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  • Writer's pictureHannah Preston

70.3 Chattanooga

Didn't sleep very well the night before, but I woke up feeling less sick than I had been all week. Woke up at 3:50. Was planning on waking up closer to 4:30 but I couldn't sleep so I just decided to get up. Ate breakfast 3 hours before race time (at 7am) - Oatmeal with banana and some coffee.

Left for bike transition at 4:30, got everything set up and then shuttled over to the swim start. We were pretty early getting over there because my mom and I wanted to get into the water as early as we could. I was willing for people to swim over me in order to start before it got too hot. Ran a mile, went to the bathroom, stretched and rolled for a little bit. I was feeling good at this point, no aches or pains and stomach felt fine. Probably should have brought some more food to the start to eat before the swim because I got a little hungry. I didn't get nervous until we put on our wetsuits! Pros went off and the race directors decided to cancel the up river portion of the swim due to the current, so we were able to just jump in and go down river :)

7:24am - swim start (for me). Jumped in the water and did my best to stay under control. I'm really not used to choppy water in any capacity and that freaked me out a bit. I had to breast stroke a couple times during the first 2-3 minutes because I had so much adrenaline and my heart rate was so high. I'm not used to not being able to breathe yet. I was swimming slow, it really was just the nervous/adrenaline combo of being in the water. Once I got myself together, I swam well until the finish. Definitely could have swam stronger, but I'll keep working on this portion of the race.

T1: I didn't realize how great my first transition was until I saw my results at the end. No brushing my hair today. Got out of the water, ran to the wetsuit stripper, ran to my bike. Put my socks, helmet, and sunglasses on - took a couple sips of my drink at transition, grabbed my larabar and took off running. I had my shoes already clipped in, so i used the slip on approach today and that was helpful. Once on my bike, I ate the larabar (well half of it because it wasn't going down very well).

Bike: First 7-8 miles were pretty bumpy and I just did my best to stay under control. My heart rate was pretty high coming out of the water/T1 and I wanted to bring it down a little bit, but I wasn't quite able to do that today. I'm realizing now that it's probably because I've been sick and my heart rate is already elevated past normal. Anyway, my legs felt good and I made it my goal to pass as many people as possible! I felt like a badass passing as many people as I did. I felt strong up the hills and really made an effort not to push too too hard on the bike, as to save some energy for the run. The course was harder than I thought it would be. There really was NO flat ground anywhere... you were always going up or down, with the exception of some small gradual hills. Mile 40 got really tough as we hit a really long hill... like a 4 mile long gradual uphill, ending with a steeper climb. The way down was fun but I noticed that I was bouncing around a lot going down the hill.... it crossed my mind that I had a flat, but tried to repress that thought. Once I was on somewhat flat ground, I stopped to change the tire that I now new was totally flat... my back tire! Thank God I had been practicing. I held myself together and changed my tire in maybe 6 minutes. Too much time lost, but recoverable. Hopped back on my bike and my back tire popped again immediately. I must have had the tube pinching against the rim. Rode to a large intersection with two cops directing traffic and had them radio in to bike support. At this point, I had completely lost it and just cried until race support came. I had no more spares to change another tire so I just had to wait and I saw my podium chances ride by :( After bike support came, I finished my last 10 miles strong, and had a great T2.

T2: Not a whole lot going on here... switched to my running shoes, took another sip of my drink and took off.

Run: SO HOT SO BAD! Took off at goal race pace and by mile 2 was DYING. My heart rate was at 192 and I thought I was going to pass out. Slowed down quite a bit to get my heart rate back down and then got back into it. My miles kept getting slower and slower and I told myself to keep them under 8 minute pace as much as I could. I was in complete survival mode and with every step just wanted to be done with this portion of the race. Kind of a bummer for a person who loves the run. Walked through some water stops... doused myself with as much cold water as a I could and stuffed ice down my bra. The hills on this course were BRUTAL!! Could not have been happier to be done with the race.

Really bummed with the flat tires and how much time I lost, but I know my next race will be stronger. I was convinced that I would not do another one after how awful I felt on this one.. but I already signed up for steelhead, so I guess I'm a triathlete now.


Swim - 18:48

Bike - 2:54:42

Run - 1:40:65

Total: 5:00:27

Hannah and I met last August at Zweet Sport, where she was a personal trainer. Her motivation and love for fitness reminds me a lot of myself and I was honored when she asked me to coach her in triathlon. I know that she will do amazing things here but also hope that she can experience the same joy that triathlon has brought me!

-Coach Katie

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