Ironman Cozumel – The Bike

17 12 2014

As I ran out of T1 I spotted my SOAS teammate Amanda cheering for me. It was so awesome to have some SOAS support out there! I mounted my bike and headed out of Chakanaab Park.

Heading out of T1 I spotted Felipe, and the first thing I yelled was, “How far ahead is she?” Yes, my competitive nature was talking for me.

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Felipe was standing just before our first right turn, and Chris, Charity and Bill were are stationed at the turn. They were screaming and yelling for me (apparently), but I was completely oblivious.

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The bike course is three loops around the island. Laps 1 and 2 are 63km and then the last lap is 54km. You turn right out of the park, heading south for about 19km. At Punta Sur (the south point), you head back up the east side of the island for about 15km. Then, you make a left at Mezcalitos, and that road takes you all the way back in to town, where you’ll make a few turns before getting back on the road heading south.

ciclismoAs I headed south out of Chakanaab, I kept reminding myself of Maria’s advice: Just stay in the present. Soak it all in- you only get your first once. This part of my day was about the bike. Sure, I need to make sure I don’t kill myself on the bike so I have legs to run, but I need to enjoy this ride.

And so I did. I looked down at my computer and saw speeds I was happy with for the most part, but they were dipping a little lower than I would have liked this early in the race. (Reason number 1 I wish I had a power meter.) I chalked it up to just getting my legs warmed up. And then I got to Punta Sur.

Wind. Wind. Wind. Directly in my face. And, a slight incline that I wasn’t expecting. (For those folks who have done this race, don’t laugh. This was a small hill for this Florida girl!) The combination of the wind and the incline made me stand up to get to the top. Sheesh. How pathetic is this?

I stayed positive as I kept moving back up the island. Ok, I can do this. The wind was a cross head (more head than cross though) and I tried to keep implementing Jess/Felipe’s advice for riding in cross winds- keep the gear heavy, relax, and don’t forget to eat. (Btw, that was probably the best and most useful advice I received all training cycle!). I was a little disappointed because all the men from the wave behind me were already passing me. I didn’t seem to be gaining on anyone! At least I was surrounded by such beauty?

I passed the time by trying to remember which bar/landmark would be next, and I was certainly relieved when I made that left turn at Mezcalitos.

It was great to finally get out of the wind, but as I looked down at my speed, I was still not super happy with my numbers. (Reason number 2 I want a power meter. Oh wait, this is the same as reason 1.) And then I realized that yes, I was out of the head wind, but now I was back in a cross wind, this time a cross-tail. Well, let’s try to make the best of this! This road actually was where we started to see locals out in the street cheering for us. There was one part of the road where there were streetlights in the median- that was my signal that we were getting closer to town and the crowds would get even better.

The first time I rode through town I got a little teary eyed again. The crowds were amazing! Locals were blaring music. Kids were yelling “Si se puede” and shaking water bottles full of rocks. This was incredible!

Right as I got downtown, I spotted Courtney! I had finally caught up! I said hi, and I think I congratulated her on her swim, and then kept going. In retrospect, I wish I had chatted a little more, but I was feeling so energized by the crowds, I kept going.

Turn, turn, turn, right past T2 (gah!) and back on to the road heading south. At this turn, there was a band playing and SO MANY people. I had a huge smile on my face. I spotted Felipe (not sure if I yelled anything to him) and waved to the crowd. This is what it’s all about!

However, things get lonely on this ride pretty quickly. On the ride south, you have pockets of fans as you pass the different resorts, but they’re nothing compared to the vibe you get downtown. As I headed south, I realized that I had a bit more of a tailwind than I did on the first loop. This meant that the wind was going to be worse on the other side of the island too. Great.

At this point, I was just about out of Osmo. I had gone through my 16 oz bladder and almost all of my two 24 oz bottles. AND I had been grabbing water at each of the aid stations to stay hydrated- as it was getting warm. I just needed to make it to special needs, which was at 97km, where I had two frozen bottles of Osmo.

I kept eating and drinking, but I started to get a headache, so I downed an electrolyte tab. I took 2 or 3 more over the course of the ride. Nutrition is SO important in Ironman, and I repeated to myself “Sip, sip. Nibble, nibble,” something I took away from a talk with Stacy Sims. Don’t stop eating and drinking!

When I made that dreaded turn at Punta Sur, BAM. WIND. It was worse. I watched my speed drop drastically, (Powermeter, anyone?) and tried so hard not to get discouraged. I did some mental math in my head to figure out if I would still make my goal of 6:00, and I thought it might still be possible, but I wasn’t entirely sure if my computer was reading properly- by the time I got to special needs, I think my computer read 100km. Hmmm…

I arrived in special needs, and was SO happy to have Osmo again (am I addicted??). As I unwrapped it from the bag and paper towels, I head on the radio “197”. Courtney was right behind me! She asked how I was doing, and I remember telling her that this was a hard bike ride. I’m a terrible friend, because I don’t think that I asked her about how she was feeling!

Apparently I’m a slow poke because we pulled out of there together. I wish I had ridden with her for a little- I think we both could have used the mental boost, but I just wanted to be done with the bike, so the faster I went, the faster I would be done.

Mezcalitos couldn’t come soon enough. I made that left turn and breathed a sigh of relief yet again. However, the relief was minimal, and as I looked at my computer again, I let my 6:00 goal go. At this point, it was probably not going to happen, and you know what, that was OK. Again, be in the moment. Enjoy the ride. This is my first, and my only first, Ironman.

I got another boost from the crowd downtown, and enjoyed the only slight tail of the day as I passed the folks lining the water’s edge, before hunkering down for my final lap. Just. Get. Through. This.

I saw Bill for the first time all day on my third lap (even though he had been there on the other two), and I yelled “I’m so glad I’m on my last lap!”  I SO did not want to ride on that side of the island again.

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The last lap was rough. My rice cakes were not appealing at all, though I forced most of them down. I thought I was on my last salty ball (I actually wasn’t- the other bag was deep in my pocket, not easy to reach, and I didn’t realize it was there until after the race!) so I stuffed it in my cleavage to save for when I really needed it. Unfortunately, sweat makes you slippery, and it slipped out on the road. NOOOOOO! Then, one of my water bottles popped out. Both of my bottles were still frozen when I picked them up, so I was slowly making my way through them as they melted. When it popped out, there was definitely still some frozen Osmo in there. Dah!! Ok, let’s just hunker down and get through this thing.

Another racer made this nifty visual of how the winds were blowing in on race day. By the third lap, winds were quite strong- I don’t know if they were 25mph, but they were probably at least 20mph sustained.

strava_cozumel_bikeThanks Carolyn!

The east side of the third lap was pretty miserable. Both of my feet were hurting, which was weird- that hadn’t ever happened before on my long rides. I stood up a few times, just because I wanted a change of position. The wind was brutal, and though I did pass one or two people, everyone was looking pretty beat down by the wind. I tried to stay positive by thinking at least the pavement was better on this side of the island. (The pavement all around the island was great. The “worst” side was the west side in front of all the hotels, but it was by no means “bad”).

Mezcalitos, again, was the site I looked forward to on every lap. I almost let out a yelp when I made that turn. Yes! The worst part of the ride is done. Now, let’s make it to those street lamps, and then the last blocks into T2!

The cheers of the crowd carried me for those last few kms. Everyone always says they’re so happy to be off the bike. I assumed that it was because of crotch pain, but for me, I just wanted to be out of the wind!! It’s hard to explain, but I was a teensy tiny bit sad that – just like that- the ride was over. It’s not that the ride went by quickly- no, it was definitely long- but that all of the sudden, it was time to switch gears and go run a marathon. I don’t know why it felt “all of the sudden”- perhaps because I was actually trying to take it all in as much as possible? But for a split second I mourned the end of the ride and the fantastic cheering locals- the ones living outside of town- who came out to support these crazy athletes from all over the world, on their island!

Bike: 6:26.40, 15th AG

I gave my bike to a volunteer, grabbed my run bag and ran in to the changing tent.

Throughout the ride I kept wondering “Where is Jess?” She’s a super strong cyclist, so I was expecting her to pass me at any moment. I tried to remember when/where in our 70.3 she passed me to try to figure out where she might pass me on this ride, and it just never happened. I really hoped that she was okay…

I had just sat down and was tying my shoes when Jess entered the tent. She ran over and gave me a huge hug. It’s hard to put in to words the emotions in that moment, but thrilled, relieved, and grateful all come to mind. We both commiserated about how hard that ride was and wrapped up in the changing tent. I told Jess I needed to pee (I had tried so hard to go on the bike, but just couldn’t do it!) before starting the run, so we stopped at the port of potties before setting off. We started our watches, and started the marathon. Together.

T2: 4:43

 





Weekend Happenings

27 05 2014

And just like that, it’s Tuesday! I hope you all had a lovely long weekend! Thanks to all who have served and are currently serving our county. Freedom isn’t free.

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I thought I’d share some of the highlights from my weekend, which included two new (to me) places!

My weekend started out with (of course) a long bike ride! I met up with Meghan, Courtney, Heather, and Chris at the crack of dawn (7am) for a ride along the Suncoast.

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We busted out almost 102 km – great way to kick off the weekend!

That afternoon I chilled by the pool before meeting up with Chris, Courtney, Heather, her hubby, and some of their friends at The Getaway.

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This was my second time at the Getaway, and I think it’s a pretty sweet spot. It’s right off of Gandy on the St. Pete side, and the owner has really tried to make this bar on the water truly feel like “a Getaway”. You can pull up a boat at one of their docs, lounge on their home-made beach, or chillax under one of their thatched roof tiki bars. During the day they also rent stand up paddle boards.

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When we arrived there was a musician playing and it definitely felt like I stepped into vacation. They don’t have a kitchen on site, but there’s always at least food trucks there (order from the bar). The Big Bang BBQ Food Truck and Renny’s Oki Doki Food Truck were there on Saturday. I ordered some of the pork nachos from Oki Dokie and they were awesome! The kimchi sauce on top definitely had a kick, but I would definitely order them again. Later, I shared some sliders from Big Bang, which were also quite tasty. It was a fun night with friends that ended with some dancing at Hula Bay 🙂

On Sunday, I slept in (glorious!), went for a hot ride on Davis island, and then met up with some other friends at the Sandbar! So, if any of you have seen the (awful) movie Magic Mike, there’s a scene where they go out to the Sandbar to hang out. Yes, there actually is a sandbar in the middle of the bay where boats drive out, toss an anchor, and everyone just hangs out.

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My friends took their boat out which only had room for 4, and despite an offer to come back and pick me up, I opted to rent a kayak and paddle out. Why not get an extra arm workout in? I really wish I had taken some photos while paddling, because it was so pretty going past the mangroves, and I spotted a fish or two jumping out of the water.

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I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going (just go left around the point and then you’ll see everyone was my direction), but soon after I started paddling, I saw the crowds of other kayakers, and then TONS of boats off in the distance. After about a 20 minute paddle, I made it! And luckily I spotted my friends pretty quickly, because there were definitely over 100 boats out there.

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(Yes, the dog, Scooter, has a life vest on)

I roped my kayak to their boat and cracked open my new favorite beer- Rivertowne’s pineapple beer. This is SO yummy- it’s light and refreshing with a hint of pineapple. It’s not actually made from pineapples, nor is it one of those super sweet, high alcoholic beers. The pineapple is added in the perfect proportion. I highly recommend it if you’re a light beer drinker. (And don’t worry, I kept myself hydrated with water/Skratch throughout the day- I wasn’t only drinking beer!)IMG_4703

The cool thing about the sandbar is that it’s not entirely exposed in that there’s dry sand (at least where I was), so you’re constantly in the water, which helps to cool you off. The water ranged from shin deep in some places, to waist deep in others, like where we were anchored. The tide was actually dropping, so by the time I left close to 5, it was thigh-deep. We hung out for the rest of the afternoon, listened to the band that was playing (a special event for the holiday weekend) and went for a walk to people watch. People/boat/animal watch we did! There was a boat that had a tiki bar built on it, people with floating coolers, lots of pups running around, people who had set up tents with a table and a grill, lots of fake boobs (this is Florida, y’all), and someone even brought their pet boar out there! I kid you not! I really wish I had my phone with me at that time, but there was a woman who was feeding her boar (ring in nose and everything) on her boat! And this was NOT a little 10-15lb thing. Oh no, it was a year and a half and I would guesstimate over 100lbs! So. Bizarre! Now that’s not something you see every day!

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And of course, I had to photobomb this lovely selfie of my girlfriends. They were sitting in the boat and I was in the water, jumping up and down. I just so happened to perfectly time this jump with the click of the shutter. 🙂 (PS check out all the boats in the background!)

I had a great time at the sandbar, and I would definitely like to go back. I’m sure the water will be bathtub-like soon and not quite as refreshing, but if you’ve got an umbrella, a cooler, and some ice, it certainly makes for a relaxing afternoon!

That’s my weekend in a nutshell. How was your weekend friends?





Highlights From the Last Two Weeks of Workouts (and Life)

19 05 2014

So, I had a post pretty much written for the week of 5/5-5/11 but for some reason, didn’t post it. And now it’s a week later, and I’ve got another week of workouts under my belt. So, instead of boring you with the details of the last two weeks of workouts, I’ll just share some highlights from my workouts and what other stuff I’ve been up to 🙂

 

Week of 5/5-5/11

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Monday, 5/5: Felipe told us to bring water bottles (which he never does) so I knew we’d be in for an interesting workout. Before we started, he told us to turn off our GPS which was the indication that we were going to the track for this evening’s practice. After a 10 minute warm up run to get there, he gave us the workout: 15 x 1000 with 40 seconds rest after each one. Are you serious? So much for any Cinco plans anyone had.

My goal was to go 5:00 for each, and after the first one ticked at 4:57, I knew that was where I was going to try to stay. I actually felt pretty good for most of these- there was a cool-ish breeze that was in our face on one side of the track, while giving us a slight push on the other side. Around number 10/11 my legs started to feel heavy, but I dug deep and finished strong. Though I wasn’t 100% consistent on all of them, my average was 4:55. I’ll take that!

Definitely took an ice bath after.

ice bathYes, most of the ice had melted by this point. But it was still cold!

Wednesday, 5/7: Trainer ride, run, yoga

My ride/run were nothing to write home about, but the warm Flow class at Evolation. Holy wow.  It was a packed class and the instructor whooped our butts. When we went into crow in the first 10 minutes of class I knew I’d be sore the next day. Sure enough, I was. But man, yoga is so good for the soul!

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No photographic evidence of yoga, so spinning selfie you get!

Saturday, 5/10:  Surprise! I didn’t run, bike OR swim today! WHAT? Instead, I went to a fab yoga class at Yogani and then Bill and I went blueberry picking! I wouldn’t classify the blueberry picking as a workout, but I wanted an excuse to share some photos 🙂

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Week of 5/12-5/18

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Tuesday, 5/13: I was in Madison for work and it is FINALLY warm enough (for me) to run outside there! A cold front actually came through while I was there, but it was still good enough weather for an outdoor run. I woke up early Tuesday morning to run around the capitol and down to one of the many lake-front paths. I LOVE how bike-friendly Madison is- there were bike commuters everywhere, and there was even a breakfast tent with fresh, hot coffee along the route! I ran a comfortable 12km (should have pushed the pace some because it was perfect running weather, but oh well!) and found myself pondering whether IM Wisconsin will ever be in my future.

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Friday 5/16: I guess the cold front that had been in Madison made it’s way south because it was THE PERFECT morning to run. I wanted to stay outside all day! A few of us from the XP gang ran a little 6k before work because we had an XP celebration that evening. Jess and Courtney are May babies and we had a cookout in their honor 🙂 Happy birthday ladies!

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These are hands down my favorite ladies in Tampa! Photo courtesy of Meghann.

Saturday & Sunday, 5/17-18: Suncoast trail rides! Two days of riding on the Suncoast has left my legs toasted! Both days we had a headwind on the way out and a tailwind on the way back. And both days we pushed extra hard on the way home. Oof. It is super fun to go fast (max speed 45km/hour and 44km/hour, respectively) but it definitely tires you out! I’m hopeful that these speedy segments will help me improve on the bike as I do some shorter races.

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Laughter after a tough ride is always a good thing:-) Photo courtesy of Courtney.

How was your week friends?