Ironman 70.3 California - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Oceanside, California
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
61F / 16C
Total Time = 5h 00m 31s
Overall Rank = 255/2500
Age Group = M50-54
Age Group Rank = 16/157+
Pre-race routine:

3-4 hours before my wave start, I eat a cup of oatmeal with honey and craisins or raisins. I drink 8 oz of energy drink and a small cup of coffee. This usually does the trick for me to get the first bathroom run over with. I'm packed up the night before but in the morning I inflate the tires, double check the brake/rim clearance and quick release tension. If I'm only pushing my bike to T1, I'll set the gear that I want to have when I get on the bike out of T1.
Event warmup:

Light stretching. An easy run wasn't possible and for me at this race, and considering the distance, the swim was the warm up for the next two legs. I know I'm not a fast swimmer so going hard in the swim isn't my best strategy play.
  • 34m 57s
  • 1900 meters
  • 01m 50s / 100 meters

Interestingly, I was lined up in the third row and turned around to see at least 50 people behind me. I thought I was going to get clobbered by them swimming over me, but it turned out I was well positioned. I felt a couple of people pass me after the start and I was passing a few on my way to the first buoy. Fortunately there was not a whole lot of contact. Mid-way through, the swim got rough by the swells from the ocean as we approached the harbor opening. I ran into more earlier wave starters having difficulty navigating and swimming in this area. I maintained as much streamlined form as possible to help slice through the chop. I took a couple of salt water gulps by accident. I breathed bilaterally the whole way and stayed comfortable without working too hard.
What would you do differently?:

I could have gone a little harder, now that I see how everyone else did. I finished in 35 minutes and could have dropped that by 1-2 minutes if I worked comfortably harder in the first 1/4 and in the last 1/2 mile. Also, I recognized the faster people in the line-up and could have put myself in a more strategic position to try and draft off them.
Transition 1
  • 03m 22s

T1 was a long run from the water to the bike rack. We had to stuff our wet gear into bags provided at the expo. This was because T1 and T2 were in different areas and these gear bags were transported to the finish for later retrieval. My rack was within 20 yards of the exit of T1, so I put my shoes on in T1 and ran on the carpeted surface to the mount line. Did my normal flying squirrel to mount. My total time was good compared to the average population.
What would you do differently?:

  • 2h 42m 35s
  • 56 miles
  • 20.67 mile/hr

I averaged over 22 mph for the first hour. Within the first 6 miles I hit a bump and dropped a gel flask from my bento box. Since I knew I was going to need it, I had to back-track and pick it up. This point of being anxious to get back some lost time influenced my first hour pace.
I wasn't able to pre-ride the back half of the course since it is on the closed Marine base, but everything I heard and read was about some big hills so be prepared for them. In retrospect they weren't that bad. One was steep and required an out of the saddle push, but it was short. Hurrying wasn't going to make any huge time savings. The other hills were manageable and not as hard as I expected. Only saw one group in draft formation and probably because of the rain, there was no race marshal around to catch them. There was only moderate headwinds on the backside so holding 20+ mph was easy. Glad I used my rear disc cover on the 808. Made up 9 places to get me to 19th
What would you do differently?:

Being my first HIM and not having the opportunity to pre-ride the back half, I stayed conservative throughout the bike leg. In retrospect, I felt I could have gone harder. However, it's easy to say that now.
Transition 2
  • 01m 57s

Perfectly timed taking feet out of shoes and jumping off in stride before the dismount line. My feet were numb because of the cold and running was interesting to say the least. Ran right to my spot and racked my bike perfectly. Decided to bail on socks but for the first time, sat down and slipped my shoes on. That was good move since bending over trying to do it in the past has had varying results of success.
What would you do differently?:

  • 1h 37m 42s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 28s  min/mile

First 8 miles I was running low 7's and all smiles for the cheering crowd. I was wearing a local tri club kit so local support was awesome. I felt fast coming out of transition without any bike leg wobbles. Do your bricks!
Stayed evenly paced until a cramp twinged and stopped me. Luckily I was able to stretch it out, run a bit, and stretch it again. I modulated my pace till it subsided, however it never fully went away. I slowed for the remaining 5 miles to mid-7's. Grabbed a gel and carried it a few miles, slowly washing it down with water. Was more for insurance than anything.
With 1000m to go I passed an age grouper in my division and with 400 to go, I picked up the pace to a near sprint. Felt great hitting the line and knowing I was done with my first 70.3. Finished the 13.1 in 3 minutes slower than my open half marathon PR.
What would you do differently?:

Again, it is easy to say I could have gone harder knowing how strong I felt on the run. It is better to be strong on the run than to be walking because I left too much on the bike leg. If anything I would have eased into the run instead of hitting it hard right from the start. I'd have taken a gel earlier instead of near mile 4 too.
Post race
Warm down:

Light stretching in the post race arena. Hit the free massage table within 15 minutes after the finish.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

1) Lack of pre-ride experience on the backside of the bike leg could have limited my speed on the bike. Taking it too easy for hills that looked harder on the elevation profile than they actually were. The only data you can find is from athletes that actually have raced it. 2) I know I'm an inefficient fat-burner, so I wanted to keep my hr in the lower zones to conserve fuel (glycogen) without having to eat too much before the run.

Event comments:

The race cost $300 and I can see the value. Anything more and I personally can't see paying that much. There are local half distance races that are not the 'I' brand, which I suppose are just as fulfilling. Aside from that, I'll still do this race next year.
Volunteer support is excellent. Organizers do a lot to make the race run well. Aid stations are well stocked.
Drafting is going to happen. Sometimes they will get caught, sometimes they won't. I will not purposely draft but will call out those in my age division who do. I still beat the one guy in my division who I saw blatantly drafting.

Last updated: 2012-04-03 12:00 AM
00:34:57 | 1900 meters | 01m 50s / 100meters
Age Group: 28/157+
Overall: 0/2500
Performance: Good
Suit: De Soto T1
Course: Primarily rectangular course with a small arc. Northern-most point opened up to the mouth of the harbor where ocean swells influenced the swim.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 58F / 14C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:22
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
02:42:35 | 56 miles | 20.67 mile/hr
Age Group: 19/157+
Overall: 0/2500
Performance: Good
Pretty much stayed in zone 2-3 the whole time. HR monitor wasn't registering so I went by perceived effort. Never got into debt or the red.
Wind: Some
Course: Single loop, out and back. First 29 miles are accessible to the public, remaining miles were on the Marine base and could only be ridden on the day of the race. Road surfaces were okay in the first half and very good in the latter half. Some areas had a completely open road (both lanes), other areas the course was down to one lane. Several spots were speed controlled and had no passing for safety purposes.
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence: 77
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:57
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:37:42 | 13.1 miles | 07m 28s  min/mile
Age Group: 16/157+
Overall: 0/2500
Performance: Good
Course: 2 loops of out and back. A lot of turns, several 180 degree turn arounds, short up and down repeats and long straights. All pavement was clean with very little side to side incline. A few narrow sections where the race had to be run using one traffic lane and was split in half for each run direction. That got a little crowded.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %4
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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