Ironman 70.3 California - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Oceanside, California
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
61F / 16C
Total Time = 6h 14m 39s
Overall Rank = 1302/3000
Age Group = M50-54
Age Group Rank = 84/158
Pre-race routine:

My goals going into Oceanside were to enjoy and learn from the experience of my first 70.3, and to make it my official comeback event following my training ride crash that almost killed me 6 months ago when I was tapering for Orangeman. (fyi, although I lost a day of memory, I went from the aerobars onto my forehead and shoulder when a groove grabbed my front wheel. Part of my lucky comeback started right there, since two of my riding partners were a chief paramedic and a fire chief/emt. They thought I might be dead, but they took care of me and watched after me for hours. I am one lucky guy!)

My pre-race started last weekend when I tried to figure out the 3-bag, two transition setup Oceanside adopted this year. I had all my stuff in various piles, but was pretty confused. I loaded it all in the car for the two-hour drive to the coast, and went through the whole process again at the motel once I got the three bags at sign-in. Check-in: simple. Shopping for my Oside bike jersey memento: simple. The walks to see the venues: long.

Once I went through the newb challenge of getting my equipment organized, it all began to look simple. The shoes and cap went to my numbered spot at T2 in the third/red bag. Everything else went into my backpack, just like normal. The emptied backpack and non-race stuff got shoved into one bag and dropped off to meet me later. I racked my bike just like normal, with shoes, belt, helmet and glasses ready to go. The 2nd empty bag was ready for the wet swim stuff and towel. Pretty simple, all in all.

Just like everyone, I was pretty focused on the shifting weather forecasts. I brought various bike gear for the wet and cold, but only went with socks and a jersey to pull over my tri top. It was just right.
Event warmup:

"Warm up," was 100% about staying warm while I got to chat with friends. It was chilly, so I suited up and put on swim caps and got back into my jeans and jacket. Pretty funny, but it worked. I kept an eye on my watch to strip down at the last minute, but was almost too late. The crowd and swim-start line was so huge, I made it through, down the ramp into the water, and with the guys in my wave bobbing there with a few seconds to go before the horn. But I stayed warm, the entire time! The water wasn't chilly either.
  • 41m 31s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 58s / 100 yards

I loved the swim, and felt good the entire time. I was slower than I felt, something I also heard from some fast friends, but it was less stressful that I was ready for, for my very first 1+ mile race.

From the chatter online, I made sure I was ready for chilly water, so made a point of swimming with my open water buddies up the coast last Wednesday, with temps in the low 50s and big surf. I also went with a cap sandwich, so Oceanside didn't seem chilly, and I barely noticed the water into the wetsuit. There were some waves and chop from the ocean, but I would have been just as happy with the full chop of the Pacific since I train in it a good part of the year.

Contact was relatively modest, and the only time I had to evade someone, it was just to swing around a slow group early on. The wave was a large group of orange caps for a couple of minutes, but thinned out soon enough. I was too busy looking for gaps in the beginning to draft, but soon enough, kept an eye out for quick swimmers from later waves I could follow for few minutes every so often.

For some odd reason, both calves cramped half way out, so I swam like with a pull buoy for a few minutes, and was fine by the time I got out. I definitely did not push hard, and ran well from the time I stood up. They had volunteers to upzip us. Very nice.
What would you do differently?:

I was in about the middle of the AG, but have barely been to the pool since the crash. More swim workouts will buy back the speed I had last Summer in masters.
Transition 1
  • 05m 59s

I was probably typical. The run was from the mat at swim out, to the far end of T1, then back through the entire transition area to bike out. There weren't any problems. When I got to the rack, I helped a guy who was hopelessly shuck, by pulling his suit off his legs and feet. It didn't take too much time to put on socks and pull on a jersey.

I ran the bike past the line, found a gap in the crowd to squirt through, and did my standard flying mount. It's funny, and not a big deal, but so many people stop to climb on, that I always get a cheer and comments when I jump on while running.
What would you do differently?:

Not much, this was fine.
  • 3h 05m 42s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.09 mile/hr

My strategy was to go with a comfortable pace, a group ride pace just like a typical Saturday. Mentally, I was more than ready for Camp Pendleton, since I frequently ride hills and climbs with my club up near the Wildflower. Just like always for me, I found my best power at about 40 miles, and went 22 mph until the course became technical.

There was drizzle most of the race, and it was heavy on the base. I took off the sun glasses and put them in a pocket. It was hard enough to see through the drizzle, and my post-crash vision made it worse. The vision is still getting better (yay!), and the course would be great in good weather. We passed a sign that said it was 49 degrees. Chilly and wet!

I made a point of keeping the calories up. I took a bento box full of Gus, two bottles of Gatorade, and a bottle with honey. I drank both bottles of Gatorade, and had a Gu about every 20 minutes. I didn't need to use the aid stations on the bike. My only surprise was the honey: it was too thick to squeeze at 49F, not liquid like on the desert. Barely a problem.

It'll be fun if I ever have the chance to race this at full power.
What would you do differently?:

I'm slower than I was last year, and know how fast I'd be from friends' times from before the crash. Once I'm 100%, and once work isn't unusually busy, I'll get back to two or three bike workouts a week (up from one 65-80 mile club ride), and would expect to go about 2:45. I was slow, but had a ton of fun.
Transition 2
  • 02m 29s

Fast enough. No problems. I took the path to the left to avoid the slow-ish main crowd and got to say hello to rock star Karen Aydelott, the first amputee to qualify for Kona in her AG without consideration for her disability.
  • 2h 18m 58s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 37s  min/mile

I've only run 11 miles the past two months, 39 miles all year... and I was still in the middle of my AG! Even funnier, I gave up 15 minutes the last two miles, so I might move up next time if I work on the run ;) Yeah, crash, recovery, whatever. I was pretty happy that I finished.
What would you do differently?:

Post race
Warm down:

I felt good, not like some finishers in blankets or being held. I hit the food tent, ate a bit, drank a cola, and went to recover my T1 bags.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Looking at my friends' times, it's pretty clear I'd drop :45 if I were in the shape I was in last year, and had this experience under my belt. My plan is to do my next HIM once work and life stabilizes so I can push the entire race, rather than cruise it like a club ride.

Event comments:

Great fun. Very satisfying!


Last updated: 2011-09-18 12:00 AM
00:41:31 | 2112 yards | 01m 58s / 100yards
Age Group: 82/158
Overall: 1175/3000
Performance: Average
Suit: 19 Pipeline
Course: Out and back in the 1/2 mile boat harbor.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 58F / 14C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 05:59
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
03:05:42 | 56 miles | 18.09 mile/hr
Age Group: 74/158
Overall: 1128/3000
Performance: Below average
Wind: Little
Course: The loop through Camp Pendleton.
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence: 90
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Below average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:29
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal
02:18:58 | 13.1 miles | 10m 37s  min/mile
Age Group: 84/158
Overall: 1302/3000
Performance: Below average
Course: Double loop.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
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