The swim: The morning was grey, and I thought the conditions were pretty calm compared to what they could have been. There were a few big rollers but mostly the surf was probably a couple of feet at best. They allowed a warm up out to the breakers so I enjoyed a quick dip to acclimate myself. I was wearing the HUUB Brownlee Agilis. Previously Iâ€™ve always been a ROKA fan girl and loved the Maverick X with arms up tech, but being on the broader side I found it tough to get enough shoulder space and a good fit elsewhere and was looking to try something new. I did some research and as a weaker swimmer I liked the sound of the 43% neoprene tech HUUB were pushing and had a great call with their team and they recommend I tried a Menâ€™s Small Tall. I was pretty nervous as I was outside of the weight range but when I got it, it fitted like a glove, and combined with the new Wattie Champion Speed suit my shoulders get completely unrestricted for the first time (much better than the old suit). I lined up in the 33-35 min corral, perhaps a touch optimistic but I have been working hard on the swim so was feeling like I wanted to give myself a shot. It was a rolling start and they had 5 of us go at a time. The beach run and surf entry was pretty fun, and besides a few mouthfuls of water it wasn't that traumatic. I thought there was a pretty decent current pulling us north and felt like I was making great progress. When we turned around the buoy the sun had rose and it was so bright. Being a bit nervy I like to swim right by the buoys and this was a great tactic for the day as when were head on you could see them - a bit of luck.
Overall swam a 32:49 or 1:44/100m which put me in 13th AG. Really decent swim for me given I swam a 37 at Indian Wells where i had a bit of a nightmare with the cold water, so was pretty stoked.
The bike: The bike is typically my favorite part of the race (and where my race starts). Its also nice to ride outside and was only my third time on my tri bike this year (eek!). Overall the ride was pretty uneventful despite the hills which Iâ€™ve found historically has broken the field up, the race, perception of reality, felt a lot â€śbusierâ€ť, it was also prettier than I remember, likely owing to all the recent rain. Objectively my power was pretty OK (I think my 3rd best), avg 230 for the ride, though I never felt like I got up to speed. I let the power creep up to 290-310 on the hills, especially the hill from hell as they call it,but also the other two which are easy to forget about but still stingers. One thing that was sure is that it made those 3-6 min intervals around 300 Iâ€™ve been doing well worth it! Equipment wise I was decked out to the nines as wanted to test everything for Santa Rosa, and was riding the Canyon Speedmax SLX 9, with a Zipp 858 NSW up front and a disc on the back. I was running GP 5000s on latex (well the plan was... I had a rear flat in transition - doh!), ceramic speed bottom bracket, OSPW and Chain. I used the integrated hydration and flat kit and an extra CX Elite bottle along with an ISM PN 3.0, Rotor 155 cranks and the power tap P1s. Nutrition wise I did a 750ml bottle of scratch passion fruit, and then a 500ml of double concentrate that I haphazardly mixed with water from the third aid station and 3 cliff gels, 2 vanilla and 1 double espresso with 100mg of caffeine, the latter which I took with about 30 mins to go. In total around 540 calories which is on track per hour for what I hope to get down in the Ironman. Coincidence or not post taking the caffeine gel, I started feeling good around the 2hr mark, perhaps the Diesel engine had finally warmed up and it crept into my head that I might have a good run in me.
Overall rode a 2:37:14 or 21.3mph with 2,474ft of climbing for 230w or about 3.3w/kg, good enough for 1st AG. Coincidentally I thought it was a pretty slow day, I rode 20w higher and was only 1 min faster than last year (disappointing or what!) and while I didnâ€™t check past the top 20 OA women, I think I had the 2nd fastest non pro female bike split (the fastest being a 2:35)
The run: Historically race tactics for me have been â€śhang onâ€ť and â€śtry and not loose too muchâ€ť on the run, but this race was different. Iâ€™d jumped into the NYC half after a big training day a few weeks back and knew I had 1:30 ish pace In the legs if I reached for it. Coming off the bike, a friend let me know I had 6 mins on the AG win and I was in 3rd OA with scope to close in on 2nd. Mission accepted. Despite the race plan I had envisioned being a gradual build from 7.40s down to the 6.40s in a wonderful controlled manner; that didn't quite happen I clicked a 6.36 as my first mile. With huge support from the wattie crew and a lot of friends on course my stoke level was high and my pace level remained pretty hot (for me), clocking a 6.52, 6.43, 6.56, 6.49, 6.55. Now for a true runner this isnâ€™t that fast but for me, this is kind of the upper end of where I train as I havenâ€™t built my cake enough to get to ice it with speed work, so it *feels* fast as I literally have little experience running faster. I was pretty in the zone and focused the whole time, sometimes I would count, sometimes I would mutter â€ślet the shoes do the workâ€ť, yes the 4%s are that good (IMO), and when my HR spiked, I went with â€śkeep it calmâ€ť. The next update I had was that I was 11 min up on the AG win and in 2nd overall, now just donâ€™t mess it up I thought. My legs started to tire and I clocked a 7.10, 6.56, 7.15, 7.04, 7.15, 7.05, 6.54 as my final miles, so a bit of a fade but not too bad considering. Basically one mile a bit easier, one mile a bit harder. Kept it interesting and kept me focused. Nutrition wise I took on 2 SIS Salted Watermelon gels, one at mile 4 and one at 8, then just water at every aid station and packed my suit full of ice at every opportunity. About a mile from the end I learned from another friend, I was in 1st overall, I had a feeling it might have been because of a DQ but I told myself I was allowed to own it, even if I was in compete shock that I had actually just laid down 1:30 off the bike (prev. best 1.33 which was at IW and a bit short) and taken the age group win at a huge race like Oceanside.
Overall a 1:30:23 or 6:54/mile pace for 1 AG and 2nd fastest among top 20 OA women (fastest 1:29:17)
So all in all 4:46:47 for 1st OA and I think 16th Female (including the pros). To sum it up Iâ€™m over the moon with the day, the training leading up to it and my execution. While I don't think the field was as stacked or fast as prior years Iâ€™m super stoked and trying to own it and take confidence from the day
Let me know if have any Qs!
Lucy (Stapleton) Brash