Wednesday, November 30, 2011

IM Cozumel race report

I actually was nervous about the swim. I had planned to start my swim training at the point that Jesse got sick so that was out and I ended up with a short season (5 weeks) of swim. But back when dinosaurs roamed the earth I swam (AAU) so I figured that would have to do. I had done one 3000 m swim and felt strong and figured that was a good sign. I jumped into the front group hoping find a spot to avoid and melee and on the way there was a giant eagle ray in the water. I must be jaded cause I was thinking it wasn't that big a deal and when they are a meter away from you (as they are in our bay) they aren't quite THAT neat looking. :) As I started the swim it occurred to me that I had no idea where I was going. I really should have looked at the swim route more carefully if for no other reason then to know about where I was in the swim. I tried to remember to finish my stroke but honestly it was insanity out there. There were few opportunities for clear water and I mostly was looking at bubbles or scuba divers or boats. I don't think I saw more than 1 fish. It was alternatly long and short - by the end it felt shorter than 1:30 (it was 1:15ish) but I was ready to be done with swimming. Getting out was interesting but I had read it was "interesting" so that wasn't a huge surprise. My legs were more wobbly than I thought they'd be though.

I WALKED to T1. I wasn't having any of the run to T1 madness - I was there for the experience and not to make a certain time. Course that didn't last long with all the spectators egging us on so I jogged the almost .25 km to our tent. Dumped out my bag (I'd read of others doing that and it seemed to make sense) and stripped. I really brought a lot of stuff in my jersey and at the last minute had stuffed my camera in there too. I had a numbing (lidocaine) cream (which became a lifesaver on lap 2 and 3 of the bike), a normal chamois cream (which got lost) 3 packages of Perpetuem, camera, Endurolytes, GU, etc. My jersey pockets were LOADED down. I took around 12 min in T1 and it flew by. Before I knew it I was headed out, one leg down but that marathon still looming out there.

I enjoyed the HELL out of the 1st lap. I had energy and was egging on the spectators trying to get their energy up. According to the stats I was still in 3rd place after the 1st lap but got slower on the 2nd lap. I started USING the spectators then as my stomach went from bad to worse. I couldn't stomach the power bars or their gels so I stuck with my Perpetuem and GUs until I knew something had to change. I saw the family both loops which was awesome. I tried to do a bike-by kiss with Jamie and I think I managed it. I saw Zach on this loop also (he was finishing up and lapping me) and cheered him on. The last loop was harder. It seemed like everyone in the world was passing me (only 400 people, it turns out) and here I dropped from 3rd in my AG to 18th. I also lost out on the tailwind this loop as the rain hit and down here when the rain comes you're looking at serious wind. So a bit dejected I came into T2, knowing my goal of a 6:30 bike was going to be more like 6:45 to 7:00 (it was 7:00 with all the stops included).

The T2 tent had potties so I availed myself and was glad to see I was still peeing. I had been taking 3 Endurolytes each hour on the bike but there was no way I wanted to carry those on the run so I tried something brand new - GU fizzy stuff. I am frugal enough that I refused to throw away my water bottles on the bike course but instead saved them up to throw to Jamie when I saw him and picked up a course bottle for the run. I changed, vaselined my blistered toe and headed out, glad to be out of the cold downpour and worried about the run. Course the picture (coming out of T2 shows I wasn't showing that worry).

The first lap was demoralizing. I tried to go 15 min run then 1 min walk but my feet would have none of it. I was soon down to 10 min/1 min. I was worried I wasn't going to be able to run and would have to walk the entire thing. I'd finish but I really thought I should be able to do 15-16 hours and didn't want to be slower than that. I also was wearing the colors so I didn't feel like I could walk in town at all but once I saw other (obvious) Mexican athletes walking through the cheers I gave myself permission to walk when I needed to. I had never run further than 21 km and the signage was weird beyond belief. To either cut down on signs or cost and to include the Luddites using miles, the laps would have signage with mile 4, km 15, mile 25 etc. all on the same leg. I tried to convince myself that it *could* be only a 2-lap course but adding things up (I figured each lap had to be 14km) made it 3. The people lining the course, however, MADE the run. I had 2 waiters and a cook run out of their restaurant each and every lap I did to cheer me on. Wearing the colors means you get NOTICED and cheered like nobody's business. And that really carries you along and allows you to keep on keeping on. The crowd support of this event is mind blowing.

The 2nd lap was really hard. I was a bit down knowing how far I had to go and the huge doubt I had that I'd make it. I totally expected myself to be walking. My hips started hurting bad towards 21km but it actually was a good thing as during my 21km at the HIM my hips had been very very painful from way before the end, almost from 15km so I figured that was a good thing. I got bags of ice for my hips and as I started the 3rd lap got ibuprofen and hoped for the best. I tried to tell myself it was only one 4 mile lap and one more 4 mile lap and I certainly could do that. I've read enough marathon reports that I knew there was a wall out there waiting for me also and I was really worried about that. However, as I passed through the throngs (the crowd pumped you up SO MUCH) and danced with the locals (under Punta Langosta?) I started to get a 2nd wind or something. I felt strong, I felt good and I wanted to run as much of the 3rd lap as possible. Once darkness settled I had given up on 10/1 as I couldn't see my watch so I'd run from aid station to aid station. And more. This lap I wanted to maximize the run and I did it.

Until 40km. Something about knowing I had only 2 km to go and I KNEW I could do it - but man oh man, those last 2 km were the longest of the race. I had been mentally adding up the hours and my suspicion of my run (I figured the swim was 1:30, transitions were :30 total and the run should have been 2 hours a lap) I figured I was in for a 15 hour time. I thought it could be as long as closer to 16 hours and I was pretty depressed about that but just kept running, just kept running, that's what we do, we run. So I did. And I finally came to the Most Amazing Finisher's Chute in the free world. I high-5'd everyone possible and picked up the pace and then I saw the clock. I don't think I even heard the announcer as the 14 or 15 I had expected to see was a THIRTEEN! I was so stoked about my time I forgot where I was. I crossed the line and thankfully my son taped it because I didn't remember any of it other than that beautiful clock.

I couldn't believe I'd run a marathon. I wasn't that impressed with the swim or bike but the accomplishment of the marathon is something that kept coming back to me over the next couple days. I ran a MARATHON! oh yeah, and other stuff too. :) I decided as we got off the ferry that I'm in for next year. I want to take an hour off. I'd love to see a 12 on the clock. :) I think I'm addicted.

We had such an amazing time with Zach and Kristin and headed to the east side the next day as a trip to Pig Island (that is what we call Cozumel in our family, due to the wild pigs on the east side) is not complete without a trip to the east side. We are going to miss them greatly. What lovely folks. And Zach got FOURTH. In the whole damn thing!


The Donkey Pit said...

Congrats on you IM!!!

hikejmt said...

Venga, venga! Vamos Kitty! Vamos Mexico!

hikejmt said...

Man, it was a GREAT day. We had so much fun cheering you on. And that negative split in your last lap was MINDBLOWING. Even Zach and Kristin expected you in 20 minutes later. Thank you, thank you for the THRILL!

Kathy said...

thanks so much! Can't wait to do it again next year. (doesn't that sound weird? :))

Quincy said...

Holy Mother, 13? Kickass!