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Ironman Chattanooga - quick recap

After our last race of every season, Karel and I like to reflect on the previous season and set new realistic and bold goals for the next season. Rather than overanalyzing single race results and critiquing every detail of every race, we like to focus on the season as a whole so that we can do a better job of training and racing smarter for the next season.

Over the past 11 years of endurance triathlon racing (five for Karel), we have learned to let go of expectations, assuming that the only way to reach a goal is to perfectly follow a plan or to avoid setbacks all together. This doesn't mean that we don't set big goals for ourselves but rather, we recognize that accomplishing a goal requires going with the flow of life and staying in the moment on race day.

Life transitions, whether it's an injury, fainting and smashing your face on the floor on race day morning or balancing training during a stressful period at work, can cause a significant amount of stress, making it difficult to stay focused and committed to your training and racing goals. But we are not ones for excuses.

As age group triathletes, our swimbikerun lifestyle is a hobby. Although we are passionate about the sport of triathlon and triathlon enriches our life and connects us with like-minded, inspiring individuals, we have learned that there are plenty of setbacks, obstacles and changes in our way as we try to successfully integrate training into our life. Therefore, rather than training and racing with one clear path, we have learned to adjust to everything that comes our way.

Over this past season, we have experienced unexpected great results and unwanted setbacks. But with every change, we became stronger, more confident and better prepared for what comes next in our training journey. Because most setbacks are neither desired or expected, Karel and I have learned to never give up on goals just because the plan doesn't go as planned. And while a hard work ethic, a healthy lifestyle and dedication to training paves the way to race day accomplishments, never do we expect our triathlon journey to be smooth and easy.

Whereas Karel set a high goal of winning his age group and qualifying for Kona at Ironman Chattanooga, my season ended on a very low note as I blacked out on race day morning of the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, which resulted in my first DNS and a very empty feeling in my heart after the race.

When Karel suggested for me to register for Ironman Chattanooga (Foundation entry as the general entry was closed) and participate in the race with 14 of our athletes, it just felt right. It was almost like it was meant to be for me to register for Ironman Chattanooga just 10 days out from race day, without spending my season focusing on training and racing the Ironman distance. I arrived excited and grateful for the opportunity and all day, I raced with a smile. Karel raced confident all day and never doubted his ability to accomplish his big goal.

It's hard to summarize all of the thoughts and feelings that Karel and I have right now after completing Ironman Chattanooga. Honestly, I am still in shock over what happened during and after 144.6 miles of racing.

While I try to gather the right descriptions to describe this exciting race experience, I will leave you with our race results. Thank you for all of the cheers, support and positive vibes over the past two weeks and especially on race day.

Karel: 9:20.55, 1st AG (40-44), 2nd amateur, 3rd overall, Kona qualified (accepted slot)
Swim (2.4 miles): 47:05

T1: 3:08
Bike (116 miles): 5:08.14
T2: 2:40
Run (26.2 miles): 3:19.52

Marni: 10:28.50, 1st AG (35-39). 1st amateur female. 10th overall female, Kona qualified (declined slot)
Swim: 47.00
T1: 4:12
Bike: 5:33.23 T2: 3:00
Run: 4:01.18

And congrats to all 14 of our athletes who started and finished Ironman Chattanooga!! It was extremely special to share the course with our Trimarni athletes!