On April 6th I raced the Ironman 70.3 Oceanside. This is just the 3rd time I have done this race, but it has become one of my favorites. It sure is nice having such an ultra-competitive and high profile race only 15 miles from my home in Carlsbad.
With all the rain we have had this winter it was tough to get in enough cycling miles. Thankfully the weather turned around and I was able to complete 4 rides of 70+ miles in the 4 Saturdays immediately prior to race day. I was probably better prepared than many of the people who flew in from out of state. I spoke to a guy from Dallas who had only biked outdoors 2x’s so far this year.
This year they were able to “put the ocean back into Oceanside”. In the past the swim portion was always done in the protected waters of the Oceanside Harbor. This year the swim was a point to point surf entry start and the finish was in the Oceanside Harbor. The only way they were going to have the surf entry was if the surf was less than 3 feet. On race morning, the public address announcer said the surf was so small that they were measuring it in inches. It was still dark when he made those announcements. That all seemed to change once the sun came up. By race start, they might have been measuring in inches, but it would have been a lot of inches! Honestly, it was a lot of fun. I got tumbled by 3 waves, but nothing that really stressed me out. The water temperature was about 60 degrees. That is chilly, but I wore a wetsuit and a thermal swim cap so I was A-OK. My 1.2 mile swim split was 32:51 (1:42/100 meters) which put me in 18th place. I was exactly 1 minute slower than in 2018 and I’m sure that was entirely due to the surf entry.
The 56 mile bike course is why I do this race. The course starts along the coast for the first 20 miles and then it heads inland into Camp Pendleton. Specifically the route from 20-45 miles is the best part. That section of road on the base is off limits every other day of the year. Because of all the rain, the hills and foliage were absolutely gorgeous this year. Because my bike fitness was a bit suspect, I tried to race conservatively. My bike split was 2:57:26 (18.9 mph) and surprisingly 1 minute faster than in 2018. I had the 36th best bike split and it dropped me down to 25th place. That’s not bad for me.
The 13.1 mile run is mostly flat with a couple of short, steep sections along the ocean. It is comprised of 2 laps. I ran the 1st lap pretty well, but faded a bit on the 2nd lap. Much of the run is on concrete and that surface is so hard that it really beats me up. The run course is lined with lots of spectators so it really is wonderful to feel the crowd support. My favorite spectator who happens to be my wife Laurie was there giving me the best encouragement. My strategy for these longer races is to start fast and try to hang on. I managed the 2nd fastest run split in 1:38:37 (7:31/mile), but this was 4 minutes slower than in 2018. My finish time was 5:18:33 which put me in 10th place out of 134 men in the 55-59 age group and 405th place out of 2,356 overall finishers. I was happy with that and I had fun. That is always the bottom line.
In addition, 3 of the athletes (Susan Powell, Mark Fackler and Ron Graham) I have been coaching also did the race. All 3 had great days and successful finishes. It gives me great pride to play a role in their success.
To see my race pictures, click on this link https://www.finisherpix.com/gallery/photos/en/USD/2843/1013
Living the life…