They could have made it harder
My IMCHOO Training camp recap
Being a flat lander, I have been getting increasingly worried about Ironman Chattanooga as it has been approaching. I started riding in our local hills early in the year, but trying to figure out if our hills compare to their mountainous terrain (“they don’t call it Lookout Hill”) and then throwing in my unique femur, to say I’ve been fretting might be an understatement. So the opportunity to swim, bike and run on the course with lots of support from Freshjunkie Racing (training hard, don’t suck) rgwas snatched up by yours truly.
Arrived around 6pm from Atlanta and explored the amazing house while waiting for the rest of the crew. Some opted for a shakeout run. I chose to unpack and rest as I took Annie on a long walk that morning and had a bit of a stressful day. We had dinner, chatted about the week and got our gear ready for the next day.
On the agenda for today was some swimming, biking and running but not necessarily in that order–we would be swimming from close to the swim exit first upstream and then back down, running the back side of the run loop, and biking back to the house 16 miles from transition.
The swim was nice. I swam close to a mile. You can definitely feel the current both upstream and back down. It will be a nice little help on race day to have the current going in the same direction for the entire swim.
The run was fun. I got a ride over the bridge and started halfway up the first road you climb bc I’m quite a bit slower than the rest of the folks that were at camp. It was nice to be able to run the hills and see for myself what it’s going to be like–see for myself that I can do it. At least a mile on that side runs along a golf course on the river which was very scenic. A couple long climbs and a couple short steep climbs, but all in all I really had fun…more fun than I expected…hoping I say that again on race day!
The bike ride was nice except for one long hill that we had to climb to get back to the house which was on the back side of the loop, but knowing on race day we would be going down that hill made the climb more tolerable. The 11 mile ride out of town and to the loop has lots of turns and railroad tracks but it leads out to a great course with long straightaways with fun ups and downs and beautiful scenery.
Pretty much ran the front side of the run course loop. We didn’t run the road back but took the trail both ways. It was a long slow gradual downhill out and the reverse on the way back. I felt good. Was right on pace for me. Ran the run intervals and walked the walk intervals. Big shout out to the sag crew who waited for me at the turnaround with my bottle of skratch.
In the afternoon we dove the bike course to get familiar with the terrain and turns and to calm some nerves a bit in preparation for our long bike ride the next day.
We started from the house which is 5 miles in on the back side of the 45 mile bike course loop. The front side of the loop has some good climbs and you are rewarded for all that climbing with a fun and fast back half of the loop. The FJR crew had set up an aid station at the 25 mile mark which was a huge help on both laps. I really had a whole lot of fun, even when I was cursing the world on the last climb before Hog Jawl Road on the second loop. I did 81 miles on the bike course loop–my longest post surgery ride by at least 20 miles and the hardest but most awesome ride of my life. I most likely could have finished the loop, but I didn’t want to find my limit the hard way that day and have to take a step backwards again before moving forwards. At 81 miles I was still smiling, tired but not beat down, and mentally winning against the course–so I called it a day thanks to the FJR sag wagon. I am super excited to get back to the course on race day and ride it again in the entirety to enjoy it in all it’s glory!
Of course there was more to camp than just the training, there were games in the parlour, meals in the pool house, 15 dozen eggs, strength session demos, lots of coffee and #hashtags galore…but that’s something you will have to come and experience for yourself next time around! Seriously, you need to come with next time…FJR put on a great camp!
Excited to have been able to see the course myself so I know what I’m up against. Many people have made comparisons to this and that but now I know and can plan accordingly. Also fun to be there with friends and teammates who will be out on the course with me that day.
Yes, the course is hard, but they sure could have made it harder! Excited for the training over the next two months and to see what happens on race day. No matter what, I am just thankful I am at a place again where I can be a part of the action again.