Ironman Chattanooga 2023 – Race report

Let’s start at the beginning, I haven’t made a proper post since my first Iron distance race in 2020. Chattanooga was my 4th race like that. So I am really behind with posts. But will try my best to be better from now-on and give you frequent updates.

Here’s a quick recap:

ExtremMan Nagyatád 2020 – IM Texas 2022 – IM Texas 2023 and now Chattanooga 2023

Around a year ago, I was looking for ironman recommendations for this autumn. I have decided to challenge myself and try to do two this year. At that point I was already signed up for Texas, and lots of people were recommending Chattanooga, so this ended up being my second race of the year.


As always, I travelled to the States alone. I am definitely getting better at it. A few days before flying out I have borrowed a friend of mine’s BikeBoxAlan case. He always so lovely, and let me borrow it. I have flown with American Airlines and decided to do Premium economy, since that comes with 2 luggages, so won’t need to pay anything extra for my bike, and it’s also good to have extra legroom and comfort post race.

After booking the race, I have realised that there is no direct flight from Heathrow, so had to change planes at Charlotte which turned out to be great.

Check in and bib pick up:

Athlete check in and bib pick opened up at Mid day on Thursday. My hotel ( Holiday Inn ) was around 10 mins walk from the check in area / race village , so I had a really comfortable walk there.

Once again I have signed up with Nirvana , since I was travelling alone. They do offer different things for different budgets, but I was really happy with them in Texas so decided to use them again.

When I got to the athlete village I ended up buying a bunch of stuff. Since it was day one of the expo, they had plenty of stock. Got some stickers, water bottles and mug. After that I walked to the Nirvana tent.

I was so happy to see Janet and the guys there, they were the Nirvana staff in Texas too. So was good to see familiar faces, and had a quick catch up.

Walked to packet pick up with Janet, and got all my bits for the race. Bib number , backpack, bike stickers, transition bags, meal voucher etc.

When that was done, we walked back to the Nirvana tent, and I spoke with the mechanic and booked my bike in for a check up.

Pre race activities:

I’ll concentrate on the swim – bike – run kinda activities here. But will make a separate post for the little sightseeing things I have done, and will link it to here.

Chattanooga doesn’t offer an organised pre-race swim practice. I have made a post into our team group chat, and asked the others if someone was planning to go down to the dam and if they could give me a lift since I don’t drive. A few of us ended up going there at the end. This is why I love Base, there’s always someone else from the team who does the same race and they are always really helpful.

The practice swim went well, the water was definitely above 25 Celsius, I was only wearing my bikini and the water felt really hot.

One afternoon I also gone out for a solo 30 mins run, just to see how my legs feel post flight. On starturday morning the Team organised a short , 30mins, shakeout ride. Just to test the bikes out, and also to check out the crazy bumpy railroad tracks.

On Friday we also had a Team dinner. I’ve been part of Base since 2019, but because I live in England I don’t really meet others. Last year in Texas was the first time I have met with them. But have to say its a great bunch of people and everyone is always so friendly and helpful.

The day before the race:

There’s a mandatory bike check in and transition bags drop off the day before the race. Also this is when we pick up our timing chip. I went to see Janet at the Nirvana tent, and we have walked over to transition.

One of the Nirvana perks is that you do get a low bib number, so your bike is right by the transition exit, and also you can drop your bike & run bags on race day morning.

After leaving my bike behind, I always feel a bit sad and I’m full with worry. But tried to stay calm. On our way out I had to pick up my timing chip. And that was all for the day.

Race day:

OMG it’s race day, all that training in the last few months, and all that worry. Today is the big day. Have set my alarm for nice and early, it was for 3am. Had my usual morning coffee and porridge. Had to dress up and braid my hair. Got a text from Janet that it’ll be a wetsuit legal race, it was bang on the mark. So I have a feeling they were looking for a spot till they found a wetsuit legal water temperature. So I made sure to take my wetsuit with me. Then had a slow walk to transition.

Check my bike at transition, dropped my fluids off, and also spoke with the mechanic to see if things are okay with my bike. That’s another Nirvana perks, we do have our own mechanic, for transition, and pre race.

Dropped my bike and run bags off , with all my nutrition and made a slow walk to the buses. The swim start is 2.4 mile from the transition, so IM does have school busses for us.

I got to the swim start well early, found Bryan at the swim entry point. The time passed really quickly in the morning, bumped into a few Base mates, the we had our goodbyes and it was time to go.

The swim is a 2.4mile downriver swim. Because of that, it’s a fast swim. even if you don’t really put on effort in you’ll be out 90mins tops.

I came out of the water 50mins and a few secs after getting in, and I am usually a 1h45mins IM swimmer. But I’m not complaining. Since the bike ride is 116 miles, and not the usual 112 miles.

Spent a few minutes in transition, had my usual PBJ sandwich, and some drink. Then it was time to cycle 116 miles. Have to say the scenery of this route is definitely better then Texas. There was two loops and it had some rolling hills and false flats. Total elevation according to my Garmin was 1810m. I’ll be honest the first loops felt rather sluggish, I had no idea how far is to go to get back to the start of the loop, and didn’t know what to look out for, where to push harder where not. Second loop was much more enjoyable.

Managed to keep my HR at the 150 mark, and I’m well pleased with that. At the aid stations I’ve just done a grab and go, didn’t stop at all. The only time I stopped was at the end of the first loop, to use the loo, and the next time it was when I finished.

The nutrition was spot on, had a gel on every 60mins mark, and an energy bar on the 30mins mark. Also made sure to lick my base salt at every 5km, and hydrate at the same time.

Got back to transition, and it was time to run – walk – crawl. I made a mistake , not to take a bottle with me out of transition. That first mile was hard, and I couldn’t wait to get to the aid station and get some water and ice.

Was slowly plodding off the miles, and got closer and closer to that finish line. I have seen a few Base mates around, and made sure to cheer them on. When the sun went down ,the weatger got so much nicer and I didn’t feel that hot.

Really not sure why I fancy these crazy hot races, because there’s literally hardly any heat in England, so cannot train for it, Texas was crazy hot twice, and now can add Chattanooga to that list.

The last mile as downhill, and I was so happy to approach that finish line.

I crossed the finish line at the 15:05:01 mark. It is not crazy fast, but it is a finish and well under the cutoffs.

After crossing the finish line I met up with Janet, and she got me some food and drink. Also by this point they have dropped all my transition bags, and bike back to my hotel. Absolutely great perk for someone who’s travelling alone. And she kept hold of my backpack with my all comfortable clothes, and flip-flops. So had a nice chill out walk back to my hotel with my medal and food.

The day after:

I have no idea why, but I really cannot sleep after an Ironman. I was absolutely knackered, but still only had like 3hrs sleep.

Since my flight was later than normal , I had time to walk to athlete breakfast, and see the award ceremony and slot allocation for the World Champs.

They were giving out 60 spots for Nice , France for next year, and there was only 280 ladies. The guys are going to Kona for 2024, and they had 25 spots for it.

Base Performance ended up being the 5th place TriClub, and after the award ceremony they started to announce the slots for Nice.

I was well surprised that so many people didn’t take it, or they wasn’t there to take it. There was a few AG where noone took a spot, like in the 18-24 and also there was another one.

Some age groups had anything between 10-16 slots for Nice.

I have ended up for the last slot for my AG. I’ll be honest, when I’ve seen and heard the roll down, and how many slots wasn’t taken I was well surprised. Lots of ladies did say they not taking a slot because it’s not in Kona, and also for them it’s more expensive to travel to France.

I had my opportunity and I decided to say yes to it.

This is once in a lifetime kinda thing, and it know well it’s a roll-down slot, and I wasn’t finished in the top 3 in my AG.

France is so close to England , and it means that Niki and the gang can come and cheer on me. This will be the first race I’ll have family there.

I know well that I have lots of training to do, and it’ll be hard road ahead, but I’ll do my best.

I have made a few posts on FB and Instagram, and sadly a few people messaged me or commented my group post, saying I am an embarrassment to take a slot. Also finishing a race anything over 11hrs is an embarrassment . It made me feel sh.t in the last few days. But this is the downside of social media, I guess.

I made sure that I used the phrase of “roll down” in every post I made, and I also put out my finish time. So I thought I was well transparent with everything, But it clearly wasn’t enough.

I have tried to explain that there’s other ways to get a WC spot, like going down the legacy route or even raising money for IM Foundation. But some people do believe that someone only should go if the win the AG.

I know well, if I keep making training posts, I’ll get more grief from people, but I’ll try my best to just ignore it.

Thank you for reading and lots of love,

Gabi xx

What has happened in the last 2 years?

First of all I have been totally rubbish updating my blog. I literally had no time or at points I have just been lazy.

So what has happened in the last 2 years, since my last post?

In July 2021 I ended up with a DNF at Ironman Bolton ( UK) , I decided top pull out during the bike course.

Took me a really long time to get over it, and I just felt so upset but mainly that I ended up disappointing people.

August 2021, I finally had my train drivers final, and passed out as a train driver. Yay.

September 2021, I went to Berlin with my sister to run the Berlin marathon.

October 2021, not long after Berlin I was back in London to run the London marathon.

April 2022, flew to Texas to do the local Ironman.

I will try my best to do a race recap about Texas in the next few weeks.

Also will try my best to update this website more often.

Lots of love,

Gabi xx

Gabriella te ……… vagy (ExtremeMan Nagyatad 2020)

Ez a verseny abszolút nem volt be tervezve , de mivel COVID-19 miatt minden idei versenyem törölve lett, vagy el lett tolva 2021re , így egy kicsit elveszve ereztem magam. En szeretem ha az eletemben van egy rutin, vagy verseny, mivel akkor tudom hogy a rengeteg edzesnek lesz egy végeredménye.

Szóval amikor kedves Boris brit miniszterelnök be jelentette, hogy kicsit lazít a karanténon, ami azt jelentette, hogy nem kellett 2 het karanténba vonulni miután vissza jön az ember kulfoldrol , írtam az edzőmnek ( Phil ) egy emailt. Mit gondol arról , hogy en elmenjek külföldre es túl legyek életem első triatlonjan, ami egy Ironman tavu verseny is egyben? Szerencsére igent mondott, végül is keszultunk a boltoni Ironmanre is, de a virus miatt el lett halasztva. Szóval nem 0rol kellett Iron távra fel keszulnom 5 het alatt.

Ekkor volt 5 het hatra a nagyatádi extremeMan-ig 🙂

Szóval versenyre beneveztem, találtam egy kiadó lakást, minden irtó szuper volt. Viszont ekkor a magyar miniszterelnök be jelentette hogy kell karantén azoknak akik angliabol jönnek. Hmmm szuper… meg jo hogy itt az NHS ingyen megcsinálja a tesztet.

Szóval a rengeteg hercehurca utan, 3szor torolt repülő járatok utan, 2 negatív COVID tesztel megérkeztem haza.

Minden osszepakolva , irány Magyarország.
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Gabriella you are an ……… (ExtremeMan Nagyatad 2020)

I wasn’t planning to do this race at all, but when COVID happened and all my races got cancelled or postponed to 2021 I really had no idea what to do. I mean I love to have a routine in my life and when I have a race booked in I know well that I will do the training because there’s an end game to it. Hope it makes sense haha

So around mid June when PM Boris announced that he’s going to ease up the restrictions and foreign travel, it meant that I could travel to Hungary and I don’t need to quarantine for 14 days on my return. So at that point I’ve messaged Phil ( my coach ) and asked him what he’s thinking about me doing an Ironman race abroad ? Luckily he was totally up for it. At this point it was 5 weeks till race day.

extremeMan here I come 🙂

So I’ve signed up for the race, booked the flights and found a flat to rent. Then a few days later PM Orban announced that everyone travelling from the UK to Hungary will need to quarantine for 14 days or get 2 Negative COVID tests 5 days before arrival. Ahh well great, nothing is never easy in 2020.

So after all the hurdles, cancelled and rebooked flights, flooding in Nagyatád, I got to Hungary in safe and sound. 

All packed and ready to go
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Virtual racing in 2020

Let’s go back to November 2019. On a cold and rainy day I’ve ended up running my first Virtual marathon. The reason for that is that NYRR offered a guaranteed entry for the 2020 New York City Marathon for everyone who ran a marathon. because there wasn’t any marathons close by I decided to do a Virtual one.

I’ve wrote more about the whole application process here : New York – Round 2?

Back then I didn’t like virtual racing. I mean they are such a hard work. You have to find your own motivation to go out and do the training for them. There is no crowd, no support and most importantly no finisher swag at the end.

Who would have thought that a few months later everything will change?

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Lanzarote Triathlon Camp 2020

Let’s start at the beginning. How did I sign up for this ? Or  how did I hear about it?

When I got my new job at the end of last year, it meant that I had to change some of my upcoming holidays. Mainly because I can’t go on leave when I’m at the train driving school. In my previous railway job I was able to take leave anytime I wanted. So the triathlon camp I have planned for May in Bolton is probably won’t happen, because I’ll be learning all about train tractions.

But on the other hand I have ended up with 14 days leave at the end of February.

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What grief has taught me?

This will be a really personal post, and I really don’t plan to write anymore like this. People keep telling me that I’m a really open person because of my social media accounts, which is true, but also it isn’t. I chose to share the content of them, and I chose to share happy, positive posts, with the occasional sad, angry or even annoyed training posts.

But there is a side which is totally hidden from most people. Why? Because I made that choice.


License to use Creative Commons Zero – CC0

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New York – Round 2?

Over a week ago I’ve got a email newsletter from NYRR with the email subject of ‘ The Virtual Marathon is back ‘ .

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Boston. Where should I start? What should I say? One thing for sure that it will be long. So if you stick around it’s better to get a cup of tea.

Let’s start at the beginning.

31st of March – Luke and I were planning the final sightseeing plans for Boston. Everything was perfect.

1st of April – Luke died. Everything turned upside down.

We were supposed to fly out to Boston on the 12th. I had no idea what to do or what am I supposed to do. This trip was supposed to be a happy trip with a massive celebration. I mean finishing all 6 World Marathon Majors is a big deal. Before Boston there were only 6 Hungarians, so not many of us. I know I always moaned about the training load and how tired I am, but when you cross that finish line you forget the struggles, you don’t remember when you doubted your abilities. You there, happy, proud and you feel like being at the top of the World.

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Tokyo Marathon 2019 – race recap

Wow I can’t believe that race day was already 2 weeks ago. I’m so behind with all of these posts. Sorry.

So after an exciting few days in Tokyo which was filled with sightseeing and great food ( will definitely write a post about these later on ), on the Thursday we went to the Expo to pick up my race number.


This year the expo was in a different location and it was under many tents. It really didn’t bother me, but read on Facebook that loads of people didn’t like it at all. We got there just after 11am and I was out of the bib pick up tent by 11.15am. So really didnt’ take long. Because I was a charity runner I had to go to a specific table. There they taken a photo of me and also got a wristband with a barcode. So with all these security measures they really did try to prevent cheaters. Because they have your photo if anyone would have run with someone’s number they can easily be identified.


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