Ironman Chattanooga 2014 is a race that will never be forgotten. The day was ideal, but better than that was the ability to spend the days leading up to the race and then on the course with friends I have been training with for years. I also got to see a lot of cyber friends out on the course and that made the day more magical. Later this week I will post about the course at Ironman Chattanooga but this post will be about how the day unfolded for me in terms of swim, bike and run

. Ironman Chattanooga – Swim

As everybody is aware by now the swim at Ironman Chattanooga is FAST. I am talking about ridiculously fast. The few days leading up to race day there was wonder about water temp. Would it be wetsuit legal or optional? As of Saturday evening the water temp was 77* but I had pretty much made up my mind but was hoping that I would not have to make a decision. When Sunday morning rolled around and I checked Facebook at 4:30am it said the water temp was still 77*. Time to make the final decision! As I sat at the kitchen table of our house I thought about my ranking in the M40-44 Age group and realized that I was not going to finish in a place where Kona was a choice so I went with the wetsuit. When asked why I was wearing one I responded with: I already proved my manhood by not wearing one at Ironman Texas in 2012 and 2013 and this time I am wearing one. At the race site we were bused to the swim start. Standing in line there were a lot of nervous faces but I did not feel nervous. As a matter of fact, my nerves sort of disappeared on Saturday afternoon after checking in my bike and the gear bags. It was as if a weight were lifted off my shoulders that day. Now, at the swim start I felt loose. I put on my wetsuit and walked with my training partners and once we hit the green carpet I started to dance. This was it, this was going to be the day I had trained for. As we got on the manmade 'dock' and I watched athletes prepare to jump in the water and seeming to not know what to do I just jumped in with both feet, literally. I popped up out of the water and started swimming. I could feel the current pushing me downstream and the buoys seemed to be coming up rather quickly. I picked my spot right on the buoys as there seemed to be no traffic there while left and right there were plenty of athletes. I was cruising and counting the numbers on the buoys. From the practice swim I remembered the number 9 so I figured that there were 9 total. As I quickly found out there are 9 yellow buoys (1.2 miles) and 9 orange buoys (1.2 miles) and then the turn to the finish. All along I think I was touched or did touch a total of 5 people. There was next to no contact and I had a very clean line the entire way. When I reached the turn buoy I had no clue what my time was but felt it was around the 1:20 mark which would have been a 10 minute swim PR. As I climbed the stairs to exit the river and looked down at my watch and saw 00:58:XX I could not believe my eyes. This put a spring in my step and I found the closest volunteer to strip my wetsuit off of me. What I did not realize is that the person taking my wetsuit off was not a wetsuit stripper. They were much further down the dock. I ran right past all the people laying down and up the steepest of ramps and into T1.

Transition From Swim To Bike – T1

After grabbing my bike bag I headed toward the changing tent where I stopped without ever going in. All I needed to do was put on my helmet, sunglasses and socks so there was no reason to enter the tent. As I was pulling my socks on a volunteer was walking by and asked if I were done with my swim gear. I told him yes and started to put it into the bag when he told me to not worry about it anymore and with that I took off with my cycling shoes in my hand. The run from the changing tent to my bike was long and I did not want to wear my cycling shoes because of the opportunity to fall down. It was the right move as I ran past a lot of people who were walking gingerly in their shoes. I grabbed my bike and ran toward the downhill slope where the mount line was and finally put on my shoes. A few short steps later and I was on the bike for the 116 mile journey. 

 

Ironman Chattanooga - Bike The Ironman Chattanooga bike course was all the discussion for months. First it was the elevation and then it turned into the extra 4 miles. None of these things we could control so I never put much into them. My worry was more about having a solid bike ride to set me up to break 4 hours at the Ironman marathon. Whatever the elevation or mileage I had to stay within myself. I approached the ride in the same manner as ultra trail running. I would go easy up the hills, recover on the downhills and then stay within myself on the flats. As we left town it felt as if I had a tailwind but I was not sure. What I was sure about was the road conditions. They were like glass except for a few areas. These roads were pristine and I could just feel the wheels rolling with little to no extra effort. I was stunned when I hit the mile 10, 20, 30,40 and so on markers and was faster than 20 mph. Could this be happening? What was my heart rate? What was my effort level? All these things were in check and so I just went with what felt right. On loop 1 what I did notice was a lot of athletes on the side of the road fixing flats. I could not figure out why there were so many, but later found out that there was some sabotage in terms of tacks and oil spills. It is unfortunate that these things happened because the bike course was challenging but fair and did not need to have this throw a monkey wrench into what was a perfect day. On the course I had the fortune of meeting a handful of people who I had met through social media. Having this type of support proved to be invaluable especially when I rode up on two people whom I admire greatly. First I caught up with Drum whom I have been training with for a while now and had the pleasure of racing Ironman Arizona with in 2012. Second, was catching up to KC and was able to seeing her smiling face and hearing that she was feeling awesome. Finishing loop 2 I knew I wanted to back it down a bit to save my legs for the run. I was told that the run was an 8 mile 'easy' loop and a 5 mile 'extremely hilly' loop and if I was going to run sub-4 I needed to back it down and get my legs under me which I did. There is no better feeling than seeing the Bike In sign and knowing that with just a short marathon you are going to cross the finish line. With my feet out of my shoes I handed my bike and helmet to a volunteer and took off for the run gear bag.

Transition From Bike To Swim – T2

Once again, I chose not to go into the tent to change. All I had to do was put on my running shoes (Hoka One One Rapa Nui) and a hat. I grabbed my race belt and as I was heading through the tent asked a volunteer if I could give him my bag and when he said yes I took off. Into T2 and out in just over 2 minutes. Time to FLY as the Hoka shoe says.

Ironman Chattanooga - Run

Nobody talked about the run leading up to race day but when I ran down the soaked mat that was the swim out hill I realized that this was going to be an up and down kind of run. You come down that steep hill and run along the river to a section that just seems to keep going up and up and up. Finally you are in the park where the swim starts and that is flat. This was a blessing but when the miles were ticking off at under 8:30/mi I knew I had to pull back. My goal was to run as far as I could until I needed to walk an aid station. At the same time I was fighting myself in regards to having the strength when miles 21 and 22 came up. It was a battle of the mind and body. Once you come through the park you make a right turn and run alongside a highway. This was a desolate area and it seemed like the aid stations grew further away from each other. This was not a part of the race course that I will recall fondly. It just seemed lonely and it was you, your legs, your mind and nothing else. Just keep moving was my mantra. After that stretch you cross over a bridge and into a community that is brutal. It is a pure beat down with no flat sections and only climbing or descending. At this point I decided I was going to walk the uphills so that I could save my legs for the downhills. At this same time I started to calculate finish times. Could I possibly finish in 11 hours? I had no idea what the marathon time was and I could not be bothered with playing with my watch. It was not worth it to spend energy calculating these things. I took an average of 10:00/mi, considering the hills, and calculated from that particular mile marker to the finish. I started out with 11:01, then 11:02 and then 11:04. It seemed as if the 11 hour Ironman was slipping away and then I met Steven with about 1.2 miles to go. Steven and I ran together the entire last portion of the race. We were in step with each other and chatting the entire time. He motivated me to keep moving. At one point he said to me: I am not going to sprint to the finish. My response: Dude, I AM sprinting right now. As we came down the final hill and into the finisher's chute I could not stop smiling and could not believe that the race was over. The 13 weeks of hard-core periodization training was culminating in a finish line that was as spectacular as any I have crossed. I fist bumped Steven and then crossed. I waited to look at my watch as I wanted the video and pictures to show my face and my smile. Finally, I looked down and pressed the Lap button on my Garmin and saw 11:00:XX. I nearly broke down into tears. I could not believe my eyes and had moments where I surely must have mis-hit my watch buttons and I was not seeing the full-time. I walked with the volunteer and picked up my hat and shirt when I asked her about getting my medal. She responded with: You are wearing it. Right then and there I knew that I left everything I had out on the course.

Ironman Chattanooga Racing- Conclusion

I will blog about my periodization training in a future blog post along with my review of the Ironman Chattanooga race course.  This blog post is about my experience on the course and the weekend and I would be wrong if I did not mention the following: * Thank you to my wife Karen for all that she has done for me.  She believed over a year ago that I could be an 11 hour Ironman and that belief came true on Sunday September 28th. * Thank you to the LTF Crew of The Sherriff, Goat, Dog Bait, Diaper Boy, Drum / PB, Wade, Stick, and Teri.  We trained together all summer long and had more laughs than miles and for that I am truly grateful. * Thank you to my buddies Jeff and Kevin for having followed a training plan that was sport specific two years ago that I could adapt to triathlon training. * Thank you to the friends I have made through social media, especially KC, who I got to meet before the race, on the course and then celebrate with after crossing the finish line. * Thank you to Ironman and the city of Chattanooga for hosting us.

ironman chattanooga - triathlon - race - endurance sports 

Published in Race Reports

Ironman Chattanooga training experiment of n=1 has reached the end of the first three-week cycle.  This week is pure recovery as I allow my body to get stronger as well as prepare to tackle the 2nd three week cycle. If you are new to my blog then you are probably asking yourself what are these cycles he is talking about.  Allow me to clarify for a moment.  Starting with Ironman Texas in 2012 I embarked on training for and racing 3 Ironman races over the course of 12 months.  Of course you do not just jump into an Ironman, you have to train for it.  That means that my focus for nearly 18 months was Ironman.  When I crossed the finish line of the final event, Ironman Texas 2013 I was burned out.  I needed to get away from the sport and do other things. It was then that I rode my bike for nearly 1,600 miles over the course of two months and trained for Rocky Raccoon 50 and Lake Martin 100.  Through those endeavors I came to realize that I am a much better cyclist when I focus mostly on cycling and the same would be true for running.  You learn economies of efficiency when that is your focus and I decided to bring that over to Ironman training. Since I was burned out I also realized that I could not go through 6 months of training.  When I combined the idea of a shortened schedule with sport specific focus I came up with a 13 week plan that has two weeks of taper (15 full weeks leading up to Ironman Chattanooga) in which I would be able to train for an Ironman, be focused and yet still be able to have a conversation with my wife past 8:00pm.  It seemed like a win-win for all.  Was it? The training plan breaks down into 4 week cycles with Week 1 being bike focused, Week 2 focuses on swimming, Week 3 is a run week and week 4 is recover y from it all.  I am in Week 4 so I thought now would be a good time to assess the first three weeks from the training as well as my nutrition and outside life.

Bike –

The first week had a schedule of 264 miles of cycling.  The plan called for 60 miles on Saturday and 60 miles on Sunday with the remaining miles being on the trainer during the week.  Getting on the trainer was not going to just be a recovery spin.  These were doing to be intervals, mile repeats, hills, etc to Sufferfest videos. Mother Nature had other ideas and I finished the week with over 200 miles but what happened on my Sunday long ride gave me a boost of confidence that this plan would work.  During the ride I was told by those in the pack that they could tell the difference between my fitness from two weeks prior and that day.  We managed to average 20 mph over the 60 miles and my heart rate average was 144bpm which is Z2 for me. The run off the bike was also a focus and I did 4 mile brick runs for each ride and with each passing day I got stronger to the point that after that 60 mile ride I ran 4 miles at an 8:12/mi pace at a hear rate of 154bpm which is in the middle of Zone 2.

Swim –

The reason that the second week is swim week is to allow me to recover from the heavy bike week and prepare for the upcoming heavy run week.  This worked to a T and I found that my progress along the way in swimming was unprecedented. I make every attempt to get in open water swim practice as much as possible and through that my swims in the pool have also gotten stronger.  Some background information for thought.  My warm-up pace in the past would have been 1:55-2:00/100 yards.  During this week I noticed that my warm-up pace had gotten down to 1:45-1:50/100 yards.  That would have been a great way to start and end this conversation but the real news is what I noticed during my swim speed sets. In those 18 months of training I may have swam sub-1:40/100 yards a total of 2x.  I did all I could to get that low but it never happened.  During a 2500 yard swim set I did a 500 race set that consisted of (100, 2x50, 4x25, 2x50, 100).  The first 100 I finished in 1:30 and the second I finished in 1:36.  My swimming was becoming more efficient. When I jumped into the lake I found that I was gliding more and not getting gassed when I got to the end of the 0.5 mile loop or even on the return leg.  I began to swim the 1.2 mile loop without a wetsuit in an average of 38 minutes.  My wetsuit 1.2 mile PR is ~38 minutes.  Swimming was getting stronger and the confidence has certainly been built.

Run –

This entire theory was built on the ultra-marathon training that Jeff and I did.  I was running 6 days a week back then and finding that I got stronger as the week went on.  Of course, proper recovery and refueling aided in that and this was something I would carry into this week of running 62 miles. I had weaved in easy runs with speed work as well as a long run.  The terrain would vary as would the paces and by the end of the week I found myself running efficiently and with a lower HR than I expected at the end of this three-week cycle. The speed work I did was on back to back days with 2x4x2 one day and the next day a 3x1 mile repeat.  The 4 miles were to be run at what I project to be my IM tempo pace of 8:30-8:45/mile.  I finished those 4 miles at an average pace of 8:10/mile.  The next day I went out and did those mile repeats on a 1 mile stretch of road, not a track since races aren’t run on the track, at an average pace of 7:00/mile.  Yes, the speed was still there despite all the miles I was logging. The Saturday long run of 23 miles averaged out to a 9:13/mi pace with my heart rate barely out of Zone 1.  I was dehydrated by the end of this run but still managed to feel confident with the way the week had unfolded.

Nutrition –

I started this cycle the day after getting back from vacation.  My weight on the Monday this all started was 152 pounds and a body fat % of 10.8%.  This was the heaviest I had been in forever but it allowed me to enjoy myself and perform a reality check in regards to getting back in shape. As of today I am at 145 pounds with a BF% of 8.5%.  My ideal race weight depending on who you talk to is 144 lbs and 10% body fat.  Now that I am right around that number staying there will be paramount, but not hard. In the past I have maintained my weight through IM training because of all the recovery food you consume and thus losing weight has not been something I have been successful at doing despite trying.

Outside of Triathlon –

On Saturday as I convinced Karen to go get froyo with me I asked her what she thought of the way this plan was unfolding.  How was it impacting her and Chico in terms of me being around, me being irritable and me helping around the house. She responded that the way the plan was unfolding seemed to be working very well.  I was no longer falling asleep on the couch at 8pm.  I was calling her to ask if she wanted to get brunch when training was over instead of focusing on getting in all the naps.  We managed to watch movies, have conversations and the like. At work I find myself more alert and able to handle the responsibilities much better than I did for those 18 months and I am sure my employer is happy, as is my paycheck.

Conclusion –

I am going to withhold the statement that this plan is 100% successful as I still have the months of July and August to go through but so far so good.  The real determining factor will be what unfolds on September 28th at the race but getting there is shaping up to be more enjoyable as well as functional in terms of getting stronger and faster.

Would The Ironman Chattanooga Training Plan Appeal To You?

  [caption id="attachment_9642" align="aligncenter" width="605"]ironman chattanooga training - triathlon - sport focus In order: Bike, Swim, Run weeks followed by overall numbers[/caption]

Published in Train
Sunday, 10 November 2013 17:34

ICC (Ironman Chattanooga Challenge) - Week 1

Ironman Chattanooga is a while from now but I issued a challenge to KC of the blog 140 Point 6 Mile Journey about her and I blogging our way through the year with the finale coming on September 28, 2014.  The point was to show how hard Ironman training is when you are balancing job, family, friends and well just life.  I have had a feeling over the past few months that there is a movement to the sport and yet at the same time the lack of understanding regarding the amount of training and money that goes into this sport.  Yes, I take it seriously but when you are laying your body on the line for 8 hours to 17 hours you had better take it seriously. KC is working on Ironman number 5 and I will be working toward Ironman #4 so we are seasoned vets but that doesn't mean that it is any easier for us and that is the whole point behind this weekly series.  You will get an in-depth view into what we are doing and how we are feeling.  Was it a good week or just terrible?  Did we skip workouts or nail them all?  Did we feel compelled to get something done because we were going to blog about it or did we stay focused on our goal?  My hope is that by following this series those that are considering participating in a training cycle as well as an Ironman race they know what they are getting themselves into. ________________________________________________________________________________________ [caption id="attachment_9121" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - challenge - ironman Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - KC[/caption]

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week 1 - KC's Week

So I'm 8 days post Ironman Florida and feeling pretty damn good. Not much soreness, just a little mental fatigue. With that said, I kept my cardio workouts easy and short this week. I can't even think about doing anything over 2 hours right now. I have no interest at all in long workouts but this will quickly change tomorrow, as I begin an 8 week training plan for the Disney marathon. So, for the next 8 weeks, I'm using Hal Higdon's Multiple Marathons Training Program for back to back marathons. I used this last year after Ironman Florida and it was perfect. Not too much but just enough training to get me a Boston qualifying time at Disney without any injuries. I hope to better that qualifying time come January 12th.
 
As for Ironman #5, Chattanooga, not even really thinking about it too much yet, but be sure, all of these training weeks ahead, all 40+ weeks left, I will be laying down the strong groundwork and will continue to share what I am doing each week to reach that goal. 
 
Upward and onward always!
________________________________________________________________________________________ [caption id="attachment_9120" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - challenge - ironman Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Jason Volume[/caption]

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week 1 - Jason's Week

I am coming off of having ridden my bike for 809.75 miles in October and decided that I would focus the month of November on running with more swimming and strength training.  I have been extremely unmotivated about getting into the pool and it has shown.  I found myself crossing over as well as having a deeper pull than I am accustomed to.  My fitness is there which gives me some hope but I really need to get close to 4000-5000 yards of swimming per week in during this off-season so that when I start to do specific Ironman training I am not starting from scratch. With going to the gym to swim I might as well take the time and lift as well.  During Ironman training there is little to no strength training so I need to take advantage of the time off from specific Ironman training while I can.  This past week I went to the gym twice to do strength training and while it felt good to throw some steel plates around I cannot even describe how sore my upper body is.  I forgot about how sore you can become from lifting.  This is just a sign that I need to continue to do this so that soreness doesn't happen over and over because I stop.  Might as well throw in some core work while I am at it. The bike volume took a huge hit this week.  I just did not have the desire to sit on the trainer for an hour per evening.  I am putting together a schedule that has at least 2 days of trainer rides and a longer ride on the weekend. That brings me to today (November 10) and the long ride I had planned.  I scheduled myself for 4 hours but once I got on the bike I immediately knew I wasn't going that far.  I was cold and unmotivated.  After 30 minutes I started re-designing the route and wound up with a 2 hour ride covering 37 miles which game me just under 74 miles or what would have been a nice Saturday morning in October. So let's talk about my focus for the month and that is running.  I have been pleasantly surprised with my running in the past week.  My heart rate has been in Zone 2 or less and paces have been around 8:30/mile.  Normally that is around 9:00/mile at that heart rate.  Clearly the fitness I gained on the bike in October is paying dividends now.  On Saturday I went for a 12 mile run and wound up averaging 8:30/mile and held that pace consistent throughout the 12 miles.  The biggest problem for me on the run was the stomach cramps.  I literally used Valley Ranch and the Cowboys facility as my toilet.....take that Jerry Jones! Go GIANTS! This coming weekend for me will be a lot less training and a lot more smiling.  I am heading to Arizona to cheer on a bunch of friends including Susan Lacke as well as hanging with Emily of Run EMZ fame.

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Is On!

Published in Train
Monday, 18 November 2013 09:03

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week - 2

Welcome to Week #2 of the Ironman Chattanooga 2014 Challenge.  If you have made it this far, congratulations.  If you are just starting out be sure to check out Week 1 as well as the introductory post that explains what this challenge actually is.  For those of you who are not keen on clicking, the cliff notes version is that KC and I are both training for Ironman Chattanooga 2014.  We both have a handful of Ironman finishes under our belt but wanted to chronicle the ups and downs of training from two different perspectives. KC: Female, No Sugar/No Grain lifestyle, lives in Florida. Me: Male, Plant-Based Lifestyle, lives in Dallas. We both work full-time jobs and have lives outside of swim, bike, run but we are determined to toe the starting line in the best shape possible but that also does not mean that it comes easy.  Ironman is hard.  Ironman training is harder.

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - Week 2 - KC 

[caption id="attachment_9136" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - triathlon Week 2 of Ironman Chattanooga Training for KC.[/caption] I am now 2 weeks post IMFL and have been fighting an off and on sore throat, cough, and stuffy head the whole time. It's pretty annoying. I wish it would get me already and run its course or just go away but unfortunately, it seems to want to linger. Even with a scaled back training schedule (refer to my training calendar - yes, this is scaled back for me), the cold symptoms remain. 
 
This week was my Hal Higdon, week 1 of 8, marathon training program that I mentioned in week 1's recap. I got off to a good start this week, except I had to scrap today's 1-2 hour run. I listened to my body and it said, drink some theraflu, hot tea, and take a long nap, so I did and I feel better. I did manage to sneak in a 50 mile bike ride though, yay!
Tomorrow is a new day ...and I WILL feel better!
Upward and onward!

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - Week 2 - Jason

[caption id="attachment_9135" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - triathlon Ironman Chattanooga Training - Week 2.
Color coded for Jeff.[/caption] As you can see from my training log I put in a total of 4 hours.  This was not an easy week for training from the simple fact that I just was traveling .  The long hours typically logged on the weekend were nearly zero because of my travels to watch this girl and the other athletes kick the crap out of Ironman Arizona and well this is what you get.  Truth be told if I tracked my running during the event along with the walking back and forth everywhere I probably put another 5 miles on my feet in the time I was down at the event. Am I disappointed in the lack of training?  Not one bit.  This is the 'off-season' so I am ok with missing workouts or not logging in as many hours or miles as I typically do.  The fact is that we have lives and not every waking moment can be consumed by triathlon, as much as we would like it to.  I have discovered that I have to make my workouts count these days.  When I was working from home I could get by with a one hour trainer ride that was sort of just getting through it, but now with limited time the workouts have to have a meaning and if I think I am just going to coast through it I do not bother. The perfect example is Wednesday's workout.  On Tuesday nights I stay up late watching Sons of Anarchy so when the alarm on Wednesday goes off at 4am if I am not jumping out of bed ready to go there is no point in getting up at all and slogging my way through a workout.  This week I had intended to go swimming that morning.  A late night coupled with 29* weather in the morning made me hit snooze and go back to bed because the idea of swimming right then and there was out of the question. I would have dreaded the drive, hated jumping in the pool and been even more mad at myself for just slogging away.  Moved the swim to the next day, got extra sleep and that evening got myself on the trainer for a solid one hour focusing on keeping a low heart rate that would not push me over the edge. I am looking forward to a more disciplined training program but for now I am doing the work I need to do and pretty soon that work will most likely involve prepping for a 50 mile run in February.
Published in Train
Thursday, 05 September 2013 09:11

Ironman Chattanooga Sells Out In Three Minutes

Ironman Chattanooga sold out in three minutes yesterday.  I don't know if that is a record or not as I know that Ironman Melbourne sold out in 5 minutes but for a race, especially an inaugural event to sell out in three minutes is flat-out amazing.  I was one of the fortunate ones to be able to register for the race during a pre general entry registration that I received from the Tri Club that I belong to here in Dallas.  I was sweating as I know a handful of bloggers were trying to get in and fortunately they did so there is going to be a rather large party at the finish line on September 28, 2014. Having a race sell out in 3 minutes and having the euphoria pulsing through my body should have been a good time but my happiness soon turned to frustration as I read post after post after post about people being pissed off about not getting in and blaming all sorts of reasons for it not happening.  I remember when I made an attempt to get into Ironman Arizona back in November 2011.  I sat by my computer and had all my answers for the required questions ready to be punched into the computer.  When I hit register and was successfully in all the adrenaline left my body and I quickly went home to take a nap.  It was an amazing experience to just get in and so I understand how happy those that got in were.  What I don't understand is the vitriol toward all things from those that did not get in.  There are other races on the Ironman calendar for 2014 not to mention that there are other series that run full iron-distance triathlons. [caption id="attachment_8892" align="alignright" width="149"]ironman chattanooga - triathlon - race Will Be Ordering This Jersey To Train In For The Next Year.[/caption]

Ironman Chattanooga Vitriol

The complaints were astounding but some were just amazing to me.  I read that it was the pre-registration of the Tri Clubs that caused this event to sell out in 3 minutes.  Really?  This is what caused the sell out?  Let's think about this for a moment and then take a step back and reflect on this theory: Let's assume tri-clubs were allotted 500 out of a total of 2,500 spots.  20% seems like a good guess.  Now let's look at races like IMAZ and IMFL that also sell out in minutes.  Those races have people who volunteer so that they can register for the race before it opens to the general public.  Those races also have athletes that raced that year that get first dibs on entry slots.  How many do you think get in from those two groups?  Would you be agreeable that it is 20% or 500 out of 2500 people as well?  If so, then why place the blame squarely on the Tri club for the sell out?  It makes no sense to make that argument. Then there is the problem with Active.com and their servers going down or people getting kicked out or whatever technological problem that arises.  As a person who works in digital marketing I know that technology is not fool-proof.  This stuff breaks down.....ALL THE TIME.  You can put items into a test server and hammer away at it to make sure that nothing goes wrong but unfortunately our world is not utopia filled with unicorns and rainbows.  We live in the real world that even when you move files from the test server to the live server even the slightest misplacement of a comma can cause major issues.

Ironman Chattanooga Registration Proved One Thing To Me

The Ironman Chattanooga registration process proved one thing to me and that is the idea that the sport needs celebrity endorsements from the likes of Hines Ward is not necessary.  An inaugural race sells out in three minutes on the same day that Challenge Family announces a new race coming to the Mid-Atlantic region in 2014 shows that the sport is thriving.  It indicates that giving away Kona slots to celebrities so that NBC has a figure to cover during their coverage is borderline absurd these days. Those that race triathlon, and those considering it, did not get into the sport because Rocco DiSpirito was on his bike at the 70.3 World Championships in Clermont a few years ago. Tony Kannan races Kona again.....who cares?  Now, in this year's version we are being given an inside look into the training of Hines Ward and how he prepares for Kona.  Really?  Hines Ward celebrity stopped a few years ago when he went from Super Bowl MVP to Dancing With The Stars.  There is no need to promote him and his training so that the sport gains popularity. If you read the statistics from the USAT about the huge boom in people becoming members and those purchasing one-day passes for races you will know that having these, and I use the word lightly, celebrities racing is not what people are looking for.  We do not associate with the Hines Wards of the world but rather with the athlete next to us at the starting line.  The person we wave to during cycling and running sessions.  The person we strike up a conversation with while at the pool.  These are the people whose stories I want to know more about.  I don't care about Hines Ward because he is not living the type of life I am living which involves having to work full-time while balancing family and training for an Ironman. When I get asked about the sport, specifically the 140.6 distance, the questions don't start with: I saw Gordon Ramsay is racing an Ironman and I think I would like to do it as well.  They typically start with: I want to challenge myself and I think an Ironman is what I want to do.  What do you think?  Nothing in there screams celebrity sighting.  Let's leave the celebrities to the E! Network and promote those age-groupers that are working their tails off to be the best triathletes they can be and celebrate their accomplishments rather than those of B list celebrity.

Did The Ironman Chattanooga Sell Out Prove Anything To You?

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Ironman 2014 is now being discussed in full between myself and I, myself and Karen, myself and Maria and now with you.  When I finished Ironman Texas 2013 I was fully convinced that going back to the The Woodlands was going to be in the cards.  I absolutely love the course in terms of racing as well as being spectator friendly.  The course also plays to my strengths and weaknesses.  I can climb on the bike but because I weight as much as a paper towel going down the hills doesn't give me much momentum thus a hilly bike course has typically been shunned.  The run course at IMTX is flat and fast.  The biggest problem is the heat but for whatever reason (and if you can scientifically tell me why) I am not bothered by it as much as others as evidenced by my marathon and 15th place finish in my age group. Now that I am 4 months removed from that race my mind has wandered and I have considered 5 races for 2014 and making a decision has become somewhat impossible for me pick and why I am turning to you, the blog reader, for some advice.  I am going to treat this vote the way Major League Baseball treats their All-Star votes.  Certain percentage to each one and I can come up with a final answer that way.  I will get 25% of the vote, blog readers 10%, Maria 10% and Karen 55% because without her blessing it doesn't matter what I want to do it isn't happening.

Here are my Ironman 2014 Choices:

[caption id="attachment_8819" align="alignright" width="230"]ironman 2014 - triathlon - IMTX - Texas Ironman Texas[/caption] Ironman Texas: Pros:
  • Race takes place in May meaning I will be racing again and soon.  Good for the mind.
  • Experience with the race and thus no surprises.
  • Cost effective.  Can stay with friends and it is a car ride away.
Cons:
  • Been there, done that.
  • Hotter than the sun.
  • Extremely tough swim from start to end.
[caption id="attachment_8817" align="alignright" width="230"]ironman 2014 - triathlon - IMLou - Louisville Ironman Louisville[/caption] Ironman Louisville: Pros:
  • Race is in August giving me some more time doing what I want when I want in 2013 and early 2014.
  • New race which can lead to new experiences.
  • Hot and humid which doesn't bother me and is something I can actually look forward to.
Cons:
  • Nearly 3,000 feet in climbing with a 2 lo0p course.
  • Run is only 2 loops which some would prefer I enjoy the 3 loop course as it gives me a mental edge to know where I am at in shorter time intervals.
[caption id="attachment_8818" align="alignright" width="230"]ironman 2014 - triathlon - IMFL - Florida Ironman Florida[/caption] Ironman Florida: Pros:
  • Race is in November which gives me a lot of time to do as I please before jumping into an Ironman training plan.
  • Flat, flat and oh its flat. Less than 1,000 feet of elevation gain on the bike and less than 200 feet of gain on the run.
  • 1 loop bike course.
Cons:
  • Getting in is getting to be nearly impossible and the anxiety of getting in.
  • Flat, flat and flat means lots of aero position and pushing your legs to the their breaking point with no real rest.
[caption id="attachment_8820" align="alignright" width="230"]ironman 2014 - triathlon - IMTEN - Chattanooga Ironman Chattanooga[/caption] Ironman Chattanooga: Pros:
  • Brand new race so while there can be issues the idea of racing an inaugural race appeals to me.
  • Bike course has 2,100 feet of climbing where Texas is 1,600 feet and Arizona is 1,700 feet so not a big difference.
  • Run is through downtown Chattanooga.
  • I get to say Chattanooga a lot.
Cons:
  • Inaugural race so no idea about recon and asking past participants about the race course.
  • Just far enough away to fly, yet close enough to drive.
  • No known hashtag for it:  #IMChooChoo, #IMChat, #IMRockyTop, #IMManning, #IMNooga
The price point for all is the same at $650 except for Louisville which is $625 so there are no savings in the registration fee and thus the cost difference will come down to travel and accommodations (anybody in any of these areas willing to offer a home-stay?)

Which Ironman 2014 Do You Vote For?

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