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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Chattanooga Ironman Support

Chattanooga ironman                                                  4 miles                        937.9 total
We got into town on Saturday and met Amanda for lunch at 1859 with Ginger.  I had a crab cake sandwich and Scotty had a flounder sandwich.  We're in training for Florida! The girls all had mimosas.  It was really nice meeting Amanda's 'work' mom and knowing that she's building good relationships.  We walked around Chattanooga for awhile and met Craig and Suzanne for a drink at Big City Brewery.  We walked back to Amanda's apartment. Walking around town wasn't long, but the heat certainly tired us out more.  Later we met Craig and Suzanne again for dinner at Aretha Frankensteins.  Wow!  A slim pancake is anything but slim - it's about an inch high!  That was my side with a shrimp omelette.  Scotty had a pancake with ice cream, whipped cream, pecans and a bit ofBanana Foster.  Again - wow!  On Sunday we got up at 5:00 and drove in from Hixson (8 miles away).  We loaded up supplies to take down to our kayaks.  We discovered it's HARD loading up in the dark with head lights.  After getting to our kayaks, Scotty went back twice for sunglasses and floating boat cushions.  We were stationed at Buoy 4 and paddled up river around the island and then down river to our station.  We sat in the water for over an hour.  It was so quiet and serene and the scene kept changing as the sun came up, every time creating a beautiful, new picture.  God does some of his best work In the early dawn of the day.  Swimmers started coming by us about 7:45.  Scotty was more inland and I was towards the middle of the river with swimmers between us and all of the other 140 kayaks.  One of the first group of swimmers to pass in front of me were 12 men swimming in 2 columns with 6 rows.  They kept that formation for as long as I could see.  At first the swimmers came by sporadically and they were good strong swimmers.  Then they started arriving en masse.  I felt like I really had to keep alert then as it would be easy to lose track of a head.  I only had 5 swimmers hand onto my boat.  When I asked one if he was ok, he cheerfully said, "yes, I just thought I'd stop and chat with you.  He also thanked me."  Another swimmer looked very tired, and he did tell me he had a headache.  He hung on for a few minutes and when he paddled on, I told him I'd follow him down to the next kayaker.  It's always so rewarding to be out there among these dedicated athletes! About 2 hours later the swimmers thinned out.  Kayakers from the beginning buoys were paddling down and swimmers now had their own individual kayak support.  Swimmers have 2 hours and 20 minutes to finish the swimming portion.  We paddled under Chattanoogas trademark blue bridges to the beautiful downtown river section and were able to see 2 swimmers come in at about 2 hours.  As they tried to climb the steps in their wobbly sea legs, I got goose bumps listening to all the volunteers cheering them as they came in.  THIS is what we need to see in the news, people helping and cheering for each other.  There was still 1 swimmer to come in.  Apparently she was a 64 year old woman (I think from Tennessee.). Sadly it didn't look like she would make it, but it was cool seeing all the kayaks, jet skis and boats cheering for her at the end.  We paddled back to the launch and I paddled with a very friendly lady named Joy that organizes trips for baby boomers out of Chattanooga. - maybe I'll look them up!  After loading up, we met Amanda for a third meal, this time at The Daily Ration,and with Ramey.  No wonder Amanda likes it when we come to visit!  I had a delicious avocado and egg toast.

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