Second time at Oceanside. Last year I just missed the podium (top five) by one minute…this year, I felt stronger. My training felt a little atypical. I’d summarize it as – training for cycling races (crits, road races, circuit races) combined with marathon training (for Boston). I was building on a great year of training in 2015 and I felt like my training so far in 2016 was just what I needed.

Everything in transition went smoothly in the morning. In fact, I had a pretty good spot. The whole transition setup at Oceanside seems like it would be a big cluster ****, but somehow it all manages to work out. Pros are running back into T1 along the same path that age-groupers are lined up to head into the water. Cheering the pros on is a nice distraction to the start of the race. I lined up with my swim start wave, shuffled through the chute and headed into the water. Thankfully the water temp was warmer than the air temp. (:

Once the gun went off, it was madness. Craziest swim start I’ve experienced. Girls were elbowing left and right. Not sure if it was all intentional or if it was just a result of us being crammed like sardines in a can. I imagine if I hadn’t been a decent swimmer who was comfortable in rough waters, I would’ve panicked. Thankfully a few elbows and gulps of sea water weren’t going to slow me down.

As I was swimming back into the boat launch, I could see and hear the spectators…and was able to hear and catch sight of Chris. (: Once I got to the boat launch, I stood up and started running back into transition.

In transition, I could tell there were quite a few girls in my age-group who had similar swim times. Chris said I came out of the water in thirteenth. Geez. Swimming used to be my strong leg…not so much anymore!

From last year’s bike course, I knew the first 10 or so miles were going to be full of other riders…and I was going to be doing a lot of passing. The bike course at Oceanside has to be one of my favorites. It has some great flat, fast sections and some decent hills that will keep you honest. And there’s nothing like riding through Camp Pendleton.

Coming back into Oceanside, I knew my time was a little faster than last year, but I didn’t know by how much…a lot or was it just a little? Either way, it didn’t matter. I was actually feeling pretty good, but a little sad to be getting off the bike (I was enjoying the ride!).

I had to pee ever since the swim really, but knew that I was trying to have a fast race and was willing to take some risks. One of the risk was to skip my typical T2 port-a-potty stop. Once at my transition spot, I grabbed and threw on all my run gear and headed out.

I was somewhat dreading this part of the race. I knew it was going to be painful…and I knew I was going to have to dig. The run is NEVER easy.

As usual, my first mile was a tad faster than goal pace. I actually felt pretty good the first half of the run. In fact, I ended up running sub-8’s for the first half. And then, as I typically do, I slowed down a little. The good news was I didn’t slow down by too much. With just a mile to go, I picked up the pace.

Finally, I could see the finish line! PR-ed by a minute and beat my time here at Oceanside last year by 11 minutes (a minute faster in transition, six minutes faster on the bike and four minutes faster on the run). Didn’t know if I made the podium, but I knew I’d given a really great effort.

Chris met me at the finish and congratulated me. We continually refreshed the Ironman Live results…until it said that I had come in 4th…4th?!!! Seriously?? I was elated!!

We stuck around for awards. My first podium at an Ironman event! And with the roll down ceremony scheduled right after, we decided to try our luck and see if a trip to Australia was in our future. My age group ended up having two slots. First place finisher had already earned a slot and sec on place didn’t stick around…so I guess we’re headed to Australia for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September!

OVERALL TIME – 5:12:01
Age Group – 4th

SWIM – 33:34 (1:35/100yd)
BIKE – 2:45:45 (20.3mph)
RUN – 1:44:48 (8:00/mile)

Huge thanks to my sponsor for their amazing support. It’s rewarding to be part of their Elite team…and I feel so honored to be amongst my very strong triathlon teammates. Looking forward to a great season of racing with them!

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