Review of Chattanooga, Tennessee
The swim element in Chattanooga goes upstream for 0.2 miles before turn down for the final one mile. With this knowledge in mind I knew it was going to be a ‘quick’ course, but with an incredibly strong current the course adjusted, and suddenly the ‘swim’ element became a breeze; on race day us ‘age-groupers’ swam one mile downstream due to the conditions of the river.
I trained for the swim in a pool 3x a week and then sea swimming with against and with the current twice a week.
Known for its ‘hilly’ course that parallels Lookout Mountain, I trained hard for the cycle element however, it wasn’t anywhere near as ‘bad’ as I thought it would be. The 56 miles has rolling hills, meaning if you worked hard going down hill, you would be able to throw your self a third of the way up the hill in front. I would easily say that the race cycle was my favourite ride I have ever done and was far less tiresome than my training sessions! This was helped by amazing aid stations and views.
I trained twice a week on an indoor bike working on repeat long ‘hard sessions’ with short recovery time. And I would cycle twice a week outdoors, one long cycle on the weekend (3-4 hours) and a short and fast cycle in the work week (1-1.5 hours).
The first 5k my legs and mind was switched off, and I panicked. I thought that the race was over for me, and I’d be walking the 13.1 miles. It was hot, humid and I was over four hours in at this point. However, once I hit the first aid station, drank some water, put ice down my tri-suit and munched on an orange, everything changed. I fell in love with running as I always do. Each mile became faster, stronger and more enjoyable. To the point where at mile 12 I was running a 8.44 mim/mile pace with a huge smile on my face. The course undulated for sure but nothing the legs couldn’t take.
As a runner, I enjoyed training for this race. I would do 3 short bike training runs a week on the treadmill (around 15-20 minutes each). I would do one long run a week (1-2 hours outdoors) and a hilly run once a week (around 1 hour and 6 hill climbs).
Overall, I overtrained and under preformed at this race. Unsure of what the challenge ahead looked like I held back on all three disciplines. However, please do not read this as a negative for I had the most brilliant day; taking my time and taking it all in!
When will you do your first? Will it be Chattanooga?