Ironman Cozumel 2012

Finish Time – 14:15:13

Swim – 2:04:18

T1 – 11:46

Bike –  7:22:59

T2 – 4:34

Run – 4:31:36 (PR)

Everything leading up to race morning went as planned.  Everyone from Team Amy and my bike arrived on schedule.  I arrived in Cozumel on Thanksgiving.  The ferry ride from Playa de Carmen to Cozumel left me a little seasick.  I almost threw up when I got off the boat but didn’t.  Little did I know this nauseous feeling would show up throughout my trip and not once because of alcohol!   I did my practice swim, bike and packet pickup and test bike ride on Friday.  The practice swim was FANTASTIC.  The water was beautiful and so clear.  I saw all kinds of fishies.  I kept saying if nothing else I am really going to enjoy the swim and it won’t matter if I am miserable on the bike and run.  Boy was I WRONG!  I only took a short test ride to see if all my gears worked and nothing major happened during transport.  The traffic was crazy and I was dodging taxis, horse carriages, scooters and other cyclists.  It was very scary for me, the nervous cyclist.  We had specific times to check our bikes at Chakanaab on Saturday based on race number.  Buses picked us up at the hotel and we put our bikes in the seats on one side of the bus and the people sat on the other.  That was a first for me and I forgot to bring my camera.  We went for an early dinner and I was able to fall asleep no problem.  I was not feeling as nervous as I thought I would although I checked through all my stuff 100 times convinced that I forgot something and bit off what little nails I have left. 

The alarm went off at 4 am.  I was awake and ready to do this!  The hotel had a full breakfast prepared early for us.  I had a pancake and 2 pieces of peanut butter toast.  I was later thankful I didn’t eat more.  I arrived early to the swim start, got air in my tires, mixed up my perpetuem and dropped my special needs bags off.  I then set off to find Kathleen and Jeff.  The bike racks were like a maze because there was not one big lot to fit them all.  Thankfully I saw them walking in otherwise I might not have found their bikes.  We chatted a bit and I dropped their special needs bags off for them since it was quite a walk back out of the entrance.  I headed to the bathroom and dock.  I saw Team Amy and was so happy that I had a support group.

The swim start was not bad at all.  I was anticipated mass chaos but it was probably the least crowded, best swim start I ever had.  I jumped in when they said 4 minutes to go and made my way forward.  It was hard to tell exactly where I was in the pack because people started jumping off the dock way far back.  I am not sure if they ever made their way forward or just waited back there for the start.  The gun went off and I had space right away a few bumps and one kick to the face before the first turn but nothing more than any other start.  I made it to the first turn in 25 minutes.  I did not think the first part against the current was difficult.  We made the turn and started swimming with the current.  It was great seeing all the scuba divers below waving to us.  I started feeling a little seasick about half way through this stretch but nothing too terrible (yet).  I made it to the final turn in 57 minutes.  I was thinking that I was going to have a great finish time, definitely beating the 1:42 that I did at Redman.  That thought did not last long.  Almost immediately after I made the last turn, I started throwing up.  At first I would puke and move forward a little, puke again and move forward.  With about 400 meters left, I started throwing up and could not stop.  I was far away from the jet skis but I still thought if they saw me, they would pull me.  Some asked how much time we had left.  When I looked at my watch we were at 1:45.  I knew I had to get moving because it already took me about 45 minutes and I still had a way to go.   I just kept trying to move forward anyway I could.  I finally got close to the dock and was able to stick my head back in the water. I saw the banner that said fatigue fades, the glory lasts forever and amazing fishies and a scuba guy with a camera.  I wonder if he caught any of my puking.  I walked to the changing change hoping my stomach would settle down.  I saw Team Amy and took one look at my Aunt’s face and knew I must look really bad.  I thought she was going to burst into tears.  I told them I was sick but only had trouble the last part of the swim.  It was a long walk to the changing tent and there were a ton of bags still hanging on the racks even though there was only 15 minutes left until the swim cutoff.  I tried to walk into the changing tent about 6 times but had to keep running out to throw up.  The medic came over and gave me water.  I told her I was fine just motion sickness.  I finally made it into the tent and sat on the chair.  I felt terrible.  I wondered if I really could go on.  I thought about Chris’s advice to Erin at Redman – Do your feet hurt when you run (yes), do your feet hurt when you walk (yes), then you should just run and get done faster.  I thought I could feel awful on the shuttle ride back to the hotel or feel awful on my bike.  I decided to give the bike a go.  I walked to my bike and saw Team Amy as I headed out to the bike course.  I gave them the thumbs up and said I was OK.

I felt nauseous for about the first 2 hours on the bike. As I started reaching town and all the little kids were screaming and cheering, I went from feeling like crap to feeling like a rock star.  I was smiling and waving and started to think that I could actually do this.  The parts through town were absolutely incredible.  I could not believe the support.  Even though I read how great it was, I did not expect the sheer look of joy and excitement on the locals faces.  I saw Team Amy by our hotel and thought my Aunt was going to jump out of her pants.  I don’t think I have ever seen her that excited.  The bike course was not at all as difficult as I had built it up in my mind.  There was wind on the stretch along the water but it was nothing compared to what we had been experiencing in Galveston and if it did start feeling a little tough, I just looked over that that beautiful water and instantly felt great again.  I was averaging about 13 miles an hour along this stretch but I never really felt like I was struggling.  I just tried to stay in my power and I actually LOVED the bike.  What?  I never thought I would say that!  I did not stop until special needs.  A volunteer mixed up some more perpetuem for me and I took a handful of melted Reeses Pieces.  I don’t think I ever tasted anything so good.  A policeman put sunscreen on me, everyone gets involved. I learned my lesson from Redman and was in and out of special needs quickly. On the last loop, I was passing everyone even though I was not going very fast.  I stop around mile 85 or so to pee and even passed a bunch of people for a second time after that stop. My nutrition was a half a bottle of Perpetuem every hour for the first 2 hours and then 2 Honey stingers every hour until Special needs and then back to Perpetuem for 2 hours and then Honey stingers again. 

I handed off my bike to the volunteer and hit the changing tent.  I only changed my shirt, put on my running shoes and visor and headed out.  I felt fantastic running out of the changing tent and saw Team Amy right away.  You start out running through the crowd in town and I knew I was running too fast.  I kept trying to slow it down which I normally have trouble with off the bike anyway but this was times ten.  The crowd had me pumped.  My plan was to run about a 10:15 to 10:30 walking the water stop for 30 second.  When I gave Chris my race plan, he suggested I do a 5/1 though the first 2 water stops until I calm down.  I eventually settled down to about a 9:15-9:30 pace.  The water was in sealed bags so there was no reason to actually walk at the stops.  I was not slowing down from the 9:15-9:30 pace after the first two water stops so I decided to keep the 5/1 until I could settle down.  The most I had run was 15 miles so I did not think I would be able to keep up for the whole race but I lasted way longer than I ever imagined.  On my last loop I was walking a little longer than 1 minute on some of the walk breaks and was running closer to about 10:00 miles.  Chris told me I could race the last 6 miles if I felt like it.  That wasn’t happening.  I was perfectly happy continuing my walk breaks for the entire run.  I actually gave me something to look forward to and since I did not have my watch programed for the 5/1, I had to pay attention and do math.   I took a Gu Roctane every 30 minutes and alternated Gatorade and water at each water stop until about mile 13.  After that I could not do another Gu so I went to oranges and Pepsi.  I could not believe that I was running as well as I was.  On the last lap, I realized that I was probably going to PR my marathon even if I had to walk more or slow down a little.  I saw my family and told them that I might be a little slower on this lap but they should not worry I was feeling good.  They said “see you at the finish line”.   My shoes and socks were soaking wet.  Those wonderful bags of water were big enough to have a drink and dump the rest on yourself.  I really debated stopping at special needs to change my socks but I was afraid to stop.  My feet were feeling really heavy.  The last 2 miles were tough but when I hit crowd I was recharged.  I don’t remember hearing “You are an Ironman”  though my family said they did.  I got my medal and a towel and then saw Jeff.  We had a brief chat and I was off to find my family.  Unfortunately, I missed the finisher shirts.  I was thinking it was pretty crappy that all we got was a Ford towel but I did not want to sound like a complainer.  I did not find out under a few days later that there were finishers shirts.  We hung around cheering on finishers until about 11.  My aunt could not get over all the fit young guys that were finishing behind me.  This was her first triathlon.  The finishers were pretty spread out and I wanted to get off my feet so we headed back to the hotel.  We hung out at pool for awhile when we got back soaking my already soaked feet.  I could not sleep at all that night or even the next day.  I thought for sure I would be napping.  Adrenaline is awesome!

I loved this race despite the motion sickness.  I don’t think that ocean swims are meant for people prone to motion sickness though I would try the 70.3.  I found some motion sickness pills that are non drowsy and got a tip on ear plugs.

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