Ironman 70.3 California - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
Oceanside, California
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
60F / 16C
Total Time = 5h 38m 55s
Overall Rank = 744/2903
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 71/224
Pre-race routine:

Following a disastrous 2011 Santa Barbara Long Course run, I decided to finally take my nutrition seriously and lose some extra weight. Came into 2012 Calif. 70.3 about 30 pounds lighter than in 2011, when I went 6:22 (went 6:25 in 2007). Also switched to a compact crank to deal with the hills a little better.

No idea what my race pace was going to be, but when I added up what I thought I could do my best case scenario finish was 5:48, which would have made me happy. I had asked a good friend on pacing advice, and he said just enjoy racing at the new weight. Overall my goal was to break 6, which I had been unable to do in 5 prior HIMs.

Drove down to Oceanside Friday afternoon and checked in. The race had a new point to point format this year, so I dropped off my run stuff Friday at T2 so I wouldn't have to do it race morning. Nice setup, everyone had their own marked spot, just left my bag on the ground ready to go (and then started worrying about what I'd left out, or whether I had put the correct shoes in... even went back later to double check... it's not fun in my head). The new activity surrounding T2 at the pier and check in made it feel like a bigger race than years before, where the pier was only used for check in. Now it was also the finish. Felt very "ironman-ish."

Check in as always was smooth. Expo was decent,huge merchandise tent. Bags and shirts given at check in. Bags were much nicer this year. Tech shirts were very low key and plain.

Checked out the new ramp from the strand to street level, and it was steeper than I thought. Definitely gonna walk that.

Had a nice spaghetti dinner in the harbor with Wendy and a few friends. After my second T2 run, settled in for a quiet pre-race evening.

Set four alarms, needed none as I woke up on my own. Walked down to the harbor about 6, grabbing a cup of coffee on the way. Had a leisurely race morning as my wave didn't go off until 7:39, and they weren't walking around trying to kick people out of transition like last year.
Event warmup:

None. Running shoes were dropped at T2, plus my hip was a little sore. Can't get in the water, and nowhere to ride. Warmup would be the swim
  • 30m 55s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 28s / 100 yards

1. Break 30
2. Pace well
3. Stay warm

Brought the squid lid but left it in the bag in favor of two caps. When the wave in front of us entered the water, I got in about waist deep and began splashing water on my face, dunking my head, and letting water in the wetsuit. When it was our time to go, I had a bit of an ice cream headache but it was gone by the time I reached the start line. For early southern Calif. swimming, 58 isn't that bad in a suit.

Headed over about 2/3 of the way from the left start buoy, in my usual spot closer to the boats. Not really interested in fighting for a position to avoid swimming 10 extra yards. It really seems that wherever you start on this line it's a pretty good and straight line to the first turn buoy. It was weird, there were a few guys right on the line, but well spread out. Most everyone seemed to be holding back. Fine by me.

Wasn't quite ready for the air horn, started the watch and off we go. Some guys to my left took off, about3 or 4, and I tried to get on their feet. They weren't only a little faster than me, they were a LOT faster than me, and no way I could keep up. So I resigned myself to a solo swim, or as solo as I could get with 2,000 other people.

Since I was in wave 20 of 23 or so, a ton of folks started before me, and I started passing the other waves fairly early, well before the first turn buoy. To help pass the time, I thought of how the various cap colors reminded me of fruits, and tried to come up with a new one with every color I saw. White - coconut, yellow - bananas, pink - grapefruit, blue - blueberries, etc. At times it was very crowded, and it got difficult weaving a lane through the swimmers without: (1) swimming over them or (2) getting a kick to the face or groin.

I had forgotten to recon and count the buoys before the swim, but I thought there were about 7 from last year's count. Problem is, I didn't count. Every time I came to a yellow buoy and thought "this is the last one" another one would appear out from behind it. When we got to the harbor opening started getting tossed around a bit by the 7-8 foot swells, creating hammering surf outside the harbor. Going out wasn't bad, but coming back made it more difficult to stay on line. I like to swim to the right coming back on this course, and not on the buoy line, as it's shorter. The swells kept pushing me back towards the buoy line.

Pace was based on my mantra for the day: "Save it for the run." Every time I got a little frisky, just loosened my arms up and backed off a bit.

Thankfully no sun this morning so clear goggles made it easy to see. Pretty soon we were in the harbor lee and flat water again. Made the right turn and hugged the piers and bait island. Seeing that go by, I felt like I was flying.

Then a small break, then to the pier where the spectators stand looking right down on you. My best tri experience was here in 2007, my first HIM, and looking up and seeing my wife screaming at me (in a good way :) ) . Last year that didn't happen. I thought of that as I swam along the pier,but wasn't seeing her. Made the right turn, heard something familiar, looked up on a breath and there she was :) Great feeling. Turns out she was on the pier following me and yelling but I didn't see her.

Got out of the water, let the helpers zip down the suit, looked back at Wendy for another yell, and looked at my watch. 30:5X. damn, slower than last year, and another miss at sub :30. ah well... there's always next year

2011: 30:34
2012: 30:55
What would you do differently?:

Not much, good pace, good swim, fun conditions. I would have happily given up 2-3 minutes on last years' swim if it meant I could get 5-10 minutes on the run.....
Transition 1
  • 06m 8s

Yeah, 6:08. Never been particularly fast in T1. Add to that that now you have to pack all your swim gear, including wetsuit, in a bag so they can transport it to T2 for pickup after the race (so that I can then pick it up at T2 and walk it back to where I was staying, i.e. near the start :^) And I had decided to wear arm warmers on the bike, putting those on over wet arms took a few seconds. I was glad I decided to put them on. Shoes on, socks on, helmet on......

I did run well through T1, which was a sign of good things to come.
What would you do differently?:

Move faster
  • 2h 55m 7s
  • 56 miles
  • 19.19 mile/hr

1. Save it for the Run
2. Sub 3:00
3. Save it for the Run
4. Spin the hills

Headed out and immediately heard the plop plop of rain drops on the aero helmet. OK, guess I'll be racing in the rain today.

Course is one large loop. First 20 miles are fairly flat with a few rollers and usually with a light tailwind or bit of a crosswind. The next 20 are rollers into larger limbs, usually into a bit of headwind coming back south. 40 to 45 or so are fast downhills, last 5-10 are mostly flat but traditionally into a good headwind.

Just got down into aero and repeated, over and over and over... save it for the run. Every time I started feeling a bit of lactic acid build up, I backed off. The bike (Planet X) and wheels (HED 3) were performing flawlessly. Every little climb or roller I downshifted early, sat up, and eased up it. Had to stop once to readjust my speedfil A2 as it had started to come loose on rough roads. Saw tons of bottles all over the road, especially at Stuart Mesa/Las Flores in the construction. Saw one guy go over the bump there and watched as his bottle flew about 20 feet in the air, like the TdF guys chucking bottles, to his cry of "shit!" Very glad all my liquids are up front.

Due to course changes at the end, the Las Pulgas turnaround seemed quite a bit shorter than previous years.

Before I knew it, we were at the 20 mile mark. I had a running race clock on my watch, but wasn't looking at, much as I wanted to, because I didn't want to start chasing a time. I was perfectly happy going by effort.

Coming on the downhill to the trestles bike path, watched as a squirrel decided to choose that moment to cross the road. Had he chosen .5 second earlier to run across, he'd be dead. Pretty sure I ran over his tail. Hit the first no pass zone and all seemed well until we came upon someone going very very .. very... slowly. The girl in front of me went around. It was very wide. I went around. I will say 2 hail marys.

Right turn on Cristianitos, shortly I was at the northern Camp Pendleton gate. Making that right, I was relieved not to feel the massive headwinds we had last year. Now, it was time to climb.

You can see the hill coming from a long way off, and it's impressive. Let it beat you, or embrace the f***er, your choice. I went in thinking "I love this hill." And with the compact crank, and 30 less pounds, it wasn't bad. Sat up and span as easily as I could. A few people walking. The sound of live fire exercises in the distance. A guy weaving all over the road, barely staying upright, probably going 2 mph.... down in his aerobars. WTF???? Gave him a wide berth as I rode by.

Down the other side, onto Basilone Road. This was the point last year where I wondered how the hell I was going to finish the bike, much less the run. This year felt great. Save it for the run....

I had to pee. I decided not to stop, and not to pee on the bike. A, I didn't want to pee on the bike (done it before, just wanted to avoid it), and B, it gave me something to think about.

Next two hills were non events to mile 40, just spun up these, then about 8-10 miles of fast fast fast. Turned right on Vandegrift and there was very little headwind. I did have to stand up a few times and get out of the aero bars for a second or two to give the back and butt a little break. I finally looked at my watch when I hit about 50 miles. It was 10:28, I had 45 minutes to go 6 miles to meet my best case scenario goal... Interesting... save it for the run.

Came back into the harbor and was still feeling great. Knew there was another no pass zone so checked out who was ahead of me, to make sure I wasn't behind someone struggling along. Coming down Breakwater Mr. Triathlete, all in matching neon yellow and green, including shoes and bike, came up around me. I figured I'd let him go. But down on the strand, in the no pass zone, he started getting out of his shoes, and one shoe started spinning and he couldn't get on top of it. He started going slower. And slower, put his feet back in, out, in. Come on dude...

Up the hill to Pacific, feeling good and out of the saddle, and into a looooooonnnnnggggg run to T2 where my rack was way in the back. Have never finished a HIM bike leg feeling this good. And I was way ahead of schedule.

2011: 3:13
2012: 2:55
What would you do differently?:

Transition 2
  • 04m 7s

Yeah, 4:07. I was directed to my spot, and someone came up asking if I needed any help. I thought about changing my socks, and taking off the arm warmers, but was a little flustered and couldn't think straight so did neither. Popped on the shoes, hat, told the girl all I had for the bag was shoes and helmet, and off I went...

Ouch... Right toes really hurt. Stopped, took off shoe, massaged toes, thought maybe it was just they had gotten a bit numb, stretched out the sock, etc. Put shoe back on. Ouch, still hurt, hoping it would work itself out, I began to run.... to the portapotty. Ahhhhh
What would you do differently?:

look in my shoe
  • 2h 02m 38s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 22s  min/mile

1. Break 2:10
2. Save it for the second lap
3. Don't walk

Ran out of T2 and felt great. Just fell into a pace that felt easy and something that I thought I could maintain. It is a very confusing course, but I had looked at the course map, and even looking at the run on google maps, so I was familiar with the turns. Plus I am just obsessive about that stuff anyway. So I felt like I knew the course pretty well.

There are issues with the course, but overall I love running through the crowds and pier area more, it is a huge rush, especially since the south part of the course are so far away from that vibe. I also like not having the lonnnng straightaway on the strand, the turns seem to break that up. Still a lot of concrete though.

Mile 1 or so started to feel a funny feeling in my right toes... yeah, the ones that hurt. Like it was water or sweat, but thicker. Thought maybe they were just getting their feeling back and felt weird. Wasn't really subsiding but the pain was gone so I figured I'd just see what happens, wasn't going to stop for it.

Through the next mile or 2, feeling continued and I knew it was something weird, as it started spreading from my big toe to the others, and it felt squishy. what the hell... was it blood? if so, I should check it, but couldn't see any through the shoe. But there was something there... gel? Oh, my gel flask in my back pocket leaking? Stopped to take the shoe off, and as I pulled it out.... a near empty gel pack came out. I had put a gel in my shoe for the T2 drop off and totally forgot about it. That's what had caused the pain... until it burst, inside my shoe. I just laughed, picked up the empty packet, put the shoe on and carried on with squishy toes.

In years past I had cramped up a lot, and ended up walking the rollers on Pacific, as well as the aid stations (and ultimately as well as a lot of the other sections too). I had decided to walk the steeper uphills this year, and nothing else. I walked the pier ramp, the run up to the T2 area, and one time on Wisconsin from strand to Pacific. Everything else I ran, including the Pacific rollers. I took a couple steps at a couple aid stations but generally ran through them all.

Wendy and friends were at the run out, then saw them again heading out for the main part of lap 1. It was a great boost, and I felt fantastic, keeping the same pace. I am not sure the mile markers were all correctly placed but I was maintaining a pretty steady pace, dropping only a little from 9:06 - way too fast for me -- to about 9:20-25.

Plan was to maintain that steady pace for the first loop, get into the second loop and at mile 10 I could start picking it up. I figured in reality though that probably meant working harder but keeping the same pace. Continued to feel great until about mile 8, when it started to get a bit harder. I knew where the mile 11 marker was from the first loop and figured I could run well in from there.

But a HIM run is long. About 9, I started looking for each mile marker and knew I would be doing all I could to run that last 3 miles, and wouldn't be going much faster. But I also knew when I hit 10, looking at my watch, I had 3 miles to go, and 35 or so minutes to get there, to finish in the 5:30s, beyond my wildest hope. 1.5 miles, and 20 minutes to get there. 1 mile, and 15 minutes to get there. With this knowledge, I sort of lost concentration and settled into a pace I knew I could maintain without having to walk. I was happy with a 5:3X finish, that last 3 mile push is something to work on next time.

I felt great through 8, OK through 10, really difficult through 13. I'd like to feel as good at the end, but maybe that's just the nature of a HIM run.

Headed straight instead of turning right for the second loop and finish was couple hundred yards away. I was stoked, enjoyed the finish chute, and came across and shattered my goals. Even heard Mike Reilly say my name this time :)

Splits from my watch, based on mile markers and likely not that accurate.
1 ?
2 9:06
3 9:06
4 9:37 (shoe removal)
5 8:15 (short mile marker I believe)
6 9:23
7 9:21
8 9:07
9 9:38
10 9:16
11 9:37
12 8:33 (short)
13.1 (no 13 marker, long mile) 13: 16

2011: 2:29
2012: 2:02, only 5 minutes slower than my current 1/2 mary PR
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. My 2011 pace per mile was 11:25. This year was 9:21
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around a bunch, looked at the food and felt nauseous. About 1/2 hour in I started scarfing :)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Nothing, smashed my goals, weight was not an issue in this race. Pacing was good. Looking forward to the next one. Feel like I am finally starting to bike and run up to my swim potential

A 44 minute PR on the course was not in the pre-race plans. Finally went sub 6 :)

Event comments:

WTC races are a spectacle. And they're pretty cool to be a part of.

Last updated: 2011-08-09 12:00 AM
00:30:55 | 2112 yards | 01m 28s / 100yards
Age Group: 11/224
Overall: 187/2903
Performance: Good
Suit: XTerra Vector Pro
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 58F / 14C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 06:08
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:55:07 | 56 miles | 19.19 mile/hr
Age Group: 81/224
Overall: 755/2903
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 04:07
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:02:38 | 13.1 miles | 09m 22s  min/mile
Age Group: 109/224
Overall: 1120/2903
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]