Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oceanside 70.3 Race Recap - Part 2

Don't you just love the suspense of the "carry-over" blog. I know so many of you were hanging on to the edge of your seats waiting for this post...race we go.

So after what seemed to be an eternity of waiting, it was finally my wave's start (second to last). Upon take-off I sucked in a huge mouthful of salt water, which quickly reminded me that I was in the ocean (only my second tri in the ocean). I got into a pretty good groove with minimal fighting and just cranked it.

The swim goes out through the marina past the break for a small portion of real ocean swim (unprotected by the break) and then back in. Only two things of significance happened on the swim: 1. I got elbowed so hard in the eye I thought it would be black, and 2. I couldn't see past the break to the finish so I couldn't really judge my output based on seeing the distance left. All-in-all though, good swim.

Out of the swim I had a pretty solid four minute and change transition and took off on the bike. The bike course was very cool as it wound through Camp Pendelton military base. It was fun to see troops marching, all the barracks and sign's that read: Tank Crossing. The bike was mostly flat for the first thirty or so miles, but it was really windy and I thought it hid a lot of false flats.

The last twenty or so miles proved to be more challenging. There were two massive hills followed by a handful of those rollers that you wished didn't have to be at the end of the bike course. I would say this course was very bizarre for a couple reasons. First, there were a ton of cyclists out there that seemed to have never been on a tri course before. People were weaving all over the road and riding to the left the whole way. Second, this was the first 70.3 I have ever done where I saw a number of people off their bikes walking them up the hill.

I screamed in off the bike feeling like I had a great ride, but knowing that I didn't have much for the run. I probably doomed myself thinking ahead of the race that I would die early in the run due to only training for five weeks...but what are ya gonna do? This was my toughest 70.3 run in five races. I just could never kick it into gear, flush out the legs and get into a groove.

With that said, I just kinda grinded along chugging water and Gatorade and eventually moving into the coke. It was sunny and about 75 degrees but felt like 85 on the pavement, and my big body doesn't like racing/training in the heat.

I finally saw my Dad (whose wave started thirty minutes in front of mine) around mile three or so. After a wave and a holler I picked up the pace in hopes to catch him...but I was sucking already and he looked pretty solid. I kept grinding and saw him again around mile seven thinking there was no way, because I was pretty much spent; the lack of training now very apparent as I was closing in on the finish.

But then...I spotted him on the turnaround and he was only about a half-mile up so I grinded and grinded until mile 10 when I finally caught the old man! He was hurting a little too dealing with some knee issues. I thought about saying hi and continuing on, but when will I ever get the chance to coincidentally catch up to my old man on a racecourse and finish with him? So I slowed down (from my already slow pace) and we jogged out the last three miles of the race together and had the opportunity in all our glory to cross that finish line arm in arm and arms in the air! It was a truly euphoric finish and one I will never forget (especially because I can't let the old man slow me down again:)).

It was a great race, a very cool course with great support from all the Marines and great support from a full crowd. I would definitely go back to race this one again, especially because it's early in the season so it keeps you busy in the winter, and who can argue with a 70.3 in southern California?

So out of five 70.3's this was my third fastest. I had my second fastest swim, my fastest overall bike, my slowest run and my most fun finish.

Next up is the Pacific Crest Marathon in June (Sunriver, OR) and then the Lake Stevens 70.3 in August (Lake Stevens, WA). I would like to get in one more 70.3 this fall but don't have one on the books yet.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oceanside 70.3 Race Recap - Part 1

I was excited for this race for a few reasons. One, it was the first of the season, which is always exciting. Second, it was in sunny California on a course that I haven’t done before. Finally, and most importantly, it was with my Dad; our first race together at this distance. He was training for the full IM in St. George and this was his training race, which I was happy to join in.

I flew into San Diego on Thursday night, which was a little later than I had hoped to be there, but I couldn’t pass up being the mystery reader at my daughter’s kindergarten class that morning.

It’s about a 40-minute drive up from San Diego and I got checked in to my hotel in time to visit for a bit with my family and hit the sack around 11p.

Friday morning I headed with dad to registration and expo down on the waterfront. It’s a cool scene down there along the boardwalk on the beach. Registration was easy and went fairly quickly and then we walked the expo picking up swag and souvenirs. I was the best expo compared to some of the other 70.3’s I’ve been to.

I have a pretty strict pre-race day schedule. I like to get registration, expo, transition and warm-ups done by one or two o’clock. After expo we went to swim, but they were not allowing athletes in the marina (where the swim starts), nor were they allowing them in the ocean (some current issues). This was my first 70.3 without a swim the day before. After the swim disappointment we headed out for five miles or so on the bike and then for a mile or two run.

Happy with the events so far it was time to move on to the next part of my strict pre-race schedule…feedsack….relax….sleep-nap.

Although we were staying at the (or so it seemed), I did have a friend who lives in Carlsbad that happened to be out of town and offered up his place for us to cook up our pre-race meal. Part of the schedule is to eat spaghetti with marinara sauce and lean ground turkey, garden salad with ranch and fresh French bread with tons of butter.

This however, all has to be in the works by 4p. That allows an hour four cooking and relaxing, and hour four stuffing your face and your are done by 6p. After dinner I like to sip on Gatorade, watch some motivational movie like 300 and the hit the sack by 9p. I have to go to bed this time because it allows my body enough time to calm down and rest so I can actually, hopefully get sleeping by 10p or 11p.

Everything worked according to plan. We didn’t have to wait in busy restaurant lines or eat crappy restaurant food. We drove 11 miles to Carlsbad, shopped at Ralph’s and hit up my buddy’s apartment. We cooked, stuffed our faces and relaxed. It was quiet, we had a great meal and never worried about a thing.

We headed back (11mi) to Oceanside and visited a bit before making my 9p deadline. After checking and double-checking the gear and bike and breakfast preparations I finally hit the sack around 9:30p After about an hour of tossing a bit and “cooling off my mind” I finally checked out….on and off…..inconsistently….until the alarm went off a 4a or something like that. We had prepared Quaker oatmeal to cook in my “in room microwave” (a perk at along with bananas smothered in a jar of peanut butter, coffee (for me to get the invaluable pre-race poo motivated), and Gatorade to sip on.

After a super filling breakky, bottle fill (with water Gatorade endurance and thermolytes) we drove to the race.

We had to park about a mile or so from the finish and ride our bikes and transition bags to the finish. This wasn’t a big deal and gave a small warm-up for a long wait to the start. I was in the second to last start wave so basically I could have come to transition about and hour or two later.

I setup transition, helped my Dad setup his, we gave that last minute pee and I saw him off to his wave start. Then I realized…I had 45 more minutes until my start….BORING! I walked around transition, peed again, watched the pro’s come in and then finally made it out to the swim start.

You get into the water at the marina boat launch, swim out about 50 yards or so and then tread for a couple minutes before the gun goes off.

And then…the usual swim start chaos full-contact swimming that goes with the territory….so FUN!

To be continued…..