The road to this years IM 70.3 California for me was .....well, let's just say it was bumpy. After an illness that lingered for the better part of a month and a sub-par race to start the season in Palm Desert, I finally felt like I was on my way to a strong day in Oceanside. As it turned out, I was sidetracked yet again by a car accident less than a week before the race. I spent Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday on the table with Brad at b-project, trying to get my back to stop hurting so I could get out on the road and race. By Friday I felt reasonably good enough, and though I had spent far too much time "resting" during the last month, I figured I might as well give it a go.
Swim - 28:15
The swim was definitely the highpoint of my race. The Oceanside Harbor provides nice calm conditions for swimming and with my TYR Hurricane CAT 5 wetsuit helped me to my personal best swim time for the 70.3 distance. This is even better considering that after the turn around, while swimming directly into the rising sun, I nearly swam headlong into one of the fuel docks in the harbor! Thankfully one of the lifeguards caught my attention and got me back on course! The bike portion of the race was.......well, it was. I started off feeling pretty good, I wasn't too spent from the swim and I could tell the weather was getting warmer by the minute. The first half of the bike course in this race is pretty flat and very fast, and those initial 28 miles went by in no time. The second half of the course, however, is rather hilly and on raceday was extremely windy. I made through the first big climb and into the rolling hills still feeling ok, but once the wind really set in, it all came apart. I had to lean my bike into the wind and was still being blown all over the road. This is where the events of the last month really took a toll on me. My back was aching by mile 35 and my energy levels were dropping rapidly from my lack of solid training time. By the time I made it to where the wind was at my back, it was too late.... the damage had been done. During the last 10 miles of the ride, I was passed by more people than I care to mention and there was nothing I could do about it, just hang on till the run. Total time on the bike - 2:38:01.
Rolling in to T2 I knew that the run was going to really hurt, but hey, Ironman racing is supposed to hurt, right? I pulled on my shoes and was on my way.Kindra got this shot of me just heading out on the run course....don't let the smile fool you, I was NOT feeling very good. Thankfully, I had her and some other friends spread along the course cheering me on the whole way. I don't think I ever went more than a mile without seeing a friendly face.Here I am showing my appreciation for the support of my friends...even in the midst of a race, there's always time to spread a little love!! With the support of my cheerleaders, I trudged through the remainder of the run and got to the line in 1:41:52, well off of my personal best and about 10 minutes slower than I had hoped to run at this race. Total time with transitions - 4:53:28, which included taking a few seconds in the home stretch to give a little extra thanks to Kindra, my favorite cheerleader ;)
All things considered, I'm really happy with how the race went. While I know that if I had completed my training as planned with no setbacks I would have gone much quicker, that is one of the things that makes Ironman racing so special. There are so many things that can trip you up along the way and so many chances for things to go wrong that you always have to be thankful for even being able to start a race, let alone finish one. I am thankful for the opportunity to compete in this race and I remain even more aware of how lucky I am to be able to do the things that I love to do. Having great friends who love and support me make it even better, and it is because of all these things that I look forward to the next challenge that awaits me around the corner. As always, thanks for reading, now go out and do the impossible!!