Ironman 70.3 California - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Oceanside, California
United States
Ironman North America
70F / 21C
Total Time = 4h 55m 18s
Overall Rank = 246/2226
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 38/348
Pre-race routine:

Up at 4, shower, coffee, oatmeal, get dressed, load up and drive to Oceanside. Park and ride to the harbor. Set up transition. Chat w/friends / body marking / stand in porta potty line.
Event warmup:

Walk around, stretch, swim out to swim start and tread water. One of the big concerns about this race is the water temp. It was a manageable 59-60 degrees and there was no face-stinging cold. Maybe it's just that I've gotten used to the local water temps, but I've felt much worse recently.
  • 34m 52s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 39s / 100 yards

Swim started off great. Middle of second row and was cruising along comfortably in the chase pack after a couple hundred yards. We started catching white caps from the M25-29 group shortly after the dogleg turn buoy and it started to get very congested at the first 90-degree turn. It got even more crowded at the last turn and with the sun out, I couldn't see anything (even with mirrored goggles). I tried to find some open water and before I knew it I was free. I saw a few lifeguards periodically and they were pointing to the right. I usually breathe left and when I tried to breathe / look right, I couldn't see anything. Finally, a lifeguard paddled over to me and told me to stop and take a look. I was in the middle of the harbor. He pointed me back towards the big hotel and I could see the line of splashing swimmers, so I thanked him and headed on my way. Ouch. Lost some time there. Not the way I wanted to start, but the swim was more than half over and I'd be out of the water and off on the bike shortly. It did get a bit crowded towards the swim finish and I started to cramp up a bit in the calves in the last few hundred yards or so. I was actually a bit concerned that I would have trouble getting up the ramp, but there was no problem. I hit the ramp, a volunteer grabbed me, pushed me up and unzipped my suit and I was on my way.
What would you do differently?:

Pay more attention at the last turn (especially if the sun is out and visibility is poor). Make sure to follow traffic. Be patient.
Transition 1
  • 03m 21s

Long run through transition. I was in the TCSD rack which was in the front, right next to the Challenged Athletes' rack, so the whole T1 run was before changing. Thankfully, the main aisle is carpeted. That was nice as the pavement there is a bit pebbly. Left the shoes off the bike for this race since the run out was very short. It was a slow T1 time for me, but it's a very long run. Still, I was at least a minute longer last year, so there was some "free" time.
What would you do differently?:

All-in-all, I can't complain. It's a long run and just take a while to travel all that way. Contrary to what I had said earlier on the BT forum, it could be close to a quarter mile for the entire T1 run.
  • 2h 37m 48s
  • 56 miles
  • 21.29 mile/hr

The bike went well. I was hoping to break 2:45, but I didn't really know what to expect. I was 3:03 last year and thought I could realistically be anywhere between 2:35 and 2:50.

I kept it moderately in-check until we got through base and then picked up the pace up the coast. From the turn inland to the first hill, I backed off a bit and used the downhills to rest and take on water and nutrition before hammering up the hills. I stood up on all of the hills and tried to crank em out as fast as possible to just get it over with.

The downhills were nice and fast, but there were some sketchy sections with nasty crosswinds that were very scary with the 9.0 front wheel. During the no-pass downhill, I was hanging on for dear life, riding the brakes, with the front end trying to get away from me. I shared a few sighs of relief with some other riders once that was over with. "Death Wobble" seemed an apt term.

There was a bit of a headwind for a few miles, but I knew that since it was coming out of the east, it would be helping us all of the way back through base. I geared down and increased the cadence (I assume) and just dealt with going slower for a while. After the last hill on Basilone, it was a relatively easy ride back to base at a pretty fast pace.
What would you do differently?:

I think everything worked out pretty well on the bike. When it started feeling like too much work early, I backed off a bit. I have ridden this course before and I was prepared for the hills. The rollers in between caught me a bit off guard and there was a headwind at times, but I think it was not as bad as it could have been. Last year, it felt like the wind was at our face for the last 10 miles back to the harbor. This year, it was a helping wind towards the end.

I might also decide to race with the 5.0 up front. There were two times when I was definitely concerned for my safety and was up out of the bars hanging on with everything I had. I forgot to check the wind conditions and I heard the announcer say there was a wind out of the east in the morning when we were setting up transition. I just thought that would mean we would have an easier ride back to the harbor, which it did, but I didn't consider the crosswinds on the descents. I think I'll remember those next time.
Transition 2
  • 01m 54s

It got a bit stacked up at the dismount and the riders in front of me almost ran into each other. I had to brake a bit faster than expected and with both feet on the left side of my bike it made it a bit awkward. One shoe clipped the ground and came undone. I had to reach back and pick it up, but didn't lose any time as I still had to wait for them to sort things out up front.

I also took more time at the rack and opted to put on socks and lace up trainers. I knew the bike split was good enough that I had some time to spare and I didn't really like the thought of running that course in Newtons without socks. They've been giving me hot spots and I just wanted to avoid a catastrophic blow-up, and I thought comfortable footwear might help.

I also forgot my nutrition. I usually just grab the plastic bag with whatever's left out of my feed box on the bike, but I was fiddling with getting my Garmin turned on so it would be ready for the run and I completely forgot to grab my salt and Blok baggie. Looking back, that could have been a huge mistake, but I had kept up with nutrition pretty well on the bike and I figured there are aid stations every mile, so I could have gotten something if needed.
What would you do differently?:

Slip on Newtons and run out (with nutrition).
  • 1h 37m 24s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 26s  min/mile

Started out a bit fast on run (6:31, 6:42). Slowed down before first hill, but started to get some stomach discomfort after the short climb and stopped at a porta potty at the next aid station. That helped. The run back was easier and there was a nice breeze coming off the water. You can see the pier and then the breakwater so you have an idea of how far you have to run. There was a lot of team support from friends and training buddies along the course which was nice. It's always tough to make the turn and head back out for the second loop when the finish is so close, but I was still feeling pretty good - and still well within 5:00 pace. Slowed down considerably on the second loop (and visited the same porta potty). Ticked off the miles on the way back and enjoyed the crowd support coming on home. It sure felt good to be finished.
What would you do differently?:

The run was the one leg where I feel I left more time on the table. I really wanted to break 5 hours and I was worried about blowing up - especially without having any nutrition (I ended up just drinking water on the run course). The half iron run is always a struggle, but I just feel I should be able to run faster than 1:35. I may just not be acknowledging how much the bike takes out of your legs.
Post race
Warm down:

Hung out in the finishing chute with my friends who were working as chip removers. Went and got some pizza, cleaned up my transition area and put on some shorts. Back to finish chute to watch finishers come through. Stayed through awards and rolldown (Missed Clearwater - 4th in AG that wanted the 3 rolldown spots and there was no rollover from any other male divisions).

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Poor navigation on the swim. I definitely lost some time paddling about in the middle of the swim course. I'm glad a lifeguard came and got me before I ran into oncoming traffic. Putting on socks and lacing up running shoes took some time and 2 bathrooms stops on the run didn't help.

Event comments:

This is an awesome event. The race directors can't control the elements. What they can control, they do well. It is easily the best run triathlon that I have seen and it rivals the organization of well-run big city marathons.

Last updated: 2009-08-19 12:00 AM
00:34:52 | 2112 yards | 01m 39s / 100yards
Age Group: 106/348
Overall: 683/2226
Performance: Average
Suit: Xterra Vendetta (Full)
Course: Straight out, dogleg left, 90-degree left, 90-degree left and dogleg right on way back to boat launch.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 60F / 16C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Bad
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:21
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
02:37:48 | 56 miles | 21.29 mile/hr
Age Group: 35/348
Overall: 254/2226
Performance: Good
No HRM No Cadence (Garmin still set to road bike) 48-degrees when I started bike, 68 coming back into T2.
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: Up through Camp Pendleton and along Trestles bike path to Christianitos. East through base and up some pretty nasty hills on the back side. Basilone west to Vandegrift back to the harbor.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: ?
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:54
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
01:37:24 | 13.1 miles | 07m 26s  min/mile
Age Group: 37/348
Overall: 250/2226
Performance: Average
No HRM 6:31, 6:42, 7:42 (bathroom), 7:01, 7:14, 7:23, 7:06, 7:17, 7:27, 8:59 (bathroom), 7:32, 7:40, 7:30.
Course: 2 out & back loops. Pretty flat. A couple of short, steep inclines and some mild rollers and false flats.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
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