It’s taken me a good part of this week to defrost my body and brain after the Oceanside Triathlon, so I haven’t had a chance until now to actually write a race report. I do have to say though that the recovery period at the beginning of this week was very welcome, especially after a very competitive and frigid race. Yes, the extended warm summer ended just in time for this race, and the result was an eerie, cold, and somewhat sketchy (by no fault of the race directors, but I’ll get into that).
There are some pros and cons to doing an inaugural race, the pros being that they may typically be less crowded. That was the case this day, as only about 250 age groupers were racing. This would give us a lot of room to run our own race. The cons include poor preparedness, lack of knowledge of the course, and general first year glitches. This was not the case with Lifetime Tri, as they put on a great show with great support, and it seemed like they had been running this race for years.
The one thing I noticed immediately while getting ready in transition was the incredible amount of fitness everyone had. There were some very serious athletes in this group of 250, and it was sure to be a very competitive race. I was becoming worried that I may finish last in this race, but then I reminded myself that it didn’t really matter. I was here to race for myself and beat my own expectations, which at this point was break 2:30 and feel happy with the effort.
I was well aware that the morning would be cold, and it didn’t disappoint. As we readied ourselves in T2, the temperature read 48 degrees. However, once the sun rises it is anyone’s guess as to how the temperature will swing. It could heat up dramatically, it could stay cool, or we could be buried in a cold, soggy layer of fog. As the sun rose and the pros started their race, it appeared we were in the clear and we would have a sunny race.
|Swim Start Oceanside Triathlon. Courtesy of Lifetime Tri|
Time – 3:14… Ouch!
|Photo courtesy of Lifetime Tri|
This is about what it looked like exiting T1, into a thick layer of fog which became worse as we got onto the highway. We were warned that the beginning part of this race was bumpy with some precarious turns leading out to Highway 76, so we were advised not to start racing until we reached the highway. I followed that advice, and as a result was passed by a few people on the way out. But we had 25 miles to go, so I was fine with that.
The second lap became a lot more crowded, and I was a lot more cold, so I decided to settle in behind a group of racers that were going about my speed. Rather than pass them and use up excess energy, I decided to conserve it for the run and defrost a little. Besides, getting out in front in the fog is not a preferred position. If a rider went down ahead of us, we wouldn’t be able to see it in time to stop. Back onto PCH and into the pier area, I was happy to be off the bike and ready for a run.
Time – 1:08:55, 4th place in age group
Avg Speed – 21.6 mph
Garmin profile – http://connect.garmin.com/activity/393348542
Nutrition – 250 calories of Carbo Pro plus 2 homemade oat/honey/almond butter clusters.
I had more trouble in T2 because my fingers were numb, and I couldn’t easily grab things or put my shoes on. Finally did, and was out on the run course.
Time – 1:47
My goal on the run was to do my sprint pace at the Olympic distance. This would come out to about a 7 minute mile, a pace that has proven just out of reach in recent races. Unfortunately, nature called at the beginning of the run, and I had to hit the porta potty. I still haven’t been able to bring myself to pee on the bike, which will become necessary as I get into the longer distances. This is more of a psychological issue than anything, as we spend our whole lives doing everything we can not to pee on ourselves. This is one of those rare exceptions which is made worse by the fact that you are working at an increased intensity.
Quick 20 seconds in the bathroom and I was off again. I was still having strange sensations while running, due to being numb all over, but not necessarily being tired. I kept trying to push through and warm myself up. Soon I was having a few GI issues. Again, I just powered through and kept going.
The course was mostly flat, but mixed in were a few short, killer hills. The strand connects to Pacific Avenue via a very steep climb, which was really challenging. Once I ran up the hill for the last time, I hit the gas and started running sub 7 miles. I felt great going into the finish and was able to finish in a full sprint. While my pace wasn’t what I wanted it to be, I felt that I did my best given the conditions.
Time – 45:18
Pace – 7:18/mile
Total Time – 2:27:51
Place – 7th Age Group (30-34 out of 25), 58th overall (out of 232)
I am absolutely happy with my finish at this first Olympic distance effort. My goal was to finish in under 2.5 hours, and I did so in 2:27. After less than a year of putting in smart exercise and healthy diet, I have been able to maintain a front of pack performance on a 2.5 hour triathlon. When I think back to when I started training back in February, and how weak, slow, and unfit I was, I am amazed with the improvements I have made. My pace back then was just under 12 minute miles, yet I was patient and gradually it improved. I am now more motivated than ever to keep training for the longer distances.
Speaking of longer distances, I now head into the more “ultra” range of triathlon. My next race is a half Ironman distance in Palm Springs in December, the HITS Triathlon. After that race, I will be preparing for the full Ironman in March. Things are getting real now. We are only a few short months away, and we are getting into some long distance now. I am actually looking forward to that, as I want to be at the more steady paces, not the fast paces I have been at. I’m ready to show that I can pace myself and do the distance.
As I mentioned, Lifetime put on a great show, and I would love to do another one of their events in the future. Within a few minutes of the race finishing, the sun finally came out and it became a beautiful day.