The first IRONMAN race took place in 1978, and today the IRONMAN Group operates more than 250 races per year, in 57 countries. And although that first race was in Hawaii, the IRONMAN movement actually has its origins right here in San Diego County. U.S. Navy officer John Collins and his wife Judy thought they’d shake up their training regimen with different kinds of workouts, and that became the idea for turning it into a competition. By competing in an IRONMAN here in Oceanside, the county’s northernmost beach town, you’re effectively returning to where it all began.
When some of the world’s fittest folks will converge here again this April 2, Mission Pacific will offer a front row seat to the action — and it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind post-race, or to put your head in the game before it.
The triathlon itself is a grueling test of endurance — 70.3 refers to the distance competitors will cover! It kicks off with a 1.2-mile swim around Oceanside’s harbor, picture-perfectly decked out like an old-style fishing village. That’s followed by 56 miles of cycling in the rolling hills north of town, taking in Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton (including San Mateo Hill — called by the veteran-run website We Are The Mighty “one of the most notorious natural obstacles over which Marines will climb”) and San Onofre Bluffs State Park. Only then comes a 13.1-mile half-marathon along Oceanside’s Strand, lining the Pacific Ocean.
The race ends at Oceanside Pier, the longest wooden pier in the western U.S., extending 1,942 feet over the water and — convenient for the competitors — just steps from Mission Pacific, where you can rest, recharge, and refuel.
Where to Stay for IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside
The resort’s Sanctuary Studios, available with a partial ocean view or a full ocean view, are the perfect place to rest up before the race and relax after you finish. At nearly 450 square feet, these guest rooms are each the size of a small apartment — if that apartment was blessed with an ocean view and the bright sun and clean, fresh air of the San Diego coast.
To ensure a thoroughly restorative rest, the Sanctuary Studios are outfitted with the latest bedding technology from Eight Sleep, whose Pod Pro Covers are designed for thermoregulation and biofeedback. Not only are you able to control the mattress temperature, but track vitals, including respiratory rate, resting heart rate, and heart rate variability — an ideal sleep situation for athletes preparing for peak performance.
Plush robes and large, spa-inspired bathrooms further create a private sanctuary to mentally get in the zone before the race then recoup with a touch of luxury afterward.
How to Recharge in Oceanside
After a triathlon, what could be more needed than a massage? At Mission Pacific’s sister property, The Seabird Resort (right across the street), Sunny’s Spa offers a sports recovery massage to soothe muscle knots and help those stiff joints regain their range of motion. Tweaked your back, neck, or shoulder? The comprehensive spa’s expert therapists can customize a 30-minute massage to address wherever ails you.
That’s all in addition to other treatments: Thai-style stretching, deep tissue massage, and healing body wraps with ingredients from seaweed to CBD. To heal the mind as well as body, try a sound bath, reiki treatment or even gemstone therapy.
And if you need a facial after a day out in the elements, Sunny’s Spa also has you covered. Sun relief and beach repair treatments may come in especially handy.
Once the muscles feel a little looser, keep them moving with some light activity the day after the race. Oceanside is filled with outdoor adventures, ranging from paddleboarding in the bay to pedaling around on beach cruisers.
Where to Eat Healthy in Oceanside
Before the race, Piper at The Seabird makes pre-race carbo-loading a snap, with handmade pastas and other healthy, nutrient-dense dishes while afterward you can refuel with more farm-to-table fare. The casual restaurant, situated right off the beach, also offers an extensive juice and smoothie menu made from 100% organic fruits and veggies so you know you’re only getting the good stuff. Try the aptly named “Kale for the Win” green juice, which is chock full of organic kale, cucumber, Granny Smith apple, lemon, and mint. Going for more calories and protein? The “Fluffernutter” smoothie tastes like an elevated version of childhood with peanut butter, dark chocolate, banana, and almond milk.
With a California coastal-cool vibe, Piper is also just a welcome spot to grab a seat on the sidewalk terrace and watch the world go by as you take a break.
Want to let loose after the race? Back at Mission Pacific, head up to The Rooftop Bar to toast your finish in style with signature cocktails paired with Pacific Ocean views.
Ready to book your stay?
Check out the Suite Dreams package, where you can enjoy a $100 daily food credit that can be used at Valle, The Rooftop Bar. and in-room dining at Mission Pacific, or at Piper, Shelter Club, and The Shore Room next door at The Seabird.
Top photo by Donald Miralle IRONMAN.