Thursday, December 05, 2013

Prerace jitters - IM Cozumel 2013

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  It was the good, the bad and the very, very ugly.  It was Ironman number 3 and by now I should be able to throw one down without a second thought.  I had a few challenges this year, dengue in July, trochanteric bursitis in September, and typhoid in November.  I had an AMAZING half in September and the first time I really raced hard.  I need to look back to that race to remember this year.

I wasn't even the slightest bit concerned about either the IM or the HIM after dengue and somewhat concerned after the bursitis but figured I'd just ride hard when the doctor gave me clearance to ride again.  I had 2 runs in the bank after getting doctor clearance and was hit with typhoid.  Looking back at my training log I was completely out for 10 days.  Once I was finally able to get out of bed and train again, I had less than 3 weeks before the IM and one of those would be a "taper" week.  I had just been 2-1/2 weeks off of bike and run due to bursitis and I was desperate to try and salvage some fitness and finish the IM.

I usually have family visit for the IM in November - it is a perfect vacation time for them with Turkey day and all but it is exam week for the Mexican kids.  This year in addition to a 2nd appearance of the grandparents (my folks) and a 3rd appearance by my sister (and 2nd by her kids and husband), we had the fortune to have the company of my other sister, her husband, and their 4 kids.  Both sisters and most of the kids spent a few days here with us at home before most of us headed over to the island.

I got over to the island super early this year.  Normally we head over Friday but my sister had half her family coming to Cozumel on Wednesday so we all headed over on the early ferry and down to their luxury villa on the south side of the island.  I spent a lovely night in the luxury of the mansion but sleeping alone, I was up at 3am and unable to sleep.  Luckily, we decided to take the kids out of school Friday and Monday so they could enjoy the maximum time with cousins possible and Jamie and the kids headed over to the island Thursday after school and we all headed to our little house after a lovely dinner at the mansion.

By Saturday I was desperate to swim.  I hadn't been in the water all week, between working, logistics and travel it just wasn't going to happen.  All the Ironman swims had been cancelled due to rough water but I didn't really think it was worse than the year before and figured I could handle it and decided to put in around Villablana, the usual spot we go in Cozumel.  I didn't want to spend the gas to drive all the way to Chank.  I got in the water pretty well even though the dock was continued to be hammered and rendered unusable by the storm.  I picked a spot between big waves and got out before they smashed me back into the dock.

Once away from solid objects, the water was fine.  Full of sea grass (ugh) but definitely swimable.  I swam up the coast a bit and then aimed to come out of the water at a spot I had figured out from shore was my best bet.  It might have been my best bet but it was a bloody exit.  I was hammered pretty hard into the rock and coral and days later found more spots that had been scraped up.  It was one of the more stupid things I'd ever done but I had my head planted firmly in De Nile and typhoid or no typhoid, bloody appendages or no bloody appendages, I was going to do the damn event one way or another.  I had been pretty apathetic about it however, not really envisioning the race and just hanging onto the hope that I would finish.  I figured I could likely do the swim, the bike was a question over 130 km and the run was a giant question I had no desire to confront.  I'd stick with De Nile and hope for a miracle.

How bad could it be?

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