Chattachoocie Challenge Sprint Tri

I got an email a couple months ago about the Chattachoocie Challengetriathlon series. The series features a sprint, an Olympic, and a half ironman. The sprint was coming up on July 20, so I figured what the heck? I’d give a normal tri a try (versus the reverse order I did in May).

The day before didn’t go as planned. I agonized over whether or not to get a hotel room. The race was only about 45 minutes from us, but with a 7am race start and a time zone change, I didn’t know if a hotel was a better option than sleeping at home and getting up ridiculously early. I ended up finding a good deal on a hotel, and decided to go that route.

I started physical therapy the day before, and I’m so awesome my 1 hour evaluation turned into 2. Late getting on the road, we just made it to packet pick up. We drove down to the river to see what it looked like (fast!!) and then drove to where the parking was. We decided to take our bikes out on an easy spin around the course. Forgetting we moved ahead an hour into Eastern time, we finished riding at 9pm. I wanted to be asleep by 10, and we still had to go to the hotel and eat dinner. Oops. In that respect, we would have been better off staying at home.

After a short night of sleep (ugh) we got to the race, got marked, and went to set up in transition. With this being my first normal order tri, I found two guys with serious tri bikes, and laid my stuff out like they laid theirs. Once everything was set, we headed over with the group to the swim.

The swim was in the Chattahoocie river, which was running high and fast due to the recent rains. The start was time trial, meaning one person went in every 2 seconds. You could line up wherever you wanted and go in whenever. The timing mat was right at the start, so you couldn’t cross it until your turn. We got near the front. My reasoning was I knew my run would be slow, and I didn’t want to start the run late as the heat increased.

My swim was awesome. I’ll probably not replicate the time for a few more years. It was so fun to breathe to the shore side and just see the trees flying by. The water was a great temperature (though I found out later I got yelled at for diving in instead of jumping), and it was such a smooth, effortless swim. The only bad part was at the very end, we had to swim around a bouy and swim against the current. That sucked. I was happy to touch the ground.

Ran up a hill and through a long transition area. Got to my bike, got everything on and ran out. As I was heading out, I saw Kenny coming in from the swim. Knowing the course is always helpful, so I was glad we rode it the day before. I started out well, and looked at my bike computer. It wasn’t working. SHIT. I wasn’t going to waste time trying to fix it, so I rode on. I decided to eventually pick someone and pace off them. I kept time with one guy almost the whole time. I think I lost him around mile 10. The course was great -flat, fast, and largely on the bike path next to the river. One thing I noticed was the downhills didn’t feel as fast as they did the previous day. Hmmm. I thought I was doing well, but with no bike computer, I wasn’t sure.

Came back in and hit T2. I grabbed my phone, hit up MapMyRun, and set off. I walked the first couple of tenths of a mile because they were up hill. I recently switched to Brooks Pure Drift 0 drop shoes, and they have helped tremendously with the foot pain I was having while running. It seemed to go away on flats and downhills, but act up when I ran up hills. I figured on this run, I’d walk the uphills and run the rest.

Thankfully the sun never came out. It was humid, but cloudy. The run was…well… Slow. I run slow. I got passed by a LOT of people. I saw one woman puke and rally. I got passed by 2 pre-teens. But I stuck it out. I only had to walk 3 times, all for short uphills. I was glad to be allowed headphones, because the music helped. As I was coming to the end, and kind of wanting to die, by pure coincidence Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” came on. I gritted my teeth and finished as strong as I could.

My goals:
1. Finish. Accomplished!
2. Not be last. Accomplished!
3. Break 35 minutes on the run was my unrealistic goal. Stay under 40 min was my reasonable goal. I accomplished neither. Boo.

My swim time was 8:53. Bike was 43:27, for a 16.6 mph pace (which is one of my best ever). Run was 41 even, for a 13.14 minute mile. It was slow, but consistent with what I did in training. I was happy to stay consistent, considering this time I swam and rode right before the run. Overall time was 1:36:56. I was second to last in my age group, which is NOT last!

Overall thoughts? It was fun. Good race, good course, though bike support was lacking. I enjoyed myself, and am ready to do another!!

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