Silverman 70.3 Race Report
Silverman 70.3 is a half ironman triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run) that takes place in Henderson, NV, which is about 15-20 min outside of the Vegas strip.
The event took place on Oct 5, 2014. I chose this event because my mom lives there so it was free lodging and an easy drive from LA. Basically one of the most affordable triathlons I have done! This race report will focus more on the course than my performance, although I will say, I executed each discipline exactly how I expected so I was very happy with the outcome.
The Course - This course is to be respected! It's definitely not one where you sign up last minute without preparing and hope for the best. Well, you can do that but I wouldn't recommend it...you will be miserable, unless you are already in super shape! Even if you are a strong cyclist or runner, do not take it for granted. The heat is a factor and if you are not used to running in it (wasn't really a factor on the bike), it can beat you down. And yes, it's a DRY heat, but it's still HOT!
The Swim - If you love open water swimming, you will thoroughly enjoy this swim course. It was at Boulder Beach at Lake Mead. The water temp was either 80 or darn near close to it. It felt so refreshing and I am glad I didn't wear a wetsuit just for that reason. I do not enjoy swimming let alone in open water. I pick races based on how comfortable I think I will be in the water. This was one of the most ideal conditions, warm, calm water. The reason I didn't wear a wetsuit is because two days prior during the athlete meeting, the water temp had read 80 degrees, which is not wetsuit legal. You could wear one, but you couldn't win any awards (no chance of that for me!) and you would have had to start at the end of the last wave (NO thanks!). Well....on race morning, they announced it was wetsuit legal because the water temp read just above 75 degrees which was below the wetsuit cut-off temp. Hmm...not sure how that happened since each day, the morning and daytime temps were getting hotter! Oh well, people were very happy that they could wear their wetsuits.
The lake was pretty uneventful. No chop, other than the waves made by the swimmers entering the water. We were fortunate that the wind didn't pick up because when it does, it can create quite a chop as you round the first buoy. The swim was a wave start. My group (W40-49) started at 7:28. I started at the back of my wave although I knew the next group (M45-49) would be right behind me! I have to say, contact was at a minimum. Might be because I swam off side a bit. There was only a little bit of lake weed (aka tumble weed) during the last few hundred meters but I didn't care because the beach was in sight! Heading back to shore the sun was rising and if you breathe on your left, the sun was right in your eye so I just switched sides and all was fine.
The Bike - I was well prepared for this course. I live in LA so we have lots of climbing options. If you train on hills, you will be fine. There are no steep pitches or long sustained climbs, just mild short ascents. If I were to guess, nothing more than 4% or 5% and no more than a few minutes. But this goes on and on so it can wear you down if you ride the course hard. There are some great descents were you can really tuck in and enjoy the ride! FYI - as you get closer to T2, there are some final ascents, just to mess with you!
The Run - If the bike course wears you down, the run course will break you down! If your legs are even remotely tired when coming off the bike, you are doomed! I was well trained for the bike and run course and the run was still quite challenging. It's a 3 loop hilly course. There are almost no flats, either up or down. There are also no steep pitches, just long gradual climbs, maybe 2% or just over, especially when you hit Green Valley Parkway which is a mile long. Well, there is one steep pitch but it is very short, but nonetheless, it is still painful when you are exhausted and it's the 3rd time you are going up that hill! There are parts of the course where the sun just beats on you! The temp hovered around 92 and there wasn't much shade. They had water misters around the course so that offered some temporary relief. You have to bring your mental toughness because it will be very tempting to walk, especially when you see the joy on other people's faces when they finally succumb to the desire to just stop running! It's sometimes hard to know the difference between needing to walk and wanting to walk! For me, it was a constant battle to only walk when I fueled up at the aid stations. No matter how slow I was running, I was just happy that I was still running! If I wanted to stop, I just asked myself if anything hurt. If the answer was no, I told myself keep running and be thankful nothing hurts! And as many of you know, the down hills don't offer relief on the legs. The only joy would come at the finish line, and that it did!
Overall Thoughts - I really liked this race even though there was almost nothing fun about it for me! But that had nothing to do with the race, the organizers or the amazing volunteers! For one, the swim always causes me anxiety, second, on the bike course I got sick so I couldn't eat, and third, I started the run in a caloric deficit which made for an unnecessarily painful run! I can't believe this course used to be a full 140.6. I couldn't image running that course for 26.2 miles! I highly recommend this race and if you train properly on hills for both bike and run, you will enjoy every minute of it, well, as best you can!. It is a very well organized race with the best supporters on the course! Oh and thanks mom for cheering me on in the heat, I know you think this sport is nutty!
Oh and here is what you get in the goodie bag and when you finish the race! Goodie bag - shirt and drawstring bag. Unfortunately the bag doesn't have the name of the event on it. And when you finish, a medal and finisher's hat!