…apparently because 70.3 is just not enough of a challenge
EVENT: 70.4 Triathlon | Bayshore 70.4
DATE: March 8, 2014
LOCATION: Long Beach, CA
DISTANCES: Swim: 1.3 mi./ Bike: 56 mi / Run: 13.1 mi.
TIME / PACE /PLACE: 5:06:12 / 1st of 14 in over-50 age group and 14th of 91 overall participants.
This was my first foray in longer distance triathlons. The 70.4 distance probably just rhymes with “Bayshore” which might explain that distance. It started out in 2011 as a training event by a few pals in the Long Beach area who were training for IM Arizona. That first year there weren’t even any finishers times. In just a couple years it has grown a little from this grass roots event. The organizer help us out by keeping the entry fees very reasonable, and use existing and available routes without having to hire police to block off traffic and all the other headaches (and expenses) race organizers must contend with.
This was my first longer distance triathlon. I am signed up for Ironman California 70.3 at the end of this same month. I thought this would be a good opportunity to assess my fitness for a longer event and work on nutrition and fluid strategies. I am so glad I did this race as I definitely made some mistakes and hopefully I will be able to show the self-discipline to correct them in the Ironman-branded race.
THE SWIM | Time 28:42 | 4th overall
The swim is in a protected bay. The water was in the low 60’s and actually felt just right. I followed my newer strategy which is to get a decent warm up, stay wide of the group and not to rush the start. I am a strong swimmer, but previous mistakes in races have involved starting out too fast or being so nervous and excited to race that I had major bowel urgency issues while swimming. So I kept to the plan. I swim efficiently and reach long. I felt great and never felt out of breath. It was out and back, run up on the sand and round the cone in the sand and then repeat.
THE BIKE | Time 2:37:56 | Ave. Pace 21.4 mph | 12th overall
The bike course rides a mile or two on public roads (with light traffic, but we are on our honor to follow the laws…) and then continues on the San Gabriel River Trail all the way up to just past the Interstate 10 freeway then return. We are riding among the public also enjoying the unseasonably warm weather, so we had to be vigilant. The river has a very slight elevation gain going out (and very slight Santa Ana headwinds) but the opposite to our advantage on return. I felt good. A little too good perhaps. It took a few miles to warm up (it almost always does) but I just kept a strong pressure on the pedals. Throughout the entire ride I was passed by only a few riders (they were about 15-20 years younger so I should feel too bad, but damn them, I still think I can keep up with the kids. I kept over 18mph going out and about 21mph or faster on return. The sustained speed coming back was probably the first mistake, and the other was not taking in enough calories or fluids. I drank only 32 oz. of Cytomax the whole ride. I ate two gels and two fig newtons cookies. I don’t sweat much (and it’s hard to tell on the bike anyways) and I usually don’t feel very thirsty and often do not drink enough. This was a problem that would become manifest in the ensuing run.
THE RUN | time 1:56:29 (includes T2) | 8:54 pace | 31st overall
My best time previously for a standalone half marathon is 1:31. The run portion of this race exposes my poor pacing, nutrition, and fluid intake in the preceding cycling leg of the race more than poor physical preparation. I was just depleted. No cramping, no side-ache, no bowel issues, and no pain. I just didn’t have the energy. I did stop once for a quick pit stop, but mostly it was the walking that really slowed me down.
SUMMARY AND NOTES TO MY FUTURE SELF
- Preparation and taper were pretty good leading up to the race.
- No bowel issues so pre-race meals were fine
- Swim was excellent. I am starting to solve the previous swim issues that plagued me in my first few races. Keys: good warm up and start slow and even and pick up the ace. I am at my fastest when smooth and long in the stroke. Find better anti-fog solution for goggles.
- Bike needs to be slower. This was my fastest ride ever. This is a very even flat and fast course, so I know I wouldn’t be able to duplicate this pace on a hilly course even if I wanted to. I would much rather have a slower bike ride if my run would be faster and feel stronger even if the overall time was about the same. Definitely need to force more fluids even if not thirsty. More calories as well. Gels packets are inconvenient. I’ll try something different next race.
- Run. Well if I can fix the problems in the bike, I think the run will automatically be better. Next race well tell.
The Bayshore 70.4 is highly recommended. It is low-key, very affordable, and a great early season race especially if it is the first at this long course distance. Glad I did it.