- Best pre race week with my friends. Full of sunshine, Swami’s, Nekter, La Jolla and filming.
- A couple sub 7 minute miles on the run
- Seeing my friends on the run course and all of my cheerleaders
- Donuts at the finish line
- Podium finish against a fast field of chicks
Oceanside is the race that brings out the fastest triathletes from all over. It’s the first race of the season for many, everyone wants to get out there and show off their off- season work plus who doesn’t love racing in Southern California along the beach. For me personally, my off-season wasn’t as ideal as I wanted it to be. As I like to say “life happens” and sometimes that effects our training. Going into the race I knew deep down I wasn’t my fittest or strongest mentally and physically but I didn’t care, I was just excited to race and be in my favorite place, So Cal.
I headed down to Southern California about a week early to have some fun and a mini vacation with friends before the race. What better way to taper than tan on the beach? The week leading up to race day was filled with non-stop fun, food, filming and race prep with my closest friends.
As race day was quickly approaching, Coach ordered me to stay away from the race site and expo for as long as I could so I wouldn’t start stressing about race day. The weird part was I didn’t feel like it was race week, I was in total chill mode and not race mode all week. Friday we headed to Ironman Village to check in, rack our bikes and check out the expo. The more time spent there, the more nervous and anxious I got. Seeing all the different athletes, their fast bikes with the newest race wheels and over hearing conversations about their off- season is intimidating. The only thing you can do is remind yourself of how hard you’ve worked. It doesn’t matter who has the fastest bike or the best swimmers body, anything can happen on race day and you have to go out there and race your own race.
Race morning– 4:30am I hear my alarm buzzing, time to get up and get going. I love to eat but at 4:30am the hardest thing to do is get a good meal in you. I was given advice to go for a quick jog down the street and do some track drills to warm up my body, which would make it easier to eat. After about 10 minutes of that, I choked down some eggs, a banana, bagel with peanut butter and a few sips of Gatorade. Headed to Oceanside Harbor and finished setting up my transition area. I realized I had left quite a few things behind; luckily I had the essentials and could get by without the other items. I handed my bag off to my dad, gave him a hug as he gave me some last minute advice and headed to the start with 3,200 other athletes.
1.2 Swim– Being an avid swimmer I am hardly ever nervous about the swim. However, this being my first ocean swim in a race I was a little nervous about swallowing so much salt water that it’d make me sick. The wave in front of us went off and we had less than 3 minutes to get into the water and swim to the first buoy to start so a warm up was out of the question. I took three deep breaths and seconds later the gun went off and the race was on. The swim was rough, the ocean waves were big, the current was heavy and there were numerous times I got hit, kicked and smacked. I definitely have some nice battle wounds left from the swim.
Quick strip of my wetsuit, throw on my helmet and glasses, grab my bike and go!
56 Bike– Once I got on my bike I knew I was in a top 3 position but also knew the rest of the girls were coming for me. My game plan was to stay conservative on the bike and save my legs for the run. As girls started to pass me I had to remind myself of my race plan and not burn myself out, it’s a huge mental battle to ‘let’ people pass you and not try to stay with them. There was talk about a few big climbs towards the back half, which I wanted to have enough fuel in the tank for. Riding through Camp Pendleton, having the Military hand us water at aid stations and cheer us on was an unreal experience. I nailed my nutrition with FLUID performance, Smuckers PB&J sandwiches and a pack of shot blocks. As the bike was coming to an end I felt like I had more in the tank to give so I put my head down and pushed for the last 10 miles. Unfortunately my game plan to stay conservative was probably too conservative, lesson learned.
I headed into transition racked my bike quickly and threw on my running shoes. I even stopped to pee, which I never do but I haven’t nailed peeing on the bike yet (it’s a work in progress- any tips on that topic are appreciated).
13.1 Run– ‘Yes, finally the run- I got this’ my first thoughts as I headed out for the last leg of the race. My game plan was to GO! HARD! And make up time I lost on the bike during the run. My first two miles of the run were sub 7 and I was stoked. Running along the beach, up and down the pier I could hear my group of cheerleaders yelling at me and pump me up. As I got to the back half of the course my splits started to drop due to the hills but I kept telling myself run hard, you’re almost done. Along the run course I saw many of my friends, we gave each other thumbs up, put our heads down and kept going. It was almost noon by this point, it was hot and the hills seemed harder the second time around. I grabbed Red Bull and a cup of water at each aid station. As my pace started to drop I saw girls in my age group right in front of me, I kicked it up a notch and made the pass and was gone. As my Garmin buzzed at 12 miles I told myself one mile left, that is 4 laps around the track, that’s nothing (but in reality that last mile after 69 miles is hard). As I got closer to the finish shoot I sprinted, hard and saw two dudes in front of me jogging to the finish I sprinted by them and ran under the Ironman arch. I was done. My legs were numb and I thought for sure I was going to puke.
Finishing 70.3– I did it, I finished another 70.3! Walking out of the shoot I saw my dad and friends. Special thanks to Irene for cheering me on and brining donuts to the finish, she knows me too well. I waited around for my mom and friends to finish, talked with other racers about the course, called my coach and waited for results to be posted. Rounding out the podium finishing 5th was a great way to start the season and see where I need to improve. Oceanside brings out a fast field of athletes- congratulations to all of those who raced, those who placed, left with new PR’s and to those who finished.
Take Aways– No matter how hard you train or how well prepared your race plan is, nothing ever goes according to plan on race day. Even though I didn’t have the breakthrough race I was hoping for, it was an awesome day of racing. More than that it was one of the best trips I’ve had. The past couple of years we’ve made Oceanside traditions that include eating at Swami’s, going to Nekter daily, open water swims in La Jolla and of course a little Cryotherapy to get our muscles ready for race day. These moments with my friends mean more to me than any PR or podium ever could. I’m already looking forward to Oceanside next year with the crew. Now it’s time for a small recovery, then get mentally and physically ready for the next race!
I always say, team work makes the dream work. Thank you to all those on my team- my friends and family for their never ending support and encouragement, my mechanic for always prepping my bike so race day goes smooth, my coach for all the time spent to help me improve, Freeplay Magazine for making this possible, my team mates for always motivating me and of course our amazing sponsors, Rudy Project, Natures Bakery, Salming, XX2i, Folsom Bike, Hoffart Chiropractic, FLUID, Sacramento Running Association, Obdura and Vitality Multisport. Without these people, racing wouldn’t be what it is.