This was my 8th triathlon of the season and 2nd Olympic distance triathlon of the year. This is my second week in a row of racing (I raced the Santa Cruz 70.3 6 days prior). I came in somewhat fatigued and did this race for fun. My goal was just to push as hard as I could and see what I could do.
Malibu Olympic Triathlon – 1500m swim, 40K bike, 10K run
Game Plan – I didn’t plan this race out like my usual 70.3s – I just go in for Olympics and redline the whole thing and hang on to the bitter end. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do – push the swim hard, push the bike hard, and push the run hard – there isn’t as much tactical planning for one of these compared to the longer distances.
I had played around with Best Bike Split to give me an idea of what I could possibly do – I put in 0.9IF and the goal was to see if I could hold 250 watts throughout – the link is here.
Pre-Race – I took the entire week leading to this race pretty much off after the smokefest that was Santa Cruz 70.3. I swam Wednesday morning with the Equinox crew, then did an hour of Pilates Thursday morning followed by a massage Thursday night, and that was it. Friday night, a sync’d up with some friends and was out and about, so I didn’t get to sleep until roughly ~1130pm local, then got up the next morning at 330am, so I was a bit tired.
Fitness wasn’t anything spectacular – the big peak was for Santa Cruz so I’m starting to get on the fumes of the summer build and can hold on for a bit longer. The highlight above is for the night before the race, so Friday, September 15:
ATL – 48
CTL – 72
TSB – 18
These numbers mean that I was rested on paper, but sometimes what’s on paper doesn’t reflect how you really feel.
Race Morning – I was on the road by 0415am and off to Malibu. I ate two bananas on the way as that’s my normal nutrition for an Olympic or Sprint. I got to the Zuma parking lot right at 5am and made the long haul to the expo. Packet pickup was quite smooth and I got my bike stickers on fast, then checked in. I racked my bike and had plenty of room next to me so there were no issues. Once I got situated, I made my rounds to the restroom and to see some folks, then warmed up with my StretchCordz for a few minutes as I usually swim better after I use these. I had put anti-fog on the goggles and let it soak for awhile, then grabbed the goggles/swim cap/wetsuit and rolled out of transition by 0630am when it closed. I met up with some of my fellow racers (Emily, Kristen, Christine) and headed to the pre-race meeting. After that, we walked down the beach to the swim start. I jumped in the water to test everything out and I felt alright – the water temp was in the mid-60s and the surf was negligible, so I figured this would be a good swim.
Swim – We were the second wave and we started at 0705am which was 5 minutes after the first wave (young kids and elites). I hovered in the back and let the faster folks go in front once they blew the cannon. I started off smooth then started dropping folks right away past the first turn buoy. I got in a good rhythm and just focused on having a good pull and calm breathing. I managed to draft with a guy who was my speed so we formed a duo and stayed together the rest of the race. We started overtaking the slower swimmers from the previous wave and thrashed them pretty good (sorry breaststrokers) then kept moving forward. My chest was hurting from the breathing as I hadn’t done much training during the week, and the buoys seemed to take forever so I thought that I was moving pretty slow. We rounded the last buoy then rode a wave in. Once we hit solid sand I checked the watch and was still with the other guy so we congratulated each other, then I ran past him into transition haha! Overall, this was my fastest swim as I PR’d and I wasn’t too gassed, so the swim fitness is there.
Final Swim – 24:53 – link here
**Note – My garmin times are different than the official times. I stopped my watch as soon as I hit ground, but I think the timing chip portion was a little bit north of the swim exit. The “official” times on the IM website stand, but these are what I have based on what I hit on my watch.**
T1 – I was wobbly coming out of the swim and during the run. Once I got to the bike, I was still wobbly and dizzy and it took a minute to get everything under control while I was putting on my shoes. Once they were on, I threw on the helmet, grabbed the bike, and escaped. This transition wasn’t too bad, no real issues.
Final T1 – 3:41
Bike – I hadn’t biked since the race 6 days prior so I figured this would hurt. The first mile was spent getting out of transition and Zuma beach so it was a bit slow. We then went under a bridge and rode onto a man-made plywood bridge that went over some water. This was a hairy but luckily there weren’t too many people so I didn’t have issues, even though some other folks I knew did (congestion, etc). Once we got onto PCH, I started to drop the hammer. My quads were still wrecked from the week before so I just focused on staying in aero and doing what I could. I had attempted to hold 250 watts at 0.9IF but that wasn’t going to happen, so I just hammered what I could. I had loaded my BTA bottle with gatorade endurance so I made sure to stay on top of that as I knew I’d need some more gas in the tank for the run.
The rest of the bike was uneventful. The course is a combination of flats and rollers so I just kept pushing. I hit the turn-around in ~30-31 minutes with no real issues. From mile 13-20, the fatigue started to set in and I was a bit gassed. I had watched my heart rate on the Garmin and saw that I was in the mid to high-170s for the entire ride, so I was almost redlining the entire race at this point. My cadence dropped and I kept the watts at ~80% IF for a bit. At mile 20, I got my energy back and started pushing the pace for the final few miles as I wanted to PR. The last mile was getting through the parking lot so I lost a bit of time, but still managed to PR. No one passed me on the bike and I was pleased with the effort, even though I couldn’t crank out full watts and wasn’t at full strength, so I’ll take it.
Final Bike – 1:03:34 – link here
T2 – this was pretty easy. We dismounted then I rushed to my transition area, dropped off the bike, ripped off my helmet, threw my shoes on, then grabbed hat/sunglasses/race belt and put them on while running – no issues.
Final T2 – 1:37
Run – I realized this run would be tougher than my normal Olympic runs because of the combination of the previous race and pushing the HR on the bike. I started off fine and my legs actually felt quite good, so I just focused on form and breathing. I held pace for awhile and took water in at the aid stations. I was passed by one guy who was 35 (age on left calf) and I couldn’t touch him so he was gone. The gaps in front of me were quite big and I figured I wouldn’t catch anyone unless they totally crumbled. I saw the folks behind me and they were far enough back that I wasn’t overly concerned with them catching me unless I started walking. The last 2 miles were pretty shitty as I was feeling it then. I was pretty ragged on the last mile but just focused on form, technique, and breathing. I crossed the finish line and I was spent – my legs were torched and I had redlined the race so I went and grabbed some snacks and just wandered around until they opened transition. Overall, this run was pretty slow for me, but I was pleased to hang on and only let one guy pass me.
Final Run – 42:05 – link here
Overall Time – 2:15:50 – link here
Results – 2nd AG, 27th OA – link here
My official time and Garmin time were a bit off, and I was bummed to not get 2:15 officially, but oh well. The race results at the expo initially had me as 4th in my AG, but they took out the elites and put them into their own brackets, so when they announced the winners on stage, I went from 4th to 2nd – I was quite surprised.
My friend and fellow “Killa B” from our Equinox crew got 3rd in her AG and she knew the guy that beat me, so we all took a photo.
- I may need to start experimenting with nutrition on Olympics. Usually I just gun it and hold on, but I’ve found that if I don’t get my full sodium (I need like 1800mg an hour, insane), then I start crumbling hard. However, taking in too much nutrition on an Olympic sometimes leads to stomach disasters on the run, so I need to play around with this.
- I was surprised I was able to move as fast as I could 6 days after a 70.3. Finally getting down to race weight helped greatly here.
Overall, I was quite pleased with this effort. I PR’d on both the swim and bike and my overall time (2:17 to 2:16). I also PR’d when I wasn’t at my full strength and fatigued, so if I had focused on racing an Olympic as an “A” race, I think I could do considerably better. I have one more big race left next weekend (Superfrog 70.3) so I’ll see what my body can do then.
Congratulations to all my South Bay, Equinox, and triathlon racers!