Saturday, December 1, 2012

How to Race an Ironman in Bikini Bottoms

Oh yes, I did.

The back story is this:  I had a speedsuit but I didn't realize it was one of the old ones....the ones deemed illegal.  A few days before IMCoz I quickly came to the hand-fluttering conclusion that I had (for not the first time in my life) nothing to wear!!

My planned tri jersey was not skin tight so there was no way I was going to swim in the ocean with that sucker on.  Picture a ballooning action caused by my top filling with water and seriously impeding any forward momentum.  As to my tri shorts -- I had pulled the little waist string out of them as soon as I got them (Doesn't everyone do this?  Haha!) and while they are tight enough on land, a similar ballooning action may or may not have happened with them.  (As a side note, I have been having issues with my usual go-to pair of desoto tri shorts lately -- why oh why do all chamois seams end RIGHT at the junction of where thigh meets crotch?  Saddle sore turned into cyst-thing, healed and then as soon as I rode again on the island, the cyst thing puffed up again.   Bike short makers take heed:  I would love to find a pair of tri shorts where the chamois is larger than the crotchal-area.  LARGER -- so the chamois ends somewhere on my bum and inner thigh -- not the crease.  NO MORE CREASE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!)

I had nothing to wear to race in but a pink tri top and a pair of Splish bikini bottoms.  They were my special bottoms too -- the bikini top has a maple leaf on it and the bum of the bottoms says "EH?" on them.  The top was too loose (I have lost weight this year) but the bottoms fit just right (I haven't lost weight there).  Plus they still had the little waist-stringy thing in them. (YAY!)

I was strangely excited about winging off an IM in this kind of uncoordinated fashion, and set about planning The Mother of All Lubrication plans.

I had brought lubes of all kinds with me -- body glide, this roller stuff I got in Penticton earlier this year (it looks like those old-school deodorant roller things), bike butter stuff and good old Vaseline.  I used giant gobs of vaseline and lubed every seam of my bikini bottoms -- yes there are not many seams, but every inch of thread I smeared with the stuff.  The new roller glide stuff I bought I rolled all over my body --- especially underneath my tri top as my run plan is to cram zip lock baggies with gels and salt tabs down there.

OK....enough about all that stuff, onto the race itself.

For the quick and dirty version here are my times:

Swim:  1:19:51
T1: 3:56
Bike:  6:02:43
T2:  2:10
Run:  4:11:32
Total:  11:40:12

Swim:  1:19:51
WTF HAPPENED HERE?  I was looking forward to a swim PR as Cozumel is known for its "notoriously fast swim."  I mean people who are regularly 1:20+ swimmers have shaved off more than 10 minutes off their time here, so I was really pumped about some current-assisted swim fun!  Alas, the fast times were not to be had.  More than 300 people didn't finish the swim!  Yes the current really was that bad.  After the last turn buoy, it was unreal.  I remember thinking to myself, this is a really long swim...(by the way I only ran into a buoy once head on -- awesome experience, I recommend everyone do it at least once in their lives, hahahah!)

Climbing out of the water and hoisting myself up the stairs and running through the loooooong transition.  The female change tent was past the mens....of course it was, just like at a shopping mall when you really, really have to go pee and you are navigating down a seemingly endless corridor and see the mens washroom first and have to scoot another 50m to get to the womens --- Aaaaarrrggghhhh.  Hahahahaah!

Once I got on my bike I looked at my watch and saw 8:24am (we had started at 7am).  I was gob-smacked!  I was a bit down but then started thinking that the swim course might be long and everyone else was probably experiencing the same thing.  It was driving me crazy wondering though -- it would have been nice to have someone shouting out:  The swim course was screwed!  Everyone's times are 10-15 minutes slower!

Bike:  6:02:43
I felt great the first lap around the island, but then started to feel burpy and close to the edge of race-blowup.  I had to sit up out of the aero bars and burp quite a bit.  When I would settle back down into aero, I found I had to slow down as the feeling would creep back up again.  It was HOT -- for those of you who don't think it was hot, bull-roar.  Seriously the Cozumel "winter" is hotter than the Crowsnest Pass hottest day of summer.  And the humidity compounds it.

Rockin' the bikini bottoms -- BOOYAH!

I only had to pee twice and what I managed to eke out was hardly worth mentioning (oh the double entendre and sneaky innuendo here, yes I think I am soooo clever!! HAHAHAHAHA!).  It was at the end of the third lap that it occured to me to try pouring water over the back of my neck.  That really helped!  DUH.  Should have thought of that sooner!!

Around and around the island!

Once I got into T2 I dipped my hand in the biggest tub of Vaseline I have ever seen and dolloped it on my inner thighs.  As I was doing it I was thinking to myself, "Geez I took a lot of vaseline."  lol   You can never have enough vaseline!  There was a woman that was in there with me and she looked as hot and bewildered as I felt.

At least it LOOKS like I was in aero the whole time, lol.

Run:  4:11:32
It was all about the run.  Coach Sara had given me clear instructions about the run and this was my focus -- my entire world was about cooling down and getting as much cold water all over my body as I could.  I felt like total crap from the get-go, so I knew that it was crucial what I did in the first 10km would dictate the rest of the marathon.  (I learned my lesson from last year's IMC that's for sure!!)

Photo Credit:  Christi Courtney   --  Baggy down the sports bra strikes again!

The way people were blasting out during the first 10km I knew there was going to be carnage on the course later on.  And there was.  I am really pleased with my run  --- I negative split every split!  I got stronger and faster and felt awesome on the run -- this is a HUGE success for me.  :) :)

Look Coach Sara!  I did it!  I did it!

Honestly it FELT like I was running!  HAHAHAHA!  Photo Credit -- Christi Courtney

I do need to figure out a better salt pill delivery method though....the ole-baggie-down-the-tri-top trick doesn't work so well when you start dumping water all over yourself.  My baggy filled with water and dissolved the pills, so I had to start mining them out and taking chunks of salt pills out.  SALTY -- WHOO BOY! But that's what Ironman is all about -- you pee yourself, get all gross and sweaty and stinky and do stuff you never think you would do.  lol.

Still "speed-walking" I see, lol!  Photo Credit -- Christi Courtney

Random other stuff:
  • Where were the porta-potties on the run course?!?!?!  I literally saw ONE.
  • Note to the guy that holds the pre-race athlete meeting:  Next time why don't you let us athletes ask questions and you answer them with the microphone instead of waiting until the end of the meeting and answering each persons question one by one.  Talk about re-inventing the wheel.
  • Run special needs -- why oh why are you so complicated?  How do you work, why was it so difficult, thank you to the volunteers who got my bag and RAN it to me.
  • Yes, I got stung by jellyfish.
  • Mike volunteered to be one of the scuba divers watching out for us athletes.  It was so awesome when I saw him I did a little swim-stroke-wave.
  • Body-marking the day before the race was The Ultimate Gong Show and reminded me of what the Crowsnest Pass town council might do if they were given the task of body-marking.  Think bureaucrats and line ups and making things much more complicated and time-consuming than they need to be.  Seriously, the ridiculousness of this deserves its own paragraph:
          As we were standing in line to gain admittance to check in our bikes, someone came along and   marked your right arm with your race number.  After dropping off your bike, you had to walk down to the beach and get in another line up to get your OTHER arm marked.  The fun didn't stop there -- then you had to stand in another line to get your legs marked.

          (okay another paragraph -- lol)  As if this weren't enough, as you exited transition, you had the option to purchase race tattoos, in which case you could stand in ANOTHER line while the volunteers proceeded to use rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs to vigoroulsy rub off the markings you had just received.  Oh yes.

     **********RANT OVER**************RANT OVER************RANT OVER**********

Now don't get me wrong -- I may complain and moan but Ironman Cozumel is an AWESOME race.  The volunteers are absolutely incredible!!  I love Cozumel -- as in LOVE Cozumel!  The people, the island, the people, the people, did I mention the people?  Hahahah!  I have so many friends here and Cozumel literally feels like home to me.  So please take my whinging with a big grain of salt -- it's like family whinging.  It's all part of the experience.  :)

At the end -- chafe free, oh yeah baby.  Bikini bottoms are the BOMB!  I'll be wearing these again!

Now to the most awesome part of the race -- the aftermath.  My dear and beautiful friend Christi (who volunteered from 4am - 1:30am!!!) met me at the finish line and took care of me.  Thank you Christi!  "Thank you" just doesn't encapsulate all she did during the race -- she volunteered her butt off AND took photos AND did all this red cross volunteering stuff AND walked back to town from the race start when the taxis were going too slow.  I LOVE YOU CHRISTI!  :) :)

My dear friend Christi Courtney!!  YAY CHRISTI!  Thank you for being everything!!!

After I exited the finish line area, I met Mike right away and then these three little kids came up to me with pieces of paper and pens.  They wanted an autograph!  I saw they had garnered a few other autographs and thought it was so cute!  My feeling of nausea and imminent-pass-out-itits evaporated as I signed their little pieces of paper.

On the spur of the moment I decided to give this one little girl the shell necklace you are handed once you cross the finish line.  I was *almost* tempted to give one of them my medal....but I am not THAT altruistic.  BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

I think that people thought I was someone else because a line of people formed wanting to take my picture and get my autograph.  I am not kidding!!  Mike filmed some of this -- he had his gopro going with his scuba light to illuminate the scene.  Here is the video he posted to youtube -- I felt so awkward and uncomfortable but you can't say no to all these cute little kids!!!!!

The really funny part was when I saw Mary Beth Ellis (who WON the race) come out literally two steps away from me, and I asked her if I could take my picture with her (and she was so gracious and said yes)...people lined up to wait until I was done with Mary Beth so then they could continue to take pics with me.  I kept asking Mike, "What is going on?"  lol!!!

11 hour and 40 minutes later I am still talking even when I have my arm around the women's champion.  lmao!  

I didn't know she had won the race and when asked her about her race she was so gracious and humble -- she never even said that she had won!!!  I found out the next day!!  LOL!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Interviewed by High School Students

My friend (and Masters swim coach who is also a high school teacher) invited me to be a guinea pig for one of her classes...

Her students were practicing interviewing skills and she thought that my Ironman experiences would make an interesting subject for her students.

I agreed and was looking forward to it!  I was really excited about sharing my triathlon experiences but was also worried...

Worried about what?

Well, for those of you who know me, when I get excited I do not stop talking.  DO NOT STOP TALKING.  And I laugh and I giggle and I talk faster and faster and go and go and go until I sort of come to and sit there out of breath and think to myself, "Whew, what did I just say?"  Hahahahahahahaha!!

Additionally, I was concerned that in my zeal of talking about all things triathlon I would let a curse word slip out (or worse, more than one.) Truthfully, that was my biggest fear.  You have no idea how I kept coaching myself, "Julie, DO NOT SWEAR!"

Thank goodness I had the foresight to wear a tank top to the class -- I was sweating like a pig I was so nervous.  (And did you know that Wally's World sells some great quality workout gear now?  I am totally not kidding!  Their clothing used to be total crap, but I bought two Lululemon-type tank tops --- the kind with the bra cups in them -- for $15 each!  And a pair of running capris and shorts too -- great quality.  On this same tangent, Wally's World in Pincher also have the best fresh beets that I can buy around here, lol.)

Back to sweating like a pig.

The kids started off the exercise by introducing themselves one by one and then they started asking questions.  I found it challenging talking to people who have NO IDEA about triathlon.  I have been isolated from normal people for so long in my tri-bubble world, that I quickly realized I had a hard time explaining things using non-tri terminology -- as well as explaining concepts about training, etc.

There were some really insightful questions by the kids and I had a great time -- especially talking about how I ate 42 eggs a week, heh-heh-heh.

As the class drew to a close (say around 5 minutes before the bell), everyone promptly started shuffling their books/papers together and started getting ready to leave.  I was in the middle of answering a question and was like, "Oh...I remember doing this as a kid."  Hahahaha -- nothing personal lady, but we want to get outta here. :)

The best part about this little exercise was the gift my friend presented me about a week later -- she had compiled some of the reports the kids had written into a duotang, which the students had all signed!  It was so cute and awesome I almost cried!!!

To the kids in that English class:  thank you guys for the experience -- you guys were awesome.,  I had a blast and was so happy that I:
  1. Did not swear.
  2. Did not wear a t-shirt that would have had major armpit sweat happening
  3. Managed to be somewhat coherent
What else I have been up to...

Recovery after Ironman Canada went great!  I started doing yoga and weights 3 times a week and can not believe how even a tiny bit of yoga has eliminated all pain -- all those niggles that I thought I just had to put up with.  I am a total convert.

A cheap convert however.  Youtube has a zillion FREE online yoga classes for all levels of ability.  You have no idea how satisfied I feel at saving money by not taking a class.

Ironman Cozumel is November 25 and I am sooooo excited to return to the island to see all my new friends I made earlier this year!  I will be armed with a load of pink water bottles to distribute out to my new buds!! YAY!

All for now!

:) :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ironman Canada 2012 Race Report

Well, I finally broke the 12 hour mark and earned a 47 minute PB at this race.  (Yes I am happy, but definitely not content.  lol -- Next stop is going under step at a time!)

Here are my stats to get those out of the way:

Time:  11:13:51

Swim:  1:07:42
T1:  2:18
Bike:  5:51:56
T2:  2:37
Run:  4:09:18

After all was said and done, I have to admit that this was actually an "easy" Ironman....if such a thing exists.

Don't hit me or scream at the computer!  I am being totally honest here.  Apart from muscle pain  (I mean, it's gonna hurt somewhat, it IS an Ironman), I never went to any deep, dark place.  I had a plan, stuck with it, and bingo, bango, bucko.  :)

This was the first IM where I really noticed an improved fitness level.  (By the way, this was my 8th IMC and my 10th frigging iron-distance race!!!)

Going into the race, I knew my goal was emotional management.  Control my emotions.  Last year at IMC, when I spent most of the marathon standing on the side of the road doubled over in pain, I was so upset as I saw person after person run by me.  People who I KNEW I was faster than.

This emotional negativity added to my stomach distress...but I didn't realize that until I was in the last mile of the marathon.  My very awesome and dear friend, Susi, came running beside me and told me to "breathe deep," and "calm down."  When I started controlling my breathing, I'll be damned if my stomach problems eased up a bit!!

The realization hit me with the force of one of my crab-apples bombing me in the autumn...

"You mean I did THIS to myself?!"


Fast forward to a year later...race day.  I have learned a lot about myself and my emotions and was ready.

The swim felt pedestrian.  It felt "easy" in a I-am-fit-and-have-tapered-well kind of way.  The biggest difference I felt was my calm, low heart rate in the change tent after the swim.  After a sprint, olympic, or 1/2 iron swim, my HR always feels like it is through the roof.  (And it probably is, being you can go a lot harder in a shorter distance as opposed to an IM.)

I was sitting there on a chair putting my socks and  cycling shoes on, when I thought to myself, "Geez, my HR is so low!  I feel so relaxed and calm!"  What a feeling!

The bike was a blur...I was very focused on what I had to do and was literally in my own bubble the entire bike ride.  I had a great talk with Coach Sara before the race, and her words were in my head.  Everything was happening as it was meant to happen.

At Richter this year, I spun up and passed a lot of people.  It was so odd!  It felt very easy!  Like the change tent, I marvelled at how low my HR felt, how effortless it was.  I wish that feeling of ease lasted through the climb to Yellow Lake, but next year!! :)  :)

I ate by feel, and when I started to play the game of "Is it gas or am I hungry?" I switched to liquid nutrition.  (This was a big revelation for me this year too -- about 3:30 into a ride, I don't want to eat, even though my body wants to.  In the past, I didn't have a good strategy for dealing with this, and would often simply stop eating.  Not this year, baby!  Hahahaha!!  This year, I premixed bottles of plain Carbo-Pro.  No other flavour, because there comes a point on the bike where I don't WANT any flavour, I just need calories.  And it worked.)

I was looking forward to the run this year.  I had many goals throughout the day, and one of them was to get off the bike strong and ready to run.

My feet were frigging KILLING me when I got off the bike!!  There was a man in front of me who was obviously feeling pain too as I watched him try to run/hobble through T2.  I don't know whether it is the vibrations from the road sent through the cycling shoes and into my feet, but holy smokes my feet hurt and hurt BAD.  Anyone have insight into this?  I suspect it is the rough out-and-back section that does this, because I have never had sore feet like this at smoother-paved races.  Thoughts?

It has taken me a LOOOOOONG time to figure out a feeding/watering strategy for an IM race:
  1. How to drink out of aid station cups without stopping.
  2. How to get in the calories to keep running. 
I have finally honed my ability to drink from cups whilst running!!! YAHOO!!!!  I have spent YEARS trying to figure out how to actually drink from those little paper cups instead of spilling the contents on myself, inhaling/choking on said contents, or having to stop at aid stations so I could drink the thing!

Two things I did that totally work for me are:  carry my own water bottle, filled with just water.  (I bought two at a gas station before the race and put one in my special needs run bag), and carry my own gels in a baggy and stuff it down my sports bra.  The baggy-technique needs to be refined because the chafing that goes on in there is absolutely spectacular and the polysporin tube got squeezed a lot in the days that followed, let me tell you.

I had my salt tabs in another baggie that was already down my top from the bike portion.  I just reach in, feel for a pill and take it.

There were a few moments where I would get dizzy/light-headed, and I would ask myself, do I need to drink, eat, or take a salt tab?  At a couple of aid stations, I opted for gatorade instead of always taking a gel.

At one point during the run, I was faffing around with the lid to the water bottle (note to self, don't buy a water bottle with a pop-off lid ever again!  Buy the one where you can pull open with your teeth) and couldn't get the stupid thing open.  I was getting sort of dizzy running and looking at it.  I thought to myself, "When I look at it closely, I get dizzy."  So, of course, right away, I start looking at my bottle as closely as I can and keep feeling dizzy.  (This is the same phenomenon as when someone says, "Don't think of pink elephants."  lol!!)

I did this a couple of more times (looked at the bottle, not thought of pink elephants) until a voice in my head said, "If you get dizzy from looking at it closely, DON'T LOOK AT IT."  Wow, imagine that, eh?  lol -- and it worked. :)

Strangely enough, the voice was not that of my Bunler.  Why strange you ask?  Because ALL the way through the run, Mike's voice boomed in my head, "Calm the hell down."  LMAO!!!!

I am not kidding!!

Poor Mike, he never said anything like that to me before the race (although he has said something similar to me on other occasions when I am freaking out over the toilet seat, the crumbs on the counter or the dirty socks lying 2 inches from the laundry hamper), but as you recall, my goal was to manage my emotions, and when I needed the mental boost, my subconscious decided to call on Mike!  Hahahahaha!!!!  I heard it over and over again, "Calm the hell down."  lol. 

In the months prior to Ironman Canada, I had run a lot of my long runs on a this super hilly dirt road behind my house.  It goes up to another little housing division and there are very steep portions on it.  I would run this loop again and again -- when it was really hot out too.  I made myself hurt on those runs so the run at IMC would feel easier than what I was doing in training.  That was my plan anyways!  lol!

And it did work.  I was ready for the hilly portions, and just chugged, chugged along. My feet were killing me from the pounding of the running shoes are not good for running a marathon on pavement (they are fine up to a half-marathon, but the pounding just hurt soooo much) and the top of my right foot really hurt where the elastic lace was a bit tight.  I wasn't stopping to fix it, and it irritated me the entire 4 hours and 9 minutes, lol.

Over the finish line and whoo hoo, I am signed up for next year's race:  Challenge Penticton.

Ironman Cozumel is on November 25!  Time to start training again!! YAY!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Magrath "I swam the dam" Olympic Race Report

Last week was a busy week for me.  My team (Mercury Rising Triathlon) put on our annual PHAT camp in Penticton.  The weather was gorgeous -- really hot and wonderful.  Our group of campers had a blast and trained hard.  Me included!  :)

I left the camp early after our session on Thursday as I was racing on Saturday.  Thursday's session was transition practice.  We donned our wetsuits and ran to our bikes, biked about 200m, then ran for about 25m.  The coaches would critique us and then we would do it again.

The absolute best was the final transition practice -- we all swam out to this wooden platform and then we climbed up on it, jumped off (I chose cannonball style, and even yelled CANNONBALL when I jumped, lmao) swam back, stripped off our suits, biked and ran again.  So much fun.  Hahaha!  

One of my fellow teammates was hilarious -- he didn't want to wait to climb up the ladder of the platform, so he hoisted himself up!  LMAO -- I was laughing so hard -- it was so much fun to throw a bit of playtime in the midst of a workout.  :) :)

The drive home was brutal...I had car trouble which left me going up every pass at 40km/hour.  Behind all the semi trucks doing the same thing.  GAD!  I had my 4-way flashers on and chugged up every hill, praying that I would get up to the top.  lol -- When I made it to Castlegar I found an OK Tire and the owner took a look at my car.  He thought the car had bad gas -- water in the fuel.

He changed the fuel filter and off I went -- and again had to chug up every hill at 40km/hour.  Man, that stretched out a long drive to an even longer drive.

Anyways, I finally got home, and didn't really unpack anything as I was off to Magrath to do a pre-comp day.  The famous MOMMA came with me -- I found the reservoir with buoys set up and did a lap of the swim there, then tested out my NEW (to-me!) amazing bike, then a little run.

Enough blather -- onto the race report!!

First off -- let me say -- I won the race!!!! I was first overall female!!!!!  :D :D :D :D

My time was 2:19:38!!!!

Swim:  25:09
I was 6th overall out of the water -- overall, meaning men included too!  LMAO!!  How awesome is that?  Coach Sara had given me instructions to get in a really good warm up prior to the race.  I was curious as to how I would do at the race considering I was coming right out of a big training camp...

Before the race, I jogged every time I used the porta-potty.  And I got in a good 15-20 minute swim warm up too.  A real warm up this time -- not a swim piddly-diddly pretend warm up like I usually do.  Where I swim to a buoy and then float around and talk with people.  No, this time, I actually SWAM.  Hahahahaha!!

Swim was great!  I found some feet which was awesome because the field spread out very quickly as there were only 67 people racing the oly.

Bike:  1:07:04
Great bike ride -- my new bike handles SO differently than the cervelo.  I can never use my front race wheel when it is windy as the gusts blow me all over the road, but my Scott Plasma 3 TT is like a tank in the wind -- but a ROCKET TANK!!  It is SO stable and steady with my race wheels -- I was so excited about this discovery!

And it corners on its own!!!  At the camp, we rode up to Apex ski resort and on the descent (this was my first time up there) there are all these switchbacks with signs warning to slow down to 20km/hr or 30km/hr.  I was scared of these, so held my brakes and went really slowly around each one.

I have no problems going fast when the road is straight or sweeping, but those switchback things are scary.  Coach Sara hung back for me and told  me I was "riding like a beginner."  LMAO!  She gave me a bunch of advice to sharpen my bike skills.

I was thinking of this advice when I was nearing the completion of the bike portion and there was a 90 degree turn -- I leaned into the corner and the frigging bike just sprang into it!! I was so surprised at how easy and how differently it handled compared to the cervelo, my mouth dropped open.  Hahahaha!

I never realized how a different bike could fit you better and what that could translate to...Another thing I noticed on the Scott, is that I can stay in aero and grab the water bottles on my frame and drink them while going balls-out in a race.  No way could I do that on the cervelo.  I can't do that on the cervelo even if I am going slow.  I have to sit up and balance to remove a water bottle.

I was intimidated at first by my new bike, but after the race I was in LOVE with it.   I LOVE IT!!!!

The bike also has shorter cranks -- 165s instead of 172.5s.  I noticed this too -- I could spin up the little inclines much more easily, and my back didn't hurt at all coming off the bike to the run.  SO AWESOME.

It rained at this race too -- lol.

Run:  47:24
I want to run faster, but I'll take it!!  

The best part about the race is a t-shirt I received....along with the usual race t-shirt, which is awesome by the way, I discovered in my little baggy another shirt...this one said on the back:  I Won The Last Dam Tri.

LMAO.  The front of both shirts read:  I swam the Dam, Tri Like the End is Nigh.  Hahahaha -- Mormon community and a great sense of humour there!

I am wearing Coach Sara's hand me down tri top -- finding a white tri top is hard, and this one brought me luck!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

I've been RETULED!!!

Have you heard about the Retul bike fit? 

I have -- off and on in forums and online advertisements.  It looked quite thorough and complex in the photo-essays of various pros getting fit:  Wires attached to body parts, computer screens measuring data, and all manner of seat and cleat adjustments.

When I returned from Mexico with a snapped aero bar (duct-taped in place), I immediately purchased a new set of aero bars.  The only thing was, this new set of aero bars was totally different than my original ones.  The aero pads were Profile not Vision and they sat up much higher than my old ones. 

I didn't realize this until a few days later when I raced the Oliver 1/2 iron.  My position felt terrible.  I felt so out of whack and my lower back was killing me for about 8km of the run when I got off the bike. 

After the race, I messed around with my seat post and raised it an inch and it felt better, but still not quite right. 

I needed help!

Since I had just purchased a new-to-me bike (a Scott Plasma 3 TT), the time was right for me to take both my Cervelo and my new bike in to get a proper fit.  I wanted a PROPER fit. 

I had heard about Speed Matrix in Calgary via a friend's facebook post a month earlier....She raved about how amazing her bike fit was.  As she was an athlete I respected and trusted, I whipped out Dr. Google and perused the website, and liked what I saw.  I contacted Adam from Speed Matrix, and set up an appointment...

My appointment was with Rory -- he is very detail-oriented and thorough.  Totally thorough.  I have been to places where as the hours tick by (and yes, a proper bike fit can literally take hours), the attention given to your fit starts to wane.

Not so with Rory!!  He measured my leg length, my flexibility, watched how I walked, and kept asking me questions about the distances I raced, any issues or pain I experienced, etc.  He took all this information into account as he made an initial set-up of my bike. 

I climbed on and he watched me pedal and would make more adjustments -- to the seat, aero-bars, cleats, everything.  Nothing got past his eye -- one minor adjustment impacts other aspects of your bike fit -- all this he took into account and explained to me in a totally understandable way.  For example, moving the seat forward or backward, up or down, affects how you pedal.  He would watch me pedal and then make an adjustment and suddenly I was turning perfect circles!  (Well not PERFECT, lol, but the movement from clunky-pedalling to smooth stroke by just an adjustment was very impressive.  I didn't have to change anything about the way I pedalled, the adjustment made me a more efficient cyclist!)

I really, really appreciated the time he took to explain what to him was basic cycling knowledge and principles.  I have been intimidated by asking questions at bike shops before because of that kind of know-it-all attitude undercurrent.  Like I am made to feel like an idiot because for years I always unclipped when turning a corner because I was too scared to go around a pylon.  Or because I am a "triathlete" I have no bike skills and I don't know cyclist lingo or inside jokes, and I sort of stand there with a red face, laughing in agreement with whatever is said and coming out of the experience awkward and still unknowledgeable...AND feeling like an idiot.

With Rory, he patiently took the time to answer every question I asked -- even when the answer was so simple and obvious.  (Most of my questions were, "Why?"  lol.)  I never owned a bike before I started in triathlon.  Well...not true, I had a mountain bike that I rode around town on....but I have never owned a road bike, I don't have all these years of expeience of riding with other people, etc. 

A simple cycling concept to other people, is like a frigging revelation to me -- and Rory explained stuff succintly and in a way that I felt empowered....not belittled.  :)

OK -- onto the bike fit details!!

Time for the wire thingies!! YAY!!

Rory put these little adhesive velcro circles along one side of my body:  on my wrist, my elbow, my hip, my knee, my ankle, my foot.  Then, a wire was secured with the other half of the velcro circle.  From here, I would start to pedal and the data would be transmitted to the computer.  Rory could see and measure so much info -- my right knee was out of whack for example, so another cleat wedge was added and adjustment made.

I was impressed by the fact that the fit was tailored to ME as an individual.  Not to some *average standard.*  How I sit on the bike, how I pedal, etc.  For example, when I rest on the aero pads, I don't rest on my forearms, I rest on my elbows.  That is just what I do.  So, instead of trying to change ME, Rory changed my SET-UP.  How cool is that? 

Then, the whole thing was repeated on the other side of my body.

My Cervelo was fit first -- when I got home, I went out for a 2.5 hour ride and it literally "felt like home."  That's what I wrote in email back to Rory and Adam.  It just felt so good!

The next week, I took in my new-to-me bike to get it fit and the results were awesome as well!!

If you are having any questions or concerns about your own personal bike fit, I totally recommend Speed Matrix in Calgary.  And...if you do, make sure you CLEAN your bike very thoroughly before you take it in!!!! 

This is important as the bike fitter can focus on bike-fitting (as opposed to getting covered in all your grease and crap, lol) -- and it is the courteous thing to do.  One other thing -- getting your bike tuned up is not included in getting your bike fit.  I mean, it makes sense after you have been there for 4 hours going over your fit with a fine tooth comb! 

Thank you to Adam and Rory for dialing in my bike fit.  What a difference a proper fit makes.  Thanks guys!!!

Speed Matrix is located in Speed Theory -- one block east of Mountain Equipment Co-op.  (735A - 10th Ave SW, Calgary, AB).

Friday, July 6, 2012

Great White North Half-Iron Triathlon 2012 - Race Report

Well, the crap weather seems to follow me wherever I go!  lol!

Last year, I went 4:58 at this race and I wanted to beat that time and go 4:45.  (I get a number in my head and I just focus on it, I don't really care if it too realistic or not -- I  keep striving for it because EVENTUALLY I'll get there...right?  Hee-hee!)

Swim:  34:56.  I took a minute off last year's time -- was holding 1:45/100m which is EXACTLY what I do in training so that is great!!  :)

Bike:  2:40:39.   Slower than last year, but there was a rainstorm...cold and blowing.  I stayed within my bubble and had a great ride considering the conditions! :)  I ended up eating 1130 calories on the bike!!!  (Coach Sara was surprised that I could handle that many calories -- but Mike wasn't.  lmao.  What can I say?  My engine burns bright!)

Every time I thought the cold would get to me, I kept thinking about how stinking hot it was in Mexico and felt *relief* that I was finally cool.  lol!  It worked!  :)

Run:  1:48:21.  Faster than last year so another AWESOME! :)  Ate another 660 calories in the form of powergels, and could have (ie should have) eaten another 110. 

I ate a big dinner afterwards too.  :)

Ended up with a total time of 5:03:44  Great day and great fun! 


My new aero drink holder crapped out, so it was duct tape to the rescue.

Chafing from your bike shoe?  No problem!  Use more duct tape!     
It LOOKS like it is just a messy unmade bed....

But there are M&Ms hiding in there!! LOL!

Look Coach Sara -- BOTH feet are off the ground! YAY!!

Best buds 4 ever!  Tessa P and me!  :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wasa Lake Olympic Tri Race Report

I drove down to Wasa Provincial Park the day before the race and it was miserable outside!!  For us locals of the Elk Valley, there is a saying, "As soon as you go through the tunnel, the weather improves."

The "tunnel" is the one right before Elko.  And 9 times out of 10, the weather does improve when you pass through the tunnel.

But not that day!  The rain didn't stop and continued all the way.  YUCK.

Before I picked up my race packet, I went for a 30 minute spin followed by a little run.  It was so cold, I wore my big woolen mittens!  You know the kind -- the ones with that ubiquitous knit design?  And my MEC windpants.  LOL.  Those are the pants that don't quite reach to my ankle.  I don't know why they can't invent workout pants that actually REACH to your ankles instead of just above so you look like the biggest dork.  I mean how hard can it be?  lol.

It was cold after my little session and I kept hesitating and waffling about going in the lake for a swim.  I had quite the conversation with myself:

"Coach Sara says to do a swim."

"Yeah, but it is frigging COLD!!"

"Don't make excuses."

"Ok, ok, after I pick up my race packet, I'll try."

The community hall was filled with steamy humid air and crammed with just about every athlete that was registered.  lol -- something about staying out of the rain and people sort of lingering in groups.  Hahaha.  There was a whiteboard saying how cold the water was (I think it was 13 degrees C) and the current air temp was 9 degrees C).  There was talk that the swim might be shortened from 1500m to 750m.

Oh goodie -- that means it was COLD.  I HATE FRIGGING COLD!!  Have you ever done a race in cold water and then tried to put your helmet/bike shoes on after the swim?  It is almost impossible!  You are so cold and chilled to the core that your body simply refuses to respond to your brain.  You can tell it, "Put your hand on the shoe and put it on."  And no matter how hard your neurons fire, your body is like, "Nah.  I'm too cold for this CRAP.  I'm going to sit here instead."  lol.

Time of truth...

I drove back down to the lake and the debate continued in my head.  Should I even do the swim Coach Sara had posted?  Did it even matter, I mean really?  Surely to God she wouldn't want me to freeze up and injure myself (yes I was reaching here) the day before the race would she?  And plus, my wetsuit would get all wet and not dry out by tomorrow and then I would have to put on a cold, wet wetsuit on in the morning.  (You see I had ample excuses.) 

I am sure you guess what happened...

I trudged down through the rain with my wetsuit, shivering as I put it on and piled up my clothes and watched the rain fall on them too.  I have never been so reluctant to go for a swim before, I swear.

Another moment of truth...

I headed into the water and from the very first touch of the ice water on my feet I knew it was just as bad as I feared.  I ducked in and tried swimming and no kidding it was so cold my face was BURNING.  AAAARRRGGHH.  I stood up, thought about trying it again for approximately 1/16 of a second and then got the hell out of there.  Probably lasted about 15 seconds in there.  LMAO!

I seriously considered not racing it was that bad.  What concerned me was getting out of the water and then trying to cycle in the wind and the rain -- it would suck all the warmth from my body and I would just die on the side of the road.  lol.  But seriously, I really did wonder if I should race at all.

Well, I decided to just wait and see -- I was there after all!

Race morning wasn't as cold as it had been the day before, and when I went to "warm up" in the lake for my pre-race swim, my face didn't burn -- it was just frigging cold.  I decided to implement a new pre-race swim strategy too -- the water was so darn cold, that I couldn't (or maybe didn't is the more accurate description, lol) just keep on swimming.  What I did was walk in the water, swim for a bit, then turn around and then walk back onto the beach.  And then repeat.  I found that every time I walked back in, the cold was a bit more bearable and dare I say it....I grew a bit more comfortable with it.

Still cold, but doable.

Onto the race:

Women started 30 minutes after the men.

Swim -- only 750 m -- race organizers decided to cut the swim (THANK GOODNESS):  14:33
It was cold and my right hand started to claw up about half way through.  I don't know is you have ever experienced this but it is BRUTAL.  My hand was like a claw and I couldn't unfurl it -- so I just muscled my way through the swim with my clawed up hand.  lol. I had no feeling in it -- and just threw it forward and brought it back on some kind of swimming motion.  Hahahaha.

Bike -- 1:12:53
This was a first -- I decided to use my winter mitts!  Take a look at this sweet shot!  LMAO!!  Aero helmet and winter mitts -- BOOYAH!!  LMAO!!!!!!!!

 Run -- 46:49!!! YAY!!  This is a PB for me!! :D  :D :D

2nd place in AG group!  Yahoo!! :)

Total:  2:14:13

That's all folks!  :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Oliver 1/2 Iron Race Report - 2012

Thank God for Gord.

Gord my bike guru.  lol -- got in to see him and he fixed all manner of things with my race wheels and my bike.  Yes I had just taken my bike in to Calgary, but they didn't do all those extra things that Gord does for me.  I think I am pampered because I feel if I have forked over $500, my bike should be good to go.

Not so.

Anyways, all was soon good to go and my Momma and I headed to Oliver, BC!  :)

We decided to stay at a Super 8 in Osoyoos -- right across the street from a Buy Low foods.  I like being close to a grocery store so I can load up on rotisserie chicken.  :)  Except the first chicken we bought bled when we cut into it.  This was after I already had a mouthful of chicken.  Shudder.

We took the chicken back to the deli and the woman behind the counter told us it was "because we cut into it wrong."  WTF?!?!?  AVOID THE BUY LOW IN OSOYOOS!!!!

Okay onto the race details!

This was my first time racing the Oliver 1/2 iron and I was looking forward to some nice weather!

Swim 2km:  39:38
 All the swim times were longer than usual:  the top male pro time was 31:59, so that gives you an idea of how much longer!  lol. 

The men had a 7 minute start on the women..I think it was 7 minutes anyways!

The swim start was really weird...I had a warm up and thought I was good to go, but right as soon as we started, my body felt very sluggish.  It was like I couldn't make my body go!  And my chest/breathing felt like it was getting exponentially more difficult.  It was the strangest sensation observing how my body was almost shutting down.  So weird!

Before the race,  Coach Sara had sent me an awesome email -- I recalled her advice of *doing what needs to be done at the present moment.*  I could feel a rising panic inside me, and I knew that one thing I could do was control my breathing.  Concentrate on even breathing.  It took about 800m until I started to feel a bit more normal.  So very weird!  I have never experienced anything like that before!

T1:  3:44
The run to transistion is hilarious!  Up stairs, on roads and pavement, then up and down this carpeted hill and then across a grassy football field.  LMAO!  So awesome!

Bike 93km: 2:46:21
Since I have had my new aerobars installed, my bike position feels f$cked.  That is the best way to describe it.  My aero bar pads are higher than my old ones...and after the race, I thought to fiddle with my seat and raised it by an inch and it felt better.  But c'est la vie, eh? 

And one thing I learned about training/racing in Mexico is you give it all with what you've got!  You can borrow a bike, have something duct-taped on, whatever -- you just make do with what you have and have fun and race.  So, although I felt off, (and I wrote emails to my good friend T as well as Coach Sara about it after the race) I was also just excited to get out and race, push myself and have a blast doing it!!  :D  :D

I had to buy new tri shorts at the expo before the race because all my other ones were too big.  Luckily I found a couple of pairs of Desoto tri shorts and I bought both.  I am a big Desoto fan -- love their shorts, they fit me really well, so I was tickled to have found them at a bit of a discount too!  YAY!

Okay, onto the bike course --

The weather was way cooler than what I thought Oliver should be -- lmao!  Like 15 degreees Celsius maybe?  Maybe it got a little warmer, but I knew from past experience that I would have to eat more on the bike.  When it is cold, you need more calories.  So, I loaded up on what I thought was a great quantity of lifesaver gummies and gels in my bento box.

I went through my gels/gummies at an alarming rate!  Holy crap I was worried that I was going to run out (and I did!)  There were only 2 aid stations (forgive me if there were 3, but my race brain only remembers 2) and I kept thinking that I better get a gel at the next aid station.

Well, as I come up to the aid station, my mind is shouting GEL, but my mouth shouts WATER.  WTF?!?!?!  LMAO!  So there I was with this bottle of water and I am looking at it and thinking, how can I magically turn this into a gel?  LMAO!

The bike portion was hilly and windy and fun.  Not much else to say here other than when I crested a hill a spectator shouted out, "Well, I'm cold too."  Nice -- always the nipple comment.  lol.  (I know this is karma for all my years of relentlessly teasing athletes who have the luck of wearing bib # 69.  Oh yes I am so brutal!!!  lol!)

T2:  1:16
I love passing people in transition.   :)

Run:  1:51:36
My quads were in absolute pain/cramping from the get go.  So was my back.  I hurt so much but I could still run, so I thought to myself, "What the heck!  Just go like stink!"  Hee-hee!  Thanks to Coach Sara and all the training I've been doing, I knew that even with pain, I was going to have a solid run.  I *knew* that I was going to catch and pass people in the second half of the run. 

So, I have this unique way of carrying my gels -- I stick them all in a little ziplock baggie and shove the lot down my bra top.  It looks sort of weird at first when I have a bunch of gels in there.  Hahahaha!  You know when spectators suddenly grow quiet and look at  But seriously, I really like having access to them there instead of faffing around with crap on my waist.

In fact, I even have a couple of Under Armour sports bras that have a sort of cross-over detail at the front and it is the PERFECT place to hold gels.  It's just too bad they aren't constructed for tris -- ie, too much stitching, superfluous stuff = chafing.

There is a bridge on the run course that you have to climb stairs up and then down the other side.  You cross this bridge twice.  Holy sweet mother.  I have never felt such cramping pain in my quads -- lol.  It must be because the legs are doing one sort of repetitive motion (running) and suddenly throw stairs in there and the muscles just say NO WAY!  Hahahaha!

I honestly thought my quads were going to seize up and I would tip over in slow motion like the first time I rode clipless pedals.  No kidding!  When I climbed down the stairs on the other side of the bridge, I swear I was on the cusp of lockdown and tipping point.  Hahahahaha!

My quads were so sore and cramping, but I just kept on trucking and made sure I drank a lot of water at the aid stations and kept fueling myself with gels.  And I had the rest of the first lap to devise a strategy to get up and down the stairs for the 2nd lap....Muahahahaha.

Here's what I came up with:  If I bent my legs at all in a direction other than a running motion, my quads cramped.  So, if I could somehow get up and down the stairs by keeping my legs straight as possible, I should be great, right?  But how to do it?

The stairway is small enough to have handrails on either side that you can grab.  So here is what I did:  I used both handrails to lift myself up each stair.  I hopped off each forefoot and sort of rocked my way up the stairs (and then back down again)  -- it totally worked!  Hahahaha!

The last few kms were painful and I was feeling a little pukey, but I also knew I had the strength to keep going.  It is very heartening to pass people during those last few kms.

The finish line sits at the bottom of this steep little hill.  I resolved I was going to run as fast as I could down that hill and if I locked up and came rolling down, then so be it.  Hahahaha!  My legs felt like they were going so fast that I had no control of how I was running.  I could feel my face jowls bouncing up and down so hard and I was thinking to myself in those few seconds, "Well, here goes nothing!"  Hahahahah!!

Total time:  5:22:33
4th in Age Group
14th Woman Overall

More importantly, I secured an Ironman Canada spot at this race!  I didn't sign up for it last year and then had a change of heart...this is one of the 1/2 iron races that offers IMC spots, and I was happy to earn one.  I heard in years past, this race had plenty of IMC spots and basically you just showed up and you got one.  Not this year!  They didn't have enough spots to meet demand, so I am doubly happy I got one!!  :) :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Back Home!

I am back home in Canada! Back home with The Nut and Mandalay -- life is truly so much better when you can grab a cat whenever you want to for a cuddle. :)

My flight arrived in Calgary at 10:00pm Friday, so I made arrangements for my Dad and I to stay at a motel -- I had to bring my bike in to Bowcycle the next morning for some serious TLC and to pick up a new helmet, new pink water bottles, and more gels.

Now before I left Cozumel, I kept joking that since I was now used to such heat and humidity, I was going to be such a cold weather weenie when I returned. Saturday morning I went for a run and was going to find out just how cold I would feel. I did have a long sleeve shirt in my luggage that I wore, but no capris or pants -- just shorts. 

I looked outside our motel room and saw bits of frost, but "bucked up" as my sister and Mom say and headed out. Oddly enough, immediately it was awesome. AWESOME. I was a little cold but man, the first word that sprung to mind was: relief . Hahahahahaah!

Everyday in Coz, the weather report would be:
  • 27 degrees Celsius
  • Relative humidity of 80%
  • Feels like 37 degrees Celsius
Did you catch that last bullet point?


And it did.  Every day.  One day after I returned from a run, one of the security guards at our condo asked me if I jump in the ocean to swim and then run back.  Because I was always literally dripping wet.  Soaking wet.

Biking was the same way -- my cycling shoes would squelch with sweat and moisture. 

Mike and I would line up our shoes outside our condo rental, until the day that I lifted up my shoes and a million bugs (and all their friends) were having a party underneath and all around my sweaty shoes.  I felt so embarrassed.  But what do you do?  Nothing dries! 

My aero bar pads REEKED.  I'd always catch a whiff of BO and it was coming from them.  And they were ALWAYS wet.  Two black sponges that were probably swimming in all kinds of bacteria.  LOL.

The gentlemen at Bowcycle were awesome on Saturday!!!!!!!!

My left aero bar had indeed snapped off, so a new set of aero bars were in order.  My brakes were toast -- my rear one would lock tight against the wheel every time I would use it, so I had stopped using it.  My brake pads were worn out -- that  was from riding in traffic.  Stop and go, stop and go.  The last week in Cozumel, I just prayed the duct tape and avoiding shifting too much and braking would hold the bike together.  LMAO!

And I bought a new helmet too -- my old one had a crack in it and was bleached out by the sun.  It was yellow at one time, but now looks like something that you'd find in a garbage dump.

Same as my water bottles -- MAN!  The conditions are so harsh that it just destroys stuff.  The ink on my water bottles actually melted off.  MELTED off!  Like, how in the world is that even possible?  The ink came off in my hands!  The salt in the air, the scorching hot sun, the humidity -- it really kicks the crap out of clothing and equipment.

Speaking of clothing....

I am now a size small.  I have FOREVER been a size medium, but no more.   Unfortunately this means all my shorts are too big on me now.  My spandex shorts are baggy.  My race kit -- everything is too big on me now.  And when they get wet with sweat they hang off me.  And then the chafing/saddle sores begin.  So, I need new clothes!  My butt is smaller!!!!!!!!!!!!  YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I did try on a pair of Tyr tri shorts at Bowcycle on Saturday and while they felt amazing on, they looked absolutely terrible.  I could see my underwear THROUGH the front part!!  Quite clearly.  That's always a nice touch, eh?   No thanks.  $70 for a peep show -- and a gross one at that.  If you buy those shorts you better shave, and even if you do, if you have a freckle, the world will see it. 

Seriously, do these companies have a quality control department or a common sense department? 

It is great to be back home but I can't lie, Cozumel feels like home to me as well!  Mike and I made so many good friends there and it's just like a small town.  Just the way I like to roll.  We even started looking at property down there. 

I love Cozumel!  :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Swim With Whale Shark Adventure

What Mike and I did on Wednesday May 23! YAY for the whale sharks! :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

2012 Hacienda Tres Rios Sprint Tri Race Report

The original plan was to return home at the end of April...but the way things turned out, Mike and I are able to stay for the month of May too!

Now here comes my deep dark confession...there was a part of me that wanted to go home because I didn't want to miss a local race on May 13.

Yes, you read that correctly.

I was seriously wanting to go back to the cold, the snow, the trainer just because I had a race on the calendar!

I know how absurd that sounds, but I really, really, really wanted to race.  Like frothing at the mouth, kind of deal.  Well, given the opportunity to stay for another month in Cozumel or return home, common sense prevailed (hahaha!) and it was soon after that I learned of another race that would be taking place on May 13 in Playa Del Carmen.  YAHOO!  I could still race AND train in the heat and awesomeness that is Cozumel!!  YAY!

Fast forward to race day...

My Mom came to visit us for 10 days and as the race was going to occur on Mother's Day (in Mexico, Mother's Day was celebrated a few days earlier) I wanted to make it special for my Mom.  She had never been to Mexico and still harboured many doubts and fears about it.  Like:
  • You will get Hepatitis A from walking on the beach and drinking water from a restaurant.
  • Drug lords are on every corner eye-balling new tourists and then gunning them down.
  • Tourists are raped, beaten, and killed on a regular basis.
  • And more crap like this.
I find it ironic that people who spout off this kind of drivel have never actually BEEN to Mexico, and would be the first to point out how *ignorant* tourists are when they think all Canadians live in igloos, own dog-sleds, and might know Bob in Toronto.

Like everything in life, those who speak the loudest most often KNOW the least.

Rant over.  (lol.)

Thus, I booked us two nights accommodation at an all-inclusive resort in Playa Del Carmen.  My Mom had never been to one before -- and I was looking forward to the wondrous and copious amounts of food I could eat FOR FREE and not have to clean dishes afterwards!  :) :)

At Riu Lupita resort right before dinner.  Happy Mother's Day Mom!!

To get to Playa Del Carmen, we took the ferry over and then found a cab.  I popped off the front wheel of my bike and put the bike in the back seat and crawled in the back with it, while my Mom got in the front.  lol.

Racing in another country where English is not the first language is a unique experience.  Add different cultural norms into the mix, and the result can be quite funny!  When I went to rack my bike in transition the day before the race, I discovered that I had to wear my helmet while I was in transition.  With the strap closed too.  Hahaha!  This carried over to race day too -- when I went to pump up my tires, I was stopped by an official and made to put my helmet on (and close the clasp!)  LMAO  -- that was a first, pumping my tires up in the dark with my helmet on.  :)

It got tricky when I left transition to head down to the swim start -- how do I leave transition without wearing my helmet?  I need to leave it on my bike...I had to explain to a couple of officials and then I was good to go.  :)

Ok -- enough blather, let's get to the race deets!!!

My poor bike is taking a beating training in the salty-humid air here.  Stuff is rusting out and things are falling apart!  The most recent casualty is my aero bars.  The right one.  It started wobbling and bouncing before the race.  Took it to a local bike guy and he did what he could...then it started bouncing again.  So, I took out my trusty roll of duct tape and here is what I came up with.  Hey it works.  lol.   I felt like I had to apologize to everyone for having duct tape on my Cervelo -- I was embarrassed.  Hahahaha!

How to duct tape a Cervelo.
The swim was absolutely epic!  For a 750m swim, it was the gnarliest, coolest swim I have participated in yet!!  It was absolutely brutal!  The race course is designed so you swim out in the ocean, then turn around and come back and enter a little river that winds through the resort (not the resort we stayed at -- this one was very $$$$ like $750 a night!!)  The key here is the river EMPTIES into the ocean.  All the water is dumping out into the ocean and you are trying to swim into it.  LOL.  I swam a portion of it before the race start and realized this was going to be EPIC.

We started on the beach -- all the men left about 5 min before us, and then it was our turn.  You run out and then swim straight out to a buoy.  When you turn around, is where it gets interesting and fun!

The current is crazy!  CRAZY!  Before I reached the turn around buoy, I saw a head on collision as one woman swam  (in the wrong direction) directly into a swimmer beside me.  Well, when I made the turn around, I immediately saw I was swimming in the middle of oncoming traffic too!  HOLY CRAP!  lol. She wasn't swimming in the wrong direction, she was just trying to swim back!

I made my way through the water and started picking off green capped women and started catching some men too.  Then it happened.


I have never swam in one of those Endless Pools before, but I can honestly say I know what it feels like!  It was so weird!  The water suddenly grew very shallow -- BUT... it wasn't shallow enough to run, and it wasn't deep enough to dolphin dive.  (Think belly flop in sand.)  And swimming just made you go nowhere!  LMAO.  It was so funny, at one point there was a woman beside me and  we were trying all different kinds of maneuvers to move forward.  I dolphin-dived, she ran, then I swam, she dolphin-dived, and despite all these tactics we moved at the same snail's pace.  Hahahahaha -- so awesome!

Finally I got through the mouth of the river and then swam through the resort.  It was spectacular -- the visibility was incredible and there are trees and branches sticking out alongside and under the water.  Rugged and beautiful.

 We had to climb up these steps to get out of the river, but the only thing was, the lowest step was almost at the surface of the water.  Not like in a pool, where you just climb out.  It was awkward but hilarious -- I had so much fun in that swim.  :)

Seriously, the longest T1 I have done so far.  I don't know how far I ran with my bike.  It was so funny, at one point, I thought we would run the full 1km or so to the highway. LOL.
Fast and awesome.  Racing in a tropical climate is very, very different than racing at home.  For example, for a sprint at home, I might have no water or food for the event.  Here however, I went through water and even downed a GU while on my bike!  In a sprint if you can believe it!  The bike was where I made up my time.  Passed lots and lots of guys.  If any of you have been to Mexico, you are familiar with the speed bumps.  These suckers come in all shapes and sizes.  Some are big metal things that jut out, some are depressions, some are like rumble strips.  I took them all at full frigging speed.  lol -- hey it's a race isn't it?  LMAO! (This may/may not have had something to do with my handlebars going one way and my front wheel another at the end of the race when I thought I was swerving because I had a flat...) I believe I had the fastest female bike split but I am not 100% sure...

I run with my bike shoes on.  Don't bug me.  :)
The long run again.  LOL -- People were waving flags and I wasn't sure where the dismount line was, so I think I dismounted too early.  lol.  Oh well -- there were a couple of times on the bike where I squealed my brakes because I was unsure where I was going and was shouting out for directions.  lol.  One was the first set of metal speed bumps, the 2nd time was the during the return portion of the bike, I didn't know when/where/if I should cross over to return to T2.  A lone English-speaking spectator yelled out directions though -- LOL!!

Oh man, it was so unbelievably hot and humid.  The temp was 36 degrees Celsius with a relative humidity of 80%.  It felt like 41+ degrees.  Unreal!  I have never needed so much water in a sprint as I did at this race!  It was like a hot IM race -- surviving until the next aid station.

And the way they dispensed water was awesome!  You know if you go to the pet store and buy a goldfish?   You get a little baggie with a knot tied at the top?  That is what we got.  At first I was like, "Wtf am I supposed to do with this?"  But surprisingly, I found them much easier to drink out of than the usual cups!  I am not kidding!  I would tear a hole in the side of the bag and drink through it -- no inhaled water, no splashing.  It was so weird -- I would have thought it would be more difficult to drink out of a baggie you have to poke your fingers through, but no way!  It's the best!  :D

The aftermath
Weirdness here.  Apparently a woman in my age group cheated and then was arguing with a race official about it afterward.  Two other women came up to me and explained that they were going to set things straight, that they both said I won my age group.  So weird and strange!  It wasn't until the next day, that I learned I was 3rd female overall too, but during the awards, they never called me up.  :(  The first place woman got a bottle of champagne and then popped it and sprayed it everywhere -- it was pretty awesome.   There was some other odd stuff too -- a woman came up to me and kept telling me she passed me on the run.  I told her that I didn't remember that, that she did not pass me.  And the timing chip results certainly don't show it -- so very weird.  It's a frigging SPRINT people!  It was just such an odd thing for people to be cheating!  I've never experienced this before!  It went on and on too -- apparently men were clocking 12 minute 5km times.  lmao.  Hmmm -- somebody only did one loop of the run!  lol.  Very weird.


The COOL aftermath
My new friend Christi was heartbroken that her timing chip was removed after she completed the swim.  Although she completed the swim, she did not make the cut off time.  And it was her very first triathlon too.  :(  I am so proud of her finishing that swim though!! And I teased her about choosing the most difficult swim possible for her very first tri.  LOL.

One of the race organizers, Eileen (THANK YOU!! You are the best, Eileen!) found my Mom and escorted her to the finish line!  How amazing is that?  Eileen also answered my frantic pre-race email inquires. Heh-heh -- she was everywhere at once that day, and she kept a cool head about everything too.  Congratulations on a well-run event!  I had an amazing time and that course is a tough nut of a race!  Whoever thinks a sprint can't hurt, has to do this one!  lol!!

Another friend, Dailene (owner of Cabrilla's - triathlon and fishing shop in Cozumel) came out to support Christi that day. Dailene's sense of humour, positive presence, and selfless generosity is something to behold.  She's one of those people that inspire you to become a better person you know?  :) :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

All About Cozumel

Still having a great time in Cozumel!  I am getting seriously tanned.  As in, "I Have Never Been This Tanned In My Life."  Don't hate me!  LMAO!!!

In no particular order I am going to begin "Cozumel in Pictures"...

My buddy Demi, Olympic windsurfer who kicks serious ass.  (I have adopted a new mantra:  What would Demi do?  Hahahahaha!)  I did a core workout with her that saw my heart rate skyrocket to over 200 bpm.  LMAO!  This pic was taken at my birthday dinner.  The big 37 spent in Cozumel!

Happy Birthday sung to me in Spanish!  That is a first and I got a free dessert!  FREE!  (There was a time in my life when I registered 80 emails and then signed on to this website using all these "friends" as referrals so I could get a FREE fleece vest.  I got 4 vests.  Yes, I was one of THOSE people.)  But the word "free" still excites me, I cannot lie.  The same way that I simply MUST touch a sequined top in store.  I'm drawn to it like a crow....Caw, caw, CAW!

The guy sitting next to my hottie is Demi's coach/boyfriend -- Adrien.  The day after my birthday we went out for a 5 hour ride...I managed to stay with him for his warm up.  Hahahah -- Then I pedaled like I was possessed.  The gentleman that he was, he kept circling back for me.  :)  The COOLEST part of the ride was during loop #2 when he bunny-hopped a speed bump!

At that precise moment, I was eating some 'ride food' and I inhaled (while chewing and swallowing) and said, "That was AWESOME."  I ended up choking and coughing and feeling like an idiot as I pedaled along, but I couldn't stop saying out loud, "That was so AWESOME."  I want to learn how to do that!!

The dude can RIDE.  Thanks for letting me tag along and push myself!  :)

Ok, this is going backwards in time -- this was me before the bike race a couple of weeks ago.  I could already feel the adrenaline kick in...LOL.


This pic makes me laugh -- my adrenaline had kicked right in and I was frigging poised to GO.  Hahahahaha!

Gratuitous Sunset Shot.

There really IS a happy bus!  Hop aboard people -- the happy bus is in Cozumel!  Hahahahahaha.

This is Mike's "Friend Donkey" -- Pepe.  Now this is a hilarious story...Every day, Mike rides his one speed beach cruiser through downtown on his way to the pier (where he gets picked up for scuba diving).  There is a home on the main drag with this guard donkey -- at least that is what we jokingly call Pepe.  And his name isn't even Pepe.  Mike just calls him that!  LMAO.  Every day, Mike rings his bike bell and feeds Pepe a carrot. 
But Pepe has a real stubborn streak.  

(Caught that, didn't you?  Hee-hee!)
And, Pepe can be a real ass.
(Oh, somebody stop me!  lol.)
He does not hee-haw like a normal donkey.  He makes this God-awful racket that sounds like a combination of:
  • A squeaky door hinge
  • A dying hyena   
He has even tried to bite Mike.  LOL.  Little bugger. So, last week , Mike had this big surprise planned for Pepe....

We'd been talking about it for days....How Mike was going to surprise Pepe with an apple instead of a carrot.  Days passed, and we kept forgetting to purchase an apple on our many grocery trips.  Finally, Mike remembered and was excited to see how excited Pepe would be.

Can you guess what happened?

Pepe doesn't like apples.  Let me clarify that for you...

Good Lord, Mike took a video, and Pepe sulked, pouted, gave Mike the old "sideways-eyeball" and huffed and puffed.   LMAO.

Pepe, in a more pleasant mood.  LMAO -- Haaaaaaaayyy!

Another gratuitous sunset shot.  lol.

Things I have learned so far:
  • You have to wash your eggs before you crack them into the pan.  They are fresh.  :)
  • Traffic does not stop and give you a little courtesy space like at home, they keep coming at you assuming you are going to go at the same speed -- so this means a car or scooter will inch right up as close as possible to turn into traffic IMMEDIATELY after you pass.  LOL -- Takes a bit of getting used to! 
  • If you go pee in the bush, don't go far.  Because you will invariably end up standing in an ant pile.
  • I can still miss my turn on the only road that goes around the island.
  • I need a new frigging saddle.  I have landmines and an open war zone going on that no one should ever have to experience.  (My friend Jenna once drew a detailed diagram of the typical saddle sore location...I emailed it to Coach Sara.  LMAO.)  Adamo here I come with open, loving arms.
  • The good thing about not renting a car, is you have to bike everywhere.  The bad thing about not renting a car have to ride everywhere.  
  • I have become quite proficient at cramming as many groceries as I can into a canvas shopping bag, doing some kind of ungodly backwards stretch that entails me getting each arm back and through the handles and then humping it on my back.  (Always causes a few stares at the grocery stores.  And reminds me of when I was in Grade 7 and the boys would tease the one girl in class with the big boobs, "Carla!  I betcha can't touch your elbows behind your back!"  Except in my case there really is nothing to see but a red face and grimace of concentration.  LOL)

Last night at sunset, right before we biked to dinner.  MY HAIR IS LONG ENOUGH TO BRAID PEOPLE!!  LMAO!!!  Yes they are little, but I don't care!  Hahahahaha!