Monday, April 4, 2022

70.3 Oceanside Race Report

I raced 70.3 Oceanside in 2019, and I wrote in that race report that I couldn't wait to come back and do it again the following year, but that I wanted to road trip out from Colorado and bring my dogs. I did sign up for it again, but with the race being canceled in 2020 and 2021, I am just now getting around to using up that race entry. Oh and I did end up road tripping with my dogs out here. We just never went back to Colorado.  

After we made the move to SoCal at the beginning of the year, I was pretty sure I didn't want my season to start in April. Everything about settling in seemed to be happening in slow-motion. And besides that, my race season is back-loaded. I have Ironman Alaska in August, Kona in October, then maybe Ironman Arizona in November if I'm still standing. (I deferred my California registration to Arizona.) I know my yearly energy allotment well enough by now to know that I can't be race ready April through November. 

But I kept saying "yes" anytime anyone invited me to do a workout. I told myself I wanted to learn the area. God knows I'd still be getting lost out there on my bike if I were riding by myself. Then it turned into doing some long hard bike rides for NYX Camp recon... which I'm just now thinking that maybe Julie was just tricking me into training for Ironman St. George with her? Either way, I had spent enough time with my ass in the saddle that about a month out from Oceanside, I figured I might as well do something with it, and I committed to race. 

I also thought it would be fun to participate in my new hometown race, with my new friends and training partners. I somehow walked right into a built-in community here, and everyone has made me feel so at home so quickly that it was honestly a little overwhelming at first. For someone who practices introversion as an extreme sport, I didn't want anyone to think I wasn't incredibly appreciative of my new friendships while I took my own time to let all the new changes sink in. 

So that all being said, doing lots of "camp recon" rides, and wanting to race with new friends are not my typical reasons for committing to a race. Usually there's a bit more strategy involved. And there's always a bit more running involved. But I don't want to only be able to race when I'm fully invested. I want to be able to have periods of life where it is not my #1 priority and still make space for it. And I can only do that if I build up enough courage and humility to not need to see certain numbers or come in certain places to be fulfilled. 

But before we get into it, let's back up for a second. It's important to me that I don't give off the impression that I'm trying to make an excuse for my performance. I'm proud of my race. I took the training that I had under my belt and I did the best I could have done with it. If I had any doubt of that, it is reinforced by the fact that I feel worse than I've ever felt after a 70.3. I've finished Ironmans and had more ability to walk around like a normal human than I do right now. 

Swim: 33:03

Leading up to the race, I took part in a few practice swims, learned some better skills for how to navigate the waves, and then used exactly zero of those skills on race day. I spent my fair share of time swimming in place on the old ocean-treadmill and didn't dive under an on-coming wave in time to get completely pummeled by it. Oddly, this is the sort of thing that makes me giggle - and not in a type 2 fun / retrospect kind of way. It makes me giggle while I'm under water getting tossed around. So we were off to a great start. 

Bike: 2:52

Bike fitness was the one thing I had under my belt heading into race day. I knew that I could rely on my bike legs to be there for me, so I trusted them to do their thing. A few miles in, I had the brilliant idea that I should maybe hold back a bit on the bike in order to try to give myself a better chance to run well and make up for my lack of run training. I biked 5 minutes faster than I did in 2019 and got off the bike feeling fresh. 

Run: 1:40

I didn't get more than a few miles into the run before it became painfully obvious that you actually need to have run fitness in order to run well. I had been going to track workouts, and then doing 1 other hour-ish run per week. I had also run off the bike exactly 2 times leading up to the race so we'll just say my preparation was sub par. 

But that was really all irrelevant because I was in the middle of the race and I wasn't about to let anything I did before the race determine what my experience was going to be. There was never a moment in the race where in response to my lackluster fitness I dialed it back, settled on my effort, and/or phoned it in. I took what I had and I squeezed every last morsel of life out of it. 

Also, between the NYX Mob and all of my new training partners, I felt like I had someone cheering my name the entire run course. I was right about how awesome that part was going to be. 

My effort was good enough for 9th in my age group - not exactly anything to write home about, but still 3 minutes faster than my overall time in 2019 (despite a few minutes slower run this year). 

I was realistic about the training that I did but not to the extent that I was going to let myself off the hook. Self belief is a conscious choice we make over and over and over. If you tell yourself you're tired or not prepared enough or not good enough or any other version of that going into the race, you've already written your result. I gave myself a chance to make the most of my fitness and I'm happy with my execution. 

I did, however, learn that racing with strategy and actual race fitness is really far more enjoyable than racing without it, even if you do earn yourself a donut eating spree afterwards. 

But enough about me...

Ryan had a spectacular sherpa performance on his new hometown course, complete with a karaoke machine in the basket of his e-bike. 

Also one of the best things about being a coach is that you don't even have to race that well to have a good day. My athletes were spectacular, with 2 of them hitting their goals in their FIRST TRIATHLON, 1 of those 2 landing herself a spot on the podium, and the other snagged a podium spot as well as a World Championship qualification. And they did all of this with big smiles on their faces:

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