Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ironman Oceanside 70.3 (2014) Race Report: attack of the banana hammock

They say third time's the charm, and on this #3 visit to Oceanside I can confirm the saying certainly did not disappoint.

A little context for those of you who navigated here from the interwebz. ~1 year ago I was in lifetime best fitness coming off a reaffirming AG win at Escape from Alcatraz. I had a new training regimen, zero distractions, lots of time to workout, and I was eyeing a top OA AG placing at IMTX and a 18-24 AG win at the Ironman World Championships in Kona. The demise came in May when I chased time, ignored nutrition, and wound up in a med tent 20 miles into the marathon at TX thinking I'd narrowly escaped death... It took months to recover, the season quickly became a wash, but in a stroke of luck (or perhaps some smart racing given my poor fitness) I picked up a 2014 Kona slot at my hometown race, the inaugural IM Lake Tahoe. 

FFWD 6 months, I've moved down the coast (living on my own for the first time), decided to switch jobs and put 70+ hrs/wk in at a start-up, met an awesome girl... I was legitimately stoked on life but had just about written off being the best at triathlon. Oceanside is one of those races where you have to register 8 months in advance... the cost was sunk... the race is local... why not?

My attitude going in to Oceanside was just about as chill as you can imagine. I'd been riding my road bike in Santa Barbara so I dusted the cobwebs off my TT and took it for a 50 mile spin the weekend prior. My running shoes were worn to the sole so I ordered a couple new pairs (they ended up showing the day we left so I couldn't use them). I forgot to send my sponsors a note to borrow race wheels so I just washed up my training ones...  if you've read my prior posts you know how psycho I can get about scoping out the competition... for this race I didn't even know my wave time or bib number.

Katie and I left work a little early and headed to Oceanside ~7pm on the Thursday before the race. I'd scored a great deal on the Sheraton Carlsbad (73$/night on Hotwire) so it was worth arriving a few nights early. For the first-timers to this race I definitely recommend using priceline or hotwire to score a deal on a ****/***** hotel. This race is off-peak and the resorts have yet to be smart enough to up the prices so many months early. If you wait to the last minute, you'll end up at the Motel 6 paying $90/night like I did my first year /facepalm. My go-to will be the Sheraton for as long as I do this race, it's <10 min drive from Oceanside and is removed from all the pre-race race hubbub + has a great restaurant, pool and hot-tub. The only downside is that it's adjacent to Legoland so there are quite a few wealthy families staying with their kids.

The day before the race was spent in bed working (start-up hours, remember?) and pumping my legs with my new RevitaPump. I managed to escape for lunch @ Swami's (healthy tasty food in Carlsbad) with my teammate/training partner/sis Sonja Wieck and coach Muddy Waters. It's over lunch we decided that since I had zero expectations for this race I was just going to have a real good time - and what better way to do that than racing in a speedo & blu blockers? I registered later than evening, had dinner with my college buddy and now good friend James Hotson, and wound up in my room ~8:30pm still needing to shave my legs, grease my chain, change my tires, and put together my race bags. This is the most last minute I've ever prepared for a race... maybe it should be a tradition.

Race morning I woke up a little after 5a, ate a bagel and a couple spoonfuls of yogurt + granola and we were out the door ~5:40a. Katie dropped me off near the swim start, I racked my bike, took a trip to the john and went to the corral a good 20 min before my wave. Editor's note: every year I've lined up last minute and almost missed my wave start, there's something to be said about experience!

The swim was worse than usual - I was in wave 9 so I had to power through several of the waves that had gone off ahead of us. I made the decision to swim the entire course wide so I wouldn't have to deal with slower swimmers but it still ended up being quite the maze out there. The swim was finally the correct distance so I got out quite a bit slower than years past but still squeezed in under 30 min. Not surprised: I haven't really been swimming!

The bike was officially my first time riding in a speedo. I have a padded speedo at home (which I'd forgot to bring) so I ended up using one of my normal swimming ones. I was smart enough to spray trislide all over my inner thigh, so besides a little irritation at the seams it was rather comfortable! I didn't use a computer for the bike so rode the entire thing by feel. The first 20 miles or so were spent passing all the slower waves, and then I got into my rhythm just treating it as a hard training ride and being very meticulous about taking in food & water. I forgot to pack my typical PowerBar race day nutrition regimen so wound up with an eclectic mix in my bento: Santa Barbara Bar, Peanut Butter Power Bar, and some gels. In what's a first for me, I just about ate it all. I spent most of the bike doing my own thing - at one point some old teammates (Justin Green & John Nickerson) came alongside and I used them to pace for a while. By the halfway point I still had tons of energy so I picked it up and dropped them off.

I felt amazing coming off the bike and was quite pleased to see 6:30s on my Timex run trainer. I've been running ~25miles a week and 6:30s are quite rare for me ... and definitely not sustainable over 13 miles so I slowed it way down. I kept it all smiles through lap one, grabbing fluids and the occasional gel and was legitimately surprised to get through the halfway point on pace for a sub 1h30m run. On lap two I felt my quads start to cramp and focused all my mental energy on not letting them seize up. I knew the cramping was a direct side effect of not training enough. In the end, I managed to sustain sub 7 min miles for the entire half marathon and I don't think my HR rose above 160... I've never been so under-trained or felt so good on a triathlon run.

I wound up getting through in 4h39m10s which (despite a significantly longer swim that all prior years I've done this race) is a race best for me. I also managed to podium and nab a slot to the 70.3 World Championships in Mont Tremblant (although I declined it) in what is my first race in the 25-29 age group. I am incredibly thankful to my girlfriend Katie for being such a good sherpa, as well as the speedo cheering squad out on course, my teammate Susanne Davis who kept me smiling, Ryan from Shimano who was out supporting as well, and of course Timex, BlueSeventy and all my believers who make getting to race day so much easier. Lucky to have you all in my life!
Recovery strawberry picking after the race.

1 comment:

  1. Really like the new attitude, and the speedo look :-)