces, my transition is ready and I get together with friends and out to the start.
The swim is down the river so we have to take a shuttle to the start. It is self-seeded, up for about 350 meters and then down the river for the rest of it. Our group of friends stick together around the 30-40 minute finish time. The professionals start and we are watching and they are not moving fast. Maybe it is just my impression, we keep on chatting about training and racing. The announcer then yells, 10 minutes in and the pros just made the turn. Oh rough waters! wow!!! 10 minutes to go 350 meters, I am recalculating my goal. It should be a Miami kind of day: almost a hour in the water: 30 to go up the stream and maybe 20 to come down. As I am making peace with this decision and realizing that it is an advantage for me, because I am somewhat a better swimmer than the average triathlete, it is announced that the swim was now only down the river. The course was now 0.8 mile. Well, joy for the majority. I was a bit upset but I got over it. I had my gel and was now ready for it.
Swim: The line started moving quickly and soon enough, I was on the path to jump in the water. I pass the time map, hold my googles and jump. I needed to pee so I wanted to get in the water asap. (Yes, I pee on my wetsuit if I have to). Started “swimming” and it really feels like floating and stretching the catch. My swim coach would be proud of me. I get into a groove and can’t keep. I pass some people. In my head, I keep thinking this is not so bad. I am not that bad of a swimmer, then I remember they cut it short…. I am mad again. I can’t pee. Argh. Oh look stairs. Is that it? Yes. I am done. Time: 20:20 (average pace: 01:03/100m). Age group position: 28/76 Ha! God bless the current!
T1: You have to run up the stairs, then a tiny hill, another stretch around the transition and then you run inside transition. I get in, grab my bike and leave without using the bathroom. I can’t believe I actually did this. Time: 05:20
Bike: Mount here, my shoes are clipped in. I am on it. I start pedaling, on this feels uncomfortable. Of course, it does. I have to pee. I have never peed on my bike, but the thought starts to wander my mind. All of my nutrition is on bottles, that should be fun. I start hydrating and I realize my accelerade might be too too concentrated. But how bad can this be? I need to pee. Keep on moving, then right after mile 10. Water and FAKE BATHROOMS! I need you, I pee (what a RELIEF!). Now I am loading on my accelerade and then reality kicks in, too many carbs. Oh NOW, I need a bathroom for other reasons. I stop at mile 15 and then again at 38. I start to put more water on my bottles and my stomach settled. I am back to transition and the time is not the best but that was not my best day, so that was good. Time: 03:06:41 (average pace: 18mph). Age group position: 39/76
T2: Everything was in plastic bags. It took me a minute, or two. Maybe three. Fine, it was four. Time:03:48
Run: The weather has been great till now. The sun is shy, it comes and goes. Running is fun but also challenging. My legs are not that tired, but I feel under trained for long runs and long bikes at this point. I had a back injury that put me out for a month on any running and cycling 6 weeks prior the race. I am running but my head is going back to the lack of training and I walk part of the 1st hill. I continue to run, see friends and it is fun, energizing to see people yelling my name. Oh man, I wish I was faster at this point. But let’s face it, I am not. It is a battle inside my head. I mostly run to the aid stations and the bottom of the hills. Time: 2:23:13 (average pace: 10:55/mi). Age group position: 42/76
Overall, the race was a good experience. I enjoyed the run (minus the hill), the bike was a learning experience and I was bummed about the swim. I lost lots of positions, not so good but I guess for 4 weeks out of training. It turned to be a good training day for Ironman Santa Rosa.