July 18


Bill Davis – 2013 Oceanside 70.3 Race Report

Oceanside 2013

Race Report



This is my 3rd race at Oceanside and it was my first on the new course.  The swim is the same, the bike is slightly different (slower) and the run is completely changed (harder).  I had one goal for this race and that was to come home in my own car – Surf City Half Marathon changed my approach to racing.  The following table is a comparison of results for my previous races:































*Indicates PR time for Oceanside

This was a PR for the swim for me (20secs), and I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I missed a lot of swim workouts leading up to this race.  My T1 times for this race are always above 4:00 because it is a long run from swim exit to enter T1.  2011 was my best bike performance, however, this new ‘no pass zone’ definitely takes some time off so comparatively speaking I would say my bike performance was at least as good as 2011.  T2 was a PR for me and I was happy about this because I really want to get my transition times lower this year.  I have not started doing the flying start and finish on the bike but my goal is to get this accomplished by my next race.  My run was not a PR and I was really not pushing for any kind of a time – my goal was to stay comfortable and healthy through the run.  I was slightly more than 3 minutes over my 2011 time and this run course is a lot harder than the previous course – all the little hill climbs start to eat up your legs.  I would assess the run performance as good and it matched my expectations.

Pre Race Activities

I arose from a not so great sleep at 3:15 AM, got dressed, ate breakfast and loaded up the car.  Mindy dropped me off near T1 so that I wouldn’t have to ride my bike in the dark from downtown Oceanside.  We pulled the car up right behind Coach Jillian and then we walked into T1 together.  I was told that everything was pre-assigned so I wasn’t worried about getting to the race to get a good spot.  When I arrived at my row I found out that it wasn’t pre-assigned and I was happy to get the end spot one row away from the ‘Bike Tech’ awning.  This was a perfect place in transition because it was on the end and I had a big landmark to look for after the swim.  I saw Caroline and Wayne ready to do body marking and they were stationed right near me which came in handy during T1.  I had a very early wave start so by the time I got ready and said hello to a few friends it was time to cue up in the swim chute.



Expected Time – :45:00

Actual Time – :42:35

At the start of the swim I found Bob Littrell and we entered the water together – that was the last that I saw of Bob the rest of the day until the finish line.  I wasn’t expecting a very good swim time because I had not been working real hard at my swimming this year – many workouts had been missed due to work and other conflicts.  I started to the inside left and back about 3 or 4 rows of people.  When the horn went off it seemed like nobody moved but I started swimming right away.  There were a lot of people in the water – it almost felt like IMAZ because the harbor is narrow and there are people in front and back and all sides.  I had a big guy in front of me doing the breast stroke for awhile so I used some energy to get around him and then when the fast swimmers from the trailing wave started coming into the mix it started getting really crowded.   As I was taking a breath (to my left) a strong swimmer came by and clobbered me right over the side of my head and left eye socket – I saw a few stars and then shook it off and kept swimming.  At the turnaround I checked my time and it was :21:xx so I knew I was on track to match my previous best time of :42.  As I was swimming back to the boat ramp I got trapped in between the shore and some very strong swimmers that kind of forced me to my right.  I thought I was going to hit the wall along the shore.  I made it back to the boat ramp and got out of the water to see :42:xx and thought to myself  ‘not too bad for missing many of my swim workouts – just think what I would have done if I trained better for this’.


Expected Time – :05:00

Actual Time – :04:57

This is a long run and in order for me to keep my HR down I don’t push the time too hard.  I found my spot easily and Caroline was there cheering people on.  I got my bike gear on and she quickly came over and said ‘leave that stuff’ so I didn’t have to pack up my wetsuit.  It is really nice to have good friends in high places.

I decided to analyze my Garmin data to see how long the various T1 activities were taking me.  You can tell by the parts where you are moving and stationary what you are doing.  

  • Running from swim exit to T1 spot – 2:30
  • T1 activities (remove wetsuit, put on shoes, bike gear) – 1:40
  • Run out of T1 with bike – :50


Expected Time – 2:53:00

Actual Time – 2:53:44

Joby had made a plan for my bike route and I executed it the way that he had suggested.  The overall power budget for the bike leg was 198 watts and this is what I was monitoring the entire race.  I checked cadence and HR as I went along too, but my primary focus was power.  

I break this bike route up into 3 sections:

  • Section 1 – Oceanside to Christianitos:  Flat to rolling hills and wind is benign or sometimes at your back.  This part of the race is fast.
  • Section 2 – Christianitos to the top of the last hill on Camp Pendleton:  This part of the course has 4 hills on it.  The first hill is big and steep while the remaining hills are longer and less steep.  These hills eat your legs up for running
  • Section 3 – The top of the Hill at Camp Pendleton down to Vandergrift and Back to Oceanside:  This part of the course is fast, but can have wind in the face.  For this race the wind was not too bad and I was fairly fast coming back to town.  There are a lot of twists and turns and a no pass zone that slow you down on this section towards the end

My results for each section are as follows:




Net Power


Heart Rate




























I was trying to stay at 198 Watts for an overall average and that is exactly what my Garmin said on the bike computer when I got off the bike.  Net power zeroes out the downhill and any other non pedaling parts of the bike ride so there is a little bit of difference.  I took the biggest risk on Section 1 because I knew that part of the course is my strength – flat sections or rolling hills as opposed to bigger long climbing.  On Section 2, I actually held back and didn’t push the hills too hard because I know that I don’t go that fast and pushing hard there is not going to gain me very much.  In my race plan I was given an option to power up about 10 % over my 198w budget but I really only used about 5% extra effort.  During Section 3 I knew I was going fast but I also could see that my power was dropping off as I rode.  I didn’t fight this because I knew I was over 200 watts average and I had some budget to spare.  My speed was still very fast and so basically I rode in against the slight wind and kept my speed up without pushing too hard.  My cadence slowed in this section too so I was definitely starting to feel the effects of the long hilly section.

I had one issue with hydration that I had to deal with.  I don’t carry water bottles on my bike except for one aero bottle that holds about 20 oz of water.  I fill it up every aid station and then throw in a couple of Nuun tablets for electrolytes.  At the third aid station I stuck the water bottle in the aero bottle and filled it up but when I removed the water bottle it took the top off of my aerobottle.  Of course I did not stop and go back and get it – that would be ridiculous to stop in a race on the bike.  For the rest of the ride I had water splashing out so I was not able to fill it up at the remaining aid stations.  I seemed to get enough water, but now I need a new aero bottle.


Expected Time – :01:30

Actual Time – :02:15

 I came into T2 and I had checked the day before and counted to the third row for my T2 location so it should have been easy for me to find my rack spot.  There were volunteers yelling which row to turn on and I was sure that I needed to go down row 3, but I really need to go between 3 and 4.  I had to make a u-turn and go back and so I lost a few seconds.  I looked at my Garmin data to see how long each activity is taking me and this is what I found:

  • Entrance to T2 running to my spot – :50
  • Doing the transition activities (change shoes, put on visor, rack bike) – :50
  • Running to T2 exit – :21

I want these transitions to be under 2:00


Expected Time – 2:30

Actual Time – 2:30:41

I did not have high expectations for this run for many reasons.  One reason of course was the Surf City incident which is always going to make me very conservative in racing these distances and I had backed off on the intensity for many of my run workouts.  I had been working hard but not at the speeds that I was doing prior to Surf City.  I basically adopted the attitude that this was going to be a 2:30 run and I tried to remain comfortable with my pace.  When I first started the run I was getting spasms and cramps in my quads.  This is something that I used to experience when I first started to race the 70.3 distance.  Luckily Mindy had given me some Salt Stick capsules to carry with me on the run to help supplement my electrolytes.  I took one of these and my spasms went away almost immediately.  I continued to take these about every 45 minutes on the run.  I think this helped me a lot because it was very hot out there running on the pavement and I sweat a lot.

The first half of the run I stayed between 11:00- 1130 pace which was within the range for my race plan.  After 6 miles I was running back to Oceanside Pier and I determined that I was going to walk all of the hills and aid stations for the remainder of the race.  I don’t go up the hills very fast anyway and so I felt it was better to conserve energy for the parts where I could run faster.  Miles 7- 12 involved walking the hills and aid stations and the pace was between 12:00 and 12:30 so there was not going to be a negative split for this race.  When there was one mile left I decided to pick up the pace and see what I had left – I actually had a lot left and I ran 10:40.  I was coming down the finishing chute and saw I guy with a 57 on his calf and I accelerated past him – he did not respond to the challenge and so I picked up one spot at the end. 

Lessons Learned

  1. Race Preparation – My preparation plan was excellent and I was  prepared for this race, however I know that I missed a lot of swimming and I didn’t get all of my running in either.  Definitely need work on the transition runs and I could have done better with my long runs.  A couple of them were cut a little short and I did not execute them in practice as good as I could have. 
  2. Nutrition – My nutrition plan worked very good for this race, although I did get hungry for solid food on the run so maybe I need to add a little more food at breakfast.  I always eat 2 packages of oatmeal but sometimes I add Yogurt or a banana to my breakfast plan and I did not add anything this time.  My e-gels on the bike worked great.  I probably should have gotten one more pull before I got off the bike, but I got over 500 calories down on the bike.  I am going to replace the Nuun tablets with Salt Sticks because they work really good and fast.  They are also easier to take.  As far as running goes I usually only take water and or fruit.  This time I used Gatorade Perform and it worked well.
  3. Race Pace and Execution – I think that my execution for this race was exactly what I wanted it to be.  My swim was better than expected, my bike went according to plan and the run was not as fast as I am capable of doing but it was still a respectable time and I was able to walk away feeling good.  I might have pushed the bike a little harder at the end and not so hard on the first section, but that first part of the course is my strength and it is almost half of the bike leg whereas the third section is only 12 miles.


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