Race Coverage

E+R+O...

 

Screen_Shot_2022-05-24_at_11.31.59_AM.pngBy Katie Deregnier

Chattanooga 70.3 Race Report - I decided to race Chattanooga for 2 reasons- 1. Tune up for Des Moines 140.6  2.To race with Kristen Hawkins (training partner since Aug 2021). It turns out, Chatty gave me so much more than I anticipated! Between hanging out with Kristen and our families, and running into several race challenges, this may have been the most unforgettable race I've ever done! 

 The swim was refreshing in the Tennessee river! 1.4 miles with the current was a pretty fun experience. The sunrise was behind us, making it easy to spot each buoy until the end where volunteers pulled us out of the water, ready for our next leg of the race! I finished the swim in 29 minutes, right on par! 

 At the start of the bike, there was a bit of a headwind along with a few hills. It felt a little challenging, but I knew it wouldn't be long until the tailwind, which would be super fun! I had just started experiencing the tailwind along with some super cool rolling hills and amazing views when I noticed my back wheel sounding like it was riding on the rim- uh oh! I pulled over and sure enough, it was flat. 

In the back of my mind I had Paul and Tracy Serreyns voices talking to me- they had just finished giving me a "flat tire clinic" teaching me how to finish putting the tire on using a lever. They said to me, "a flat will not put you out of the race". I knew I had to try! Step by step I did what I was taught to do. In the midst of it all, Kristen rode by and screamed to me, "you got this, Katie!"-words that motivated! Next, I thought- do I know how to use CO2? Many cyclists may laugh at me, but I have been afraid to use co2 since I started biking in 2011! By some miracle I did it! It may not have been perfect, but it was done well enough to finish the last 20 miles! ...

 But what should appear 10 miles later? A motorcycle marked "race official" riding next to me. I was held back behind several bikers unable to pass. Trying to maintain power, I made a rookie mistake and was too close- that meant a blue card and drafting penalty. Shake it off. I tell my daughter to keep going no matter what, this was my chance to model that! A 5 minute stop at the penalty tent and I was ready to run. 

 I saw my girl, Summer, in the first couple miles of the run and that was enough to keep me going. Just 13 more miles in a bit of humidity and I could say I overcame more in this race than ever before! I came up beside Kristen around mile 4 and we reminded each other about our conversation before the race - E+R=O (event+Response=outcome) we were ready to finish this thing! 

 After crossing that finish line I realized how much more triathlon is to me than a race. It truly tests the athlete. There are so many factors out of our control, but how we respond matters most. We need to find a place within us to keep going. We also need each other! I have had so much help from fellow triathletes learning about the sport and how to handle different scenarios. 

 All these challenges added 21 minutes to my finish time. I could have had a 16 minute PR and broken 5 hours for the first time, but that was not the plan for me that day. Instead, it was another test to overcome adversity and still finish with a smile!

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