Chattanooga Duathlon: Du’s and Don’ts

A recent weekend in Chattanooga was quite an adventure and included many “firsts”: first duathlon, first endurance race in Tennessee, first time hitting 40 mph on my bike (downhill of course!), and first time racing the course that made me dream of racing triathlons! The Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon was the first triathlon I witnessed live, and three years ago, it sparked my interest in the sport. It was incredible to finally race this course in particular!

ImageYou might notice that the title of this post is actually the Chattanooga Duathlon. While all of the entrants to this year’s race were hoping it would be an Olympic distance triathlon (roughly 1 mile swim, 25 mile bike, 6.2 mile run), the rain storms that have pummeled the east over the summer months caused the Tennessee River to flood near our race venue and the swim was cancelled. This decision turned the race into a Duathlon: 2 mile run, 26.5 mile bike, 6.2 mile run. While I was a little bummed at first (I was actually looking forward to the downstream swim!), I got more excited as race day approached to race my first duathlon. It’s all about adventure, right?!

So, without further a-du, here is a weekend recap in a Duathlon Du’s and Don’ts list:

Du travel with wonderful people. It was so much fun to travel with friends who have similar quirky interests in eclectic music and are game for funky and slightly questionable restaurant choices that turn out to be awesome. There’s nothing better than a surprise jam session to Motion City Soundtrack because you all know the words. (Also, du go to Sluggo’s Vegetarian Cafe in Chattanooga).

Don’t get frustrated when traffic gets bad. You never know what you’ll see when you get off the interstate and take a scenic route…like a GIANT taco…in McDonough, GA.

Taco

Self explanatory. A giant taco!

Du spend a “night on the town” in Atlanta by going to Trader Joe’s and buying cookie butter. Think peanut butter consistency, made out of gingerbread cookies. As our hilarious and possibly drunk new best friend from Trader Joe’s said, “It’s the best $3.69 you’ll ever spend!!”

Don’t be anxious the night before the race. At that point, all of your training is done. You can’t retroactively change/improve/challenge yourself more on your workouts. Accept what you have done, prepare for the morning, and remember why you race.

Du train on the bike. A lot. It was a monster hilly course out and back on US 27. I was very thankful for the bike specific training my friend Annette hammered me with leading up to the race. It was very cool to race my fastest Olympic bike split on this challenging course!

Don't let the smile fool you...these workouts are PAINFUL!

Don’t let the smile fool you…these workouts are PAINFUL!

Don’t race the first two miles. Don’t race the first two miles. Don’t race the first two miles. Your legs are doing all the work in a duathlon. Go too hard here and you’ll regret it later.

Du SMILE! A lot! You love this!

Don’t underestimate a set of stairs during the last run leg of the race. Your legs will act like they’ve never used stairs before.

Du wear a Florida State University triathlon uniform. There’s nothing better than meeting alumni from the inaugural women’s soccer team and getting to do the tomahawk chop mid race when people yell, “Go Noles!”

Sarah and I at a more recent race, rocking our FSU kits!

Sarah and I at a more recent race, rocking our FSU kits!

Don’t take your body for granted! It is incredible what our bodies can endure, how far they can carry us, and how powerful they are. Not everyone is so blessed with an able body. I am thankful.

Du KEEP SMILING! Even when the race hurts. A lot.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t race as well as you hoped. Every race is different, as are race conditions from year to year. Thank your body for what it has done and learn from the experience.

Du eat post race watermelon and jump in the hotel pool in your race uniform. Best decisions of the day!

I am thankful for a challenging race, good friends, and a wonderful adventure in Chattanooga. Let me know if you ever decide to do a Du!

Keep smiling,

Kaitlin

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