Ford Ironman 70.3 California - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Oceanside, California
United States
Ironman North America
72F / 22C
Total Time = 5h 51m 58s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 45-49F
Age Group Rank = 36/90
Pre-race routine:

Disclaimer: Long RR/may bring tears...

This weekend started off badly when I decided to bring my Explorer in for an oil change tune-up the day before we were supposed to drive 470 miles to Oceanside (procrastinator) and found out my brakes were 90 percent worn and I needed new front rotors/pads etc...They were able to get everything done for me by 1pm on Thursday, but in the meantime, it stuck us pretty close to hitting Pleasanton/Livermore commute hour traffic. Good thing is that we totally missed LA traffic...but we didn't hit the Days Inn until 10pm that night.

On the way down, I got terrible news about my cousin Rob's wife, Cora, who I've known and loved for the past 30 years, she'd had an aneurysm earlier that day and then a stroke...and was going to have surgery. What!!!??? I couldn't believe it. I had just seen her less than a month ago and she was perfectly fine.

At that point, I was considering turning around and going back up north but my family told me there wasn't anything I could do even if I came back. Kathy and I decided to sleep on it, think positive thoughts, and see how her surgery went. Surgery did not go well...Friday afternoon, my cousin Gail told me she was still alive but she had no brain activity...I was in agony, we cried together...I didn't know what to do.

My family asked me to run the race in her honor...I was torn...I told them I would try my best...
After much deliberation and lots of support from my dad, more of my cousins, my coach and my mentor group, I made a decision. I thought about why I do triathlon...I enjoy the training, the racing and the rewarding feeling of accomplishment by pushing my body to it's limits. Cora was a great supporter, also an athlete who actually first introduced me to spinning class back when I was a being a couch potato in 2006.

She has done long bike touring events with her friends and with my cousin Rob, run/walking the Nike half marathon this past fall and recently in February, the Kaiser 5k with her two beautiful sons. She always encouraged us to do the things that make us

I wrote Cora's name on my running cap, with the words "With U, For U" and I resolved to get to the run portion no matter what, so I could carry her with me the 13.1 miles...little did I know, who would be carrying who...

Okay, dinner was at a little Italian restaurant called "Veneto's" and I had a green salad with chicken breast in a balsamic vinegratte with a half order of penne with red sauce. It was actually delicious! Lots of water.
Breakfast was 2 helpings of oatmeal, a bagel with pb and a banana, with decaf tea.
Event warmup:

Day before, I did a 35 min bike with a few bursts and a 30 min Z1/2 run with 3-4 30 sec bursts
Should have gotten in the water with wetsuit, but should have done lots of things differently with my ows/lack of ows. Glad that I did the short bike because I realized how chilly my toes were getting even in 60F put the toe warmers back on the shoes. Great decision.

Day of race, no warmup at retrospect should have done a little jog beforehand to get the HR up so it didn't feel so jarring when we got into the 59F water...oh well...

Rode in the dark the 1 mile from motel to the start line at about 5:30am. Didn't want to go too early because I always get nervous waiting...It was pretty cool, there were spotlights and volunteers helping us find our racks...felt very professional. Luckily did not need to use restroom, so just laid out transition and double checked that I had everything. Ate one gu with a sip of water and left for the super crazy chute. Glad I wore an old pair of sneakers and socks, my feet were not cold at all...and I think it helped.

Saw Kathy right as our corral was getting ready to go into the water...waved and i made the prayer sign to pray for me! I don't know if she got that at the time, but it was caught on our flip video.
  • 52m 40s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 29s / 100 yards

Ugh. Okay, I know that mentally my head was not totally there, but this was almost 5 minutes slower than my last HIM swim and with the lessons I got this winter and my pool times and workouts, I was really hoping for something closer to 45 minutes...I think I was on pace for that until the point where we pass the protected part of the harbor, because the current started taking me wide, and suddenly the fast peeps from the wave behind started coming up...I looked up and didn't see all of my pink caps that I had been following closely. Darn.

Negative thoughts were creeping in, people were bumping me. I kept steadily swimming, but I feel like I lost my focus and my stroke started to get short and choppy. Darn.
My right calf started cramping with about 300 yards to go. I thought, maybe if I kick if I kick I knew I just needed to get to that boat ramp but every time I looked, it still looked just as far away as before! When I got to the ramp finally, it was nice to get a hand from a volunteer in the water who basically pulled me up and shoved me out. Wow.

I did jog with my cap and tried to work the cramp out...slowly it went away. I tried to feel my normal sense of happiness and relief that I was out of the water, but I was kind of p.o'ed that I lost my focus. Ugh.
What would you do differently?:

I say this every race report, but more OWS practice...or how about ANY OWS practice. I was pleased with my sighting and my ability to withstand the cold water temp...for some reason it did not bother me, and it is what always stops me from swimming at Aquatic Park. Now that I have had 52 minutes in 59F water, I resolve to go to Aquatic park.

I need to stay focused and not get so flustered when other swimmers are near me, either that or stay further to the right of the buoy line. Geesh!
Transition 1
  • 06m 8s

Not sure what happened here, but looking at other people's T1 times, mine was not crazy long. There was a long run up from the water and a long run to the bike mount. Got a little emotional looking at my running cap with Cora's name on it. I did remember everything, even sunscreen when it was still pretty brisk out...but I opted to forego the arm warmers and gloves and was glad I did...I got warm fast.
What would you do differently?:

Be more deliberate. Not get emotional looking at my running cap.
  • 3h 00m 59s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.57 mile/hr

Wow, this part of my race was absolutely amazing. Plan was to stay in Zone 2 for the first 15 minutes or so and then slowly build to Z3 and stay there until the last 20 minutes, where I could back off to Z2 again. And I was pretty much able to do that, except on the first hill, when it went up to Z4 by the top. Luckily there was a nice downhill and HR came down rather quickly.

My 3 hour (6 scoops of Infinit) in one 20 oz. bottle worked like a charm. Chased with water in my downtube bottle every 15 minutes. Replaced water bottle twice, so I think I went through about 40 oz of water total. Stopped Infinit with about 30 minutes to go and switched to water.

Omg, I wanted to either stop at a port o potty or just go on the bike for the whole last 90 minutes but I just couldn't stop...First half of the course was amazingly fast, my split was about 1:26 and my effort felt very controlled...I knew there were hills coming after the half way point but when I saw that big one coming up in the distance, I was like "WHOA, those people look tiny!" Turns out it wasn't so bad, got into my easiest gear and just stayed steady to the top, no getting out of the the 2nd biggish hill, people were walking their bikes up and I still felt amazingly strong.

When I have done this course on the computrainer, the second hill always did me in. The real thing felt easier to me on this day, at least.

There were some crazy cross winds on some of the descents after that which were a little scary especially in this one "no pass zone" stretch, where I have to say 2 (men) decided to pass a large group of us who were patiently waiting on a somewhat tentative 60 y.o. woman (who by the way was going at least 30mph because that's what my garmin said). C'mon man, really? This other guy and I yelled out at both of them, it was so dangerous and SO CLEARLY marked. To top it off, both of them had disc wheels and were blowing sideways.

I so wish there had been an official to penalize them. It said no exceptions, but I guess some people feel really special. Anyhow, rant over, the rest of the way, it was mostly rollers and pretty nice on the way home with the wind blowing me uphill at 22-23 mph! My cadence sensor was not working but it felt like about 90 rpm except on the crazy hills.

Saw Kathy right at the end of the bike on the little bridge and got a big holler from her! That was a great boost for the upcoming run! All in all I was really happy with this bike as I was able to come in with a nice 18.6 mph and feel ready for the run.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I am happy to live and train in the SF bay area where hills are everywhere. I am so glad I bought that used computrainer this fall, my coach really maximized my time and abilities with specific workouts. Thanks, Steve! I think I have lots of room for improvement as we have only been working with each other since August.

Transition 2
  • 05m 9s

I ran my bike in, actually a very short distance due to the long (slow) ride into the dismount area. Happy to just switch shoes, spray more sunscreen, don my running cap, grab Gu and GO! Oh, and switch my Garmin to Run mode. No, I still couldn't do the multisport function!

Finally, a port o potty and I did not have to wait long. Wonderful volunteer held my fuel bottle of water and I had the longest pee ever. Sorry, TMI, but it was at least 3 minutes long :)
What would you do differently?:

Learn to go on the bike...that seriously cost me 3 minutes!!!
  • 1h 47m 3s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 10s  min/mile

Plan was to start off the first 15 minutes in zone HRM was reading 85, yeah, I don't think legs felt good, but not THAT good. I tried to do it by effort and the first few miles were in the 7:50 range...took a Gu at 15 min with water and then one more 45 min later. Water every 15 minutes.

The course is really a nice course, starts off flat and there is a nice section along the beach...lots of crowd support and great volunteers at all of the water stations. The plan was to gradually build effort to high Z3 between 15 and 30 minute mark and stay there...which I did actually really well. I did not look at my pace, just ran by feel.

At the turnaround point (2 lap course), I saw Kathy waving and hollering, she was filming me...I started to think about how lucky we are to be so healthy and have this huge future in front of us and how Rob and Cora had that just 3 days ago...and then poof...and I started getting emotional... I thought about hitting that turnaround point and just wanted to give the strongest effort I possibly could, for Cora, for Kathy who was out there for 6 hours, for my family, for my coach, my mentor group who sent all of their prayers and good vibes and support, but also and maybe most importantly for me, to push my body to the limits of it could do.

And I pushed on for that second lap with a similar sense of purpose that I last felt during the last 6 miles of my marathon in December. I looked at my watch, 54:30 at the turnaround....let's negative split this.

At the 10 mile marker, my right calf was tightening up a bit and it was getting so hot...I silently asked Cora for a little angel one had electrolytes...a girl popped out of the volunteer tent and handed me an ice water soaked sponge. omg that was awesome! Squeezed water over my head and shoulders and stuck it behind my neck.

I bumped up the effort for those last few miles, thinking of nothing but finishing strong! A woman who was going for it at the end too, assured me she was not in my age group told me to keep breathing deeply, relax my shoulders, and I thanked her, then she said, now go hard to the finish. I passed her and turned back to say, come with me and she just gave me this little smile and said, no, this one is yours. I do believe my angel did come through right at that moment. I did finish the second half in 52:33 and was pretty emotional at the end.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing at all...stuck to the plan. I'm pretty happy with the effort I gave.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked over and saw Kathy, she took a picture of a sweaty, but happy me. Went to the food tent where I grabbed a piece of veggie pizza and a sport drink...I saw a man holding an orange slice so I went up to a volunteer and asked her where the oranges were, she said, I'll go find you some...and she brought me a huge plate of orange slices and said they were the last ones!!!

Wow, i ate about 3 slices and shared the rest with the people at my table...who in turn passed me a banana they had found on the floor. I don't care, it's not like I'm eating the skin! I felt so lucky. Just pizza alone is not a very good recovery food for me...not very refreshing, either!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not going to make excuses, I've listed all of the issues with the swim. I trained hard for this race, and gave 110 percent the whole way. I have lots of room for improvement on the bike and swim, so that is very encouraging. This is a 22 minute p.r. off my first HIM at Vineman last summer.

Event comments:

This is an awesome venue and it was very well organized. My only issues were with the lack of real food at the "athlete's lounge" and the horrible traffic getting out with our bikes. Athlete's supporters were lined up along the paved road getting out, causing a major log jam, and forcing us to walk in the sand, carrying our bikes! Thank goodness Kathy was there to hold my T-bag, I don't know if I would have had the energy for all of that! I would absolutely do this race again (and get that swim time down!)

I don't know if this belongs in "race evaluation" but I would like to thank everyone who sent us their prayers and positive thoughts. Special and most important has been the support of my wonderful, supportive partner, Kathy who withstands my crazy training schedule, but gently reminds me about balance. Suzy, thank you for answering my mayday and being a great friend. Kyla and Linda, thank you for sharing your experiences. Coach Steve, thank you for understanding and guiding me to do what my heart felt was best.

Cora, I ran this race in your honor, and it was truly my honor to be able to do that. You have inspired me to be a strong woman, to love family and friends with abundance and to do what makes us happy in this life. You did that every day and it was a blessing to have had you as a part of our family. We will miss you dearly, but we will carry you in our hearts forever.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-08-16 12:00 AM
00:52:40 | 2112 yards | 02m 29s / 100yards
Age Group: 84/90
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Suit: full sleeve blue seventy reaction
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 59F / 15C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Average Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Below average
Time: 06:08
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:00:59 | 56 miles | 18.57 mile/hr
Age Group: 32/90
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Wind: Some with gusts
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 05:09
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:47:03 | 13.1 miles | 08m 10s  min/mile
Age Group: 12/90
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
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: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4