I’m not sure where to start on this one! I landed back in Denver from Beijing 12 days before IRONMAN 70.3 Silverman. I had a really hard time getting over the jet lag. Traveling east is much harder than traveling west and my body just wasn’t coming around. The Saturday before Silverman I told Simon and Darren I wasn’t racing…no way I could be ready. It did not help that I had a little too much fun celebrating Beijing with some friends after my return.
I had pretty good training sessions Sunday and Monday so I committed to racing. My travel was already booked and I had an awesome homestay set up so I stuck with the original plan and just figured I would test myself. Could I come back after winning two races and perform on less than ideal prep? Either way, win or lose, I was going to learn something about myself. Off to Vegas I went!
The travel to Las Vegas was flawless and I was staying in a very low stress/relaxing environment with two other athletes. I did this race last year and it was an epic fail. I blew up at mile 40 of the bike and really struggled just to finish. I finished second last year but the competition was not as deep as it was this year.
Going into the race this time around I had a plan. I would swim comfortably, ride the first 25 miles (all uphill/headwind basically) very very conservatively and then start riding with a normal 70.3 effort from mile 25 to 56. The goal was to feel good getting off the bike and ready to run a fast half marathon on an extremely difficult course. Even with the heat and slower course I kept my nutrition similar to other 70.3 races. I had my normal breakfast with Beet Performer. And in the race I had 160 calories of EFS PRO before the swim, 500 calories of EFS PRO on the bike with 1 additional bottle of water, and I took a sip of EFS liquid shot every mile on the run, which was 200 calories total.
Race morning conditions were rough. It was super windy and the water looked similar to when I was jumping off of the boat in Escape from Alcatraz. The current was ripping and I was unsure of how to attack the course. Swimming efficiently with the current is not something I am very good at. I prefer a glassy lake or even a pool with lines on the bottom. I had a pretty average swim coming out further back than I thought I would from the leader in 2nd position.
I stayed calm and just got on my bike. Instead of chasing the leader, I settled into a very slow pace with my HR pretty low for the first 10 miles. By mile 25 two girls had passed me and two more were on the way. At this point I was pretty unmotivated to be honest. I was not really tired but my mind did not want to fight like usual. The wind was so bad and the entire course was exposed with the sun beating down. After about 5 miles of feeling like this I realized that I felt pretty good and the other girls were fading. At mile 40 I caught one girl who blew by me earlier like I was standing still so this gave me a reality check to GET MOTIVATED. I finished the bike feeling strong over the last 15 miles. I had a slow T2 messing with my orthotic in my shoe but finally got out on the course.
The 3-loop run course consisted of 1 mile downhill, 2.4 miles uphill, 1 mile downhill. It is the hardest run course I have ever done. I learned a lot as I slowly melted in 2014. This year I rode the course in a way that would set me up well for the run. I felt great getting off the bike and just maintained a pace I knew was sustainable in the conditions. I was 4th or 5th off of the bike and I slowly started catching women but just remained patient. I knew if I maintained the same pace I could work up to first. By mile 8 I was leading and just enjoyed the rest of the run.
It was awesome to see so many people out on course cheering and making it fun. Silverman 70.3 is a great event- organized and challenging. Obviously, I am beyond happy to execute my plan and get the win. I really was unsure of how my body would respond after a lot of recent travel, minimal training, and a few nights seeing 2am.
I have to thank: my coaches- Lisa, Simon, Darren for making me confident in my abilities and for preparing me the best they could. My sponsors for having me on the best equipment and making sure I have everything I need. My friends for keeping me sane and helping me achieve balance in life. John and Cortney for managing me and keeping me on track. And of course my family for giving 110% support from day one. I am happy, healthy, and extremely thankful for how the year has gone so far. I will race once more for 2015…undecided where… stay tuned!