Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ironman Chattanooga Training and Spectating Report - Part 2

Saturday, September 24
On this day, my training called for a 1:45 run and 1:00 of walking. Lori needed to do a short brick workout and then check in her bike and her bags. The night before, both Lori and I took a melatonin and an Advil PM, so we slept like dead people with no alarm set. I got 9.5 hours of sleep! It's been months since I slept that long!

Since it was going to be FUCKING HOT again, I didn't want to use my Fuel Belt, so I dump the Gatorade out of a 12-oz. bottle and filled that with Infinit. That would last me for about an hour or so of running and walking.

After some breakfast (of course, I was STARVING when I woke up!), Lori set up her transition area and got her bike ready, and I was all suited up to run:

Lori left, then I left. I headed approximately northeast from Karen's house. I knew it would be hilly. It actually wasn't that hot when I started running at around 8:45. It was beautiful where I was running, but I had to run on the road which I almost never do, and it was cambered, and so I had to try and switch sides of the road otherwise my legs and feet would be fucked up. I ran out for about 30' then walked up this switchback that was VERY steep! It went up onto the mountain thing, and I stopped when I was standing on about a 25% grade. I could barely walk back down! But it was beautiful. On the way back, Lori drove by on her way to check in her bike. She remarked that that was about as fast as she'd be running (I was on a hill again!) on race day. I ran back and reloaded another 12-oz. bottle of Infinit. The first part of my run was 1:00.50 running and 14:17 of walking.

For the second part of my run, I went the other way from Karen's house, as it should be more flat, although as it turns out it was an uphill grade all the way out. On either side of the road were these very steep hills and at some point I decided I needed to go up one of them just to change things up. It was fun, as at the top, I was barely running, but it was still great!

For the second part of my run, I ran 46:27 and walked 45:55. I alternated running and walking on the second part since I was on asphalt again. I knew my legs would be sore from this, but oh well! Of course, during the second part of the run it was FUCKING HOT! I think I achieved a whole new level of suntan, too!

Back at the ranch, I showered, Lori came back, and she and I went into town and decided we'd get lunch and get carry out for our dinner later so she could have all her food in early, as is customary when you wake up around 3AM the next day for an Ironman. We went to a Mediterranean restaurant, Taziki's, where of course, I ate twice as much as Lori (I had dolmades appetizer and then a sandwich with rice on the side and she had only hummus):

Lori got a salad for later and I got another sandwich (it seems I eat a lot of sandwiches on these junkets). Lori needed to get some yellow ribbon that she wanted to wear in honor of her dear son, Patrick, who sadly passed away this summer, so we headed to Walmart. When we got to the mall where it was, Lori asked me if we had time for a mani/pedi. Hey--it's HER race, we can do whatever she wants! So we parked and decided she'd get the pedi and me the mani. When we got in there, I asked if we could have a beer while we were prettied up and they said YES. So I walked next door to a Mexican restaurant, and they said they wouldn't let me take it out, so I walked some more (did I mention it was FUCKING HOT again?), then ended up walking to the Walmart where I picked up a 6-pack of Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (one of my favorite beers), and I also got the yellow ribbon that Lori needed. On the way out, I spotted one of the lifeguards from the Y and he recognized me! That made me smile (as do most things, except for certain things that don't). I gave Lori a beer and I picked the colors for our nails (neon green with green sparkles!), and we got fixed up:

We returned to the ranch where Lori had to get her final bag preparation done and I needed to get my shit together for race day! Did I mention my legs were already sore? Oh well, too fucking bad--I'm training for a 50k and that is going to be happening a lot! Here is Lori doing her final prep:
And that was all she wrote for Saturday.

Sunday, September 25
Holy shit! I swear that the way I do it when I'm in training that spectating and supporting at an Ironman is just as hard as the race! It takes much coordination, costume changes and leaves little time for food. I awoke at maybe 2:30 before my alarm that was set for 3:15. My first job was to have coffee ready for when Lori awoke. First I made mine, then prepped my own breakfast, and when Lori got up I had her coffee all ready to go. I needed to be ready to get down to the swim start with Lori, and then I would come back and run, then I would go back with my bike for the marathon.

We managed to leave on time at 4:15 and first stopped at transition so Lori could put stuff on her bike. Meanwhile, Karen went and retrieved a friend of hers to take her to the swim start. Then Karen (bless her soul she was such a workhorse for us!) came back to get Lori and me and drive us to the swim start. The race had buses for the athletes, but we were on the EXTRA AWESOME VIP SERVICE PLAN, so we got dropped off! It was so cool for me to be able to stand in line with the athletes. I made a trip for Lori to calculate about how many people were in front of her, and I guessed about 130, so she was pretty much up front. I absolutely love this picture of Lori and me in line:
Lori is wearing a pair of my earrings, and I am wearing her Ironman necklace and a tie that she gave me to wear in honor of Patrick, who was a rabid Star Wars fan. I had made a yellow ribbon thing and pinned it to the tie. Both Lori and I were sporting some temporary tattoos. Lori has some actual ones, too, but I have got her in the habit of adding a few for race day. I have a huge stash of them!

Most people in line thought I was racing, but no! I was actually a little chilly so early in the morning, but nothing I couldn't handle, as I knew it would be FUCKING HOT before long!

Time passed and soon enough, it was time for Lori to get suited up to start her day. Here she is all ready to go!
I wished her luck, sent her off, then I began making my way to the start area. I would walk down the point to point swim course, try and catch Lori in transition and maybe a few other peeps, then hook back up with Karen to take me home so I could do my run from there. Usually, I like doing my run on race day on the actual run course, but since I would be walking first and didn't yet have my bike, I needed to go back home anyway, so I thought I'd run there. Besides, the marathon course for IMCHAT is FUCKING HILLY! I didn't really need to run more hills.

The walk along the swim course was more like 3 miles, as the path alongside the river was quite winding. Here is one sample of people in the river:
The athletes, due to the time trial start, were basically spread across the entire length of the swim course! I was worried I might miss Lori in transition, so I hustled on my sore legs to get to the cramped area where people were trying to catch their athlete in transition. I finally spotted Lori but didn't get a picture of her coming in as it happened so fast, but I did catch her running to her bike because my aerohelmet is easy to spot:
You can see her kind of center with the red and white stripes on the back of her head. I was happy I saw her, and hung out a little more, but then knew I had to go run while she was on the bike and then shower and eat and show back up on my own bike!

Phew, I'm exhausted just writing this!

Karen retrieved me, and by now it was FUCKING HOT. The expected high for the day was like 95. I felt so bad for the athletes--I would have melted in those conditions, as I did in 2005 when I DNF'ed Ironman Wisconsin, that had a real high of 110 that day!

I repeated the allegedly flat part of running from Karen's house and got in my planned additional walking as well. Holy fuck was I getting time on my feet or what? But that's what happens at an Ironman. It was FUCKING HOT and I showered and got my bike onto Karen's rack and she drove me back down. By this point, I am already an exercising machine, and I am the fucking Energizer Bunny. I have to be in order to do this!

Karen dropped me off and I found a place for a brew and some lunch:

It was the Brewhaus, and it was on the marathon course. They asked if I wanted to make a sign for my people, and I declined, since I'd be biking all over the fuck place and wouldn't be holding up any signs! Lunch was delicious, especially since I knew that was basically IT for me eating until after Lori was finished! You just don't have time to stop and get and eat food because you are afraid you will miss your athlete or others!

So now I started riding my bike. It was FUCKING HOT, but I was only wearing a swimsuit (as planned) so my peeps could spot me. Plus I was wearing the Star Wars tie. I'm sure I looked like a fucking goof, but as you know I COULD NOT GIVE A FUCK.  I managed to get to the first part of the run course and camp out around Mile 5. I was pretty sure I'd see Ryan first (he being the fastest of the bunch of my peeps), and I got a nice spot in some shade with a volunteer. It was amazing I didn't vomit it was so FUCKING HOT. Finally, I saw Ryan come cruising up:
I think he was happy to see me, and why not? He looked great, and FAST! Then I had to begin the process of waiting for Lori, who I expected next. It took much longer than I expected to see her, and I didn't even get any pictures of her at this spot, because next she started telling me what to do and when (which I fully anticipated so no worries!), and I said I'd do my best, even though it was already becoming difficult to navigate around this marathon course due to the bridges and roads and paths and such. But it was my job so I had to do it, right?

At this point, it would take me 2 months to write every detail, but let's just say I managed to see my friend, Rich, and I shepherded him at a point when he thought he was going to be chasing the cutoff, but he made it, and I saw Ryan again with just a few miles left to go in his race (he did AWESOME!), then I relocated Lori and rode near her for her last few miles all the way into the finish line, and I was SO HAPPY for everyone who managed to finish this race on a bitch of a day!

After Lori finished, it wasn't too long before Rich came out of transition and I was so happy to see he'd finished and he'd done SO WELL! Karen picked up Lori and me, and we went back to the ranch. I let Lori shower first, as she is the athlete. Meanwhile, I checked my bike computer and it turns out I'd ridden 25 miles! Who knows how much I walked and ran, too? All I know is I was tired and low on calories. After Lori showered, I did, and then we cracked open the bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne that I brought with me to celebrate:
Karen looked up a lot of results and there were a whole shitload of DNFs. So sad, but honestly, I expected it.

I will end here on a good note: I am SO PROUD of Lori, Ryan and Rich for finishing on such a tough day, and I am so honored I got to be out there for them. I think it was sometime during the marathon that I figured out another reason I love Ironman so much--not just doing it, but being there at a race--because I get SO MUCH ENERGY from it. These people give ME energy. It is the diametric opposite of people who SUCK your energy from you. That is why no matter how much training I am doing while I'm at one of these things, I feel great!

On that note, I hope you enjoyed reading this, and guess what? I'm going to do it again in 2 weeks at Ironman Louisville! However, that is not so far from home, so I will drive to Indianapolis on Saturday to meet Shelley, and then we will drive down and stay for Sunday. So I won't need to pack all my triathlon shit. I will still do a long run on Sunday, this time probably on the course, and I will be on LGL for the marathon. I am looking forward to it and I'm already tired in advance!

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