Heather Jackson's Oceanside Race Report

Last Saturday was the first major triathlon of my 2012 season: Oceanside 70.3. I had been prepping and looking forward to it since the end of my 2011 season back in September. So, needless to say, it had been one long lead-up to this race and now… it's come and gone already! CRAZY!

As for the race itself, I couldn't be happier with my performance and, as a result, earning 2nd place. Well, I mean, I guess I would have been happier to win it :), as that was my goal coming into the race (or any race obviously), but it wasn't meant to be on the day. Melanie McQuaid had an amazing race and such a huge congratulations to her. However, I improved on my time on this course from last year in what I would consider harsher conditions, and, more importantly, I gained some huge, HUGE insight and lessons from last Saturday that could factor in at any point in future races, including the big BIG races, like a World Championships. So, in that, I'm really happy. Plus, it was a race! I LOVE to race. That's what we train so hard for. Oceanside kicked off 2012 and I can't wait for the next one!

Zootsuit, Aquasphere Goggles Race Recap: I swam a 29:28 on Saturday, which, while it's a sub-30 minute swim for the 1.2 miles so I was stoked to see that :), I KNOW I can do EVEN better. I know my swim fitness and technique has improved over the off-season more than this shows but this swim was the first of the season and a big reminder to me that I really need to be more aggressive with the starts. My Zootsuit was amazing….it has lots of room in the shoulders to not bog you down or make you feel like you're doing more work just to fight the suit itself. I also wore my Aquasphere Kayenne goggles, tinted to see into the sun on the way back, although that didn't even end up being a problem due to the rainy, cloudy conditions :(

I climbed up the ramp and out of the water and started sprinting into T1. A HUGE apology to the racer I hip-checked running on the T1 mat. I seriously didn't mean to do that!!!! :)

Cannondale, Kask Helmet, ISM Saddles, Zipp, SRAM, Challenge Tires, Bont, Speedfil, Look Pedals, FinalFit Bike Recap: A 2:28:03, 2 minutes faster than last year on a rainier, windier day, so that's good! This is largely because of my new Cannondale Slice- KILLER. I love my new SRAM Red- equipped Slice. The bike is so light and so great for courses with lots of climbing. I chose my Zipp Disc in the back and my Zipp 404 Firecrest Front wheel, both with Challenge Tires' Triathlon tubulars. There are some good climbs in the Oceanside course, but the disc is unbeatable on the flatter and rolling sections, as well as the major downhills:) Also, my Speedfil A2 bottle for easy-access and constant hydration and fueling. And of course, my ISM Breakaway saddle that gives me the ability to get into the most comfortable aero position on my Slice and stay there for as long as I need too. I used my Bont Road shoes, as with the ratchet buckle I can get them really tight to my foot and really feel the power transfer to my Look Keo pedals. If you've never tried Bonts, they are an extremely stiff shoe, which I love. No lost energy. They remind me of my hockey skates…. And, my new custom Kask K-31 TT Helmet, which I will state quickly, I've tried MANY aero-helmets and you can't beat this one. It fits like a road helmet and is so extremely light. No headaches and no claustrophobia from something sucking your head.

As for the bike, I was freezing from the start and just could not get warm. I went through more rough patches on this bike course than I have in possibly any other race. I have bonked in races on the bike- gone out way too hard and realized by about mile 30 or 40 (or even mile 10 of New Orleans 70.3 last year hahaha) that I was barely moving and just stayed in that bonked state for the rest of the bike and usually the rest of the race. Haha. But, this past Saturday was one of the more mental roller-coasters I've ever found myself on, as I would feel awesome at points- I would feel like I was starting to warm-up and get my legs going, felt strong, and then all of a sudden it would start downpouring or a massive headwind would pick up and I would just start thinking about how miserable I was. I would pass some girls, which gives you a mental boost, and then I wouldn't see people for what seemed like forever. Then I would catch sight of some in the distance and start to feel better and then I wouldn't find myself getting towards them very fast. I definitely needed to bundle up way more so I could focus more on the race and not how frigid I was! Okay, up the steep hill pre-T2, out of my Bonts, and into T2…..

Zoot, Fuelbelt, GU Energy, Oakley Run Recap: 1:20:51, 2 minutes faster on a hillier course, YAY! Besides the first mile, when I couldn't feel my legs or feet, I felt pretty good on the run. Well, at least my feet felt AWESOME in my Zoot TT's! I didn't panic leaving T2. I heard that I was 6 minutes back of Mel, who was leading but I tried to stay positive. Anything's possible! I told myself that Mel had gone all out on the bike and would either crack or fade or blow up on the run. But none of those happened- she had an awesome run to back up her killer bike! I tracked down Rachel and Mere in 3rd and 2nd and had about 4 minutes to make up over the second half of the run.

In my head I was thinking only a 10K left. You need to run the fastest 10K you've ever run right now! I kept taking in my Chocolate-Rasberry GU's for any extra energy bursts. I was able to pick it up a bit for the next few miles but by the time I got down to 3 and then 2miles to go, I knew I hadn't made up enough. I was still about 2:45min back with about a mile and a half to go. Unless she was walking or passed out:) JUST KIDDING MEL! (Mel collapsed/blacked out? I don't even know, with under a mile to go last year at Xterra Worlds), then my chances were slim. But I stayed with it! You just never know!!!! About 500 meters to go and into the finish chute area….everyone was yelling and cheering and it's impossible to do anything but smile!

THANK-YOU so, so much to everyone that sent messages of encouragement and support before and after the race! And who was there cheering on race day. Sorry if my head was down and I was drooling everywhere or grunting, I still heard you :) !!!! To the race directors, organizers, city of Oceanside, volunteers….we couldn't race without you! Thank-you.

THANK-YOU to my amazing sponsors, without whom I couldn't be doing this!!!!! Zoot, Cannondale, Wattie Ink., Kask Helmets, GU Energy, Fuelbelt, ISM Saddles, Speedfil, Bont, Zipp, SRAM, Challenge Tires, Aquasphere, FinalFit, Look Pedals, Oakley, Greg and Doc at San Diego Sports Medicine….Thank-you so much for all of your support and belief in me as an athlete. Without you, I wouldn't be living the dream that I am.

THANK-YOU to my coach, Pete Coulson and our training crew….Wattie, James, Beth, RV, Donna….Thank you guys for pushing me in the pool each day, or letting me chase you up climbs, or keeping things fun, or being there on the days when things aren't going so well…

THANK-YOU to my family for all of their support, and to my parents who came out to race and cheer on and support! It was so great to see you. And to the Leavitts- Peter, thank-you for helping Wattie and I out in the week leading-up.

Wattie Ink. Elite Team Members- you guys ROCK! So awesome having all of your support on and off the course and great job to all of you, both in the race and partying after :) Massi- yes, I still owe you….great bike split:)

And such a huge, massive THANK-YOU and I LOVE YOU to Wattie. He seriously got me to this race in one piece mentally. Haha. He is there day in and day out when I'm having good days or bad days and talks me through both. He is my biggest supporter in so many ways and I can't thank him enough. Thank-you Wattie:)

Thanks for following and hope everyone has had a great start to the 2012 season!!!! So much more to come. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the next one….Wildflower!

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