Ironman 70.3 California - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
Oceanside, California
United States
Ironman North America
60F / 16C
Total Time = 5h 19m 12s
Overall Rank = 485/2878
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 47/308
Pre-race routine:

Last year, when I signed up for Ironman Coeur d'Alene, I knew I was scheduling myself out for Boston 2011 so I decided that I wanted to run Ironman California 70.3 as a tuneup race. I have not done IMCal since I first qualified for Boston.

My plan for this tuneup race was to run the race at Full IM Pace. For my current fitness, I reconed this to be a Sub-40 Swim, a Sub-2:45 Bike, and a Sub-1:45 run. This would put me at a ~5:20 finish which is right where my personal best time for this distance was. (I set my personal best here in 2007)

I got into the transition area around 5:30 and set up my rack, and then went for a run on the beach, The air was suprisingly warm and a bit dank, and after Friday morning's Practice swim, I knew the water would be about the same as the air temps. Now that I am in my new AG, I am in the back of the bus. (The men, 45-50 were wave 19 and 20) I had a long time to wait, with much of it standing in the chute waiting for my wave to stage. In the process, I got to see the pro men come out of the water.
  • 38m 37s
  • 1931 meters
  • 01m / 100 meters

Finally, it was my turn to get into the water and it felt great. I had my new wetsuit as well as a neoprene hood to keep me toasty and warm. I swam to the start line rather quickly since we only have 3 minutes between waves. Then the gun fires and we are off to the races.

The swim is a single dog leg out and back and is usually a pretty easy swim out; but a pain on the return thanks to the morning sun. Lucky for me, today was overcast so I was actually able to sight perfectly. I even was able to maintain a comfortable distance from the bait dock, and more importantly, the fuel doc on the return trip. I did manage to bridge the gaps and ended up mid-pack a couple waves in front of my wave.

I felt strong though the entire swim with no real fatigue. The swim is the most peaceful part of the race because you cannot hear anything except your breath and the gurgle of water around you. Then when I get close to the swim exit at the boat ramp, suddenly there is lots of volunteers screaming and competitors waving around. The ramp is very crowded and I have spend a lot of time waiting to go single file through the arch and across the chip mat, but that is racing.

Time: 38:37; not my best swim, but certainly a pace I could easily maintain for another lap. This is more than a minute faster than my target time so all is good.

I am out of the water in 89th place and suprised at how many bikes are still in the racks. (I am the first bike out of my rack)

Transition 1
  • 03m 33s
  • 2h 51m 35s
  • 56 miles
  • 19.58 mile/hr

Then I am off on the bike and feeling great. I train a great deal on the front side of this course and know every inch of it very well. I quickly settle into a groove and work on settling my stomach so I can take some nutrition on board. I have a couple of Uncrustables in my bento box and they start sounding quite good by about mile 10. Through the whole front side of the course, I am passing lots of riders; several of them are even in my Age Group. This business about starting in the back of the race has some advantages I had not considered. I am blowing past a lot of folks.

By the time I am in San Clemente, my average speed is ~21.5 MPH which is very good for me and a bit faster than target pace. But this part of the course is flat and I did have a bit of a tail wind. Here we turn back onto Camp Pendleton through the san Mateo Gate and we are in the hills. The first big hill arrives soon after and I am able to float over it without too much fuss. There are a great many who have chosen to walk their bikes up this rather nasty hill.

As we continue through Camp Horno, we take on quite a few rollers and two more solid climbs. I am passing a lot of cyclists and playing tag with a few of the fasties. By the time I get to the third and final hill, the folks I was playing tag with have all fallen back and now I am able to make up a ton of time on some huge decents. I am pushing a huge gear and really flying. (A 56x11 for those who are interested) When I get to the bottom and make the turn at the airfield, I head out on the flattest part of the course.

This last 10 mile stretch is deceiving. Many hammer the hills thinking this bit is a piece of cake. But more often than not, this is by far the toughest stretch. the prevailing onshore winds blow up this valley and turn it into a big wind tunnel. My plan is to stay in aero and cruise without fighting the wind. I am passing so many folks riding on completely spent legs. They have obviously impaled themselves on the peaks of the hills and are now fighting an enemy they cannot even see but can surely feel.

As I come into town, I unload some gear and bring up the cadence to get the blood flowing to my lower body. I have a little pep talk with the legs and convince them that the bike got us here, now it is time to run. I am feeling great and charge into town passing more folks on the way in.
Transition 2
  • 02m 4s
  • 1h 43m 33s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 54s  min/mile

The first mile is always the hardest; but this was not that bad. My only concern is that my HR and breathing are way higher than I would like them to be with 13 miles left to go. After a mile or so, I have calmed down and find a good groove. I am wading through packs of runners the whole way out and it really keeps me going. The run course is a two loop affair with each loop an Out-And-Back along the Strand. There are a couple of hills but nothing to get too worried about so by mile 3, I start cranking. On the return, I grab a couple of iced sponges and this feels so awesome. I wipe my face and neck and sqeeze the excess water onto my quads.

As I get close to the end of my first lap, I get passed by someone in my AG. Now I have to make a decision: Do I chase him down, let him go and try to reel him in later if/when he blows up, or forget about him and stick with my plan. I decide to wait for the turn so I can look him in the eye and see how much pain he is feeling and I let him go for now.

A half mile later, I can still see him ahead of me and I figure when he makes his turn for the second lap, I can evaluate my options. But then it happens, I make the turn, but he bounds straight on to the finish. Crap, he is on his second lap. As it turned out, he was the first place guy in my AG and if I would have tried to run him down, I would have burned up in the 1/2 a mile we would have run together. Lucky me. Stick with the plan dude...

The second lap ground on and I am still feeling pretty good at this point. I spot some of the folks from my training group cheering from someones house on the hill and this is very cool. As I approach the turn on the back side, I spot one of my training partners coming back the other way. His wave was 23 minutes ahead of mine and his plan was to stay in front of me as long as possible. Given that his stretch goal was sub-6 and thought I would catch him on the bike, it looks like he is having a great day. (He ended up with a 5:48:xx)

About a mile after the turn, I catch up to him and we chat for a minute. I try to convince him to follow me in, but he said he has nothing left. I turn on the jets and start my kick for the finish. With about a half a mile to go I pass someone in my AG. I ask him what wave he was in and he said 20; (Just like me) I really want some competition to spur me on but as I blow past him he stops and walks. (Poor guy is really hurting)

Then I come up to a 72 year old guy running very well and we chat for a minute. I tell him that if I am in half the shape he is in when I am 72, I will be a very happy man. Good On Ya Mate!

Then I am at the final turn and I get to go straight instead of turning for another lap. I feel like I could do 2 more of these at this pace but I suspect it would be a grind.

I mount a strong sprint down the lane to the finish and I hear Mike Riley announce my name. Whew... It is over.

Run Leg: 1:43:33.

I finish in 47th place, 485 overall. I moved up consistently throughout the day and this was by far my best paced race. I set a PR by 36 seconds over my 2007 time even though this was not an all out effort. (I was racing hard in 2007) I am tickled with the results.

Post race
Warm down:

I spend some time in the food tent eating the best tasting pizza and chatting with friends who toddled into the food tent not long after I did. Then I packed up and rode my bike the 2 miles back to the car. I am feeling quite fresh given my 5+ hours of hard effort and looking forward to Sunday's race.

38:37 2:51:25 1:43:33 5:19:12 485 47

I have a little less than 3 months of training left before Ironman Coeur d'Alene and I feel like I am in the best shape of my life. As long as my training continues to progess like this, CdA has the potential to be something very special. But, I should not forget CdA in 2008 when my bike broke down at mile 80. (But that is another show)

Event comments:

Stuck to the plan of racing this at full IM pace and not at full HIM Race Pace. I felt solid the whole way and could have gone harder for sure.

Best of all, recovery was very quick and did not need to take any time off. I felt pretty good at the Carlsbad 5000 the next day. (But that is another show)

Last updated: 2011-03-28 12:00 AM
00:38:37 | 1931 meters | 01m / 100meters
Age Group: 89/308
Overall: 1008/2878
Performance: Good
Suit: Full Suit
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 62F / 17C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 03:33
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:51:35 | 56 miles | 19.58 mile/hr
Age Group: 62/308
Overall: 721/2878
Performance: Good
BIKE SPLIT 1: 24.45 mi (1:08:13) 21.51 mph BIKE SPLIT 2: 31.55 mi (1:43:12) 18.34 mph
Wind: Some with gusts
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 02:04
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:43:33 | 13.1 miles | 07m 54s  min/mile
Age Group: 47/308
Overall: 486/2878
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]