Ford Ironman 70.3 California - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Oceanside, California
United States
Ironman North America
65F / 18C
Total Time = 6h 22m 19s
Overall Rank = 1441/
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

This was my second HIM. I was feeling pretty dejected heading into the event as marathon training over the winter had ended with a painful IT Band injury and a disappointing finish at the LA Marathon on 3/4/07. Also, the marathon schedule left me almost no time for bike work in January and February. My training log shows just four rides in 2007 totaling less than 100 miles. Pretty inauspicious stuff, which led me to wonder if I had any business going to Oceanside. Most of March was spent in dialogue with myself over whether or not to withdraw from the event. I'd promised a friend who was using it as a final "tune-up" for IMAZ that I'd line up with him at the start, and I wanted to make good on the pledge, but I was also worried about aggravating the IT injury and maybe doing myself irreversible damage there. In the end, I finished with a much better time than I ever could have anticipated. I beat my previous 70.3 finish by a full 28 minutes and saw significant improvement in a number of areas within the race.
Event warmup:

Woke up at 4:30 and schlepped my gear out to the car. Hit the continental breakfast buffet for a bagel and some coffee. Drove to the venue. Port-a-potty visit as per usual. (Why don't they have a triage system for these? You know, worst cases first?) Went back to the racks to check over my gear. They had us packed in pretty tightly, and my stuff wasn't as well organized it could have been, but no points for tidiness, right? Pulled on my wetsuit (still damp from a practice swim on Friday), stretched the shoulders a bit, and found my place in the cue for the start.
  • 34m 42s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 38s / 100 yards

They staggered the waves by three minutes, so there were a lot of bodies on the course, some of them flailing more wildly than others. Didn't manage to take up a good spot for the deep water start and had to wait for slower swimmers ahead to clear out and provide a path. Absorbed an assortment of kicks and wallops from swimmers who either can't see underwater or simply don't care about who they're wailing on. Had some leakage problems with new goggles purchased at the expo, but sorted things out pretty quickly and found open water. Some difficulties sighting on the way back in. Sun was right in my eyes, and I didn't really familiarize myself with the course prior to the start. Even though I was swimming well and enjoying myself, it sorta hit me that my casual approach to the race might come back to haunt me.
What would you do differently?:

Really should have known the course a bit better. Silly to try new googles on race day.
Transition 1
  • 06m 55s

Forgot to bring a towel and had a hell of time pulling on my jersey over a wet torso. Was proud of my speedy jog in from water's edge, but HR felt pretty high as I worked to change into my bike gear. I decided to take my time after that. Have to do better preparing my food for the bike. Looked and felt like a moron trying to stuff my pockets with gels, bars, bloks, etc.
What would you do differently?:

Tough to get organized in such a cramped little space. Barely had room to strip my wetsuit. Need to have a towel next time or wear a jersey under the wetsuit. Might try a bento box to organize my food. I tried to be slow and deliberate, which helped me lower the HR, but I gave time away, too. There must be a happy medium somewhere.
  • 3h 15m 52s
  • 56 miles
  • 17.15 mile/hr

The split time certainly won't wow anyone, but this was a very good ride for me, especially considering how little I've trained on the bike this year. My bike time in Napa last year was a full twenty minutes slower on a very similar course, so I'm definitely pleased to see some progress. Looks like I'm still benefitting from the century training I put in last fall. Could have done even better were it not for two stops (one early to fix my race bib and one later at a port-a-potty).

Nice course with a couple climbs on the back half. Since I don't have a tri bike, I'm at a distinct disadvantage on the flats, but I tend to do okay on the climbs, and that was the case yesterday. Was literally passed by hundreds of riders throughout the day, but I reeled in a few on the hills, too. Think I may have gotten a new nickname in the process. On the one "big" climb, I swung out wide to pass some of the winded riders (including a few who were walking their bikes). One of the race officials posted there, evidently noting the lack of aero bars on my rig and the long-sleeved jersey and the gloves, yelled some encouragement to me: "That's right, Roadie, clean 'em up!" That gave me a nice lift and a bit of a laugh, too, as the "true" roadies who cycle in my area tend to sneer at me for my lack of high-end gear and my low-grade talent.

A good ride all in all. A bit of a head wind coming back down to the beach for the last seven or eight miles, but I paced myself well and maintained a good nutrition regimen. After mile 40, I kept telling myself that the real race was about to begin. Had a little mantra going: Just setting up the run now. Smooth cadence. Relaxed shoulders. Deep, steady breaths.
What would you do differently?:

The bib fiasco (one of the inserts on my race belt tore out leaving the number flapping precariously) was unfortunate. Useless waste of time on the side of the road, but I was worried about incurring a penalty. Must have snagged the race belt in T1 without realizing it. I was definitely humbled by all the speed freaks out there, but maybe I could hold my own against some of them with a TT bike and an aero set-up? Better keep saving.
Transition 2
  • 05m 40s

I can't quite figure this one out. It seemed to me like I took care of matters quickly, but Ironman says I gave away big time once again. Can't remember where the mat was placed so maybe some of the time was spent running my bike to the racks?
What would you do differently?:

I did fine. Swapped my jersey for a clean shirt and ditched tri shorts for a pair of DeSoto running shorts that had pockets pre-loaded with gels and pain cream.
  • 2h 19m 10s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 37s  min/mile

I was extremely wary of the run considering all of the troubles I've had with ITBS this year. Build-up for the LA Marathon (early March) really took a toll on me. Two weeks prior to this race, I couldn't even finish a three mile jog without incurring significant pain. Had thoughts of turning in my chip after the bike and saving myself from the pounding, but I figured I'd give it a try and see what happened.

A perfect scenario for me would have been a 2:10 run split. I figured I was good for ten minute miles even after a challenging ride, so long as the injury didn't rear its head too much. Just keep calm and don't do anything foolish, I tried to tell myself, and you'll run your way through this without aggravating the injury any further. Brought a bottle of HEED with me on the course to make sure I was drinking properly.

Checked my watch at mile 1 and saw that I'd logged a 8:04. WTF? Why do I always leave T2 like a maniac on fire? Settled down a bit after that, but still ran too fast. Hit mile 3 at 28 minutes. Must. Slow. Down.

Next three were paced better. I fell in with a pack of folks who seemed to be running comfortably, and figured I ought to let them set the pace for a while. Got a boost from some of the marine "volunteers" who were on the last little hill just before the halfway turnaround. Checked my watch there to see that I'd logged a 1:02. Still too fast, but better. Figured I had a few minutes cushion now in the event that I hit a bad patch. Still felt confidant in my chances for a 2:10 run. Dropped my empty bottle and headed out for the second loop.

Again with the sun and heat. Tried sponging myself a bit at mile 7 but didn't get much relief. Faced with a hill just before mile 8 I decided to walk a bit. I was beginning to feel dragged out, and my knees were starting to ache. Oddly, the left knee, formerly my "good" knee, hurt worse than my right, which has been the locus of so many problems this year. Rubbed some Biofreeze on the left knee and walked for about two minutes while eating a gel. I could feel that I was getting into a bad patch, so I thought a little recovery was in order. Didn't feel I was putting my goal time in jeopardy at that stage. Instead, I figured that it would do me good to bring the HR down a bit and then dig in for the last five miles.

Well, it didn't. I never felt quite right after mile 8. Don't know if I was just generally out of gas at that point or if the walking had allowed lactic acid to accumulate in my legs, but from mile 9 to the finish I was pretty much a casualty. It wasn't anything acute or intense, just a general feeling that my energy reserves were gone and my cardio-vascular system was no longer amused. Wouldn't call it bonking exactly. I think the technical term is quitting. I just didn't have it in me at that point to keep fighting mentally. Toyed with the idea of eating another gel to to see if a little carb/sugar boost could get me over the hump, but finally decided that it wasn't smart to throw more calories into a body which had given pretty much all it had. anyway, it wasn't a question of fueling at that point, but more of training and prep. Figured I might make myself sick if I tried to take a short-cut.

Lots of walking between miles 10 and 12. It was discouraging to let folks I had passed earlier go on by, but I was happy to know that a big PR was coming my way at the finish. Dug in for the last half mile or so, and actually surprised myself in the final straightaway. Saw a guy ahead of me lumbering and struggling to the tape and figured I had enough left to get around him, so I passed him on the left. Eased up with 40 or so meters left, but then got passed by a woman on my right making her final kick. Normally, I'd have let her go. She'd been out there working her tail off and had the guts to sprint for the finish, so good for her.

But I'd been out there working my tail off, too. It was a race after all, wasn't it? I set my jaw and stretched my gait into a good sprint and overtook her with about ten meters to go. That got a pretty good cheer out of the crowd (other middle-aged bald guys perhaps?) and the announcer made it seem like we were racing for the checkered flag. Was it petty? Maybe. But I was still vaguely impressed with myself for finding one more gear at the end of a long day.
What would you do differently?:

Still having trouble finding my pace at the beginning of longer runs. I went out too fast at the LA Marathon a few weeks back and came in a burning wreck. Really hoped I could run a more disciplined, more controlled half marathon this time around, but I still went out too fast. The walking disappointed me, but I probably did right by my body at that point.

On the upside, my IT Band problem really never reared its head. Hopefully I've turned the corner on that front.
Post race
Warm down:

Went directly to the food tent and wolfed down a couple slices of pizza. Sat in the shade and sipped a Sprite, then headed back to the finish to watch for a friend who was coming in behind me.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

This was a good showing for me and a major relief. I really hadn't done anything for four weeks prior to the race thanks to my IT Band injury and the muscle damage from the LA Marathon. I'm proud that I showed up, that I didn't pressure myself to do anything unreasonable, and that I found away to get across the finish even when things began to give out in the final stretch. On Friday at the expo, I was walking around wondering "Will I be able to run? Will I be able to finish? Will I have to take months off after this to rest and rehab the injury?" Even though I'm not setting any records or competing for hardware, I got my answers. I spent yesterday looking at scouting for other races I can add to the calendar this spring. I love this sport. I hope my body will enable me to participate for many years to come. Congratulations to all who raced.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2006-10-06 12:00 AM
00:34:42 | 2112 yards | 01m 38s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Suit: DeSoto T1 Black Pearl Full
Course: A narrow L-shaped course through the Oceanside harbor. Cool water, but not horrible. Got a few whiffs of diesel fumes from some of the water craft. Tasted like I was following behind an old lawnmower.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 60F / 16C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 06:55
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
03:15:52 | 56 miles | 17.15 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: One loop. Out of the harbor, north up the coast for a bit, then up into the hills for some climbs. Rollers and flats in the last 15 miles back down to the beach.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 05:40
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Below average
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:19:10 | 13.1 miles | 10m 37s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Course: Out and back (2X) along the strand. Mostly flat with two or three small hills on each loop. Seemed hotter on the way out for some reason. Onshore breeze made things noticeably better on the way back.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4