March 31, 2012 Oceanside CA
Tales from Tamara - What racing is really like!
Oceanside 70.3 had a pretty large crew from SB. I stayed with Jason & Adrienne and Kyle & Shannon Visin. Craig & Jos Spreadbury and Gary & Anne Maxwell were also at the same place. Elda, Danny & Marie stayed at a hotel close by. We got down on Thursday afternoon; picked our stuff up from expo and Friday we set our stuff up in T2. I re-tweaked my back on Friday carrying my bike up/down stairs and as the night wore on it was getting worse and was debating whether I would be able to race. Thankfully when I got up in the morning it was better. The place we stayed was super close to T1 and race start. The bike racks were organized by groups so we went down at 4:30AM on race morning to make sure we racked them in a good spot. We were then able to go back to the condo to have breakfast and chill.
I met Elda & Marie down there around 6:30AM, we dropped our morning clothes bags and headed towards swim start. As we were heading down we saw Danny (he didn't race, his back went out on him day before) and Jamie and then got to see Jason come in from the swim. I got in the water, which was not as cold as I thought it was going to be and before I knew it the gun went and we were off. About 2/3 of the way out in the first half of the swim the water got seriously choppy. The surf was big & strong and you could feel the surges coming in. I was very thankful that I am not a person who gets seasick. I felt like I had to work hard with lots of siting to make sure I stayed on track. I finally made it in 49 min. I wasn’t super thrilled with the time, but then talking later with others found out that the swim was relatively slow and the conciseness amongst everyone that the swim sucked!
T1 transition went well. There was a long run up which gave me enough time to get the top of my wetsuit down. When I got to my bike I was working on getting it over my feet and the person next to me said "let me help" and stripped it off. So nice! She sat down and started working on hers and I said "my turn!" and I yanked hers over her feet. Got to love the spirit of this sport! Got out of T1, hopped on my bike and off I went.
Went for the first 10 mi and looked down and my average speed was like 16.5 mph. I thought, oh crap, I'm going to pay for that later. 25 mi into the bike I was at an average of 17.5 mph. Holy cow what a fast course! Hit the first hill, which was super steep and I just did my thing and made it up without much trouble although it was pretty short. That was the worst climb and the rest of them which I had mentally prepared for turned out to not be a big deal at all. It seemed much shorter than I had expected. The best part was the way back into town! Back down in the aeros as the course got fast again. The whole time I had to go to the bathroom and I tried so hard to go on the bike, but I just couldn't do it. I backed down on fluids as a result. Nutrition wise, I really just had an inclination to eat solid food. I didn’t seem to want my bottles that had calories/electrolytes at all. Most likely it was because it was really cold and I just couldn't relieve myself. I finished the bike in 3:33 with an average 15.7 mph. which I was very pleased with!
T2 went well… I was in & out. I should have stopped at porta-potties but just wanted to get out on the course. My
strategy was just to do an easy run, expecting to motor through at a 10:30 pace. First mile clicked off at 9:53 which was a welcomed surprise. The run course changed this year and there was some steep up and down sections (You have to go down a steep ramp right after you jump off the bike which was interesting on quivering legs!). Once down the ramp there is a flat section along the ocean. Saw John Nelson, Gary Maxwell, Carlos, Elda, Marie and Fred out on the course. Of course they all did great and it was awesome seeing them all on the course. It was very interesting looking at my mile run splits after the race. You can easily see where the hills were. I just focused on keeping moving steadily and passed tons of people who were walking. I was calculating what my finish time could be if I stayed consistent and it kept coming to around 6:50. Prior to the start of the race, I really thought I could go around 7 hours on a good day, but knew it could go north of that. I thrilled with my bike and a bit in shock so as I passed through each mile starting with mi 8, I would reconfirm the expected arrival time and it was all working out. At points it felt like they miss-measured the course because the miles seemed to go by so slowly but as I passed mile 12 on the run and was still on track to go under 7 hours! I kept looking for the finish and glancing down at my watch which made me fret a bit so I turned on the afterburners and sprinted to the finish with a time of 6:49! My average pace for the run ended up being 10:38 which I was great given the training I have been doing. I took a look back at my Lake Stevens results and although it was a completely different course I had a similar swim, dropped 22 min on the bike and 4 min on the run. That felt good. 🙂
I know that I have A LOT of work to do before Ironman Coeur D’Alene, but that is to be expected.
(Editor Note: Tamara is an Ironman, SBAA runner, who finished Oceanside then conquered the R U Tough Enough run, and always cheerful and supportive to all racers on the course. If you don't Tamara yet, say hi next time you see her!)