That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. - Nietzsche

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ironman Cozumel Race Report - Part 1: pre-race adventures

I'm not even sure where to begin, so much to I guess I'll begin a little before the beginning.

Husband and I left the Wednesday before the race. It was a loooong travel day. Two planes, an hour bus ride from the airport, the hassle of dealing with typical Latin American touristy cities - if you are looking for a particular mode of transportation, almost nobody will direct you to what you want because they want to sell you THEIR mode of transportation. After getting about 5,293 different answers as to where the ADO bus would be coming, we finally found it. Fell asleep like a baby on the bus, then a short walk to the ferry terminal.

Something that nobody told me, but I want to stress because there may be people reading this who are considering doing IMCoz in the future: if you fly into Cancun and take the ferry to Cozumel, for the love of God, BRING DRAMAMINE. Neither of us are particularly prone to seasickness and we both about lost our stomachs. That was the craziest rocking boat I've ever ridden. Then the unavoidable Mexican crazy taxi ride, and we made it, in one piece, to our resort.

Bienvenido to nausea town!! Love, the ferry.

The next day, I declined all of that day's Ironman events. Another little detail I missed is that taxis into town - and we were far enough from town that we'd need a taxi - are $15 one way. I've been to non-touristy Central America where a couple of bucks will get you wherever you're going. So, in the interest of saving money, I delayed picking up my bike (I felt like a bad mother) and decided to combine everything into one trip the next day. I did, though, get in the water for my first ocean swim! They had official practice swims, but we were just a few miles from the swim start. How different could the water be, right?

Not quite the YMCA pool, eh?

That was the most fun swim of my life. I found out there was definitely a current - 14:25 out to one dock, then 11:20 back, even after I added on another 100m or so. The waves were there, but not bad at all. I got used to the taste and the sting of the saltwater and the little invisible jellyfish. Yep, Coz has little tiny jellyfish that pinch for about ten seconds and then the sting goes away. I got just a few stings in a half hour. But the fish and the coral beat the heck out of looking at the bottom of a pool, or worse yet, an Ohio lake that's all green and you can't even see your hand in front of your face!! I kept forgetting to breathe as I checked out the coral and the multicolored fish and even swam with a school of fish for a minute. AWESOME.

Definitely not the YMCA!

The next day I did all the pre-race things, and there were a lot. I picked up Pinky from tri-bike transport, where she seemed to have survived the journey with no issues. Went to the expo, where they had lots of ironman gear for sale. I wanted it all but it was spendy. I made it out of the expo with just my free stuff and four co2 cartridges for inflating flat tires, which I had to buy because I couldn't take them on the plane. Four was probably overkill, but I was NOT going to DNF because of a flat tire!!

Photo op at the expo!

I did get a pretty sweet IMCoz jacket in my swag bag. It's got big back pockets, good for biking, and it has thumbholes!! I didn't discover the thumbholes until the next day but OMG! I'm a sucker for thumbholes!!!

There was also the pre-race meeting (in English), a little bit of wandering around downtown, and then back to the resort. I saw several people riding their bikes out of town. Great idea, but I would've been terrified. There was a lot of traffic and obviously no three foot law in Mexico!! Our cab driver passed people on the right, on the left, passed a cyclist super close. Um, no thanks. My bike traveled in the back of the cab.

Reunited...and it feels so good!

Saturday was bike/gear check-in day. Since I had a higher number, I wasn't supposed to drop everything off until 3:30, but I found myself getting really antsy and jittery waiting for that time to come. I sorted out all my gear into the proper bags - one for t1, one for t2, and bike and run special needs bags for the halfway point of each. I had a LOT of stuff. I'll post the full list in a separate entry.

I biked down to the swim start/t1, about 3-4 miles from the resort. It was a good chance to remember what it was like to be on my bike, after a week and a half, and to shift through all the gears, make sure everything was working and everything was adjusted correctly. Tri Bike Transport never disassembled my bike, so everything felt just like I was used to.

The transition area was jaw-droppingly MASSIVE. SO MANY BIKES. My spot was pretty close to the changing tent, but then seriously about .2 miles away from the exit. I got so lost in there. Got myself all sharpie marked, met some of the people near me, checked out the swim course. Holy crap, it looked huge. There was a square-shaped dock. We would start at one end, swim parallel to the shore, turn, swim in the opposite direction for a loooooong time, and then swim back to the other side of the dock. There was a big open space in the middle of the dock, and it was filled with DOLPHINS!!! I could see them swimming around in there. Again, way cool.

Back to the resort via hotel shuttle. Had a good dinner and went to bed fairly early (it helped that I was still on eastern time); fell asleep watching movies. I woke up at 2 AM, wide awake and running through every minute of the race in my head. I tried every go-to-sleep strategy I could think of. I didn't think any of them worked, but apparently I did drift back off to sleep because the next thing I know, Huz was waking me up one minute before the alarm was set to go off. 4:29 AM. Go time.

Part 2: Race day and swim, coming soon....

I'll save you the suspense

Race report: Ironman Cozumel 2012, soon to come. It's going to be long and probably in multiple parts, and I hope to get it done in the next few days.

Spoiler alert: I AM AN IRONMAN!!!

It was a crazy, crazy ride, so hang on.....

Monday, November 19, 2012

6 days

Less than a week!!!!!

Yesterday, I relaxed a little and got a mani/pedi. Hey, the rest of me is gonna look like crap, my nails might as well look good out there! My fingernails are a shimmery pink that should pretty closely match my bike. Even better, the color is called "Pedal faster, Suzi". I love it when nail color names are race-appropriate. (I also have a Flying Pig color called "...and this little piggy".)

And my toesies...they got special treatment:

That color is called "The Thrill of Brazil". I call it perfect ironman red.
I even have my suitcase mostly packed and my race gear list made out. Packing for an ironman is a little overwhelming!

Today, I work 12 hours. Yes, 12 hours. Ick. Tomorrow I'm planning for more of a slacker day so I can get everything done before I go. In 48 hours, we will be at the airport waiting for our flight.

Holy crap, ya'll.

Friday, November 16, 2012

9 days

I've been waiting patiently for race day to show up in the 10-day forecast. So far I'm pleased with what I'm seeing....

Tapering is goooood. I'm starting to feel like a human again and not a zombie. So THIS is what energy (and not training anxiety-induced mania) feels like! I think I like it!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

12 days

I dropped my bike off yesterday for her first-ever plane ride. My baby's getting the royal treatment - I cleaned her up really well yesterday, took her to the bike shop I know and trust for a tune-up, and then to another bike shop where she'll be shipped via truck to a plane for a trip to Mexico. No disassembly, no dealing with my bike during my own trip. Score.

The guy at my fave bike shop has done bike maintenance for tons of races and tris. He even redid all the grip tape so she looks awesome. OK, so I totally have an underdog bike - less than $1k, a roadie with clip-on bars - but she's MINE and she'll get me to the finish line. I also picked up enough body glide and chamois butter to lube up China. Chafing during my race? Not gonna happen.

Life is busy. Not only do I have my own job, but I've also been working on some other career-related stuff that I will talk about soon, I hope. It's been stressful and it's kept me even busier, but if all goes well, I'll emerge in a few weeks looking like a rock star.

That includes emerging from this Ironman thing. I'm excited and I'm terrified. Absolutely terrified.

Oh, we're hosting my family for thanksgiving this weekend, too, since we won't be around for the actual day. Then I'll be on a plane in 8 days. SO MUCH TO DO, PEOPLE. I have to do all the things.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

no love from my head

Yeah, I'm used to something hurting. Not so much my head.

I had a headache-wanting-to-turn-into-a-migraine from Monday until yesterday night. Yesterday night it became an all-out migraine. Today I've been in a migraine hangover fog.

I very rarely get migraines, but one less than three weeks before my IM? Sure, why not? So this week has been the lowest volume training week since......oh man. Probably before I started training for this thing.

I did get in a 4 mile run yesterday when I thought the headache was better. (Then it came back even meaner!) I did 45 easy minutes on the trainer today. I thought that may help send it out faster, actually. And tonight I will drag my foggy head to swimming because there was no way I was going to subject my head to tight goggles and underwater pressure when it hurt.

Oh well. I'd been wondering how much to taper - my training plan still had what I thought was a pretty high volume for a taper week. My head made that decision for me.

Soooo much to do before the race. Gotta make the final decisions about clothes, nutrition, shoes, gotta pack, gotta get a bike tuneup and send my bike off to Mexico in a week.

17 days.....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ironman freakout dream #2

This time I got lost on the run course. I also stopped to have lunch at Subway, and stopped to meet with a client for an hour. Then I was kicking myself because I didn't have enough time to finish the race. I was only 9 miles in, with an hour left. It was still daylight even at 11 pm, apparently. And one of my coworkers was running it with me, and everyone was lost. I was doing 9 minute miles, though, so that was pretty cool.

The run course at Coz is an out-and-back, by the way. I highly doubt I'll get lost.

21 days.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

24 days - Happy November!

Less than 3 weeks until I'm on a plane from CVG to IAH to CUN!!

I think it's a bit early to start having pre-race freakout nightmares, buuuut last night I dreamed that I forgot to go to the expo and get my pre-race packet while we were in Cozumel, so race morning they would not let me race. I was devastated.

That's not likely to happen (but neither is missing the start of a race, and I managed to do that once) but I have a feeling that this is the first of many panic-stricken moments.

The good news is that I'm decently close to a major race, with NO major injuries!! My foot is almost back to 100%. I have a tight calf muscle and I am being very nice to it. Stretch, foam roll, ice, heat, the stick, compression socks, an extra day of biking as opposed to running. It seems responsive. I'm probably a little TOO paranoid about it, but I had a stress fracture that started the same way, and I have an Ironman in 24 days, so paranoia it is. Still going for 18 miles on it this weekend if it keeps on feeling better.

I'm still tired. Taper time is soon. I'm looking at the taper part of my training plan and it still looks hard. Same volume, just shorter long ride and run. First of 3 taper weeks is still a 13 hour week. My plan is to do that week, and if I'm still straight up worn out, Imma slack hardcore for the last two weeks of training. I respond well to rest - some of my best races have been run in the immediate aftermath of healing an injury, where I didn't run or barely ran for a week or two prior. I love me some rest.

Let the pre-race panic begin.