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Chattanooga race report July 15, 2009

Posted by bettyjoan in Races.
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It’s official…I am an Olympic-distance triathlete!

The Team arrived in Chattanooga on Saturday afternoon, and everyone was rarin’ to go.  We registered, checked out the transition area, and then rested up before our big pasta dinner.  During the meal, we heard from our honored hero and her daughter, and it was truly an inspiring evening.  We focus so much on the physical training, but there is a bigger reason that we push ourselves so hard–to continue the fight against cancer until we FIND A CURE.  I was very proud (and surprised) to be recognized for raising over $500 above and beyond my fundraising minimum.  I was also excited to watch many of my teammates earn accolades for finishing multiple events with TNT.  After a big plate of food, a lot of laughs, and a few tears, it was time for bed!  Of course, there was very little sleep actually happening, but at least we were off our feet for the evening.

At 4 AM, we got up and got moving.  After packing our transition bags (which we had painstakingly organized the night before) and taking some team photos, we rode down to the race site and set up our areas.  Luckily, I was in the same general vicinity as a few other TNT folks, so we had a good old time lathering up with sunscreen and organizing our mats.  Before we knew it, it was time to load the buses that would take us to the swim start!

As we drove along the riverfront, I started to feel a little queasy.  1500 meters may not look like much in the pool (since you’re going one lap at a time), but it is a LOT of river to cover!  They let us out at a practice football field right by the dock, and we waited some more.  Then, it was time–one by one, we dipped into the water and paddled to the starting line.  When the race official said, “209? GO!”, I was off and swimming!  I got jostled a few times by people passing me, but overall it was a calm and uneventful swim.  My sighting was good, I did freestyle the whole time, and I finished in an astounding (for me) 32:41.  I had planned on 45 minutes, so obviously I was very pleased!

After spending 4:26 in transition (rinsing my feet and chugging water, mostly), I hopped on the bike for a 26-mile adventure.  A lot of folks had checked out the course in their cars before the race, and the resounding opinion was, “Betty will love it.”  Why?  Because there were lots of slow, steady climbs, and not too many dramatic downhills!  I felt really strong during the ride, and I even passed a few big burly men while going up the hills (they don’t like that, by the way).  About 24 of the 26 miles were on the interstate, which was a new and interesting experience, but I stayed relatively calm and even got up to 30 mph at one point.  The climbs did take their expected toll on my legs, and I was pretty tired when I got back to transition, but I finished the cycling leg in 1:44:47, which I was really proud of.

It took 2:50 to change my shoes and get out on the run, and I was greeted first thing by my coaches…and a huge hill.  The initial half mile or so was pure incline, and THEN there was a flight of stairs to get up to a walking bridge, but then the course flattened out and became a little bit more manageable.  It started to rain about a mile into the 10K, which cooled things down nicely.  I think I pushed myself a little too hard on the bike, because the first 2 miles of the run were really difficult.  But once I saw a bunch of my teammates and realized that I was SO CLOSE to being an Olympic-distance triathlete, I pushed myself to the limit and sprinted to the finish.  I completed the run in 1:19:52, bringing my total race time to 3:44:34.  My goal was to finish in under four hours, so I beat that by a fairly significant margin.  I was all smiles!!!

After the race, I ate myself into a stupor and slept like I’ve never slept before.  I’m a bit sore today, mostly in my left lower back, but I think I will fully recover and be ready to hit the gym again by the end of the week.  I don’t have any more tris on the schedule as of now (I have that whole wedding thing to worry about, haha), but I know that I will continue with the sport.  I already have goals for next year, such as learning how to eat and drink while cycling.  🙂

Thanks for reading!  Any thoughts on which race to do next?

* For those of you in the southeast area, I would definitely recommend the Chattanooga race.  It was well-organized and safe, and the volunteers and staff were all wonderful.

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Comments»

1. 'Drea - July 16, 2009

Kudos!

I just finished my first sprint tri and I’m thoroughly impressed with you finishing an Olympic one. Well done.

2. bettyjoan - July 27, 2009

Well done to you, too! A sprint is nothing to sneeze at–did you have fun?

3. kshadburn - July 28, 2009

Excellent job racing! I did my first tri with TNT as well and now I am addicted!
I hope to be doing my first Olympic distance this October…I have been doing the sprints for now.
And do any race, as long as you have fun it is TOTALLY worth it!

4. 'Drea - July 29, 2009

After I got over my case of nerves, I did have fun. Thanks for asking. I don’t know if I would have had as much fun if it had not been for the camaraderie of the other participants. Everyone was so cool.

5. bettyjoan - August 5, 2009

Kshadburn: Congrats! TNT is such a great way to get into the sport. What Olympic are you aiming for?

‘Drea: Nerves just come with the territory, I guess. As long as you can move past them and have fun, everyone wins. 🙂


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