I rode during the hottest parts of the day, too. Having the extra wind against my face certainly helped, but the sun is hard to ignore as it penetrates my skin.
All for a decent race in Las Vegas for the World Championships. I swore I would not succumb to and cripple in the heat like I did last year. I hoped my experience would help me find the finish line in a little better shape. This year, I did.
Bryan and I arrived on Thursday, which gave me a little more time to prepare mentally. As luck would have it, Las Vegas was experiencing some kind of a storm system that provided increased cloud cover and thunderstorms in the afternoon. The only real rain we encountered, however, fell on Saturday when we dropped my bike off in T1. Rain in Vegas?
|Photo by Bryan Rowe. Transition area Saturday afternoon.|
|Lake Las Vegas Resort.|
|Race morning. Overcast and raining!|
This bike course reminds me so much of St. George's. It is compromised of many medium-length hills of moderate grade. After a significant climb out of T1, you enter Lake Mead National Park. I felt great as I passed plenty of people on my way out and then upon turning around back toward Henderson. It turns out you can go pretty fast even on wet roads (thankfully those without any tight corners), and I don't think I hydroplaned.
By mile 37 of my bike ride, the rain began to dissipate and the sun found its way through the clouds. Sure enough, Las Vegas wasn't going to let me get through this race without suffering from some of its notorious heat first. I could feel the sun start to warm my skin, and by the time I found myself running down the first hill of the run course, I could feel myself begin to sweat. Time for ice!
My goal for the run was to never stop running. I had a goal pace in mind and was able to stick to it until mile 3 when, what felt like every muscle in my legs, began to cramp and seize up. I started to walk into the aid station and took down some coke and water. Upon beginning to run again, I realized my legs had settled down and I was back to attempting to maintain my pace. Bryan had told me I'd moved up from 29th out of the water to 17th off the bike in my division. I wondered how many spots I could move up on the run.
By the second lap of the three-loop run, I could begin to feel my pace slow. I willed myself to keep running no matter how much it hurt. Before long, I had reached the final mile of descent to the finish line. Once across, I couldn't help but feel a sense of relief that I'd never have to race this course again. The 96 degrees I experienced on the run didn't compare to last year's 106 degrees, but it was enough to convince me I don't need to come back for a third go-around.
I found Bryan past all the athlete support tents, who told me I'd passed 5 more girls to finish 12th in my division. I felt most pleased with the fact that I'd shaved off 26 minutes from my time last year.
A season is done; a year's hard work of training completed. Upon returning home, I sought out Melinda at Elements Therapeutic Massage for a work over. Now, it's time to make the best use of my offseason!
|Post race recovery: Pool side and dessert!|