Just like that, Ironman #7 is done! I guess that’s a spoiler that I finished, but I have more exciting details that I’ll hold off on 🙂
JMR and I headed down to Chattanooga the Thursday before the race around noon, and were supposed to arrive around 7:45p but hit terrible traffic and got in closer to 9:15. We were exhausted. Due to stressful travel (those mountainous roads the last 1.5 hours had me sweating), I didn’t eat or drink much at all while driving, so I grabbed a salad from the hotel restaurant, chugged at least one bottle of water, and was in bed by 11p.
Friday I was up and ready to go… because I was stressing about my front brake. When I put the front wheel back on (I take it off so it fits in the car with our luggage), it was rubbing. I know nothing about disc brakes, so I was planning on heading to the QR tent at Ironman Village when it opened at 10a. However, due to my nerves, I was up much earlier so I got coffee, did some reading, hung out in the room and ate breakfast (I brought SO much food, lol) and then headed to IM Village around 9:30a.
It turns out I hadn’t tightened the thru-axel enough, which is why it was rubbing. Lordy, this fancy bike, I’m afraid I’m going to break it, lesson learned! After that, I did athlete check-in, headed back to the hotel to get helmet/shoes/garmin computer so I could do a quick test ride to make sure everything was working ok, and then attended the athlete briefing at 11a. Phew, it was a busy 2 hours. Afterwards I headed back to the hotel to pick up JMR so we could head to Community Pie for lunch.
After lunch (and after our food digested and I did a little resting), we drove 10 miles up the river to a local park so I could check out the water. The temp felt great without a wetsuit, and as much as they help make for a fast swim, I was secretly hoping it wasn’t wetsuit legal so I didn’t have to deal with wrestling into my wetsuit race day morning. I think I’m in between sizes, my old wetsuit feels ‘loose’ but my new one, holy moly, it takes some effort to get on, much longer than it seems to take others! The swimming area was protected from the current, so I didn’t get a feel for how strong it was, but from afar it looked fast! After the swim we headed back to the hotel to shower and then went to Public House for dinner. This was my third time eating there and once again the food was amazing and did not disappoint!
The theme of the pre-race activities were mostly ‘resting’ and ‘eating’, so Saturday wasn’t much different. I ate my big ‘day before the race breakfast’, got my gear bags packed up, headed to check them in around 10:30, followed by a Team Zoot photo at 11a. While I was busy doing pre-race stuff, JMR went to the Aquarium with my in-laws, who had come to spectate. I was bummed to miss out, but I had already spent too much time on my feet, so instead I snacked and rested in the hotel room until we met up for dinner at 5:30. After dinner I prepped my gear/bottles and was in bed by 8p.
3:30a I was up and had my usual feeling of pre-race anxiety/slight dread of the long-ass day that lay ahead of me. I love racing, but beforehand I struggle with these feelings. So to keep myself distracted, I went through my usual routine of eating my pre-race breakfast, getting my bags ready for transition and getting dressed. When I checked my weather app around 4am I saw it was raining, I thought, well, at least it isn’t freezing out (still scarred by IMLOU ’18)! I put on my rain jacket and headed to transition around 4:20, pumped tires, put nutrition and sunscreen in gear bags (I had only brought one bottle and was fearful I would need one for my run bag and also bike special needs, so I bought 2 more Saturday afternoon), and then since my hotel was just a 5 minute walk, I headed back to the room to hangout/rest/stay warm until 5:50a when I headed back to catch the bus to the start line, 2.4 miles upstream.
Once I got the swim start, I hit the porta potties and then did the long walk to the swim start. When I found my planned swim time group, I plopped down in an empty patch of grass and took a nap. I was so tired. Usually I’m all hyped up and anxious, but today, I was tired. I also felt tired before Chattanooga 70.3, so maybe there’s something in the water here, lol. However after my 10? 15? minute nap, and the sun started to peek out, I also started to wake up. A lady next to me in a Team Zoot kit started chatting with me and my energy did a 180 and I was getting excited!
Before I knew it, it was 7:30 and the gun? Cannon? I can’t remember what the boom was, but something went off and the people started to slowly shuffle to the front. It took about 20 minutes (it felt faster than that) and we were on the dock. I decided to not jump in, in case my goggles would move, so I plopped on my butt and scooted in when in was my turn. Here we go!