Silverman – a ‘training’ race
I entered Silverman around one month ago, after racing Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens, Washington. I had had a terrible run after a phenomenal bike leg but honestly felt empty after Ironman Canada. I spent a couple hours in a medical tent on IV fluids and although I still made the podium, I was disappointed with my performance. Instead of being rationale and filling up that well I had dug deep into many times this year already, I thought:
“I should do Silverman! It’s a local race, race local, support local, it’ll be fun!”
If you have done the Silverman course, I’m sure you’ll agree most wouldn’t use ‘fun’ as their first choice of adjective. It’s a very hilly course with often unforgiving weather and this year was no different. Not particularly hot but very windy!
Having qualified and entered the XTERRA World Championships on November 1st and still fundraising and aiming for a season finale at Ironman Arizona I needed to do some serious thinking. I had competed two weekends before at Xterra Nationals in Utah and then one week before ran for almost 6hours through the night pacing badass ultra runner Michael Jimanez on the Trails around Big Bear, so I didn’t want to tap too much further into that reserve. One thing Michael had taught me was the importance of ‘the well’. You can dig deep into that well, but you have to take the time to fill it up. And honestly, I hadn’t been filling it up. This forced me to look at Silverman in a very different light. I would have to race it as a good training day. I know some people get irked by this way of thinking but it was necessary. I would race Silverman with the sole purpose of enjoying it, getting my nutrition dialled in and keeping a solid steady pace.
I got to race morning and purposefully left my garmin off and raced only with my watch to monitor nutrition timing. It was a very rough, windy, non-wetsuit swim so I took off my tri top to avoid the drag. It was a pretty messy swim…getting blown around with lots of waves I did my best to stay on track but still came out of the water considerably slower than I’d hoped for. I set out on the bike with a smile on my face and reminding myself to enjoy it 🙂
I rode pretty well, I actually like climbing and I know the hills out there quite well by now so knew where I could stand up, where I should ease off and when I just needed to grind. Everything was going pretty well, until on a fast descent, I looked down for the briefest of moments and the visor from my helmet was whipped off onto my arms… I was going to fast to take my hand off and grab it, but I thought I’d try; unfortunately I had just overtaken somebody and as soon as I tried to manoeuvre to grab the visor it whipped out of my arms blowing behind me… Oh man I felt terrible!!! I knew it would’ve gone flying right into him! I put my hand up and shouted “SORRY!” and looked behind quickly… he was still upright, no crash caused. Phew!
I continued on the bike, and picked people off one by one. I always have the most fun on the bike. I consciously started to hold back with about 15miles to go. I was making good time and there was no need to push deep into that red zone. I cruised into T2 and transitioned into my run gear. I set out for a steady run with a smile on my face 🙂 I saw my boss/leader/friend Ron Gallagher in T2 and he gave me some encouraging words, I high fived him because I’m super american these days 😉
The run course was filled with awesome supporters many I didn’t know but the ones I did, provided the best encouragement. This 3 lap course means you see so many people racing, and I made a point to cheer on my friends and fellow athletes who were racing. I kept a decent smile until lap three when my glutes started complaining of being tired. Sorry Glutes, this is your time to shine! And luckily I saw more and more people who reminded me to keep going, keep smiling and enjoy the event. I finished in 3rd place in my age group and 8th amateur overall. I’m very happy with that. This wasn’t my ‘A’ race. Other people had spent their season training and prepping to peak on this day, I hadn’t. Id ran a trail marathon the week before, Nationals the week before that, not ideal prep for a stellar performance, BUT I was able to start this week of training feeling strong and pumped. I now have a new coach who I’m very excited to be working with and am looking forward to a great race in Maui, November 1st 🙂
Not quite the race report I usually put out, but not every day is your best day. This was a great day for me, not performance wise, but having the mental ability patience to control myself better in a race environment. I only took a little out of the well and have a lot to put in this week.
Congratulations to ALL those who raced at Silverman! It was a tough race with tough conditions but you all persevered and are simply amazing in my book! Thank you to all of the volunteers and supporters who truly make this race what it is, without you we’d be a bunch of thirsty, struggling athletes not sure if we can go on… you push us to the end! Thank you 😀