Chattanooga! What can I say? I love Tennessee and this is a beautiful course. Last year when I competed at this course it was raining which made it looked a little different. This year it was sunny and just a gorgeous day.
A few weeks ago I was feeling great about this race. My training had been going very well and I was super excited to race. About 1.5 weeks ago I got sick. Had a sore throat for days, no energy. I was sick for about a week. During that time I didn't get a lot of training in and most of my workouts I ended up not being able to finish them because I had no energy. Finally, about 3 days before this race I started feeling better. I questioned if I should race. Since I was starting to feel better I would go ahead and race. Who knows, I could just be really rested!
Race morning, I got up around 4:30am. I stayed at my Aunt and Uncle's place in Collegedale, it was about a 25 minute drive to the race. Since the swim start is almost a mile from transition, we (my aunt got up early with me and spectated all day!) arrived there a little early to have enough time to walk to the swim start (they have shuttles too). It was a cool morning, a little breezy which seemed to pick up throughout the morning.
After setting up transition and checking it twice to make sure I didn't miss anything, we headed to the swim start. Shortly after we got there they were letting us in the water to warm up. It was a little cold getting in! The water temperature was 73 degrees which meant pros were not allowed to wear wetsuits. I wore my Xterra speed suit.
The ladies started 5 min after the men which gave us an extra 5 minutes to swim around and warm up or I should say we just treaded water and were freezing! It felt like a very long 5 minutes, we were ready to get it started!
I felt good during the swim. We swam about 350 yards up the river before making the turn and swimming down the river. I couldn't really notice much of a current either way. I stayed with a group of girls who were pushing me to swim a little faster, I was out of the water about a 1.5 minutes down from the leaders. I had a good transition and started out on the bike looking to track down a couple girls. Within the first 20 miles I was still feeling alright and passed a couple girls. Around 40 miles I just started to feel like I had never ridden 40 miles before! I wasn't feeling very good but I tried to ignore it and do my best. The last 5 miles I couldn't wait to get off of the bike. Just running my bike into transition I felt terrible but figured once I get my shoes on and warm up the running legs I may feel better. The first 3 miles I held about a 6:50 pace and I was pushing myself. Usually those times feel much easier. I hit the hills and had nothing. I actually had to stop on the first big hill. I took a few seconds and started to run again. I was struggling so bad. At all the aid stations they had lots of water, cola, gatorade, red bull...everything to keep you going. The volunteers at the aid stations were awesome, there were so many more people cheering along the run course than last year. Everyone around me was just keeping me moving forwards on this run. It is a two loop course, my 2nd loop there were more people to run with. It was a great race environment. I was very happy to see the finish line. It wasn't my best race and I knew I wasn't feeling 100%, I was just trying to do the best I could do on this day. The run was very painful but bad races just make the great races that much better !
I had a great time visiting with my family while I was there. Thanks to my sponsors, Xterra Wetsuits, Epix gear, ISM, Flying Fish Bikes & my coach and everyone I train with who keeps me motivated! Looking forward to Raleigh 70.3 in 2 weeks!