Ironman Oceanside 70.3 Race Report
Race morning, we were up at 4:40am. I ate an English muffin with peanut butter (like I do before every long training day). I did my hip exercises with my stretch band. We were out the door at 5am and headed towards Oceanside, which was about 30 minutes away from my Dad and Stepmom’s house. I drank a bottle of water in the car and had a banana. I was so nervous! I had to try and not throw up!
5:30am We parked the car and got on the shuttle almost immediately. Our bus driver was hilarious and so nice! She told us to call her Ms. Vicky and that she had no rules on her bus and to just have fun!
5:40am We arrived at transition. There were no lines at the porta potty so I took advantage. I headed towards my transition spot and set up. Towel, helmet, water bottles, shoes, race bib, nutrition, Uh oh! I only packed 2 Clif Bars instead of 3! There was nothing I could do about it now. I packed extra gels so I was just going to have to work with that.
6:10am I exited transition and got in line to go to the bathroom one more time.
6:20am I put my wet suit on. I was getting more and more nervous as the race was getting closer.
6:30am I said bye to my family and found my way to the swim corral. I got in line at the front of the 30-32 minute group.
6:40am The PROs were off! The waves looked huge and I was getting more nervous!
6:50am The age groupers started and we made our way up to the swim shoot.
7am They had us line up 5 at a time and then we heard a beep, beep, beep, beep, Go! This was the same way they had us line up for Hawaii 70.3 so I was familiar with the set up. But these waves were way bigger than Hawaii! They were said to be 4-8 feet high!
As soon as my race started, all my nervous disappeared. I ran through the sand as fast as I could go into the water. I jumped through the water and immediately got swallowed by a wave. Then a life guard yelled at us to go under them. The next big wave I swam under and came up and started breast stroking. How was I going to swim 1.2 miles in this!?!? I drank a bunch of Ocean water as I tried to sight several times. After I took a right turn at the first buoy things got better and I settled into a decent pace. I kept running into people in green caps! I ran into feet and got kicked more times than I can count! When we reached the harbor side of the swim the water got significantly warmer. When we took another right turn, we were facing the sun. Every time I lifted my head up to find the next buoy I was blinded by the light. I just kept swimming with the pack around me. Eventually I was able to see and find clear water to not get hit as much. We made one last turn and then we were there! The exit came quite as a surprise! I swam to the boat exit and ran out of the water as fast as I could. I was on the opposite side of where my transition spot was so I had a long way to run! It wasn’t a pretty swim and I don’t know how I pulled off a 70.3 swim personal record by 20 seconds. But I will take it!
I ran to the wet suit strippers and they got my wet suit off in no time! I ran over the porta potty and out as quickly as possible! I finally found my bike and threw my stuff down. Sun glasses on, socks and shoes on, helmet on, grabbed my bike and was off! Not a very speedy transition time and something I do need to work on.
Leaving transition, I was ready to go! I found my rhythm quickly and was excited about this bike course! Almost immediately I noticed that my power was way off! I was going 20 MPH and my watch said I was my power was at 70. That was not right. I could either try and re calibrate or just race. So I raced! 30 minutes in I started my nutrition. I drank 3 bottles of water during the bike, just like I had planned. I finished a half a pack of Gel blocks on the bike and both Clif Bars. The bike course went through Camp Pendleton so there were a bunch of Marines out on the course directing us. It was pretty cool to see since you normally can’t just go through there! The way out was fast! I was going almost 20 MPH for the first 20 miles or so. At mile 30 I started getting a really bad side ache. The same thing happened at Ironman CDA and I was never able to figure out what really happened. It was either nerves, dehydration, or drinking lake water. Today, I believe it was the Ocean water. I kept drinking water and tried to stay as hydrated as I could hoping it would help my side ache., it cleared up and I was able to breath without a stabbing pain in my side.
The back side of the course was very hilly! We went down this one hill and they monitored our speed. If anyone went faster than 25 MPH they were disqualified from the race. I braked the whole way down and clocked 20 MPH. They had another sensor at the bottom and I clocked 23 MPH. The first big hill we went up was called Hell Hill. It was by far the steepest hill we climbed. I was breathing heavy the whole way up. Going down was the best part! I went 35 MPH the whole way down! Next up with Jr. Hell Hill! I kept telling myself it couldn’t be as bad as the last hill. It wasn’t and I survived. Next was Mini Hell hill. This had to be the last one!
From there on out I was cruising at 23 MPH! It was flat and that tail wind was taking us straight to transition! I came in hot and ready to attack the run! I was pretty stoked to have crushed all those hills and come in with a new 70.3 bike personal record by 7 minutes!
I ran in switched into my run shoes, grabbed my hat, put more sun screen on, used the porta potty and was out! Again, not a very fast transition time. But, made use of every moment.
I ran out and saw my family right away! Tim told me my bike time and I was so stoked! I checked my pace and settled into an 8:45 pace. Running down Oceanside beach was a dream! The spectators were awesome! Everyone was cheering and blasting music! About 1.5 miles in we had to go up a large ramp that I power walked up to save my legs. Of course, there was a race photographer at the top of that hill! I settle back into my 8:30 pace and took in as much water as I could. Every mile there was an aid station and I drank water and splashed water on myself at every single one. Overall the course was pretty flat with a couple of big steep hills and a gradual hill at mile 3ish. There was absolutely not shade though. Props to the 2 houses that sprayed us with their hoses! I took a couple of orange slices while I was running. They were delicious! The turn-around came surprisingly quick and I was holding the same pace! It wasn’t until mile 9 when I was starting to hurt. I took in more water with base salt and kept telling myself only 4 more miles, you got this! I kept moving forwards and kept persisting! At mile 11 I had some coke to give me an extra boost. When we got back to the beach walk there was only a mile left and I cranked it up as much I could. I saw the Ironman finish line and saw my family! I had held a sub 9-minute mile the whole half marathon and reached a new 70.3 half marathon personal record by 3 minutes!
Finish time: 5:44:00
Place 8th out of 54
Oceanside 70.3 was an amazing experience! There were challenges along the way, both mentally and physically, but I persevered. Situations like my power not working were not ideal but I made the best of it and pressed on. I am so proud of how far I have come in the last 4 years of doing triathlons and continue to grow. I am so happy to have gotten a new personal record in all 3 disciplines and overall in a 70.3 Ironman! I had a time goal of 5:45 but wasn’t sure if that would be possible. And I did it! I also wanted to break top 10 but I knew that there was going to be a tough field of fast competitors. I was shocked when I found out I got 8th place!
Three things that went well:
1. I Stayed hydrated the whole race. Starting with drinking 2 bottles before the race started. On the bike, I drank 3 bottles. On the run course I drank water at every aid station and stayed cool with water and ice.
2. Even though I didn’t have power, I kept a positive attitude and did my best. I pushed it as hard as I could with saving room for the back-side hills.
3. My run pace was spot on. I wanted to hold sub 9’s the hold time and I nailed it. I had a consistent race with miles varying from 8:17- 8:57
Three things to do better next time:
1. Double check you have everything. Even if you think you already do.
2. Make sure watch is calibrated correctly so that I receive accurate power.
3. Continue practicing running and biking up the hills. You have to do hard things in order to get better.
Thank you to my husband for being the best Sherpa ever! Thank you for always double checking if I have everything, for walking 2 miles after my race to take my bike back to tri bike transport, helping me put my wet suit on, holding all of my stuff, and cheering me on during the whole race. Love you!
Thank you to my Dad and Stepmom for letting Tim and I stay at their house this weekend! Thank you for coming out and supporting me all day long!
Thank you to my coach Kimberly Baba! You are such an awesome coach, mentor, and friend! Thank you for working with me and coming up with a race plan for me. I am so excited to race Ironman Santa Rosa with you!