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


video


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.)
WHALES!!!
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