I know it's nuts to do a half ironman the week after an ultramarathon. But I never said I was sane! So....I'm #2204! Whoot whoot! Can't wait for Saturday (CA 70.3 in Oceanside)! It's my 3rd time doing it. I'm not really racing. Just a training day since it happens to fall exactly 6 weeks away from Ironman Utah. Couldn't be more perfect. Also, this race officially kicks off the triathlon season for most of us in SoCal...and the decade!
For those of you interested, here's what to expect based on my previous 2 years doing it (and 1 year spectating):
1. It will be dark and cold (around 40) with a chilly ocean breeze when you arrive. Don't forget to pack warm pre-race clothes and a headlamp. Also, you will be standing in the chute before your wave starts for ~30 minutes. Bring socks you can throw away moments before getting in the water to keep your feet warm.
Again, it will be cold. About 60. Wear your wetsuit (duh) plus 2 caps or add a neoprene hoodie under the cap they require you to wear.
Course is an out-and-back. The water gets a little rough as you head towards the open sea out of the harbor at the turn-around. Also, I always get tricked into thinking the turn-around is coming sooner than it really is because I forget that the course veers to the left before the turn-around. It's always a good idea to try NOT to swallow salt water.
It will be cold on the first part of the bike and probably be gorgeous, sunny, and 70 on the back half. You will get warm when you climb the hills. I always like to wear arm warmers under my wetsuit (it works, really) to help stay warm on the first part.
The first 25 miles of the bike are pancake-flat and with a superfast tailwind. You will be tempted to hammer. Don't. Pace yourself and take this time to enjoy the ocean view, hydrate, and eat. Then, you turn inland and back into the base on Christianitos Rd. Let the climbing begin. The first hill is definitely the worst. There will be people walking. It's definitely doable but you will probably be in your granny. There are several more hills (3-4) after this one so don't go nuts on it or you will pay later. The final 10 miles of the bike course (once you turn onto Vandegrift) is very flat but always into a formidable headwind. Plus, you're tired from the hills. Just put your head down, zone out, and grin and bear it.
The run is a completely flat 3-mile out-and-back course along the cement boardwalk. You do it twice for 13.1 miles. I hate the cement part. Yuck. It's not hot but the sun is blazing by this time so it will feel hotter than it is. Don't forget to reapply sunblock in T2 or you will burn. Even though the ocean is to the west, the run is not that pretty; it's more of a get 'er done course. However, if you saved yourself on the bike, and you feel good, you may have an opportunity to make up time (never happened for me, however). There will be NO sand on the run course this year; I asked.
It's a zoo. Barricades, athletes still on the course, and spectators make it almost impossible to get out easily with your bike and gear. You will be walking your bike through crowds of people and most likely sand for about 1/2 of an agonizingly slow mile before getting the opportunity to get on your bike and ride the mile+ back to your car. Stock up on the pizza post-race. You'll need the fuel to re-energize yourself for the trek home.
Race Reports from Prior Years:
2007: http://amateurtrigirl.blogspot.com/2007/04/2007-california-703-race-report.html (my first half)
Good luck everyone and have fun! I'll see you out there!