Race Report Chattanooga Waterfront Olympic Tri

So I did it. I completed my first olympic distance and for the most part, felt great. Right now, my hips are tight, my lower back aches, and my shoulder is hurting again, but otherwise I feel great.

Yesterday, I got up and did a really easy, almost recreational, swim to stretch out and test my new goggles I bought on Friday. I picked up some new Barracuda goggles which will be my race only goggles that work great. I packed up my car and headed from my house in the northern Atlanta suburbs at about 1PM. Got into town and checked into the hotel around 3. After checking in and putting everything in my room, I walked the mile down to packet pickup. I got my packet (#222) and took a quick walk through the "expo". I went back to my room to grab the directions to the NAMSC Tri Club pre-race party and drove about 15 minutes to the house of one of the Club member's parents.

I had a great time at the party. The folks in the tri club are such a great bunch of people. I really need to try to make it to more meetings and group training. While there, I met Steph and her husband Doug. Greg, whose in-laws house it was, cooked an amazing meal. There was lots of pasta with several different types of sauces and there was sausage and homemade meatballs. Everything was delish. I ate like a little piggy. I hung out for several hours talking shop and then headed back to the hotel when my stomach was giving me the cue to get back to the room. I got back just in time to take care of bizness.

I set the alarm as well as a wakeup call for 4:30 AM. I tried to lay down to go to bed about 10PM, but my shoulder has been making it difficult to sleep. It never hurts too much, it is more of a dull discomfort, but it makes sleeping difficult at times. I think I probably fell asleep around 11ish.All in all I didnt sleep well, I think I was up at 3:30, but managed to get back to bed and then woke up at 4:30. I took a quick shower, tried to use the bathroom, and made sure I had everything I would need. For breakfast, I had a cliff bar. Initially, my plan was to ride down to the start (less then 1mi), but with the rain moving in I decided to drive closer to the start, and I was glad I did. Once I got my car out of hock , I found parking and got to the race site around 5:30 AM.

I had a really great spot in transition, close to the bike in/out. When I arrived, I was the first on my rack. I was glad to get a good spot an proceeded to set up my transition area. The transition was all grass, which was ok, except for the deluge to come. While in transition, I saw several folks from the tri club, and then Ryan tracked me down. We talked for a few minutes, then I did a little rearrange of my stuff and did a mental walkthrough of transition so I knew how to get in and out efficiently.

I hopped on the first bus to the swim start and had about an hour to chill before the race. I found Steph, Doug and a few others from the Tri club. I ran into Ryan again at the start. I took a quick look at the start area. The swim start would be an individual time trial start. We started off a a boat dock. We would lower ourselves into the water, follow to the end of the dock and head out. Not too bad. Based on the initial description, I thought we would be jumping in as our time starts.

Just before the race start, I ran into Wes. We chatted it up and waited to start. I lined up based on my number and made my way down to the start.

As I lowered myself into the water, the water temp was just right. I had about 6 in front of me before I would be off. Before I knew it, I was off. I tried to get into a groove and find a comfortably hard pace. For the most part, I was able to keep my pace steady. for the first half, I stayed just inside the buoy. I was glad that I really wasnt having to dodge too many people.About 5 miles in, the sky opened up and it started raining hard. After I got past the half way point, I started to make my way back towards the shore. I really only had two issues on the swim. At one point I got kicked in the ribs twice. I turned my head to find out it was one of the ladies from my tri club. Then, right before the turn towards the shore, I came up on two people who I thought I could go between, but right at the last minute, the space closed off. I stopped and looked, I thought I was going to have to go around them, but the spread apart again and I darted between them. I picked it up as I approached the swim finish, then had to climb up the metal stairs out of the water. Apparently in previous years, they had to literally yank racers out of the water by their arms. Definitely a big improvment. Then I had to run up about 15 or so concrete stairs, in the rain, and then down the grass, cross the street, and then into transition.

Swim time 24:10

T1 went pretty well, given it was raining as much as it was. I tried to wipe some of the grass off and then threw on my soaked cycling shoes. I headed out of T1 in 2:54.

Then came the bike. This is by far my weakest of the 3 sports. Luckily, Ryan had given me the 411 on the bike course. The worst hill was around mile 5 then "it wasnt bad after that". I decided to use the first 5 miles to recover and I would try to pick it up once I crested that hill. That hill was pretty tough, I thing I would average about 7 or 8 mph going up it. For about the first 10 miles, it was raining the whole way. I am not sure why, but as soon as I got on the bike, my back was bothering me. This made getting into aero really uncomfortable. On the uphills, I was averaging about 13 mph on the few flat sections I was easily upwards of 18 mph and really picked up speed on the downhills. Unfortunately, the hills werent truly rolling. I could not use the downhills to my advantage. As we were coming back in towards transition, the rain started again and the skies opened up.I decided it would not be safe to do a shoes on flying dismount, so I did a normal slow dismount and ran into transition.

Bike:1:33:17 (3:46/mi 16mph)

T2 wasnt bad. My shoes and socks were soaked. I did have issues, because I brought my bike in on the wrong side and had difficulty getting my bike on the rack, then had to run back around the rack to my shoes. I put my shoes and water-logged socks on and headed out on the run.

T2 2:10

Again, based on Ryan's advice, I knew the first half mile was uphill, so I took it easy. My plan on the run was to just run at whatever felt good. The first few miles were great.I chose to walk each of the water stops to let my legs recover. A few times I had to remind myself that this time I would only be racing against myself. While I wasnt a fan of the course in that it was mainly concrete sidewalks and a slippery wooden boardwalk, I did like that this course was out and back. all along the way, I ran into folks from the tri club and we cheered each other on. There was a set of stairs we had to climb up at like mile 1 and then back donm at mile 6. Around mile 5.5, there was a tough quarter mile or so uphill I chose to walk it so I had something left for the finish. Once I came down the stairs, I began to pick it back up to finish strong. As I was coming in, I was greeted by a whole bunch of folks from the tri club rining the cowbells and cheering like mad men. I picked it up and sprinted strong to the finish. I lifted up my arms as I crossed the finish. I only hope they got a picture before I put my arms down to stop my watch

Garmin Splits
Last .2 1:44 (7:44/mi pace)

I was glad I was able to finish strong on the run. Towards the end, my hips were a little tight, but otherwise my run felt good. It rained almost the whole run, but I was shocked that I didnt get any blisters. I definitley have found my running socks. I love my balega socks. Definitely worth paying more for these. I dindt really feel to squishy running.

Total time 3:05:08
Clydesdale Under 40 : 25/40

While I didnt post any goals here, this being my first oly, I did have some goals.

My first goal was to finish strong.
My if things went really well, was to go under 3 hours. I missed that by only 5 minutes. Between the hills and the rain, this is definitely acheivable.

On the swim, I had two goals. First was to go under 25 minutes. The second was if I was really fast to do it under 23 minutes. I split right between them. I came in just over 24. I think my shoulder may have held me back some. My plan is to take a few days off from swimming to give my shoulder some time to rest.

On the bike, I really didnt know what to expect. My only goal was to try and break 90 minutes. I barely missed this coming in at 1:33. This is my great weakness. I need to put some serious time on the bike, and really hammer some longer hills. I am looking at a book of cycling workouts which I have heard may be a great way to build cycling strength on the trainer.

On the run, I would have been happy to break an hour, and once again, I barely missed it. I think my slow ride really hinders my performance on the run. My legs felt pretty good through the run, but I know I can go faster.

My nutrition worked out really well. Pre-race, I had a cliff bar when I woke up. Then, at the race start, I drank about 3 or 4 cups of powerade. Once on the bike, I took a Gu and finished my first bottle of water in the first 20 minutes. Then I switched to my bottle of gatorade I made from powdered gatorade. Ireally like the taste and the fact that I can control the concentration when I mix it. Plus, there is no high fructose corn syrup in the powdered version. I would alternate gatorade and water on the bike. I drank almost all out of the 2 bottles of gatorade, and about 1.5 bottles of water. With about 1 mile left on the bike, I took my second gu. On the run, I alternated water and powerade at the stops. At mile 3 I took my final gu. I took immodium when I awoke and had absolutely no GI or bonking issues whatsoever. I never had any feeling of stomach sloshing either. I think I have found my formula, but I will continue to test it and may also try shot blocks somewhere into this so that I can get some semi-solid food in during the 70.3 so I am taking more then just liquid/gels. I may also considering nuun to my gatorade if, after finishing my reading, I feel I need more electrolytes.

I think I am going to get on my roller for a few minutes before I head off to bed. If my back continues to bother me, I am going to have to head off to a Chiro. I had one I liked, but he is too far and isnt on my insurance anymore.

Up next South Carolina 70.3 Bring it on!!


Unknown said…
Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! I am so excited for you! Great race! The more I read of you tri-athletes... the more eager I am to do one!
LBTEPA said…
CONGRATULATIONS!! What a satisfying race for you, well done!
Karen said…
AWESOME! Congratulations!
Dang you're a fast swimmer!

Congrats on finishing up your first Oly!
Again, great job all around! Glad you met (or came really close to!) all of your goals you set for yourself!
Marcy said…
Dude you're freekin awesome!! Amazing job, homie!! Bring on the 70.3!!

I *heart* my Balega socks as well. Good stuff!
RunnerGirl said…
Wow. Just wow. I can't imagine accomplishing all that! Way to go!
Sherry said…
Yay, Kevin!! Excellent race report! Felt like I was right there with ya... and with all of that rain, I just might have been. :o)

You have got to feel AMAZING this morning. Completing your first Oly!

Ride the high, man!!!
Stef0115 said…
GREAT race Kevin! Wow. Your nutrition plan sounds a lot like mine for the Oly distance. For the half I am experimenting with adding some solids.

That is so cool that you either met or came awfully close to your goals! You did GREAT you should celebrate -- excited to follow along as you train toward your 70.3.
SzH said…
Hey Kevin

Saw your note about hill training. I have not done this but Chris Carmichael was on the Tour de France stage I was watching last night. His climbing advice was the following:

Find a hill that takes 5 - 10 minutes to climb.

Do intervals of

1 min steady effort
30 secs high effort
1 min steady effort
30 secs high effort

etc. up the hill ... as you improve find a longer hill. I am planning on trying this.

Keep up the good work.

Wes said…
You did fantastic. It was such a blast getting to see you there and race with you. The hills and the rain took a lot out of everybody on the bike, but that's what makes these races so great. We learn a lot from them and we know what we need to work on.

If I was that half iron course in SC, I would be very afraid :-)

Congrats again!!
Gotta Run..... said…
You are moving right along. Wonderful job on completing you first Oly Tri!!!!

Stretch ...stretch...stretch. It will help more than anything at this point.
Jess said…
Great report, and congrats again!
Nitmos said…
Great job! That's a solid "day at the office". The nice thing is that it sounds like you are on the incline toward greater and faster times. Enjoy the ride!
Calyx Meredith said…
Fantastico! When the thunderstorms pushed through Nashville on Saturday night and it was still raining on Sunday morning, I worried about your race conditions. Sounds like you took it all in stride. And in a fast stride at that!! Congrats on your first Oly! (Where are the pictures?)
Anonymous said…
Awesome job Kevin! Especially that swim!! Way to to rock your first Oly..next is 70.3 then you KNOW what comes after that right?!
Cindy Jo said…
WOW! Congrats, dude! Keep it rolling...
Viv said…
Wonderfully done Kevin, even with tough weather conditions you delivered a solid performance! I see serious improvements in you just since I started reading your blog. WTG! Your 70.3 is going to be gold. Congrats!!
teacherwoman said…
Congrats on your FIRST olympic Triathlon! you might not have made your "My if things went really well, was to go under 3 hours." .... but you definitely have something to shoot for next time! :)

You rocked it!
Tea said…

Bring on the HALF IRON BABY!!
J~Mom said…
Awesome report!!! You did it and you rocked it!!!!
Pokey said…
Congrats on your first Oly!!!! AWESOME!!!!
Ben G said…
Wow! That's an impressive performance. I stand in the shadow of your tri-greatness
Anonymous said…
Great job, Kevin!!

Your progress is so inspiring. I know you will do well with your 70.3, just as you did with your first oly.

Boy, I wish I could swim like you!
akshaye said…
COngratulations! Congratulations! I am so thrilled for you. You did splendid.
ShirleyPerly said…
I'm amazed how fast you swim!! I think it's always nice to just stay upright when riding in pouring rain conditions. And you certainly did bring it home strong. CONGRATS!!!
H said…
Congrats on your (fast!) oly!

I think that is a great bike for it being raining! I'm thinking you're going to hit all those goals easily next time around!
Erin Leigh said…
I am super impressed!!! You did a great job. You are lucky to have such good support.
sRod said…

I can't imagine doing a tri: too much coordination and too much equipment. Just leave me with the left-right-repeat of running.
Rachel said…
Awesome job! You should be very happy with those results.
triguyjt said…
great job on the 3:05 kevin....

the swim was very very..

props to you big guy
Mendy said…
Awesome job on that race, Kevin!!! I am reading a lot of reports from it. You are going to do GREAT in Greenwood!
:) said…
Way to go, man...awesome race!