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Ironman Chattanooga 2014 Race Report

November 12, 2014

Ironman Chattanooga 2014 – Race Report

By: Chris Nasser (Male AG 25-29)

 

Introduction

IM Chatt was my second full distance Ironman.  I registered for this race a few weeks after completing IM Louisville 2013; the ATC had slots for early registration.  My cousin, twin brother, and I all grabbed a slot with the intent of racing as TEAMNASSER to be a fun event the whole family would enjoy.  That was almost 1 year before race day, during the interim, a lot of changes in my life affected my racing style and what would happen that day.  I was selected to be a member of the 2014 ATC Race Team, I became involved in ITL Coaching and Performance, I was coached through my training, and my cousin was involved in a bicycle accident which left him out of competing in IM Chatt (he is doing very well and actually competed in Augusta 70.3 that same day).  The training experiences, support, and encouragement I experienced all year and going through the race led me to have a race that I am very of the results.

 

Race Weekend

Friday started with an early ITL swim, my brother and I getting stuck in my apartment elevator for 20 minutes (with bikes and Gus, so we survived), a 40 minute trainer spin and a trip to All3Sports to get my flat tire fixed.  The rest of the weekend went smoothly: I rested, went to athlete dinners, learned that the Linck Twins and the Nasser twins share the same birthday (February 9th); won a Lifeproof ipad case; and enjoyed time with my family.  I really wanted for my brother to enjoy his race experience and to make this a memorable trip.

Bethany asked me what my goals were; I told her 1) sub 10hr 2) podium 3) pass people on the run 4) smile 5)Kona.  She asked what I thought it would take to get to Kona, I told her a 9:40…this was right, the second slot in my AG went to a finishing time of 9:42.  I remember fellow race team member Eddie seeing me holding my father's drink at the ATC pre-race dinner and he joked, "Good, keep drinking, the rest are on me."  I knew then that it was time to get into "race mode" and chill.

We got back to the hotel, got everything ready (check Facebook to see pictures of my brother's pre-race humor and music video) then we went to bed.

 Race Day

 

Swim Start

Anthony and I got to the transition early, got set-up, then headed to the swim start where we would spend the next few hours getting ready.  Family and ITL friends were there to give us encouraging words.  I covered all of my potential hot spots in Slather (this was a blessing), swallowed a Salted Caramel GU 15 minutes to go time, then we were off; Anthony and I jumped in the water together.

 *The rest of this report will be bullet points to make for easier reading*

Swim

  • No wetsuit, no top, just ATC race kit bottoms, TYR Special Ops 2.0 Small Frame goggles

  • I opted to wear the regular swim cap, not the AWA cap

  • I went wide to avoid crowds

  • Felt like I swam straight, the buoys were not straight

  • Followed bubbles when I could

  • Fought through crowds when I came on them

  • Official swim time: 51:04

T1

  • Very excited about the time

  • Ran from the water to transition

  • Saw my family on the ramp going into transition

  • Great support in the tent

  • Ran barefoot to my bike, carrying shoes

  • The volunteer got my bike stuck on another bike; this gave me time to put on my bike cleats

  • Office T1 time: 4:18

Bike

  • Cervelo P2 w/ Shimano 105; Zipp 404/808 combo

  • Aero bottle w/ perform; 2 cliff bars in pieces in bento box; 6 Gus in flask upside-down in jersey pocket

  • I ride sockless J, but I do put baby powder in my bike cleats

  • No food or drink until 15 minutes into the bike

  • 1st loop I saw a lot of drafting as strong riders passed me; including Eddie (not drafting but being drafted) at about mile 20; I was waiting for Blake thereafter but tried to keep Eddie in sight

  • Huge burst of energy going through Chickamauga and seeing family

  • I sip Perform every 5 minutes, and alternate GU and Cliff Bar Piece every 30 minutes; salt cap every hour

  • I only used liquids from aid stations to refill my bottle

  • 2nd loop was more lonely; felt strong; no hot spots (thanks to the Slather)

  • Stomach started churning, so I switched to water rather than Perform

  • Lot of energy dodging cars and seeing family in Chickamauga

  • Last 20 miles I focused on finishing my water (no need to refill and add weight)

  • I was able to pee and have an easy last leg, spinning a higher cadence

  • Ran out of water 2 miles to the finish

  • Dismount was not 'pro' but I didn't fall either

  • Office bike time: 5:17:26

 

T2

  • I ran into T2, handing off my bike to a nice volunteer

  • A great volunteer in tent did everything I asked

  • ITL visor, socks, shoes (Mizuno Sayonara-well worn), extra GU, race belt

Run

  • Took off aiming for a 7:40 pace

  • Felt great, saw my sister-in-law and girlfriend at mile 5 turn near Burger King

  • I relieved myself while running at mile 7, then squirted off with water at the next stop

  • At mile 8, the ITL angels arrived on their bikes (Adam, Krystle, Jaclyn, Christian and Krystle)

  • The stuck with me the majority of the race

  • I caught a glimpse of my brother as I was running on a bridge and he was running beneath, I yelled, "Go Ant!", he responded and my worries of him not finishing were relinquished, it was time to worry about myself

  • The rest of lap 1 went smoothly, it was fun running through all of the ATCers at the tent

  • Mile 15ish my right leg locked up, starting with the quad and moving to the calf, I stopped and moved to the side…I was worried, this happened in Louisville...

  • Luckily, ATCer Andrei handed my Base Salts as he ran by, I took some then began a slow jog

  • For the next 3 miles I fought cramps, walking when necessary (I could tell Adam, my training partner, friend, and fellow ITL coach, was distraught when he saw me walk at one point)

  • I was able to think drink at every aid station and throw-back as much salt as I could

  • Mile 20ish is when the rain began slowly

  • Fellow ATC race team member Blake passed me and I decided to keep him in my sight

  • I was able to pass Blake with about 3 miles to go as he caught a cramp (though he never passed me again, due to the nature of a time-trial start, Blake beat me by 40 seconds)

  • With 2 miles left to the finish, Adam told me to give it all I had, I picked up the pace

  • 1 mile to go, I was moving across the pedestrian bridge, pushing through any pain; I wanted Kona bad!

  • I was able to pass friend and All3Sports race team member with ¼ mile to go as we passed through the "cheering zone"; this made me feel energized for the last sprint

  • My last mile split was a 6:42 as I crossed the finish line

  • I cried, pushed past medics to hug mom, girlfriend, Adam, then Thomas before being escorted to the finishers tent

  • Official run time: 3:33:48

  • Official race time: 9:48:28

 Post-Race

  • I walked to see my family, took pictures, and was happy as could be

  • The thoughts were that I was in 2nd AG, but I finished 3rd

  • I then walked my girlfriend to the car then waited near the finish, I did not want to miss my brother finishing

  • I was able to run in next to Anthony, he was ecstatic

  • We took our bikes to the car, go changed in the parking garage, then headed back to the pedestrian bridge where we would remain until the very last minute for the cut-off

  • I saw friends finish, took lots of pictures, enjoyed a delicious pizza, and saw my bike mechanic propose to his soon to be wife

  • Great day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Roll-Down Ceremony

  • That night, I could not sleep

  • I stayed up to clean my bike and follow Facebook posts

  • We headed to the merch tent early (didn't buy anything)

  • The roll-down ceremony was great, I go to stand on the podium with other great athletes and smile

  • I did not get a slot to Kona

 What's Next?

  • Ironman Texas 5/16/15 The Woodlands Texas

I would like to thank:

The Atlanta Triathlon Club

ITL Coaching and Performance (Adam and the whole ITL family)

All3Sports

Mizuno

My Family and Friends

Christian Dodder (great photographer and friend) See his pictures on our website www.itlcoaching.com)

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