Race Report: Ironman 70.3 World Championships, Chattanooga, Tennessee – Saturday Sept. 9, 2017

It seems surreal to me to have experienced a competition along-side some of the best triathletes in the world. What an honor it was to participate in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Tennessee this past Saturday. It was a difficult race and I was thrilled to be able to check off another state towards my 50 states goal (Read More:Journey to Race in All 50 States). I arrived a few days early allowing me to attend the welcome banquet and have a day to put my bike back together, check-in and get acquainted with the race venue. Tennessee is a beautiful state and the humidity breeds ample foliage. The winding roads were surrounded by trees and greenery and I was excited to know that these would be the roads we would be riding and running on! I love nature!

My body was a little stiff and tired from the flight and travel but they managed to loosen up on a run. I had some physical limitations this year that have dampened my training efforts but overall my body felt pretty good, all things considered, and I was excited to be there.

Next I assembled my bike to find a mechanical problem that I remedied (or did the best I could, not being a bike mechanic). Then it was off to the grocery store for food. I always like to make my own stuff as much as I can so I can eat foods my body is used to. I also needed to pick up some Co2 cartridges for emergency tire changes since they are not allowed on the plane.

Then I checked in and picked up my packet and began assembling my bags and getting organized. I always feel so much better when everything is ready. This was a “clean transition” which means nothing more than bikes where allowed in the transition area. The bikes were packed tight with little space around them. Bags would be used for the ride and run and to be dropped off along with the bike Friday night before the race. This means I had to have everything ready in advance and as the race progresses each athlete picks up their bag, goes through a changing area and then moves to the next discipline. It would add a little bit of time to my overall time but everyone had to do it so I became familiar with all of that before dinner. 

The Welcome Banquet was spectacular gathering nearly 4,000 participants from all over the world (91 countries) who had qualified for this event in one big room. There was live music and a nice southern dinner with many choices including; pulled pork, chicken, slaw, green beans, corn muffins, green salad, fruit, chocolate brownies and pecan pie. We listened to many speakers welcome us with encouraging words. The highlight for me was when they introduced the youngest (18 years) and oldest athletes. The oldest man was 86! His finish would mark the oldest man to have ever completed the 70.3 WC event. So cool! What an inspiration and testament to triathlon being a life-long sport.

Race morning the transition was packed with excited athletes chattering about previous race experiences; the nervous energy was nearly palatable. I quickly double checked my bike and set up my nutrition then re-acquainted myself with all the transition ins-and-outs. Soon the women pro’s started. It was fun to see them run through their transition and cheer for them. Then finally it was time for me to head to the swim start.

After waiting for what seemed like an eternity we were taken down the corrals to the swim dock (nearly one hour and 40 minutes after the first women were in the water). Then we were off, as soon as I jumped in I could feel the current working against me. It was a difficult swim heading up-river which increased my anxiety but I tried to stay calm and focused. It seemed to take forever to get to each sight buoy and the sun was in my eyes. Finally it was over and a quick glance at my watch confirming my extremely slow swim time; certainly not a good representation of my ability however I quickly put it behind me and focused on the task at hand; there was no use dwelling on it. It is what it is!

I moved through transition smoothly grabbing my bike bag and switching to cycling gear; I stuffed my wetsuit in the bag and handed it to a volunteer and darted for transition. Sadly my bike was situated on the far side so there was a long run with my bike to the other side of the large transition area then I would finally be able to get on my bike. I kept moving and mounted quickly determined to make up some ground on the ride. I knew I could cycle strong. There was only a short distance before the long Lookout Mountain climb so I tried to get some nutrition in as soon as I could. I swallowed some river water but it didn’t seem to have the effect saltwater has on me so I was OK.

The climb seemed to come with no hesitation and soon I was spinning in my easiest gear and watching my heart rate climb. I tried to keep it in check and passed many women who were struggling and some who decided to walk their bike. It was a long leg-numbing climb similar to Snow Canyon in Utah with just some more twists and turns. After the main climb the route continued to be a series of inclines and descents with many turns, and I did drop my chain once. It seemed I spent much of my time in either the hardest gear descending quick then back into the easiest gear to climb so my legs were being put to the test. The route also teased with many false flats and a head wind the last 45 minutes.

Being the last wave of ladies in the water the women were spread out so it was difficult for me to really get into race mode since there were so few women around me and large gaps between racers. I worked on catching up to anyone I could see in the distance. A few times I was disappointed to catch a man doing a warm up ride (the men were competing the next day). Honestly, the ride was a little lonely with a few riders dotting the road. It was a welcome sight to see my “support crew” cheering for me at the half way mark. That really lifted my spirits. I tried to stay focused and ride strong getting all my planned nutrition in. It was not an easy course and to compound the problem my quads and back muscles were starting to spasm and I was getting odd pains in my hips. My muscles didn’t seem to be functioning properly. This was unusual. I later found out that my bike saddle had dropped over 1/2 inch over the course of 56 miles due to a problem with my saddle stem bolt/wedge system that keeps it in place. That explains all the odd pains I was having! My legs felt different but I pushed forward and was pleased to reach T2 without getting a flat tire.

Soon I was off on the run. No sooner did I start then my right quad completely seized up (only about .3 miles in) and I slowed to a walk. I remember thinking, “Oh no, this is going to be a long day!” I downed some extra electrolytes that I always bring with me just in case and took the time to put on some extra chafing cream under my arms. I then pushed my legs to run again. A fellow athlete I bumped into at the airport warned me that the run would be challenging as it was constantly up and down. I could not agree more: it was a challenge so I needed my legs to cooperate! As the miles wore on my legs felt more and more spent and didn’t seem to want to respond to my taunting so I resolved to focus on enjoying being part of this historic event. I took in the scenery and listened to people cheering. I always appreciate the volunteers that spend all day feeding us at aide stations and keeping us motivated. I thought about my friends and family and the encouraging words they have said to me recently. It was fun to see the community involved as many had lawn chairs out in the front of their houses cheering and my personal favorite; the sprinkler going in the road so we could run in it and cool ourselves down. Go USA! 🇺🇸

The temperatures where not too bad but the humidity made it feel hotter than it was. I looked forward to cheers from my friend and sister who had come to see me race. It was such a boost hearing those cheers by name and seeing familiar faces. They made fun signs for me and I found myself looking for those bright signs every turn; it really kept me going and I can’t thank them enough for their support! It was a long day and as I counted down the last 5K, I was delighted to know that I was going to finish an Ironman 70.3 World Championship that day.

I did it! I made it to the finish with a smile on my face grateful that I am physically able to do hard things and push my body despite my physical struggles this year. I am truly so grateful for my friends, family and sponsor support from near and far. Those kind encouraging words I get throughout the year carry me through the hard workouts and tough challenging courses like this one. You are so appreciated! Thank you!  Here’s to many more adventures together!

Coach Lora Erickson

Go USA! 🇺🇸 @champsys #beyourownbrand #bountifulbicycle #intermountainsportsmed #bountifulbicycle #xterrawetsuits #cocogo #ensoroller #Wasatchrunningcenter #dohardthings #gratitude

Related links:

I did it! IG link to post: https://instagram.com/p/BY1zP8Snzo9/

Number and visor picture on FB

Medal Monday IG post: https://instagram.com/p/BY63v7eHSt7/

Product Review: I love Beetroot Pro, it’s a portable powder!

I LOVE the health benefits of beets. Use the code RUNNER5 for $5 off and free shipping. Check out this awesome portable powder. Learn more 
Coach Lora Erickson
BlondeRunner.com

Labor Day Triathlon Bountiful Discount Code

I love local races!  This was my very first triathlon and got me started on my journey.  I love to do triathlons!  Use the code LABOR2017 to save $5.  Come join the fun! I will be offering a training clinic and class, message me at theblonderunner@gmail.com if you want to learn more.

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

Coach Lora Erickson Services Offered

I love to coach!  If I didn’t I wouldn’t still be doing it after my first paid coaching job in 1992.  Coaching others and teaching them how to improve is what makes me happy. I would love the opportunity to work with you.  I offer many services as listed in the image above.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me to help in any of these areas.  I offer on-line or in person coaching as well as one-time consultation sessions.  Beginners and non-runners welcome.  Contact me with questions anytime.

Coach Lora

theblonderunner@gmail.com

BlondeRunner.com

 

Upcoming Blonde Runner Classes:

Open Water Swim Clinic – Tuesday June 20, 2017, $35

Individual Running Form Analysis – scheduled individually – contact Coach

Small Group Swimming – contact Coach

Women’s Triathlon Clinic in Riverton – August 10, 2017 – get registered http://blonderunner.com/2017/05/womens-triathlon-clinic-in-riverton/

Ladies Beginner Cycling Clinic (learn how to change a tire, bicycle maintenance and cycling skills) – July 13, 6 – 7:30 p.m. $25. Davis County. Limited Spots. Learn More

 

Learn more or get registered:

Contact Coach Lora Erickson at theblonderunner@gmail.com, BlondeRunner.com

Who is Blonde Runner?

 

Women’s Triathlon Clinic in Riverton

Women’s Triathlon Clinic in Riverton

August 10

6:30-8 p

Triathlons are a blast! Learn some tips and tricks about competing in a triathlon from Coach Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runner (mother of 4).  She will demonstrate transition set-up, review the Triathamom course as well as give you tips for triathlon racing and training. You don’t have to be a participant to join the fun! Learn what to eat during a triathlon to fuel yourself to a strong finish.  This will be a lecture style format starting at 6:30 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m.  Come join the fun and get all your questions answered to complete the a triathlon event! Beginners welcome Limited spots. Cost: $25. Invite a friend and join the fun!  Limited spots

Get Registered

To learn more visit www.BlondeRunner.com

Learn more about Coach Lora Erickson, Ironman All-World Athlete

Coach Lora Erickson: Lettuce Explain Podcast Guest

May 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness, News, Nutrition, Product Reviews

As you might remember, last month I participated in the Oceanside 70.3 Ironman event.  It is always so enjoyable to get away from the cold of Northern Utah and enjoy warmer temperatures.  While I was there I was able to visit one of my long time friend and she invited me to be interviewed on her new podcast.  I was so excited to participate and talk about my triathlon experience.  My friend and her friend, both dietitians, started the Lettuce Explain podcast and cover great nutrition and fitness topics.  It can be found on iTunes, Stitcher Radio or Google Play.  I was interviewed for Episode 008 which was released today.  Here’s a link if you’d like to listen.  It was so much fun!

http://lettuceexplain.libsyn.com/podcast

Let me know what you think? If you’d like to have help with your triathlon or run training I would love to help.  Please get in touch with me at theblonderunner@gmail.com.  I work with people locally or online across the country.  Fitness rocks!

Train Happy,

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

 

Spring Running Form Class

April 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness, Health Classes, News, Nutrition

A lot of requests have been made for a Running Form Class so an additional class has been set up for next Tuesday night, April 18 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the Davis County area. $25. Contact Coach Lora Erickson at theblonderunner@gmail.com if you’d like to reserve a spot.

A Spring Triathlon Training Class will be offered that same evening.  Learn more

Gluten Free Protein Energy Bites – Courtesy of Celiac Runner

April 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Nutrition, Recipes, Snacks, Weight Loss

Energy Bites (gluten-free)
Makes 15-20
Ingredients

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey or agave
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup shredded coconut
1 cup gluten-free oats
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Combine peanut butter, honey, and vanilla in a medium size bowl.  I find it easier to combine if I melt the peanut butter and honey first.  Add shredded coconut and gluten-free oats to mixture.  Stir to combine.  I set mine in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before adding in the chocolate chips; otherwise, the chocolate chips melt if you chose to melt your peanut butter and honey.  Once cooled, add chocolate chips and roll into 1 inch size balls.

These are the perfect snack to fuel you for a workout or get you through the day!  I often eat these before a race.  They freeze great so I can keep myself stocked up for a couple of weeks!

Eating Better to Train Better – Nutrition Class

February 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Health Classes, News, Nutrition, Prevention & Safety

Tues. March 21, 2017
6-7 p.m., $25
Davis County Area

Learn daily nutrition tips that will help you in your training. Whether you are training for a triathlon, running event or your daily exercise; we will review what you need to know to stay healthy. This one-time lecture-style class will review protein powders, supplements, cellular hydration, anti-inflammatory eating, gluten-free diets and more. Learn how to prevent weight gain while training for long events like marathons and Ironman events. Class Fee: $25. Limited spots. Pre-registration is required. Message Coach Lora Erickson at theblonderunner@gmail.com to learn how to reserve a spot.  Bonus:  Get to try some yummy Power Bites (pictured)!

Learn more about Coach Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runner

Can’t make it, but want to join another class?  Check out the Triathlon Training Class or next Running Form Class

Get the recipe

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