Saturday, July 16, 2016

Delta's Platinum Status Offers Cattle Car Privileges: A Rant and a Canned Response


My Emotional Delta Airlines' Rant

Upon discovering that booking flights with Delta shows these lovely benefits:


This was a totally new experience. I normally book and go to Delta.com where I immediately select a Comfort+ seat if available, and if not at least select a seat. And, I frequently get upgraded to first class as well. And, this while selecting the lowest cost option when shopping on Expedia. I got spoiled and hate the change. And, yes, I am a whiner.

Updated Added this lovely gem that greeted me after I checked via the Delta mobile app and tried to select a seat now that I was checked in. So much for the first bullet.


From me to Delta Airlines:

I have 4 trips booked. I booked them just as I always have. And, now the benefits for priority boarding, economy + seats upgrades, immediate seat assignment, and priority based upgrades have vanished because without my awareness the class of tickets that show up at the low end of the price scale in Expedia are E class. As you know, E class tickets offer the same benefits a cow in a cattle car gets upon boarding.

And, apparently if I booked in Delta I could select a higher class and pay a higher price for the benefits I have historically enjoyed as a Platinum SkyMiles member.. This appears to demonstrate that while I understand loyalty and have been loyal to you. You are, on the other hand, only going to maintain your loyalty to me if I pay you more money. I was mistakenly assuming that the SkyMiles Frequent Flyer program was anchored predominantly on frequency of flying with you. Which I do 26 weeks per year and would year after year for the foreseeable future. This does not include other incidental trips like vacations, conferences, business trips, etc.

I will now be shopping around for a real loyalty program and reconsider my choice after 15+ years. I expect my rewards for frequently flying with you to include priority boarding, complimentary economy + upgrades, priority based first class upgrades, and seat assignment on booking without purchasing a premium class ticket. This reward should be based on frequently flying, not paying more. I am not going to expense additional fees for additional rewards for a frequently flyer program to my employer and I am not paying them either.

You have taken a big step towards losing a loyal, frequent flyer. I am extremely annoyed and disappointed at your apparent greed. If I am going to be a cow, than any airline at any price is simply as good as another. As a cog in the wheel, I am sure my opinion matters little. My shopping practice will now be to simply select the lowest priced airline with the most convenient itinerary. I will no longer select the Delta only checkbox. My loyalty has been dismissed as a value by you. SkyMiles is now a pay more, get more program. Frequently flying with you offers little benefit on its own.

Delta's Well-Crafted, Canned Response:

Thank you for your email concerning our recent changes to Delta Comfort+ seat selection. My rant concerned much more than just "Delta Comfort+ seat selection.

We do care about our most valued customers and recognize you are certainly one of these. I'm not feeling the love. We are disheartened to hear about your displeasure with the new process. While having options to choose the type of seat to be selected when upgrading is not currently available, feedback from our travelers, especially high value customers like yourself, is constantly being monitored, tabulated and considered. Acta non verba. No guaranty can be made about the result of this review, however many Delta processes and policies have been modified or changed because of feedback received from customers. Iterum, acta non verba. 

Mr. Evans, thank you again for your support as a Platinum Medallion member and for trusting your business to us. Be assured, we will make every attempt to serve you well; we are focused on the future and look forward to our continued business relationship. Translation: we look forward to more of your cash because we are sure your choices are limited.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Race Report: 2016 Mountain Lakes Triathlon: Play like a Child

Agenda


  • 2:00: Out of bed
  • 2:00 - 4:00 Cook, eat, pack
  • 4:00 Depart for Guntersville
  • 6:00 Pick up race packit and set up Transition
  • 7:30 Start race
  • 9:15 ish finish race
  • 9:15-10:15 socialize and eat
  • 10:35 depart for home
And, the Army does more than whom before 6:00 am? OK. They would have been out the door at 2:05. But, a man's gotta eat. I got to see a significant number of Vulcan Triathletes including Sophia Lal and Travis Self. I am horrible with names, so I won't list many. And, of course, my buddy John Hanna was there participating with a relay team. He does a great job leading us E3Tri athletes.

I feel much better about these results as compared to Lake Guntersville Olympic from 2 weeks ago. I pushed the ride and the run. And, felt good at the end.

I met Stephanie Farrington's mom who did her first triathlon today. Mom and daughter both got on the podium. I walked by a couple in their 50's at the last race and he was ecstatic about having just completed his first triathlon. I have to say, I just get a kick at of seeing people near my age taking on life very much like children on a playground. Get together, jump in the water, swim; jump on the bike, ride; and grab the shoes and run. Makes for a fun day.


May 21, 2016: Mountain Lakes Tri
Guntersville, AL - Sprint
Time: 1:35:46


a
SwimDistance: .600 Yards
Time: 14:41
TransitionTime: 2:03
CycleDistance: 16.2 Miles
Time: 48:08
Rate: 20.2
TransitionTime: 1:45
RunDistance: 3.1 Miles (5K)
Time: 29:07
Pace: 9:24
WeatherOvercast
Temperature: 64-66°
Humidity: 100%

History

YearSwimT1BikeT2RunTotal
200919:083:0547:041:5525:161:36:25
201012:232:0845:582:5831:321:34:59
201114:252:4346:491:3026:241:31:51
201614:412:0348:081:4529:071:35:46

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Race Report: 2016 Lake Guntersville Olympic: A Good Excuse


Overview

The race begins the day before. The day before, I was in Vero Beach, Florida doing my job. Betsy and John were preparing to head to Decatur, Alabama for the annual State Cup soccer tournament. They leave for Decatur; I leave for home. They're in a car and I'm in a Jet. I pick up my car at the airport and swap it for the family car in a parking lot at the Colonnade in Birmingham. I sleep in an empty house despite not seeing Betsy or John for 12 days. He's got a tournament and I have a race.

First Omen of Potential Doom

I wake up before 2:00 am with an urge to use the restroom. But, while standing there doing my business I have to grab the wall because the room appears to drift below my eyes and I don't seem to be able to volitionally control it.  It looks like the video below. The video is safe for work, but if you can put yourself in my head at the time, it was disturbing.

video

Not to be deterred, I returned to bed grab another hour of sleep. I'm up just after 3:00 am. I prepare my staple breakfast (steel cut oats, blueberries, yogurt, and walnuts). I pack up the few things I had not packed 12 days ago. I eat. I load the car with stuff needed for the race, the weekend with the family at the soccer tournament, and the stuff I will need to hop on a plane the next day. I may, after all, not have enough time to go home again before I board the next jet to return to work in Vero Beach. We have a vendor coming in and I need to be there.

Preparation Continues

The drive is uneventful and I jammed to Chicago all the way. I arrive, get my packet, prepare the bike, and setup transition. I see a few Vulcan Triathletes including Matt Jaeh and Sophia Lal. I chatted briefly with Sophia. I popped up my changing tent, got into my triathlon kit and donned my wetsuit. And, bang it is time to get in line for the swim. So, far so good, and I feel okay.

The Race

The younger olympic males started in 2 waves and the old guys like me were called forward. Here I go:
Nearly time to get in the water...
The water had just a bit of a nip thanks to it cool temperature, but not bad. Right off the mark, my googles started leaking and I had to rotate on to my back for an adjustment.

Adjusting leaking goggles

But, it didn't take long to fix them and the leaking stopped. However, I did feel just slightly nauseous for most of the swim. Nonetheless, I pushed on. Swim done, I always love this part. I'm glad the swim is first. I am glad I can swim long distances, but I have to admit that during a race, the swim feels like a necessary evil.

The weather is perfect. I doff the wetsuit with the help from race volunteers, don bike shoes, helmut, sun glasses, and off I go. 

Ready to ride
Riding the Lake Guntersville Olympic Course
The nauseous feeling dissipated fairly rapidly during the bike and was gone when I started the run. The run is pretty hilly and mostly on a trail. 

Hilly run course
Running the Lake Guntersville Olympic course
 Judging by the smiling faces on the run and near the finish (below), perhaps I could have pushed harder. I don't look like I am suffering enough.

Nearly Done

Distance Differences

My Garmin Forerunner 910XT registered the swim and the bike as long.

  • I swam an additional 484 yards, but I path doesn't look that extreme on the map
  • I rode .7 additional miles for a total of 25.5
Looks like a reasonably accurate swim path

Details


May 7, 2016: Lake Guntersville
Olympic
Time: 3:27:45


a
SwimDistance: .93 miles (1.5K)
Time: 42:44
TransitionTime: 2:11
CycleDistance: 24.8 Miles (40K)
Time: 1:27:23
Rate: 17.0
TransitionTime: 2:28
RunDistance: 6.2 Miles (10K)
Time: 1:12:40
Pace: 11:55
WeatherPartly Cloudy
Temperature: 54-75°
Humidity: 94-50%

Prolog

I was 17 minutes slower than last year. But, I have some good excuses. The distances went long and I had signs of illness. Wait, back it up, NO EXCUSES. It was a good day.

I had just enough time to clear my transition set up, load the car and hit the road to arrive at the soccer field in time for John's next game. I had hoped to have time to stop by and visit my friend Stephen McLamb. And, I didn't have time to enjoy the post race camaraderie and view the Vulcan Triathletes that earned podium places get their on-site recognition. But, long distance triathlon can sometimes be a selfish endeavor. I need to turn my attention to family time and go support my son's soccer performances. Off to Decatur where John's team ultimately finished in 2nd.


Saturday, April 02, 2016

2016 Statue 2 Statue: Race Report

The Race

I have done it again. This race is one of my annual events that I do if I am in Birmingham. We got back from Spring Break in New Orleans yesterday. So, I am here; I did it. I had a good race.  I saw a few of my running buds and it was nice to have a good chin wag.
The Bus Ride Over: I'm Ready
Thank you Mruns.com for the finish line photo.
The Finish, I'm the Guy in the Hat

The Details


April 2, 2016: Birmingham, AL
The Ellis Porch Statue to Statue
15K, 9.3 Miles
Distance:9.3 Miles
Time:1:39:44 (my watch)
Heart Rate:150
Pace:10:45
Weather:Clear
50°
71% Humidity

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Race Report: 2015 Lake Guntersville Olympic

No frills report since it is a year later....


May 2, 2015: Lake Guntersville
Olympic
Time: 3:10:34


a
SwimDistance: .93 miles (1.5K)
Time: 35:04
TransitionTime: 2:05
CycleDistance: 24.8 Miles (40K)
Time: 1:24:12
Rate: 18.1
TransitionTime: 3:23
RunDistance: 6.2 Miles (10K)
Time: 1:07:20
Pace: 11:03
WeatherPartly Cloudy
Temperature: 53-68°
Humidity: 94-64%

Saturday, March 28, 2015

2015 Cooper River Bridge Run: 20 Years & Faster

Twenty years ago this past February 25th, I got married. Twenty years ago, in 1995 when I was 37 I ran my first Cooper River Bridge Run in 1 hour and 31 seconds according to the published results. Okay, that is gun time and they didn't use chips then. So, the time between crossing the start line and the finish line may have been faster. But, I am going with that is 6 minutes slower than my 57 year old self. Right on, man! That reminds me a 12 year old friend of my son recently asked what are the distances for each of the events in an Ironman. I answered the question. Then, he said, "I have to tell you that you are the most fit person of all the people I know regardless of age." Right on, man!

Today's race was on a simply perfect day. And, the best part was I did it with Teresa Jones who also did the race 20 years ago. In fact, she, I, and my wife Betsy began the tradition of coming to Charleston for this event that year. We have since been joined by Bobby and Susan Yates, Sandy Harris, Farhana and Nash Dharas, Katherine Branton, and others. We rent a house on Folly Beach and have an awesome weekend together celebrating. After a few years of skipping this tradition, it was so cool to get back together. I miss these buds!

Results

March 28, 2015: Charleston, SC
10K/6.2 Miles
Cooper River Bridge Run
Distance:6.2 Miles
Time:53:56
Heart Rate:162
Pace:8:41
Weather:Clear
Temperature-45°
Humidity-93%

History (PR at this event in red)

YearTime
19951:00:31
19960:53:40
19970:49:49
19980:51:32
19990:48:22
20020:51:03
20030:54:49
20040:55:23
20050:56:09
20060:53:37
20070:49:39
20080:48:37
20090:48:20
20150:53:56

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Learnings from Serving as a T1 Volunteer

Some things I learned in the transition tent while volunteering at Ironman Florida 2012 that I think will help me next time I do an Ironman:
  • Don't tie the bag strings in a square knot. Tie with a method that will be easy to untie in the transition tent.
  • Stickers (you know with your number on it) come off. Mark the bag with your number on both sides with big, bold numbers. I have seen complaints from folks decrying that they saw volunteers looking through people's transition bags. Yes, we did. So, we could find something with your number on it so we could ensure you get your bag back.
  • Put "butt'r" in a ziplock. Easy to open, easy to get a glob for applying.
  • Don't overpack! I could not believe the amount of stuff some people brought.
  • Be organized. It was clear that those that had a well organized bag and a clear plan for doning stuff got through more smoothly.
  • Be prepared to tell the assistant exactly what you need. For example, tell them "I have nutrition in my shoe, please remove it." I specifically asked each person "feel free to tell me exactly how I can help you". I took control of getting them organized if they weren't, in a polite way. I think all the volunteers had the same goal. Remove the worry from the athlete and do anything, and I do mean anything, to help. I rubbed on lotion, pulled down shirts, pulled up shorts, taped feet. Volunteers are there to help and want to. Take advantage.
  • Don't brag about your accomplishments from previous races to the volunteer. Focus on the day and the process of this race. It is actually a bit distracting to get into a dialogue about past achievements while trying to focus on ensuring this one is an awesome experience in my opinion, anyway.
And, for the volunteer
  • Be a force of positivity to the athlete. Reflect enthusiasm and confidence.
  • Take special care with people's stuff, especially sunglasses or other breakables.
  • Lots of people seem to like putting sunglasses in their helmet.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Triathlon Statistics

Races

  • 8 Total
    • 2 Olympic
    • 2 70.3
    • 1 Ironman
    • 1 5K run
    • 1 15K run
    • 1 Century ride

Totals

  • Total miles: 4882.16 (1861.16 more than 2013)
    • Running: 855.04 miles
    • Cycling: 3,887.39 miles
    • Swimming: 139.73 miles
  • Other
    • Calories: 302, 844
    • Time: 514:45:31 (average 1:24:00 per day)

The Plan

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Race Report: I Can Go Quickly: Meadow Brook Runs 5K

The Highlights

I completed the 20th Annual Meadow Brook Runs 5K alongside fellow E3 Tri athlete, Amy Potter Higginbotham, pictured below. I saw a few runners I recognized, but that fact that it was but just a few, reminded me that I have really joined the ranks of the local triathletes and not so much the local runners anymore. It was a beautiful morning for a run. I have done this race approximately 5 times in the past. The course is gently rolling and finishes along the lakes by the office complex near the starting line.

The beginning of the race is always preceded by some religious words of encouragement and the release of a large number of doves that circle around the area for a bit then head on to their home. The words of encouragement this year were a bit verbose and vehement invitation to join or renew one's standing within the Christian religion. It seemed a bit over the top, but you can expect a little more than usual as this event is is a fund raiser for "The Jesus Video Project of Alabama". I don't mind offering my support, but am not personally swayed by such sermons.

I intended to run strong and did. In fact, near the turn around point I noticed that I was not very far behind Amy. I set my sights on reeling her in and passing her. And, yes, I told her so as we approached each other just after she made the turn-around. I was close to reaching that goal, but did NOT. She beat me with 1 runner between us. I did gain on her significantly, but could not deliver the killing blow. Trying to beat her served as a motivating pull from my second half of the run. Thanks,
Amy!

It would seem that given this performance, I should be able to pull faster times for longer events. I used a pace prediction calculator from Runner's World, to get the following predictive paces based on this race:

DistancePredicted Time
5 Miles44:08
10K55:34
10 Miles1:32:01
1/2 Marathon2:02:36
Marathon4:15:36

I would be happy with those time!

Results

December 20, 2014: Birmingham, AL
3.1 Miles
Meadowbrook Runs
Distance:3.1 Miles
Time:26:39
Heart Rate:162
Pace:8:29
Weather:Overcast
Temperature-42°
Humidity-85%

Pictures (Courtesy of Suman Silwal from Marathon Runs mruns.com)

I'm the guy with the white singlet with the black stripe across the chest.

Amy finishing in front of me by just a few seconds. Although, I am nowhere in sight!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Race Report: I Did It All for Time: Ironman Chattanooga 2014

Ironman Chattanooga 2014: I Did It All for Time

The highlights

I competed in the inaugural Ironman Chattanooga on September 28, 2014. This was my second Ironman. I finished in 13:12:25 (13 hours and 12 minutes). My first Ironman was in 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. During that race, I broke my toe in the swim,



but finished in 16:22 (detailed results below). Chattanooga was my opportunity to try again and see if I could do better. I did.


I decided in the last few weeks before the race that I really should focus on time or, more specifically, I should focus on minimizing time on the course. Thus, I reviewed all of my plans for race execution and reduced and minimized all aspects that I could. I decided, for example, to wear a 2 piece triathlon kit for the entire race. Thus, eliminating any need for clothing changes in transition. Likewise, I used the same practice I now use for shorter races for footwear. Namely, I do not wear socks on the bike. I find that putting socks on wet feet is too difficult and I have no issues with bare feet in my cycling shoes.

I also dropped about 15 pounds in the last 2 months of race prep. Oh, and I shaved my legs!

During the race, anything that impeded continuous forward movement (thanks Travis Sherman for the phrase), was eliminated to all extents possible. The main place this was evident in my execution was the elimination of urine. I will leave it at that. Let's just say I did not stand in porta-potty lines. And, yes every porta-potty I saw on the cycling course had a line. I did use one during the run since there was no line. I will spare you the details. It's all about time.

The Days Before the Race

Unlike Louisville, I arrived in Chattanooga on the first day of registration. The lines were shorter and the process was fast. I found the race prep a lot less stressful as a result and will try to do this for any future Ironman races. I rode up with fellow, faster competitor Travis Sherman. His race was awesome too. I went to dinner that night with him and few other athletes too including Stephanie Farrington. This was her first Ironman and we had trained together with several other Birmingham triathletes from our Tri Club, Vulcan Triathletes. That was the last shared meal with fellow triathletes that I know personally. Everyone always seemed to be busy with prep and family activities. Or, I didn't plug in well with others. Sometimes I feel like I'm a bit anti-social and a loner. While I was not really lonely, my mental image prior to the race included more shared meals with local triathletes. Betsy, my wife, did not come up to Chattanooga until Saturday afternoon. I did have lot of contact in the Ironman Village, texting, and such with fellow triathletes from near and far.

I bumped in Jon Cochran, the husband of a work mate, Dawn Cochran. He and I ran our first Ironman at Louisville. He and several of his friends from South Carolina were also doing this race. I saw them on Saturday as I was completing a training ride on Saturday (or was it Friday, hum). It was good to see him. He looked super fit and it was great chatting with him.

I texted a few folks about dinner on Friday, the day of the Welcome Banquet. But, alas none seemed to be very interested in attending. So, I went alone. I was apprehensive as the same event at Louisville was awful. The food was blah at best and the acoustics were so bad that one could barely understand any of the speeches and such from the stage. But, Chattanooga's banquet was very good. The food, while not exceptional, was good and offered enough variety to be healthy. The presentations were inspirational and the visual and audio quality was good. I met 2 fellow Facebook acquaintances from the Ironman Chattanooga 140.6 group [note the race was actually 144.6 thanks to the longer ride]. Like all of these events, it always seems as if any place we gather, we are like pre-teen children meeting at a playground. We are instant friends and we begin playing together.

After dinner, I spent my evening reviewing my checklists and prepared my event bags. We get the following bags:

  • Morning clothes bag: we put in the stuff we need at the swim start, then once there we put in the stuff we take to swim start that we don't swim with like flip flops, sweat pants, etc.
  • Bike gear bag: The stuff we will don in T1 (Transition 1) as we transition from swim to bike
  • Bike special needs bag: Stuff we would like to access at the mid-point of the ride. Mine had a PayDay bar, a Crustable peanut butter and jelly sandwich, additional nutrition for the rest of the ride (GU's and my homemade energy balls), and a zip lock of chamois cream in case I had any chafing concerns
  • Run gear bag: The stuff we will don in T2 as we transition from bike to run
  • Run special needs bag: Stuff we would like to access at the mid-point of the run. Mine had a PayDay bar, a Crustable peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and additional nutrition for the rest of the ride (GU's and my homemade energy balls), and a zip lock of chamois cream in case I had any chafing concerns

I spent the rest of my time getting in short rides, runs, and swims to stay loose and prepared. This included a group ride with Stephanie and others on Saturday morning, the day before the race, and a short 15 minute run. I surprisingly met Teresa Jones, a long time friend, along the run. She was in Chattanooga as volunteer on on the bike course and to support me and other friends during the event. It was a chance encounter that made my morning. I also participated in the practice swim. Like the race, it was a point-to-point swim, but much shorter all from Ross Landing. I swam it 3 times to accumulate 15 minutes of swimming per my plan. I observed the time report from my Garmin 910XT and noted that I was about 25% faster than usual, a premonition for the next day's swim.

I contacted Betsy and we agreed to get a reservation for The Easy Bistro, a favorite restaurant for us, early in the evening. We ate at 5:00. Then I was off to the room for final preparations and sleep. Betsy met up with Teresa and they went off to check out a wine festival on a local bridge. I quit smoking in 1994. I began running with Teresa and we agreed to compete in Cooper River Bridge run in 1995. Betsy, Teresa, and I went there in 1995. Teresa and I ran and Betsy supported us. This turned into a few more than a dozen return trips with an ever widening group of friends for this same event. We plan to return for our 20th anniversary next year. It was interesting to see Betsy and Teresa take off to visit a bridge in connection with an athletic event in Chattanooga. Teresa has taken on triathlon too. Last year, she and I competed in Augusta's Ironman 70.3. Personally, I think there is an Ironman in her future. During our runs in preparation for the bridge run in 1995, she frequently referenced watching a friend of hers that had competed in a triathlon in Charleston. Here we are 20 years later and both of us are living the lifestyle, the triathlon lifestyle.

The Day

I was up at 3:15 am after going to sleep watching some concert event on MSNBC that included No Doubt and Sting; it was motivational. Upon waking, I ate my prepared breakfast from a pint sized mason jar. It contained blueberries, quinoa, greek yogurt, and walnuts. I donned my tri kit, applied chamois butter, grabbed my MyAthlete tracker, bike pump, frozen crustables, and headed to the transition area to update the contents of my gear bags and drop off my special needs bags. I got marked with my race number and age. I aired up my tires and realized I had forgotten to place the MyAthlete tracker into my bike gear bag. So, I just put it on the bike. I returned the bike pump to the room. While they provide pumps in transition, I learned at Ironman 70.3 Raleigh that using a foreign pump can create issues. When I used a foreign pump there, my tire was over inflated and rubbing.

I left the room, grabbed a mocha from Starbucks in the lobby, and proceeded to the bus to the swim start. To my surprise, the swim start was not overly crowed with folks that showed up at incredibly early hours. There was a lot of pre-race chatter about concerns for not having 17 hours to finish the race since the swim would not start until about 7:40 for age group athletes and the start would be a self-seeded start where 3-4 athletes exit the line and enter the water. First-come, first in. I was in line at transition to air my tires when it opened, I did not show up excessively early. And, at swim start I was near the beginning of the line. The finish clock read 13:21 when I crossed it and my time was 13:12 so was in the water about 10 minutes after the start.

I was inline around 5:00 am, so now for a 2.5 hour wait just hanging out with strangers in swim gear. I relaxed and chatted. At 6:00 I drank my 22 oz bottle of OSMO pre-hydration and ate a banana. My aquacell bottle included a chamber filled with OSMO hydration. Jon and Stephanie came by separately and I chatted with each for a bit and we wished each other luck. Jon choose to wear a wet suit so he had to start after all of us swimming without one. The race was not wet suit legal, but if you didn't podium you could wear one without penalty. 

Ironman is months of training and preparation and 1 day of execution. So far, execution was on plan and I was ready.

A special thanks is due out to John Hanna and E3Tri for coaching me and helping me with nutrition planning, and execution strategy. Other than my hard work, this was the most significant ingredient in my pre-race activities that led to an awesome result for me.

The Swim Start

At 7:30, the cannon blasted and the professional athletes started. I was not close enough to the water to see them start. Ten minutes later, the age group race began and I began my gradual approach to the water. I placed my morning clothes in the bag, donned my goggles and swim cap, dropped off the bag, and made my way to the water. I pressed the start button on my Garmin 910Xt and got in the water. The race is on! Swimming for me is sort of like a necessary evil. I am not very good at it as shown in my swim ranking, 2,131 out of 2,439. This means, of course, that I got swam over, A LOT. Given the staggered start, it was as bad as it could have been. I swam steady and simply focused on technique and getting done. I crossed the finish, glanced at my watch and saw 1:09. That is a phenomenal time for me.

T1

I exited the water and ran up the sidewalk and stairs to the changing tents. I was handed my bag along the way. I applied the chamois cream, donned my helmut, sunglasses, stuffed my tri top pockets with nutrition, and ran to my bike. I started the MyAthlete Live tracker, put on the tracker, donned my shoes, and headed for the exit. The ride was on.

The Ride

I immediately drank some OSMO and water. I ate one of my energy balls and pedaled away. John Hanna had planted a seed that I should push the ride a bit with a target of 17.2 mph. I pushed it alright to the tune of 19.1 mph. I did pass people fairly frequently. I moved my placement in the race from 2131 to 1151, gaining 980 positions. I saw Teresa at the aid station she was working at. That added a boost to my spirits.

Like Louisville in 2012, some lunatic had placed tacks on the course and a number or riders were impeded by flats. I was fortunate again. Of course, since this race was in Tennessee, that invited tons of "rednecks" comments from fellow participants. Since this has happened in a number of races, Ironman and others, I don't think we can blame "rednecks". It is the work of jerks; I prefer a pejorative term associated with a portion of the human anatomy responsible for the elimination of solid waste. The sabotage didn't end there. Someone had also dumped oil on 2 portions of the route. Personally, I think there are 2 likely possibilities or explanation for such behavior. It could simply be a prankster that finds joy in the misery he can cause others. Or, it could be a protest against an event that has brought cyclists to the area as we prepared for the race or for the disturbance of the race day itself, or both. Some people are just selfish and mean. Not necessarily "back woods" and stupid as some would seem to associate with "redneck". This is not a dumb hick in the south problem. It is a mean person problem, IMHO.

T2

Again, I had minimized as much as possible. I removed my cycling shoes, helmut, and sunglasses. I donned my socks, running shoes, cap, racing bib, ate a crustable, put more nutrition in my rear pockets, and hit the run course.

The Run

I left T2 in 1151st place and ended the run in 1439th place, out of 2233, the 36th percentile (up from the 5th percentile in Louisville 20120. So, I lost 288 positions on the run. In fact, for the first few miles of the run, there seemed to be a steady stream of runners passing me. But, I soon seemed to settle into a position where I was essentially running with the same folks. I managed to never really walk except for the aid stations and on the last climb of the run when I noticed I was being passed by walkers. I was able to end that by walking briskly as well. I did nearly leave the course once. There was a short, like 2 car lengths, in/out loop that was an aid station. I tried to skip the u-turn. The volunteers gently grabbed my shoulders and steered me in the right direction. I ran steady.

I saw Betsy and the Vulcan Triathlete support crew several times on the run and they provided an awesome boost to my spirit. I also saw Dawn Cochran under a bridge just after special needs. I was walking as I ate my crustable. She yelled out that I was doing awesome. I, because I felt compelled to explain why I was walking, yelled back "I will run again as soon as I finish eating". To which, she again reminded me that I was doing great. Soon thereafter, Stephanie passed me. She was looking great. I saw Al Schlosser near the end of the race.

As I approached the finish line knowing that I had just cut over 3 hours from my last Ironman time, I was ecstatic. I entered into a sprint then realized that if I were to continue sprinting I would blow by the 2 people in front of me right at the finish line. I realized that this would ruin their moment as they crossed the line, I backed off and each of us got our moment in the bright lights of the finish line.


Results

September 28, 2014
Ironman Chattanooga
Time: 13:12:25


a
SwimDistance: 2.4 miles
Time: 1:09:03
TransitionTime: 7:50
CycleDistance: 115.76 Miles
Time: 6:04:35
Rate: 19.1
TransitionTime: 6:33
RunDistance: 26.2 Miles
Time: 5:44:24
Pace: 13:08
WeatherCloudy / Some rain
Temperature: 63-76°
Humidity: 90-56%

Details from Ironman's Published Results






Bob Evans

Overall Rank: 1439
Div Rank: 55
Gender Rank: 1103

General Info
BIB2571
Division55-59
Age56
StateAL
CountryUSA
Profession---
Points3025
Race Summary
Swim01:09:03
Bike06:04:35
Run05:44:24
Overall13:12:25
SWIM DETAILS | Division Rank: 92
SPLIT NAMEDISTANCESPLIT TIMERACE TIMEPACEDIVISION RANKGENDER RANKOVERALL RANK
Total2.4 mi01:09:0301:09:0301:47/100m9215192131
BIKE DETAILS | Division Rank: 45 [The distance and pace are wrong]
SPLIT NAMEDISTANCESPLIT TIMERACE TIMEPACEDIVISION RANKGENDER RANKOVERALL RANK
Total112 mi06:04:3507:21:2818.43 mph459411151
RUN DETAILS | Division Rank: 55
SPLIT NAMEDISTANCESPLIT TIMERACE TIMEPACEDIVISION RANKGENDER RANKOVERALL RANK
Total26.2 mi05:44:2413:12:2513:08/mi5511031439
Transition Details
T1: Swim-to-bike00:07:50
T2: Bike-to-run00:06:33

Ironman Louisville 2012 Results (for comparison)







Bob Evans

Overall Rank: 2124
Div Rank: 42
Gender Rank: 1627

General Info
BIB2873
Division55-59
Age56
StateAL
CountryUSA
Profession---
Points1142
Race Summary
Swim01:45:48
Bike07:08:38
Run06:54:37
Overall16:22:42
SWIM DETAILS | Division Rank: 50
SPLIT NAMEDISTANCESPLIT TIMERACE TIMEPACEDIVISION RANKGENDER RANKOVERALL RANK
Total2.4 mi01:45:4801:45:4802:44/100m5016852216
BIKE DETAILS | Division Rank: 42
SPLIT NAMEDISTANCESPLIT TIMERACE TIMEPACEDIVISION RANKGENDER RANKOVERALL RANK
Total112 mi07:08:3809:09:2915.68 mph4215261959
RUN DETAILS | Division Rank: 42
SPLIT NAMEDISTANCESPLIT TIMERACE TIMEPACEDIVISION RANKGENDER RANKOVERALL RANK
Total26.2 mi06:54:3716:22:4215:49/mi4216272124
Transition Details
T1: Swim-to-bike00:15:03
T2: Bike-to-run00:18:36
Originally from: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/louisville/results.aspx#ixzz3FGreUOjI