Ford Ironman 70.3 California - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Oceanside, California
United States
Ironman North America
65F / 18C
Total Time = 8h 30m 49s
Overall Rank = 1878/1958
Age Group = Athena
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Woke 1/2 hr. before departure. Wrote, prayed, meditated, peed, drank, PB on toast, supersweet double espresso ... the basics. :)

Dolores drove me as far as possible, then I biked ~1.5mi to transition. I had already been feeling apathetic/ambivalent about the race, and it felt dangerous and confusing to be biking in the dark with hundreds of other cyclists (and some cars managed to get in, too).

The volunteers were great and kept things moving, but the transition area was still overwhelming. I just joined the flow of people and bikes moving slowly up the racks and kept looking for my assigned spot. There was an impatient guy behind me trying to get ahead, but there simply wasn't anywhere to go to let him by. Finally he pushed his way by, but actually took the time to STOP next to me--he looked at my bike (with its cruiser bars), then looked at me, snorted, and said, "Are you LOST?" then surged ahead.

That stung. I have never had anybody at any race ever say one rude thing to me, and with feeling disoriented already, I was rattled. I found my rack and pulled up to my spot, only to find it taken. Now I was really confused. Should I take someone else's spot? Talk to an official? Finally I just commandeered the bar sticking out at the far end of the rack and made that my own. I got more space that way, anyway.

Since I was right by the wall, Dolores easily found me and helped me get my wetsuit on (it was cold and I needed to be dressed). (I had also seen Terri (MrsUSMC) and Melissa (BunnyB) on my way to body marking ... step one to feeling better). Tim (WaterDog66) also came to my rack (several times, since I wasn't in my spot!), and that meant ever so much to me. I felt so much better after seeing them. I knew I wasn't alone and everything was going to be okay. I helped some women in my wave get their wetsuits on.
Event warmup:

There isn't any. You get lined up by the water in your wave, which is very cool because I got to see the pros and prior waves come out of the water and run right by into T1. I saw Hans (devouahy) come out of the water and that was awesome! He'd caught a bunch of the pro women. Dolores and Monica (our AIDS Marathon coach) were on the other side of the T chute and screaming and waving signs at me and taking pictures. I felt like a rockstar even though I was wearing dirty mismatched socks on my hands (for warmth--soooo many people were jealous and said what a good idea). Nibbled on a PowerBar (2nd breakfast) and sipped on water in line.
  • 40m 20s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 55s / 100 yards

I kept it strong and smooth, no hurry, since I wasn't sure what to expect for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, the swim was crowded the entire way and I spent my energy running into people's feet, trying to go around, and fighting for space most of the time.
What would you do differently?:

POSSIBLY ... (no way to know ahead) swim well to the outside, since I may have gotten some clear water there and had a faster swim. I don't know. In future HIMs (wait, I did NOT just say that; future WHAT?! never), go ahead and hammer the swim ... it's so short ... almost like it's thrown in there just so it can be called a triathlon.
Transition 1
  • 07m 46s

What on earth could have taken me nearly eight minutes to do? Then again, it was a huge transition area--there's a lot of running involved, and I did run it all. I also needed to take time to lube my toe well, since I had (from before the race) a blister that had torn open and infected around my pinky toe.
What would you do differently?:

Laid out transition in a more systematic fashion and racked my bike facing me (same mistake, 2 tris in a row!)
  • 4h 37m
  • 56 miles
  • 12.13 mile/hr

SEE 2nd REPLY TO THIS REPORT (still brain dead and nothing worked to post the bike profile here)

The first thing that bounced out of my Bento box on the bike was my lozenges--I had the nastiest sore throat, and had developed a cold the day before. Pooh!

I was THE ONLY rider with cruiser bars (would pay very dearly for that); I saw one other person with downtube shifters (and toe clips).

When my feet began to thaw, there was a sharp pain on the ball of my left foot each downstroke. (Maybe a rock in my shoe? Check later ...) Although nearly everybody passed me, the majority took the time to say NICE WORK or GREAT JOB, ARDIE (my last name was on my bib). Wonderful!!! ONE JERK said HA, NICE BIKE (forgive him, Father, and may he have a chain tool and lots of spare tubes).

I loved the bike leg. It was gorgeous--the green of Ireland in the hills and the best of the Pacific in the views. Fairly decent surface, a few rough spots, but all potholes marked with day-glo orange paint.

However, I suffered (and I don't use that word lightly). Generally, I will die before I'll walk on a hill (and I still passed several pretty boys with pretty bikes walking before I did). But on (two) long hills, reaching way down to shift, no granny gear, and sitting high on cruiser bars in the wind, I gave up about 2/3 of the way to the top, when it got really steep, I was going 3mph, and realized I could walk WAY faster. So I did. I saw my HRM hitting high 190s several times on the hills, and I was just tanked.

It is very fun, however, to whiz while whizzing downhill. :) That way not all of it splashes into your shoes.

I pedaled my heart out into the wind, which started with the nastiest of the hills. There was just no way to cut through it. Several times I sat hunched down with my hands in the middle of my bars, but then got severe cramps down the whole right leg (not used to that position, probably). So for two miles, I did single-leg pedal stroke drills with my left leg (what is that horrible pain in the ball of my left foot?!), and just hoped my right would ease up. It did, but those were two hideous, hideous painful miles into the wind.

About ten miles into the wind and hills, I knew I would still make the bike cutoff, but would be cutting it EXTREMELY close to the overall cutoff (assuming a decent run). But I saw the SAG wagon pick up a lot of people in a lot better shape with a lot nicer bikes than me (and they were still out on the course at the same time!) I realized--and used as a mantra--that not everybody gets finish this race, but I do.

In the last six miles, some jerk in a white car pulled in front of me (CLOSED COURSE) and STOPPED on a downhill. (Going around = oncoming traffic or ditch). I came to a screeching halt yelling $HYTE (yes, the British way!) and he pulled to the side just far enough to let me through.
What would you do differently?:

I'm sorry that it took these 56 miles for me to realize it, but I need a different bike. My current one is about 10cm too big, with downtubes and those wide-azz handlebars!

Other than that, there was not one single thing I could have done differently (perhaps walked earlier on hills, actually, but that's a contingency issue). I fought for every single inch of this course. There is not one single way I could have gone faster or pushed harder anywhere.
Transition 2
  • 07m 14s

I did fantastic in T2. I ran in and I ran out. It was actually really fast (considering), and it saved my sagging spirits to see Keith (krludwig) and Verna (mixie) right there. However, I took my shoe and sock off to see what hurting my foot. To my horror, there was a deep 1.5 inch gash across the ball of the left foot (and a smaller 1-inch to the right of it). There was a bunch of grit and caked blood in it, and I squirted water through it (OW OW OW). I tried to tape it up, but nothing would stick to my lubed soggy foot.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing at all.
  • 2h 58m 31s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 13m 38s  min/mile

I have never pushed myself as hard as I did on this run. I knew I was within minutes, if not seconds, of the cutoff. I once did a marathon when I was so ill I could barely stand or breathe (had just been discharged from the hospital), and that wasn't as tough (no time limit). I had UPS (Uncontrollable Peeing Syndrome).

I did awesome on the run. I was within 10 min. of my open half-mary time, the pacing was even throughout (slightly faster last 2 mi), and I ran on a 2:1 wralk. I seriously wanted to chop my left foot off, until I saw the challenged athletes who really did have a foot chopped off, and remembered how lucky I am to be alive, to get to live, really live, live huge, to do triathlons and have limbs.

The spectator and volunteer support was unbelievable; they knew we were the last of the Mohicans. On my way out, Dolores and Monica were cheering, and Hans (devouahy) yelled my name as he was on the homestretch to the finish! When I came back in on the first loop, there was Tim, Dolores, Faeron, Monica, Verna, and Matt in a group cheering their hearts out! Wow! Tim had stayed to the bitter end AND come back out to cheer for me! Huge! I got a much needed boost. Keith was out there at about mile 5--yay!

It is heartbreaking to come in and have to turn around for that second loop. But on the way out, there was my cheering squad again--and Tim actually RAN with me part of the way! Can you believe it! THAT, my friends, is an ATHLETE and a GOD. It was also wonderful to meet Rachel (gymgirlx) as she was coming in to finish and I was headed out.

Looking back, I KNOW the only way I did the second loop was on the wings of such beautiful wishes from this incredible community we call BT. I FELT YOU WITH ME. I thought of so many of you on this run, and what you have faced with fear but overcome anyway, and your words of support, and you truly were the wind at my back.

At one point, I had NOTHING left. NOTHING. Cut foot, blown-up legs, tanked, hyponatremic (dizzy and VERY fat hands), limited brain function. Couldn't remember if I was on a walk or run. Right then I heard some breath behind me, and moved to the side ever so slightly, but no-one passed, just a soft voice: "I'll sit back here for a few moments, if that's all right with you." I grunted. A few minutes later, there was the loveliest piglet running next to me. He said his name was Mike, and could he pace me for a while? I found a voice. "I'll be walking some." He replied, "That's fine. You're perfect." We ran in silence. I could see peripherally a flawless body, shaved legs; I think he was white, but I don't know; I think he was wearing black and white, but I don't know; he just seemed full of light. I don't recall a race belt. He seemed at ease, no struggle. It was puzzling. I croaked out a question about why he was so late in the race, and he just answered, "Bike." We ran on. I blurted out, "I just want to make it before the cutoff." He said, "You're great. Your form looks great. You're a very strong runner. You'll make it just fine." That was the last thing I remember of him. I don't really remember him coming, and I don't remember him going, and I didn't see him ahead of me.

I wonder ...

I ran most of the last two miles--I walked the last aid station, and there was dear sweet Andrew (ACGRAY22)--I totally recognized him and gave him a huge smile. I picked back up into a run and ran straight in toward the finish. All alongside my right were racers and spectators streaming back to their cars, and they--knowing I was one of the last finishers--were yelling and cheering. One lady broke in and jogged with me, and said very sternly, YOU ARE STILL IN THIS RACE DON'T YOU SLOW DOWN NOW and I picked it up a bit more. Then I could HEAR the finish line, and there were STILL people by the chutes cheering, and I could see the arch--the clock was still running! I couldn't go faster but I could go on! And I heard "THERE IS STILL ONE COMING IN IT'S YANTI COMING IN TO THE FINISH LOOK AT HER GO" (how did he know my name?) and they're putting up the tape for me like I'm Andy Potts and I put my arms up in thanks to the whole universe and through the arch and ... there's Dolores and Tim and oh my goodness Monica and Matt and Faeron and dear sweet Andrew ...

What would you do differently?:

Not a doggone thing. There was not one bit of anything else I could pull out of me for anything.

Tim once said (it's in my sig line): "The last few folks finishing the race just before the cutoff have nothing left but a heart to keep them going." I never thought that would be me, but that is exactly how it was.
Post race
Warm down:

Got taken to the med tent by a volunteer--I was not okay and I badly needed salt. Check out the pic below--let's face it, I'm a big girl, but my hands were swollen about 1.5 times their size and it looks like I was, too. Oh--and even though BunnyB had put my wristband on very loose in registration, I swelled so much it sliced into my wrist. Ouchie! They had no salt (seriously?!?!?!), so I just started licking my arms. Tim (the darling!!!) got me pizza and I ate as much as I could. Kept walking. Dolores walked me back to the finish line to get a shirt and cap (I'd only gotten a medal before waddling to the med tent). Dolores packed up transition for me and carried my crap, and sweet Tim walked out with us back to Verna's car (closest) and she took me to the hotel, where I sat in cold water, eventually washed the filth off, then rinsed the cuts in my feet really well and dressed them.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Bike, bike, bike. It really was about the bike. Other than that, I was trained to finish this, not race it, so that was fine. It MAY have helped not to have a sliced foot.

After tough races, though my legs hurt (esp. stairs and chairs!), I can usually pull/steady myself up with my arms. In this case, all my limbs are pretty shot--my neck, shoulders and arms really took it on the bike as well.

This is not a marathon. I went into it thinking it might be similar in duration and intensity. Not a chance.

Event comments:

This race is incredible. The only downsides were a very confusing transition area (before the race), and fewer than advertised aid stations on the bike (there were supposed to be every 10 mi; but I passed through three). P.S. HOT MARINES.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-03-30 12:00 AM
00:40:20 | 2112 yards | 01m 55s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/1958
Performance: Good
Suit: Full wet
Course: Out and back, mostly in the harbor.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 59F / 15C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 07:46
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
04:37:00 | 56 miles | 12.13 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/1958
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind
Course: Mi 1-28: Flat-ish, a few rollers. Mi 29-50: BIG EFFEN SCARY HILLS + headwind. Mi 50-56: Flat-ish/downhill.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Below average Hills: Average
Race pace: Too hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 07:14
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:58:31 | 13.1 miles | 13m 38s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/1958
Performance: Good
Course: Nearly totally flat 2 loops out-n-back.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
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] 4