Since I’m on my high after completing IM 70.3 Oceanside, I decided to write a race report for those curious about the race. I loved cheering our members on last year during their 70.3s and Fulls. Racing a 70.3 was entirely different experience than I expected! I came out of it with much more respect for those of you who have done Full IMs. You’re badasses. I hope you know that.
We received our Athlete Guides about 3 weeks before the race. Four things stood out to me after reading the entire thing. First, you cannot preview the bike course due to the heightened security at Camp Pendleton. Second, you must wear your race bib on the bike and make sure it’s clearly visible at all times. Third, there are three “no pass” zones. Anyone caught passing another cyclist is penalized. Finally, there is a strict 25 mph zone around mile 39. You’re disqualified if you average over 25 mph.
Packet pickup was simple. We signed our waivers while in line, checked in, and made our rounds through each station to collect our wristbands, packets, shirts, parking passes, and timing chips. After we finished shopping at the village, we rode over to transition and dropped off our bikes. Transition was in a parking lot sandwiched between the beach and the harbor. I made sure to make note of my spot relative to the Swim In, Bike Out, Bike In, and Run Out.
Crystal, Mollie, Cathy, and I stayed at an AirBnB about 20 minutes away from the venue. While not ideal, it gave us a more comfortable place to rest and a kitchen to cook our own meals. Crystal and I ate baked salmon, roasted brussel sprouts and broccoli, white rice, a mixed greens salad, and slices of bread with butter. My favorite pre-race dinner! Shortly after dinner, we were in bed with our alarms set to 3:30 am.
Race morning was a blur. I woke up nervous, anxious, excited, and nauseous. It was happening! After preparing all my things, I drank a cup of coffee and ate oatmeal with a banana and peanut butter. I carried one water bottle with electrolytes (Lime Skratch Labs) to sip on before the start.
We arrived around 4:45 am in order to find our parking garage, catch the shuttle to transition, and use the porta-potties before waiting in a huge line. I set up my spot and made my way to the porta-potties. Fun fact: I actually heard someone throw up in a porta-potty while waiting in line. Not the best thing to hear before a race. I then changed into my wetsuit and lined up for the swim!
Swim (1.2 Miles)
Large, 4-foot swells near shore caused the open water swim to change to a protected 1.2-mile loop within the harbor last minute. The water was about 58 degrees and calm. Ideal conditions! I seeded myself between the 35-40 minute group for the rolling start. The first pro was out before I started! Dang! I didn’t warm up for the swim but I did jump into the water briefly to acclimate. Volunteers herded us to the front of the line. Before I knew it, I was in the water, surrounded, and fighting the pack! It was like a roaring, white water river. I had to use my forearm to block several kicks and elbows throughout the entire swim.
The first half was straightforward. I sighted all the yellow buoys and swam past people from the start. There was a slight counter-current at the turnaround point, which slowed me down a bit. The sun, already up, blinded me. I could hardly see any buoys even with my tinted Roka goggles. I used the dock on my right side as a guide to the swim finish. At one point, I thought I saw the Ironman flags at a distance so I picked up my pace and passed more people. When I looked up to sight, I realized those were flags on a sailboat! I still had about 500 yards or so to go. Once I got sight of the exit, I was determined to finish and run to my bike. I was ecstatic after crossing the swim finish mat, as evidenced by the big smile in my race pictures.