Packing up to head to Oceanside I felt really ready to race. My last race was Kona, which felt less like a race and more like an exercise in getting from a to b. Watching the season get underway I wanted to get in amongst the action, and by diving into Oceanside as my first race I was definitely doing that. The field was loaded, and a lot of the women on the line had already proven their fitness by laying down some great 2013 performances.
I felt more nervous than usual on the morning of the race. Small things like forgetting my Vaseline for wetsuit chafing, and elastic bands for my shoes were small reminders that I was a bit race rusty. And the first part of my race felt rusty, although I did feel better as the race went on but that’s not so useful when the race is up the road and out of sight.
The pro-men had 10 minutes to warm up. The pro-women (and rest of the participants) weren’t so lucky as we had 3 minutes to get ourselves into the water and over to the start line. I know the water wasn’t that cold but personally I’d have liked a little longer to regulate my breathing and the women’s race could have done with more of a gap to ensure it was separate to the men’s race.
My swim is probably best described as mediocre: I just never found my full range of gears. The same applied to my bike. I was heavy legged and well, miffed with myself for my bad swim – negative thoughts are not performance enhancing! I did the usual: ate some, drank some and finally at around mile 25-30 my legs returned and I started riding. It was good to be riding like I know I can and nice to make a few passes, rather than be passed. Coming into T2 I got the bad news. I was almost 6:40 minutes back on the leaders. In an Ironman that wouldn’t phase me as much can happen in a marathon but I knew the calibre of the women in front and knew it was unlikely I’d make it up to the front group. But, hell I was keen to at least salvage a decent run out of the race and I’ve always thought it’s not over till it’s over. The run course was fun: up and down the pier with masses of support.
I finished 7th. Not the “BANG!” I wanted to start the season with but I’m not in panic mode just yet. Training has been going well and I have time to put my head down, get a solid block in before Ironman Texas and take the lessons I need to from Oceanside. As always, a massive thank you to my sponsors whose support keeps me rolling. Right now I’m in London: my US visa approved so I’ll be back in Boulder in a few days ready to get back to work. No more snow please!