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!!