I came into IM Chatt feeling pretty good about my condition and preparation. This year, I routinely got my butt kicked by different training partners and it really helped lift me to new levels. It’s so important to have people around you that can push you develop and not be satisfied with maintaining the same level. Each time I came back stronger and with a goal in mind. The race season was light, with only 3 races leading up to the big A-race of the season.
We got down to Chattanooga on Thursday and beat the crowd as well as the rain. It’s a pretty cool town and I would definitely suggest heading there for a race in the future. They host a 70.3 and 144.6 (yes, 4 extra miles) and in 2017 they’ll host the 70.3 Worlds. After some rainy days on Friday and Saturday, Sunday dried up and stayed mostly cloudy.
The swim wasn’t quite as fast as 2014. Apparently last year they had 4 parts of the dam open and water was flowing around 24,000 cubic feet per second. This year, they had one open and water was flowing around 6500 cu. ft per second. Definitely not as big of a push but still helped things out. Came out of the water 27th in the division and in a good place. Split: 53:11
The bike started off well. I had a target NP goal of 205w and tried to stick to that. Things were going along smoothly until I dropped my chain around mile 20. Tried not to get flustered but it was on a hill so getting started again was a bit rough. Settled back in and just enjoyed the ride. Met up with a female pro and we worked pretty well together for about 50 miles together. Towards the end of the bike, I began to feel a bit of tightness in my left quad and tried to balance things out a bit and make sure I was taking on electrolytes too. Wrapped up the bike and started running. Split: 5:14:40
That was the key. Just run. I nailed the first two splits and had the 3:10 marathon goal in front of me. Unfortunately, it was not to be. I tried to fight off the cramps but couldn’t do it and both quads fully seized up. I had to pause for a minute and just dug a thumb into each leg and pushed as hard as I could on the knot until it relented enough for me to run. The next few miles were rough. I saw my wife and told her that if I said I wanted to do one again, to remind me of this moment. I kept plodding through and slowly got things back under control. Walk the aid stations and run comfortably between them. Turns out, I was still running around 7:30 pace but had to deal with the seizing and clenching up. Started to pull back many of the people that had gone by me earlier in the run but I couldn’t get a hold of the other AG. In the end, finished 8th in the AG and a 3:45 ish marathon. No KQ slot this time around but I’m eyeing up next year. Split: 3:45:28 / Total: 10:00:14
All told, this was a 52 minute PR from the first time around in the NYC Ironman in 2012. I’m already planning on a return trip to Chatt and another crack at the course. I really liked it and feel like it suits my strengths well. I just need to put it together. In the meantime, I’m going to try to not make myself sick with the chocolate that I am eating. Thanks everyone for all your well wishes. Looking forward to catching up soon.