Ironman Chattanooga Race Report- Perspective, Purpose and Execution (extra sprinkle of FAITH)
To steal a line from a friend Kerrie “Best Day Ever!!!” When people say that completing an Ironman is all mental, they are not kidding. Yes there is a big physical component to it and a lot of luck, but if don’t use your engine appropriately and maintain and control the voices in the end it makes for a long day. My day started at 2AM with severe abdominal cramps to the point I wondered if I would even make it to the start line. Guessing the pre race Mexican meal or nerves were the cause. I could not help think about those that may be racing with Crohn’s or UC and how they face daily uncertainty on when they may have a flare up. I had no desire to eat but did my best to force feed and hydrate. A quick stop for some ginger ale on way helped settle my stomach. I will not bore people with all the details but this multiple bag system sucks. I am a 1 place-all my stuff guy. I knew what I needed in each bag but still ended up leaving some of the things I wanted in my duffle bag I sent back to car. I promise I will be more prepared the next time.
Swim Start: LESSON 1: BE PREPARED After hearing horror stories of goggles breaking before swim starts I made it a point to have an extra pair with me. So when Deon came up frantic about not being able to find his swim cap or goggles I was happy to be able to help. I have been there and thankfully Phillip helped me out. So it was fitting to pay it forward.
Swim: I cant believe I am saying this but that swim is incredible (if you can swim a straight line). I treated the swim like anyone doing the NYC. I sang New York New York, I pretended I was high fiving people along the way until I settled into a groove. LESSON 2: NEVER STOP SWIMMING. After about 2 miles I went to look at my watch and my right leg cramped and legs immediately became heavy. Due to not being able to eat a lot my stomach was yelling “feed me” for about 15-20 minutes. To keep from legs completely cramping and my day ending in the water I stopped kicking and I went into full on pull mode and saying a person’s name that had anything they needed praying for every stroke. So most of you reading this were covered especially all those I know that will actually read this to the end. Luckily next thing I knew I was at swim finish. Finish time 1:14( target goal was 1:15-1:20)
Bike: The bike is the place where it would make or break my race due to forecast of temps in mid 90’s. I went in with the mindset of slow and steady. My plan was to drop back pace and use HR as a guide maintaining a Zone 2-3 pace. I fought every instinct to push and did what I could to enjoy the ride. I treated it like a leisurely weekend ride. I stopped at all aid stations but the 1st. Took off helmet at most. Doused myself with water and never made it a point to rush. Chatted with fellow cyclists. Joe caught up to me at mile 75 as I was leaving the aid station and we pretty much rode in from 87 on. At this point it was HOT, HOT, HOT. Every 5 miles had at least 1 person on the side of the road and many more in obvious trouble. It is such a great feeling when I hit 100 and we were passing people and other than I was tired of sitting on the bike I felt like I had plenty left in the tank. Elapsed time: 7:31:50 - Moving time: 6:57:24 -(target due to heat was not under 7)
T2: At end of bike I was ready to get off bike so I pushed some into transition and I turned around to look for Joe and he wasn’t behind me. I have already had people ask what happened at T2 and why it was so long. Even before the race started my expectation was that Joe would catch me sometime on bike and we would at that point either continue to leap frog or do marathon together.
Run: LESSON 3: OPEN YOUR EYES AND EARS!! Believe it or not the hard part was done. All joe and I had to do was keep moving 1 foot in front of the other and we were going to finish. We adopted a walk every uphill, run every done hill and interval the levels and work our way from one aide station to the next. We never rushed an aide station. We caught up with Charlie Plaskon (Blind Runner ) and his guide Matt the CEO of Base and spent about 10 minutes walking with them and talking about their day and learning more about Charlies Story. *** you need to google him, Its remarkable***. My day was filled with multiple people telling me their IBD stories, I did not get through any portion of race without someone coming up to me and thanking me for repping Crohn’s and Colitis and helping to raise awareness. I heard medical details that typically people only share with their doctor and that is without telling anyone that i was a PT. I guess I look like a person that has no problem talking poop. One volunteer practically gave me a hug as she walked with us. I was pretty sweaty at that point. Not sure that would have been good for her. LESSON 4: GO BY FAITH!! The best part of my day was having Marisa Barusic drive past us and stop on Barton Hill on 1st loop. This is without any knowledge of where we were and even where she was. She was a refreshing sight to see. Best part of my race!! As with everything, I just say “Thank you Jesus!!” LESSON 5: PERSPECTIVE, PURPOSE AND EXECUTION ( and a lot of FAITH!!) can accomplish great things. Our Run/Walk plan was perfect. Joe and I methodically worked our way around the run course. I would not change anything. That foot bridge on 2nd loop and Finish is indescribable!! I keep joking that the red carpet erases all pain. I think that foot bridge has some of that magic as well. I could have run as long as needed. Once I hit the foot bridge I was on cloud nine I dropped it into high gear and floated my way to finish line to the same 11 pm song at every Ironman, “ Where the Streets have no name”- U2, crossed the line to see Marisa standing next to person handing out medals taking video. She had asked to put my medal on but could not do that and take pictures and video at same time. Truly, Awesome and completely Marisa!! Thanks for supporting me and putting up with all the training!! Come to find out later her VIP pass allowed her to do that. We just didn’t know that. It was great to be able to turn around and then see Joe coming down finish and completing his journey. So cool!! Best words ever “I am an IRONMAN”.
LESSON 6: NO ONE RACES ALONE!! This was my 1st race for a Charity, but not last. I was afraid of the fundraising piece initially. I highly recommend that if you had any fears, cast them aside and find 1-2 partners to share the load. It was incredible to have Joe Matthews and Walt Maxwell join me on this journey. I cannot thank them enough!!
Thank you everyone for your support and prayers for this journey! I promise to stop talking about this and God’s Glory, NEVER!! GOD BLESS!! #mymilesR4 the journey #TCfamily #teamindure