I am so excited that I got to be a part of this event! The 70.3 HALF IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS! I qualified for this at the Miami 70.3 last October.
Logistically this race was different from any triathlon I had done before. Transition 1 and transition 2 are in 2 different locations about 20 min car ride apart! So the day before the event we had to drop a "run" bag at T2 and then get our bikes in to T1. Luckily for me my hotel backed right on to T1 which was very convenient. And I had used Tri Bike Transport which helpfully moved their camp frm IRONMAN VILLAGE (by T2) to T1 for us. The morning of the race I was oddly no where NEAR as nervous as I should have been. I was in wave 13 so I got to stand and watch all the PRO men and then women start... really cool. About an hour after they started it was finally my turn. We swam out to the bridge for our deep water start. A few mins of treading water and then off we went!
The water was so muddy you really could barely see in front of you. I swam into people a few times and had the same happen to me. Overall my swim (for me) was good, 42 mins. Sadly this was 82nd place out of 95 in my age group!! Out of the water and about a 1/4 mile barefoot run to transition!
I am ALWAYS happy to be on my bike in a triathlon. Coming from South Florida (flat country) my main concerns for this ride were the hills and the hills! I had done numerous bridge repeats with my bike buddy Miranda and a few trips to the Doghouse compu-trainer gym in Boca... but could anything really prepare me for riding 56 miles thru these (to me) massive hils?! It has never done this before but my waterbottle between my aerobars kept hitting my bike computer and causing it to ZERO. I could see my pace but was unsure of exactly how many miles I had done. Luckily I had driven most of the course so I had a rough idea. At the water bottle exchange coming out of Lake Mead National Park the volunteer dropped a bottle of Perform elecctrolyte drink. I made a quick decision to stop and get one as I knew I would need it in me for the run. Climbing the hills I actually felt pretty strong. What I had not thought about much were the downhills. I was hitting 35+ mph on some of them and some of them had curves as you went down. A couple of them also had gaps in the hills which meant the wind would pick up a bit between those. I was determined not to ride my brakes down them like a complete girl, but my shoulders were actually sore the next day from the death grip I had on my handbars!
Transition 2 was a lot smoother than I had imagined. I came in and hopped off my bike leaving my shoes clipped in to the pedals. A volunteer took my bike from me and then numerous other volunteers started calling out my number. By the time I got to the bags one of them had handed me mine and I kept going thru to the change tent. I think this is how it is set up for full ironmans but I had no need to change so a volunteer emptied out my bag.. asking me what I needed.. shoes, gamin and I was on my way!
The run was just down right UGLY. A lot of people in from cold climates such as England and Australia where it is currently winter, just could not handle that heat It was pushing 100F with close to 50% humidity. People were walking, throwing up, lying down on the side of the road.. yikes. I was more concerned about seeing MORE hills! The course was 3 loops in a kind of L shape. We ran down a big hill, turned and went up a short hill, then re-traced our steps down and then back up the big hill, past transition and then up a REALY big hill, turnaround at the top and come back down.. then go up and around behind some ampitheatre thing and start again. The first loop I found hard. I sometimes prefer to not know what is coming up, so running that first loop knowing you stil have to do it 2 more times was mentally tough for me. About half way around I bumped in to my new friend Laura from England so we chugged along together on and off. The 2nd loop I actually felt slightly better. I think just knowing that I only had one more after this. I walked thru a couple of the water stations to make sure I got plenty of water.. some of which was really warm - yuck! The last loop we went all the way up those hills for the last time, and then the final mile was down hillm no need to go behind the ampitheatre... just straight in to the finish line! My worst run time ever but I finish with a 7:30 mile!!
Initially I was very disappointed in my finish time. It was my slowest 70.3 to date.. 10 mins slower than my first one back in 2005! But then once I had time to look at the results my goals may have been a bit unrealistic! During the bike leg I passed 30 people in my age group and passed a further 8 people during the run. Pretty much everyone had finished about 30 mins slower than their usual time it seemed. Everyone in that race had to have qualified thru another Half Ironman event so placing 44 out of 95 was actually better than I had expected. The overall experience was so great and I had a ton of fun out on the course.. OK maybe not running up the hills but overall a lot of fun!
That evening we went out to the strip and celebrated. I would love to tell you all about it but as they say
what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!
I finished in 5:52:08
44 out of 95 in my age group, 271st female, 1066 Overall
SWIM 42:00 - BIKE 3:01 - RUN 2:02