Overview: The toughest 140.6-mile triathlon in North America: 2.4-mile swim in Lake Mead, 112-mile bike ride through Nevada desert with over 9,500 feet of climbing followed by a 26.2-mile run through Henderson with 2,500 feet of elevation gain. The extreme weather conditions made this brutal course even more difficult.
Silverman: All 50 states and 12 countries were represented at this years race. The pre-race events, event management, support from volunteers and energy from participants was world-class.
Swim: The swim was great because the water was close to 70 degrees which is 10 degrees warmer than the ocean in San Diego where I train. It was a nice change to swim in fresh water, but when the 35 mph wind gusts started up on our final approach to land, the conditions closely resembled a choppy ocean swim. The swell plus the rain made sighting a challenge too so I was relieved when I finally got to shore in 1:25.
T1: I transitioned to the bike in less than 5 minutes. I wore a pair of cycling shorts over my tri shorts for extra cushioning thanks to Aireys suggestion. This made all the difference on my long bike ride. Note that my swim gear bag didnt show up at the finish line so Im still missing my wetsuit.
Bike: It was raining and wind was gusting when I got on the bike. My legs were cold but responded to fast spinning in an easy gear. I maintained this technique for all of the climbs and took full advantage the free speed on each descent that carried me into the next climb.
56: It rained for the first few hours of the ride while winds were steady from 20 to 30mph all day. The scenery during the ride was a treat and was even nicer when the rain let up. I did my best to take in the bulk of my calories during the ride, rotating between liquid calories in the bottle and gels as my primary source and had a clif bar at mile 95. It was great to see Paul and Carrie at mile 30ish but it was a long day out there and I didnt see many people in front or behind me until the lead pack hit the turn around and were headed back the way we came.
112: My neck and shoulders were tight from the 7.5 hours of riding and my sit area was sore from the bike seat so I was excited to start my run and be done riding.
T2: Paul and Carrie were at the transition where I handed off my bike and left the tent to begin the run. I also saw Eric who was already done with the half-distance race that started 2.5 hours after the full-distance race. That was a good sign for him to be done that early as he ended up 2nd in his age group!
Run: The run for me remains my strength and the cycling training has helped my legs get even stronger and better balanced for running. I felt great to start the run at my goal pace but I could have been more conservative and remained stronger longer.
13.1: I maintained an 8:37 pace for the first half of the two-loop run course for a 1:53 half-marathon split. I crossed paths with Austin who was on the final quarter mile of his run and about to finish his race. It was great to see him but I knew I still had a couple hours left.
26.2: The final loop had me digging deeper for energy because the sun had gone down, I slowed my pace so a sub-4 hour marathon was out of reach and a sub-13 hour finish was gone too. The bright yellow shirts of race volunteers stationed at each mile of the run were a welcoming sight. I was very impressed with the amount of support the city contributed to the event.
140.6: I crossed the finish line in 13:10:49 as the 36th overall finisher. It was an exciting finish under the lights with the final run through a corral with flags from the 12 countries represented at the race. I met Paul, Carrie and Austin at the finish line, snapped some pics and then headed for the massage tent. During this time the lactic acids flooded my bloodstream and I got pretty nauseas. It only took 30 minutes on the massage table for this to pass thanks to the volunteer masseuse. Next we had to claim all of our gear bags and this is when I discovered my swim bag was missing. I was too tired to deal with it at the time so we decided to head back to the hotel/casino and sort things out with the race staff after the event.
(Not feeling so good in this shot)
Recap: This race was the final step in reaching my 2008 season goal of training for and completing both a 100-mile ultra marathon and a 140.6-mile triathlon. It is still hard for me to fathom how far Ive come in such a sort time and what possibilities this will bring for the future. For now its back to the drawing board to dream up another year of goals and finish this year off in the company of my friends and family who have been there for me every mile of the way. Thank you for joining me on this adventure!