After my LONG (as in distance - Houston marathon) detour from my journey, I returned to the plan......and found myself in Oceanside, CA
My journey was never intended to be such a long road, but the more I dabbled in the sport, the more it got its hooks in me, and the more I found myself taking just one more step on my journey.........next stop May 17th, Woodlands of Texas (my first full 140.3 ironman) - and suddenly you find yourself doing things you thought were completely impossible.
First things first. Can you go to So. Cal. and NOT stop at an ocean-side pier for some fish and chips? The answer is no (also had to get me a couple pounds of smoked salmon after the race, that is another must do).
So. Cal. has it figured out though.......playgrounds literally right n the beach. We went down to check out the race venue, and ended up staying all day as the kids played on the playground and beach and in the ocean all day.......what a set-up! Well done Oceanside, well done.
Seriously, could I actually type anything to describe their joy better than the picture depicts up above? They loved every minute of that playground/beach set-up.
Sam did awesome in her big race too. Sometimes Ironman races have an Ironkids race the day before, and Sam loves racing in those......really, she likes the medal at the end, but who doesn't? :)
She did great. Alayna was going to join her, but after all the fun on the playground/beach, Alayna had already crashed for the night in the stroller......and we do not wake sleeping toddlers. :)
There is something that just seems so right about this picture. Pre-race T1 bike rack. Just seems to catch the moment of every tri morning before the cannons go off, and all that anxiety and anticipation starts to slowly become realized.
My support crew is the best. Sam giving me some pre-race advice and strategy tips, while trying to figure out how much money was spent on "all those bikes." :)
About those bikes. Big shout out to Endurance House in Oceanside, CA. I shipped my bike from TX to CA for the race, and didn't bring any bike equipment except a spare tire kit. Picked my bike up and my gears were all messed up, and my left crankarm was loose and about to fall off. I know it happened during transport because I had literally rode my bike to the shop to drop it off the day of transport, and it was running smooth.
Endurance House took time to look at my bike the afternoon the day before the race, and got me all worked out and in tip top shape for race day. The bike ran smooth. Great shop, great people, great service...even to an out of towner they may never see again (although if I am ever in the area, I'll go buy something there everytime).
Pre-race family pic ops. Jamie is awesome. Getting up early, and bringing all the kids. It's good to see them, and get to a good quiet motivational mind set, before all hell breaks lose during the open water swim.
The transfer of gear has occurred. The mornings are always a little bit cooler, and Sam likes stealing all my pre-race clothes and putting them on as I take them off.
You know, my swim time is not really improving. But that is mainly do to me trying to get ready for the full IM in May. All my swimming sessions are for endurance and yardage, and not really time.
The swim went fairly well. I positioned at the front outer edge again, to stay away from the free for all at the start.....which worked well. The problem with that strategy is that if you are not careful, you could end up swimming a lot further than everyone else as you are out on the edge on all the turns (kinda like a race track. Starting in lane 8 is not horribly bad, if it is just for a straight away, and then you cut to lane 1 at the first turn, not ideal, but not all that bad. The problem is if you stay out in lane 8 for the whole race, then that's bad.).
I was doing great until I ran into the notorious zig-zag swimmer. Guy couldn't sight worth......well, he had difficulty let's leave it at that. Hard to get around those guys as you usually get bumped or smacked by them a couple times before getting by and clear of them. Seriously, the buoys are huge florescent colors.......gigantic.
T1 6:41 went slow.
Remember in my past posts about how much I like the wet suit rippers? Every race I've done, they've been there, and I didn't even think twice this time.......but alas, no rippers. Well, although it didn't go terribly bad....my appreciation for them has only grown more fond. They are awesome. :)
Bike was awesome. Love biking. The first part of the bike was pretty flat, and slightly down hill, with the coastline and ocean off our left-hand side for probably about 20-25 miles. The views were amazing. The whole ride was in and out of Camp Pendleton (a marine military base), which was pretty cool to see, and probably not a sight most people ever get to see, since it is usually closed to the public (but they open it for the 70.3 race each year). Some of the marines were out cheering and lending their support......what I do (racing and just my general work) is so incredibly not important compared to what they do for us. I appreciated their support that day, but more so their life of service for me, for us.
I knew there were some hills on the back half of this race course, and had been forewarned in my research.....and knew where they were mileage wise. After coming up a shorter hill (not one of the main talked about hills), there was a guy at the top, talking to a Marine volunteer about how he had trained for "that" hill. I started to laugh a little inside, knowing "that" was not the hill. As I rode by, I heard the Marine say, "You are in trouble if you think that was "a" hill!" Might of laughed out loud a little.
There were hills. Over the summer I was lucky enough to have a chance to be able to ride over the Teton Pass, Pine Creek Pass, and the Alpine Pass.....all substantially bigger than any of the hills I was sure I'd see. And they were, all bigger, and steeper. But that mind set did not give enough respect for the hills California rolled out during this 70.3 course.
I recently got a new Garmin bike computer, and have been using it on my local rides around Houston, Texas. I set my Garmin to auto shut off, if I dropped below 10mph. If I'm not going 10mph, I must be stopped at a light, slowing for stop signs, or just starting or finishing. Well, I didn't even think about the auto shut off until I was about half way up the first big hill. Everyone was crawling, some were even walking their bikes up. I was making small talk with some of the riders about how Houston only had little man-made hills........just then my Garmin beeped. It had auto shut off. My computer thought I had stopped! LOL! I told everyone, "Ah man, I'm going so slow, my computer thinks I quit." Everyone got a pretty good chuckle, which we all needed, as the hill ate us up.
All in all, the bike went well. Pretty happy with that time for that course.
Pretty slow......that's because I couldn't find my number to rack my bike. I was lost. Luckily Jamie and the kids had come with me the day before to drop my run stuff off, and they were yelling at me as to where my bike should be racked, Pretty comical.
Some days you just know it's not going to happen the way you planned. Felt great off the bike. Fueled like I wanted to, and was set to have a good run. For the first mile I felt great, right where I wanted to be. LOL! (for 1 lousy mile)
Not that I completely fell apart, but I could feel my legs twitching...quads and hams, but nothing serious, but way too early to get that feeling. That stuff usually happens later in the run. So from that point it was maxing what I could do, without aggravating anything that could completely shut me down. Held to 8:30min/mi for awhile (wanted to be closer to 8:00), then slowly got ate up by the sun, slow rolling hills, and the steep ramps they had on the course. I finished with a 9:30min/mi pace, which is not were I wanted to be, but was shocked it wasn't closer to 11:00min/mi.....because that is what they felt like at the end.
Did I mention Jamie brought reinforcements this time?
My support crew was second to none. Dad and Janice were in town, Nate and Brittany and their son Noah (even baby Eli came) live there, Gail and Andy and their two daughters Summer and Dawna were there, and Jill and Eric and their son Ryan and daughter Erika were there too. It was pretty fun having them around and seeing them throughout the run.
Ok. In all honesty, we were all there for Nate and Brittany's new baby Eli's baby blessing on Sunday the day after my race......but hey, they still made time to come cheer me on during the run too. Jill is working on putting together the distances for a half ironman (olympic is her next distance, but I keep trying to put the bug in her ear for a half), and when she gets there, I'll be there. :)
Some of the crew post race. Jamie appreciated the help, and I appreciated the familiar faces throughout those 2 hours.
Is any race complete without a medal? Hey. Sammy got one, so I had to go get one too. The feeling of finishing is awesome, the feeling of finishing with so much family around is unforgettable......more people to share the moment with.
Now, I'm only missing one medal from my collection, before it's complete.
What do you do at a California post race? Beach of course. San Clemente beach to be exact. Hung out there a couple hours just taking in the scene, and enjoying the beach and company. Cousins are awesome.
Come on. Is this not a classic pic of Summer. She owns babies. Putty in her hands. Even our crazy, full of energy kids.
A walk with Grandpa and Grandma Janice. On San Clemente beach, where all the older kids grew up playing and hanging out. Crazy how things seem to always come full circle......over and over and over again.
The real reason everyone was in town. Eli's baby blessing. What a great Sunday it was with family all around. Nate did a great job. Nate and Brittany did an awesome job hosting everyone. And if you can't tell......Alayna was super excited - the whole time.
What is a trip to So. Cal. and not taking in Disneyland? We don't know, and we don't want to find out. Sam and Alayna loved it, and danced and messed around all day in both parks.....witness picture two, they just fed off each other....bunch of posers. Peyton slept through most of it.
It was really nice and relaxing, non stressful, get off our legs type of activity Jamie and I needed after the race weekend...........well.......Sam and A loved it, so mission accomplished..