I seem to have a thing about racing in the South. The warm humid air, the rivers, the winding roads. I like it so much that I keep signing up for them!
I flew to Nashville and made the easy two-hour drive to Chattanooga alone. As soon as I pulled into town in my rental car, driving straight downtown to check in and grab my race packet, Ironman Chattanooga 2015 came flooding back to me: the anticipation, the friends, support, exploring a new town, learning the weather, roads, and restaurants.
I walked around, checking in and looking at the transition area, wrapping my head around racing. This year has been packed, and there’s a lot yet to come. I’ve already done the Wenatchee Marathon, 70.3 Canada, went to Finland with mom and the girls, and I have Ironman Louisville and a trip to Ethiopia coming up quickly. It’s all starting to run together in my head and I find I’m working hard to stay in the moment and take in these experiences.
I met Karen at check-in, did a warmup ride with a few of the Vo2 guys, and had a nice dinner in downtown Chattanooga at Alleia with Kari and Lisa before crowding into our little room at the Red Roof Inn. Our friend Lynn met us race morning.
The morning at the riverfront was warm and clear, filled with athletes. We got the wetsuit call first thing (yes to the wetsuits!), then a wait that felt both long and short. I waited with Kari, walking the transition and stretching, putting on wetsuits until we lined up in corrals about twenty minutes before our start, feeling good anticipation. This race had a dive/corral start. I got into the first 10-person corral and dove in, with the focus on keeping my swim smooth and relaxed. There was some contact in the first part of the race, but then it was smooth after that. I had some feet to draft on the 1000 meter upstream section.
Transition was long and uphill. I fell down while running!
I started the bike, remembering exactly how it felt when I did Ironman Chattanooga. Some rough roads, train track crossings through town, but this time we started out with a climb to Lookout mountain. I should have carried only one bottle at this point! There was no need to load myself down with multiple bottles for the climb. Lookout mountain was gorgeous and a 3+ mile climb, then rolling, fun, winding descents, followed by more climbing. And climbing and climbing! I thought it would never end, and I worried about the fatigued feeling in my legs and all my uneven power that might have burned all of my matches for the rest of the bike and the run.
Bike done, tired legs, no turning back!
Bike Time 2:55:55
Bike Pace: 30.74 kph
Bike Place: 28
My run was solid. I don’t have a big run report to post here because I’m finishing this race report so late. I hadn’t taken very good notes after the race, so at this point I can only look at pictures and my data, and all the lack of mindfulness I experienced around this race is apparent. My run time was almost exactly the same as at my Whistler race two months before. I do remember that I enjoyed it, likely forgetting any pain cave I might have experienced, and saw Lisa, Lynn, Ben, Paul, Stan and a few others along the course. I was happy with my 14thplace in my age group at this event. It was both a solid placing at Worlds, and room for improvement at the next – a good place to be during this busy season!
Run Time: 1:43:33
Run Pace: 4:54 kph
Final Time: 5:15:20
Final Place: 14 out of 187
Post-race, we met up with Susan and had a wonderful girls’ dinner, bringing back the enjoyment of the moment. My friends and I headed to Nashville and the last thing I remember is nearly falling asleep in my post-race Manhattan. Onto Ironman Louisville!