Sunday, April 4, 2010
I completed my first 70.3 race last weekend in Oceanside, CA. This distance is something that I don't normally train for; but I spent a lot of the winter doing base work so I thought that it was a good time to through in a half. I drove down on Friday before the race with my parents and my brother came up from San Diego to meet us. I met up with my Aunt and Uncle who live in Carlsbad and we went to this Mexican place in Carlsbad that we always go to because it is amazing. The race start was at 6:40 which was really early for me because I have been getting used to the late start times of ITU races...although I like early starts better.
Race day morning it is dark and freezing at transition. (there were also 35 bathrooms for a race that had like 3000 people...which wasn't great) It was still pretty dark when I ran to the water for the start of the swim. The swim is in the harbor so it was protected from any wind and we had super clean and calm water. For it being an ocean swim the water really wasn't that cold so the conditions were great for the swim. My buddy and training partner John Dahlz took the swim out really fast for the first 200 meters or so which I knew he was going to do. I was able to pass him and led the entire way from that point on. I really tried to hammer the second half of the swim and we were able to string out the field a little bit. I was first out of the water but was passed immediately by Raelert while running through transition. We had to run all the way down one side of transition and then all the way back through transition which seemed really long.
Out on the bike I started pretty conservatively. I was passed by a few guys that were hammering it and with this distance being new to me I wanted to try to play it on the safe side. I settled into a good pace and was taking turns at the front with Rasmus Henning which I thought was pretty exciting. The bike course was flat for probably the first 25 miles or so before we headed into Camp Pendleton. My old teammate from swimming had just moved to San Clemente to be stationed at the base so I was lucky enough to meet up with him on Friday and he drove me through the course. The parts that were through the base were really hilly. There were a couple of good climbs but there were also just a lot of rolling hills. It also seemed like we had a head wind the entire time so overall the bike course was pretty challenging. I knew my position was right around 6th or 7th and I think I actually went into the run in 7th place. I had spent every other Saturday for the past few months before this race running off of a long group ride but the feeling in my legs at the beginning of the run was completely foreign. As I was getting into the run I saw my friend Kelly Reed and she gave me some advice on just keeping my form and I just kept thinking about that for the entire time. Even though I felt terrible I was running the pace that I wanted to be doing and finally started to get into a good rhythm. This lasted up until about mile 10 where I completely fell apart. I was literally just trying to keep one foot in front of the other and make it to the next aide station where they had these sponges soaked with cold water. I am pretty sure if it wasn't for those sponges I would have passed out. Right before I blew up I was in 6th place. I was first passed around mile 10 or so and couldn't even attempt to make a surge to pick up the pace. I was still in 7th till about mile 12.5 where I was passed at this little uphill section. At this point I was able to compose myself and knew that I was going to be in a lot of pain but I was able to pick up my pace and got right on the heels of Hoffman who had passed me. I tried to push the pace with maybe 400 meters or so but I couldn't open up a gap at all and Ben was just right with me. I put everything I had into the finish but was beat out at the end. As soon as we passed the finish line we both just collapsed on the ground.
I was really proud of my effort for this race. The field was really stacked and it was a hard race. It definitely makes me wonder what I could do if I spent a little more time focusing at this distance. My focus will remain with draft legal Olympics but it was a fun race. I will probably be doing another half in June at Rev3 and I was also able to get a spot for the 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater. My next race will be a non-drafting Olympic at St. Anthony's on April 25th.