Before I share my race report, let me step back and start my Ironman story in the days leading up to the race. I arrived in Chattanooga on Friday morning after the short drive with my parents from Atlanta. There were long lines for packet pick-up and the merchandise tent, but my lunch time I had officially signed away my life and had an Ironman bracelet on my wrist. In less than 48 hours, this race was really happening!
We sat along the bank of the Tennessee River and received all of the last minute race details and logistics at the athlete briefing, and then headed to lunch at Taco Mamacita. I demolished a plate of tacos and plantains without any hesitation.
Later that afternoon I did a 30 minute river practice swim and then wandered through the Ironman village and helped my legs to recover with some time in the Norma Tec boots.
Dinner was at Terra Mae, a small restaurant just a few blocks from our hotel that specializes in farm-to-table Appalachian cuisine. They especially place emphasis on their selection of produce which is cultivated in the chef's garden.
After much indecision, I built a vegetable plate that consisted of truffle mac and cheese, okra, and sesame honey roasted vegetables.
Saturday morning I completed a short brick, including 35 minute of biking and a 2 mile run that left me confident that everything was firing as expected.
After packing my transition bags, checking, double checking, and triple checking, it was time to head to bike and gear check. The finishing chute and carpet had been constructed and it was exciting to stand next to the finish line that I had previously watched so many other cross online.
With some help from volunteers, my bike was racked, I reviewed and walked through the layout of transitions, and my bike and run bags were checked in.
Royce and Erin arrived and met us at Urban Stack for lunch. Even Uncle John and his girlfriend joined us for the occasion. A grilled chicken sandwich with caramelized mushrooms and onions and a side of sweet potato fries was exactly the carbohydrate load I needed.
We all cheered on the Georgia Bulldogs as they took a victory over Tennessee and spent the afternoon being lazy at the hotel before we walked to dinner at Tony's Pasta Shop.
I was still full from lunch and had to force myself to each some spaghetti and marinara. It was, after all, my last meal before the big day.
After finalizing my race kit and gear for morning, I curled up in bed, spent some time thinking through each part of the race, and was asleep before 10pm. To my surprise, I slept well and was energized and ready to get the day started when my 4am alarm buzzed on Sunday morning. After 9 months of training, the day that I've been dreaming of and working towards was finally here!