Ironman 70.3 California Oceanside - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Oceanside, California
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
65F / 18C
Total Time = 5h 36m 34s
Overall Rank = 643/3255
Age Group = M50-54
Age Group Rank = 39/170
Pre-race routine:

This was to be my first race back from a bad crash in an Olympic race last June, broken collarbone (with surgery for a plate a week later), 7 broken ribs, punctured lung and AC separation. In fact, I registered for this race from a hospital bed. This was to be yet another (!) comeback race.

Essentially took three months off in 2015 after the accident recovering and rehab, and started again almost from scratch in October, running in 2 and 3 minute intervals. To add to all the other excuses, I had signed up for a March marathon which ended in overuse injuries as I tried to come back too fast and hardly any running in February or March. Resigned myself that this was just going to be a "get back on the horse" race. Have to say I was more nervous riding with other triathletes than I am riding on the road.

Plan going in was looser than other races. Basically just getting into a comfortable groove and getting through it. Was my 5th time at this race so I am familiar with the course

Drove down Friday afternoon with Wendy, stayed at the Days Inn at the harbor. Walked to race check in as my pre race workout, then later walked to bike check in. Been a while since I was at a WTC event, I think I was the only person within 10 miles of Oceanside not wearing M Dot gear. Speaking of which, you had to walk into the merch tent to get your backpack, genius marketing. Checked out the hats, pretty ugly and have a ton, so,,, oooh, the name shirt, I started to pick one up to look at it and the guy next to me said "I need another ironman shirt like I need a hole in my head." Good point, put it down and walked out. Did set one PR at this race, least amount of $$ spent.
Event warmup:

Up with the alarm at 5 and walked down to transition. Although the mandatory Friday bike check in was a PITA for some, it was fine by me as I was staying at the harbor, and gave me one less thing to bring race morning.

Stopped for a cup of Kona coffee and my Peet's oatmeal I try to eat before every race.

At Oceanside there is no warmup, other than walking to transition. Lots of folks doing quick runs... maybe I should do that..... nah
  • 32m 8s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 31s / 100 yards

This was my first swim in the new Roka wetsuit. There is no warmup. You enter via a boat ramp and they allow you about thigh deep until the prior wave goes off, then let you in the water. So it's 3 minutes of acclimatization. Exactly. Last few times I've done this I've gone as far as they'll let me down the ramp, get water on my face, down my suit, etc. Water is typically cold here but was reported at 62, pretty warm. Combined with my splashing, I didn't even notice the temp by the time I got in.

As with the last time I did it, I started diving out as soon as they let us, stroking strong to the start line, and was first there. Given that it was the first mass swim since my accident, and more specifically since shoulder surgery, I moved to the outside to get out of the scrum.

There was no countdown, or ready set, just an airhorn and suddenly we were off. Plan was to swim a bit harder at the horn, see if I could grab some feet, if not just go into cruise mode. I didn't sprint out, but went a bit harder to see if I could get clear. Not really. My swim has taken a big hit since the accident and I hadn't been focusing on it, missing workouts, etc. So I knew I wasn't going sub 30, but seemed a bunch of other folks weren't as well... Bumped a few times with a guy to my left, started to get annoyed feeling like he was doing it on purpose, but realized he probably thought I was too. So i just moved a bit to the right.

Starting in wave 10, there were a few prior waves to get through, and the course got pretty crowded at times. Nothing I haven't seen before though. By the time I hit the first buoy, just settled into a pace I could hold for 1.2. Hit every buoy pretty much straight on, avoiding the other swimmers. The course seemed to go out to the right further than before, maybe to get out of the big swells today, but it's always a little different each year. About buoy 6 the chop and swell from the harbor entrance started, and then it got fun! At the turn it was cool as the swells coming in the harbor were breaking a little, and definitely breaking over the breakwater.

My traditional "stay as far right as they'll let me" tactic didn't really work since most folks were being routed far to the right, ruining my teeny advantage. Soon enough we were back in the harbor lee and we turned right back to the exit. I stay as close to the docks as I can during this last portion, and here I was passed by the first orange caps I saw from the prior wave (there may have been others, I just didn't see them). Much as I don't like getting passed, when I am passed by really fast folks at least it makes me feel good about my line.

Hit the exit and the right turn, and stood up. I saw the clock and knew it was over 31, which was about what I expected based on my training. However my AG placing is about where it always is, so it turned out pretty well. I was never in any distress and just swam at a fairly easy pace. Biggest problem was I realized in the last few hundred yards I had to pee. I know I have to just totally relax my lower body to pee while swimming at some effort, and knew I might not have enough time to do so. I was right....

However I do need to step up the swimming to get back those minutes I am giving away. In pure time terms this was my slowest swim at 5 Oceansides
What would you do differently?:

Nothing on race day. Swim more before race day though :)
Transition 1
  • 05m 18s

This is a Really. Long. Transition. Have to run the entire length (several hundred yards?) and then back to the bike, and then out in bike shoes.

But there are things you can do while running through a long transition while wearing a wetsuit to avoid losing time on the bike. Like peeing. What???
What would you do differently?:

My T1 times here are always 5 ish so whatever.
  • 2h 48m 18s
  • 56 miles
  • 19.96 mile/hr

Overall was 37th in AG for this.

Plan for the bike was basically 220 or so for the flats, a little higher if a headwind, and <250 on climbs if possible. I had power, time and HR displayed. I noticed throughout that my HR was about 145-150, which seemed a bit high but I was OK with it. I had absolutely no time goals here, just get through it rubber side down.

Headed out and as noted was a bit wary of other riders. Really just trying to stay near the power zones but be comfortable enough to still be in aero during the last 5 miles (many are not having burned themselves out on the flatter frontside then the three climbs). I did have a few big surges where I had to pass some people, but generally tried to avoid that as it would probably hurt later.

Racers were pretty well spaced out by the time I got on the bike. Decent swim but wave was smack in the middle so plenty of people in front of and behind me. There was a slight headwind heading north, and although I don't have speed displayed my 5 mile splits had me a good bit over 20, as it should be. I had ridden the frontside a couple weeks before, so knew what to expect. Hit the first no pass zone, where you are (duh) not supposed to pass, and was promptly passed by two guys, consecutive bib numbers, on eachother's tail... and who just happened to have identical bike splits. Not saying, just saying...

Soon came to the right turn into Pendleton, with the hills shortly thereafter. I was spinning pretty well up the first hill (50/34 and 12/30) but was getting passed a lot. Just have to ride my ride, right? I l always hear stories of walkers here (not Walking Dead walkers, actual walkers), but have never seen any here in 5 races. The absolute worst part of the course for me every year is the 7 or so mile section between the first climb and the second one as it's a deceiving false flat, but I was mentally prepared for it this time and didn't let it get to me. Pretty soon ht the second "climb" (none of these are really climbs IMO) and shortly thereafter the second no pass zone. Where someone promptly passed me again. Some rules don't apply to some people I guess. There is also a short 25 mph speed limit section, I had changed a screen on the Garmin to show speed and glad I did because I had to ride the brakes hard to stay under that.

I did take some opportunities to take in the scenery, it's a beautiful part of the state that we don't often see as it's federal property. Also tried to thank as many volunteers as I could, but most seemed pretty apathetic about having this particular duty. Was pretty cool going by a couple big tanks with Marines just hanging out on them. Sorta like a movie poster.

Despite my T1 activities I had to pee from about 50 minutes in, but didn't really want to stop. Nor did I really want to go on the bike. Done it, just didn't want to today. I kept thinking I'd stop at the next aid station, but there are only two after I started feeling the urge and I just never did. actually saw two or three guys stop and get off their bikes while riding through Pendleton to take a road side piss. While I was jealous, not only is doing this on a race course just wrong, i gotta think the Pendleton MPs would not like that particular activity.

One more quick "climb" then it gets fast. Really fast. As in 40 mph fast. Then the right turn to Vandegrift and the traditional headwind, although that never really appeared here. I just kept looking for the line of palm trees that spells the end of the headwind section and almost the end. Have to say it was getting a bit hard here and had to come out of aero now and again.

Although I had a running time going I didn't know exactly when I started it, or the distance other than the signs. So as I got closer to the end I was actually pleased to see that I was close to my PR here of 2:47. I had short lived fantasies of beating that but put those aside since I still had to run 13.1, and that was more important than a 2:46. So I just kept up the same effort and started spinning the legs a bit more.

Given my lack of time goals and feeling like I never really put out too hard an effort, pretty happy with being only a minute over my PR here.

NP 208
IF .68
VI 1.11
What would you do differently?:

Transition 2
  • 05m 43s

Yeah. I looked at prior years and it's like 2 or 3 minutes. 5? Can only say I had a really long way to run in bike shoes. And I put socks on. Other than that, no idea.....
  • 2h 05m 7s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 33s  min/mile

Was 76h in AG here, so technically FOP :)

Started out just at a cruising pace, one that I felt I could maintain. I did not have any time displayed here on my Garmin other than current pace, which is--more or less- kinda accurate. But I was walking each ad station so it wasn't really telling me anything about my time.

I intended to run the entire run save aid stations, but there is a steep ramp at the pier you go up twice on the out section, and one steep one block street on the back section, Made the decision to walk those but get back to running ASAP.

This course is deceptively flat. Other than the above steep parts there aren't any hills, but the southern portion of the course is rolling a bit and definitely not flat.

The weather was just about perfect. Low 70s, a bit of a breeze, the beach full of sunbathers, and down in the neighborhood people handing out water and ice (probably... well definitely... illegal, and for that reason I didn't take any, but saw others, no biggie really), folks blasting music ("Lose Yourself", OK very cliche but damn that works!!)

I like the new layout, start at Transition, run one full 8 or so mile loop back to transition, then one shorter 5 mile loop to end at the pier. And when you go by the finish the first time, you aren't really close to it, like some races, so it's not that bad.

I felt really god about this run and the effort given my lack of training here. Felt very steady and consistent, and the splits for the most part reflect that. It did get hard miles 11 and 12 but I don't care how fast or slow you are, miles 11 and 12 of a HIM always suck. But mile 13 is freaking awesome :)

Ave HR 157, max 172
9:55 - walked steep ramp
9:59 - this is where it got hard!
9:14 - No walking, no aid station, just finish it!

When I got off the course I quickly found Wendy, and was beaming. I felt so good about this run I honestly did not know or even care what my time was. And, I actually heard Mike Reilly say my name, that's a rarity. He even commented on the Clot Busters jersey, which was cool!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing given the training I had going in
Post race
Warm down:

I grabbed a bunch of food because I thought I was hungry - Chips, cookies, soft tacos, grapes, bananas, soda. Turned out I wasn't so hungry after all and wasn't able to finish it. I was just enjoying the accomplishment of finishing.

Long walk back to Transition to get the bike, then to the room for a well deserved nap for me and Wendy - and finishing those cookies....

What limited your ability to perform faster:


Event comments:

I have done this race 5 times in the decade I've been doing tris, it was my first half, and after this race I wonder why I haven't done it 10 times. It is such an awesome course and race, and while not in my back yard close enough.

This was my first half ironman back in 2007, and my tenth or eleventh half ironman and have to say the most satisfying I think. Everyone has obstacles, and everyone has stories of overcoming setbacks (and some have multiple stories :) ) but even though it wasn't my fastest or a PR, finishing felt like a huge win for me.

My friend Jeff Matlow has a saying, "it's not about your time to get from the start to the finish, but about the time you had in between," and I had a great time.

Last updated: 2015-10-18 12:00 AM
00:32:08 | 2112 yards | 01m 31s / 100yards
Age Group: 16/170
Overall: 219/3255
Performance: Average
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 62F / 17C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 05:18
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:48:18 | 56 miles | 19.96 mile/hr
Age Group: 26/170
Overall: 404/3255
Performance: Good
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 05:43
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:05:07 | 13.1 miles | 09m 33s  min/mile
Age Group: 39/170
Overall: 643/3255
Performance: Average
Course: Out and back, one 8 mile loop one 5 mile loop
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
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