Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Viva las vegas

p.s. I hate Las Vegas. Too bad I can't recycle the post title from last week...

Apparently I had a loooooong week 8 (that, or this latest block really got to me and I'm suddenly three weeks behind on blogging--You guess). I'll try to catch up with weeks 9 and 10 tonight!

Weekly summary: 14.2 hours, 9,200 yards of swimming, 7 hours on the bike, 29 miles of running. Long ride of 2:50, long run of 1:50. Both of those long efforts happened to be during the Las Vegas Half Distance Triathlon. It was a busy week, mostly because of race and work travel.

The hardest training workout of the week was a set of 4X1 mile running repeats. I overslept a little bit and ended up running in mid-morning (hot part of the day in Tucson). I only met my goal on the first repeat. After that, I was in survival mode.

There was also a brutal 16X100-yard session in the pool. Those long 100 sets (with short rest) put me in my place like nothing else!

Now, a short Las Vegas race report. This was a "B" race for me, meaning that I train up to and through it, but still really "race" like it is an A race. I planned to drive up two days early, but I had a last-minute adjustment for work (a meeting in Boulder City on Monday morning that I had to give a presentation for. yikes!). So, I ended up working LATE Friday, and didn't leave for Boulder City until mid-morning Saturday. 7-hour drive up, packet pick-up, and off to drive the course. Advertised as "the flattest course in Vegas", I expected only a moderately-challenging course. Yeah, not exactly. There is not a flat section on the course, and I saw several 8% grade warning signs... Hills are not my strength, so I didn't know what to expect at all. Finally got to my hotel around 6 pm and prepped my bike. It is crazy that suddenly I don't get all that nervous even for a Half. Asleep around 10:00, and up at 3:30 for breakfast. I was still asleep, even if my bike was already ready to rock!

Had my fill of breakfast, and got to transition about an hour and fifteen minutes before the start. Right on time. Typical stretch, warm-up run pre-race routine, and ready to go! As was my transition area:

The swim was supposedly wetsuit-legal, but it had to be right at or above the limit. I immediately knew I would be borderline-overheating, but tried to keep it out of my mind. I tried to push for a fast start, and found open water almost immediately. I was able to sight the turn buoy quickly, and avoided veering side to side at the guide buoys. I found some good feet to draft for awhile, but realized he wasn't swimming straight, so I set off on my own. I really found my groove about halfway through and pushed it home. I was very happy to be in the top five out of the water (out of 80 or so).

T1 was smoking fast, and I was off on the bike. I was told that there were 3 ahead out of T1, so I looked forward to picking them off. Two minutes later, that plan was out the window. The workouts earlier in the week weighed heavily on my legs, and I had no push up the hills. Not only that, but on descents (where I normally do a lot of my damage), I just couldn't get up to speed. I literally checked my brakes for rubbing. Nope. I just continued to get passed. And the temperature just kept rising. I think I ended up about 13th off the bike, and for once I was VERY happy to get off the bike. For a minute...

The run out of T2 goes straight uphill, for an elevation gain of around 900 feet in the first three miles. At that point, the temperature was in the mid-90s with no shade and no wind. Of course I added a little 1/4-mile "nature hike" about 1.5 miles in. There aren't exactly trees to hide behind next to Lake Mead, so I opted for the closest hill (can you believe there were no port-o-potties on a 13.1-mile run course?!!!). I tried to remind myself that it always hurts less as you go, and tried to slowly increase my turnover and get in the groove. And indeed it did. Around mile 4, I really started to feel descent. My turnover felt good, and I managed to pick off a couple people. Around mile 6, a faster runner passed me, and I committed to keeping him in sight. It kept getting hotter, but there was finally some shade as I passed through the historic tunnels. At the turn to go down the hill, I found my faster friend had cramped up. I shouted some encouragement to him, while silently committing to hold him off until the end. I kept my heart rate up, and kept my pace down despite really feeling the fatigue set in. Pushed through the finish, and was SOOOO glad to be done. It was a tough day! I ended up 11th overall, and 3rd in my age group. Another podium for Team, so I'll take it! Overall I would recommend the race, but probably the shorter distances. Keep in mind that it is no-frills, and there is very little support on a very hot and exposed course.

I celebrated with some good lunch (and a microbrew or two), took a nap, and worked through the night to finish my presentation for Monday morning. As I've said before, T3 is waaaaaay harder than T2...

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