Thursday, November 29, 2012
the glory of the hair - IM Cozumel 2012 (part 1)
I have a superstition of always doing something new on race day. Last year it was the race itself, a new bike seat and nutrition. This year I went in having eaten (or kept down) virtually nothing for 2 to 3 days previous, plus new nutrition, brand new shoes and lube. I have to laugh at all the RRs with folks setting alarms and eating in the middle of the night on race day. When you get to the insomnia portion of old age, you NEVER interrupt sleep. Considering I wasn't keeping food down anyway, I wasn't about to start a new practice of waking myself up to try to eat something. I figured I'd go in like a bear does winter. I have nice coat of fat to live off. Should work in theory anyway...
I really wanted to do the Saturday swim practice as I'd been off the bike and run since the previous Sunday and had not swum since the previous Monday. Pretty much I was screwed, but I wanted to see if I had anything in my arms. Dayum, but the water was rough on Saturday. Much worse than race day (at least to my recollection). I did as much as they allowed (most of the course was closed except 2 bouys) and then waited for Zach to finish psyching out his competitors before heading home. After the swim I completely released myself from any expectations. I knew I was going to swim slow, and quite honestly, I wasn't sure I was going to make it. Well, my ego would MAKE me finish unless I could not make forward progress, but I expected it could get super ugly. After the swim while chatting with Jamie (an ex-teammate of Zach's) and Zack, Jamie suggested that if the conditions were the same the next day, he could see people needing the entire 2.5 hours (or whatever they give us; I have YET to attend a prerace meeting in any language) and I thought he was crazzeeee. Those pros live in a different world and I figured he was pretty out of touch with we mere mortals. Crow does taste pretty good after all!
Race day morning I still couldn't hold down a GU. I was, however, able to eat and hold down a banana so I radically changed my nutrition plan to (ta dum!!) BANANAS! I figured in the old days they did all kinds of crazeee nutrition and I was just going to take some inspiration from old skool. I had a banana for breakfast and a sip of Perpeteum and hoped I'd be able to drink it on the bike, ASSuming I made it to the bike. I did a LOT of ASSuming. Still do. My sister, BIL, 2 nieces, my mother and father (83 and 77), my 4 kids (18, 16, 13 and 11) and Dearest Husband In the Free World accompanied me to the swim start. I was pretty bummed because I was sure I wasn't going to finish and I honestly wasn't sure I'd even finish the swim but dayum, you have to at least TRY, right? Water looked calmer than the day before. Ray of hope #1. I took it out SUPER easy. I didn't work hard at all, I really just wanted to finish around the same time as last year (denial again) and not get pulled out. I took about 15 minutes longer than last year but it seemed to go much faster than last year. Last year seemed to drag ForEver but other than the last stretch of however long (400-1200m?) that seemed to take 20 minutes or so, it went pretty fast and easy in my head. I did manage to swallow water for the first time ever and rounding one buoy someone placed their hand on my head and pushed me directly down underwater (that was confusing as hell) and I must have swum constant Zs after being pushed all over by the waves and current, but it was, at least in hindsight, pretty easy as I took it super easy.
I ran to transition. Last year I was beat up by the swim and too tired to run to transition and honestly, for us old, slow farts, you gotta just wonder, WHY? Stroll and smell the roses! But this year I ran. And felt good. I had gotten hungry on the last stretch of the swim and hoped that would be a good sign. I asked the guy I was running with (at Cozumel the changing tents are a fair piece from the swim exit) what time he had and he very graciously hit buttons on his watch to figure it out. He had 1:28. I was a little bummed because that is really slow but the water was rough so I justified it that way. What ever works. Hey, I got out and made it through one event! I had a GREAT time in the transition tent - the volunteers were so helpful and brought me some Gatorade concoction I had remembered from last year that was like nirvana and this year did not disappoint either. I got 2 more and dumped the nutrition I had (chomps and bars) as I knew they weren't going to happen. Saw the family as I left and headed out on the bike.