Tuesday, February 25, 2014

just keep swimming...

At the risk of grossing out those highly sensitive, i just have to give a shout out to my neighbor who, quite a while ago, so this is belated, gifted us with a BEVVY of lingerie.  Used.  I now have more underwear than I need - for the first time in a Very Long Time.  I usually get 3-4 pair (always the same since type) new a year and for some reason (sun?) they take a beating down here.  To have such a quantity of different styles is such a luxury I notice it each and every time I put on a pair.  It has been a few months now and it is still a wonder and amazement every morning when I look with glee at the treasure I get to choose from.

These past few months (and I can't imagine it is related to the underwear so there is a prime example of correlation does not equal causation) there have been a LOT of walkers on the jungle path I run on.  It is wonderful to see so many more people taking control of their health.  I love seeing all them out there.  But the other morning I was doing my 90 min run, which is 3 laps of the path and a little more thrown in, and on lap number 2 came along an unnerving cheerleader.  It wasn't so much What she said but the Way I took it - "GREAAAT job!" that immediately made me think she was encouraging her 100 yo grandma in taking her first step out of the hospital bed.  I know I have a distorted view of my "youth" and my "run" likely puts Newton's first law to great stress but I have always thought I was doing okay out there.  I did render her pretty speechless when I was coming back around for my 3rd (to her it would have been 2nd) lap, so there is that...

I've been event-crazy this year and signing up for at least 1 event a month.  This month I decided on the Puerto Morelos open water 1.25, 5 and 10 K swim.  I found it ranked number 49 (IIRC) on the world's top 100 swims so that was a huge selling point right there.  The fact that there would be no travel or hotel costs was another AND when I finally made it to the event I was able to get swimming federation signup at a fraction of the cost so really, I was SAVING money by doing the event.  Right?

At any rate, I have a longer goal of a 10K swim from Cancun to Isla Mujeres in May and wanted to see how bad this 5K would feel.  I had an absolutely AWFUL 5K last year in Bacalar and was curious about the increased swimming (albeit limited according to Slowtwitch standards) I've been doing over the past few months and what effect it might have on my swim.  I was pretty worried beforehand as the seas down here (70km away or so?) were pretty rough and I was not looking forward to 3+ hours trying not to drown and seriously considered trying to downgrade to the 2.5K. 

The Slowtwitch guys pretty much had me convinced I was a fool to even consider the swim.  So it was with very little confidence that Jamie and I headed out into the dawn.  We had a secondary goal of hitting Costco after the event, so if nothing else we'd get that done, and with the 45km time trial the weekend after we were planning to recon the course after
I finished swimming.  So really, the swim was just going to be a warmup. 

I was so impressed with the event staff.  I was able to do package pickup just before the event AND paid a year of federation fees at about half off, so if I do the 10K and Bacalar this year I'm already paid for those.  Otherwise I made I nice donation.  They ran the 10K swimmers first and then the kids.  They had kids doing 250m, 1k and maybe other distances.  We were a little ways down from the start and didn't really listen well but I was really impressed with the organization.  They were even running awards to the kids and earlier events while we 5K'ers and 10K'ers finished up our swims.  This was their 9th event and pretty popular.  There were kids from all over the country here and it also seems that this is a selection event for the national open water 5K team, so super popular. 

All in all, I was very, very happy with my swim.  The seas were reasonable, I felt super fast (though I wasn't) and strong through about the first 3 laps (3.75k) but got rather lost on the backside of lap 3 and ended up going back along the course.  I made the rookie mistake of following a guy who went back along the course and it took the kayakers a bit to get us sorted back to the course.  Yes, it is possible to get lost on a circular course; actually, I think it was more of a diamond shape. 

We had a good current against us at the far point to the point where you seriously wondered if you were making progress.  Luckily, even though we were the furthest out to sea at that point the sea bottom was the most shallow, so you could see your progress very well.  Actually, the whole course had excellent visibility (the norm for here) but surprising to me as rough water here usually results in murky water.  I had one monster leg cramp and thought I'd have to abandon along the beginning of the 4th (last) lap as I was totally unable to swim.  Luckily one of the guys swimming behind me told me to grab a buoy (doh) and I was able to use it to stretch the leg out.  I was really happy with how good I felt considering my last 5K and while I was tired at the finish I definitely had more in me and the top 3 in my age group all finished within 5 minutes of each other.  That massive cramp, however, was likely a good indicator that I had reached my fitness limit so I now need to buckle down and train if I'm going to do double the distance. 

I snagged 3rd and a nice plaque and while I'm rather disappointed with my time, I'm very happy with how good I felt during the swim and how strong I felt throughout the swim, especially in comparison to Bacalar last year. 

Next week we have the 45km time trial so after stuffing my face Jamie and I headed to T1 to change and head out for a 50km bike ride and recon the route.  Wicked winds very different from last year but we're still hoping all the TSS training we've been doing will allow us to podium again this year.  Jamie wants to take the entire road division (they split the prizes between road and tri bikes) and he just might do it.  I'm really looking forward (and with dread as this event is a KILLER) to see if I can better my time from last year and kick some more young ass.  I'll likely be the oldest one there again and I LOVE beating ladies much younger than I.  Nice to bring home some change too.  I know it is going to hurt so much though and there lies the dread. 

Not sure what else I have in store this month - I think we're going to Holbox for a run mid month and while I have no aspirations for my 10K (other than to break an hour again), I'm REALLY looking forward to visiting the island.  It will be a long weekend for the kids (school) but since the boys are deep into practice for Aida, they'll be staying at home, taking advantage for dress rehearsals at Xcaret.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

new kicks

So back a few days after IMCOZ Jamie and I headed out on a ride and my derailleur completely fell off the frame (along with a piece of the frame) and lodged itself in my spokes.  Looking back I'm shocked I didn't crash as I had to carry the bike home, in the air, wheel unable to spin.  So Jamie made me a fixie and I had one gear.  which sometimes decided to change.  all by itself.  and sometimes the chain would fall off but it was good and i could at least train.  but my knees were getting beat up in headwinds when i'd be pushing too high a gear for the conditions.  so we began to look for a new bike.

i originally thought i could get away with paying only $500 USD but we soon came to the realization that living where we do and being unable to rely on the post and get spare parts at a decent price (a big requirement when you're building your bike piecemeal) it just wasn't going to happen.  So we needed a fully functional bike, frame+components+wheels.  And figured we'd be spending some money.  I was able to find a guy selling bikes that had been used for triathlon rentals though and got a sweet deal on a normally $4KUSD bike for less than half that cost.  Course once I added up the customs fees and import and transport here, it became closer to half that cost. 

I decided to go with our standby Merkalink, to import the bike as you just never know what is going to happen if you use USPS (who then hands over to MexPost at the border).  I've read amazing accounts from folks in Cancun who regularly receive their stuff but I wasn't going to take the chance with this bike as I have yet to receive packages from 2 years ago and had 13 month delivery for 2 books once way back when I trusted MexPost.  For some reason teh bike gained about 25 pounds (listed at 25 pounds when it left the sender and listed at 39KG at Merkalink) and they would not budge from that obvious fraud.  It killed me to pay those charges but TIM.  Maybe their extortion fees have gone up recently.  Who knows.  At least they're getting stuff though. 

So off to the bank Jamie went, paid the fees, I emailed the comprobante to them and it was a pretty short (2 days) time in Aduana before heading down here.  It must have been a very tiring trip though as the bike sat in the Playa distribution center (15 km from our house) from Saturday until Thursday when I finally had enough and Jamie headed to Estafeta after picking the kids up from school for "delivery".  Amazingly, the bike was, at that very moment on the truck and being delivered.  Who wudda thunk?  Unfortunately there was some damage either from transit or poor packaging.  One piece can be replaced (the seat mast) and the seller has offered to send me a new one and the other we're hoping is just cosmetic.

Jamie is putting the finishing touches on teh bike and off we'll head today and try it out.  We have a norte back in town so I've got 3k swim on my list along with that 60k ride and a 5k run.  That should clear out the doldrums...

Thursday, February 06, 2014

dancing to La Migra

It's that time of year when we dance to La Migra.  We had thoughts that we could achieve permanent cards but we were told that (even though the law states otherwise) PdC would only give permanente for 3 years on an FM3 and were ignoring the 3 other ways to qualify and would not take old FM3s as proof of time here.  Maybe if we'd talked to a different person, but whatever.   Since Pike is going back to the Huenited States in the summer he's going to bus it to Belize, hand in his FM3 and come in on a tourist visa.  He's really looking forward to the trip - it will give him a bit of the taste of what is involved in travel (which he wants to do after working this summer).  Jesse is going to stay here for another year of music school (not that him being totally twitterpated has anything to do with that decision) so next year we will likely have only 3 kids in the house.  Weird.

Pike convinced us to let him drop out of school after Xmas break and has filled his days volunteering at Ellen's school and practicing for El Playarte's production of AIDA.  He started a few months behind the other kids so he is scrambling to memorize lines (in Spanish, natch) and the dance steps.  I'm not sure what happened to my kid who froze at new things and was so very easily overwhelmed but I'm enjoying seeing him jump into new things without a second glance backwards.  It seemed to come about so suddenly, however, that it is a bit unnerving though it is lovely to see your kids flower.

I spent about a week trying to enter the Holbox 10k.  Not because I'm dying so much to have a registered 10K but we've never been to Holbox and I already have 2 rooms reserved (we'll take one of Ellen's friends) but after sending Jesse to inscribe me on various attempts (the inscribing place is down in the tourist part of town, where he and his girlfriend spend many evenings) I was still without inscription.  Finally, on Constitution Day I was able to get myself down there.  I had to pass through the plaza to get there and listened to a pretty good speech while on my way.  Nice job Playa.  Finally I get to the store, entreat the guys working there to do their job and they offer me a licuado at 1/2 price with the inscripcion.  Okay, works for me - I'll give it to Jamie as thank you for schlepping me around (first to INM so I could make an appointment to get MY card).  It was a very pretty licuado (carrot, beet and apple) but like most things here, it was surprisingly NOT sweet.  I'm sure it was really good for me so I drank it like a good girl but man, that licuado needed something other that pretty color to actually make me want to buy one.  Jamie was so NOT impressed he refused to drink it.

It was super pretty though...

My new bike has been taking a week-long vacation at Estafeta in Playa.  I know Monday was a holiday but GEEZ.  Jamie might be trying to get some movement going tomorrow over there.  Sometimes "delivery" here means you drive 15 km to town, find the office, load your package up in your car and deliver it to your home.  Between not wanting to miss the "delivery" from Estafeta and horrific weather (normal winds instead of wave-calming norte winds) I've put in only 1 swim all week.  Ugh.  However, bike is on track and running way on track.  Back to 30-60-90 this week.  I like hitting 5 hours of running/week this early in the season.  Makes me think I've got legs "in the bank".

Sunday, February 02, 2014

frente frios and the return of warm

I am having so much fun putting together races and little getaways.  Triathlon is really becoming more normal and common and every year a new race pops up.  We started the year with Merida's spring tri this weekend but for a first year race, they had quite a hefty price tag ($1200) that didn't even tempt me.  I still need to inscribe to Holbox and get lodging for Isla, but for now March and April are set.  We spent December and January with one frente frio after another.  Made for great swimming (calm seas) but frozen cycling.  I wore tights more in January than I think I ever have all winter here.  Yesterday heat was turned back on and today we had a great ride to Tulum. 

I've been swimming more and more this "off" season and have introduced 1-arm fly pretty consistently.  The other day I figured I was ready for full butterfly and did 5 (gasp) strokes.  then 10.  then 5 again.  The next day I did 10 and then 10 again.  such a swelled head from that effort I had no chance of drowning.  Yesterday I woke with such a sharp pain in my upper back I could barely move.  Apparently when you're old, butterfly is not a sport to spring upon yourself quickly.  Today I can take full breaths without pain but a deep breath gives a sharp stab of pain and a sneeze is agony.

I am becoming much more comfortable in the water - i'm zoning out and not really worried about the sea life anymore.  i still envision them out there and occasionally get twitchy but i'm enjoying swimming again and taking aim at 10k a week.  course now that the heat got turned on, the seas are boiling and lousy for swimming.  Above are the "ugly" seas down in Tulum from today's ride.  pretty to look at but really lousy for swimming.  We went out to the hotel zone to meet up with a friend of mine from long, long ago who is in town for her yearly yoga trip.

Below is the road out to the HZ of Tulum

Jamie and I out on the road today

Jamie and I along the Tulum HZ road. 

Another fracking flat.  Man gets SO many flats it isn't funny...