Matt and I just returned to Boston after a great 2 week trip to Southern California. We spent a week and a half in San Diego, getting in some solid training in the amazing weather. We then went up to Oceanside, where we kicked off race season at Ironman 70.3 California.
For the short, non-reading version of our trip, check out the videos we put together showing some of our adventures. For the full trip & race details with photos, continue reading below!
We were fortunate enough to plan a 2 week trip to California prior to racing Oceanside, allowing us to once again escape the cold and snow that is haunting Boston this year. We had recovered well from our 3 week QT2 Systems camp in Florida, and we excited to get back out on the roads (it was mostly trainers and treadmills in Boston). We were hooked up with an awesome homestay (thank you, Kathy & Steve!!!) in the northern part of San Diego, close to Mission Bay. Though we had to drive to get to all our training, the pool and Mission Bay / Fiesta Island were only 10 minutes away, and we could get to the “country” and hills in an easy 20-30.
Most days went like this – wake up and head to our favorite coffee shop (shout out to Clairemont Coffee for their awesome service and great coffee & acai bowls!), work on the computer all morning (I was working my 9-5 East Coast time job while we were here), then head out in the early afternoon for our swim, bike, and run sessions. Some of our favorites included climbs and intervals out in Bandy Canyon, runs around Mission Bay, and outdoor pool swims at the Y. We kept pretty busy so there wasn’t much time for traditional sightseeing, but we got to see lots of cool places via bike! We did get to hang out at the gorgeous beach in Del Mar on our last day, when we had a few hours of “vacation”. One day, we even got to go up to Santa Monica to to spend an afternoon with Kebby at Coeur Sports HQ. It was so awesome to spend time with her and her husband Reg – they have so much passion and dedication to the sport, and it really shows through what the company does and stands for.
Last Thursday, we got in a couple last punchy workouts on the bike and in the pool, and then headed up to Oceanside to check in and settle in for race day. We lucked out with our housing – the condo was right next to transition, making race prep super easy and stress-free, and we got to hang out with Angela & Paul!
The Race: Ironman 70.3 Oceanside
This race is the first 70.3 in the United States, and it’s timing and location make it a very popular season opener for many triathletes. Every year, it brings a stellar pro field, and this year was no different. There were 30 women on the start line – one of the biggest and most competitive women’s fields I’ve competed in. Definitely changes race dynamics and tactics! This race fell at a great time in my build up to Ironman Texas in May, and I’m a firm believer that racing the best makes me bring out my best on race day, and makes me a better athlete. I wasn’t likely to be walking away with any prize money, but it was a great way to gauge early season fitness and gain valuable race experience.
The course: Rumor had it that the swim was freezing cold. We lucked out this year with much warmer water than past years (66 vs 58), which made it a lot more enjoyable! The swim is mostly in a harbor, which is very calm, with a small section out in the ocean near the turnaround, which can be a bit choppy.
Wins: Went out hard, and found a small group to hang with for most of the swim. And it was one of my fastest 70.3 swims!
Lessons Learned: I have my speed to get out fast, but still building back up that durability to hold that pace – I lost the group ahead of me, which I know I can hang on the back. I was down almost 2 minutes from the leaders…the female pros are swimming faster and faster, and I’m going to need to drop some time to be able to come out in the front of the pack.
Stats: 26:44, 13th out of the water
Bike photo credit: California Triathlon
The course: Beautiful bike course through Camp Pendleton. Mostly smooth roads, and very few cars. Starts out fairly flat, but gets very hilly! Comfortable temps with little wind.
Wins: I’ve been working really hard on my bike over the winter, so the focus of this race was to bike hard and get in the race. When I was solo, I worked hard to keep to my goal wattage, but had lots of opportunities to race the other girls – had a few passes, and when I got passed, I was able to stick with them and keep them in sight for a while. I rode hard, and had a lot more fun than I usually do riding by myself for 56 miles! Progress.
Lessons Learned: Lots of work still left to do on the bike…I was still 12+ minutes down on the fastest cyclists. Also, worth noting that gels won’t help you if you leave them all in transition… (whoops!)
Stats: 2:32:39, 16th fastest bike
Run photo credit: Katie Morse
The course: Mostly flat with some short, steep hills to go from the Strand (ocean level) to street level. No shade, but temps weren’t too hot for us. Out and backs allowed us to gauge where we stood in the race.
Wins: Moved up 3 places during the run, and held a fairly consistent pace.
Lessons Learned: Not my fastest time and slowed a bit at the end, but this was probably due to biking a bit harder than normal and the fact that I just haven’t really been focusing too much on my run training in favor of trying to make gains on the bike.
Stats: 1:26:45, 9th fastest run
Final Score: 4:32:49, 12th place female pro
This put me in the top half of Pro women race finishers, and among some high-caliber athletes. For the start of my sophomore race season, it was a great race. Lots of experience gained that I can carry with me to future races. Matt also had an awesome race, from start to finish. We celebrated with ice cream on the Harbor, and a fun Coeur team get together!
Up next, Matt and I will be heading down to Texas for the Ironman 70.3 in Galveston on 4/26 and then Ironman Texas in May!