Saturday, November 5, 2011

70.3 World Championships: Vegas

The new race venue for the 70.3 World Championships definitely lived up to the hype. The course just outside of Las Vegas offered heat, wind, and plenty of hills. This is a very fair course.
I was very excited to go out and race the new venue. Another bonus was having the opportunity to race with several of my Timex Multi-sport teammates. I always find it a huge lift to race with my teammates and have the support of our team management as well.

Swim: 30:12 Ouch!
I was in the 10th swim wave of the morning. The race organizers had all the athletes enter the water 10 minutes prior to their wave starts. While the water was 80 degrees, I still felt a bit chilled when I jumped into the water. I tried to warm up. I’ve learned that it is always better to do a few race start simulations prior to the actual start to get the body ready for the initial surge and hypoxic feelings. However, I did not do a good job of getting my intensity up prior to starting the race.
I lined up in the middle of my wave and focused on holding a good position to start the race. The horn went off to start our wave and I got boxed in right away. Then I got hit in the head and swallowed a nice mouthful of water. This is part of racing, but it affected me a bit more this time. I had a moment of high anxiety and thought about pulling off to the side. Fortunately I was able to get the anxiety under control quickly and I was on my way. The remainder of the swim I just focused on keeping a decent body posture (a little more important with the non-wetsuit swim) and staying consistent. I exited the water feeling good and ready to hit the bike.

Bike: 2:26:00
My goal for the bike was to build into the first 10 miles and then ride a little higher effort than normal. The bike course was set up to be much more challenging than the flat roads of Clearwater, FL. and it lived up to the hype. I felt like we were either climbing or descending the entire day. The course did not offer any real opportunities to settle in. I actually really enjoyed the challenge of the terrain. The landscape surrounding the course was very picturesque. My nutrition and salt intake for the bike worked well for the most part. I did not experience any cramping throughout. I felt very controlled for the first 35 miles. In hindsight I think I got a little behind on calories in the middle of the bike as I did suffer a bit of a lull during the last 10 miles. My heart rate dipped into low Z2 during this time. I tried to push a bit harder to get my heart rate back into Z3, but I just could not make it happen. I gave what I had on the day and I was not the only one losing steam at the end of the bike.

Run: 1:21:42
The run course is set up as a 3 loop course. The start is flat for the first .5 mile then descends for 1 mile. A 2 mile climb is next, then another 1 mile descent.
I sported my K-Swiss Konas with American flag colors. I love these shoes.
My legs did feel a little heavy heading out of T2. Fortunately the terrain helped to get my cadence up and settle into a decent rhythm. My heart rate was still running lower than usual. I ended up running the first 7 miles in Z2 and finally reached Z3 on the 2nd half of the run. I really enjoyed the profile of the run course. I felt that the 2 mile climb was all about keeping steady and strong, while the descent allowed for recovery and cadence. I was able to run without cramps and my energy levels stayed high. At the 10 mile mark I started taking cola for a little extra push for the last 5k of the run. I felt confident that it would not cause me GI distress that late in the race. I finished up as strong as I could. I will definitely try to participate in this race going forward. The logistics prior to the race were a bit messy, but the race itself was worthy of a championship course.
Final Results: 4:21:36 2nd M35-39 / 7th Amateur / 38th Overall
[caption id="attachment_7268" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Timex representing well in the 35-39 Age Group - Tim Hola and I on Stage"][/caption]

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