Don’t worry, I’m not going to delve into a Meatloaf song—I’ve been more into “Yacht Rock” than “Rock Opera” these days anyway….Toto, Steely Dan and Hall & Oats anyone?
Last Saturday, I raced the 70.3 Word Championships in Chattanooga, TN. “Chatty” was like one big reunion. Julie and I traveled together and ran into some many people we knew from near and far. Coach Kurt shot down from Maine for the weekend and was a great support—although he didn’t partake in any donut eating. Great to see some of the PBM athletes as well.
Chattanooga-wow-what a great city. I knew that the final bid for this event had been between Lake Placid and Chattanooga. Lake Placid holds a special place in my heart as I’ve spent numerous training days over there, have raced the Ironman seven times and have So. Many. Stories. of non-swim/bike/run content from my days of being single. But I don’t think that Lake Placid could have come close to accommodating the two-day World Championships in the same manner that Chatty did. I had gone to college in the South and I had forgotten how genuine Southern hospitality is. Julie and I checked into the hotel and we were greeted with gift bags—each bag held two lime green micro-fiber towels plus a bottle of locally produced Coca Cola and a Moon Pie (the latter sounded better than it tasted). We were told that the towels were nice and soft and perfect for cleaning our bikes—it was the hotel’s round about way of saying “don’t effin’ use our towels to clean your GD triathlon bikes—southern hospitality at its best. I went on to borrow super glue (to seal my aero bottle) and sponge a couple of safety pins from them since Julie and I both forgot safety pins to secure our timing chips—rookie packing mistake.
This race…..the course was hard AF!
Swim We did have the option of diving off the dock—sheesh—I wish I’d practiced this as I haven’t started a swim with a dive in 35 years. Oh well. I jumped in and started swimming. Our wave had started at 8:30 and after making the turn west at the first buoy 300 meters in, we were swimming directly into the sun. I couldn’t see a GD thing. This is the one swim where I wish I had had a Garmin on as I’m pretty sure I executed a Tour de River-type swim. It was wetsuit legal and all…..but I swam several minutes slower than most of wetsuit legal 70.3 swims. 36 minutes on the dot.
T1 was fairly anticlimatic but bike racks were jammed and I had to wrangle my brake out of another competitor’s spoke—probably cost me a few seconds but most of us were in the same boat
Bike If someone were to tell me that it was going to take me an hour and a half to bike 15 miles in a race, I would tell them that they were crazy (if someone told me that fellow competitors who were going to pee in the chairs while transitioning just steps from the Portapotties, I would have told them the same thing—more on that later). But yes, the first stretch 22 miles was a slog that included a 3 mile steep climb between miles 4 and 7. Kurt had given me sage advice about power output for the hilly area, and I held to that as much as I could. There were a few small packs of women toward the end of the ride and there really wasn’t much marshaling (drafteres are gonna be drafters). I felt pretty good on the bike and tried to ride steady. I made a few small errors but managed to pull off a sub 3 hour bike split Bike 2:58:08
T2 The PEE ZONE. WTF The pee…..every third chair was full of puddles of various shades of yellow (I think there was even a beet-tinted one—go NITRATES. I couldn’t believe it and I’ve never seen anything quite like that in all of my racing years. At this point, I wasn’t sure if this race was about promoting Women for Tri or Women for Urine. I wish that there had been a race official in T2 handing out penalties for not using the ginormous blue porta potties—How about a 5 minute time penalty + offender had to clean and sanitize said chair?!?!? Anyone?!?!
I hopped into a port potty—it was pristine (probably because everyone else had PEED in the chairs-duh). I had this slick new aerotop on that I didn’t want to run in. I forgot to take it off so I doubled back and handed it to the T2 volunteers—a few seconds lost. Frankly it would have taken me more time to pee in a chair than the portapottie…..‘nuff said.
Run I started the run feeling pretty steady. My goal was to run evenly and not blow up. I wore racing flats—Hoka Tracers-minus socks. I had tested these out at an OLY earlier this summer and finished blister-free. It’s ironic that the only pair Hokas which hasn’t caused me blisters is their racing flats. I hit mile 1 and saw Kurt—he said that I was in 20th place. Oh boy, I had some work to do. This run was full of ups and downs and 2 stretches on a wonky wooden bridge. There was no way it was going to be fast. I stayed focused and I know that you are supposed to race your own race and yada yada but it would have been very helpful if ages of competitors were on the back of each competitor’s calf Run 1:40:56
I was relatively happy with race. Sure, I made a few mistakes. Sure, I thought I’d be faster on the swim but I managed to work my way up to 11th place. I had compromised a few sessions plus taken a week off from running in July. Then I broke my toe and took the first week of August off running and ran only on an Alter-G treadmill the following two and half weeks. I rode as consistently as I could and ran relatively well. My swim, for me, STUNK (Kurt’s words) Oh well Coach Kurt, two out of three ain’t bad 🙂
Thought that this would be a good place to talk about what I eat race day mornings and lately before long training days. In Chatty, I had a bowl of rice, a baked potato and some applesauce. Forget all of the trendy BRO SCIENCE about Keto for endurance athletes (and really is anyone who’s racing in the pro ranks following a Keto diet?).This breakfast is Carb Carb Carb heavy. And I can fairly say that the nutrition piece was the one thing that I nailed in Chatty. Race day fueling consisted of this breakfast, a potato + ummmmmmm Coffee ; a gel at the start of the swim; 750 calories of chews and sports drink on the bike; a gel at the start of the run and shots of Coca-Cola at the aid stations. To add to all that Carb Madness (I know, totally cray cray, right?), I also had a 2 sushi rolls + watermelon the night before. Keto, I was not. But I was definitely Carb Adapted!
This Rice bowl is what I eat an hour or so before a long run. IMO, rice burns clean and fast and doesn’t cause any G.I. distress
- Seaweed flakes
- Lemon Juice
- Tamari or Coconut Amino Acids
It was really special to race at the World Championships. I would definitely consider going back to Chattanooga for another race.
Next up: Mission Bay Triathlon