Ford Ironman 70.3 California - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
Oceanside, California
United States
Ironman North America
70F / 21C
Total Time = 5h 19m 48s
Overall Rank = 549/1950
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 65/268
Pre-race routine:


My original plan was to run this race in 2006. Over Winter Break, I made a decision that I would drop this race from my schedule and continue my focus on running through the year.

Success in the Triathlon is defined my Limiters and running was definitely mine. I came to this sport a very strong swimmer and an avid cyclist and running was clearly where I needed to put some focus. "Maintain Strength and Train your Limiter" :)

So after 4 Full Marathons and 6 Half Marathons, 2007 was going to be my year to make the leap and do my first Half Ironman. I started base training in November and worked into my training plan right after the Orange County Marathon in the first week of January.

This race kicked off my 4th triathlon Season and I have to say that I don't regret my decision to bag most of the 2006 Tri season one bit. I feel like running is much less of a limiter for me today and my overall fitness is much better for it.

The Plan

I developed my own training plan. I started with the modified Pfitz 18/70 Marathon plan and used the formula "2 Bike Miles = 1 Run Mile, 100 Swim Yards = 1 Run Mile" to sketch out the Bike and Swim volume. The general rule is actually "4 Bike Miles = 1 Run Mile" but the idea of biking 280 miles in one week was out of the question.

Based on my training paces, I peaked at just under 24 hours of training for a week with 90 miles of running, 180 miles of biking, and 8000 yards of swimming.

The tricky part of the whole plan was to find a volume that was sustainable over the long term. Based on this little experiment, the key limiter was schedule rather than fitness and about 18 hours a week was the tipping point. (R-60, B-120, S-60)

Based on the results, I would definitely consider using this plan for future races. I seem to respond very well to the run focus in the plan and my bike and swim fitness is maintained.


the local LBS (Nytro) was one of the race sponsors and was hosting a pre-race warmup swim on Friday Morning and I was very glad I signed up. As I was suiting up, a seam that has been looking a little thin in my wetsuit finally gave out and I ended up with a 3 inch rip in the leg. Luckily, Nytro had demo suits from 2XU and I quickly put one on and hit the swim.

I Met Smorenog (Sal) at the swim and we stuck together and did about 800 yards nice and easy. The water was much warmer than we had been expecting and had a great swim out there. Ended up hitting the Nytro Booth when the Expo opened and bought the suit.

Was a bit suprised though when they sized me into a medium tall rather than a large. (My old one was a large) The suit fit and felt great, so I guess MT it is :)

Being the Hometown bloke, I decided to take the initiative and schedule the Pre-Race FE and broke things up into a Lunch and Dinner Option. Met Smorenog (Sal), KWFire (Kevin), jbjboc (Jeff) and devouahy (Hans) and we went and had pizza.

Sounded to me like everyone was fired up for the race and everyone had some really great goals. I believe that everyone finished and it was great to see almost everyone out on the course and in the food tent after the race.

Dinner was GolfMark (Mark) and his DW. Because the group was smaller, we decided to drive into Carlsbad and hit a local italian resturant for some really good pasta. The food is excellent but the atmosphere is a bit snooty. (Great food is worth putting up with a bit of snarky behavior from the Waiter)
Event warmup:

Race Day

Woke up at 3:30 AM and had a big bowl of oatmeal, a bagel wit Peanut butter and some coffee. I knew better than to skimp on calories for breakfast. This standard meal carried me well through all of my marathons and most Triathlons.

Picked up PGoldberger (Paul) at his hotel at 4:30 and he was the only peep that I met this weekend that had done this race before.

Between Paul and JJCate (Jeff) from the RT Marathon Forum, I enjoyed some excellent race knowledge. (jeff was nice enough to post a race report from a few years ago when he did this race)

Parked at the pier and rode about a mile to the Transition Area and got set up. As I look around, I am again reminded just how far out of my league I am.

Lots of Big Wheels and some very intense triathletes. Of course, having my rack just behind the Pro Racks did not help this perception. I was resigned to just run my race even if I came in DFL.
  • 34m 17s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 37s / 100 yards

The Swim start was a deep water start. This means that each wave gets in and swims over to the start line and floats, bobs and sometimes flounders around until the gun fires and then it is School of Paranha.

I started out fine and did not get roughed up too bad. After about 100 yards I come up behind a group of swimmers with no way to get around. I backed off a bit and looked around for an opening and just kept swimming.

This pretty much went that way the rest of the swim. Stroke for a bit, get boxed in, slow down and find another opening and continue swimming. I felt really comfortable in the water but felt like I was going really slow. I had planned on taking it easy in the water, but this just seemed like I was out sun bathing.

On the way back we go really close to the bait dock and the air gets really stinky. (I knew this was coming) At about this point I finally find a block of totally open water and start pulling for the finish.

Out of the water, up the ramp and glancing at my watch: Holy Crap, 33 minutes. Guess I was going faster than I thought; Really hope that this does not come back to haunt me later in the race. Continued to run and was unsure of where the chip mats are but click my watch at 44:02.

End up running the entire length of the TA to get to the entrance on the north side. Once inside the TA, I have to run all the way back to the other end to my rack. (On the South Side) Feels like I am running forever.

But, I have plenty of time to strip down my wetsuit and take stock of my condition coming out of the water. Not too much damage done and I am not hypothermic or too stressed.
Transition 1
  • 04m 13s

No problems stripping my suit, into my bike shoes, helmet, number belt, bike and I am off. Luckily it is a very short run to the exit on the south side. T1 seemed like it took forever and by my watch and the results, I am right. Seems like I stopped for a nap and a foot massage but most of the time was on foot getting to my rack.

What would you do differently?:

Be patient and not get flustered with long transition runs.
  • 2h 48m 36s
  • 56 miles
  • 19.93 mile/hr

OK, I have a distinct advantage here. I know the course very well and have ridden the parts of the entire route several times in the last 20 years. I know full well what is about to come.

I picked up an easy pace out of transition and cruised along the first 5 miles at an easy pace. The goal was to settle my tummy a bit, get a handle on my HR from the swim, and just settle down. I am wearing my new Tri Suit and I have arm warmers pulled down onto my aerobars. In training, I practiced putting them on while in Aero Position and I am so glad I practiced this. (I don't have Bar End Shifters so this works)

At the 5 mile mark, I am averaging about 18 MPH and feeling pretty comfortable. Take some nutrition and hydration on board and start to crank up the pace a bit. My bike nutrition plan was for Gel every 45 minutes with plenty of water. I have 8 gels, 1 water bottle and space in my seat rack for 2 more bottles.

By the 1st nutrition stop at 15 miles I am right on pace and am now averaging 20 MPH. (Made up some time) Grabbed a bottle of water and stuffed it in my seat. As we head out onto old HWY 101 I know this part very well as this is where I do a lot of my Long Runs and Long Rides. I start really cranking up the intensity here.

I need to bank up some time in the flats because there are some serious hills on the back side of the course. Also need to keep the level of exhertion in check so I don't overwork the course. By the time we get to Trestles I am feeling really good and I noticed that the surf looked really good at "Uppers" and "Cottons".

At this point, we turn inland and toward the hilly part of the course. As we approach the "Monster" hill, I can see it coming and decide it is time to shed the arm warmers. (It is going to get warm on the climb) My bike is geared pretty agressively and I try to carry as much speed as I can onto the hill and then it is grab the granny gear and start cranking. (42/24) On the climb, I focus on smooth power strokes and keeping the HR down as much as possible.

Lots of other peeps are sitting down and spinning up the hill and I am cranking hard past them. Of course, I am working much harder than everyone else but making better time. I know this is short lived though as they will make me pay on the downhills later on.

At the crest of the hill I am elated. I feel like if this is the worst the course has to offer, I am in pretty good shape. Yeah, Right, still a lot of distance left to cover.

At about this point, I am playing leapfrog with a couple of peeps from my AG and we are chatting it up a bit. Paul is one of them and it is a nice boost to see other folks I know out there.

After some more rollers and a few more hills, I am able to make up quite a bit of time on the general downhill trend and by mile 50 I am back to almost a 20 MPH average. (Made up for the slow pace on the hills) My goal now is to back off in the last 16 miles and maintain pace. Need to save the legs for the run.

This is usually the part of the course where we get to pay dearly for our sins earlier on the course. As we trend downhill towards the coast, the prevailing wind is right in your face. Today, there is some wind, but nothing that is slowing me down.

I just focus on keeping the pace easy and maintaining a good pace. Also consume my last scheduled Gel of the ride. I have a few gels left in my Bento Box and I stuff these into the pockets of my tri suit for the run. Continue to hydrate and would like to be a bit "Dry" as the run starts.

As the bike finishes, I am really stoked. The swim went well, the bike went very well and I am feeling strong for the run. I am about 12 minutes faster than my planned finish time for the bike.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe some speedier upgrades on the bike and also focus on more solid food. Gels don't really chase away the hungries for very long.
Transition 2
  • 02m 30s

Dang it, Ramps and slow going to all the way to the north side of the TA for the entrance and then a very long run in my bike shoes back to my rack on the south side. Another painfully long Transition.

Rack the bike, Toss the helmet and quickly swap shoes, turn my number around and I am off.

What would you do differently?:

Learn how to get out of shoes on the bike. Running through T2 would have been a lot easier barefooted.
  • 1h 50m 14s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 25s  min/mile

Out of Transition on the run I start out without much feeling in my legs but know from my Brick workouts that the feeling will pass and I just need to keep the turnover going. After about a mile, the feeling comes back and my stride is really smooth and even. But I am going way too fast and still have a long way to go.

I focus on slowing down. My pace plan was based on adding 15 minutes to my HM PR. This put me at a 1:50 HM Time or about 8:25 Minutes per mile. So I fall into a good pace and keep things moving along.

After the first couple of miles I am feeling really, really hungry in the pit of my stomach but my energy levels feel fine. I slam a gel and drink plenty of water at the water stop. Oh, and the volunteers are handing out sponges that have been soaked in ice water. So very much refreshing. I have one under my hat and another in my and to wipe the sweat out of my eyes.

The hunger goes away for now but I know I could be in real trouble later.

The course is a 6.55 mile out and back and we do 2 loops of the course. The 1st loop finished up and I hit the turnound still feeling OK. Almost the whole course is on Concrete and I am starting to feel the effects. About half way into the second loop the hunger is back and I slam my last gel. I know if I can make it to the turnaround, I only have 3 more miles to go and can do this on fumes if necessary.

At about this point I see Chris out running the other way and I holler his name and we exchange High Fives.

Made the turnaround and am starting to feel pretty rough at this point. At about mile 10 I know full well what is coming. My old friend the bonk is coming on hard and the feeling is very familiar. At mile 11 I decide to stop and walk the water stop.

2 cups of water and then I notice someone holding another cup out for me. On the table is a whole bunch of 2 liter bottles of cheap cola sitting in the hot sun with no tops. In the cup someone hands to me is warm flat cola.

After drinking a cup of this, my head clears and I am ready to run again. Off we go and I am back on pace but it is tough going. Really hoping I can keep it together but this cola thing is really helping now. The term "Survival Fluids" comes to mind.

At mile 12 I chug 2 more cups of this magic liquid and charge on for the finish. Cross the line and stop the clock with a 1:50 Run time, Right on the planned pace.

What would you do differently?:

Work on better pacing estimates and try running with Gatorade and not just water/gel combination.

Also Try Warm Cola during Long Runs for Recovery.
Post race
Warm down:

The volunteers put up a tape for me to run through (I ran the last mile mostly alone) and I get my medal, T-Shirt, Hat and a quick finger points to the medical and/or Food Tent. Huh....

OK, Try the Food Tent First, and then to the Med Tent if you don't feel any better.

Food turns out to be piles of Pizza, Gatorade, Fruit, Cookies and powerbars. Start Re-Fueling now.

After about 10 minutes of eating, I realize I am really cold in the shade and need to sit in the sun. I go outside and feel much better in the bright sunshine and quickly recover. I don't feel dehydrated, just really hungry and with low blood sugar. (My Kidney function returned almost right after the finish)

Post Race

After some good recovery time, I bump into several peeps in the food tent from BT. Chris, Kevin and I think Sal and Jeff. Sounds like everyone did really well also. Mark and Hans are still out on the course but looks like they are going to finish.

After some good recovery time, I hiked back to my car and stashed my gear. Saw Mark and Hans both finishing up the run and they looked worn out, but both were running strong for the finish line.

Moved my car to the marina parking lot and wandered back to the food tent for the awards ceremony. After all of the AG awards were handed out, they started the rolldowns for Kona and Clearwater World Championships. Did not think I had a chance at this and I was right. Only one Kona Slot for each AG and 11 in my AG for clearwater. Missed a slot for the 70.3 Worlds by about 10 minutes.

Then, the activity I had been secretly waiting for and obsessing about for a while now. The Rolldowns for the other NA Races. This is where they start at the top of the standings and offer the "Qualified Slots" to each racer until there are none left. The higher you are in the standings, the better the chance of getting the race you want.

Since the races all sell out on less than 1 day, it is very difficult to get an "Open Registration Slot" unless you are actually at the race when registration for the following year opens up. A "Qualified Slot" was really my only chance to do a Full Ironman this year.

They do Ironman Canada and Ironman Cour'D'Alene first, and then Ironman USA in Lake Placid. When the Rolldowns were done, I had a slip of paper in my hand indicating that I had a qualified slot for IMLP.

My secret goal for this race was to do well enough to get a qualified spot for IMLP. I have been training as if I had a spot for IMLP since January just in case I did get one. I knew it was a longshot and so did not share my goals with too many folks. (Thanks for keeping a secret Bruce, Jeff and Jennifer)

Of course, a few peeps thought that my high volume was a bit odd for a Half Ironman Race.

Gratitude List

I really want to thank all of the peeps on RT who taught this triathlete how to run. Four years ago, I could barely run a mile, and last year I could barely maintain a 10 minute pace for a 10k. Now I am not just a Triathlete, but also a runner.

WOuld also like to thank all of the Peeps on Team Four, RWOL:Triathlons, and BT for all of your support and encouragement.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Need to work on more bike speed and more substantial nutrition. Could have hit the run a lot harder without the hungries :)

My nutrition plan was based on experience with Medium/Long Brick Workouts. I neglected to consider the "Powerful Hungries" induced by the swim. Some solid food early in the bike would have been a big help.

Event comments:

M-DOT branded events are absolutely First Class. All other events will be measured against this standard.

The whole package is a class act well worth the price and hastle to get into one of these races.

Last updated: 2006-11-13 12:00 AM
00:34:17 | 2112 yards | 01m 37s / 100yards
Age Group: 74/268
Overall: 581/1950
Suit: 2XU C2
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 60F / 16C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:13
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
02:48:36 | 56 miles | 19.93 mile/hr
Age Group: 84/268
Overall: 606/1950
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:30
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:50:14 | 13.1 miles | 08m 25s  min/mile
Age Group: 85/268
Overall: 662/1950
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %1
Overall: Good
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