Run with Eric + triathlon

2008 Oceanside 70.3 Triathlon

Damn, even without having to go very far, getting ready for this race required a very early wakeup call. Since I was catching a ride with my sister-in-law, who was volunteering and had to be at the transition area at 4:30, my alarm went off at the unholy hour of 3am. Ouch. I should have driven myself…not sure what I was thinking... it’s not like I had a long trip. Oceanside Harbor is all of fifteen minutes from my house. Dumb.
I showered and than had a pretty standard brekkie of one strong cup of coffee, two slices of toast and a bowl of cereal. Other last minute prep included a double check of my gear bag, topping off my tires to 110 psi, then out the door at 4:15.

Amazingly, despite the fact that I was at transition at 4:30 and it wasn’t scheduled to open until 4:45, I was not the first person to arrive. There were at least a dozen other bikes in the transition area (and not just the pros who I believe rack their bikes the night before).

Over the next two hours I did the standard pre-race stuff. Set up my gear, got bodymarked, hit the porta potty (twice), did a 15 minute warm up run, chatted with some friends and laid down using my bag as a pillow for about 20 minutes while I listened to my iPod and tried to relax. The time went quickly and before I knew it, it was 6:40…time to get my wetsuit on and get ready for my 7:03 race start.

The water was not nearly as cold as last year. Once the race got going, I found it quite comfortable actually. I found a rhythm pretty quickly and felt good. The water was nice and calm, but as we neared the mouth of the harbor near the turnaround, the waves were pretty rough. This combined with the rising sun made sighting a bit of a challenge. Once we turned around, a kayaker was yelling at everyone to swim toward the high-rise building on the horizon. This was a big help. Got to the finish with no problems with a time of 28:59. Right on target with what I expected. I swam about a minute faster last year, but I have only been swimming sporadically…so my expectations were very conservative.
There was a long run around the transition area to my bike. I took the time to put on socks, but decided to skip the arm warmers, as it didn’t feel all that cold.

Once out on the bike, I told myself to race smart. I’ve done very little volume on the bike, and I knew that any pacing mistakes would be disastrous. So, I got into my aero position, sipped on some sports drink and just tried to stay conservative. Plenty of guys flew by me, but I kept the ego in check and let them go. After the first little climb on Stuart Mesa, I started to feel a bit nauseous and by the time I got to the Las Pulgas turnaround…my stomach was in serious distress. I slowed to a stop, pulled over and puked up my entire breakfast (and probably some of the previous night’s dinner as well). Maybe too much ocean water? I’m not sure. I felt a bit better and got going again. My nutrition plan was three gels, one bottle of sports drink (GuH20 + whatever was on the course), and three Thermolyte pills per hour. I had nothing but sports drink before getting sick, so I stuck to my plan and tried to get some calories in my system. The stomach wasn’t having it and I did a nice rolling puke (first time I’ve done that!) at around Mile 25 and again at Mile 40. Despite the puking, my legs felt pretty solid. No issues on the first climb on San Mateo and I spun up the remaining climbs with no real problems. The course was quite a bit windier this year…the descent on Dead Man’s Curve was kind of sketchy, the bike was getting blown around a bit. The headwind coming down Vandergrift was also nastier this year. In 2007, I remember cruising the final 10 miles at 23-24 mph with little effort, this year I was pressing to
maintain 21.
Rolled into T2 with a 2:49 split, about 13 minutes slower than last year. Some of that was due to the wind…and stopping to puke didn’t help either. As I rolled into Hot Corner, I briefly considered calling it a day; knowing that the lack of calories in my system would have dire repercussions on the run. But I figured I paid my 200 clams, I better get my money’s worth! It was time to HTFU.

Quick transition and came out of T2 running on pure adrenaline…managed 6:40’s for the first two miles and hit the four mile marker at 27 even. I saw Andy Potts and Craig Alexander go by me on The Strand…it appeared they had a race going; Alexander was nipping on Pott’s heels. The fans at the finish line were in for a quite a show!
For me, the wheels started to fall off at around Mile 5… I started to cramp and feel pretty faint. I resorted to walking and sipping on Coke and water at every aid station. It helped some and I managed to keep it down and did the ‘jog between aid stations’ routine the remaining nine miles. Run split was 1:43 and finish time was 5:08.
Apparently I looked pretty terrible, because the volunteers escorted me to medical after I crossed the line.
My time was a pretty big drop off from last year (4:45), so I’m somewhat disappointed. But I’m happy that I managed to finish the race in a respectable time despite everything not going as I hoped. I’m still not exactly sure what caused me to have stomach problems…that’s the first time that’s ever happened to me in nearly a dozen 70.3 and IM races.
For now, the wife and I are going on a little vacation for some R&R. When we return, I will probably try to dissect this a bit more and see what lessons I can extract from the experience.

Thanks for reading.

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2008 Oceanside 70.3 Triathlon + triathlon