I have always wanted to do the Oceanside Tri since it is such an iconic season opener for triathlon. However, I have been a bit intimidated by the fact that it can be very cold and how early it is in the season. This year it was neither of those things. We had a great weather day and the course was spectacular. Unfortunately, I got a 5 minute penalty on the bike (I had to stop for 5 minutes after 25 miles of riding). It was hard to recover from that, but I managed to pass a few people and finish 13th. Despite finishing far from the podium, I thoroughly enjoyed the event. The crowds were full of familiar, supportive faces and we got to spend time with good friends Maren, Tony and Ben. Before I report on the details of the race, I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who cheered for me, yelled my name and encouraged me to keep running. I needed it and I appreciate that so much. Also, I want to thank Salming, Osmo, Thunderbird Bars, and Sarah from Race to Rebuild for the support leading into this race. I'm grateful for the support of these new partners.
On to the race:
The swim was kind of strange. I wore my new ROKA goggles, which were great and my wetsuit is always easy to get on and easy to swim in. But, I think my little group was unable to find the straightest line in the fog. We ended up about 40 seconds back of where I thought we'd be. Not terrible, but not good either. I got on my bike and just tried to make up as much ground as possible. I put my glasses on and they immiately fogged up. With the technical turns and not wanting to lose the group, I rode in a fog until we got to a straight section and I was able to stuff my glasses in my jersey. So, here's a tip for this race: don't put your glasses on at the beginning!! When I finally got that squared away, I got in a groove and passed a couple girls ahead of me and even a guy. I ended up riding my way up to 4th place before Angela and Heather Jackson passed me. I tried to hang with them but they were flying! A few miles later, Heather Wurtele passed me on a narrow road. I was admiring how strong she looked as she went in front of me and instead of sitting up and getting out of my aerobars I just stayed my same speed and let her pull away to the allowable distance ahead of me. I was just telling myself, try to be strong like her and maintain the pace. She was clearly riding faster than me, but it gave me something to think about. Apparently, because I didn't slow down enough when she passed me I got a penalty for drafting. Next time, I will make an exaggerated NBA style move to sit up and show the officials that I am slowing down! Another lesson learned!
After I got the penalty, I went as hard as possible to the penalty tent for my 5 minutes of waiting and watching all the hard work I put in be erased. I just tried to stay positive and got back on the bike and actually caught back up to a few people on the hills. Despite the penalty, I had a huge improvement in average watts for a half ironman race.
Starting the run so far behind was tough mentally, but I still wanted to enjoy the day and get in a good workout. I passed 5 girls and finished strong and I pushed myself. I pretended that the people in front of me were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and that I had to catch them. Good practice for the next race!
So, lots of lessons learned and a not so great finish. But, an awesome day and so many great performances in the pro and amatuer fields. Congrats to all!