I woke up early (3 AM) and had my typical pre-race breakfast – 2 packages of oatmeal, 1 yogurt and a glass of orange juice. I had packed the night before and I slept with my timing chip on so that I wouldn’t forget it. The drive to Oceanside is about an hour and the parking lot is quite a ways from transition so I wanted to leave no later than 3:45. Mindy and I left the house once and she forgot something so we had to go back. We made the long drive down, parked the car and I got all of my things out and rode my bike to transition. I walked down to my rack and arrived at exactly the same time as another person in my AG – it turned out to be the same person that I was next to last year (Toby Anderson) and he is a fellow OC Tri Club person so he let me have the end and he took the spot next to me. I started getting my things out and the next person to arrive was a lady and she was also a friend of Martha’s that knew me – I have never had women in the same bike rack with me. I started seeing all of the people that I knew in the race and we stood around chatting for awhile. After 3 trips to the restroom I was finally ready to go for a swim. I found my wave group and we wandered up to the swim start.
Swim Leg – 00:45:14
The water was supposedly 62 degrees and so I didn’t use a neoprene cap or an extra cap, however, there was an announcement that booties would be allowed in this race, so I put them on to prevent frozen feet on the bike. When I got in the water it felt fine and I swam out to the start point and floated there until the horn went off. I started swimming immediately and it really did not seem very crowded. I had open space most of the way and didn’t run into too much traffic. As I swam out to the turnaround I kept thinking that I was almost there, but each time I arrived at a yellow buoy I could see another one up ahead. The water got fairly rough out towards the turnaround point and I could feel a strong current pulling me out to sea. It was washing machine conditions. I made the first turn and then I got very disoriented and couldn’t find the orange buoys that lead the way back to the finish. I finally found them and I noticed a tall building that was lined up with the direction that I wanted to go – I used it for sighting purposes. I was pretty far away from the orange buoys as I swam towards the finish and I could feel the current pushing me towards the rocky/concrete shore. I kept swimming to the left, but every time I sighted I found myself getting closer to the rocks. I had to really force myself to go harder to the left. As you come back to the finish there is a dock or a landing that looks like the finish line, but it isn’t – it’s about 500 yds before the actual finish. This through me off a little because I thought I was done, but I still had a ways to go. I was swimming right alongside somebody in my AG and we both went up the ramp together – I was very dizzy when I came out of the water. My wife said that she yelled to me but I never heard her or saw her.Garmin Issue
I always keep very accurate times of my races with my Garmin 310, but this time I made a huge error. I looked down at my Garmin and I pushed the lap button, but the display said ‘start multisport’. I had forgotten that in order to use multisport you have to hit enter first and then hit start. So I had the timer running, but I was not in multisport mode. I kept this running through T1 and the bike leg, but I knew that it was going to be hard to sort out the data. After I completed the bike leg I stopped the watch and restarted it for the run so that I could have a good clean set of pacing data for the run portion.
T1 – Swim to Bike 5:00
I came into T1 and started to kneel down and I got a little bit of cramp in my hamstring so I immediately sat on the aisle carpet and pulled my wetsuit off. I was very careful to make sure that the timing chip stayed on my ankle. I put on my race belt, glasses, helmet and shoes and then I made the long trot out of transition. As I started out on the bike I had to turn on my bike computer and get it started. It didn’t boot up until about 1/2 mile into the ride. This would be my primary source for HR data, cadence and speed for the bike ride.
Bike Leg – 2:53:06
I got on the bike and started pedaling with a nice high cadence in a very easy gear. I didn’t really start pushing the speed until I got out onto Harbor Dr and past the tunnel of the parking lot. Then I hit the little hill and entered the Marine Base and I started picking up my pace. I looked at my HR and it was reading in the high 140s – I tried to relax and get it down but it stayed up in this range most of the race. My legs weren’t burning at all and I felt comfortable so I stopped worrying about the HR and focused on keeping my cadence high and my speed fast. I stayed in the aero position until I hit the hills on the back side. I could feel wind the entire ride and I couldn’t tell if it was helping me or hindering me as I proceeded towards San Clemente – it must have been helping more than hindering because my time was very good for the first 28 miles. I really enjoy this first 20-25 miles of riding – I have done a lot of training rides down on the base and it is very scenic and very fast. I averaged 21.22 mph for this section of the race, my cadence was 92 and HR was 144. I would liked to have had a little lower HR, but my legs were feeling OK – this was still 10-15 bpm lower than last year’s race.
Once you enter the base you encounter ‘the hill’. Last year we had a tailwind pushing us and I was on a road bike with a triple crank gear. This year the wind was blowing right in your face as you ascended the hill and I am riding a tri-bike that isn’t real good for climbing. The hill is about 1 mile long and it hits around 12-14% grade. About half way up the hill I had to stand up and then I could not sit down – I would have fallen over if got any slower. This was the first time that I have ever stood up to get over a hill in a race – I was moving at about 4-5 mph and I was really worried that I was going to have to walk the bike. Last year there was 1 person walking and this year about 1/3 of the people going up the hill were walking. I finally made it over the top and I knew there were a few more hills to go, but this was the steepest one. All of the other hills were fairly easy by comparison – I was not too fast going through
this section of the race – the hills are about 12-13 miles in distance and my cadence through this section was 77, my HR was 147 (161 peak) and my speed was 15 mph. I definitely set off my HR alarm a few times on this portion of the race.
The final section of the bike leg is the ride back to town. Once you ascend the last hill, the road turns to the right and you get a nice strong downhill back towards Oceanside. The wind was blowing in the face going this direction, but somehow I seemed to plow through this without losing a lot of speed. I stayed low in the aero position and pedaled with a high cadence and I pushed hard. I looked at the time and I kept thinking I had a shot to beat 2:50, but as I got closer to town and had to make a few turns I knew I wasn’t going to hit that mark. I was fast all the way up to the point where we had to start going through the shopping center and those turns slowed me down a lot. Once we exited the base and started towards Harbor Dr I saw my wife. Everybody was going slow and I had the hammer down going through that part of the course. My data for this 3rd section of the ride was cadence 92, HR 148 and speed was 21.96 mph.
T2 – Bike to Run transition – 2:28
I came into T2 and quickly changed shoes and got ready to run. I could not find my visor that I had brought for running – this took about 15 seconds to look and then I gave up and headed towards the run start. As I was running through T2 I decided to stop my Garmin watch and reset it for the run so that I would have good run pacing data.
Run – 2:27:38
My goal for this race was to have a good strong overall performance in each leg of the triathlon – my prior 70.3 races were all disasters when it came to the run leg. I had times of 2:59 and 2:55 for my runs and I ended up walking most of these runs. For this race I was determined to have a good steady run with minimal or no stopping to walk.
I started out this run feeling very good – my legs were strong and loose and I felt like I was going to have a very good run. I was a little worried that maybe I had pushed too hard on the last part of the bike, but I felt good at the start of the run. I needed to hit the porta potty so I did this at the first aid station which is about .6 miles into the race. When I stopped, my pace was faster than 11 minutes and I knew that was too fast, but I couldn’t seem to slow down. After the first mile I had an 11:06 (with a stop at the porta potty) so I decided to slow down for the next mile and start my negative split from mile 2. Mile 2 was 11:20 and then I started dropping pace from there. By mile 4 I had settled into an 11 minute or slightly faster zone and I stayed there until mile 7. At mile 7 I seemed to hit the wall and my legs started to feel very heavy and tired – maybe it was the extra pushing on the bike as I came back into town or maybe I just need a little more work on long running.
Up through this point of the run I had not stopped running anywhere on the course – including the hills. I started doing the math and I was reasonably certain that I would not break 6 hours and my legs were tired so at mile 8 I made my first stop at an aid station and then I stopped at each one thereafter. I also walked a couple of the hills – it is a relatively flat course, but there are 2 short hills that you have to go
up and there are also some false flats. The second half of the run I averaged 11:24 pace which was a little bit disappointing because I really wanted to achieve a full negative split for the run, but I didn’t have enough left – next race. I did achieve my goal of running the entire run with only stopping at the aid stations and I kept my run at a nice steady pace for 7 miles. This was by far the best run that I have had in a 70.3 and I left some room for an improvement next year.