Tuesday, December 09, 2014

IM Cozumel 2014 race report - lessons in triathlon - Swim

because when you DNF you really NEED to take some lessons away from the experience.  and my goals going into the thing were to see if my nutrition worked (oh mai gawds NO it did not) and see what my run was doing (jury still out on that account).  so, i suppose my goals were met.  but i wish i didn't need a DNF to get there.

i wanted to take a little bit of everyone with me this time, since only Jamie came in person, so i wore Sissy's bra, one of Chris's socks she left here and one of Michelle's and Dad's hat.  so you were all here even though you weren't.  :)  unfortunately once i started dressing the morning of the event i realized i'd never worn Sissy's bra swimming and suspected serious chafing as it is not a racerback, so i spur of the moment went with the trisuit for the swim.  which means in T1 not only did i get nekkid, i got TOTALLY nekkid and would have to wrestle Sissy's bra on over my wet flabby skin.  one of these days i'm going to plan a little better.

 i decided to drop the big bucks on the FMTRI numbers this year (might as well do EVERYTHING new) and managed to Fuck Them Up royally.  This is the GOOD calf.  the other one has a U (age group) AND a 3 and one shoulder only had 15 and the other 315.  I was a mess.  i've been doing solid foods during bike rides and figured that would be my nutrition for the bike too, so i loaded up my jersey with what i figured i would need for the entire 180 km...  cue music of doom...

i did end up eating all the Ritz and the cookie and maybe half of teh panditas.  oh, and i forgot until the 3rd lap of the bike that my electrolytes were going to be Nuun.  oops.  by then i thought i was Aquaman and didn't need water but that is a story for later.  i also decided to use a list to pack stuff this year and promptly realized when i got to Cozumel and remembered all the stuff i'd forgotten (and texted Jamie to bring) that maybe lists weren't the way to go.  2nd lesson.  So NEXT year I'm going to be So Well Prepared.  The 5th is the charm, right?

so, ONE good thing about staying in a hotel is that the taxis are SUPER easy to get and hey! the malecon was OPEN (normally we are driving ourselves and can never quite manage to get to the malecon AND hit one closed street after another trying to get to Chankanab) but, none of that stress this year, we just walked right down to the malecon and there was a LINE OF TAXIS (still hard for me to believe that after 3 years of getting to T1 stress in all previous years) WAITING FOR US!  I KNOWWW!!!  it was crazy making in the head. no police to try to "convince" to open the closed road, no traipsing all over town looking for an open road, Booyah!  we were zipping on our way.  jamie and i did our routine "kiss for eternity in the event the Kraken takes me in the swim" and off i headed in a bus to the swim start.  It SURE SEEMED like we  had a walk to rival the marathon from the bus drop to swim start.  but we need something new every year, right?  This year we got fancy dancy chanclas to wear and during this walk i figured out why (as i'd left them at the hotel).  D'oh.  luckily my feets are pretty tough from walking around here barefoot.  one of the perks of not owning shoes, i suppose.

i started WAAAAAAY in teh back of the womens.  i'm really not sure why.  i had expected, after 3 other IMs here, and in this age group, that i would be middle to back of the pack.  and my swim has become slower and slower.  but my drafting has been getting better.  so i jumped on a pair of feet that seemed to be swimming together - a lady in my AG and another lady and swam between them, at their hips.  the hip position is supposed to give the best draft so i figured between the two of them i'd be floating.  but honestly, i worked the swim this year.  i think this might be the first time I worked it.  there were times i thought the pace was too slow and i considered looking for new feet and other times i had to work to catch back up.

i have read race reports of people checking the watches for the time so i thought i'd get all fancy and try that but i couldn't really see it well enough and almost lost my feet.  so i sprinted back up and hung on.  waves were starting to catch us and as they swallowed us i would mentally yell at them to Back OFF.  MY feet!  i had a great time drafting.  at some point (i NEVER know where i am in the swim) my feet started to push the pace and it occurred to me that it was possible we were getting close to the end but since i never go to the before-race (mandatory :)) meetings i wasn't sure where we were in the swim and what the exit was like.  no problem as there was a mass of swimmers i just had to follow.  i was shocked to be directed to teh end - swim sure felt short, but i'm really used to going past the exit for a leg south and north again so i was really happy to just get out.  i figured i was WAY at the back of my AG and pack.  Turns out (after the event i found) I was 3rd in my AG (and especially since i'm the oldest in the AG i expected to be WAAAAAAYYYYY in the back of the pack).

jamie got a KILLER shot of me coming out of the water!  :)  Aunty Chris, please come next year!  :)  and again i came out of the water and passing Ruben Grande (local para athlete) on teh run to T1.    so it turns out after months of not posting i have diarrhea of the fingers so i'm breaking this one up.  only family is reading and i know mom likely will enjoy a longer report....

Monday, December 08, 2014

pre IMCOZ 2014 - in which the norte does not defeat us

such a boring title but it was a very laid back race this year with only Jamie on course (extended family back in the US and kids not interested to come to Cozumel this year) and honestly I didn't even enter the event until 2 weeks out.  i am not planning to skip over the past few months and hope to catch up on that but already it has been a week since the event and if i'm going to learn anything from it i need to get it out before i forget all of it.  this, being my 4th IM distance and entering it only 2 weeks before the event, maybe i took it too lightly.  i know i was much better prepared than last year (1 month post typhoid) and the year before that (norovirus) but this year I had planned a No Excuses race.  i had been faster in all 3 events all year and really thought I had 13 hours in the bag.  or under.  under would have been GREAT.

but it turns out you actually need to TRAIN for an IM.  who knew?

i went into the HIM in September lightly trained - i've been doing very well on the bike all year and had that mentally checked off all year long.  even after having to take July off, even after missing out September (the month of quinceañeas) i felt i had the bike in the bag.  and as it turns out, i did.  the swim was a question but not that much of a concern since they changed the route to a float and the run...well that was a question.  i have been targeting an IM at the end of January as my IM and had only 3 runs of 15km or more BUT i had taken a full minute off my average time per kilometer.  and i thought that just might get me through.  basically i was looking at IMCOZ to be a teaching moment an experiment in nutrition and pretty much a PR in the bag.  No excuses this year.  i was healthy and pretty well trained.

so race week ended up being during a norte.  not such a cold one as we've had recently but i was worried that it would burn off and we'd be back to normal weather after weeks of nortes and i'd be completely not acclimated to the newly warm weather.  but that didn't happen.  so yay going into race day.  jamie and i stayed at a hotel this time and remembered why we don't stay in hotels.  :)  we've gotten used to always being in a house, me having a room to go to in order to work and having a whole kitchen at our disposal.  while the hotel was lovely and romantic, we both decided it is back to houses for us.  i can't remember the last time we were in a hotel - has to be the last time we were in the USA, so at least 5 years ago or more.  maybe we're just getting old and crotchety.

however, for a hotel, it was quite nice.  we were at the top of the hotel on teh 3rd floor the first few nights and then for the last night moved to the top floor.   we had amazing views and lots of wind to keep us cool at night (since jamie rivals a heater regardless of temperature in bed).  we had balconies on both sides but honestly never used them.  we did enjoy a TV though (since we don't have one at home) but really missed the noise of an AC as it seems we've become adjusted to white noise all night and the dogs and roosters made the first few nights of sleep, well, sorely lacking in that department.  i'm not sure i can remember a worse night of sleep.

but, we had free breakfast (eggs, empanadas, pan dulce, fruit, horrifically awful coffee, etc.)  Jamie MaGuyver'd a coffee filter from a plastic water bottle, we got filters from our car (which had been left on Cozumel in September) and with hottish water from the water dispenser we were back in coffee heaven, and at our disposal.  and life was good.  life was sweet.  life IS coffee.  but i'm getting ahead of myself.

since we had left the car (van) in Cozumel in September (even before the HIM, I KNOW!!! CRAZEEE!!!) we both took the passenger ferry over.  i headed over after the girls got out of school and Jamie came over after their horse lessons.

i'm not sure we'll ever take the passenger ferry again.  the seas were rough enough that he experienced marineros (no clue why they didn't take their own boat) spewing all over the cargo hold they were sardined into (by then the ferries must have been PACKED) and my seat mates were on their phones (to their loved ones in the event they didn't make it?) telling them about the "ferry de terror" (which i think translates in any language).  once i got off the ferry i made it about a meter away from the dancing gangplank, laid down on the ground and waited.  and i wasn't alone.  Jamie had a similar adventure but by darkness we were both enjoying our room in the hotel and the luxury of Tee Vee.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

i need to remember to take July off the calendar next year

i seem to remember last year was horrific for July also and I missed a crapton of training time and this year looks the same.  a few weeks ago i ate something bad and had a wicked case of food poisoning.  followed that with a week of head cold and coming off that am now down 2 days with a severe (for me) asthma attack.  I'm very glad I bought a nebulizer though because between the neb, the albuterol and the prednisone I think I might be kicking this thing. 

Your mind is a funny thing because during the days I was down hard I'd keep thinking it was all in my head and i was making it to be worse than it really was but then i'd think, well, i couldn't talk without taking a rest between words and couldn't eat without taking a rest between bites (to breathe) so I'm thinking that's maybe a sign it was a good attack.  Everyday I'd wake up and think THIS is the day i get to go out and train again, but, no...and then i'd bargain, well, maybe just a swim? and then i'd get up to go to the bathroom and have to hold onto the walls for support between coughing bouts.  so, nah.

but today i'm feeling much, much better and bargaining for just a short ride or just a short run...  Jamie and I have been enjoying Le Tour this year and watching Eurosport and loving Lemond's coverage.  Well, Jamie still tries to get the stream of Phil and Paul but I personally prefer Eurosport.  I've also decided we NEED to go to Europe and bike around Spain, France, and Italy.  And Portugal (but that is just a given and not based on tour coverage).  So once the kiddos are off, we'll be off.

i finally signed up for Cozumel's half IM after dragging my feet all year and am looking forward to racing that one hard.  unfortunately my plan to really work the swim this year has been dashed by first a shoulder injury and now the hell month of July.  So not sure what will happen there.  My cycling times in training have really been coming down and I'm very happy with that sport.  run is still my weakest and i had wanted to chase a sub 2-minute 21k but now i'm not so sure about that either.  so lots of questions for a hopeful PR.

i'm also really jonsing after the Cozumel IM.  I really had written that one off but the spectators make it SUCH a fun race I'm not sure i'll be able to hold off that siren's song even though i am really planning a Caribbean island IM end January that I'm really looking forward to.  only question is whether it will be just Jamie and I or the whole famdamily. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

run and bike and is there something missing?

one of my neighbors got a new toy and took a picture of the end of my run.  i'm really going to miss the run route when we leave.

after this coming school year, Sissy will be looking at prepa and neither boy enjoyed a single day of prepa so we're thinking we might be leaving Mexico next summer.  At first we thought we had to find a place to settle down but then i thought maybe we'd go back to our roots and hit the road again.  the girls were so young (2 and 4 when we started) the really don't remember much.  So now we're looking at options (5er, TT, toyhauler, Class C?) and seeing what is what.  i'm really looking forward to cycling somewhere other than only 1 road (we have the option of either north or south there and that is the only road) and running on trails instead of sand.  though, looking at the above picture, the sand doesn't look so bad. 

then there is finding a place to swim.  which seems to be rather a problem.  i'm romantically envisioning clear creeks and lakes warm enough to swim in everywhere we go and i'll tether myself to something.  i'm guessing it might not work out that way.  also have to figure out internet.  we used satellite last time but i'm not sure i can handle the FAP.  i've begun logging my personal bandwidth usage to see what i currently use.

shoulder is starting to come along.  no pain for 2 days.  i think i might test the waters today and see what happens...hoping it was just bursitis.

Friday, June 06, 2014

if it is Mayo it must be Tres Rios!

In May i went back to my very first triathlon - the Hacienda Tres Rios.  I've done the 1st, the 2nd and now the 4th edition and i think it is my favorite. 

Lovely beach start and great spot to hang out before the race.  this was the day before and it was lovely

the weather was a little different by the next day and by the time the old ladies started...

walking to the start the morning of the event, some people came quite prepared.  there must have been 10-15 people under the tarp...

again, the day before the event, the is the "sandbar run" part and start of the swim upstream..

it looks like such a nice, quiet river, no?

the swim is always a challenge as the last 500 meters or so are against either a weak or a very strong current, up river.  oh, and that is after swimming out to sea and then running over a sandbar.  it's a fun one.  the trick is to keep out of the manglar roots in the river while trying to hug the sides (where the current isn't quite as strong).   Once again, none of the kids wanted to come (honestly WHO would want to get up at o'dark thirty to watch an old lady race and, as it turned out, freeze to death in a decidedly non-tropical rain?) so jamie and i headed up solitos. 

the day before we'd done bike dropoff and as FMTRI has recently changed the rules for aerobars I had to move the bars even with the brakes (in an imaginary line) so i wouldn't get a 30 second penalty.  that's not so bad but if i do another race with this rule in place the next infraction is 2 minutes and then I think you get a DQ your 3rd.  So i didn't want to start the penalty cascade.  unfortunately at bike dropoff they said that while the bars didn't exceed, I needed a solid bar going between the two aerobars or I'd still get the penalty.  Not to be deterred, she took my information and then Jamie and I fashioned a "bar" by affixing a tire lever across with bars with black electrical tape.  So now it sure LOOKED like I had a bar there and that was all FMTRI needed not to penalize me.

The day of the event started out with grey skies and by the time we old ladies finally started the sky was dumping cats, dogs, lizards, sharks, fish, Everything was coming down.  It was raining hard enough to make it difficult to see once in the water but they bouys were nice and bright.  however, that didn't stop teh entire wave in front of us from cutting 2 of the bouys.  once i realized we were following them in cutting the course i headed back to the bouys and went around.  i'm no longer looking to podium in my age category but looking to where i am overall and it was a little disappointing to see all those women in the first wave cutting a good portion of the swim course. 

by the time we got on the bike the rain had leveled out to a tropical downpour and i just concentrated on staying rubber side down and not getting passed.  i think i came off the bike in 7th place or so.  unfortunately i was pretty discouraged wtih all the course cutting in the swim and took the run not quite as hard as i could have.  i was really pleased, however, to find a 27+ minute 5K split as that means teh Isla Mujeres run was likely not short as I'd thought.  AND my run is getting faster.  Jamie and I hung around for the premiacion as he really wanted me to get my plaque.  so we hung around, had hamburgulars and danced a bit, watched the crazy after party and won $1000 in a dental certificate prize, essentially paying me to race.  So that was SWEET.  i decided not to do Bacalar (5K swim) in June and have been eyeing a 1/2 marathon in Guatemala, so we'll see about that.  I might just decide to not spend money in June also and do nothing. 

Doesn't this look like the most fun ever?

April katsup

I got out of the habit of posting and i know my mom has been waiting for news...  I'm really loving this year's racing.  i'm doing an event every month and have been having So Much Fun.  In Abril we went to Isla Mujeres for a sprint triathlon and a week of vacation for Semana Santa.  the kids got out of school early Friday as SS was starting so the girls and I headed up to Cancun to catch the ferry over and left the boys home as they had a cast party that night (from their Aida production).  We had a number of suitcases/duffles, the bike, boys stuff.  We were PACKED.  since the boys were taking a colectivo and/or bus and we had the van we tried to take as much as we could.  

This is the end of the swim - we started somewhere way out in the brilliant blue after jumping ship. 

You can see the ship in the background and i'm guessing this picture is after we were all on board and heading out to sea.  These are judges and the organizer of the event.

Package pickup was at the ferry terminal, making it super nice for the Canuneses not having to spend the night on Isla but for us that was the whole point.  i had rented a luxury house for a fraction of its usual cost as it was brand new on the market (which reminds me, i need to post a review...).  it had 4BR, 4BA, laundry, garden, terrace and ocean view (though a block away).  It was gorgeous.  Once we got on the island I tried talking the girls into walking to the house but considering we had Little Clue where to go and it heavy luggage I finally put the girls in a taxi and jumped on my bike behind them and raced to the house from the ferry building.  the taxista was very considerate and waited for me when he needed to and we found the place pretty easily.   He definitely earned his tip.

i had the triathlon the next day so i left the girls to sleep in and headed off, not exactly sure where i was going as i had missed the junta the night before and being a little clueless to begin with.  I figured the island was small enough I'd likely run into it at some point on my bike so i just followed my nose.  luckily there are very few roads on Isla Mujeres and i really could NOT have gotten lost.  I headed south and before I knew it stumbled upon the start.  YAY!  This was a really fun event.  It was pirate themed and started by swimming 50 m into a stiff current and then boarding a pirate boat.

)Who's got a white belly???  hanging out at the beach close to our house with the girls before the boys got there.)

The boat finally headed out to sea and WAITERS CAME BY AND SERVED US DRINKS!!! and then we finally made our way to the jumping off point.  Boys jumped off to start the triathlon and like usual, the ladies were last.  anyway it was super fun and gorgeous water but weird currents.  I was hoping be one of the first ones in but once i finally figured out where to land the swim (again, going to the junta would have been a good idea) I was surrounded by females.  After heading out on the bike i was shocked to be told at each bike checkpoint that I was the 2nd female. 

I didn't really expect my lead to stay through the run as absolutely everyone there was younger than me.  i figured the women behind me would likely run me down as my run is, to say the least, not my strong point but i held on and kept watching and watching for someone to blow by me and ended up doing 27 minutes for my run - fastest for me - and took 2nd overall.  the run was GORGEOUS as we ran down the coast the the southernmost point and out onto the rocks and ruins before heading back.  very strangely they didn't award overall but only by category.  go figure - my only chance to win an overall placing and they didn't award overall - just age category.  the afterparty was grand with a lovely catered buffet!!!  i'd come back for this one easy peasy.

The boys showed up a few days later, Monday, and the girls and i spent time walking and playing in the sea.  i managed to get a run and bike pretty much each and every day but could not find a good place to swim, especially as the swimming beach, North Beach, was absolutely STUFFED with everyone on Semana Santa holiday.  i rented a golf cart one day for the kids and they had a grand time exploring with that.  i think the best time was had with them watching TV though - my kids are more sloths than human i think.  :)  Jesse brought his girlfriend over and we didn't drive her crazy insane, so that's good, right? 

We went All Over the island looking for a great beach and ended going to the one we could walk to from our house.  it was beautiful and had great waves for the kids to bodysurf without getting dragged out to sea but the undertow.  Poor Alejandra (jesse's gf) as she is from DF, a landlocked city in a landlocked state, and likely never has been in waves before.  i think he FINALLY clued in towards the end that she was a little uncomfortable and they hung out on the beach while the rest of the crew bodysurfed.  i'm thinking we'll have to go back, maybe summer time...  though there is a 15k run there in august...  maybe jamie and i will pop over there for a nice weekend...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

heavenly holbox

So it is a week later and we're still gushing about Holbox.  It ended up being a girls' weekend as Jamie took sick.  We took what we thought was the longer way - up via Cancun - but it ended up being 30 minutes shorter than the "short" way via Coba, and that was with a road washout.  Course, here, 30 minutes is a sneeze.  We stopped at Costco for a coffee stockup on the way out (and to get cheap hotdogs for the girls for lunner) and to break up the drive a bit.  The ferry over to Holbox was a bit of a sticker shock (even with the race discount of $90 each way) and cost more than the 1 hotel room for a night.  That said, I'd come back in a heartbeat.

We really only scratched the surface by hitting the beach all 3 days (arrival, race day and day after race day) and renting bikes ($15/hr - super cheap compared to a golf cart at $120/hr) to see more of the island.  The last day I actually was so comfortable there that I let the youngest two rent bikes and toodle around while I went for a run.  Speaking of the run, it was a bit short (9.7km by Google Earth) and I still PRd even with the extra tacked on (with assumption of same average pace).  I think it came out to 53:45 or so for the full 10K and the 9.7 was 52:22.  I was over the moon with that.  I guess consistent slow running is working finally.

It was amazingly beautiful there and I would LOVE to dump our Isla Mujeres plan for Semana Santa and go back, but that is my first triathlon of the season, we've never been to Mujeres, and if nothing else, the ferry to Mujeres is about 1/2 the price of Holbox's.  ;)  I have been awful with training lately and finally downed some way-expired parasite meds to see if that will cure the stomach woes.  Honestly, we should have been doing the every-6-month prophylaxis all along but details...  Finally got out on the bike yesterday and had a GREAT ride - great power and managed to brick a run.  So getting back into the swing with a couple weeks left for Mujeres.

Not sure what I'll do in May as the PLL is just too expensive but I'll find something.  I'm really liking having the opportunity to race so much more - gives me something to look forward to every month.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Changes in attitudes...

I'm pretty much decided not to do the PLL (Cancun to Isla swim).  I was sick during the week that the rate went up and not only lost a week of training (that according to real swimmers I REALLY needed as I'm woefully light on 10K swim training) but lost the "cheaper" rate.  Honestly the cheaper rate wasn't that good anyway.  Then Jamie got the bug and it drove him finally to Dr. Simi who prescribed abx and Flagyl (hoping, I assume, to cover both bases).  So he is at home this weekend while the girls (and their friend) and I headed to Isla Holbox. 

I have read a decent amount about Holbox and it has intrigued me but it is a little far and we just never got around to it.  When the local running event company changed their line up this year and dumped all but 1 of their normal routes and added in Holbox, it was pretty much a no-brainer for me.  I think I was the first one signed up.  :)  It has turned out to be an incredibly expensive trip though, so now I'm thinking I know why not too many people come here. 

I had planned to work in the car the entire drive but when Jamie bowed out I was left as the sole driver and work was out of the question.  I have been trying to work a little less and be present for more family stuff but it is a very hard line to walk knowing if I can work more there is more breathing room financially and it has been a heavy year so far with our immigration renewals and school yearly inscription costs...but I'm trying and being forced into not being able to work (so far) this weekend has really been lovely.  We sang and talked a lot of the way up here and work has not intruded yet on the girls' fun.  So there is that.

Now I suppose I have a run to do (the excuse that brought us here) so I should do that.  And the girls are going to want breakfast afterwards - they already gave me the menu last night.  :)   I'm really glad I didn't sign them up for the race though as last night they decided they wanted to sleep in (and this was after sleeping a lot of the way in the car.  I'm loving the idea of absolutely no concrete anywhere today for the run...now to see if the mozzies are going to carry me away...