First ever IronMan 70.3

Mile 12, a very happy Aimee

Review of Chattanooga, Tennessee

The Swim

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.

Wearing my dhb wetsuit

The Cycle

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).

First mile on the bike, unaware of how beautiful the views would get.

The Run

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).

Mile 7, finding my feet …

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?

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