Hey everyone, first off, thank you for your continued support. I could not do what I do without all the support from so many incredible people. I know I have been writing less than I would like. The truth is I am typically at the brink of my work load limit with training and taking full time classes. It can be a lot to write in addition to the writing required in school. Thus, I am happy to have found the time to sit down and write. My purpose here is to detail what happened at Oceanside 70.3 (part 1) as well as what training went into it before and how I plan to progress through the remainder of the season (part 2).
Oceanside went quite well for me. I was steady throughout day and was able to stay strong when others faltered for an impressive 14th place in the most competitive race I have yet raced in. but here is the blow by blow.
The pre-race morning went smoothly with the typical number of pre-race poo’s, a standard breakfast of blueberry muffins, Red Bull, beet juice, and some yogurt. The yogurt was a new addition for this race, that I liked well. It allowed me to get the needed protein in as well as some good digestive enzymes. Next, I made my way to transition and truthfully was a bit out of practice with getting things set up. Everything seemed to take me a little longer than usal such that before In knew it, I had only 20 minutes till go time. I had to skip my pre race run, in favor of still getting a warm up swim. I went through this and had 13 minutes for a warm up swim by the time I got into the water.
As you may know, there were 46 male pros toeing the start line, making a ferocious swim start. When the gun went off we all swam hard but had little room in the narrow harbor. We ran, kicked, and swam over each other fighting for position. Kinda fun really! I found that for the first time in my life I had a decent swim position at 200 meters or so. However, at this point I couldn’t stay on the gas the way I needed to, and what I presume was the second pack of swimmers started moving away from me. I didn’t get to upset about this as there was still a group of swimmers for me to work with. I knew a sub threshold swim would do better for me later on. The rest of the swim was uneventful, on the way back the sun was right in our eyes making sighting hard but a welcome challenge. Upon exiting the water, I knew I had swam 27:07 a solid swim for me . I hurried through the very long transition and got on the bike.
Upon the bike, I knew I was in a position of strength and felt strong. The first part of the course involved mnay turns and was extremely bumpy. My main bottle of nutrition popped out—which did not seem rare as many bottles were littering the road. Thankfully I had packed a few gels as well as an EFS liquid shot.
As is typical, the first part of the ride involved holding a fairly high power in order to form a group of guys. We formed a group of 6 or so guys and I settled in. In fact, I sat towards the back after initially pulling but then realized others wanted to have the lead. I let their egos rule and forced mine to settle down. This was a smart move. Thus, by about 20 minutes in I was in a fairly good group and was riding well within my ability level. Our group passed a few people most of who hopped on the rear, making it larger. When we came to a turn around, I counted myself in 28th place, counting the 7 guys immediately in front of me in the group. I figured I could end the bike in 15th.
The next 40 minutes was consistent, I sat towards the rear while taking my share of pulls for the group. I was starting to get antsy. I felt I was riding too easy. I also was nervous in a group of 8. I figured there were some very good runners that would beat me if I did not try to mix things up or make a “breakaway”. I noticed that 2 guys as well as myself seemed to be the strongest, When we came up t a hill and happened to be the first three with me in third, I decided to go for it. I pulled up to first and signaled that I wanted them to go with me. I put in a solid surge for a few minutes doing 420 watts or so. It felt good! Another guy pulled in front of me after this and I realized it was just me and him (Alex Libin). A few minutes later I took another pull. We had settled down by now but were still riding fairly strong at ~370 watts. After I took the lead, the other racer fell off. I was know on my own. OPPS. I embraced it, as I enjoy riding on my own and found a rhythm. I could see the group behind me had reformed and were riding stronger than before the breakaway. I continued to do my own thing, putting more space on them and at 43 miles came onto the wheel of another rider.
I decided to settle down behind him and conserve my energy for the run. I felt I had mixed things up enough in the previous group and would have a small lead going into the run. I relaxed as much as I could the last 10 miles and came into transition feeling pretty good. It was a smart ride for me. I had mostly stayed within my ability level and felt I had made the right strategic move of using my strong bike to take some of the strength out of the stronger runners (what are your thoughts, should I have stayed chill?). When I came into transition I saw the group enter only 30 or so seconds behind me.
I hustled out of transition and started the run. I did not feel great or terrible. Just normal. I settled into a rhythm and tried to find the correct posture and find good form. I did not start off very fast. The same fellow who was the last guy riding with me had already passed me. He was running great and went on to have a good day. Unfortunately, within about 2 miles I had full on stomach cramps, which are common for me. In the past, these have been debilitating and have forced me to walk but today I managed to run through them, although had to slow down. I noticed two guys were very close behind me and did not want them to pass me. I kept trying to pick up the pace to where my stomach would allow me. It was a miracle the two guys had not passed me. At 4 miles, the cramps started to subside a bit and I was eternally grateful.
At this point I looked back and saw the two guys only 3-5 seconds behind me. I started to surge, realizing I know had the perfect opportunity to make this a build run. I told myself, the first 4 miles would be my slowest, I would then moderately build from 4-8 miles, and then build again from 8-12. The last mile, I would give everything I had. This was a great mentality! It allowed me to approach the race in a very favorable and manageable way. It’s all about the mentality we have and how we manage ourselves in tough times.
At this point we had passed the turnaround (of lap 1) and were making our way back. I kept trying to run with quick feet and a tall posture. I was running well and was hitting 5:50 miles for this section. I was putting distance between the two guys behind me. I felt the best for miles 4-9. Upon mile 10, I started to feel very tired, but stayed laser focused and kept pushing. At this point, Patrick Mckeon who was one of the guys behind me passed me. I was happy for him. He is a good friend and we both train in Boulder. The other guy had fallen off. I stayed somewhat strong despite the pain I was in the last 5k and managed to pass, Steve Mantel who had completely blown up as well as Taylor Reid. I crossed the finish line in 14th. A good day!
I celebrated at the finish line. Chatted with the other pros and felt good. Its nice to be one of the guys and get to be around my idols in this sport. I soon made my way to the beach and enjoyed the sunshine for a bit. Things tuned bad fairly quick.
I went surfing and swimming for a bit where I had a fight with the ocean. I had a surf accident and ended up plummeting into the sea floor face first from the force of a wave. It was a miracle I did not pass out and could walk my way out of the ocean. Blood was spewing everywhere. As I walked onto the beach I could see everyone staring at me. People rushed to help and took me to the lifeguards. I was in total shock; things went from great to bad quick. I was worried, that I was paralyzed. Which I realize now is irrational as I had walked out of the ocean. I wasn’t sure where blood was coming from, it seemed to be coming from everywhere and it was. My nose, my mouth, and some serious cuts on my face. The lifeguards did an excellent job and said I should go to the ER.
We rushed to the ER where things moved agonizingly slow. I was there for four hours and got x rays and stiches. Thankfully my neck or nose was not broken. I ended up getting 14 stiches under my right eye. Hey, 14 stiches for 14th place. How about that? The people I was with helped me through it and it was even kind of fun. We ate in and out burger at the ER and joked about my misfortune and the events of the day. Other stuff had also gone wrong including a 300-dollar towing fee during the race! It was one hell of an April fool’s day. After my release, I went home and drank most of a bottle of wine and then passed out. It had been a long day!
I am mostly fine as, I write this now just two days later. Besides looking like two face from batman I am in high spirits and my happy usual self. So, that was the day. What I would like to do now is talk about how I approached the race and how I plan to get better. More importantly I want to talk about life lessons learned and how I believe one should approach life. This will follow in a separate post, as this is already QUITE long. Stay tuned for the next post, if you are interested
My blog is a collection of topics including training, nutrition, sponsorships, and becoming the best man I can be. In addition, I write about my spiritual realizations that are intrinsic to the sport of triathlon.