RACE REPORT: Ironman Chattanooga
OBGYN Coupons for Everyone
You've heard of the Four Headless Horseman? Before we begin, I'd like to throw a shout out to the four testicle-less men that have been pulling me on the bike throughout this season. Kevin D'Amanda, TJ Collins, Richard Rapine, and Jason Brez ... whaaazzzzup fellaaaass!? How are 'em things not hanging? Or, is it too soon? Someone is getting some OBGYN coupons for Christmas this year. That's right! The Freshest Prince of Saigon spares no expenses when it comes to taking care of his Holy Knights, the men sworn to take a bullet for Royalty.
Ask anyone who knows anything about biking and they will tell you that the best way to get faster/stronger on the bike is to find someone stronger than you and hang on for dear life. They can't be touchy-feely friends with you. If you utter the words, "I love you, man," they will bitch slap the shit out of you.
When you are bonking and are in desperate need of a gel, they will hand you a gel packet. It will be empty. When you complain about saddle sore, they give you a tampon. They smirk with joy when they drop you. When you curse at them in Vietnamese, they have to pretend that they don't understand you. For that, I thank them and will refrain from decorating their front yards with tampons ... but only during the off season.
This race report is part of my race report manifesto. For those who have not read any of my previous race reports, but are aware of the flavor that I put in my writings, please visit the entire series to understand why, Kevin D'Amanda, TJ Collins, Richard Rapine, and Jason Brez have littered their properties with "Exit Only" signs. To that, I say, oh please, dime-a-dozen tattoos among the single women of Ballston/Court House/Clarendon area ... been there, video taped it. Heck, I've even shelfie it. Had 400+ "likes" on Facebook once.
Chapter 1: Making Love to Buoys at the Luray Sprint
Chapter 2: Vietnamese Saigon Tango with a Naked Anna Kornakova at the IM Longhorn 70.3
Chapter 3: Plight of a Vertical Swimmer at the IM California 70.3
Chapter 4: Confessions of a Bike Pee-er at the IM Eagleman 70.3
Chapter 5: Ironman Florida - I Hear Voices (2009)
Chapter 6: Ironman Florida - Spirit of the Bricklayers (2010)
Chapter 7: Ironman Germany - What Happens When A Man's Nut Freezes?
Chapter 8: Marine Corps Marathon - The Orphans Shall Be Fed
Chapter 9: Challenge Copenhagen - The Nutcracker Does Europe
Chapter 10: Ironman Sweden - The Vietnamese Lesbian
Chapter 11: Ironman Chattanooga - OBGYN Coupons for Everyone
If this race report seems long to you then you're likely not reading this during billable hours.
Cliff notes version of my results:
Swim: 58:34 1:30/100m
Bike (116 miles): 5:33:07 20.9 mi/h
Run: 3:59:03 9:07/mi
Overall, including T1+ T2: 10:43:55
Official Video of Ironman Chattanooga:
Longer/Tear Jerker Version of Ironman Chattanooga with the human interest stories
Race Photos from the weekend festivities
|Morning line for swim start. First come, first start|
Race day didn't start off well for me. First, I think the dude occupying the hotel room next to mine was a pimp. That room was-a-rocking all night. Either that or some Cambodian was getting waterboarded and screaming like a little girl. How many times does a girl have to yell, "oh my god, oh my god, oh my god" before someone gets the Vatican on the line? Royalty can't get his standard 16 hours of sleep when people get religious like that. Royalty was in the bible belt. They tell me that that's how people pray in that neck of the woods. What could I have done?
Second, all that religious stuff threw me off of my game. I forgot to mount my Garmin 305 to my bike and brought it to the swim start, a 2.4 miles shuttle bus ride from transition. I couldn't swim with it since it wasn't waterproof, but I've forgotten worse things for an IM start ... like timing chip last year and bike helmet 3 years before that. The Ironman is about being able to adapt and overcome stuff on the fly. Well, that, and peeing on the bike and Vasalining your nipples during billable hours.
I'm the anti-triathlete. I don't train with any sort of electronics ... makes it easier to avoid NSA monitoring. I don't use any bike computers, heart rate monitors, power meters, or any those types of items during training or racing. I only use my Garmin on race day. That's just to tell me when to eat and how further I have to go. Not having my Garmin on my bike, while disappointing, was just another small blimp on the radar. The Vietnamese finger does a pretty good job of telling me how fast I'm going, what my heart rate is, and who the virgins are among the crowd.
I thought about peeing on my Garmin to make it water resistant. I mean, you pee on a jellyfish sting, can't you pee on a Garmin 305 to protect it from the river? As my wise mother once told me, "NO, you dumb ass!" You see, these are the kind of thoughts that occupy the mind of a Vertical Swimmer prior to any open water swims.
Fortunately, PeasantMan War Council member, Dagmar Salazar, was spectating at the race. We had been texting each other a few minutes prior. I texted AND called her back to ask her to carry my Garmin to transition. Unfortunately, Mexicans hate Vietnamese. They once accused us of calling immigration on them. In our defense, we thought they were Hondurans. Nevertheless, conveniently and all of the sudden, none of my urgent calls for help were getting to her. The Mexican Embassy will now be added to my list of embassies to pee on before I die.
I then found Bob Leamon, the Australian husband of fellow competitor, Hillary OE. I told him my predicament. Unlike Mexicans, Australians love Vietnamese. He took out a ziplock bag, containing food meant for his infant daughter, and offered it to me. He was willing to starve his own child just to help me. That baby cried her head off for her food and her mother, but Bob just ignored her like a Zen master. That's a good Australian right there. He basically said, "you'd do the same for me, Tuan." I almost had a cramp just trying to contain my laughter. For Christmas this year, Bob will get an extra batch OBGYN coupons to share with Australia.
I was going to place my Garmin inside the ziplock and wear it underneath my wetsuit, but then 3 lovely lesbian American ladies (Dena Richardson, Karen Willard, Tammy Farmer) showed up to offer their assistance to me. "Don't worry, Tuan," they said. "We'll make sure that you get it when you exit the water," they said. "You can trust Clarendon women," they said. As we will find out later, American women, like the Mexicans they're trying to keep out, hate Vietnamese. Somebody ain't gonna be getting any OBGYN coupons for Christmas this year. I tell you that much.
|View of swim course from a bridge|
My swim skills can be best explained from the below quote.
"Girls with arms slimmer than my wrist can kick my ass. Dudes who look like they're one Twinky away from being a perfect sphere blast past me like they're fricken' harbor seals."
You've heard about making snow angels? My swim stroke resembles making water angels. People mock my stroke, but I knew one day that the spread eagle maneuver would hit pay dirt. Ironman Chattanooga was that day. Sometimes, good things do happen to sexy Vietnamese men. With the current flowing faster than the mighty Mekong, the spread eagle/water angels maneuver offered maximum body surface for the Tennessee River to push upon. I'd explain it more to you, but it has to do with Vietnamese physics. You public school educated folks can't handle Vietnamese physics.
The swim was a 2.4 mile, point to point, river swim. The swim start was a time trial start that resembled kids at the local pool jumping in one after the other. Some did the belly flop. Some dove in like an Olympic swimmer. I did the classic ... pinch the nose with one hand while the other raised into the air to control airflow. Feet went in first, while praying that I would float back to the surface before air ran out. Thank God Agent Orange provided all Vietnamese with more lungs than testicles.
The swim was straight down river. The entire city of Chattanooga must have flushed their toilet at the exact moment that I got into the water because boy, was it flowing. There were buoys to guide you along the way, but the ability to sight wasn't really necessary. All you had to do was just swim. There were very few body contact. I got a toe tap and a "I love you" elbow to the rib cage now and then, but no biggie.
The middle of the river provided the most current, so I stayed there most of the day. The flip side was that it made my go-to stroke, "The Cambodian Aqua-Jogger Stroke," a bit more problematic to execute. It seemed like the buoys were closer to shore. That was where most of the pods were. I'd like to say that staying away from them and in the middle of the river, with the rip current, was the best decision that I made all day. The truth was, like Marion Barry on a bad acid trip, I was just out there, man. That freaken current went old school with the spread eagle maneuver and just took me where it took me. I probably couldn't have swam toward those buoys even if my life depended on it.
It was probably once of the cleanest IM swim I've ever had ... very disappointing. I wanted stories to tell about how women were clamoring for my cashews. Instead, all I have to say is that I saw a yellow buoy, an orange buoy, and a red buoy. Oh, the water tasted good ... probably has to do with the dead body (not an athlete) that they pulled out of the water about an hour after the swim had started.
Here is video of the swim
I came out of the water and looked down at my made-in-Vietnam watch. Vietnamese technology is water-resistant up to 2 feet of water. The watch said, "58" minutes. I was like, "WTF! Is this a watch or a magic 8-ball?" Like a single woman from the Clarendon/Court House/Ballston area with underwear on, I was dazed and confused. I didn't know what to make of it. Why was I wearing underwear? Why is there a magic 8-ball on my wrist? What is happening, America!?
I got my composure and ran toward the changing tent. I began looking for those Vietnamese hating Arlington women that had my Garmin. I was like, "where the hell are they? Was wearing underwear throwing them off their game?" ... never did find those hoochies or my Garmin.
I went straight into the changing tent and oh my god ... so many naked dudes in there. My first thought was, "hey, is that Karen, Dena, and Tammy in the corner taking pictures? ... can't be. They're lesbians. They're taking pictures of the wrong team."
My second thought was, "man, there are more full moons in here than a typical night at the Clarendon Ballroom." Dudes were Vasalining their freaken nipples. What the hell is that about? The sight was almost more than a Vietnamese could handle. If shit like that were happening in Saigon, they'd all be sent to a re-education camp outside of Da Nang to be waterboarded.
The bike ride was listed on the IM's web site as having 3.7k of climbing. I've seen about 20 different Garmin files. Depending on which Garmin file you believe, they were pretty consistent in reporting between 4-5k of climbing. Needless to say, I think that you have to be on crack to believe that there were that much climbing on this course. Maybe those Garmins were made in Cambodia. I don't know, but I doubt anyone who has ridden this course thinks that there were that much climbing. It's simply a very fast course, with zero sustain or hard climbing.
I got on my bike and left transition. Since I didn't have my Garmin (again, thank you Dena, Karen, and Tammy), I had to leave transition commando style. Next time, those ladies should just call immigration and get it over with. It's ok though. I hadn't ridden with a bike computer, during training, in 5 years. I don't train with any electronic devices, so racing without one wasn't a big deal. That's what happens when you grew up in Vietnam ... you let your first middle finger tell you how fast you're going and your second middle finger to tell you how much power you were producing.
I had drove the first 10 miles of the course the day earlier. I knew that it was mostly flat and fast. Without my Garmin, I decided to have fun with it. I decided to time trial the son of a bitch. I just put my head down and hammered away for the fun of it. Why not? We have to create our own paths in life, so I went for it. I've already done 5 IMs. I've got nothing left to prove, except stupidity ... freaken dumb ass Vietnamese time trialing an Ironman bike leg.
At mile 10, I saw Hillary OE. As I passed her, I gave her the standard Vietnamese male greeting by slapping her on the ass. She smiled back with a little smirk on her face and said, literally, "what took you so long!" Think about this for a second, folks. A dude with spandex comes by on a bike and slaps you on the ass. Instead of getting offended, you get turned on. I swore to you, that's what she said when I slapped her ass. The woman is a freak. She's got what we, in the Vietnamese community, often refer to as, "The American Woman." Hillary ... you're a mother, for heaven sake!
At around mile 20-ish, a dude jumps on my wheel and yelled, "hey Royalty! Slow down! It's a fast course, but save it for the run!" Turns out, it was PeasantMan War Council member, Eric Guzman-Alvarez. I heeded his warning and took it down a notch or two. I later found out that my first split (first 28 miles) was done at 24.54 mph ... and yet they say EPO doesn't work. Puleez! Had that Puerto Rican not yelled at me, I'd probably end up with a 26-27 mph for that first split. That's a good man right there. Why he's dating a Mexican, I will never know.
Let me tell you the problem with going 24.54 for the first 28 miles. You spend the next 90 miles peeing and vomiting on yourself for no good reason. You stand next to a port-a-john. Instead of going in, you just let it go right there in front of southern folks with Confederate flags in their hands ... GO VIETNAM! You try to breath and your lungs yell back, "no mas!" It's like dating a woman from the Clarendon/Court House/Ballston area ... fun for the first 30 seconds, then, she decides to bring out the props to put a hurting on you ... and the flash photography to record that special moment for all her Facebook friends.
I managed to stayed around the 21 mph range for first 90 miles. I got tired of peeing on myself for unexplained reasons, so I decided to take a chill pill for the 26 miles ride back to transition. Who the f*k am I kidding? A Vietnamese never gets tired of peeing on himself while on the bike... NEVER!
I went through T-2 pretty quickly. As I was about to start my run, one of 'em Vietnamese haters/lesbian, Karen Willard, yelled, "Tuan!" She said, "do you want your Garmin?" Uhmmm, yes, 116 miles ago. "We were waiting for you at the swim exit," she said. Uhmmm, I left the water 6 hours ago. Were you waiting for confirmation that the body that they found was mine?
She said to wait there and she'll bring my Garmin to me. I waited and waited ... and waited. I know women are slow to get warm up, but come on! I've got an Ironman here. She finally came back to give me my Garmin. I quickly left T-2. About 100 yards later, the other Vietnamese hater/lesbian yelled at me. She said, "hey, I see you have your Garmin." I said, "yeah, thanks, Dena."
|Eric and I|
This run course was the real deal. It was the toughest run course of my 6 IMs. You have gentle baby incline. You have sustain real climbs. And, you have hard up the mother f-er climbs. The reverse side of that was going down inclines. Sounds great to be running downhill, but the quads and hamstring have differing views on that. It's ok though, because the last 0.2 mile of downhill running toward the finish makes up for all the cursing of the prior 26 miles. I'd bet those four nutless guys that I bike with would have no problems with the course ... being nutless and all. IS IT STILL TOO SOON, FELLAS!?
The start of the run course was a 0.2 mile uphill run. After the climb, you'd make a turn and was greeted by, well, a 0.4 mile "gentle" incline. I hit the port-a-john right before the climb to reduce some extra weight. As I was powdering my nose inside, I heard a voice. It said, "hey, Royalty! Get out of there!" I was like, "WTF! Where are the cameras? Why is the CIA in the port-a-john with me? I can't get out ... I'm lubbing, man!" As it turned out, it was that Puerto Rican, the one with the Mexican fetish, Eric, that was yelling at me.
I caught up to Eric a few minutes later. We tango for the next 16 miles together. He started telling me about his Mexican girlfriend, Dagmar. I was like, "man, I didn't know Mexican women were like that?! She should move to Clarendon."
Eric was a beast. I gave him the stare of death to slow down, but the dude must have been on EPO. When we got to one of those big ass hills, I was like, "dude, it's a hill. Why are we running up? The boarder patrol is looking for Mexicans, not Puerto Ricans. You guys are almost Americans."
After mile 16, I pulled a fake cramp and let Eric go. Dude was just too strong for me to keep up. It turned out, at one of the later miles, he was patiently waiting for me inside of one of the CIA field offices (aka. a port-a-john). That's a very cultural man right there ... always know the local hangouts of Vietnamese people. After I crossed the finish line, like a Puerto Rican Viet Cong, out of nowhere, he pops up right next to me. Apparently, he crossed the same finish line only a few seconds earlier.
Overall, it was good day for me. The weather gods were on our side. After making some poor nutrition choices during the run that came back to haunt me during miles 16-23, I was able to recover (thanks to a great nutritionist bystander who knocked some sense into me) and finish pretty strong. My last 3.2 miles had some of my fastest splits of the day.
Should I have taken the a more casual approach to the bike ride? Maybe, maybe not. I tell you this much. I had a much more fun overall experience because I was time trialing at the beginning than I would have had I taken the chill pill approach. I wasn't going to KQ either way, so I might as well walk my own path to the beat of my own drum.
On tap next year is Ironman #7 (IM Barcelona). People often ask me why I do this distance. The answer always come down to the fact that it's always fun for me. It's fun for me to hang with my running group on Saturday. It's fun to hang with the fellas on the bike on Sunday. If I had neither groups to fall back on, I doubt that my Ironman journey would have gone past #2.
The long stuff on the weekend isn't exercise to me. It's like going out and having fun at an event with a bunch of your buddies ... kinda like folks tailgating for a football game. I guess, as is most things in life, it's not the event. It's the company that you keep at those events. I don't want to get too sappy here, so I'll just leave you all with the following message:
More OBGYN coupons coming your way, everyone. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Thanks for reading,
P.S As we all know, triathlon is a first world sport with a first world problem. We sometime take for granted that in order to do this sport, we have to have disposable income, free time, and good health. We sometime forget that, among all the useless stuff that occupy our minds during training ... like PR, mileage, heart rate, pace, power, and etc.
I'd like to dedicate this race report to my 2013 DCTri's New Triathlete Program (NTP) mentee, Andrea Lytle Peet, a beautiful young lady inside and out. After going through that NTP last June, she completed her first half Ironman last September. Since then, her life has taken a different journey. Rather than telling you about her journey, I encourage you to visit her blog and decipher the coded message that I just spew. Read about bib #179 and the significant meaning that it represents.
Andrea completed a sprint triathlon last weekend. I was so touched and inspired by her journey to complete that triathlon that I've decided that, for the 2015 PeasantMan Triathlon, I'm going to pull bib #179 out of circulation. I will carry it with me throughout the bike and run of my 2015 Ironman, Ironman Barcelona. I will use it as my source of energy and inspiration throughout the race. When I approach that finish line, I will pull out that bib from my pocket and run with it down the finisher's chute, with that bib in full display, front and center. That bib will remind me what real courage and life is all about. It will put everything into perspective.