Race Report: Oceanside 70.3

Note: I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in this post. All products listed below were purchased with my hard-earned money and are provided for informational purposes only.

A gorgeous weekend in Oceanisde

A gorgeous weekend in Oceanisde

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of racing Oceanside 70.3. The southern California weather was perfect, the course was challenging but beautiful, and I managed to finish a few seconds under my goal time of 6:30. Rather than recount each of the 23,377 seconds of the race, I’m going to share some tips and lessons learned from the day in a bullet-list-y (not a word, I know) kind of way.


If convenience is your priority, choose lodging at the Oceanside Harbor. You can walk to the start and don’t have to deal with parking and shuttles race morning.

I wanted to keep expenses low so I booked a hotel a few miles away from the action and made my reservations before race registration opened and only paid $70/night at the Best Western Oceanside Inn. If you go this route, I suggest going to packet pickup ASAP to snag one of the limited parking permits for race day.

The day before

As expected, there were a lot of people peacocking and sizing each other up before the race. As a middle/back-of-the-pack athlete, this aspect of racing is always entertaining to me. Many of these guys are indeed very fast, but in some cases it’s just for show. My slow ass passed a lot of fancy tricked out bikes (and also got passed by people on not-so-fancy bikes). A bike is only as fast as the person riding it.

The days leading up to the race were very hot, about 90 deg F. I made a point to limit my sun exposure and stay hydrated.

My coach also advised me to let some air out of my tires at bike check-in to keep my tubes from expanding too much in the heat (genius!).

Just before bed, I drank 1 scoop of Osmo PreLoad (a full dose for my weight is 2.5 scoops).

Race morning transition setup

My first priority, pump tires back up to pressure.

To prevent blisters, I put foot powder in my socks and had a second pair for the run.

In case something should happen with my contact lenses during the swim, I put the prescription insert for my sunglasses in my transition bag (in a sturdy case). At IMCdA, I put spare pairs of contacts in all my gear bags, but I didn’t want to deal with them for this race.

At first, I made the mistake of putting my helmet, sunglasses, and food on my aerobars. I walked away for a few minutes and came back to find everything scattered on the ground.  Lesson learned: put everything on the ground under my bike in transition.

Prior to entering the swim start corral, I drank 2 scoops of Osmo PreLoad.

Beware: Port-a-potties were extremely limited in transition, plan accordingly!

Waiting in a long line for the ladies room

Waiting in a long line for the ladies room (and perhaps, engaging in a little peacocking…)


The water was warmer than usual (upper 60s, I believe) so I didn’t wear the booties I brought. A wetsuit, two latex swim caps, and ear plugs kept my body at a comfortable temperature.

I had my watch (Garmin Forerunner 920) set up and ready to go in triathlon mode before wading out to the swim start line. Unfortunately, I discovered it was in power save mode when I went to start the timer as the horn went off for my swim wave. Rather than waste time playing with my watch, I chose to swim immediately and dealt with it after exiting the water. Lesson learned: turn off power save mode on watch before race.

Be advised, if you’re in one of the later swim waves, it’s going to be a full-contact swim. I was in wave 17 (out of 20+ waves total) and the mens 40-44 waveS (the age group is so big, they start in multiple waves) started just after me.

The first half of the swim was fairly mellow. I passed some people from the earlier waves but there was plenty of room to get around. The water got a little choppier as I approached the end of the harbor, but nothing terrible. The end of the swim is when shit got a little crazy. The space between the buoys and harbor is narrower on the return trip and it was more crowded as I started passing more people from earlier waves and more of the faster guys from the later waves started to catch up. I had various parts of my body grabbed and pushed and got punched in the face but somehow managed to remain calm and keep swimming. I used to have a lot of anxiety during the swim portion of races but I think surviving IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene must have calmed the part of brain that would freak out in the water.

The week before the race, I did a “dress rehearsal” swim where to test for issues with the Castelli Stealth T1 top I bought for sun protection on the bike and didn’t find any. Unfortunately, on race day the collar was sticking out of the top of my wetsuit and caused some serious chafing. Lesson learned: make sure all clothing is fully encased by wetsuit to avoid chafing.

Swim time: 42:09

mmm… friction!

mmm… friction!


My strategy for the bike was to maintain a moderate level of effort, eat/drink constantly, and see what happens. The first half of the bike course is flat and fast, the second half is hilly and hard. You definitely don’t want to go balls to the wall at the beginning because you’ll become one of the many people walking their bikes up the hills later on. Bike nutrition: 1 bottle of plain water, 2 bottles of green tea Skratch, 3 smooth caffeinator Picky Bars

Bike time: 3:16:13


The run course is mostly flat with some short and steep climbs/descents between sea level and street level. I ran all of the first loop then decided to walk the steep bits and aid stations on the second lap. At each aid station, I topped off my water bottle and put ice in my top to keep my core temp down.

Around mile 10, I ran through a huge puddle at the aid station and soaked my feet, causing hot spots and blisters to form. After a decade of distance running, I’m still a huge wimp when it comes to the skin on my feet and walked a good portion of miles 11 and 12. I finally forced myself to suck it up and run the last mile. Lesson learned: don’t run through puddles (and maybe, toughen up a little…)!

Nutritionally, I felt pretty solid. I didn’t have a single muscle cramp and my GI system stayed calm the whole day. Let’s be honest, it’s not fun when you feel like you’re on the verge of shitting yourself throughout the run. I’m ecstatic that I didn’t have to deal with tummy troubles this time.

Run nutrition: 1 bottle of green tea Skratch and lots of water from aid stations

Run time: 2:20:40

Total time: 6:29:37 (Hello, PR!)


IMCdA Training Summary: Week 13

As I mentioned last week, I am training with my coach again and my body is getting the ass kicking it needs. My volume increased dramatically to 14 hours this week by adding some more cycling workouts to my training. I managed to do a decent job of pacing myself and didn’t burn out early in the week.

Staying injury-free is my highest priority so I’m doing a lot of hip-strengthening exercises and spending plenty of quality time with my torture devices Trigger Point Therapy kit to keep my IT band and other body parts happy.

IMG_2599Friday night, I ditched the spandex and donned some satin for the company holiday party. I successfully avoided any wardrobe malfunctions/high heel-related injuries and walked away with a raffle prize (a bluetooth speaker).


Doing my best Vanna White impression

The weather was perfect for riding on Saturday, but I was a bit dehydrated from the Friday night festivities and I was worried about bonking so I opted to spin on the trainer for two hours instead.

Sunday, I headed to Redwood City to do repeats on Cañada Road for my 40 mile bike + 60 minute run workout. The road is a series of gentle rolling hills without any flat sections and is a perfect venue to force myself out of some bad habits. These were my self-imposed rules for the ride:

(a) stay in the big ring – I really need to develop my climbing strength
(b) no coasting allowed – I tend to coast way too much
(c) stay aero during all descents – I get nervous descending in the aerobars but there isn’t much point to having a TT bike if I’m going to be sitting up most of the time. I need to grow a pair (figuratively, of course) and get comfortable with this.

Strong winds combined with rules (a) and (b) had my legs feeling like bricks by the end of my ride and I just wanted to go home and stuff my face but I had a 60 minute run to do. I spent the next hour on the hilly dirt trail that runs along the road. It was a tough workout, but I felt so proud to have completed it.


The beautiful view from Cañada Road

Strength training: 90 minutes

Run: 5 miles at the track

Swim: 2,300 yards
Bike: 90 minutes on the trainer with pedal drills

Strength training: 1 hour

Swim: 2,500 yards
Run: 4 miles

Bike: 2 hours on the trainer

Bike: 40 miles
Run: 60 minutes

IMCdA Training Summary: Week 12

If you’re one of the few people that follow my training every week, you’re probably starting to get a little bored since each post basically looks like the ones before it. Fear not, my faithful readers because I have some changes in the works starting next week. After a year long hiatus, I recruited my former (and now current) coach to help me prepare for my first Ironman. I received my plan for next week and it’s definitely going to shake things up for me.

Here’s a helpful nugget of information: if you want to get better at something, you should spend some time and effort to practice it. After disregarding this advice for a couple years, I finally started swimming with some consistency and am reaping the benefits. I’m swimming further and faster than ever before. This week, I completed a two-mile swim for the first time ever! I stayed relaxed throughout the swim and was stunned to see that I maintained a 2:00/100 yard average pace over 2 miles. This may sound painfully slow to most of you, but it’s a huge improvement for me as I struggled to swim just 100 yards in 2:20 just a few months ago. Work works!


This is not a torture chamber anymore

Saturday was spent on the trainer because I didn’t want deal with ice patches on the roads and because living in California for 8 years has made me a cold-weather wimp. Trainer rides can be boring but at least you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to stash a bowl full of potatoes in your kit.


Bike n brunch

Do you work with a coach when you’re training for a race?
Do you get excited when you reach a new training milestone?
What do you do to keep trainer rides fun?

90 minutes of strength training

Run: 3 miles at the track

Swim: 2,300 yards
Hourly plank challenge: 10×1-minute planks

Bike: 1 hour on the trainer

Swim: 3,300 yards

Bike: 1:45 on the trainer

Run: 6.5 miles easy