Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Oceanside III - Return of the Healthy Triathlete!

I've always loved racing Oceanside, and for multiple reasons.  #1 Its a mini family trip where my parents come to the coast from the desert, #2 Top competition come to play, #3 its a fair course with some climbing, but not overly aggressive, keeping the field honest and no drafting.  My first attempt, I was still learning the distance, and developing leg strength.  Second try, I was coming off an injury with little running.  This year saw my winter losing ground with some bruised ribs after launching from mike bike!  My training group rallied over the past few months and motivated me back to fame form.  Still a few pounds off race weight, but body felt ready to push hard for the day.

With a great lead up for the month ahead of the race including our .5 Fe Training Day at M2, I felt confident in my bike, but less so for the swim and run.  Last year the winds brought a crazy wake into the harbor, and I posted a pitiful 34 minute swim.  My heel problems have persisted, and there is still a mental block to pushing hard in training.  Oh well, guess its time to see how the winter had treated me through trial by fire!

Picked up by my limo er parents at the airport:)  Get settled at the hotel and go through the normal rigamorole of race prep day with the expo, packet pickup, dinner, etc.  Highlight of the day was walking through the Expo and Whitney stops dead in her tracks when she spots the Corbins.  Whitney's favorite triathlete is Linsey, and she also follows Chris Corbin on Instagram as they have a golden retriever, Madison, that is very photogenic.  Whitney sheepishly approaches Linsey and just wanted to say how much she appreciated the shoe advice on Instagram and they started talking and asked where we were from.  Suddenly they ask "your dog is Sailor?" and Linsey gives Whitney a huge hug!  Sailor is the next big thing on Instagram i guess, never thought I would be that happy to call myself a dog owner;)

Race morning and I'm feeling good!  Two good nights of sleep, good breakfast and my Dad and I our out the door down to the swim.  Take care of all my business easily and down to the boat ramp.  No winds, much warmer this year, and little stress, but excited.  Its going to be a good day!


After last year's debacle, I'm looking for redemption, especially in navigation.  I line up on the right, second from the front, but nobody is really pushing to get set up.  Countdown going, and its a pretty mellow start.  I see people battling it out along the buoys  but I'm content to push hard on my own to start and keep a straight line for the first turn.  The water is smooth and its easy to sight and we make the slight turn out to the end of the course.  I slowly make my way to the buoy line and we are hitting the earlier waves already.  Dodging traffic, this was a perfect swim so far.  No panic, good stroke, and feeling fast for a change.  Round the furthest part of the course and back, navigating well this year!  Serious traffic from previous waves and I'm back on the ramp, heading to my bike.  I don't wear a watch so I had no idea what the time was, but it felt good.  Turns out it was probably a little short, but I'll take it!  Turns out to be 5 minutes faster than 2012, and 10 spot improvement in the Age Group, so while it was short, it was still an improvement.

Swim time: 29:10 - 45th AG 

On the bike, and the day felt good to go kill it.  I'd done a great effort review of last year among all the athlete's results on Strava, and I had a very good plan of what to do.  One race day change was the wind though.  It was coming in differently than the previous years and hit us much harder on the climbs surprisingly.  Oh well, still worked out, but no PR's on the uphills.  

Flying out the first 28 miles is always fun, absolutely blasting by people, but the rest of the athletes were riding correctly, and to the right, so not much yelling or drama.  One guy in my AG cruises by me, and there is no way I can match the effort, so I let it go.  A few minutes later, another passes and I look down at my watts and I'm slacking.  Time to wake back up and go!  Sitting on top of my gears I get back up over 300 watts and make sure I take advantage of the tailwind until the hills.  The first hill is just a punch to the gut that you have to just go for or you end up grinding at too low a cadence.  I have a 26 big cog on the back and maybe should have had my 28.  60 cadence for the second half of the climb and pushing 350 watts with some heavier peaks.  I lost too much time being conservative last year, so I was pushing limits on hills this year.  Up and over, a fun decent, but then the long climb up Basilone.

This is a lot long a climb than people realize, with a false flat starting at mile 31, and continuing to the steep rise at the end at mile 36.  Its another punch to the gut, but you have to hit the final rise hard enough to keep momentum and a good run over the top.  We were exposed to the wind which definitely took its tool.  I pushed 50 watts harder this year, and still lost 5 seconds to my time, but the effort paid off in the end.

Steep descent with the no passing zone.  Sat up and watched speed as this is where someone died a few years ago.  Pass the turn and back in aero to carry speed into the flats.  Final climb approaching and not sure what happened.  Low heart rate on this climb, but high watts.  Could have gone better, but maybe my "dark" time on the bike.  Again pushing big watts to get over, but slightly slower than last year.  Fly downhill and hit my 30 minute left mark on the course.  I was a little worried because I was slightly behind schedule.  The winds were lighter and not straight on this year, so I had a chance for my 2:30 bike split goal.  Loving the speed on this section compared to other years.  It can be the most demoralizing section once you are below 10 miles left, but grinding into a headwind.  Legs were still responding and it was go time to get my split without killing my run.

Once I get back through the gates of the base its almost time to shut it down and cruise into T2. Rode the race I wanted and finished up just under goal!  Side note of my finish is I must have been delirious and thought is was a good time to try taking my feet out of my shoes before stopping.  Nearly killed myself.  NEVER TRY NEW THINGS ON RACE DAY.

Bike Time: 2:28:55 - 14th AG 

Perfect day for a great run along the Strand!  Last year's rain was not to be seen and it was ripe for a PR.  I still hadn't gotten good run form out of myself this year, but it was coming along, and much better than last year so it was time to put a hurting in.  I get to see Vince and Mike who look to be in the zone looking for podiums and crazy run rankings.

Out and back North, then the ramp, which I almost face planted into.  I saw my family just before and got all excited.  With a little extra speed, and flat light, I really didn't see the start of the ramp and almost crumpled to the ground with my first step up, lol.  Heading South I start seeing the race leaders and the changes going on which was exciting.  My heel is holding up, as well as my pacing.  The temperature is coming up as well and you can see people starting to melt a little.  Head down, concentrating on my run and I'm reeling in some of my AG'ers whom passed me out on the road.  

Back through for lap 2 and the legs are still responding.  The course is getting busy with more and more people coming in off the bike.  The narrow section North of the pier is the worst and I was forced up on the sidewalk twice to keep from losing my momentum.  Most of the lap traffic was aware of the fast runners coming through and graciously moved when they heard people coming.  No kitty gear this year, but the M2 kit was getting plenty of cheers coming back to the pier and out on the final loop.

I finally see Virgilio and he is cruising out front of his Age Group.  Sandrine comes along for a few minutes on her first lap to give me some encouragement.  If parts of the run weren't so tight, and so much concrete, this would be an almost perfect setup as I love looped courses where you can see where you are both on the course, and where your competition is.  Coming up to the last turnaround I see BC Mike and yell at him to not let me catch him.  It works for a bit, but I reel him in a mile later.  Good race for him though.  Just another 2 miles and I'm home.  I pass my last AG competitor and charge ahead to leave no option to follow.  Taking the turn downhill back to the water and the beach is going nuts with the sun and surf being up.  Ironman's new "Tent Village" setup makes the final stretch even better with people lining the street for all of us. 

Taking in the scene the last quarter mile was great.  Nobody around and I can enjoy the chute for a change and know I had my best effort for the day.

Run Time: 1:26:02 - 7th AG

Total: 4:29:13 - 10th AG, 29th Overall nearly 10 minute PR!

While I cut 10 minutes off my time from last year, it actually put me a few spots higher in the final rankings.  It was just amazing to see the talent turn up for my Age Group, but I'm beyond excited for my result.  Now, time to relax with the boys, have fun with the family and look forward to Wildlfower.