Friday, September 16, 2011

Ironman 70.3 World Championships Las Vegas, bitch!

I'm finally starting to make the epic drive back from Nevada, across the United States to Montreal. I've apparently missed 3 weeks of school already, and this is my last semester of my bachelors so I have got to GET OUT OF THERE, asap! Damn it, I hate school. Anyway, race report:

I had done Ironman Louisville 2 weeks prior (race report) and the 2 in-between weeks were restful, but definitely not as restful as I should have done. I ended up visiting a friend in Tucson, AZ and somehow found myself on a 6hr ride, including the 40k climb up Mt Lemmon. Ooops? Nevertheless, the entire race season was catching up with me, and it had been a long one! It started in March back in Australia and I was pretty much doing a race or race-like event every weekend (a lot of mass cycling events, which the Aussies are famous for). The real race season began June 5 in Cairns, QLD when I did the Challenge Cairns half (race report), then I finished up exams in Melbourne, jumped ship back to North America and raced 70.3 Calgary (race report), 70.3 Boulder (race report), and Ironman Louisville. In all, I placed well, surprisingly enough 4th AG at each one. I was especially proud of the Boulder and Louisville races. To say I was tired by the time Vegas rolled around was an understatement. In none of my pre-race workouts did I feel "fired up" or "all engines revving". I could put in solid efforts, but these were nothing but solid IM-pace efforts. I was thus hoping that the rest pre-race would be just enough to make my energy arrive JUST in time for the World Champs Sunday morning.

I was especially thankful that the temperatures were dropping. I had been camping in Lake Mead Recreation Area since I arrived, and let me say that it is NOT fun camping when the night-time temperatures continue to hover in the mid-30s C (95F). I would wake up sweating and dehydrated. The Saturday before the race, we experienced a day high of only 37C (99F) -- in contrast to the 45C (113F) of the previous days, this felt like a cool breeze. I could actually sleep well at night. Hurray!

Transition: You start the swim on this side of the lake, finish
on the other side, and have to run around the back side of the
lake to reach T1. From T1 you have to run with your bike
 up a couple switchbacks to get to the road. It was ridiculous
and AWESOME!!!!

Pre-race: Blah blah blah, I felt excited and not nervous and was ready to take on the day. Set everything up, the usual.

My coach, Lee Gardner, had 1 other athlete also competing
at the 70.3 World Champs: John H. This is us just hanging
out pre-race. Photo credit: Lee Gardner. 
The swim course as viewed from the bridge which we swim
under. We swim out 7 buoys, turn around, and swim back 9
buoys to finish further down and on the other side of the lake.

Swim: I went out hard and tried to stay with the front pack, hoping to find a good set of feet. And then, all of a sudden I was dropped. It felt like I was swimming well, form was excellent, but, like I said, no "oomph". I had only one gear today, and that was definitely IM-gear. So, I swam it in on this long course (how did no one in my AG get sub-30, I have no idea! Long course I suppose)

Me pre-swim. The girl smiling right behind me was super great,
she ended up finishing 9th AG, from Argentina. I hope to find her
somehow online, and try to meet up with her in Canada next year!

Chicks 18-29 wave about to go off, at 7:50am.
I'm in there somewhere. 
I ended up turning in a 36:36 swim (13 AG), my slowest to date this season.

T1: Run around the lake, get gear on in the tent, run to bike, run with bike up switchbacks, get on bike. Painless, right? Ha! I loved it!

Bike: I was staying in the recreation area in which the bike course passed through, and knew firsthand just how beautiful this place was. And how challenging. There is 1081m (3547ft) elevation gain in this 90k bike ride, more than what some IM bike courses offer. To top it off, T2 is a full 226m (741ft) higher than T1. It's a punch in the face, and I looooooved it!

I also unfortunately could not have the race I wanted. Right off the bat, I could barely keep my HR in zone 2, and most of the time it floated mid Z1-low Z2. It would drop hugely on the descents and take forever to climb back up. When you're excited to see a 130bpm reading, you know you're overcooked. I was overcooked!! But I rode on, knew when I signed up for this race that I would be doing it on tired legs and with a tired body. At least the views distracted me:

My time was 3:17:08, having dropped back to 17th AG. Truly ugly! 

T2: Get off bike, get shoes and cap on, start smiling!

Run: I had my plan... loop 1 cruise, loop 2 start working, loop 3 "fuck this shit, RUN BITCH RUN". The course is 1mile down and then 3 loops of 2 miles up, 2 miles down. It's hilly, it's a grinder and a bitch, and of course I loved it. I fell in love with this entire 70.3 course and can't WAIT to return next year, with hopefully a better taper/rest! 

Anyway, the run was hot but I kept cool with ice down the tri suit so never really noticed the heat. I got my cola on, started smiling. I very much cruised the first lap, not really noticing the hills. Lap 2 I told myself to start really working, putting in a good effort, and by the 3rd lap my joints/tired body were unhappy but I told myself to RUN THE HELL UP so I can bomb the downhill finish. Once you hit that turnaround and know it's all downhill from here, you can't help but smile. You let yourself be reeled in by Mike Reilly's voice, and just let it fly. It was AWESOME. 

Finish chute! Huzzah! Also... I can't believe I still heel strike.
Photo credit: Lee Gardner. 
Time of 1:58:16, moving back up and finishing 14th AG. Not exactly in the top 10, as I'd hoped, but given my exhaustion, I'll take it. 

Total time of 5:57:28 (14th AG), a good half-hour slower than my "slow-time" expected. Then again, post-race I was talking with other athletes and the race director himself and he said he expected everyone's times to be just about half hour slower.

What do I think? I think I could have EASILY been in the top 10 had I not been so mind-bogglingly exhausted from IMKY, but I'm still super happy with what I achieved and absolutely cannot WAIT to return next year, hopefully with a top 5 in me. It's going to be an exciting season, 2012, that's for sure!!

Now it's time to rest, relax, and catch up on school. For the next 2-3 months, I'll be back in Montreal focusing on destroying my half-marathon PB by racing 2 halfs in Ontario. Can't wait!! 


  1. which halfs are you doing in Ontario??

  2. Also, awesome job Tyna! You should be very proud of yourself! :)
    And what a beautiful place to race!

  3. Now time to focus on School!! and get it done! See you next year, re-charged and a graduate!

  4. Iron Chic -- were you out in Vegas this year?
    (And oh my, I can't wait to graduate! It'll be such a weight off my shoulders!)

  5. Sounds like we not only had similar days at IMLOU, but also in Vegas! I guess that's what we get for trying the double :)

  6. Alyssa -- I know it! It wasn't the best of circumstances, but I am still okay with how it ended up, anyway.
    What are your plans for next year? Any races definitely on the calendar?