Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cozumel HIM 2013 recap

So I really thought I had no chance.  I had convinced myself that my lack of swimming the past few weeks and complete lack of run and huge decrease in bike the last 2 months had doomed my chances.  I had trained well in the beginning of the year, up to about July, but July and August sucked in training due, no doubt, to dengue.  I was hoping my early season training might get me through the race in a respectable time but I had very little hope.  It was the first time I'd not visualized a race at all - I was very meh about the whole idea.

Last year I had the same time goal but with more bike and run training;however fell quite short and had a didn't do the time I thought I should have.  I was really avoiding thinking about the race and had no expectations.  I think I finally got into the race about an hour before it started.  We took the longest ferry again.  The ferry on the Friday before a race must always run a couple hours behind schedule and be loaded to the brim.  We finally got over to the island about 5 hours after we left the house (5 km up the road and 10km across the water).  This picture is from the ferry line.

Pike and Jamie went with me to package pickup and then we just hung out at the house the rest of the day.  We invited one of Ellen's friends over (and she took the ferry over by herself!) and she and the girls decided to skip the swim start so race day it was just Jamie and the boys to accompany me to the swim start.  We left much later than usual and found out a very important piece of information.  Most all the street closures happen between 530 and 6 am, so leaving at 6am will have you in a bit of a panic trying to get out onto the malecon.  I got to the start with about 10 minutes at transition before we headed out to the water but frankly, that was about all I needed.  Maybe next time I'll leave a little bit more fudge time. 

 rooftop view from the house we stayed at.  definitely a 10/10 especially with FIVE beds!

Again, like last year, the oldest of the farts started first, right after the pros and we were off pretty quickly.  I snagged some feet and a hip for the first time in a long time and pushed the pace.  I had to keep reminding myself that this was the half, not the full, and I could afford to go harder, though I honestly had no game plan other than to push as hard as I could but still be able to hold on for the run.  I didn't feel like we had a current-assisted swim this year but neither were we against teh current.  It was super tranquilo and flat seas. 

I was All Over the course though.  I kept choosing the wrong person to follow.  I noticed that only one wave had caught up and was somewhat encouraged by that but had no idea how I was doing.  At one point I rounded a buoy and had empty seas ahead of me until I popped up and realized I had started swimming BACK across the course and had to reverse and come back to the course.  Empty water rounding a buoy is a great clue for me now to make sure I'm actually on course.  :)  I was shocked that the end had come up so quick as I had expected a much longer swim but was very happy to find the steps and exit (not before completely missing them and starting to swim under the pier).  I was definitely  direction challenged today.  I found out later that most likely the swim was short, so my most excellent time was likely not quite so excellent after all.

I had not seen any of the boys or Jamie before the swim, coming out of the water or heading out on the bike.  I figured something must have happened or the boys had to leave early (they were volunteering at the finish) so off to the bike.  For the entire road across the island to the East side, my legs were just gone.  I was doing 25-27kph and my heart rate was in the low 140s and high 130s.  I was really worried that my legs had forgotten to show up for the event and my goals were were quickly disappearing.  I was getting passed by group after group and at one point identified a lady in my AG blatantly drafting off 2 of her compañeros.  I was getting very discouraged.

Luckily, I came upon an aid station and upon realizing I had inadvertently left my planned bike nutrition at transition, I added a bottle of gatorade to the 2 bottle of Skrach and very shortly, just after turning onto the windy side my legs woke up and I started to ride.  I remember being SO GLAD they showed up AND that it seemed we actually had a tail wind on the East side (rather than the usual howling cross winds) and my speed climbed to 31-34 and my HR fell to the very low 130s.  I kept looking down at my legs and thanking them for showing up over and over almost the whole ride.  I then lived off the course to ensure I had enough sugar to keep me moving.

I found another lady in my AG who was being very blatantly drafted off by another lady in our AG and thanked my legs again for showing up to the dance and decided to hang back from them about 7m (legal draft).  Watching them, it seemed like the lady in front had no idea of her little leech but she also wasn't against sitting on a guy's wheel for a while.  I passed her a few times but she always made a point to pass me back so I figured she just liked being in front and let her lead.  I also let her decide the pace.

They say to always race your own race and not your competitor's race but she had a good pace, I could hold it, I didn't want to lose my placing (thanks legs AGAIN) and my HR was okay.  I managed to jump in front of her just before the timing mats though to keep my placing.  Just before T2 I saw the whole famdamily and I had to stop and greet them which resulted in her beating me to T2.  I hoped she wasn't a strong runner but I wasn't about to just ride by my family and yell out a greeting.  They deserved hugs and kisses so I stopped.

Once on the run course I checked my watch and realized my bike MUST have been under 3 hours and that knowledge kept me going strong. I pushed the pace as much as I could on the run with the only goal being to hold off the rest of the old ladies from passing me, run the entire run (no walking) and keep the rubber side down.  The 2nd lap the skies opened, DUMPED, lightened up and then dumped and dumped and dumped to such a degree that we were running through water up to our calves in normal and deeper at other super flooded areas.

I got SO MUCH energy from the crowds on the first lap, this course is like none other.  The fans are AMAZING and they make the event such a great experience.  I couldn't help but think, however, how hard this was and the full is double.  At the finish the clock was not working and I didn't start my watch until the bike, so I had no idea of my swim or finish time, but seeing my boys at the finish, working as catchers, pushed any idea of a clock out of my mind and I grabbed the both of them and we headed towards pizza.

Even though I've done the full twice before, today has really scared me for the full.  This was hard for me - I pushed in all 3 events - and while I know I can't hold these paces for the full, I'm worried I'm just not up for the full this year.  I'm stiff, sore, feet are like hamburger and I'm hurting tonight.  I hate to think what that means for the full....but I am Very Proud of this race.  I was racing it, not just doing it.  I was checking the calves of any female coming near me (checking for AG identification) and other than 3 aid stations where I took on Pepsi, I never walked AND I kept the pace up (for me). 


moongod said...

Congratulations, dear Kit. A wonderful post and it sure sounds like a winners posting. You did great and on your own terms! Great race!

hikejmt said...

Thanks for the race report. Its got to be hard to see folks cheating and getting away with it. What was your placing in the end?

Keep your spirits up about the IM - it seems you always find some extra bucket of energy and drive on that big race.

Much love, Christina

Michelle said...

argh, my post was lost.

you are amazing and inspiring.

i can't watch you in all your glory in November!