I know that I’ve said this before, but when life deals you lemons, make lemonade. Which is what happened over the last year.  Last season, I was sidelined from most racing by a chronic Achilles injury (lemons).  It took me 9 months and almost every conceivable kind of therapy to get me to the start line at Oceanside. Because I wasn’t able to run, I worked on my biking. I was able to better my bike split by 14 minutes from 2 years ago (there’s the lemonade).  It’s a steep improvement curve and I don’t know how much more there is to gain.  I couldn’t default to training my strength (running), so I trained my weakness (biking).

Healthy Breakfast with Julie at Lofty Bean a couple days before Oceanside:  GF Toast with Hummus, Tomato and Avocado

Healthy Breakfast with Julie at Lofty Bean a couple days before Oceanside: GF Toast with Hummus, Tomato and Avocado

The other piece of my training is my approach to diet.  I am extremely mindful about what I eat on a day-to-day basis.  I say I’m mindful, because I’m not militant. I’m a chef and a foodie first and foremost. If I want to try the latest restaurant or recipe-test a decadent dessert or pop a cork out of an amazing bottle of wine or eat a bunch of nachos, donuts and beer (see post race notes), I will. However, as a older athlete (yes, older…..my coach reminds me of this almost every time we talk), you need to be mindful of your diet.  My 99.9% plant-based diet is full of salad, vegetables, sweet potatoes, beans, gf bread, grains, nuts, avocados, tempeh and fruit. Really simple, inexpensive and unprocessed stuff.   Sure, one could choose a different protein, but this is what works for me.  I eat dairy once in a blue moon (usually in the form of artisan cheese); reserve the gluten intake for a killer dessert and will have raw oysters or maybe a touch of seafood here and there.  Bottom line is that day-to-day, I follow a diet that is unprocessed and almost exclusively plant based.  If I had to sum it up, this race was won on kale. 🙂

Kale Salad seems to be a cornerstone in my everyday eating

Kale Salad seems to be a cornerstone in my everyday eating

The week of Oceanside started out a little differently for me than most years, as my great friend, Jim, was in town to race.   We had a race-within-a-race bet going, and the smack talk was rampant regarding who was going to take the win.  It was lots of fun to have Jim in the house, and it made for some lively days leading up to Saturday-complete with 80’s music and 3:00 a.m. chats around the coffee pot.  I had raced Oceanside six times prior, but having lived in San Diego now for 4 years, I knew quite a number of people. My great friends and training partners, Gina, Julie and Monica were out there and it was bound to be fun interesting.

Day before the race breakfast:  Kale scramble and GF strawberry pancakes with Vermont maple syrup

Day before the race breakfast: Kale scramble and GF strawberry pancakes with Vermont maple syrup

Race Day

Pre race Meal(s) This might seem a little excessive calorie-wise; and I knew that risk would be that I would probably almost puke up “taste” the Clif Bar on the swim (I did)

3:00 a.m.-4:00 a.m. 4 slices GF Toast spread with Avocado; 1 honkin’ large coffee with steamed soy milk and coconut sugar

6:00 a.m.  6 small baked red potatoes with a little bit of Earth Balance and a boatload of salt.  Ate during wait for porta-potty……a gross venue in which to dine under any other circumstance.

6:50 a.m.  1 Clif Protein Bar-Peanut Butter and Chocolate, I think

Calories Ummmm…..a lot.  About 1250

Jim and I pre-race at host hotel. He was still hitting me hard with the smack talk.  Did I mention that I beat him by 20 minutes? :)

Jim and I pre-race at host hotel. He was still hitting me hard with the smack talk. Did I mention that I beat him by 20 minutes? 🙂

Swim Gun time 7:21

The Swim This was a rather uneventful swim.  I stayed (mostly) on course and, like everyone else in the latter waves, had to swim through lots of people.  The good news was that the water temperature was 4-5 degrees warmer than usual.  There was not the usual full-face freeze during the first 200 meters.

Time  31:5x and 4th out of the water

Notes for pre swim and swim

  • Bring your own marker for body marking. Saves time
  • Get to Oceanside pier early.  There aren’t designated spaces for individual numbers so the best rack space is on a first come; first serve basis.
  • Bring a pair of throw-away socks.  The wait is long to get in water, can be cold and the pavement is rough.
  • Goggle choice  Tinted, ‘fer sher
  • Wetsuit Full Sleeve, ‘fer sher–thank you Xterra Wetsuits

T1 was kind of a pain because we were supposed to stay single file and run about 300 yards on a strip of indoor-outdoor carpet.  I zipped around a lot of people (get the ‘eff outta the way it’s a race, people, not a stroll) and didn’t start undoing the wetsuit until I got to the bike rack.  Usually I’m on the slower side to transition—this one was okay!

Time 3:xx and 2nd onto the bike

 Bike Since I didn’t have a working powermeter, I rode on perceived effort.  Um, not at all huge deal to me (plug your ears, coach KP) since I haven’t used true power since August and I’m not super techie anyway.  I noticed two women biking around me who I hadn’t picked up on when I google-stalked looked at the start list, thus they were not on my radar.  Hmmmm.   The three of us traded legal places until the first big hill and then they took off.  I backed off the hill as  I figured that there wasn’t a podium at the top of it  I was trying to hold a steady effort and didn’t want to blow up.  I didn’t see them the rest of the ride and really wasn’t sure where I would be coming off the bike.  I just concentrated on staying in aero and holding my pace.  Turns out that six of us ended up biking within about a minute and a half of each other.  My bike split was the one on the high end of that six range bhuuuttttttt……….I was within 15 seconds of a couple of the major contenders; it felt really good to not lose any real time on the bike for the first time in a major race EVER.

Bike 2:43:50 4th place

Bike notes

  • Take more nutrition than you need.  Everything in my Bento Box flew out when I hit a big bump at mile 30.  I lost all solid nutrition but luckily I had over 700 calories in liquid nutrition and 2 gels.  I figured that it was enough, combined with my calorically dense breakfast, to get me to the run.
  • An expensive aero bike with aero equipment does you no good if you ride upright. Esp if you are sporting a puffy jacket and a camelback (yes, I really did see some of that). Get your bike fit properly to you and learn to ride aero.

T2 Uneventful except that I was able to put my shoes on and pee at the same time. Quite the skill set!  I opted for the Hokas-no-socks combo.

T2 1:30ish 3th place

Run  So this is where it was going to get either fun or challenging or discouraging. I wasn’t really sure how this was going to play out.   Being a hometown race, there was tons of crowd support the entire time.  Thank you to all of the HERev gals and Nytro women for how vocal and supportive you were.  I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t that far behind the leaders.  I held a pace that was a little slower than I would have liked; but faster than all but one I had run in prior Oceanside races.  Decent;  given the fact I had been Off Running for 9 months prior to mid-December.   I was actually in 3rd place but had no idea.  I moved into 2nd at around mile 8 or 9; and into 1st around mile 10.  At mile 12 a huge grin came over my face.  I picked up the pace on the last mile and ran toward the pier.  I had the final 200 yards to myself and heard Mike Reilly call out my name and some Vermont reference (was I a cow?????).  I crossed the finish line and the volunteer asked me how I felt.  I replied: “I’m elated”.   Someone tried to hand me Chocolate Milk—ummmm, can someone put that “chocolate milk for recovery thing” to rest once and for all?   Please?  Chocolate milk would be about the last thing I’d chug after finishing.  Nothing grosser than a bunch of athletes hacking up chocolate milk-induced loogies after a race. Better to head to the Bull Taco line–Thanks, Gina Thomas, RD extraordinaire, for losing the pizza and providing some killer SoCal tacos for the post-race feed.  Anyhoo, I wasn’t sure of my exact time.  I found Geoff and Gina’s husband, Jim.  None of us were sure what the final times or placements were because the athlete tracker went down. Well, if that isn’t par for the course, I dunno what is? LOL…..the Athlete Tracker is down.  Again.  Finally got results and….

Run 1:37.22

Final Time 4:58xx

1st AG W45-49

PR Oceanside  70.3 by 5 minutes–I’ll take that, esp as an OLDER ATHLETE!

Tips for ½ Ironman run

  • Best for me to take gel during 1st mile and then again at mile 6.  Had a sips of cola during the later half aid stations
  • Don’t throw water over your head as it drips into your shoes and causes blisters. I paid heed to this advice and my blisters were minimal. Jim, however, did not. He’s feet look like well-used dog toys
  • Consistent Splits I averaged 7:21 miles and on most miles was pretty true to that. I actually threw on a Garmin 10 so that I could keep an eye on my run splits. The first mile was fast; the 7th mile was slow (prolly because me and my master’s bladder stopped to pee-standing up).  The last mile I ran in 6:55.
A boatload of vegan nachos at Native Foods the day after the race. After countless donuts and beverages with made from cooked grains, I could only manage to eat 1/2 of the plate

A boatload of vegan nachos at Native Foods the day after the race. After countless donuts and beverages with made from cooked grains, I could only manage to eat 1/2 of the plate

We had a lot of fun after the race.  We changed and grabbed some food and libations and killed some time before the awards ceremony. Happy to see Julie on the podium with me and we both took slots to the 70.3 World Championships.  Gina was just off the podium, but would have been up there in any other age group.  Over the next twenty four hours, I enjoyed beers (several) and donuts (too many to count) and nachos (a plateful) and burritos (most of Jim’s).  It might have slowed down my recovery by just a wee bit, but I didn’t care. Be mindful, but not militant

Podium fun!  Congrats to all.

Podium fun! Congrats to all.

I truly appreciate all of the support from Coach Kurt Perham @PBMcoaching;  tasty electrolytes and gels @IgniteNaturals; Hip chia treats @MammaChia; My tri team and kick-a$$ group of women @HERevolutionSB; peanut butter taken to another level @VTPeanutButter; cool gear @GracedbyGrit; Skin wellness @ArtofSkinMD. Also; Wine Steals, Ask me About Coast Rica, Entrepreneur Media, Results Chiropractic, GoTribal, CCSD, Home Plus, Race Day Sherpa and Lauren Hanna.  This week is a obviously a recovery week.  I’ve done a few easy workouts and some recipe testing.   My great friend, Angie, is here from Vermont and is putting is some hard hours while I’ve gotten a lot of sleep.  Trying to figure out the next round of races.  I’m thankful to be running and have a wonderful training culture and life here in San Diego.

Sitting down to a kale salad now…….

Cheers and congrats to everyone who raced at Oceanside