I knew it was always going to be tough backing up 2 weeks after Ironman Louisville. But I have done these crazy things before! Plus I have always wanted to experience the Las Vegas 70.3 course after hearing so much about it. Knowing the event is moving next year and this was my one and only chance to race it. When I found out I had a slot and a chance to go, there was no way I was saying no!! Although my body probably wishes I had!
Thursday before the race Guy and I successfully navigated the 10 hour drive from Boise to Las Vegas. Actually it was pretty easy but there wasn’t to muck to look at compared to some other drives we’ve done, so with only 2 quick “Gas” stops we made pretty good time and arrived at our hotel. There was just enough time to catch up with Luke McKenzie for dinner before we crashed for the night. We were exceptionally tired from the drive and ready to sleep!
Friday we headed to T2, The Expo and Registration. It was a great chance to catch up with sponsors I hadn’t seen , but there was still a bit of work to do so swimming, biking and running were the also on the agenda for the day. We were lucky enough to get our ride in before the heavens opened and the rain came down!! It poured….but by then we were back in the car on the way to the hotel!
Once there we spent a bit of time getting our bags ready for check in the next day but we were pretty hungry soon and headed out for dinner. It was during this meal that I mentioned to Guy my Gum was a little sore and affecting the way I was eating. But I didn’t think too much of it!
UNTIL…..just after 3am Saturday morning I woke up with tears in my eyes because it was hurting so much and after Guy turned the light on he realised the right hand side of my face had swollen as well. It was not good!
I tried to get back to sleep but couldn’t because I was so uncomfortable. I just waited for the morning to come!
Eventually I was up and Guy and I were deciding what to do about the situation. First he had to eat (and I had to try and eat!) which I am sure was providing plenty of entertainment for those around me! Not being able to open my mouth wide enough was beginning to be a problem!
We made our way to T2 for race briefing and for a short swim, bike, run! Cycling was okay, although I would struggle to rip the opening off my GU Gel packet. (needed to make a change there!) Running, not so good, bouncing up and down didn’t exactly help the situation. Swimming, I decided against getting in the water and sat on the sidelines while Guy went for a swim.
Meanwhile I was lucky to have some amazing friends in Boise (and ones involved in Dentistry!!) so thanks to Kate and Amy… I headed to a Walgreens and was able to get some antibiotics into me that afternoon.
Saturday night and it was not looking good. I had spoken to mum on Skype and was going to leave my decision to race until the very last minute (because I really wanted to!!) I would sleep on it and see what the situation was like in the morning!
RACE DAY – As usual I was up before the alarm, extremely relaxed considering it was the World Champs, now I had to decide, yes or no!! I knew that if it was an Ironman there would be no way I would be starting. But a Half Ironman, I want to do this, I want to experience the “infamous” Las Vegas Course. I can get through it….it may not be pretty….but I know I can!
The decision was made….now to get some food into my mouth!! Guy was laughing so hard as he watched me cut my bagel up into the smallest pieces possible then try and shove them into my mouth with my fingers. Just another challenge to add to the day!
We loaded the car and were on our way….with plenty of time so spare! (or at least we thought!)
Making the final turn into Lake Las Vegas in the pouring rain we hit a massive traffic jam! We didn’t expect this! Time was running out! Eventually we had to decide to pull over in the mud, park the car and ride our bikes down to transition (Pro’s had the option of bringing there bikes in race morning!) We made it with only 10mins to spare! There was no time to get nervous or think about what I was about to do! Before I knew it, I was kissing Guy good luck and heading into the water for a warm up!
BANG! We were off! I felt okay…non-wetsuit swim, clean start, good position. Then everyone slowly came together and “SMACK!” I got a nice little whack to the face. Then another! Normally I wouldn’t mind this, I would fight back and get a good position. But it hurt!! And with each hit I felt like I was hyperventilating! I reminded myself my goal today was to just get through it, so I eased up, and moved back. Eventually finding myself at the back of the group but feeling a lot more comfortable!
Out of T1 and the rain continued to pour!! The first section was quite technical and I was cautious but onto the climb out of Lake Las Vegas it was time to get aero and ride! I was definitely lacking my usual get up and go, but with a smile on my face I was more and more confident I could do this!
At the far turn around I unfortunately saw Guy on the side of the road with a mechanical that not even the Tech Support could help him with!! I was sad to see him there, but he laughed as I went back by after the turn around. At least he was still in good spirits! Jo Lawn and I had been working well together for most of the ride and began to catch a few girls on the return trip and 5 of us entered T2 together.
I don’t normally wear socks but I still had some pretty nasty blisters from Ironman Louisville so took a bit of extra time in transition to get them on. Then I was off! The first lap was fine, I was enjoying myself, watching what was going on around me in the mens and women’s races, it was awesome! The second lap I was beginning to feel a little sick, the third lap my body had decided enough was enough! I felt worse than I had during the last 6 miles of my Ironman 2 weeks before!
But….I did it!! Mission accomplished…my goal was achieved! In the end I finished 20th and was very happy with this considering everything thats been going on! Poor Guy had to wait 4 hours to get a lift back to T2 then we were on a bus to T1 and our car to return back to the hotel!
That night we went out to celebrate Guy’s Birthday and were totally mesmerised by the Cirque du Soliel Show of Michael Jackson “One”! It was amazing and the music of course was awesome!
I had originally planned on competing in Ironman Lake Tahoe next weekend to kick start my Kona campaign for 2014 (I need to get lots of points!!) But the Gum infection has taken longer to heal than I expected and I think now would be a good time to have a short break. It has been a fantastic US season for me….but there are still some great races coming up towards the end of the year and I plan on being flighting fit for them.
So for now it is lots of sleep, cleaning the house, chocolate, ice cream and giving my body the chance to be ready to go again!!
Once again thanks to my family, Sponsors and supporters I could not do any of this without you!. You are all amazing.