Pre-Race: Two days before the race my family and I traveled out to Southern California. The day before the event I visited with my friends in San Marcos, picked up my packet, checked out the race expo, organized my gear, carbo loaded, and settled in to the West Coast time zone as best I could. Race morning, I woke up at 4 AM, loaded up my stuff and arrived at the race parking area in Oceanside at about 5:15 AM. I picked up my bike from the tribike transport folks located by the expo area. What an excellent service they provide! I biked the 1.5 miles from the parking area over to the race start. The nervous energy and buzz of the pre race transition area is always one of my favorite parts of an event. Thoughts of keeping all the gear straight, visualizing the flow of the race, hoping I don’t drown, psyching myself up, culminates all the time and effort invested in training and creates an energy that’s intense.
Swim: At 6:40 AM my age group wave started. It was an in water start, and the only chance to get in some warm up strokes was the short swim out to the middle of the harbor starting line. The cold air temperature, which was about 49 degrees, actually helped with mitigating the shock of the 60 degree ocean temp. The air temp along with wearing my long sleeve wetsuit resulted in the water not feeling too cold… at first. I faced the usual challenge of maintaining a straight line, and easing into a rythmn while bumping into people, getting kicked and sorting through the congestion of bodies, arms and legs. My hands and feet numbed up and it was odd to lose the “feel” of stroking through the water. Open water swimming is quite different then training in the pool! I completed the 1.2 mile swim in just over 36 minutes which I was happy with…
Bike: I didn’t bike train over the winter much at all. Winter in CT doesn’t make it easy to get out and ride. So I was wondering how I would feel in the race and how prepared I was to handle 56 miles at a solid pace. The first 25 miles were pretty flat and fast. It felt so good to be out on a ride, I forgot about the race and just enjoyed the scenery and the perfect weather. This allowed me to get into a nice rythmn and hold a decent speed. About 30 miles in, there were a series of major hills, which slowed things down dramatically. I pushed through as best I could and this is where I started to feel the lack of bike training. I got through the climbs and finished off the bike segment with a solid time of 2:42.
Run: The run was an out and back along the ocean and was lined with spectators the whole way. The cheering and support was pretty awesome. It was hot in the direct sun and I made sure to drink at every station and dump some cold water over my head. I kept a steady pace the whole run and finished it in 1:51.
I completed the race in a total time of 5:18. It was an awesome race, well supported and a lot of fun. Here's a table of my split times:
After the race I had to walk over a mile back to where my family was parked and my son insisted that I carry him on my shoulders. My few hours as a triathlete were over and I was back to being Dad!