One thing that I can tell you is that it is a feeling of relief to get the first race of the season out of the way. Having not done a race yet this season, I was a little anxious to see how things were going to go on Saturday. I knew that my training was going well but since I had not yet tested my fitness in a race type situation, my performance was going to be somewhat of an unknown. I have been doing the majority of my training over the past month or so solo, so this also makes it hard to judge where things are in terms of fitness. This was going to be a true test of fitness and a chance to see if things are on track and if not, what changes might need to be made.
The day started with a 4:00am wake-up call – YIKES!!! I think more than anything, this was the thing that I was dreading most of all. After eating a small breakfast, it was time to head off to the race site. When putting the bike on the car, along came the rain. I really did not want to spend the day racing in the rain but we all know we can’t control Mother Nature. Luckily on the short drive to the Oceanside Harbor, the clouds disappeared and the sun was starting to come up. Yeah, maybe we weren’t going to get rained on after all. Things went very smooth with checking in and getting my transition all set up. Again, it always takes a little longer setting things up for the first race. After checking and rechecking to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything important it was time to head out on a pre race “JOG” to get everything moving.
Next thing I knew it, it was time for the race to start. At 6:30 sharp a minute of silence was observed for those who have lost their lives fighting for our freedom. You could see for most, this was a time for reflection and a very emotional moment. The national anthem followed soon there after and then the race was off. Just like clockwork, the professional men went off at 6:40am. Since we were only 3 minutes behind, there really was not any time for a swim warm-up – just enough time to get used to the nice 60 degree water. We were fortunate that the temperature had gone up a couple of degrees over the past few days – believe it or not there is a definite difference between 58 and 60 degrees. One of the great things about the race was that as a professional women we were going to be 12 minutes before the next wave which would mean that we were actually going to have a “clean” and clear race.
The gun went off and away we went. I lost the pack pretty quickly, not quite sure why. Every time I looked up, I was veering off to the left and the pack was heading off to the right. No matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to get back in contact with them so I just decided that I was going to then pick the best line I could for my SOLO 2km swim. The swim went by relatively quick and even though I swam the whole thing by myself, I feel like I had a pretty good swim. I was about 3:45 behind Andrea Fisher and Nicole DeBoom who are both great swimmers. I headed out on the bike and pretty quickly felt really good. At the first turn around, I was about 4:30 – 5:00 behind Nicole who was leading at the time. I kept riding strong in hopes that I would not lose too much time to the leaders. The course is a great mix of flats, hills, headwind and tailwind on some of the best roads Camp Pendleton has to offer. I did not have any real down point during the ride and came into transition (4th) a steady 5:00 min down from Andrea Fisher in first – this was very encouraging. I had almost held my own on the bike – a very refreshing concept.
I headed out on the run with the notion that I was just going to be patient and run conservatively. I felt pretty good for the first (3) miles or so – as it turned out we had a roaring tailwind out to the first turnaround and then a nasty headwind on the way back. I wasn’t feeling quite as chipper into the headwind but was happy to know that I was still making up time of the front runners. I passed Nicole DeBoom first at about 4 miles or so and then Andrea Fisher at about 7 miles. The remaining person to catch was Lauren Jensen, and she appeared to be moving along pretty well. I finally got my sites on Lauren and at about 8.5 miles, I made the pass to take over the lead. I knew that I was going to have to face the headwind again for the last 3 miles so I just tried to stay consistent. Actually the second time into the headwind was better than the first – I guess knowing that it was only another couple of miles to the finish really helped. It felt great to be leading and to feel strong to the finish. Oblivious to what was going on behind me, I crossed the finish line feeling great. Apparently after passing the girls that were in front, they continued to jockey for position all the way to the finish. It was great to see such a competitive women’s race.
Well, I must say that the race went off just as I had hoped and it gave me a definite confidence boost. I know that things are on track with my training for the season that is upon us and this is encouraging.
With the race under our belt – it was off to take care of some very important business. The annual trip to “PIPES” and VG’s for our fill of breakfast burritos and donuts. This is one of the great bonuses of racing the longer races – the great food afterwards.
Congratulations to all the finishers in the 2003 Ralph’s California ½ Ironman – a job well done. I would like to say a big thanks to the organizers (Roch and Huddle) for putting on a top notch event and to all of the volunteers for keeping things safe out there for us.
Heather Fuhr 4:39.29
Andrea Fisher 4:42.17
Nicole DeBoom 4:42.59
Andrea Ratkovic 4:43.17
Lauren Jensen 4:43.48
MEN’S Tim DeBoom 3:58.42
Rutger Beke 4:00.05
Torbjorn Sindballe 4:02.31
Paul Fritzsche 4:09.48
Michael Lovato 4:09.58