Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chattanooga Waterfront 2008

I have been issued a challenge by TriGreyhound to write this race report without referring to my time or how I did in comparison to the rest of the field, but instead to focus more on how I felt and my enjoyment of the event. I hesitantly took him up on the challenge, and once I started to write I immediately realized why I was so hesitant. It’s virtually impossible. This is my third attempt, and I refuse to start over this time. I am either going to pass or fail, but either way, I’ll have a report done. The Times Free Press posted 10 pictures of the event on their website, and wouldn't you know that this is one of them (I am the girl in the green, with my face up in the results.):

Ok, so the last time I posted was Saturday night. The bike and I had made up, and I had decided to compete in the Chattanooga Waterfront Oly. One of the issues I was having with doing this triathlon was the fact that I had a hotel room reserved ($139) and was planning on going up on Saturday evening. In order to pick up my packet and have dinner at a reasonable hour, though, I would have needed to leave Manchester no later than 4:30 p.m.. I didn’t want to leave that early, and I really didn’t want to pay $139 for a room, either. I mean, good grief, that would get me a new pair of Rudy Project shades, or 5 pairs of my favorite Nike Tempo running shorts, or two new cycling jerseys, or a new pair of running shoes, or even, believe it or not a couple of bags of groceries. So I called the hotel and asked to cancel, and after sweet-talking the manager in my best southern bell accent, he agreed to sell my room (and not charge me a cancellation fee) to one of the many triathletes who had been looking for a room in the sold-out city. That made me feel much better. So I got up at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, picked up Holly Jane at 4:10, and we headed to Chattanooga. Holly was the Waterfront Sherpa, and I owe her big time for tagging along with me.

I was fairly rushed getting to the race, so Holly dropped me off, and I took off to get my packet, get body marked, and get transition set up quickly enough to catch one of the shuttles to the swim start. Shortly before the swim start, they announced all the pros, and I got a great look at Michael Lovato. ;) I’m not sure who was more impressed, Ryan, or myself. Chris C. and Tim wished me luck, and I took off down the dock to get started.

This is the 3rd year in a row that I have done this event, so I pretty much knew the drill. I was so relaxed, actually, that it never even crossed my mind to start my watch when I took off swimming. I realized about it halfway through the swim, but I wasn’t about to stop and try to get it started. It started raining, and I thought it was pretty cool. I was really happy to be out there. My stroke felt good for most of the way, and then I swam up on a (insert expletive here) breast-stroker and got whacked in the head by her viscous kick. You know, I don’t mind getting elbowed in a crowed of swimmers; I don’t mind getting shoved out of the way a little when it’s congested; I don’t even mind getting kicked in the face by someone who is swimming freestyle; but I despise the breast strokers! Their kick is everywhere, and it comes out of nowhere. They aren’t going fast enough to create bubbles to warn you of their presence, and you can even be to the side of them and still get nailed by that wild, frog-legged kick. Anyways, I swallowed some river water, went on around the breast-stroker, and decided not to let it ruin my day. As I approached the finish I kept looking for the dock they had out last year, but never saw it. I did notice that all the swimmers in front of me were swimming around the corner to the steps, so I followed suit. Swimming around the corner, I took a breath and heard The Flash say “Go Lana!” I exited the swim and heard my mom and Holly yelling, so I gave them a few pumps of the arms up in the air and jogged up the steps to transition. I had no idea what my swim time was, but I having a lot of fun, so I really wasn’t that concerned. This is where I really want to tell you what my swim time really was, but then I’d be failing the challenge, so I will proceed.

I strapped on the George Jetson aerohelmet, put on my rain-soaked shoes, and mounted my bike. An ambulance passed me immediately, and I saw that a girl up ahead had wrecked on the slick pavement. I thought I was riding pretty hard. I was passing quite a few people, and I was enjoying the hills. I did have a hard time keeping my head up and looking straight ahead with that aerohelmet on. It started making my shoulders a little tight by the halfway marker. Again, I thought I was riding hard, but the results showed that my bike time was 1.5 minutes slower than last year. (Did I just fail the challenge?) So maybe I wasn’t riding hard enough. Come to think of it, I don’t remember gasping for air like I did at Mach Tenn, or feeling like I was going to throw up like I did at the Star Tri last year, so maybe I wasn’t pushing as hard as I should’ve been. Either way, it was a lot of fun battling with a couple of different girls, hammering down hills, and spinning back up them. As I approached T-2, I took my feet out of my shoes and had a nice clean running dismount, just like I did at Gulf Coast. I love that!

Now, the run. Dude, I felt great! I didn’t know why (now that I have seen my bike split I do), but my legs didn’t feel heavy at all. About a mile into the run, the bottom fell out of the sky, and I just felt like a kid playing in the rain, splashing in puddles, and having a good time. I kept telling myself that I wanted to run the last three miles of this run faster than the first, so I kept my heart rate just under what I thought was lactate threshold. I made it to the turn around and just before I got to the next water stop I met Tim. “Whoa!” I thought. "How did he get this close to me?!" I just knew he was going to catch me, so I tried to turn it up a notch. I couldn’t really find another notch, so I settled with staying at the notch that I was at. I kept saying, “If he catches me, I’m just gonna try and stay with him the rest of the way.” Knowing he was back there kept me from letting up, even when I wanted to walk up that last hill before the finish. I didn’t walk, but there was a man in front of me walking, and I can’t say that I was gaining on him. From there on out it was downhill. I ran under the bridge smiling and got lots of cheers. I looked back and didn’t see Tim so I knew I could make it to that finish line without him catching me now. I saw my mom and Holly and turned it up to the highest speed I could find and crossed the finish line…with no clue what my time was. I just figured that whatever it was I was happy with it, because I pushed hard, felt good, finished strong, and used all I had left on that run. As it turned out, it was a 2:41:25, over 5 minutes better than last year, and I was pretty happy about that. It was still over 2 min slower than Tim and almost exactly two minutes slower than Chris C…but all I can do about that is smile and say “Great job, guys…but you better not let up…I’ll be back gunning for you the next time...” (Now, I am certain that I have failed TriGreyhound’s challenge. Told you it was impossible.) I guess you can take the girl out of the competition, but you can’t take the competition out of the girl, right?

So, we chowed down on some free BBQ, drank our 2 beers, and had a grand ol’time stuffing the BMW ballot box to try and win the set of Zipp 808s they were giving away. Our effort turned out to be in vain, but I did end up talking a lady into giving me 30% off of a cool looking RED tank with the race logo on it. And I ended up 13th out of 56 in my age group. I went home and slept 3 hours on the couch and then pitched Bo a couple buckets of baseballs and participated in a family football game in which Briar and I defeated J.T. and Bo. Having already been defeated by Tim and Chris C. earlier in the day, I think I might have been a little like Billy Madison playing dodge ball during the football game.


The Clyde said...

What fun is a race report without splits, right?

Hope this cured the little bout of blues you had going on last week. I know I can't wait for my race Sunday.

greyhound said...

Ah, you mostly passed. It has more narrative in terms of what happened, and a little bit of narrative in terms of what.it.means.

Don't wait until the middle of the Ironman Marathon to figure out what the purpose is.

An Athlete In Training said...

Nice job! Any race that ends with BBQ afterwards is OK in my book!

TriSaraTops said...

Great race, and great report!!! :) I think you definitely passed. hee hee!

Borsch said...


I would give you a passing grade!

kmholt7 said...

Sounds like a great race! Thanks for the detailed report. I'm glad your personal photographer was there!

By the way, the cool mornings have disproved my theory about my horrible pace. I'm going to have to find another excuse (I mean reason).

Rae said...

Way to go!!! (And what's a race report without splits and comparison for progress!!!)

Great job, and congrats on getting in the paper!!!!!

Darrell said...

Man, oh, man, that is quite a challenge. We focus so much on the times, especially at a race.

Congrats on trying the challenge and for a great race effort.

Jamie said...

Awesome race report. You were SO close to passing the challenge with a gold star. I think race splits should be replaced with a smile-scale number or something else.

Either way, congrats on a nice race.