Is That You John Wayne? Is This Me?

Ironman 70.3 California
2009.04.04 – Oceanside, CA

“If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon. You will be a minister of death praying for war. But until that day you are pukes. You are the lowest form of life on Earth.” – Gunnery Sergeant Hartman


More than anything, I wanted to put a whole bunch of quotes from Full Metal Jacket in to start this off. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the good ones contain either racial slurs, profanity, or both. I am greatly saddened by this, since I can’t think of anything more applicable to a race that takes place on Camp Pendleton’s grounds than references to FMJ. We’ll stick to the one above, since that’s about the best thing I can find that adequately sums up the race without the use of something that you can’t show your kiddies. I certainly don’t want to say “without the use of gratuitous profanity,” since it’s certainly not. For the purposes of our analogy (remember all the fun we had with analogies?), I am certainly not a weapon at this point in the season. I am not showing up to the start line praying for a war, since if we want to play the whole “sport as war” game, I am pretty sure I would get proverbially slaughtered out there.

The race itself amounted to a relatively expensive training day that gave me an honest assessment of fitness. It was also a reminder that I probably need to push the envelope when the opportunity presents itself to race other guys on the bike. Not knowing the course was a disadvantage in that regard, but all in all, I do wish that I’d taken some bigger risks on the bike during the race. Halfs are just to fast to rely on pacing. People don’t come back enough the way they do in an ironman if you have fast groups riding together. I really raced the bike portion of this the way I’d race an Ironman, which is probably why I have had good success in Ironman racing and not quite as good success in half racing. They are just very dissimilar. I’ve done a good job of being able to race the run across all distances, and I’m starting to really learn to race the swim in the way that I need to. I think swimming with be a perpetual learning process, and I’m okay with that. But on the bike, I obey the PowerTap, and that’s maybe not the most effective way to race every race. I need to actually race other people, not the little yellow computer.

The swim was good in that I swam relatively quick. Bad in that I led the group I was in, which means I pretty easily should have been at the back-end of the group just in front of me. But with a field of 40, it’s not always easy to find the right feet. I thought I had, but then I led the second half. If I’d picked a better starting spot and come out a minute ahead, it might have been a different race on the bike, and then running well actually might have gotten me somewhere. I need to stop making a career out of being the best swimmer in a bad pack. But I won’t let any of that overshadow the fact that I’m a lot closer to the front of these races than I used to be. I just need, one of these days, to stop writing that and actually write that I got in the pack I should be in. I promise. Really. As much for myself as for all of you.

All in all, the race really reminded me a bit of last year’s trip toLTF or Dallas, in that I don’t sense that I was ever really a part of the race. Halfs clearly are the “new olympic” and I think I may, to some extent, need to scrap the powermeter a bit on the bike and just race them, as I’ve finally started to do much better on the swim and run.

Now I realize that isn’t much of a race report, but then again, what really matters in a race report? I swam, I biked, I ran. I actually did have pretty good transitions, especially T2. That was really nice. I used to be slow in transition. Now I’m within a few seconds of guys like Potts and Reed, who are darn quick. That’s been my secret training, working on that. Have a plan. Get it done. It’s getting better, and it’s free time. Or rather, it’s time that I’m not losing, which is good.

Nothing too much of note other than I made some silly mistakes before the gun actually went off that led to me needing to pitstop about 9miles into the run. I mention this mostly because with two sponsors focused on nutrition, I think people might actually find some value in understanding why I was on the verge of soiling my brand new Kiwami race suit (thanks, Craig, by the way, for getting me the new suit on such short nortice). Note one, don’t eat fibrous veggies the night before. Note two, caffeine is powerful stuff. Note three, always, ALWAYS know where the “secret” toilets are before the race.

That’s about all, unless someone out there wants me to drone on about “how I felt” or any of that other nonsensical stuff. It’s much better to win races. That always puts me in a better mood, which generally leads to more entertaining race reports. Nothing entertaining about finishing mid-pack in a rather non-notable placing.

Onwards and upwards. Wildflower is next. Need to make sure that I get my head and my ass wired together before then to really put a race together out there.

6 thoughts on “Is That You John Wayne? Is This Me?

  1. >Now I realize that isn't much of a race report, but then again, what really matters in a race report?===ClintWesternsGreat quotesGeneral entertainmentI'd say this RR was about on par with your race. :p

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  2. Seems like you are using a risk assesment using the powermeter to know what you can run off the bike. Do you think others lets say push 5% more and hope they are having that day where the rest and food come together and have a 20% chance of cracking? or push 10% harder and have a 40% chance of cracking. I guess at your level it may not be like that but I am wondering how you will decide the new pacing risk/reward scientifically or just on feel. Good luck. Should be exciting so see the new strategy.

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