By mile 10 of the run I simply wanted to finish and get my shoes off. I picked up the pace to something I knew I could handle + a little extra from the people packing the final few miles. I dropped the conversation I was having with a girl on her first lap (Laura) who was running the same pace and discussed the cookie she had eaten while I told her about the Dairy Queen just around the corner. I had to explain a Mr. Misty before I left though- I figured that would have tasted the best (apparently they are just 'Misties' now).
I got through the finishing chute and through the finish banner they rip across the line for probably everyone. Then they take your picture, someone runs up asks what size t-shirt you want, someone else gets you a finisher's medal and another person hands you a finisher's hat. It took me at least 15 seconds to understand what the t-shirt sizer wanted and I muttered 'LARGE' - I'm sure it sounded like 'larrrse' (I'm sure you're thinking that's related to the cankle but it's not). I also wanted to know what face I made for my photo because I know my friend Tracy will find it and send it to me -I simply wanted to know how worried I should be.
I think I looked at my watch and confirmed I had a bad race. I had actually confirmed it when I was hitting mile 10 or 11 at the time I figured I'd have been finishing AT THE VERY WORST. You get shuffled into a food tent where you could eat pizza, bananas, bagels, and other stuff that didn't sound good - but now sounds like a perfect post-workout meal. I simply asked for a coke and NO DIET. I sat, drank my regular coke, 2 waters and shuffled off to my transition area so I could get going. That's right - get going.
I packed up and put on a few layers since I was chilled and probably dehydrated. (I was wondering a few days before the race exactly when I'd have to pee on the course - it turns out the last time I even felt like it was about 1 min before jumping in the water). I made my way through the crowds where I ran into Chris Lieto and gave him the short version (if you can believe it) of my race since he's a sponsor of our team. I then resumed my search for Scott Fairchild who had come out to watch me race but never saw the Lorpeedo. After a 1/2 mile or mile walk to the car, I changed, sat down and finished another 2 bottles of recovery drink and Base Amino supplement. I checked my phone where I had a half dozen calls and about as many text messages me - all with varying degrees of 'congratulations' and 'um, it's like 1:30 where are you'. I completely missed Scott, packed the car and made a b-line for the McDonalds at the top of the hill. My legs were coated with a nasty layer of salt but I didn't care as I ordered my #2 with a shake on the side. It's the only no-guilt meal I've had there probably ever. I doubled checked my HR monitor to see that I had in fact burned 5,576 calories, so it wasn't all that bad.
Armed with my #2 and a milkshake, I hit the road and headed for I-5 north and home which was 490 miles away. You'd think that was crazy but after 5 cokes and a triple venti latte - you can pretty much do anything that requires staying awake. I had been awake since 3:18 am and finally arrived at 10:30pm where I had a small glass of port and headed for bed.
Fun observations and nifty things I learned:
- Ace of Base isn't nearly as bad as I thought
- Never thought I'd see a sign that said 'Tank Crossing' -but when you race through Camp Pendleton, this is normal.
- The US Marines have a LOT of people -I think most were out as volunteers, they rocked and I said thank you a lot.
- The 70.3 series is incredibly organized - they mobilized more people who knew exactly what to do - I never once had any questions about what to do or expect.
- Marty's Best Western wasn't that bad of a hotel, I owe them 1 bath towel, it's not fancy but I'd stay there again, they definitely went out of their way for anyone racing last weekend... like having breakfast out at 4am.
- Never underestimate anyone older than you. They have lots of time to train.
- I could have eaten 1-2 more gels and had 1 more bottle of water, definitely more electrolyte pills - say maybe 10 total.
- I cheered for at least 150 people along the way (most people had their name on their number) - I cheered mostly for the women because I hope someone cheers for my daughters when I'm not around, I think this matters but since I've only got a woman's name, I can only assume that it's nice to cheer for them - including Sam and Alexis who both seemed to be having rough days out there.
- I'm grateful for the dozens of good luck emails, text messages and phone calls. The highlight of which was my wife calling at 4:15am to wish me good luck. All of my friends and teammates are good people.
- It was hard but very fun. I'll be at Oceanside again in 2009.
- I missed qualifying for Clearwater but less than a few minutes (<10).
- I saw people out on the bike drafting like you wouldn't believe - I left them with a clear opinion of what I though of them. Jesus did not love me for those few seconds. Since they were drafting at about 18mph, I'd never see them again.
- I'll be ready for Vineman 70.3
- People like Greg, Courtenay, Sarah, Kelly, Chris, Ian, Ben, Soda, and about 1,021 others have actually read all of this. Thanks.
- My wife and daughters are wonderful and supportive and patient and I'm lucky.
I'm already back training. Next race is in 25 days I think.
Some shots of the transition area and swim- I've marked the swim start in the bottom right, turn and turn around points. You can see how long the transition area is - I turned my Edge 305 on about 1/2 way through the bike out (T1).
The 'hill' on the bike course - it wasn't dark out when I did it.
the elevation profile for OC 70.3. It was barely 2,500 feet of elevation gain - too bad there is no measure for the cubic feet of wind you experience on your face for this part of the event. I've done 3,500+ feet of climbing at faster paces!