2009 Ford Ironman 70.3 California - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Oceanside, California
United States
Ironman North America
66F / 19C
Total Time = 6h 58m 57s
Overall Rank = 1726/2115
Age Group = M30-34
Age Group Rank = 232/258
Pre-race routine:

Given the transition area opened at 4:45am, I set my alarm to wake me up at 4am. Surprisingly, I was able to sleep early and well the night before the race. Usually I'm so anxious about the race that I end up only getting a few hours of rest prior to the race. In any case, after I woke up I took a shower and got ready.

After I was ready, I had my usual pre-race breakfast which included a small cup of coffee, 2 slices of toast and a banana. Then I was off to the race. I'm glad I decided to wear my sweater as I walked to the transition area. It was sooo cold in the morning due to the cold wind that was blowing through. Burrr...

I got to the transition area around 5am which was very well lit, given the sun was not up yet at that time in the morning. As I walked into the transition area, the first section was for the professional triathletes. I was looking to see if there were professionals that I remember seeing in my ironman videos but unfortunately I didn't recognize any. Darn.

The race number that they assigned to me was 2570, so I started looking for the bike rack area that was reserved for my number. Well, when I walked into the transition area, the racks numbering started in the 100s, so you can imagine, I had to walk a long way to the other side of the transition area to find my dedicated bike rack for my number.

After walking by 20 to 30 racks, I found my bike rack which was 4 racks from the end of the transition area. It was okay though, no complaints from me. I looked at the rack and found a good spot to setup my transition area. I racked my bike and put down my transition bag.

Before I started to pull out all my gear I went over to the body marking area were they wrote my race number on my left arm/shoulder and wrote my age on the back of my left calf.

I went back to my transition spot, set up all my gear and got ready for the swim.
  • 51m 29s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 26s / 100 yards

First of all…for my wave they assigned us pink swim caps. Not just regular pink but neon pink. Yikes. Second…out of 20 waves of swimmers, my age group wave was the 19th which started 1 hour and 5 minutes after the first wave.

Once my wave came up, we walked down the boat launch ramp into the water and swam about a 50 yards to the swim start point where we treaded water for 3 minutes until the buzzer went off for our wave to start the 1.2 mile swim. Given my swimming is my weakest of the 3 events in the triathlon, I chose to be in the back of my wave so I don't get in the way of the faster swimmers. It was kinda sad in that, once our wave started I slowly saw my group pull away from me and leave me in the dust. It took me a few hundred yards to get into a good groove.

After 3 minutes from our start, the last wave started and sure enough after a while, some of them caught up and passed me. Ugh, I really need to work on my swimming technique.

It was hard enough to look up once a while to check for the buoys to make sure I am swimming in the right direction, but when we turned around and headed back to the swim finish, the sun was reflecting off the water and thus made it even harder to see anything in front of me.

I survived the swim and got out of the water in 52 minutes, which was really slow compared to the time the first professional triathlete out of the water, which was 21 minutes. That’s fast!

I really appreciated the people helping the swimmers out of the water. I'm usually discombobulated once I get out of the water and it is hard for me to walk straight on my own.
What would you do differently?:

I definitely need to work on my swimming form and staying in the direction of the bouys. I keep finding myself wide to the right of the buoy which then I need to correct, thus costing me time and energy.
Transition 1
  • 08m 13s
What would you do differently?:

I need to practice more on getting my wetsuit off my legs quickly without falling off balance, which will make my transition time faster. Where's the cooking spray?
  • 3h 22m 30s
  • 56 miles
  • 16.59 mile/hr

It was a little disappointing to see that when I got back to my bike, that all the other bikes there were around me were already gone on the bike course. Oh well. I hopped on my bike and headed out on the bike course of 56 miles. It was fun because as I was on the course, I looked ahead and targeted the first triathlete that was in front of me, caught up with them and passed them. I did this for a number of triathletes, especially going up hills.

The course was relatively flat through mile 20 and then the rolling hills began. The first major climb came around mile 28, this was the hardest climb for me for the whole course. It was short, distance wise, but the grade was about 7% and went up to 11% percent near the top. The climb was so difficult for some that they got off their bikes and walked up the hill and others used the "paperboy" technique where they stayed on their bikes but instead of going straight up the hill, they went side to side going up the hill a little at a time from each side to side. For me, thankfully I did a lot of training on climbing hills with my friend Brett prior to the race. Thus I just dug deep and climbed straight up the hill. It was so intense for me that if you were next to me during the climb, you would have thought I was hyper ventilating because I was breathing so hard. In the end, I made it to the top without stopping. I was very proud of myself.

After that first hill, I used a lot of energy to the point where I started feeling my quad muscles cramp up. Thus for the next few miles, I turned down the intensity and ate some gu, clif bar pieces and energy drink.

There were two other climbs that did slow down my speed to a crawl but nothing as intense as the first hill. Once I got all the hills out of the way, it was smooth sailing back to the transition area, I thought…but even though the rest of the course was relatively flat, there was a nasty head wind that made my pedaling more challenging and slowed down my pace.

I made it back to the transition area with a total bike time of abour 3 hours and 22 minutes, which was actually great for me given the climbing involved on this course.
What would you do differently?:

I would train harder so that I can keep a greater average speed and work on staying in the aero position for longer periods of time.
Transition 2
  • 03m 59s

Before I started the run, my legs were angry at me. I guess I pushed it too much on the bike. They felt like how they feel right before they cramp up. I didn't pay too much to it and just ran out of the transition area and began the run course of 13.1 miles.
What would you do differently?:

Take a minute to stretch out my legs before I hit the run course.
  • 2h 32m 47s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 11m 40s  min/mile

I should have paid attention to my legs because sure enough a mile into the run both of my hamstrings cramped up so I had to go off to the side, grab the fence and just let the cramp run its course. Once it passed, I jumped back on the course and continued my running.

I knew my legs were not happy, thus I tried to just keep a running pace of 10 minutes per mile and not push my usual pace. I kept up the pace and when I hit the aid stations, I chose to walk through them and grab as much as I could. I usually grabbed 2 cups of gatorade to drink and 1 cup of water, not to drink but to toss on my head to cool me down.

It was cool in that there were some homes that I ran by pumping up the rocky theme on their stereo which gave me a little boost. Eye of the Tiger! Eye of the Tiger!

One thing I really liked about this race was that on my race bib, they also put my name. Thus when I was running and really struggling, the volunteers and people watching the race cheered me on using my name because they saw it on my race bib. That definitely helped me get through the race.

Unfortunately I believe I used too much energy on the bike portion because during the run, I was having a very hard time keeping up my running pace. I actually had to stop and walk a few times during the run course, which I tried not to but my body just couldn't hang.

There were many thoughts that went through my head during the run course, like why am I doing this? How did this older guy pass me up? Remember I can see their age written on the back of their left calf. But even with those thoughts going through my head, there was no way I was going to give up.

Finally as I reached the end of the run, I started to feel pain in my left ankle and got worried. Given I was so close to the end of the 70.3 mile day, I just it sucked it up and I ran the last mile to the finish line. Right before the finish line, my wife was there to cheer me on and take photos. I was so happy to see her there and so thankful that she is always there to support me on my races.
What would you do differently?:

Try and save some energy on the bike for the run and maybe take some electrolyte pills to help with the cramping.
Post race
Warm down:

Once I finished the race, they gave me a nice finisher medal, a finisher shirt and a finisher race cap. Soo cool!

I was going to go to the massage tent and get a massage but the line outside the tent a very long and I didn't want to wait. So I went to the food tent to check what food was available. They had pizza thus I grabbed a few pieces, scarfed it down and went back to my transition spot to clean up my mess.

As I was cleaning up my mess, my wife, her friend Thomas, my mom, my sister and niece and nephew showed up to congratulate me. I was sooo happy to see them and was very thankful for them being there for me at my day of triumph.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Definitely my swimming in general is limiting my potentially faster overall time. The headwinds in the last few miles of the bike course slowed down my pace. Finally, my muscles cramping during the run course slowed me down.

Event comments:

Overall, I was very proud of my performance given this being just the second time I have done this distance triathlon. My first goal for this race was to finish it. Which I did! Without any major injuries, too! My second goal was to get a better time than my last half-ironman distance triathlon. Which I did by 13 minutes! WooHoo!

Well, thank you for taking the time to read my first race report. I would definitely recommend this race to fellow triathletes.

Hope to see you guys at the Vineman Ironman in July!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-04-10 12:00 AM
00:51:29 | 2112 yards | 02m 26s / 100yards
Age Group: 249/258
Overall: 2000/2115
Performance: Average
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Below average
Time: 08:13
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
03:22:30 | 56 miles | 16.59 mile/hr
Age Group: 208/258
Overall: 1564/2115
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind
Course: Tip: Whenever you pass a blue H sign on the side of the road, fuel up because a significant climb is coming up!
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 88
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:59
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:32:47 | 13.1 miles | 11m 40s  min/mile
Age Group: 227/258
Overall: 1739/2115
Performance: Below average
Course: There is a portion in the first mile of the run where you run across the beach and actually you cross this section 4 times given the 2 loops you do for the course, so be prepared.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5