Friday, April 5, 2013

2013 Oceanside 70.3 Race Report

I am still smiling from Saturday’s race! After a 2012 season of ups and downs it was a good reminder of how much I love this sport! And it was exactly what I want in a race – good competition and the feeling like I left everything out there on the course. Oceanside 70.3 has become a favorite on the race calendar and this year was no different. When it’s raining in the Pacific Northwest through the winter and I see “race day” on my calendar as early as March, it’s been a good motivator to put in the work and show up ready to not embarrass myself against the fast California girls. It’s always hard to know what race ready fitness will show up on the first race of the year, but that’s part of what makes this event a combination of really exciting + less pressure, because the last time I put a wetsuit on or biked outside in a tank top was in September.

Sydnie and I flew down Wednesday after work and checked into our condo located right on the run course late that night. Thursday we did a little shake out jog, grocery shopped, relaxed, picked up bikes, and checked in at the expo. We were invited, a la Twitter, to attend a lunch hosted by Triathlete Magazine. Thanks to Julia at Triathlon Magazine we got to meet Lesley Patterson and Ben Hoffman and a bunch of industry people (Bonk Breakers, SRAM, Specialized, etc.). We felt a little dorky when people would ask who we were with…”um, Twitter?” but it was a pretty fun time. Kendra, who I met last year in St. George and who would go on to win the W30-34 age group, was there too, so it was also fun to catch up with her. Friday was typical pre-race stuff: easy swim/bike/run, sort race equipment, eat a lot, hang out with teammates, feet up, rest.

After getting set up in transition, it was the waiting game as my age group was off at 7:30 while the pros started at 6:40. It’s kind of frustrating to know how many age groups will be cluttering the swim, bike, and run courses, but you just have to roll with it. Sydnie and I lined up and waited until our wave was ready to swim out to the start line. Countdown to 7:30…boom! Off with the pack. I was very happy with my swim, because unlike last year I stayed right on top off the buoys and felt like I kept a good pace. It was a bit crowded coming back and I had to remind myself a couple times to pick it up rather than settling in behind some of the other waves’ caps. I checked the clock as I got out of the water and I knew it was a swim PR for me. 31:37 – just a side note: all the swim times were pretty fast that day. While I’ll take a good swim time (for me), I’m a bit suspect that it was either a bit short or there was a current in our favor. I came out of the water in 20th place, so yeah, there’s still a lot of swim work to do!

T1 was ugly and slow and after 3 minutes and 50 seconds of running from the boat ramp to the bike racks, taking off my wetsuit, and putting on my gear, I was on my bike. I’m hoping for faster transitions the rest of the year, as these are typically smooth and quick. The bike felt good, not great, I maintained pace, and passed people on the climbs. For my current state of fitness, I biked a respectable 2:44:52. It’s definitely not my fastest bike split, but in an effort to prevent burnout this season and not targeting this as an “A” race, I’ve only put in a couple rides longer than 3 hours in training in 2013. The volume and intensity will pick up over the next couple months, but for now my training was adequate to get me to the start line happy and healthy.

Laser focused and weaving
through AGs on the run
After a quick T1 I was out on the run course. My plan was to start out at a 6:45-6:50 pace, see how I felt in the first 5k and then figure out if that was something I could maintain or just how much I’d have to let up. But within the first half mile, I knew that was too fast. I just felt kind of flat coming off the bike (see above: less than a few longer rides in 2013) and my first few strides told me I’d really have to dig deep. For the first lap I focused on catching Hana from Zoot, which I did and then set our pace for a few miles. When she caught back up to me on the second lap I tried my hardest to drop her. I was weaving through the other age groupers on the Strand and tried fartleks to give myself a gap. But she held on (and later I met Hana at awards and she was really cool and nice). When she passed me on the uphill, I told myself to just worry about your own race. And honestly, that’s all I could do to not blow up. In the last 4 miles I thought about how much I’d regret it if let up or jogged it in. I knew that I wasn’t crushing it and there were still girls to catch, so I looked up the road, zoned in, and tried to pass as many people as I could. I didn’t look at my watch; I wasn’t counting mile markers or places. I don’t think I’ve ever been as focused at the end of a race, as I was on Saturday. Later my teammates made comments to me like, “whoa…you barely even looked up when I saw you out there” or “man, you looked intense.” Sorry; I really did appreciate the support! Even when I hit last 100 meters of the finish chute, I made sure to catch that guy (couldn’t even tell you what he looked like, but I caught him). My run time was 1:33:24 and moved me from 9th off the bike to 5th place in the W30-34 age group for a total finish time of 4:55:12 (originally I was told I moved from 20th to 5th, but that was 20th out of the water). And as a side note: my podium twin (5th place M30-34) was Jenson Button. My boyfriend informed me of this, because he’s a Formula 1 fan; otherwise, I had no idea.

Clockwise from top left: With World Champion Lesley Patterson, pre-swim with Sydnie,
Sydnie on the uphill, finish area with Jake, team awards with PauoleSport
This wasn’t a PR, but it was close. It was off by about a minute. But, the race was a success for so many other reasons! I finished feeling like I couldn’t give anything more on that day. I know I have potential to go faster, but I’d rather tap into that for my “A” races this year. And more than anything, I had a blast out there. I was a bit nervous going into Saturday’s race after a somewhat difficult 2012 season. And there were several times on the bike that I was smiling and just truly happy to be out there. It was a successful trip and a successful start to the 2013 season! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings.

View from our condo

Thanks to Sydnie, Kara, Jessie, and Danny for being great housemates for the weekend! Thank you to the ladies at Oiselle who make me feel supported from every facet in life and ready to FLY on race day and to Nuun for keeping me hydrated. Also, a big thanks to coach Jake for flying down to Oceanside to cheer for our team and support PauoleSport.


  1. Fantastic start to the season! Congrats on a stellar race, Cathleen!