Ironman California Oceanside 70.3
I love this event! This is was my 4th time finishing Oceanside but after missing 2013 and 2014 due to injury and illness it was sweet to cross the finish line again. Here’s my race report:
Swim (1.2 miles)
I was in one of the last waves so nearly an hour after the Pro start I entered the water. The temperature was great, I think they said 63 which made for a comfortable swim. It was my best swim in a 70.3 event! I stayed on course, had a good rhythm, dealt with the crowds and when I saw the sea lions waving me on; I was happy and relaxed as I race up the boat ramp. Swim time was 42:03
I ran to my bike as fast as I could with a wetsuit and was able to past several people. I could quickly tell my wetsuit was not coming off with ease so I sat down instead of falling down. I went with the Cal Tri top and shorts and no socks for the bike. The run out of T1 really got my heart pumping as I passed other athletes in transition. Time was 4:04
Bike (56 miles)
Believe it or not I followed my pre-strategy which didn’t give me a fast bike split but I’m good with the plan and the results. Once I got going, I really tried to relax and bring my heartrate down. The goal was to not push the first 20 miles as it’s easy to go out to hard on this course. The wind which normally helps you in this first hour wasn’t really there so I was a little worried about my slower speed but stayed true to my plan and keep the heart rate and intensity under control as I drank and ate.
The middle part of the bike has 3 big hills and some other rolls which brings several athletes to their feet as they walk up. My goal was to spin up the hills instead of grinding it out so I still had my legs for the run. I think this is where the race really starts… There was some grinding on my part but I think I did better staying in the seat and spinning up the hills.
The final section of the bike is back towards the coast with a head wind. Mostly flat with some fun rollers. This is normally where I get tired and sore from riding. My overall time was not what I wanted it to be but this is where the plan called from me to pick the pace. And my training paid off, I got a second wind and started to speed up as I passed other riders that were feeling the effects of the hills and wind.
Back in February my Mom passed away after being sick for a long time. I’m glad she is no longer sick but I miss her… I put her initials on the sides of helmet and really felt her presences and strengthen during that last section of the bike. I was able to stay aero and picked up speed as I raced back to transition. Bike time was 3:00:05 (18.66/mph)
There was a slow single file path into T2 which really slowed me down but once I dismounted I was ready to run. I put on socks, running shoes and a hat. It was sunny and warm so I didn't put on my run shirt. I wish I would have put on the shirt b/c my shoulders and back got sunburn from wearing just the tri top. Time was 3:28
Run (13.1 miles)
I know the first mile of that course really well so I decided to just relax and not look at my watch till I hit the first aid station around mile 1. I was feeling much better than Palm Springs mile 1 but was really warm and could tell my heart rate was high. My plan and goal was to run the whole thing but walk every aid station. I’ve been having issues with cramps on the run in past 70.3 races so I wanted to make sure I drank at every aid station and put cold water and ice on my head and back to cool down. The crowd in Oceanside is amazing! I always forget how much it helps. Running along the beach towards the pier I was feeling good and loved seeing all the cool signs the fans were waving. The short hill on the Pier hurt but I was passing people and running around 8:15 pace. I got a wave and shout out from Andy Potts at mile 2. The crowds and aid station volunteers keep me going as I walked the aid stations but was able to run the rest. My legs were tight and starting to cramp but I fought through it. I don’t remember much about mile 4-10 which I think is a good thing. I was on “automatic pilot” which is what I wanted. At mile ten I started telling the volunteers thanks and that I’d see them next year. And then at 11 mile with a slight uphill my quads and hamstrings were starting to really cramp. I prayed for help to finish strong and dedicated the race to my amazing Mom. Once I got onto the finish stretch with a mile to go, I really enjoyed myself. I really tried to pick up the pace and give it my all to honor my Mom. The sky was blue the crowds were loud as I sprinted towards the line. Once I heard the announcer calling out finishers, I knew I had made it! I’ll admit, the emotion came out as I started to cry for joy and to mourn my Mother. I raised my hands to the heavens and said “Thank-you Mom, I love you!” Run time was 1:52:20 (8:34/mi)
I got the awesome finisher medal and hat but the emotion was still there, the volunteers were a little worried about me as I stopped walking towards the food and had to stop and take it all in. I was hurting but the pain was different after my 4th time finishing Oceanside. My time was no PR but for everything going on in my life I’m happy with my results.
- Special thanks to my loving wife Amy and my kids for supporting me!
- Thanks to Lesley Peterson of Brave Heart Coaching for the help to start and finish.
- Great support from Cal Tri
- Thanks to Ironman for having a Saturday race and hope they add more Saturday events to the schedule as many of us do not race on Sunday for religious reasons.
Here are some of the cool signs that I can remember from the run course
- You look Hot!
- Smile if you are not wearing underwear!
- Because 70.4 would be crazy
- WTF = Where’s the Finish?
- Pain Now Beach Later
- Remember you paid for this
- These seemed easier when I signed up 6 months ago
- Don’t call this Half of anything! Give it your all!
This spring I want to build a strong bike base and maybe do the Mt Baldy ride as part of the Tour of California in May. In June I’d like to do the 100 mile Ride the Bear which goes from Redlands to Big Bear Lake and back.
Then this summer work on some running speed and lay down a fast 5k at the Esri UC race and the Redlands Stake Duathlon. In the fall I’ll start my build to a full 140.6 at the HITs Championships in December. I didn't get picked for Kona and the few Saturday options for Ironman don’t work in my budget so my full this year will be with HITs in December.