Ford Ironman 70.3 California - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Oceanside, California
United States
Ironman North America
Total Time = 6h 10m 27s
Overall Rank = 1234/2043
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 120/199
Pre-race routine:

This was my first half Ironman (HIM) and boy, were my quads sore! ;-)

Pre-race - Had joghurt, bananas and part of a bagel before leaving the hotel. Transition is well organized. There was a single central aisle, so get there early if you want to be near the center/aisle. There was water available for bottles. Body marking was inside transition.

  • 34m 42s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 38s / 100 yards

My brother and I were in wave 17. We started 57 minutes after the pro men, so we got to see them start and finish their swim before we really had to worry about getting into place. There is a long chute for pre-staging the swim. There was some carpet, but the $2.50 spent at Wal-Mart for throw-away flip flops was money well spent. Wear them and abandon them. (The pre-race briefing said that this was OK).

I'd read many race reports that said that the water was cold and I was a bit worried. The reported temp was 59 degrees and I was expecting cold. Imagine my surprise when the water felt warmer than Little Campbell Lake. Yea for Alaska summer lake swims. ;-)

The wave was 199 large, but didn't feel crowded. After the previous wave left, we were allowed down the boat ramp and into the water. The start was about 100 yards from the ramp entry. The swim is a dog leg left out into the harbor. It didn't feel like there was a lot of thrashing and fighting, but I did take a foot to my wrist and my watch popped off. I'm sure it is still running and counting up somewhere on the bottom of Oceanside Harbor. :-) I wasn't worried about losing my watch. I had my bike computer for the ride and my Garmin for the run...

For sighting on the return... yes, the sun was reflecting off the water, but sight on the tall hotel and use the breakwater. It heads directly in. ;-)
What would you do differently?:

I felt good on the swim. There were no waves in the harbor, but here was a small swell out near the turn-around. My time was 31:42, about what I expected since swimming is my strongest leg.
Transition 1
  • 09m 29s

I took my time in T1, drying my feet, putting on socks, checking and rechecking. I didn't think I took almost 10 minutes, but I did. Note to self... really practice transitions. ;-) And you'd think that I'd have gotten it right in all that time. =-o

What would you do differently?:

Practice, practice, practice. Check, check, check.
  • 3h 04m 27s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.22 mile/hr

I headed out on the bike and realized I hadn't started my computer... looked down and saw that I hadn't even clipped in my bike computer. (Idiot.) Fortunately I had the thing, but it was in my saddle bag. Short stop at mile 0.6 (just inside the first camp gate) and I had a computer. Sigh. Note to self... really practice setup. The bike starts flat with a few rollers for the first 25 miles (north along the coast.) The rest stops were well organized with Gatorade, water, gels, etc. Study the bike profile and you'll see the first big hill at about mile 30. My brother calculated that it is about a 12% grade for about half a mile. It really slowed people down. I was wishing for more granny gear. But I stood and climbed, sat and climbed and really gave my quads a workout. There were two or three more climbs and a number of up hills toward the end of the ride. There were over 2000 participants so at times it felt like we were riding in a peleton. ;-) My time was 3:04. I was shooting for 3:00, so I was pretty close.

Oh, and eating on a bike is different than eating on a spin bike or trainer. ;-) I did manage to munch through two bars on the ride.

I had been worried about my knee. It had been giving me trouble on long training spins, but I got lucky and didn't tweak it during the ride.
What would you do differently?:

Train for more hills. Train. Hills. I could have been faster on the bike, but I didn't have much left for the run as it was...
Transition 2
  • 07m 32s

Another long transition for me. This did include a pee break, but that didn't add that much time. I did put on my AK Tri Club t-shirt and got a number of "It does hurt to tri" comments on the run. ;-)

Note to self... try the sunscreen BEFORE the event. I was using a misting sunscreen. The concept is great, but it was windy in the transition area and I had to keep turning around to get the mist where I wanted/needed it. Fortunately I didn't miss too many areas... (No bad burns.)
What would you do differently?:

Practice, practice, practice.
  • 2h 17m 19s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 29s  min/mile

OK, it's not really fair to call this a "run". For me it was more like a "jog, shuffle, walk". My time was 2:17 (Close to my PR without the swim and bike before...). This year they were able to go over the bridge and down onto the beach before reaching "The Strand". That meant about a quarter mile on packed sand and two stretches of soft sand getting down to the surf line. Not a lot of fun... but everyone had to do it. Four times even. The course was a 3.3 mile out and back, run twice. Nice to have the ocean breeze for the first 1.8 miles. There are a few slight up and down hill grades, but nothing significant.

I went out rather quickly, 9 minute miles for the first two miles (fast for me) and then started slipping to 9:30, 10, 10:15, etc. At the end it was walk one set of cones, jog 5 cones, walk 1, jog 5, walk 2, jog 5... :-p I drank at nearly every stop, then started to feel sloshy. So I slowed the fluids. I took a piece of banana at a couple of stops and also slurped down some GU (water chaser) during the last half of the run.
Post race
Warm down:

But I kept on... and finally finished. I clocked in at 6:10:27. My goals were to finish under 7:00, under 6:00 if I could, top half of my age group and to be faster than my brother. ;-) Two out of four isn't bad. :-p It looks like I was 120/199 in my age group and I did finish before my bro... But he hadn't done a tri since 1990. Good for him to take the challenge and to try!

Food afterward wasn't anything to write home about. But there was water, fruit, tepid pizza, pretzels, etc. Much like what was on the run course.

Event comments:

Overall - Did I mention that my quads were killing me? ;-) I have a new description for triathlon it's not "swim, bike run", it's "easy, fun, death." For me, the swim is easy, the bike is fun and I really, really need to work on my run (and transitions.)

Training - I used the HIM training plan from BT. I like the plan, it worked well for me.

Travel - Mt. Redoubt caused a bit of a stir. I was supposed to fly on the red-eye flight on Wednesday morning. Redoubt burped Tuesday afternoon canceling all night flights. I called a couple times Wednesday morning and AK Air was able to reschedule me for Wednesday. Yea Alaska Air!

Bike - I usually rent a bicycle when I do triathlons outside. I couldn't find a bike shop on-line and decided to take my bike because it is a longer ride. (For future reference, Nytro Tri Shop (Encinitas, CA) does rent tri/TT bikes. Look at thanks to Bill at Chain Reaction for the aero bars, fitting my bike to me and the cycling/tri tips. They helped a lot.

Lodging - My mom lives in San Diego, so my brother and I stayed with her on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday we stayed at the Best Western Oceanside. The hotel was fine. Lots of triathletes were staying there. There are a couple of grocery stores just east of the hotel. The hotel is about 3 miles from transition and we rode out bikes down Saturday morning. If you do this... Take a bike light and/or a head lamp. Probably best to bring a lamp in any case, as most parking for the tri is away from transition and it is dark from 4:45 to 6:30 am. :-p

I had fun. I made it. I know what to work on for the rest of this season.

Thanks to all the AK Tri Club folks who encouraged me, to Rebecca for running the NCC teams, Bill for the bike tuning and gear, Lisa for the running and swim groups and my family for putting up with me. ;-)

Last updated: 2008-11-26 12:00 AM
00:34:42 | 2112 yards | 01m 38s / 100yards
Age Group: 30/199
Overall: 361/2043
Performance: Good
Suit: Shortie
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 59F / 15C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 09:29
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:04:27 | 56 miles | 18.22 mile/hr
Age Group: 99/199
Overall: 1069/2043
Performance: Good
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 07:32
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:17:19 | 13.1 miles | 10m 29s  min/mile
Age Group: 134/199
Overall: 1445/2043
Performance: Below average
Keeping cool Good Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5