Sunday, March 28, 2010

california 70.3 race report

i'm used to being in a different city, at a hotel, and resting the day before a race. this time was a little different because California 70.3 is just 20 minutes from home. so the day before racing, i had a full day of work, on my feet a lot, and then had to battle friday rush hour traffic up to Oceanside. but, when all was said and done and packet was picked up and bags were packed, james and i had a relaxing pre-race meal at Lotus Cafe. i went with my usual tofu, brown rice and steamed veggies.

i had a pre-race call with dirk and i'm glad i did. i'm quite sure the call determined the race outcome. you see, i think dirk had assumed that i'd actually been "racing" the bike when it came time to race so he hadn't known i needed race specifics on what to do. so i asked and he told me to go out and hold my heart rate between 160 and 165 (and he said it like it was obvious). i almost peed my pants. i told him i could try for 145 or something, but that my legs would fly off if i tried to push that hard. dirk's concise response [in an AWESOME german accent],"Your heart was made to beat for 100 years, you think you are going to break it by going hard one day?" so i said i would try (and did not believe for a second that i could).

race morning
i felt a little off. i started getting a sore throat on friday and it continued to saturday morning (btw, now, sunday night i am fully in cough/cold mode- but glad it took until today to really set in). i wasn't hungry and this NEVER happens. i eat oatmeal every day for breakfast and i couldn't finish mine. i also couldn't take care of the morning "business" that NEEDS to happen before a long race. but, we headed to the race site and i went about things as usual. i had plenty of time and visited with friends and made sure everything was ready to go. i stood in the LONG bathroom line, and took a 10 minute jog around the harbor with a couple pick ups. i was stoked that it was cool, but not THAT cold. however, it was windy! uh oh!

(thanks for these two pics, rachel :)

my swim wave started an hour after the pros and was one of the last to go off at 7:33. i stood in the corral waiting with my wave and positioned myself front and left for the swim start. i know i'm not the fastest swimmer out there, but by starting in the front, i have more chance of catching feet than i do if i'm farther back. i was nervous about the swim because although i've been swimming great (for me) in the pool, my two ventures in open water were less than stellar. i've had trouble rotating my body and my arms get tired in my wetsuit. i feel like i float like a log. anyhow, the swim started and i caught some feet. i like telling myself, "don't lose the navigator!!!" ever since the orange county triathlon in 2008 (when i found an amazing navigator), i look for a girl who looks like she can sight/swim straight and just trust and hang on. this strategy got me all the way past the turn around buoy. but then, we started going through massive amounts of slower folks from previous waves and it was impossible not to get spread apart. i had trouble sighting on my own in the rising sun and i thought we were near the finish WAY before we actually were. but, uneventfully, i made it and made the long run up to my bike in T1

this is where it gets interesting. instead of going through the usual highs and lows of effort and recovery on the bike, i really just pushed it evenly the whole time. my heartrate was HIGH when i hopped on, above 170- woohoo!!! so all i had to do was keep it up to stick in my 160-165 range. this was tough, but i made it my quest as a bolted through lots of people taking their time getting settled in on the ride. i had my new Garmin 310XT (thanks for the recommendation, Ian- i love it!) that kept me in touch with my heartrate, but being new to the device, i screwed up all the other modes/screens, so i was unable to really gauge my elapsed time or distance all day long. i really had to be aggressive and pass a lot in the early parts to keep it moving fast because there were people all over the road. Dirk had told me i could ride hard and still get off and run like i was fresh so i decided to believe him and not hold back. the first 20 miles were flat and then it was HILL TIME! the hills were actually super fun. i know i complain that i am slow on hills in training, but i am coming to realize that is because i train with fast people and on lots of hills. when i get in a race situation- its on! i was passing people all over the hills. people were walking up two of the hills- i thought this was kind of crazy- they really aren't that bad, just slow. after the hills, the crosswinds took over...i was blown all over the road, but i just tried to tuck in and keep going. i used the winds as an opportunity to keep my heartrate up. during the last 20 miles (flat), i noticed my heartrate was dropping, so i told myself to stick with the plan and get it up! this is where if i hadn't worn a heart rate monitor, i would have just cruised in and not known any better. we had a crazy lucky tailwind ushering us back the last few miles, but i didn't let myself slack with the free push. just kept on pushing playing a game with the magic "160". i saw lots of friends the last few miles including slater, who dropped me like it was hot, and tawnee and kathy. i cruised into T2, no idea what my time was and thinking it was about 2:49/50.

i grabbed my stuff in T2 and bolted out. and i felt like i hadn't even ridden my bike. i had to pee, but eventually i forgot about that. normally, my first couple miles are brutal, but i started out with mid 160's heart rate and 6:15mile pace. whoa. i wanted to slow down, but my legs kept moving. i decided heart rate worked well enough on the bike, so i would use it for the run. i also had the pace showing so i knew what was up. i kept my heart rate between 165 and 169 (decided to go above 170 in the final mile) and just ran whatever pace that gave me. this resulted in the opposite of negative splitting as my heart rate and pace eventually decoupled. BUT, it only went from 6:15 pace down to the slowest mile at 6:50 pace. so, even though i didn't know my total time, i knew that was probably under a 1:30 and i was really really excited about that.

during the run, i had by far the most fun i've EVER had on a course and i'll definitely come back to this one. i knew so many fun people out there and the support was INCREDIBLE. i saw whitney, jason, james, kerri, tom, kirsten, polly, meredith, randy, katrina, chris, kevin, colleen, kristin, lori, vicki, julie, michelle, mauricio, terri, neily, suzanne, meredith, dave (& baby soren!), mike, maren, and i said HI (or sometimes even a sentence or two) to every single person. it was nuts. i felt like i was at a cocktail party. let me tell you, this helps pass the time in a two-loop half marathon. i just kept waiting to see my next friend and smile and wave. my feet were hurting A LOT. i got some big gash on my toe that caused a huge bloodspill all over my shoes and was kind of scary. but not debilitating. on the run, i knew i was making up some really good time, but there were so many people that i never noticed anyone in my age group.
since i was in the last female wave, i would have had to look at every single calf i passed and that was impossible. so i just ran and ran my race. i saw Rhae like over 10 minutes ahead and knew there was no way to catch her. i assumed that there must be at least a few girls in between her and i so hoped that i made the top ten in my age group and maybe the top 5. i crossed the finish line and saw some friends including caroline. caroline told me something bizarre that i was first place and i laughed at her. the thought had honestly never crossed my mind (only because i saw how far ahead rhae was). she told me rhae had aged up.

turns out i was 11th in out of the swim (31:51-meh)

i moved up to 5th on the bike (2:41:51 ) (20.8mph!!!)

and somehow ran my butt into first place with a 1:27:33(6:40/mile)

for a grand total of 4:46:01.... a half ironman PR.

30-34AG podium

and a qualifying slot for KONA The Ironman World Championship in october and i will be there.! At Cali 70.3 (one of the very few 70.3s with Kona slots) there is ONE slot for each age group.

sign on the dotted line...

this was i think what they call a breakthrough race. a really great day for me. and a total surprise. i can't believe i never saw any of those girls i passed on the run, but i guess i just wasn't looking. i HONESTLY never considered being first for this race, and truly believed that if i had any chance at qualifying for Kona, it would be at St. George for sure.

when i crossed the line and saw dirk after i found out about how i did, i told him i wasn't going to do Ironman St. George. Later, i emailed him and told him to never trust anything someone says during the first 10 minutes after completing an endurance event. so i'll be there at IM Utah. i'll be the one with pina coladas in my bike bottles :)


Jennifer Yake Neuschwander said...

Way to go fast and have fun. Great race and race report. "A cocktail party"....I love it. Makes me want to race more.

Slater Fletcher said...

best story I got all year so far...i was as inspired by your performance as i was by your attitude. Balance at its best

Knowing you stuck to the schedule, crushed dreams but did it all with that big smile while racing your race is just the most motivating thing to witness. Really stoked for you! Congratulations!

I think you even got James thinking about getting back into triathlon ;-)

Sue said...

The coolest thing is seeing how far you have come..from the very beginning of all of now going to kona...lil things always end up become big things!!!

Teresa said...

Way to go Beth!! Awesome race, awesome report! Congrats on the Kona slot....well deserved!


kerrie said...

very proud of you. sounds like my kind of race except that i would have cried a lot more about how cold the water was!
you are going to love kona.
that really sucks that rhae shaw aged up.....for me.

Yasi said...

Great race and report to follow! So excited for you! You put in so much work and it really shows. I never doubted it for a second that you would kick ass!

Mary IronMatron said...

Amazing to read!! Huge congrats on a fantastic race. Your focus and training volume has paid off big time! And congrats on Kona, too! Yeah!

Benson said...

Sweet Jaysus!
Wow, what a great race you had.
Fantastic race report too.
You rocked it sistah!

X-Country2 said...

Yay! I was so looking forward to reading your race report. Sounds like the perfect day.

Ryan Denner said...

Hey Beth-

Congratufreakinlations! Great RR!

I love the first pic of you running. There is you, with great form (leaning forward, forefoot running), then the guy *behind* you is heel striking. Doh!

Also, thanks for making worry about getting chic'd by you at IMSG! DAMN YOU! Just share the pina colada love please.

Enjoy the recovery!

Kelli said...

Hi Beth...

I've been reading your blog for a while but never posted before. Congrats on an awesome race and a Kona slot!!! Very exciting! You have a great spirit and attitude about training. You continue to inspire and motivate me to train harder and crush my goals.


sean.clancy said...

You executed a Perfect Race! Wow. You are going to RIP in Utah and have a blast in Kona. Congrats!

Christine said...

Hey Lady- I run on team BSK with you and I just wanted to pass along a congrats! and say I am stoked for you!! Way to go! :)

Melissa said...

Congrats congrats that is amazing! And you had fun while winning - bonus.

GZ said...

Awesome. Simply.

Adrienne said...

Phenomenal- you worked hard and earned it!

Toby Guillette said...

What a race! You've got a great coach and the right support in your corner. Look how well you've responded to the training and how quickly you've progressed. I have a feeling this is just the beginning for you, Beth. Congratulations!

Sherry said...

Beth, I've been following your blog since you first started posting and it's been a joy to be a witness to your progression. You have an amazing gift and an obvious joy for triathlon and life in general. You deserved this win on so many levels. Again, congratulations to you! I'm totally looking forward to following your 2010 road to Kona!

AM-GoalsfortheWeek! said...

caught your post title off of Meg Run's blog. and that's a sweet race report. you've gotta be stoked. I just did lavaman od.
nice job;-)

Stephanie said...

Great job as always. Starting to think that James quit Tri not because he hates to swim but because he hates to get 'chicked' and you most definitely could kick his ass these days. You smashed his CA 70.3 time. Yay you!

Colleen said...

i agree with stephanie! hahaa so proud of you!! yahhh! alohhhhaaaa... =)

allison said...

Way to rock it!! Enjoy IMSG!

Ulyana said...

YOU ARE FREAKING AMAZING! love, love, love reading your race reports. You did wonderfully - CONGRATS!!!!!!

Charisa said...

Whoooo hoooo awesome race!!! so happy for you :)

Will said...

Congratulations! Awesome race! And have fun in Hawaii

Now you can cruise the Ironman, no pressure said...

Impressive performance! Keep up the great work!!

Kim said...

Wow what a race! Great report and good for you!! Congrats!!

endurancegirl said...

sooooo exciting!! you are SPEEDY! Way to go, girl!

Mer! said...

You were AMAZING!!! Way to rock out there!

The funniest thing-I looked, and I'm like "I think that's Beth," by the time you flew past me and were speaking about emailing---you were laughing, and i'm like "She's probably STILL running a sub-7:00 mile AS SHE'S TALKING".....

Just awesome, great to see you---and Soren and Dave were both very impressed.

BTW: we tried your dressing the other's fantastic!

CONGRATS on Kona!!!

Lorena said...

Beth, Congrats on your amazing race results! Your times were awesome and I look forward to reading about Kona. After your sister showed me your blog, I periodically visit it for motivation.

The pics were great also. I have to say my favorite is the one where you're passing a guy on the run w/that cheesy look on your face. He doesn't look so happy having a girl pass him.

Good luck in the upcoming races. Although from the looks of it you're training is paying off.