Matt Hanson | Professional Triathlete
5x Ironman Champion/ 4x 70.3 Champion

Ironman 70.3 Oceanside Race Report

IMG_2679Good news…..the season is off to a start!

However it definitely didn’t start with the “bang” that I was hoping for, but the only place to go from here is up, right? I was really excited for Oceanside. My first two races of the season (Oceanside and IMTX) were strategically chosen for a few different reasons. The biggest reason being the talent in the field. If I want to achieve what I believe I am capable of in this sport, I have to race the best. The fields in these two races are very deep. I was very happy with my fitness leading into the race as well as how I felt leading into race morning. I felt great about the race plan Coaches Tim and David helped me make and my confidence was fairly high leading into the race.

Unfortunately, this didn’t compute into the result I wanted but I am still taking away a number of valuable lessons that in the end will make me a better professional athlete.

Race morning 

I was staying with a host family (who were absolutely AWESOME, BTW) who lived about 20 miles from race start. I didn’t know what traffic would be like, so I made sure to leave early. I woke up at 3:00 and had my typical pre-race breakfast: 2 servings of First Endurance Ultragen, MultiVHP, and Optygen HP. Then went back to bed until 3:45.

I got my bike prepped and loaded into the car and was on the road at 4:00. I arrived to the parking lot around 4:45 (no traffic!) and rode down to transition right at 5:00. As per usual, I was one of the first in transition. I don’t like to be rushed on race morning. I got my bike racked and area ready by 5:30, then went to find a quiet place to sit and get my head ready for the day. Around 6, I checked the site lines in the water then went for a quick run to warm up. Quickly put my HUUB Archimedes suit on around 6:20 and got to the water to finish up the warm up. We had to wait a few minutes to get in the water due to a few seals who decided to block our path. A fairly unique way to start the race!

Swim – 27:10

IMG_2634The swim definitely did not go as planned. When you make a mistake in the first 100 yards of the swim in a deep pro field, you pay for it. When you make two mistakes in that time, it punishes you dearly.

Mistake #1 – Worrying about getting on feet too early. Much of my training with Tim from Magnolia Master’s is geared around the swim start. I went against my training and settled on the first feet I could find. Live and learn.

Mistake #2 – swimming straight into the first buoy. I was not worrying about sighting, just making sure I didn’t fall off of the feet in front of me. I ran straight into the first buoy and came to a complete dead stop. Not smart on my part. Losing time in the first 200 yards is extremely costly because it is nearly impossible for me to bridge a gap when some of the best swimmers in the sport are in the front pack. If you miss the pack right away, you play catch up all day. The rest of the swim went fine. I stayed in the same spot in the second pack that I settled back into after the 2 mistakes early on. I came out of the water well back from where I wanted to be.

T1- 2:43

IMG_2642I came out of the water knowing I had some work to do to get back to where I wanted to be. I tried to rush things way too much. I knocked my bike off the rack which broke my rear brake lever. I was able to ride still, but didn’t have a rear brake for the ride. As I ran out of T1, I tried to jump on the bike and knocked my shoes down so they were scraping the tar. I have a nice scuff mark on my shiny Riivos! I didn’t lose a ton of total time with this, but the pack that I came out of the water with was well ahead of me now. Yet more time to make up!

Bike- 2:16:19

Overall, I am really not happy with my performance on the bike. Everything started out right on track. Power was there, I settled into prescribed pace. Then things slowly started to unravel. At mile 5, I hit a pot hole and launched my rear water bottle and the aero bottle I had on the down tube. I don’t know if they both got loose when I knocked the bike over in T1 and I didn’t notice or what. I didn’t think it was a huge bump thinking back, but regardless. I lost 800 calories of my EFS pro and only had about 300 on the bike. Again, hind sight, I should have downed that bottle as fast as I could so I could refill the bottle at the first aid station. Instead, I stuck to my refueling plan and so quickly after the first aid station I realized I had a problem. There just isn’t the number of calories in the on course Gatorade as there is in the EFS pro (especially as thick as I mix it) and my gas tank was about tapped out after 60 minutes of the ride. I was riding in my aerobic zone, not breathing hard but just couldn’t push the intensity at all. I started to cramp up a bit in the quads around mile 50. I was definitely ready to get off the bike when transition came back into view.

T2- 2:11

I had a successful T2. I go to my area, threw on a pair of socks and my On Clouds, and grabbed the rest of my gear. My quads were already cramping up as I was heading towards run out. I knew I was behind on calories and downed half of the bottle of EFS liquid Shot that I was planning on using for on course nutrition.

Run- 1:13:35

IMG_2670On face value I consider this a subpar run for me. even if I would have had a solid bike leg, I would but tolerate this run split. However, neither fuelling and therefore biking went well. Thus despite being a bit disappointed with my time, I am taking a lot of positives out of the run leg.

Why you might ask?! ….Well the pragmatic view would be I undoubtedly entered the run severely glycogen deficient, throw in my the VMOs (inner quads) on both legs stayed locked the entire run, my calf and hamstrings threatened to cramp multiple times and not forgetting the day-dreaming surfer dud cross my path and abruptly spinning, board in hand, clocking me square in the “crown jewels” and bringing me to the floor!

 In spite of all this I was able to prevent things from going completely south,  I slowly got on top of my nutrition and I stayed consistent in my pacing and was actually feeling better at the end of the run than when I started.  I managed the small rollers well and moved up in the field a bit. Tactically, there wasn’t much going on during the run since I was so far out of the race by the start of the run.
It is for all this that I am given a bit of confidence in knowing that my fitness is where I thought it was entering the race.

IMG_2678Overall – 4:01:59

I am certainly not pleased with the way I opened up the season. However, this season is all about process. I learned a great deal about myself and where I need to improve. This race is only a failure if I don’t learn from it. It definitely fueled the fire for the final six week push into Texas!

A special thank you to Sandra, Krystal, and Joe (college friends) for making the trip down for the race. It was great having all of them along with Coach Tim there cheering me on. Definitely helps to have people you know supporting you when things aren’t going your way. Also thankful for the great sponsor support.

Now I just need to make sure the operator is functioning at 100% as well!


One Comment

  1. Kevin

    September 7, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Hey Matt! Great report! Do you do any loading in the week with Optygen? Do you always use this on race day as well and throughout the day or just the morning shot?

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