Got to Oceanside somewhere around 5am. Parking wasn't bad, but it was about a mile from transition. Luckily we all had our bikes to ride. It was really bizarre to see so many people riding their bikes in pitch black. It was also pretty crazy to hear how quiet it was.....everyone thinking about the long day ahead.
(1.2 Miles - 42:14)
The swim is by far my weakest link in triathlon. One of these days I'll join a Master's program and get faster. The water was cold to begin with (as expected). I think someone said it was 59 degrees. Better than the 55 degree water I heard about last year. For such a long swim, it turned out to be pretty brutal. With waves going off every 3-4 minutes, I was swimming over, getting kicked by , and running into people for almost the entire time. It seemed like I was always in the pack. After the turn-around, things opened up a bit. This was primarily due to the fact that we were swimming directly into the sun and nobody could see the buoys or the person in front of them. Good times. I made it out of the water, and heard the announcer say my name. Pretty cool feature for these big races....sophisticated timing chips! Off to T1!
T1 started with a long (1/8 mile at least) run to the back of transition, and then back to my rack. My feet were pretty frozen, so it really hurt to run. I saw my friend's Brian and Mary while I was running. It's great to have such a large race in your home-area. Lots of people to cheer for you! I made it back to my bike and started taking off my wetsuit. One of the volunteers offered to help. I'll know better next time. instead of pulling from the top, she bunched most of my wetsuit onto my calf. Ahhhhh! Painful calf cramp! That sucked! I massaged it for a couple seconds, and then got my bike and took off .
(56 miles - 3:02:54)
Other than my calf cramp, I went into my bike feeling pretty good. I opted to leave my armwarmers behind, and am glad I did. The sun warmed me up pretty quickly. I knew the first 25 miles of this course like the back of my hand, fairly flat and fast. I had to concentrate on pacing myself. At about mile 4, I passed my friend Helena. My predictions were right. Her wave started 8 minutes after mine, but I knew she would beat me out of the water. Super fast swimmer! I think she beat my swim time by about 9 minutes. I have a little bit of an edge on her on the bike, so I was able to catch up to her. I knew that would all end on the run though. It is so great to have competitive friends that make you better!!! One day I will beat you Helena, one day!! :)
I did get to see some other friends on the bike as well. I saw Julia on the out and back portion on Las Pulgas (she was a few minutes behind me), and then again at mile 30 when she passed me. I saw Raja, and then Stacy around mile 20 when they passed me. They started 8 minutes behind me as well. They are both super strong on the bike, so I expected them to pass me as well.
At mile 30, phase 2 of the bike started...Hills! The back side of Pendleton was something I hadn't seen before (closed off to Civilians), so I didn't really know what to expect for the hills. Jim Vance had mentioned that the first hill was a short version of the inside of Torrey. B.S.!!!! Sure, it was short, but steep as hell! I saw a few people walking their bikes at this point. I'm happy I did do all of those Torrey repeats. My legs were strong enough to get through. The other 2 hills were really no big deal (especially compared to Baja last year).
The final 10 miles were flat with a little bit of a headwind. At this point, I knew that if I could maintain a 20 mph pace, I could beat 3 hours. It would be close. With about 6 miles left, I knew I'd just miss my target. I had been dropping to 18-19, and didn't want to kill my legs to stay at 20 before the run. I was still happy with my time though. I was hoping to beat 3:15 and I beat that by almost 13 minutes.
Nutrition on the bike went well....accelerade (yuck), gatorade am, gatorade endurance, clif mojo bar, power bar, clif shot bloks, jelly belly sports beans. In all, I think I got about 700-750 calories in me. Next time I'll know to get a few more (see run section).
Quick and easy, nothing to tell here
(13.1 miles - 2:01:43)
Ahhh, the run. The final leg. The good thing about the run is that you can walk it if you really need to. Of course I was hell bent not to walk. The run started off good...I felt really strong. I saw my friend Jen on the sidlines, and my friend Paul taking pictures. So nice having friends there to cheer you on. After about 3/4 of a mile, I caught up to Julia, ran with her for a couple minutes, and then took off. By the time my run started (around 11:30 am) the sun was really starting to beat down. It was probably only 70 degrees at the most, but when you're running, it feels like a whole lot more. At every aid station, they had sponges soaked in ice cold water. This was great! I'd grab 2 and put them under my shoulder straps of my tri-suit. Whenever I was feeling too warm, I'd just squeeze! :)
The run was 2 loops along the coast in Oceanside. Once again, familiar territory. When I lived in Oceanside, I ran here a couple times a week. With a 2 loop run, you get to pass your friends a couple of times. I couldn't let any of them see me walk! So I kept running. I felt pretty good on the first loop. The second loop was a different story. I really didn't want to eat anything on the run, so I mixed it up with liquids at each aid station (water, gatorade, coke). By mile 9, I was hurting. My hip flexors hurt, and I was starting to bonk. I was so out of it at that point that I didn't even think of eating. Plus, my stomach was a mess, so eating may not have been a good idea anyway. I'd have to say, the last 4 miles of that race were the most painful miles I have ever run. I just kept at it though, one foot after the other. I know I can break 6 hours. Just make it to the finish line! With about 1/4 of a mile left, I could see the finish line and hear the announcer. I was almost there and I started sprinting (or at least what felt like a sprint). I did it! :) 5:53:03!!!!! (The time shown to the right was the time from the first wave start - 49 minutes before my wave)
Upon crossing the finish-line, I picked up my finishers t-shirt, medal, and hat, and then saw my friend Darrell. Darrell is a guy I ride with on Saturday mornings, and he was volunteering at the race. He came right over to me in the finisher's shoot, made sure I could walk and gave me a great big hug. I started bawling. I sooo wanted to break 6 hours, and I did it pretty soundly. It was so great to have a friend there to celebrate with me.
After chatting with Darrell for a bit, I headed straight for the food tent and scarfed down 2 slices of pizza and a coke, and headed back to transition to share war stories with my friends.