Silverman 70.3, 2015 by Olive
Finishing my goal of the year a few weeks earlier (IM Muskoka 140.6) it is with still ‘tired’ legs and no specific preparation that I approach this race.
My objectives are basic, no constraint to obtain a result nor any particular pressure for this race. My only goals are to have fun and finish under 5 hours of racing.
We arrive in Las Vegas on a late Friday evening, we collect the bikes we go get the rental car and then head to the condo for a direct sleep because it is already 3am when we go to bed. We get up around 7am to take the bikes out of the boxes and assemble them because it takes a little time and we have to go to registration to collect our bibs, put our T2 things here, then another 40min by car to drop off our bikes at T1 . And come back to T2 to find out the car parks and the shuttle schedules the next day. In short, the day goes by at a crazy speed we barely have time to do everything but we managed to come back to T1 around 4.30pm (which closes at 4pm) to ask for the shuttle timetables. It’s always more complicated when T1 and T2 are not in the same place.
On the day of the race, breakfast, shuttle, preparation of the bike and direction to the lake. First news, the wet-suit is prohibited (water too hot). The US national anthem is played (like in the Super Bowl, but without Maria Carrey) and wave starts start with the Pros, then the age groups. We start in the water and not on the beach, it’s good that it allows you not to have to run on rocks covered with water and to break ankles and knees. Indeed the lake is not at all suitable for walking. It is very painful to enter the water because of large stones. Once we have water up to mid-thigh we start to swim and wait for the tee shot.
7:24, Boom, let’s go, a fairly calm start, there are people but everyone more or less holds their line and more or less keeps their place. I swim quite relaxed without forcing too much. I know very well that without a wet-suit, my time is going to be ridiculously slow… I screwed 32min with my wet suit, but I know that without it I would be around 35-40min. The swimming course consists of a single loop of 1.9km, the water is warm and some nice waves make me drink the cup from time to time. The buoys are clearly identifiable and always visible. The yellow buoys, we go straight ahead, at the red buoys we turn left. Impossible to get lost or go astray. As expected I got out of the water with a catastrophic time … 37min, that’s 5 good minutes wasted on my ‘ordinary’ stopwatch but no stress, I’m here mainly for fun. I sign the 21st time of my age group.
I find my bike, I throw my glasses and my swimming cap in the T1 bag and I put on my helmet. I unhook the bike from the rack and off we went for 90km in the Nevada desert.
The route seems very interesting with some small climbs and sumptuous landscapes. For this course my ‘goal’ is to put the bike down in 2h45 (33km / h average).
The first 10 Miles (yes, we have to speak in miles) are done in 31km / h on average, the warm-up is therefore finished, we will have to push a little more on the legs.
The following 25km are done in 32.5km / h on average, there is better but it is not yet …
The following 25km I swallow them in 35km / h on average, finally it starts to be a good pace, which makes me 60km of covered in 33km / h on average. There are now only the last 30 km.
These last 30 km will be very painful for me and a good number of competitors…. The wind (very present all along the course) will be particularly penalizing at this end of the course. So I would do the last 30km with an average 29km / h… and put the bike down in 2h50. The little that we had the back wind in these last km I will record flat segments with a cruising speed of 55km / h…. And of course for the vast majority of these last km with the head wind I was between 23 and 25km / h…. So I am 5min slower than I had anticipated but no stress I keep having fun. The course was magnificent for the first 60/70 km. And in the last 10 I even double a Pro athlete! 2h50 puts me in 15th position in my age group.
I put the bike down, I put on my pumps, cap, bib… and off we go for a half marathon. My ‘goal’ here is to do it in 1h30 (my PR is 1h22 over this distance, so it is achievable even if I have not done any specific preparation). I quickly calculate my times from the start and tell myself that it would take a race in 1h25 to pass under 5h for the final time. So I let go of my ‘goals’ a bit and concentrate on my priority: having fun, so I open my eyes, I chat two or three words to the right and to the left from time to time. The first mile I turn in 3’40 / km, so I tell myself to calm down because even if I feel good, I will not keep up the pace for long … then the next mile I turn in 4’20 / km which matches much better, I think it’s not too intense and that this rhythm allows me to keep smiling and not to hit the machine too much. The running course includes 3 loops, with 2 false flat ascending and two false flat descending per loop. A little wind also and supplies every 1.5 miles. Counting in miles is new to me, I look at the signs without really knowing where I am, but my watch keeps me on course and the pace. I double down quite a bit all along without getting caught. I double 5 or 6 pro women and a pro man during the run (I cannot tell you if they were in their loop 1, 2 or 3 on the other hand …) A little wind also and supplies every 1.5 miles. Counting in miles is new to me, I look at the signs without really knowing where I am, but my watch keeps me on course and the pace. I double down quite a bit all along without getting caught. I double 5 or 6 pro women and a pro man during the run (I cannot tell you if they were in their loop 1, 2 or 3 on the other hand …) A little wind also and supplies every 1.5 miles. Counting in miles is new to me, I look at the signs without really knowing where I am, but my watch keeps me on course and the pace. I double down quite a bit all along without getting caught. I double 5 or 6 pro women and a pro man during the run (I cannot tell you if they were at their loop 1, 2 or 3 on the other hand …)
The course passes quite quickly, it is only 3 loops so there is not too much time to find weariness, which would have been the case with 4 or more loops.
I finished this half marathon in 1h33, which “ranks” me 11th in my age group.
All this put end to end I complete the half-ironman in 5h05min. Obviously I’m 6min ‘too slow’ from what I had planned and I console myself behind excuses (wet suit prohibited, no specific prepa, + 4kg from IM Muskoka, and a lot of wind …) But my main objective is filled; to have fun.
I go to get a massage and I’m waiting for Jess who will meet all these objectives (be under 6 hours) she will even finish 6th in her GA!
Overall assessment, very good race, very good course, take into account that all along there is no vegetation (tree or other to stop the wind or even give shade). The race in the desert is very hot, as well as the water!