Monday, November 29, 2010

Ironman Cozumel Race Report

My main goal going into this race was to break 10 hours. With the course being flat I figured as long as I set myself up with a good swim in my mind there was almost no way this wouldn't happen.

Good luck from my Mom before the start...

The swim starts outside a dolphin area and spectators were treated to a dolphin show while all the athletes got into the water.

About 100 meters into the swim I realized jellyfish were stinging me. This made me swim faster to get away from them, and also grab some feet in hopes that the people in front of me might clear the jellyfish path. When I lost the feet at the corner buoy or because the current pushed me off course I fought to get back on them. Coming out and seeing the clock at 59:18 put a huge smile on my face. I think the Profile Mako speedsuit helped as well...

With my solid swim setting up my quest for sub-10 I now had three laps to tour the island.  My goal was to ride 5:15. Lap #1 felt great and passed several pro girls. Lap #2 felt like absolute death and they all re-passed me, plus some. I was going BACKWARDS. I think the heat was keeping calories from hitting my bloodstream. Whatever it was, I felt terrible and several times wished I could throw the Quintana Roo into the ocean. Thankfully after an hour of pedaling easy while half the world passed me, I started to feel better and the QR and I were friends again.

Lap #3 I felt good again and tried to make up for time lost on lap #2. My favorite section of the bike was when we came through town. I am pretty sure the locals have no idea what an ironman is, but they come out in full force to cheer. They bring their kids and noise makers. They stand in the street cheering for hours. I've never seen such awesome crowds. I came off the bike in 5:27.

Dad out of the swim (his least favorite part...)

My Dad's first two laps of the bike went completely to plan. He held his heart rate right where it should be, he felt good. Lap #3 took a turn for the worse and he had some leg cramps and then his stomach revolted setting him up for a rough run.

Starting out on the run I knew sub-10 was still within reach. But oh it was HOT. I was surprised to find out I wasn't way down within the pros - in fact I was almost in the money. 

The run was a mix of feeling fairly good and hanging on for dear life. I passed several girls, but I knew there were several behind me that were close. The crowd support in town was the loudest I've ever experienced - better than Kona. I'm guessing it's because just about every local had a Corona in their hand and as the day wore on they just got louder.

I passed my Dad on my final lap and he was walking at that point - trying to take in some calories. It was a brutal day of heat and wind and I'm so proud of him for sticking it out to finish in 13:55 - in what I believe is his slowest Ironman to date. It would have been just as easy to call it a day, but he finished it out and will get to Kona next time.

Seeing the large Mexican flag was a welcome sight because it meant I was re-entering town and the crowds that pushed me slight bit faster. On my final lap Steven told me I could move up a spot and all I had to do was get myself around the lagoon (a loop I run at home). This would prove one of the hardest loops all day. By mile 20 I was sure I would puke if I took any of my GU or anything for that matter. So "Coca" it was. And several bathroom stops. The final six miles were pure survival. At mile 25 the girl behind me caught me and pulled ahead. The competitiveness in me came through and somewhere in my calorie deprived state I found energy I had no idea I had to sprint the final mile and secure 7th place. My run time was 3:36, far from what I had hoped, but a solid survival run in the heat.

My final time was 10:07 - exactly what I finished at Wisconsin. I actually was not too disappointed in missing sub-10. I know on a good day it is there. The conditions at Ironman Cozumel were some if not the hardest I've ever raced in. And to finish where I did among a stacked pro field of women made me proud of hanging in there and not giving up when the going got tough.

THANK YOUS: for carrying everything tri related. Sable Water Optics - I can see all the fish (and jellyfish)! Rudy Project for protecting my head and making some rockin sunglasses. QuintanaRooProfile Design & Zipp for an awesome ride. SCAPE for protecting me from the sun. for the days off to race, train and chase my dreams. GU for making awesome flavored gels (espresso!). SMACK! Media for keeping me in the loop. And of course Zoot for compression, fun racing and training gear and suhweeeeet shoes!

It's been a great 2010 season and I've pushed myself further and accomplished more than I thought I would this year. Here's to a great off season before I gear up to what I'm sure will be an awesome 2011 season. Thanks for following my journey.