2013 Ironman Oceanside 70.3 Race Report

Bringing it in from a hard day
What an amazing weekend with family, friends, teammates and just the great atmosphere Ironman provides. This was my second "Ironman" race - last year was Oceanside too; although, this one had a happy ending. I went into Desert Tri about a month ago just getting over sickness, raced and then it came back worse. The week before the race I spent 5 days of zero exercise. Viral bronchitis accompanied with a fever - I was miserable and definitely wasn't ideal going into this race. About two days before the race - I finally started feeling like myself again, just not as sharp as I was feeling going into Desert Tri. I checked in at the EXPO on Thursday after work, and met up with fellow teammate Mu and an old friend (from high school) Kendra Goffredo - who ended up being the female overall amateur champion! After the EXPO I picked up our sweet new Wattie Ink kit and then Friday it was all about resting as much as I could around dealing with last minute bike issues (thanks Bike Shop!! - I'm in debited to you!), packing, and getting the kids down to the grandparents so Amy and I would be kid-free for the race and post-race festivities.

Slice ready to rip, thanks Dusty again for loaning wheels!
Pre-race: I powered down my new pre-race meal scrambled eggs with sweet potatoes. I've been experimenting on the off-season with pre-ride/pre-swim meals. Just listening to my body and seeing how it responds to different meals. Everyone is SO different so I think it's key to not listen to what the magazines say but experiment with what works for you. The protein and carb combo work great for me. I sipped on water took two e21 capsules and Powerbar Perform up till the race start and even had a half of a Powerbar to top of my glycogen stores. Got body-marked by my lane mate Heather! And just chatted it up with a lot of friends and teammates - which really makes it fun. Some people get nervous before the race, but to me, the pre-race vibe is my favorite part of racing. You can just feel all of the energy in the transition area, all of the smiles and laughs - it just rubs off on you and I love it.
Swim: 1.2 miles -30:00 (1:33 pace) 47th out of the water in AG

I know, I couldn't swim one second faster! I wore my Garmin for the first time and as soon as I got out of the water and saw 29:5x, I gave a big fist pump and yelled in excitement which probably cost me that one second lol. Problem was transition was just up the ramp so breaking 30 will have to come another day. A lot of people were criticizing the swim saying it was short. That's the problem when you have people with Garmins and then outsiders not seeing the conditions. Some people had 1.2M, some had 1.1M - I think the REAL reason why it was fast was because of the conditions. They were absolutely perfect. Last year once you leave the bay we ran into a TON of chop which is pretty normal for this race. This year it was all glass and maybe even a bit of a current coming back in. My 10 cents...I lined up on the front just to the outside with my sweet Blueseventy Element goggles. My goal was to ease into it at the start this time instead of blowing up like I usually do. Once we were approaching the turn around I found myself leading what I think was the 3rd pack. I ended up swimming with one guy all the way home from there, both of us taking turns leading. We caught the tail end of the second HUGE pack coming in and even though I was 47th out of the water - I was just at the tail end of a bunch of high 28-30 min guys. I couldn't be more pleased with the swim as everyone knows that reads this blog that I have put a lot of time in the water over the off season. This is a 4 1/2 min PR and even though I'm pleased with the time - everyone that beat me in this race was 2-6 mins faster than me out of the water. At least it's progress.

T1: 3:24

T1 is a long run up to transition area and I was actually happy I was up more near the bike exit which meant more running sans bike. I sprinted as hard as I could. My heart rate reached it's highest point coming out of the swim and sprinting to my bike. The only problem was I was breathing so hard I was a little delirious trying to get my wetsuit off and getting outta there. No doubt, my transitions need work!

Bike: 56 miles (~2800 ft of climbing) - 2:34:06 (AVG 21.8mph) 14th place off the bike

I started the bike just a bit conservative. My heart rate was still sky high from that swim so I wanted to get it down a bit and take in some nutrition before I started hammering. Looking back on it, I wish I would have started hammering earlier (more on this later)...My bike set up was simple. One bottle of Powerbar Perform in the cage and a small water bottle of Perform in my tri top in case I lost bottles throughout the course. I weight 138 pounds so to keep my bike light too, I try and carry the least amount of nutrition possible. I had a bento box with one Powerbar and four e21 capsules. No doubt about it the e21 capsules were key in me not cramping. They are the most powerful electrolyte boost available on the market and it's all from a natural source and they work GREAT for me. I'll have a discount code shortly or if you see me ask me about them and I can get you some samples. If you cramp or struggle with electrolyte imbalances, you need to get your hands on this stuff. So that's all I had, I drank three bottles total of Perform and ate 3/4 of a bar. Feel free to critique my nutrition, I train pretty minimal, so I race minimal and I felt great the whole race (not stomach issues or feelings of bonking).

Bringing it home w/my KASK Crono...
I fought my way up to the second pack. We all flip flopped for the first 30 miles are so. Referees were everywhere making sure no drafting was going on - another great thing about Ironman. Once we hit that first major climb I hit it fairly hard and dropped a lot of people then on the second climb I hit it even harder and when I looked back there was no one in sight. At this point I had passed 32 people in my AG on the bike. In front of me there was no one in sight. I was in no mans land, fighting this crazy headwind up these hills. I just stayed on it as much as I could. When you don't have anyone in front of you to help you target and push the pace, it can be tough. I finally started catching some pro girls and at that point I thought maybe I was having a pretty good bike split. It wasn't until about the 45 mile mark or so that I realized my split was going to be waaay off of what I though it'd be. I really thought I could break 2:30 on this course but it wasn't going to happen today. I had to overcome that those last 11 miles as speedy Adam Zucco (35-39 AG) flew by me like I was a child. With hardly anyone is sight ahead of me I started having a bad feeling that the first pack in my AG were waaay up there. Time to go to work on the run...
Such a cool shot Amy got...putting on socks and KSWISS
and my comfortable Fuelbelt!
T2: 1:47

Nothing special here. Those 47 seconds came from putting on my socks. I hate doing this but it tears up my feet for weeks if I don't. Not worth missing future training for...

Run: 13.1 miles - 1:24:45 (AVG 6:28 pace)

My goal pace was 6-6:15 for the run. As I've mentioned before in previous posts, my running has been sent to the back burner these past several months. I've been putting time in the water instead and just hoped that my 15-20 miles/week would suffice. The 10k at the Desert TRI I felt like I made the right decision...After this half...Not so much. That 1:24 was waaay harder than it should have been. My first 10k I was nailing all 6-6:15's then I just started progressively slowing down and there was nothing I could do about it. When I first got a glance at my competition I saw friend and stud Reilly Smith aka. Godzilla coming back and I was waaaay back. I figured he was in the lead so now I had to try and figure out how many were behind him. At this point we were mixed up with the pro's so it was pretty hard to figure that out. I just started gritting it out. The cool thing about my early wave time I was actually able to run with some of the pros that were on their second lap. I hung with Kyle Leto for awhile before he dropped me. It was just a cool experience and kinda lit a fire in me to become a better runner. As I started my second lap I saw women's pro champion and Wattie Ink Queen Heather Jackson coming in. I kept waiting to see second place but they were waaay back. Incredible that she just blew away a field like that, amazing!

Because of my lack of running miles, my IT band flared up big time and I ended up hobbling the last 3-4 miles home. Absolutely brutal. As I was rolling up to the finish I spotted #Eurostar (who's trending on twitter btw) who gave me an ass slap and as much as I was deep in pain, he got me to laugh - shows you the power of humor (pics below)! The family, friends and Wattie crew support was absolutely amazing. Pretty much every part of that course I had someone cheering and it helps tremendously - I thank you all!

Time: 4:34:02 - 8th in AG **Ironman 70.3 World Championships Qualified

I had a 13+ minute PR and it really didn't surprise me. Without the cramps I was able to just race. I think my only mistake was not hitting the bike harder earlier. I'm learning in order to place high and win these races there's no such thing as pacing. You just have to rely on your fitness and go after it the ENTIRE time. Walsh always tried to explain this to me last year but it never made sense because I would cramp. Now that it's not longer an issue- IT IS ON in St. George. After the race I had no idea where I placed. My parents, aunt/uncle who watched me for the first time race (which was awesome!) said Ironman live showed me at 10th place. My realistic goal was to place top 10, my secret goal was top 5. So I was semi-happy with the result at the time.

One of the many celebratory beers for qualifying
All I know I was ready to eat. We went to Breakwater Brewing - (my first time) and was impressed. A pitcher of IPA (thanks Danny!) and some pizza later my dad said Ironman updated me to 8th place. Score! Oceanside was giving 4 slots to my age group so with the three international competitors ahead of me and the hopes that some of them claimed at late races last year- I felt I had a pretty good shot at getting a roll down. Amy and I headed down to awards/slot allocation and sure enough I got the last spot! I was sooo stoked to get it in my first race. My A race and focus has been St. George this entire off season and if I didn't get it there I was going to have to spend a lot of money chasing that slot at other Ironman races around the country. Not ideal. So overall, excited about my performance and I know there is A LOT more in me for 70.3. This was a great learning experience and I can't wait to tow the line at Vegas with the fastest triathletes in the world. The fire has been re-ignited because of it. Time to get to serious work!

Here's a bunch more pics from the awesome weekend. Thanks for reading, supporting and being a part of my little triathlon story...

Probably my favorite picture from the day. #Eurostar. Best spectator ever.
I think I was a little shocked that I broke 30 (or at least I thought I had...)
Racking my bike in T2...notice sweet e21 tats!
Dude was STRUGGLING!!!
Despite hurting most of the run, I'm proud I kept good form throughout...key in going fast!
#Eurostar sequence 1 "The Chase"

#Eurostar sequence 2 "The Slap"
#Eurostar sequence 3 "The Laugh" photo credit: Kevin from Tri Lounge,
email me back and I want to frame this one!
DONE! Thanks ISM saddles for the comfy ride! and my sweet
new Rudy Project Stratofly's. So comfy!
Thanks mom and dad for the support all these years!!
My #1 supporter. Couldn't have done ANY of this without Amy, love.
Claiming my spot to Vegas!
Sign of relief. Vegas bound!
Cheers to that! Thanks bro for an amazing stout


Unknown said...

Awesome race effort James. Great write up too.

Unknown said...

nice work. great read, as I'm here typing mine. see you in StG.

jameson said...

stoked for you broham... about the vegas slot, the PR, but more so that you are learning you need to RACE and are capable! Holding back won't get you on the podium these days. Amateurs are absolutely flying! NO room for error... just hammer dropping!

I also agree that you need more running miles. Your running ability and 15-20 miles a week can easily get your through a fast 10k, but 13.1 is going to take some more miles.... just for the durability alone in the closing 3 miles.

you are on the right track. really looking forward to see how St. G goes for you.

beers and bikes soon.

Scott Mc said...

James I've told you many times....I knew this was coming for you!! I'm so stoked for your success...keep the foot on the pedal my brother!

J childs said...

So Stoked for you my friend, Great race, great Blog entry. Your efforts do inspire!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Congrats! You are putting it all together! Have a great 2013 season!

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