Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ironman Cozumel 2013 Race Report

Total time:  11:04:35
Swim:  46:18
Bike:  5:46:46
Run:  4:24:37

Let's do this!

One of the many lessons I have learned from training and racing so many iron-distance events is things never go according to plan.  The point of all this training is to be able to roll with it, so-to-speak on race day.

Ironman Cozumel this year was a perfect example of this.

In the days leading up to the race a fierce wind blew in -- a weather system that locals call the "norte."   Mike and I had experienced the norte earlier this year in Coz.  The wind whips up the ocean into such a frenzy that the port shuts down.  Vacationers who have booked scuba-dive trips are left sitting around waiting for the port to re-open.  And this November there were 2000+ nervous triathletes biting the inside of their collective cheeks...

Registration in my new bright pink top my sister got me for Christmas last year!!  :) :)

As it happened, every practice swim was canceled before the race.  That meant no ocean swimming at the race venue.  No getting familiar with how the currents felt, no practicing sighting and swim start/exit strategy.  Time for my new motto of "F@#k it" to kick in.  :)

Port closed down and no practice swims?
F@#k it.

Seriously, saying this in my head (and sometimes muttering it under my breath) acts as a release valve.  And it works.  My last key session before IM Coz was 25x 100m on 1.55.  I found when my pace started to shift, an emotional component would inevitably weasel its way into my thoughts and by me muttering "f@#k it" after every 100m, I brought my pace back down and got 'er done.  It is amazing how emotions can negatively impact my performance.  When emotions creep in, I lose focus...and speed and efficiency. 


Literally the night before the race, a mass email went out to all participants detailing changes to the swim portion of the Ironman.  The swim was changed to a 3.1km point-to-point swim with the current.
(Keep in mind the current is strong in Cozumel.  More than 300 people were pulled from the swim last year.  After the race last year, there was a video circulating that showed a swimmer vainly swimming into the current and actually moving BACKWARDS.)

Honestly, my first thought was BOOM!  Finally I land in a race with an obvious time advantage.  I've done SO MANY FRIGGING races where the course is long, the weather is brutal, etc.  It's about time!!  :D :D  My next thought was, better wait and see, it is an Ironman after all!

The Momma scoring bath bomb schwag to fill up my goodie bag...you all know that I trick-or-treated right up until I was 18 years old right?  (I would wear a walrus mask and crouch down behind my sister- who is 3 years younger than me -  and her friends and just hold my pillowcase out.)  And I would do it again if I knew I could get away with it.  :D :D

The morning of the race was a cluster.  Athletes still had to go to T1 and then catch buses to the new race start.  I went into stealth mode and mooched 80 pesos from The Momma and caught a cab instead.

The Swim: 46:18 -- LOL!!!!

The new race start and beginning of a current-assisted 3.1km swim.

What a gong show.  The pro men started first, followed by the pro women.  The pros swam out to their starting point while instructions shouted out on a megaphone (in both Spanish and English) to us age groupers that we were to stand in either ankle deep water or on the shore.

Well, that went over like a lead balloon.

Yes, literally.

As soon as the pro women started,  everyone started swimming out to the pro race start.  I looked around a few times hoping to hear a whistle or something getting everyone back to shore, but nothing was happening.  So, I joined the horde.

It was 15 min to our race start and the current was bit by bit pushing us past the pro start line.  Good grief.  I said to one guy beside me, "If they don't start us soon, we'll be finishing before we even start."

He didn't laugh.  Dork.

The best electrolyte drink on the planet.  Why can we not get this stuff here?!?!?!

There were a few half-hearted attempts made by a couple of guys on water-ski-jet-ski things (why I cannot remember the word for this is beyond me, hahaha!) to push the swimmers back, but you can't fight the current!  I tried swimming back a bit but when I turned around there was a frigging wall of people behind me.  I waffled, swimming back a bit, forward a bit, trying to find the right spot for my conscience.

Another guy beside me shouted to a volunteer on a SUP board -- "You should bonk these guys on the head!"  (Ok I am liberally paraphrasing here...Hee-hee.)

The volunteer was so awesome -- he laughed and said:  "I just live here!  I don't care -- this is your race, you do what you want."  Whoever you were -- awesome response man!!  :)

Eventually everyone started swimming so I did too.  I never did hear the cannon or gun or whatever it was.  

The current was really apparent.  I was flying.  And I was still drafting like crazy too.  Although the water is crystal clear, I never *see* anything during the swim portion.  I call it being "race blind."  I am just so in the moment of swimming I don't *see* anything but the swimmers around me and how best to strategize how to draft from them.  :)  So, I don't remember seeing any fish or scuba divers (except for my Mikey at the start).


Once we reached Chankanaab Park (T1), the current reversed and it was like hitting a wall.  Oh how I remember that feeling from last year!  I tucked in behind some swimmers and made my way to the steps and gracefully hoisted myself belly-first out of the water.

The Bike:  5:46:46

I'm sure many of you have heard about the draft-fest out there on race day.  It was just as bad as people say.  I was able to keep my emotions in check until the second lap when I let my emotions get the better of me.  There was one pack of guys and girls that would pass me, then fall apart, then repass me.  I went as hard as I could and passed them again and again during the second lap, but I really became frustrated.

There were two pelotons that I experienced:  within one group, two riders collided and one skittered to the pavement.  Big surprise there.  Honestly in pelotons like that I was just waiting to see riders go down especially at the aid stations.  

The winds picked up and it was AWESOME!  Again, it was like the swim current -- finally I was in a flat race with solid winds.  It was like Ironman Crowsnest Pass.   HAHAHAHAHAHA!!  I was in my element and on the windy side of the island, I felt amazing and solid.  The winds in the Pass are so brutal they truly prepare cyclists for all kinds of conditions.

My nutritional strategy was bang on for this race -- FINALLY!!!  It has only taken me 14 iron-distance races to figure this out!!! YAY!

From what I have heard from other competitors, the bike portion ended up being a mile long...Despite the swim being short and current-assisted, things have a funny way of evening out during an Ironman.

Loving the wind on the other side of the island!  And the zinc on my arms this year -- no burns baby!!

The Run:  4:24:37

After Challenge Penticton this year I injured both my achilles and consequently could do very little run training between that race and IMCoz.

F@#k it!  :D

I swam and biked instead and as race day approached I eased back into running slowly.  I had a couple of sketchy moments during training as I danced the line between preparation and re-injury.  Also, I was ready to call the whole race off if I felt like I was going to do some damage.

Once off the bike, I knew right away that this was going to be a LOOOOOOOONG frigging marathon.  It was hot.  It was humid.  I was very hot and I had one pace -- my Ironman chug-a-lug pace which felt even more sluggish than usual.  Slug-a-lug.  :D  Honestly I thought I was going to be doing a 5.5 hour marathon.  I resigned myself to it, so when I saw it was 4:24 I couldn't believe it.  Hahaha. 

I had a few scary moments during the marathon where my achilles or random leg stuff threatened to shut me down.  I knew I was running right at the edge of my current fitness -- the leg cramping wasn't like I had experienced before...it was like I was at the threshold of what my body could do on that day, and if I went over it, even by an inch, I could be that girl who collapses 25m from the finish line.  I really didn't want to be that girl!  Hahaha!

When the heavens opened and a torrential downpour flooded the streets in ankle deep water -- the challenge was upped again.  I still had to grab ice water to cool myself off -- how crazy is that?  Running through rain and still needing to dump cold water on your head?  Only in Ironman! 

Towards the end of the race, I followed the example of some fellow athletes who had the clever idea to run up on the sidewalk to try to minimize puddle contact.  That lasted for a little while until I quickly realized that getting up and down each curb was too much for my legs.  Hahaha -- wimpy legs!!! Hahahahahaha! 

Those three laps were the longest run of my life.  I was *running* so slow, I would empty my mind again and again and get on with it.  I am still amused at how much this particular marathon sucked.

The.  Longest. "Run."  Ever. 

What was going on inside my head:
  • Of course you feel like crap, this is an Ironman what do you expect?
  • This is old news, been there, done that, this is number 14 for you.
  • Get' er done.

I also thought of my athlete Darren who jumped into a 100 mile trail race on less-than ideal training volume earlier this year.  I kept thinking to myself, all I have to do is run three laps to make 26.2 miles, that poor bastard would have run about 12 laps of this course! 

The finish:

As usual I had a "sprint to the finish" moment with a guy!  LMAO!!  I love this, I always end up having some kind of sprint -- it is so funny.  Said dude heard the race announcer say there were 2 athletes coming through the chute.  He looked back over his shoulder and I was smiling and laughing like a maniac and tried to sprint with him.  He was too fast for me!  Hahaha!

I shook his hand at the finish line and navigated my way through the mud pit that was the recovery tent.

Reclining to eat in the days after the race...

 The Aftermath --  

My ultimate goal for this race was to see how my body felt in the days after....as my goal next year is to race two iron-distance events in 7 days....The Ironman Double.  If I wasn't able to stand straight due to my achilles like after Challenge Penticton, this goal would be out.  Obviously.  Heh-heh-heh. But...I felt good.  Really good.  :D :D

The idea of the Ironman Double came about after Challenge Penticton this year....(aside from not being able to stand straight, heh-heh) I was feeling really good and it occurred to me I might be one of those athletes that do well with the double kind of thing.

And so, August 17, 2014 will be Ironman Mont Tremblant and 7 days later will be Challenge Penticton August 24, 2014! 

Happy New Year everyone!!!!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lucky Numero 13 -- Challenge Penticton Race Report 2013

I missed posting my race report from Calgary 70.3 -- in short I went 4:55 (one minute faster than GWN, whoohoo!), 4th in my age group.   But the biggest news was my athlete Tracey blasted her way to her first sub-5 performance and ended up 2nd in her AG with a blistering 4:52!!!  I was so flipping excited when she passed me on the run, I told her to GO!  And she did!

Tracey aka Dream Crusher Roemmele (pronounced ROM-LEE) went on to crush the inaugural Ironman Canada course in Whistler going sub-12 (IN HER VERY FIRST IRON-DISTANCE RACE) and executing a perfect race.  I am SO proud of her -- she was faced with a lot of adversity that day and each time a decision needed to be made, she kept her emotions out of it and addressed what needed to be addressed.  Now THAT is how an Ironman is run my friends!!!

Before the race start at Calgary 70.3.  Notice my swank patch-job on the wetsuit.  NICE.  Hahaha.

While Tracey was crushing dreams in Whistler on August 25, I was in Penticton at the first North American Challenge race!

I've done the Penticton course every year since 2005 and as I am a Taurean creature of habit, it was Challenge Family for me this year.  :)

Coffee required at all wetsuit swims.  :D

The first thing I noticed when me and The Momma rolled into town were the oodles of "vacancy" signs.  Down at the race expo, the vibe was completely different -- there were 2000 or so LESS people for one thing.  But, the vibe was so friendly and welcoming....It was low key but exciting at the same time.  I ran into one of my friends who is an experienced iron-distance and Ultraman competitor...he summed it up best:  "It's because everyone here actually LIKES triathlon."  It really did feel like one big happy family.  Another friend of mine noted, "The difference between Challenge and IM racers are the woman have real boobs here.  You see all these women running with big boobs that don't move during an Ironman."  I'll leave that comment right there...Hahahahahaha!

I will not get drawn into a Challenge Family versus Ironman debate because I enjoy racing period.  I have had great experiences with Ironman as well as independent races and now Challenge Family.  It all depends on what you expect/what you enjoy/etc.  Whatever floats your boat, man. Bottom line is I am thrilled there are more triathlon race choices!

You KNOW you have always wanted to do this!

Race Morning...

The wind picked up in the night and blew the swim buoys all over Penticton.  One reportedly was seen going down the channel!  The wind continued on race morning -- we were in for some serious chop.

Some poor sucker neglected to read the NO PARKING ON RACE DAY signs...

Swim -- 3800m no it was 4200m -- BONUS SWIM!

Different from the old Ironman Canada format, Challenge Penticton sent us off in waves -- the pros left first, then 5 minutes later age group 18-39 took off.  That's men and women together by the way.  From the get go, the chop was noticeable and acted almost as a head current.  And the lack of people to draft from was so noticeable!!  I spent about 85% of the swim on my own this year. 

Got out in 1:13 and change and onto the bike.

Bike -- 6:00 and some more change...

Pink helmet -- check.  Pink water bottles -- check.  Pink bento box -- CHECK!   :D

Now here is where the lack of competitors really makes a difference.  This race reminded me of The Great Floridian -- fewer competitors which translates to an absolutely honest bike effort.  Now THIS is the kind of course you are actually testing yourself on.

Make no mistake -- even if you ride "legal" during an IM event, the sheer numbers of people on the bike course give you a tangible advantage.  You benefit from drafting whether inadvertent or not.  Take away 2000 people and for vast portions of the ride I was out there completely alone.  Not a soul in sight.

Honestly it was like I was at home in the Pass, doing an iron-distance event on my own.

Saw a couple of Mercury Rising Triathletes out there during the bike and even had a mini-chat with one about the virtues of cycling in bikini bottoms...(They are THE BEST.   No padding = no chafing.)

Run -- 4:11

Sweet baby Jesus the finish line is there!  :) :)  Bonus points for those who spotted The Momma on the right in MRT Kit!!

If the bike was lonely, the first third of the run was like a ghost town.  There were people as I exited T2, but once I got out by Skaha Lake (if it were not for the odd person and aid station) I found myself questioning if I was even on the race course. Hahaha!  Seriously!

Man, I love being at the finish.  Hahahaha.

The back half of the marathon saw more people out and about.  At the turn around I hit a dark patch and felt like crap mentally.  Physically, I didn't feel nauseous but just really slow and like I was running through molasses.

This is where the self-talk and mind-emptying came into play.  I kept telling myself to get to 32km and then I could just jog it in.  "Just jog it in"  became my mantra.  I can jog for 10km!  At about 29km I started to come around and also started on Pepsi.  

I have always wanted to grab the finish line tape like this -- this year I remembered!  Hahahahaha!

A HUGE success for me on this run was noting the temperature on one of those digital signs that line the road -- 27 degrees Celsius.  I felt totally comfortable and never needed to dump water on my head to cool off the entire run!  So awesome!  All that Cozumel heat training is paying off!  YIPPEE!!!

Not much else to say about this run...except the last 25m I kicked it up through the finish chute --heh-heh-heh.  Although "kicking it up" is a generous (extremely generous) term here. 

The typical "is it gas or is it puke?" post iron-distance face...

Summary ---

This was my 13th iron-distance race and it's funny how an iron-distance race is like an old friend now.  I settle in and enjoy my time.  Well most of the time, anyways.  Hahaha.

After finishing, I drank some more Pepsi and sat down with my head between my knees to prevent either passing out/puking.   The usual.  :D  Next stop was the massage tent where I rambled on to anyone who would listen how great it was to race in bikini bottoms.  Hahahahaha!

If you ever want to hear the strangest/funniest conversations -- talk to someone who has just finished an iron-distance race.  My brain was on turbo jet-fuel -- I made no sense and talked fast.   Hahahahaha -- good stuff!!

I ended up 11th female overall and 3rd in my age group! WHOO HOO!!!

Receiving my award from Felix, CEO of Challenge Family!!

After the race, I played the "What does it look like game?"

Playing the "What does it look like game?" may/may not have happened after ice cream ...

Next up is Ironman Cozumel on December 1!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Great White North 1/2 Iron Race Report -- July 7, 2013

This was the first year of the new course --
  • The swim was changed from two loops with a beach run to a single swim loop.  This was an awesome change -- the best way I can sum up this change is with a story of a friend who is small in stature and who literally got stuck in the mud/goose poop one year mid-course.  Hahahahaha.  
  • The bike course was changed to two loops -- it was a challenging course with the wind.
  • The run was changed as well -- I really liked the course changes.  In the past I found it mentally fatiguing -- just the way it was laid out.  This year was mentally refreshing.  :) 
 Total time:  4:56:59

Swim:  29:22
I don't know about the length of the swim course as times were fast...what I do know is that I was a minute behind the eventual 2nd and 3rd place female pros.  That is all I need to see to gauge my swim improvement.  :)

My first sub-30 min swim -- I AM TAKING IT!!!! 

Bike:  2:40:29
Nothing special here -- I was alone for just about all of the ride.  It was an honest ride in the wind that's for sure.

Run:  1:47:08
I've been practicing pacing in all three disciplines for months now.  Coach Sara has written all kinds of sets where I am forced to pace properly!  My MO is I go out too hard and then suffer GI issues, cramps, etc.  My goal for this race was to execute my pacing, manage my emotional responses (ie have none, lol), and do my best on the day!

Other stuff:
  • This was the first time in my life I had the pleasant and ENJOYABLE experience of swimming with faster swimmers.  MAN what a difference!!!  Compared to what it feels like to swim mid-pack, everyone is a better a swimmer and "gets it."  I kept marveling at how awesome it was to swim!!!
  • The same feeling was echoed on the bike albeit on a smaller scale.  I was alone for most of it, however the minimal contact I had with fellow cyclists was sooooooo awesome.  Everyone "got it" and there was no swerving, shouting "on your left!" etc.  It was so bloody refreshing to not have to worry about these things!  YAY!
Me and my bud Lisa -- She is a super stud swimmer who routinely beats the pros out of the water!  Plans are in the works for me to stay at her place for a mini swim camp...she is so awesome!!!  :D :D

And for your viewing pleasure...this was post race...I was just about to get a massage when I realized I had a bottle of salt tabs and gels still down the front of my top!  LMAO!!!

CRAP!  I left my salt tabs and gels in there!  LMAO!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Quickie Update

Life is good back home on Canadian soil!  The smell of GREEN is so insanely amazing -- you don't get that smell in Cozumel.

The lilacs are blooming and when I run down the highway  I get to run AND smell the flowers at the same time.  Yes, I think this is extremely funny -- this is my type of joke.  See everyone?  I don't have to stop and smell the flowers, I can have my cake and eat it too!!  (To really mess up some metaphors!  Hahahahahaha.)

I did a sprint race on June 2 in Elkford and ended up 1st overall female and 2nd overall. I had the fastest bike split overall -- I was pretty pumped about that.

I've recently had a revelation about triathlon --- are you ready for it?

Most people are full of bullshit.

When I first started this sport, I was so intimidated by everyone "running until they puke," "going on the pain train," etc, that I felt I was a big wimp and I wasn't pushing myself hard enough.   Even now I hear how people describe how they are almost blacking out during a swim set -- all this crap is like suffering is the only way to improvement.  Not your usual work out, rest, kind of suffering, but the full on brutal kind.

Well, it is all bullshit.

I remember thinking I have to breathe so hard during intervals otherwise I am not working hard enough.  What happened with that strategy is I gave myself vocal chord dysfunction.  How idiotic is that?!?!?!  I wanted to breathe hard and be so out of breath and that is exactly what I got.  I was on inhalers until a specialist told me, "You taught yourself how to do this, you can teach yourself how to stop."

I am forever grateful to that doctor!!!  What a liberating concept.

It reminds me of a sign hanging in Gord The Bike Guru's shop -- "If you want it BAD, that's what you'll get."

Working with Coach Sara, I've worked on slowing things down instead of busting out of the gate like a mad bull.  For example, keeping my HR under a certain number for running.  The best lesson was a swim set where I did:

5x 100m @ 2.10
5x 100m @ 2.05
5x 100m @ 2.00
5x 100m @ 1.55

No breaks between the 100s, one set of 5 rolled right into the next.  When I paced it properly I couldn't believe the difference in how I felt.  Going steady and strong is a lot more difficult than going balls out.  Everyone has seen that guy (and/or have been that guy, lol) that goes balls out for 25-50m in the pool and then gets slower and slower as the session progresses.

These lessons I have learned in the pool have translated over to biking and running as well -- it is very awesome.  :) :)

Improvement doesn't have to come from all this negative crap of blood, sweat, and tears.

All for now!


Friday, March 22, 2013

Whales and Ironman Los Cabos Race Report 2013!!!

Who's driving the happy bus?  I'm driving the happy bus! 
Hola Amigos!

You may be wondering what in the world I've been up to...plenty!!  After IM Cozumel I got the dreaded post-IM cold.  Nasty, nasty thing.  You know the kind that ends up with your chest burning and you coughing up globules of colourful mucous?  That kind.

In the midst of this mucous-haze, for some reason I decided to sign up for IM Los Cabos which took place on March 17, 2013.  Well, to be entirely honest, there were actually a number of reasons why I decided to dive into an IM a few short months after Cozumel:
  1. My Mom had been planning a February "girls only" Mexican vacation since last year...co-ordinating with my sister's hectic work schedule took us about a year to pin her down to a specific date.  
  2. Going along with said theme, none of us had been to Los Cabos before, and as there was an IM going to be held there a month after we were there, why not train on the course and do the race?  
  3. This is my favourite reason:   For some time now I have openly desired to have some heavy training weeks at an all-inclusive resort.  Hmmm...."openly desired" doesn't quite capture the sentiment.  Let me try again -- I loudly fantasized about all the first and second breakfasts I could eat -- the umlimited salad, the sheer unabandoned joy of conusming food without having to shop for it, cook it, then clean the dishes.  Seriously, I still get giddy and flip-flops in my stomach at how truly awesome it is to just show up and eat.  
  4. Did I mention I was exhilirated at the mere thought of not having to cook and clean?  Seriously, as my training load increases, the amount of food I eat is staggering -- and it takes most of the day to cook ahead.  I am getting ahead of myself here, but in the last couple of weeks before the race I was barely keeping up with my appetite -- in the morning as I would eat 1st breakfast, I would simultaneously cook big pots and trays of the following (for the next few days consumption): 
    1. One big pot of quinoa
    2. One big pot of carrots, yams, parsnips
    3. One big pot of rice
    4. Oven tray of potatos and another tray of chicken breasts
As luck would have it, I was able to go to Tucson and stay and train with Sara (Coach Hottie) for 3 weeks, then fly back to Calgary stay in the airport hotel with my Mom and sister and then 4 hours later fly to Los Cabos for another 2 weeks.

Unluckily, while in Tucson I caught the Mother Of All Plagues as did every other living soul in Tucson.  Sara brought her two-year old daughter Rosalee down to Tucson and we would take turns caring for her, all the while balancing training...and eating.  (haha.)  This was going well, until both Sara and I AND Rosie became sick.  I'm talking really sick here.

The low point of this (mis)adventure came the day I was driving Sonja (another of Sara's athletes who arrived the day we went for our first visit to the Urgent Care Clinic) to a massage appointment.  Sara, Sonja, Rosalee and I loaded into the suv rental...I got pulled over for speeding by the Po-Po!!!

Oh My GOD.  I hate the po-po -- I always feel guilty and terrified at the same time.  I slumped in the seat, I could hardly breathe I was so sick, and I felt like I was going to sink into a pool of despair.  The cop let me off with a stern warning, whereupon I rolled up the window and burst into tears, freaking out everyone.  I announced between gasping between those tear-shuddering inhalations, "I always cry when the po-po stop me!  I can't help it, just ignore me and I'll be fine!"

We had just dropped Sonja off when we heard a thick, wet, heaving sound coming from the car seat in the back.  Roslaee had FOUR full-on gigantic barfs one after the other.  All over herself and the car seat.

At that point, Sara and I simply said nothing but stared straight ahead and continued to drive back to the condo.  A few minutes passed by when I said, "Maybe we should roll down the windows because I bet it must smell in here."  We were both so sick ourselves we had no sense of smell.

Oh man.

Fast forward to Los Cabos -- I was still sick but recovering.  My first week there was the pits, but the second week I managed to get in a solid training week.

Ok -- a lot of things have happened and I am going to rattle them off here so I can get on with my race report:
  • I went from Paleo, to attempting Vegan, and then settled nicely into going Gluten-Free.  Yes, I know I am totally on of those people.  Hahahahaha.  The vegan thing did not work for me at all -- I need protein and the beans I ate left me bloated and gassy.  And for those people that say eating a combination of cucumber and whatever other vegetable makes a complete protein -- I say BULLSHIT.  I valiantly tried this for 6 weeks and it did not work for me.  For me -- let me repeat myself.  If it works for you -- yippee-skippee.  But it did not work for me. 
  • Gluten-Free has been the ticket for me.  I've had to buy new clothes as my body is leaning out on its own.  It's funny actually.  The next step was cutting back on fat.  I was eating so many nuts and eggs I thought there was no way I could make even the smallest of changes.  Sara helped me out with this, and I started making small changes at first -- which led to bigger changes.   
Onto Ironman Los Cabos!!!!

My Dad accompanied me to this inaugural event...his first time in Mexico and at an all-inclusive:

Breakfast at the Holiday Inn Resort in San Jose Del Cabo!  Note the pink water bottle.  :D

 Los Cabos shares a similarity with Crowsnest Pass...

Crowsnest Pass is not really a place -- it is made up of five towns:  Bellevue, Hillcrest, Frank (where I live and 4 other people, lol), Blairmore and Coleman.  Despite the town's council trying to force everyone to call it the Crowsnest Pass (and before any locals gets their panties in a knot, I always say I am from the Crowsnest Pass so trust me I am on your side) --  the post office doesn't agree, neither does Enmax.  In any case, you get my drift right?

Los Cabos is actually made up of two places:  San Jose Del Cabo (where T2 and the finish line was) and Cabo San Lucas (where the swim and T1 and all the drunk people go to party on spring break.)  The "Los Cabos corridor" is something you will hear when you are down there.

Onto to race prep...how do you load a bunch of tri bikes to T1?  Why you take the bus of course!!

Don't be fooled, there is a definite technique to carrying and tilting your bike onto a tour bus. 
I had another "that guy" moment when I tilted my bike and spilled the contents of my aero drink all over the seat...

Thankful your bike made it through the airport gorillas ok?  You ain't seen nothing yet!  Hahahaha!

 I only took a couple of pics of T1 as it was stinking bloody hot outside....

Numero 1235 -- racked in transition and swaying perilously from side to side in the wind.

TOTAL TIME:  12:01:35
Swim: 1:10:50
T1: 4:22
Bike:  6:29:18
T2: 2:22
Run:  4:14:43

The more full IM races I do, the more I realize that each race is unique and different.  Even the same race year to year must be looked at like a brand new race as conditions change.  (This is actually a life lesson given to me by my Bike Guru -- Gord.)

This race was the most challenging one I have done (so far.)  The conditions and the course itself were at 9/10 on my scale of challenge anyways.  The swim itself was fine - I didn't notice anything about the swim -- it was the typical IM swim.

On the move!  Yeehaw!  :D

The bike on the other hand was brutishly challenging.  It was very, very hot.  It was very, very windy.  And it was very, very hilly.  When we biked towards Cabo San Lucas the second time, the headwind was incredibly strong and I just did what I could to keep moving forward.

Rule #1 of IM bike portion -- never miss a photo op!  HAHAHA!

The low point of the race for me was the second time up the airport toll road.  It was very hot and still at points.  The kind of baking oven that could drive a person insane.  The cross winds were bad, but honestly, the heat was so relentless, that when I got into aero and my front wheel caught the side-winds and tossed me around the highway, I wasn't even scared.  Hahaha -- It was such a relief to be actually moving at a decent pace that for the first time ever, I wasn't scared or overly cautious as I descended into cross-winds.  Hahahahaha -- go figure!

Getting it done.

I saw that I was well over 6 hours on the bike and thought to myself, "Oh...it is THAT kind of course!"  Hahahaha.  I was looking forward to getting off the bike and running the marathon!

Bet you can't lift your leg that high after biking 180km, hahahahahaha.

Somehow, Sara has tranformed me into a runner and I not only look forward to the run now, but I even have multiple gears during it -- other than survival mode!  I feel like I am a hunter going to go hunt me down some runners!  Hee-hee!

Sporting my custom MRT kit!  Made for the Mexican heat.  And my now trademark bikini bottoms.  Booyah! 
The run was 3 laps all over the place and as usual the local volunteers were incredibly enthusiastic.  There was one particular aid station where some young lads would open up those baggies of ice cold water and run with me and dump them all over my head and back as I passed by!! So awesome!

I had taken one more step in this photo.  Hahahahaha!

Every aid station I would say, "Agua Por Favor!"  Then, "Gracias!"  The entire race.  Hahahah.

During the last few miles, there was one woman who would pass me but I would hang on to.  Her boyfriend/husband met her during the last lap and ran with her, going in front of me to get her water and pass it to her.  The bugger then hid in some bushes during the far out and back and rejoined her again.  He knew he was doing something wrong.  I made it my mission to take her down and show them both that integrity is the speedier option.

Where the hell is the garbage can?  HAHAH -- I carried my special needs bag for a while, lol!!!

I recognized that I let this into my head, but at the same time I was comfortable with my decision to let it fuel me.  It was not a negative force.  She would pull away a little but I would draw right close to her again and again.

I started to get sucked deep into The Zone and realized that I had another gear that I would use for the last mile...

Chickie poo was slowing down ahead of me.  I ran closer and closer to her.  She looked behind her twice.  I thought to myself, "Yes, I am coming for you."

At the final out and back we crossed the timing mats and she looked behind at me once again.  I ran around the corner and then used my last Mile of Awesome Gear.  Hahahahaha!

I left her behind and ran by a lot of people that last mile!  It was a really great feeling.

The Leg of Awesome.  Hahahahaha.

The great feeling lasted until I stopped forward motion. Hahahah -- the usual.

I just finished my 12th Ironman! Where's the nachos?

A couple of days after the race my Dad and I went on a whale-watching expedition:

We saw sea lions....
Sea lions hitchin' a ride and getting fish to boot!
Los Arcos

A pod of dolphins!!!!  (I almost jumped overboard at this point.)
So awesome, you could hear them breathe.

Massive creatures -- I'm profoundly moved by this experience.
Baby whale!

I can watch them all day.
Blissing out.  :D