Ironman Oceanside 70.3 – April 2, 2016

dmc Team members Johnna Davis, Sue Strause and Mia Okinaga (Kristin Chambers was our super cheerleader and awesome support)

The glow afterwards, the emotions throughout, the training with friends, Kristin for cheering and giving us strength, encouragement from dmc and friends, and the coaching from Patricia LaSalle will be what I remember from my first 70.3. For Johnna and Sue, this was yet another endurance race to line up next to their multiple Ironman and Half Ironman finisher medals.

Sue got us a great timeshare apartment (Wyndam Resorts) right at the athlete’s village and finish which is about a mile from the start and transition area. We had a two bedroom apartment with a kitchen and two baths. Thank you to Sue for taking care of this. Thank you to Kim Cooke for the recommendation.

The weekend starts on Friday with registration, shopping for Ironman logo stuff (Sue also got some cool Rudy glasses). Mayor Sue bumps into a friend and made many friends at the race. We then went to the noon athlete briefing session. Learned about the route, the penalties for drafting (have 25 seconds to pass someone 6 bike lengths ahead of you), blocking, passing on the right, passing in no pass zones and one area that the speed was limited to 25 mph. Johnna was listening closely on how this would be detected. They have monitors at the beginning and at the end of this zone and time each rider.

We put our numbers on our bikes and headed to transition to check them in. So many beautiful “wheels” mounted on the racks. Kristin and I calculated that there was at least $6 million of bikes alone resting for the day ahead. IMG_0033

The anticipation of unexpected weather conditions drives some of the anxiety level. Apparently it was so windy on Thursday; a rider was blown on to the street. James (Johnna’s husband and most likely to be the 1st male dmc Team member when dmc opens up to include men) provided calming assurances about conditions and bikes. I also ran through some of the questions that Jaimee (Johnna’s daughter who also raced) share with me – like what if I lose my nutrition, what if I get a flat, what if no goggles, what if, what if, what if…

Lots of great restaurants are in the vicinity and neighboring Carlsbad. Mexican, Italian, burgers and BEER places so don’t have to worry.


Holy moly, race day starts at 4 am with breakfast. We catch a shuttle shortly after 5 am with our gear just across the street from the Wyndam to take us to the transition and start. We are dropped off about a half mile away. It is 40-50 degrees, but of a chilly wait. We setup our stuff under our bikes (18 inches, 8 bikes to a rack), go to the restroom and get body marked. We waited for almost two hours to start. Sue and I worried about Johnna not being there because usually she’s early. Turns out she planned to be in transition at 6 am.


FullSizeRender_1The three of us are the third to the last wave to start, 7:29 am. Sue goes to the restroom one last time with her wetsuit half on. Not sure how she managed that. We then line up in the chute and then we begin to see the first wave people run past us as they have finished their swim. They were running at a pretty good pace. The two at the front were keeping up with each other.

Meanwhile James finds Johnna and gives her the best wetsuit lift before zipping her up. Watching people get into their wetsuits is entertaining.

The swim starts at a boat ramp. The water felt relatively warm compared to the outside temperature. We have five minutes to get to the starting buoy and then the horn starts. Lots of splashing, kicking and arms moving – so I decided to wait a bit. It’s relatively easy to site because we are swimming between the boats in the harbor. As we make the turn, as Patricia warned, we begin to feel the swells and some choppiness. I enjoyed finding the different balance but I also found the people in the wave behind me catching up and bumping me, etc. Note to self, stay away from the buoys. Making the turn back into the harbor is a nice feeling because it’s almost over. A bunch of volunteers are standing at the boat ramp almost grabbing people out of the water I think to see if we are ok. Walk/jog out of the fairly long chute to the transition area where most of the bikes have already left. It was so heartwarming to hear Kristin calling my name, ringing a cowbell and holding up her GO sign.


Sue’s bike was gone as I ran past her area. So happy to feel the warmth of the sun and not worry about having to wear a jacket to stay warm. Heeded Sue’s advice to not bend over to avoid falling from dizziness. As I was putting on my shoes, I heard Johnna say go Mia. Saw a guy fall in transition so I carefully jogged my bike to the bike out sign. I got on my bike and started rolling into lots of other bikes thinking I would bang into one of them but didn’t. Ha! Started pedaling and then I heard Kristin calling my name again! Still puts a smile on my face.FullSizeRender_3

Heading north, within the 2nd mile, Johnna passed me. I saw her again on a short out and back and then that was it. The outbound route is along the 5 with beautiful ocean views and air. After that there’s a turn on to the Camp Pendleton Base which reminds me a little like riding Tassajara except that there are tanks and loud cannon noises.   About mile 22 or 23, the climbing begins from basically sea level to maybe 750 feet (nothing compared to what the double century and death riders are used to) but it is up and down (fun) for a total of 2,150 feet. There are 3 steep hills which I made up without walking – saw some people walking.

Last 10 miles had a pretty good headwind. Near the bike in, Kristin was there cheering. She was across from an 11/12 year old who was also encouraging every rider and runner. Another super happy moment.

Course was well marked for holes and bumps. Volunteers warned us of obstacles and the course was easy to follow.


Kristin was there at the start the run. It’s two loops – some athletes were making their turn for the second loop and I could hear, “water, water”. The run heads south along the strand/ocean. Johnna was finishing her first loop. Was feeling good and thinking about what to do during the first 5 miles. I wanted to negative split the last 8 (btw that didn’t happen). By mile 3, I started to feel IMG_9879dizzy – maybe hyperventilating or dehydrated, not sure. So many things come and go through one’s mind – enjoy vs. push. At one point I felt thirsty, at another I could only think one foot at a time, at another felt my chest was tight, at another threw out the Gu. I saw Sue at my mile 6, her mile 8. She gave me a big hug- perhaps as delirious as me? Somehow made it to mile 12 and decided to run it in. YAY, and then the finish – Johnna, Sue and Kristin saying “you did it, you did it”. Nice. And then I felt ill – nauseous and having hard time breathing. However, I felt surrounded by support – had my recovery drink, Sue and Johnna encouraging me to eat stuff and Kristin went to get my bike and stuff at the transition. Within a few hours I was feeling better, enough so that we went out to get a beer and real food.


Johnna had a personal best at 6:10 from 2 years ago; Sue did an amazing job with a bum knee at 7:22 and I finished at 7:39. Jaimee (Johnna’s daughter) podiumed in 5th place at 5:52.

An amazing experience that I will remember for a long time. I think I want to try again. Having friends and dmc support with shout outs, texts, emails, Facebook made it a richer experience. Thank you very much. I’m grateful and proud to be an Ironman!IMG_9868


Got cleaned up and went to Bagby Beer – it looks like Drake’s Dealership in Oakland with lots on tap and very good cocktails – Kristin had a beautiful mojito and Sue and I had beers. We had to wait a long time for dinner but the drinks were PDG and so was the company!  Finished the evening at Cold Stone Creamery with some yummy concoctions.

Went to Beach Break Café on Sunday morning for breakfast before our drive home. We had a very short wait, but when we finished around 9:30 am they had a lobby full of people waiting.

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Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival – June 26-28

A dmc reunion was held in Sunriver, Oregon.  Alum Debby Ofstedahl and Wendy McCall, who recently moved to Bend, joined Sue Strause, Judi Warehouse, Kristin Chambers, Dianne Dunlap, Mia Okinaga, Kelli Rantz, and Maria Knutson for a weekend of riding, hiking, swimming, floating, stand up paddle boarding, shopping and RACING.
The Pacific Crest Sports Festival takes place during the last weekend in June at the Sunriver Resort in central Oregon, about 30 minutes from Bend.  The events begin on Friday with Tour de Crest rides – 26 and 55 milers.  While the rides are short, Sunriver is at 4200 feet above sea level.  You double centurions can easily add on beautiful scenic miles on buttery roads.  There are views of Mt Hood, Three Sisters, Broken Top, Mt Bachelor, Adams, and Jefferson along with evergreens, lakes, and wild flowers.  Mountain biking is huge and is Wendy’s passion.
FinishersOn Saturday, there is a marathon, half marathon, half Ironman distance triathlon and duathlon.  There are kid races too.  On Sunday there is a 10k, 5k, Olympic triathlon and duathlon.  Finishers receive massive medals and if you do more than one event, you get a second “beast” medal that Debby got in addition to her age group finishes for both the half marathon and 10k.
7 of us started our trek on Thursday morning in three cars.  It was a beautiful drive up and back.  It took about 8.5 hours.  Sue found/rented a house through Village Properties.  It was $300 per person for 5 nights for a 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath 2-story house with all amenities (except air conditioning – it was a hot weekend).  There were trails for walking and riding, paved and fire roads.  There is a smooth paved trail to the lava lands too.  There are two golf courses, two or three pools, horses, and tennis courts.  The Deschutes River runs through the area.  We had a light dinner at The Lodge which overlooks the golf course and open space.
On Friday, Debby and Wendy took us on a 34 mile bike ride around Sisters, a cute town with a great coffee shop.  We rode through flat and rolling country roads.  After the somewhat leisurely ride though challenging because of the altitude, we had a great lunch including Deschutes Notty Blonde Ale.  We went back to the Sunriver Athlete’s Village to pick up our packets and shop at the expo.  Kristin was featured on one of the sponsor’s website because she looked beautiful in their cap.  We had a fun dinner at Wendy and Debby’s and got to play with Cooper and Sammy, the luckiest dogs on earth.  Cooper took a special liking to Dianne.
Three Sisters RideOn Saturday, we went for a short run on the trail near The Lodge.  Kelli then led us through a short Pilate’s session.  We went to the finish line to cheer on Debby.  By then it was in the high 80’s.  Regardless, Debby placed in her age group for the half marathon.  Woot woot!
Kelli and Mia rode their bikes to the Deschutes River so that Mia could practice swimming.  It was beautiful and not so cold with a wetsuit but challenging to swim upstream.  Felt a little like Huckleberry Finn with equipment.  We saw some of the long course athletes running in the heat.  We dropped off our bikes off at the Athlete’s Village so they could be transported to T1 (about 30 min. away).  Only $10 per bike, well worth it.  Had an early dinner and got ready for the race.
Race day Sunday:  Debby and Maria did the 10k; the rest of us took a shuttle to the start at the Wickiup Reservoir.  Wendy, Kelli, Kristin, Judi, and Dianne did the duathlon (29 mile bike and 10k run); Sue and Mia did the triathlon which included two swim loops.  We all started around 9 am.
The 10k is on rolling paved trails through the resort.  There is some tree cover, water stops, sprinklers, and misters (along with a handful of aid stations).  Kudos to Debby for winning her age group.  She’s a beast!The duathlon is a timed start.  Athletes line up two-by-two and are released every 15 seconds.  Kelli and Wendy were a good match.  Kelli killed the bike averaging 20 miles per hour with hills and altitude.  Wendy caught up with her at T2 and ran the wrong way out of T2 as Kelli looked for her hat.  It was neck and neck and in the end Kelli prevailed by 30 seconds.  Kelli and Wendy placed 1st and 2nd, respectively in their age group.  Judi rocked her AG by placing first.  Dianne also placed 2nd in her AG.  Special kudos to Kristin who had a fast bike split even though she is still recovering from ankle surgery. Woot woot woot woot woot woot!Sue, aka fish, swam the mile in a speedy 32 minutes, 2nd fastest in her AG.  She was also 3rd fastest on the bike.  Great job in placing 4th in her AG.  Mia finished strong with a big smile on her face.  We all celebrated by enjoying some post race food and beer at the Deschutes beer garden.
During the awards ceremony, there was a lot of cheering coming from the “Lafayette” table.  In addition to cheering for our team wins, we enjoyed trying to catch caps, visors, water bottles, race belts and other free stuff the staff were throwing out to the crowd.
It felt great to finish, overcome the heat, and be cheered on by friends and teammates. It was fun to meet others like the elite athletes, SF Tri Club members and people from all over.  There was a glow from all of us that shined through the evening.  We celebrated at Wendy and Debby’s with barbecue, coleslaw and baked beans.  We also celebrated Maria’s birthday with chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream, well deserved treat!
Shevlin ParkMonday was our gift to ourselves.  We went to Shevlin Park with Cooper and Sammy, walked along a river, saw pretty pink flowers and enjoyed each other’s company.  We hydrated and ate delicious ocean rolls at a cutesy bakery in Bend.  We then went downtown to shop – shoes, clothing, and jewelry.  We had lunch at Barrio which had delicious tapas and draft beer.  We topped the afternoon off at the Deschutes River – some did stand up paddle boarding, and others floated down the river in inner tubes, sipping beer.
We are all grateful for the time together and our accomplishments, with the most major one being able to navigate to and from the house to the Village without taking wrong turns!   Who’s in next year?

Du Toes Duathlon – June 2015

Tanya Parmley Harding, Sue Strause and Mia Okinaga placed in the Du Toes Duathlon on June 20, 2015.   This Duathlon starts with a 3.6 trail run, followed by a 22 mile bike ride around the Bears, and ends with a 1.8 trail mile run.

Wolf Pack Events put this race on.  It is low key with very friendly and supportive race volunteers.  Mr. Wolf was there and also did the race.  There’s lots of great fruit and other snacks at the end.  It is held at the San Pablo Damn boat ramp.  Parking is easy.

Du Toes DuathlonThe race starts in the parking lot and you start climbing almost immediately.  Once you climb to the upper level trail, it is easy rollers.  It is an out and back. There is water at mile 1.

The bike ride is straightforward.  Once you get out of the park, keep taking rights through the bears and back to the park.

The second run uses most of the same route as the first run.   The hardest part is climbing right away.

This was Tanya’s first Duathlon and she did super well with her pacing and transitions.  It was fun watching from behind, how effortlessly she rode and ran.

Resevoir Dogs Trail Race – May 2015

What a fun day at San Pablo Dam.   There were ten us:  Theresa, Diana,  Beth, Sue S, Susan H, Kirsten, Mia, Diane D, Carol and Kelli.  Thank you Carol for bringing the banner which got some attention.Reservoir Dogs Trail Race

Kudos to Theresa, Diana and Kirsten for their podium finishes.  Diana let it rip going up the steep hills.  Lost sight of her within minutes of the start and saw her only on her way back.

It was a perfect morning, clear and cool.  Inside trails is known for their more challenging routes and consistent with that, the race starts with a steep hill.  The trail starts with mashed asphalt and uneven thick grass.  The run is almost all trail and the turnaround is at the reservoir off of Bear Creek Road.  The run back (if you still have quads) is fast.

Good job dmc’ers!  #runfast

Devil Mountain Run – Danville – May 2015

Conquering the 10k Run
Conquering the 10k Run

Judi W and I did this to celebrate her upcoming birthday.  It’s a wonderful community event with families and local business support.  There is a kids run and 5K too.  It starts out in downtown Danville and parallel 680 until San Ramon and then loop back around on the Iron Horse Trail.  It is slightly uphill for the first half and then downhill all the way back.

It was perfect running weather, cool but not cold, didn’t get hot and the sun was out.