Holy crap it is mid February, passed valentines and I’m just now trying to write a recap from our racecation to our Cozumel trip. Maybe I was doing it on purpose since remembering a place with sun, ocean, palm trees and beaches brings a little warmth on these freezing days.
So last year when we moved (yup it’s been a year already) we decided we were going to have a racecation in Cozumel where we will race with 17 of our teammates. It was in a way a super fun reunion while getting to see them all including our coach. I didn’t get to write a whole lot last year about our training. Didn’t want to bore you all with the same thing over and over. Swim, bike, run, hurt, eat, sleep, repeat. You might remember that when we moved there was plenty of snow around and also took us forever to get situated. Living in temporary quarters (aka Homewood Suites hotel), closing on our house almost a month after moving and moving truck getting to a week after we had closed. Add all that to learning a new job, Felipe traveling back and forth to Texas for his and eventually switching jobs for a more local job in the city and then finding new places to train and our year definitely was filled with things to figure out.
Luckily for us all those things above actually were a lot smoother than they sound. Things happened for a reason and we were able to adjust as we went. We got even luckier when we actually started to get better weather in the spring and finding out the beauty of our new training grounds. At first we had an OK pool at the local Y, but that changed when we got a brand new pool a mile away from the house. Our biking was pretty awesome with endless routes and finding a local cycling club which was the best thing ever. We met a few people we had talked to on Instagram and they were great at helping us get integrated with the club. Our running couldn’t have been any better. About 1/2 mile from our house we have an 11 mile trail that pretty much became our running grounds and if we got bored of that we just did our runs exploring different routes and even doing the local marathon route a couple of times. So as you can see our training once we got situated wasn’t an issue. We got going and it was probably the best ironman training of all. We didn’t race a whole bunch, just a few times and it helped because we knew our focus was Cozumel.
Sorry for the long preamble to a race, figured you wanted to hear or not hear what happened before the race since I didn’t talk much about through the year. Now into the race business.
If you ever decide to do this race definitely you want to read this as it was probably the best decision we made. Cozumel is a resorts type of place. You go to the resorts and normally get all inclusive ones and that’s the end. Or you do what we did, rent a house with a few friends and hired a chef. By renting a house we didn’t have any of the distractions of a hotel and also getting a chef made it for a way to explore local cooking without the hotel feel to it. It turned out great and a lot cheaper than the hotel plans being offered out there. We ended up paying about $300/person for a 6 day/5 night stay. A lot cheaper compared to the $1200 the hotels want. It was a little “far” from the center but taxis go by all the time and they are super cheap. Felipe actually negotiated always getting us cheaper fares to the city center which was like 3km (1.5-2 mi) away. You won’t pay more that $3 – $5 per ride
By us being a bit apart from the busy center it forced us to be more focused on staying near the house or simply being at the house resting. We did some swimming in the ocean since it was conveniently our backyard but we kept things low key. Everyone in the house was on the same boat and that helped. Not having anyone pressuring or even getting mad because we didn’t want to do anything. Being in an ironman destination you might be tempted to go crazy, walk a lot, not rest, eat crappy, not hydrate, we have done all those. This time we had focused on not doing any of that. Did our team dinner on Friday. Saturday we got to drop our bikes off and then do all the bag stuff. By 2 pm we were home legs up with bottles of hydration in our hands at all times. It was going to be a hot race so we didn’t want to risk it.
Race day: ironman 4 here we go:
Our race day came quick after a good night sleep. We woke up probably extra early because we had a taxi driver come and get us to the start. We didn’t want to risk any road closures and since we were kind of far it was safe to do. It was funny to see the locals partying still while we were driving through town. We got to the hotel and of course transition wasn’t open. We just sat there and us girls braided our hairs.
Once transition opened we went into our rituals, air on the tires, fluid setup and then off to the group pictures with the team. Before we knew it we were on the bus on our way to the swim start. We got in the bus with the team. Was pretty cool since we haven’t been with the team but at the same time were all quiet getting in our own zones. Felipe and I did a quick stop in the port-a-potties (read got the race jitters) and then off to get in our corrals. We said our good byes as usual and off he went. I stayed with a group from the team. We stayed pretty close. My swim was simply amazing. The water is so clear and by doing it with the smart start it is less crowded so it feels safer and you don’t get as beat up. Kinda miss the mass start rush but not the beating you take while at it.
I came right where Felipe told me I was going to come out at. I was out in 1:19 which was a 1:52’/100 yds. It is what I was doing during training and also a 9:04′ PR for my swim. I couldn’t be happier.
T1: the usual, however I’m getting faster too. Only 8:31 compared to a 12:26 from IMAZ. I did have a girl help me the entire time.
The bike was as windy as we expected it. I wasn’t too worried about not finishing. I had a good cushion from the swim but I sure was out there more than I wanted. I wanted a 7:00 bike but was there 7:45. The wind at the end was beating us down but I just kept pushing forward. It seemed like the 12 miles into the wind were the longest miles each loop but kept thinking I’ve done worse bikes than this one so let’s wrap it up.
Came back to town and I knew I was done. Just wanted to get my run going, my transition time was faster too 5:55 compared to 6:31 from IMAZ. As fast as my 70.3 transition times (Felipe says that I take too long) I think I’ve paid attention to envisioning transitions prior to the race. It helps making the process smoother. Also helps to have a girl who has her undivided attention for you. She was awesome :).
I was excited to get on the run. I started seeing teammates and I was pumped. Saw finally Felipe during my first loop and he was on the way out for his second. He looked strong. told me he was starting to hurt but he was with a teammate so I knew they would drag each other to the finish. I met with Becky and she was on her second loop too. we did the intervals we used to do in Texas and were keeping a nice pace. Did her second loop and most of the 3rd with her but as she was finishing up she told me to go ahead with out her as I felt stronger than her. I just kept my pace and kicking miles one by one. Before I knew it i was on my third loop and my watch had died closer to 14:20 when I had about 3 miles to go. I kept my pace and all i was envisioning was breaking 14 hours. i knew i had to work hard but it was doable. I came in the shutte and pulled my flag. I couldn’t believe i was going to finish my 4th IM. when i came in to my surprise there he was, Felipe was waiting for me with my medal. After finishing 2I Ms with him it was bittersweet not to hold hands but seeing him at the end was the best, he put my medal around my neck and said you PRed huge. Don’t know how much but it is big. He got me through the shirt, food, and stuff and we just waited there for the rest of our friends to finish. My marathon was 5:39 which was almost 50′ PR to come in at 14:59. That was a 45 min PR overall. I couldn’t have asked for a better race. We can ask for less wind next time but at the end it was a great day out there.