SWIM 44:32 / BIKE 4:02:48 / RUN 2:14:04 (T1=12,T2=8 LOL)
I'm twice as slow as Andy Potts and Mirinda Carfrae but I had a blast at Oceanside 70.3! This was a challenging but fun course. My first half-iron & I really liked it. I was really impressed by the volunteer effort and cheering squads all along the way, even at Camp Pendleton. What I love about these events is the energy, and there was a lot of it here. For me it's like the buzz that people get when they visit Stonehenge or some cosmic energy place.
I'm so glad I was able to do this with friends from Water World Swim. I definitely want to thank them for coaxing me into it otherwise I may not have done it. We all had our own challenges to overcome going into it and we all did our best and finished. I was really impressed at how far they have come. I feel like Edna is my mentor. She took me on my first outside the wall open water swim at Aquatic Park. She has done this before and had insider information. I watched Joseph go from being a non-cyclist to a 20+ mph cyclist after training with a coach. I also had Ironmen George and Jake helping me along. My challenge was losing my dad last year. I was also feeling low on energy and possibly anemic going into it. I was getting worried. I had some blood work done beforehand and it looked like lowest on the scale for iron stores. This would explain the fatigue and out of breath feeling and light-headed-ness I had. It was the worst taper ever. But I still managed to finish before the cutoff time in the range I was predicting.
There is a lot of anticipation and training for an event like this and mental attitude is key. My mantra for the day was: I am going to be out here all day so might as well pace myself. I ate 2 packs Clif granola bars for breakfast with bottle of Ironman PERFORM.
We got there in plenty of time to set up transition and then lined up for our swim waves. The swim was good. If you are used to colder water, the water in SoCal was warm and comfortable. There were strong guys helping us in and out of the harbor and there was plenty of boat support. We swam to the start, no warmup and then just like that - it started. Had to look forward to watch for flying arms and kicking feet. Just so you know I am not the type of person that will grab your calf or feet while I am swimming. I try to look where I am going and not swim over people but took it all in stride. Good thing I had my goggle straps tucked under the swim cap. Note to self: remember to keep legs closer together next time lol. The water was calm and then got swells which were fun but made sighting challenging. I just kept a steady pace and didn't stop and sprinted at the final 200m just to look good in front of all the people screaming at us.
Next the bike. I took my time and put sunscreen on. It was a really hot the day before and was glad it was a little overcast on race day, but was still being careful. I had a gu and drank half a bottle of PERFORM and stuffed my pockets full of food before heading out with a tank full of electrolytes on my bike and then took off. This was a fun bike course! A little winding in the beginning, with lots of crowd support. The one I remember is the guy sitting on top of his car blasting speed metal. The aid stations were right where they needed to be and I used every one except the last one which I regret because then I used all that extra time in transition. The hill was manageable. Many people were walking up it and standing on their bikes. If you do some of the Headlands hills, Mt. Tam and Mt. Diablo and the ones in the East Bay, this hill is a cakewalk. The second smaller hill is the sneaky one. I think after climbing the first one, the legs go on vacation and then not ready for more of the rollers but the downhill after that is a long fast fun ride. It's fun until you start catching the offshore headwind on the last ten miles, then it's all about keeping a low profile and pushing through it. I averaged 80s rpm throughout. I tried to eat something every half hour: 2 powerbars, small bag of salty pretzels, gu, gel blasts. I had at least 6-8 bottles of water and electros on this ride. I saw a lot of dropped bottles on the course and was glad to have the speedfil. At the aid station I just stopped and filled the tank. Going through Camp Pendleton you have the Marines cheering you on "never give up! never quit" which helps alot. They have all probably done this route in their sleep with 100 LBS of gear on. There is also a Nuclear Power Plant on the course, yes right on the coast, yes it's California, a seismically active area. Hello.
When I got back to transition, my worst fear: The sun had come out! It was baking. I put more sunscreen on and gulped down some more water. Even though there were plenty of aid stations I took my water belt and had some extra goodies in the pouch. At the aid stations I filled the pouch with pretzels and drank the electros and refilled my water bottle I don't know how many times. Luckily the clouds came back after a while. The course was mostly flat and very scenic along the beach. There were so many people screaming and music pumping that I just kept floating along. It was a looped course so I got to say hey to my friends as they went by. By now I was seeing people struggling, including myself. We have all been at it for hours and this was it. My pace started out in 9, then went to 9:30, 10, 10:30, 11, and then back to 10:30. I call it a reverse tempo lol. I saw a lot of sad broken endurolytes pills on the ground, or at least that's what I hoped they were. Somehow they didn't make it to where they were supposed to go. I was feeling tight in the chest and had short burst of tunnel vision. I felt like I could still make it though. By mile 12 I was pretty emotional, wishing my dad could be here to see me and and had some feelings of grief and tears bubble up like a volcano. Then I felt a beautiful calmness and the ocean breeze. People cheering in the distance. My foot passed over the finish line in slow motion and my timing chip beeped. I will never forget it.
I walked straight to the med tent and lied down on the cot. The doc said I was fine just keep drinking fluids. Had fun chatting with the nurses about their Kona experience. Every one was so nice I really had the best time. Afterwards had a great dinner and ice cream rehashing events of the day with Joseph, Beth and Edna. Beth was great support, she drove us around, made reservations, and had been out there cheering all day. That is what really touched me is all the support. It's that feeling of seeing dreams through, even if you are not the one doing actually doing it yourself, you are an essential part of the backstage crew and the reward is very much yours to share. So thanks to my support crew, you helped keep me going!
Notes: Even though I put tons of sunscreen on, I forgot my back, and my tri-top has racer straps. Now I have a sunburn that looks like burning man emblazoned on my back. Next time will wear one that covers the whole back, eat salty pretzels earlier and save caffeinated gels for last. Also, going to build up the iron somehow. Will consult the doc.
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