Wednesday, December 4, 2013
It's been an interesting experience. My body went through three phases.
Day One after Ironman I felt nauseous sick. Like a kid who smoked a cigarette for the first time. It lasted all day. I was retaining a lot of water. I took some coconut oil and multi-vitamins.
Day Two I went to the bathroom a lot, body must have been getting rid of power bars, gels and all that good stuff. Still started expelling lots of water. Legs were fine walking, running the thighs were still sore and a shuffle 30 feet would hurt.
Day Three I continued to lose water. I also noticed that I wasn't eating as much. Even though I've been treating myself, last night it was some wings and onion rings, I'm not over eating. More just for taste. Out of 8 - 10 wings I think I ate only 3 or 4 and a healthy salad.
Just what I needed and my body was feeling near recovered to about 75%. I also started seeing myself drop weight. Stomach getting flatter.
I think the big difference by not drinking beer is I was giving my body time to recover without adding stress to it. I've never felt better physically and I really feel great mentally.
Mentally it's also a nice kick start, knowing that you did an Ironman, have got benefits and your still gaining forward movement from those benefits. When I drank beer afterward I really stopped the body from recovering, I was actually putting more stress on it.
The big test for me is going to be the rest of the month. I really want to continue with my training, abeit less hours and maintaining a strong whey protein and supplement post training plan.
The idea is to keep the fitness as close to it is now with much less training so that when I start up again for my next round of Ironman training I'll have a much stronger base to build from.
Equipment wise, I got my new wetsuit today. It was an Xterra. It cost me only $99. It's the less costly model, but my experience is that I prefer the basic wetsuits that are not as thick. I think there is not a lot more if any benefit getting the most expensive models.
No Training - Recovery
Posted by Bryan Payne at 5:42 PM
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
|First Ironman (Canada) - 1987 - 19 years old|
So here we go….best to pour yourself a cup of coffee...its' a bit of a read...
Ironman Cozumel 2013 is officially over, but it’s not yet over in my mind. Finishing an Ironman lingers with you mentally beyond race day. As it should.
It’s not like a marathon. You can walk a marathon, there is no time limit. If you train you’ll finish.
When you sign up for an Ironman you are not signing up for a race, you are signing up for a lifestyle.
For those that do marathons or have done a marathon please don’t be offended by my comparison of an Ironman to a marathon. Completing a marathon is still a major accomplishment, hard and life changing. In my opinion it’s just not comparable to an Ironman finish. I’ve been lucky enough to do both.
With Ironman’s it’s different. You can’t mail in an Ironman, you have to train and you have to have luck on your side. So much can go wrong, physically, mentally, environmentally and mechanically.
After you’re done an Ironman you still need time to absorb what you accomplished. It doesn’t matter if you’ve finished your first Ironman or your 11th, there is an incredible sense of humbled accomplishment. Everyone on some level overcomes adversity to get to the start line and or finish an Ironman.
It starts with personal sacrifice with the time commitment required. You will miss out on a lot of stuff you may not have in the past to train or recover. It could be family or friend time, relaxation time and or sleep time. Many get up at 4:30 - 5 am to get training in before work in order to juggle family and work commitments.
You need to mentally stay focused, have a plan and work that plan. There will be days the last thing you want to do is train. It could have been a bad day at work, your spouse or kids need you or your just plain exhausted.
Physically it’s demanding training mileage. Doing long rides of 5 to 7 hours and runs of 2 to hours plus on weekends, week after week along with the regular weekday training and coming home tired is not easy. You don’t want to do much other than nothing.
Mentally it’s tough. A minimum training commitment is 12 weeks, although 20 weeks is ideal. Typically 15 – 22 hours a week. That’s a lot of time to stay focused in the light of moments that you want to quit training, or you get burnt out or you have other temptations you need to pass up.
Financially it’s expensive. Really expensive. Race fees are only the tip of the iceberg.
You have to pay to get into the pool to swim, or to join a masters swim club or take private coaching lessons if you don’t know how to swim well. That’s the cheap part, and then it gets to the bike.
In the good old days there wasn’t much choice in bikes. In 1987 when I did my first Ironman, a basic 10 or 12 speed was all you needed, no special handlebars or pedals, just a regular bike. Nowadays it’s much more complex with a variety of choices and lots of perceived peer pressure.
What type of bike do you want? Carbon maybe for a minimum of $2,000 up to $10,000 plus. What type of wheels do you want? Zipps maybe for almost $1000 per wheel. What type of clip less pedal system? Do you want a power meter? There’s another $1000. Do you want tubular tires? There’s another $70 - $100 for every wheel and if you get a flat tire you have to buy a new tire. Then you need to figure out speedometer, triathlon water bottle cages, a pump and rear bike bags, extra tires, tool set, water bottles and maybe even a paid for bike fit. You add all that up and it could easily cost you $5000 plus to get an average bike set up.
Then if you’re training in the winter on your bike you need an indoor trainer or rollers to ride your bike on and maybe some indoor wind trainer tires so you don’t wear out your outdoor tires. Maybe you want to make it easier mentally riding indoors to you buy yourself a $2000 computrainer that is really a video game that allows you to ride your bike through different Ironman courses and makes the time go by faster. Then there is the regular bike maintenance that seems to cost at least $200 each time you visit the bike shop along with buying the other stuff you don’t need but think is cool to buy.
There is clothing. You need a triathlon clothes. Swim, bike and run. Starts with swim trunks and goggles, then you need cycling clothes and shoes, sunglasses, and cooler outdoors training gear, same with running clothes and shoes and more shoes as they wear out. Don’t forget your triathlon bag for hauling stuff to the gym and races.
Next stop, coaching. There is a lot to know and nowadays everyone seems to have a coach to help him or her with the physical and mental program. Some coaching is inexpensive at $30 per week, others can be over $400 per month. You’re going to be training at different intensity levels so you have to get a heart rate monitor and you need to know your distance run so you definitely need a GPS, there’s a total of $500 easy.
It doesn’t stop there. You need proper nutrition. In the old days it was a banana or baked potato for those long rides. Now it’s much more scientific. You need to have enough carbs, proteins and fats depending on what you are doing whether it’s training, racing or recovering. There are electrolyte drinks, energy bars, gels and a variety of training nutrition. Expect to pay a minimum of $10 for every long bike ride you go on, if you’re lucky. If you stop at a convenience store on those long rides, expect to pay another $10.
When you get home you need your vitamins, proteins, shakes and all sorts of supplements that are too long to list. If you’re really committed you’re also buying the organic fruits, vegetables and meats. They don’t come cheap.
Now we get to the race. The race fees for an Ironman are one thing, close to $700. Yes you pay a lot to show up and suffer. But that’s the cheap part of racing. There is the travel and accommodation expenses, and if you bring your family to cheer you on it can get real expensive, could be in the thousands and thousands of dollars. Oh, and your probably travelling so your going to need a bike travel bag or box, there at least another $400 and the airlines will charge you extra to get it there each way. Some airlines like U.S. Airways are really expensive to transport bikes, they should be wearing a mask when they charge your credit card.
I could go on and on about the financial commitment, it’s a lot. One year I did 4 Ironman’s and I kept track of my expenses, it cost me $38,000 after tax dollars. Which ended up working out to almost $4.50 per mile trained for that season.
Overcoming physical adversity to complete an Ironman is another challenge. You need to be careful. It’s easy to over train and get sick or injured. If you get injured now you are incurring more expenses on therapy or healing aids. If you’re sick you’re missing valuable training days and you can lose your fitness. To help with this many go for regular massages…more cha ching. Oh, and getting hit by a car on your bike is a real possibility. It near happened to me when a truck mirror hit me on the back on one of my rides. Scary stuff. Takes a while for you to feel comfortable “back on that horse”.
Along the way you need to learn a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff. Everything to do with swimming, biking, running, nutrition, recovery, equipment and the list goes on and on and on.
Setting the goal to become an Ironman is a HUGE commitment on SO MANY levels. Getting to the start line is an Ironman unto itself. I often tell others that after doing everything you need to do to get to the start line the race is really the victory lap. The real Ironman happens the months and weeks leading up to it.
So now you’re at your Ironman event. Again, whether it’s your first or your 11th, you are nervous, anything can go wrong and you are just plain nervous. You’ve put in a ton of effort, made a ton of sacrifice and now you have the daunting task of finishing a 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run. You know it’s not going to be an easy day and you are NOT guaranteed a finish.
Anything can happen, and as my coach the great Mark Allen says, “expect the unexpected during the Ironman”.
From personal experience I’ve been kicked in the swim so hard it bruised my ribs for 6-weeks, I’ve been punched, I’ve panicked and near drowned, I’ve crammed my calf and that was just in some of my swims. Others aren’t good swimmers and may not be good enough to make the swim cutoff time or come down with seasickness. Sometimes the waves are so large it’s impossible to see over them and incredible that people even are prepared to swim them. BUT this is Ironman. You don’t get to the start line to let bad water conditions end your day before it starts.
Last year at Ironman Cozumel about 400 people didn’t make the swim cutoff because of a freak uphill current from earlier storms. No exceptions on the cutoff times.
Heck even getting to the start line could be a challenge. You could get food poisoning. Don’t laugh, it happened to me and 36 other competitors at the 2010 Ironman China. I started, didn’t finish. Others couldn’t even manage to get to the start line. Your race is over before it even starts. Perhaps the airline loses your bike? Again, happened to me. Or you can’t make it to the registration cutoff in time? Yup, that one happened to me as well, cut it too close with my travel schedule.
Ironman’s are not like marathons where you can show up take as much time as you need to finish. In Ironman races if you miss the cutoff you are done for the day. All that training, expense, sacrifice and adversity leading up to it and you could be out of the race in the first 2.5 hours if you don’t finish the swim.
If you’re lucky enough to get to the start line and out of the swim, you now have the bike to complete, all 112 miles of it. Lots can go wrong on the bike. You could go out to hard and blow up, you’re bike could break or your chain snap (happened to me), you could get a flat or multiple (at IMCZ one guy got 6), you could get GI issues which is a nice word for stomach and bum problems, you could “bonk” which means you don’t have the energy stores to finish and could get delirious. Bonking just doesn’t happen on the bike it can happen on the run too. There’s a reason there is medical people and a medical tent with lots of IV’s at every Ironman race.
Or you could wipe out and maybe break something like a collarbone, or be so scraped up you can’t go any longer. And of course there is the bike cut off time. If you don’t finish the bike in time they pull you off the course and your race is over.
So you got to the start line, you got through the swim, you got through the bike and maybe you had some of the above issues above along the way but preserved, now comes the run.
The run is where I think the Ironman really begins. If you’ve never run a marathon after doing a 2.4 mile swim and 112-mile bike it’s hard to explain fully. It starts physically, can you even run. The first little bit your legs are like rubber until you settle in. Then you find out if you can even run or not. If not, it could be a long walk.
If you can run, how long are you going to be able to run for? Is your body physically able? It might be at the start but then you don’t take in the proper fluids or nutrition and all of a sudden you start bonking and it goes from a run to a “death march”.
Blisters, think blisters, easy to get especially if your feet get wet and it’s easy for them to get wet when it’s hot out and your splashing water or sponging your body with water to fight the heat and the water seeps into your shoes and your running with “squish, squish, squish” sounds.
Then there is the cramping. With all the sweating you’ve done on the swim and bike you may be low on salt and electrolytes, which causes cramping. Sometimes so sever you can’t even walk. You hobble. It could be your calf, it could be your thighs, and if you’re unlucky it could be both.
Maybe you crashed on the bike and broke your collarbone and you decided to tough it up and get it strapped up and walk the run? Don’t laugh I’ve seen it many times, I’m not kidding. It’s a 26.2 mile walk in incredible pain and the pressure to finish before the run / race cut off of 17 hours. There has cases where people finish less than 10 seconds after the 17 hour cut off and they DO NOT get a medal or finishers shirt. What they do get is a DNF, which means Did Not Finish.
Again, it’s not like a marathon. Not everyone gets a medal if they finish. In Ironman you need to finish within the time limit.
Now lets talk mental fatigue. Until you’ve participated in an Ironman there is no way to truly appreciate what I’m going to describe.
You might be lucky enough to get to the run and are on the run and don’t have any GI or real physical aliments other than exhaustion and fatigue. Don’t underestimate the power of exhaustion and fatigue on the mind. All you want to do is quit. Every step is painful. You start having come to Jesus talks with yourself, conversations like “WTF was I thinking when I signed up for this?” or in my case one of them was “there has to be an easier way to lose weight”. Mostly you just keep thinking how much further you have to go and wish it were over with every step. You start thinking of your nice it would be to relax in the comfort of your bed or sofa.
There is times that every step you take you want to quit. In tears type of wanting to quit, and sometimes you do. I've had that happen to me. I've quit with 13.1 miles of the run left. I could have walked it or crawled it, but that day I didn't have the mental fortitude to push through that day. Other times you want to quit right from the start and the entire day is talking yourself out of quitting. Getting to the finish line is no where near as glamorous at the finish line shot that your friends and family see.
If you’re walking at this point it’s even worse. The miles go by slower. Other strategies include trying to run from aid station to aid station and walk through each of the aid stations. Or you play games to run 100 yards, then walk 100 yard. Normally if you’re walking or struggling, by this time it’s now dark outside.
When it’s dark outside it gets darker in your mind. You start thinking about emotional stuff. This race I ran by a guy sobbing loudly as I ran by, obviously he was going through something very emotional.
Some people make the best of it. Find another person walking or struggling and partner with them. Talking through it and getting to know each other, it’s a bonding experience. You really get to know each other. I’ve been there. Sometimes I’ve had to latch onto someone to talk to so I could try and get my mind off the pain and suffering.
Weather also plays a big part. There is heat, wind and rain. Ironman Cozumel this year had it all at one point of the day. Not to mention the terrain could be tough like the first year of Ironman Utah, the bike was hilly and the run was super hilly for a run, and hot. It probably had something to do with why they cancelled that race. I heard they did it because it was too tough and not enough people were registering. I’m proud to say I did 2 out of only the 3 they held. I loved that race, tough and beautiful with full Ironman bragging rights amongst Ironman.
Weather doesn’t stop Ironman races. I’ve been in races where it’s been over 110 degrees and every year in Kona it’s hot, hot, hot. Waters can be turbulent. The winds on the bike could be insane. It could be hailing. It could be a lot of things and the race goes on. People worked to hard to get to that start line to be deterred.
Again, it’s not a marathon. A number of years back the Chicago marathon was shut down halfway through because it hit 90 F. The reason is many people who do marathons aren’t properly trained or decided to do it the night before when they lost a bar bet.
In Ironman’s 90 F is a nice day and in a sick way you hope for a strong wind to cool you down. And talking about strong winds, many have been blown off their bikes, I came close one year in Kona. I was so scared I was white knuckling it for 7 miles until the wind gusts stopped. I’ve also near been blown over in training by wind.
I hope the above paints a bit of a picture of what it takes to be recognized as an Ironman. There are reasons why immediately after finishing an Ironman they get a tattoo. It’s become a badge of honor. I have two. Not to mention the Ironman clothing and anything with an Ironman logo that you buy. It is a RARE day that goes by that I do not wear something with an Ironman logo. I even have Ironman underwear.
There is also a reason why Ironman is a brotherhood. I can meet another Ironman and there is an instant bond. Then we start talking shop. If I’m with my wife at this point her eyes glaze over and she thinks we’re talking another language.
So what motivates people to do an Ironman race?
There are as many reasons as there are Ironman finishers. The common thread is to push yourself and overcome adversity. Or perhaps you were never an athlete or accomplished anything physical and want to prove to yourself you could do it. Or you could have lost over 100 lbs with the goal of doing an Ironman to feel better about yourself. Or your doing it in memory of someone or cause that is special? Or you’re doing it just to push your limits.
Whatever the reason, when it comes down to those last 100 yards and you can see the finish line it’s emotional, ESPECIALLY if it’s your first one. Mine I was 19 years old and blubbering like a baby with a tingly sensation. It was the first time in my life I set my mind to doing something without quitting. It was the start of a long line of setting goals and not quitting. Finishing that Ironman changed my life.
Crossing that finish line is MAGIC!!!! You are in the moment like you have never been before. Your not thinking about anything, it’s a feeling of Joy that I’ve never experienced doing anything else.
This post started in my mind on the way to the Cozumel airport and back to my regular, non everything Ironman life. As I was driving in the taxi van I had tingly feelings of pride. I was reflecting on everything it took for me to finish this race. From the adversity I faced with coming down with Blood clots in both lungs earlier in the year, a pelvis injury, a job that has been taking 10 – 17 hours a day of my time and then the race itself and finishing it.
I was beaming and it was the first time since this all began and the race ended that I could truly appreciate and be proud of my accomplishment. Recognizing what I did was a big deal and I deserve to savor the flavor. We tend not to do that enough, I know I don’t. It’s kind of sitting back and enjoying the roses.
I think one reason I continue to do Ironman’s besides having “issues”, is that I would love to one day re-experience what I felt like on that first Ironman, those blubbering tears and tingling body of Joy with my arms raise high and a yell of joy when I crossed that finish line. When I see that finishers picture it reminds me of that moment.
Unfortunately this race I only had a slight one of those moments and I did get tingles when I ran by big crowds of spectators that were cheering and playing loud music. It pumps you up.
So I guess I’m saying the actual race is officially over but it’s not over in my mind. Maybe this week I’ll sit quietly by myself and relieve the race in my mind and let tears of joy start flowing.
That would be awesome!!!
Or maybe it will happen on my next Ironman.
Posted by Bryan Payne at 11:06 PM
Monday, December 2, 2013
For those that have never done an Ironman you would think that you’d sleep like a baby after an Ironman. Actually the opposite is true. It’s very hard to get a good night sleep until a day or two afterwards.
I got to bed at 2 am and was up at 7 am, couldn’t sleep. Instead I went to the lobby and did about 3-hrs of work and emailing. It was like the email tap got turned on, it was clear Thanksgiving is over.
I’ve been trying about a dozen times to upload my post race bathroom race report video. It’s a tradition I started. The hotel Internet is so slow I decided to go into town and try a place there. I stopped for breakfast and they had good Internet. I still didn’t upload. Failed. I sat for new 2 hours trying and doing more email. No go.
I lucked out at the breakfast joint, where I had a well deserved grand slam breakfast. The restaurant hey had guys removing the banners promoting the race on the front of the building They are the same ones that are on all the poles on Main Street. One guy asked the manager if he could get one and the manager must have said no, he left empty handed. I went up to the manager and asked, at first he said no, then he reconsidered, it was either my charm or Ironman finisher shirt, and he gave me one. It’s awesome. I’m going to hang it on my garage wall along with all my racing bibs.
Then I walked to the Ironman expo and picked up a finishers T-shirt. More Ironman clothing to complete my new 2014 wardrobe, I think I have about 5 shirts total now.
I did some walking around the town, picking up some stuff for the family and walking to keep the legs loose. I found a cool necklace the locals were making with an Ironman logo, you got to love bootleg Ironman stuff. They are the most creative. I have an Ironman bootleg street light from Lake Placid that is awesome too.
I’m not drinking but I haven’t quit smoking cigars. I bought and lit one up as a celebration. I wish I hadn’t. Afterwards I started feeling sick and the feeling hasn’t left me all day. I think the Ironman race is finally physically hitting me. I feel sick. I think I need a good nights sleep.
All day I tried to keep hydrated and ate healthy. Took my vitamins and keeping on the straight and narrow. Still not helping. I feel sick.
I thought a massage might help and scheduled a 90-minute one. First time I’ve had them come to the room with their table. Little awkward at first.
The massage was awesome. At a couple of points I fell into mini sleeps I caught myself snoring a bit. I woke up before it became falling asleep with drool running onto the floor as your face is in that little donut.
Afterwards my legs felt near recovered. I’m surprised how physically good I feel in the legs. It’s my heart light that feels sick. I have no energy and after 8 hours and brushing my teeth my mouth still tastes like an ashtray. That’s the type of sick feeling I have.
I’m also super-irritable. I find that to be another post Ironman side effect. I think it’s because it’s over and you want to relax and enjoy the moment and then life gets in the way and all things, big and little irritate. Next Ironman I’m going to take a week off afterwards to decompress.
After irritability it then goes into a depression until you set another BHAG (Big Hairy Ass Goal). You mop around aimlessly. You think you’d be happy you don’t have structured training. Not the case. Until you set the next goal you go into a funk. It’s standard fare.
Before I headed back to the room I went down to the lobby to try and upload the race report video one more time. No go. I did run into Lochlin and his wife Debbie. He had to DNF, he had 6 flats and barely made the bike cut off before starting the run and having to stop because the water in the shoes caused unbearable blisters.
He did tell me that his swim time was not too far off his normal time. Same with his wife Deb who also did the race. I thought everyone had a great swim. Turns out some did, some didn’t. I was smart and was more to the outside with the current. With that said I looked at the pros times and the guy who came in 15th with an 8:45, had a swim only 1 minute faster than mine. I guess I should give all the credit to the current. I think it must have been my speedos and shaved body cutting through the water like a knife.
I’m ready to leave. I already backed my bike and bags and my flight isn’t until 2 pm tomorrow. I’m off to San Francisco and then back home Friday. In the last 7-weeks I’ve only been home for 1-week. I’m looking forward to getting home. It will be weird, it’s December and Christmas time and it doesn’t feel like it to me because I’ve been in warm climates. I think it will be cool getting back and full Christmas swing, probably a bit surreal.
Tonight I had the option to go to the Post Ironman Party at Senor Frogs. I decided to stay home. I’m not feeling well and if your not partying with beer it’s not as much fun.
It’s not like me to turn down a party, but this is the new me. My body and mind will thank me in the morning.
Recovery Day – No training.
Posted by Bryan Payne at 9:25 PM
Sunday, December 1, 2013
11:18:22 – 62st in Age Group (about 300 plus) / 517 Overall (2500 plus)
Swim - 48:16 (1:33 per 100 meters)
T1 - 7:49
Bike - 6:00:01 (penalty / flat / little long -31.4 without mishaps)
T2 - 3:50
Swim - 48:16 (1:33 per 100 meters)
T1 - 7:49
Bike - 6:00:01 (penalty / flat / little long -31.4 without mishaps)
T2 - 3:50
Now, I suggest you get a big cup of coffee and cancel your morning meetings, this is my typical blow by blow race report. I had to do this right after the race...I have work in the morning....#realironman
As many of you know this was a “cram training” race for me. Since starting my new job about 2 years ago I put on near 20 lbs and although I did Roth last year I was soft and I’ve gotten softer.
I was entered to do Ironman New Zealand this year that I had to drop out for medical reasons. I was then signed up for Ironman Mont Tremblant and dropped out because I couldn’t get to the registration in time, Vegas induced and it was probably for the best I had a pelvis injury for months that prevented me from running. It was so bad I thought it might be career-running ending.
In October I decided to sign up for Ironman Cozumel December 1st. It was the last race before the end of the year and there were still registration openings, which is rare for Ironman.
Only problem is I lost most all the fitness I gained over the summer training for Ironman Mont Tremblant. I also went on a Ketosis diet which sent my heart rate through the roof and all though I was losing weight I had no energy do have any decent training sessions.
One day I decided I needed to relocated my office and train in the Southern states for a month. So long as I have my laptop and cell phone I can work from anywhere. 5-days after that decision, a condo was rented and I was in Scottsdale Arizona for 30 days on a work-train-cation. I worked hard, I trained hard, I ended up doing 83 hours or 1500 plus Kilometers of Swim, Bike, Run while there. I showed up in pathetic shape. I ended up losing about 8 lbs and gaining probably at least 5 lbs of muscle and ate like a Champion, total healthy. I also took supplements, whey protein, Beta Alanine and Recoverite after every session.
If I didn’t go to Arizona I was humped. The weather in Burlington was in the 50 F’s and it’s hard to be motivated to train and do long rides in cold temperatures. Arizona was just what the doctor ordered. Four weeks of heavy training and two weeks of taper training.
The final results all came down to today’s race.
I’ve been in Cozumel since Wednesday and had great long sleeps leading up to race morning. Last night I had my worst, but I got to bed at 8 pm with a 4:15 am wake up call.
This week has been weird. Everything has went off without a hitch, I’ve been prepared and on time for everything. No drama. This morning was the same.
I woke up at 4:15 am. Showered and had some breakfast in my room. I bought a loaf of bread and peanut butter yesterday and that was my breakfast. They don’t have bagels in Cozumel.
Then it was off to the busses waiting outside to take us to the swim start. This was the first time I started to get nervous. I felt something was wrong because things were going to right. Did I have all my gear? Had I missed anything?
On the ride to the site I met a guy Scott Roberts, from Miami who was sitting beside me. We had a nice chat. I find it’s all part of the Ironman experience to introduce yourself to the guy or girl next to you and talk Ironman. They are always good chats.
Got to the race site. Got the water bottles onto the bike. Met my bike neighbor, a guy from Germany. Then it was off to drop off the morning clothes and get some sunscreen on.
I didn’t realize the sunscreen was so strong and “white”. I put it on in a big handful and my arm was as white as a ghost. No mater how much I rubbed it, it didn’t help. It was white. I was taking and putting on the other arm, the legs and it was still white. Then I grabbed another one that went on much better, it wasn’t white. Then I looked closely and it was “bug repellent” not sunscreen. DOH.
Next it was on to a bus to drive us 3 km up the road to the swim start. Do to bad weather of late they changed the swim course and it was now 3.1 km versus the normal 3.8 km and it was one way with the current. Turns out they didn’t need to change it, the water was beautiful and calm today. I personally was fine with them moving it. Swimming is worst event of the three.
First off, the water was great. It was crystal blew. Reminded me of Kona. You could see to the bottom. I could see why Cozumel is a big scuba diving destination.
The swim start was funny. People started entering the water and the marshals couldn’t keep them behind the buoys and no one would move back. They were probably 100 meters past the start line. I was up there and started to swim back to the start. I figured what the heck, lets do this right, and I’m only racing myself.
I got about halfway and they shot the gun off. Early. I guess it was best as people kept creeping even more from the start line.
The upside with the spread out start was the amount of hitting, punching and kicking in the swim was less. There was still some but not to the same degree.
I decided to do this swim in speedos and not triathlon shorts. I figured I’ve been swimming in speedos, they have less resistance and when I get out of the tent and change into my tri shorts the tri shorts will at least be dry.
People looked at me. One other lady triathlete was talking to a friend and I caught out of the corner of my eye her pointing to me. I think she liked the crazy colors of my shorts. In the triathlon world if you show up with speedo, whether you are skinny or fat, people naturally think you are a fast swimmer. Which is not always the case, like mine.
In the water I got hit three times in the “boys”. The first two were pretty hard the other was a nice gentle brush, quite nice really. I’m not sure why, maybe it was the speedos?
I enjoyed the swim. Before hand I was self-talking that I’m going to enjoy this swim and look forward to it. It worked. I also sighted the buoys really well.
The swim is scary, especially when you have a larger cycling type triathlete beside you thrashing and not knowing direction. They are dangerous because their legs are so strong. I’ve been “donkey kicked” once and had bruised ribs for 6-weeks. I know how seriously dangerous being by these guys can be.
The entire swim I was cautious. I had some chest pains but wasn’t sure if they were phantom pains because of my blood clots. They were quick come and go, kind of felt like my blood clots, or muscles. For sure it was muscles.
I was not taking anything for granted. I was swimming cautiously, expecting the unexpected. When we got to the finish it was a bit of a chore pulling yourself up to the stairs. You can’t stand on ground, you treaded water and had to pull yourself up. No one was giving you a hand. It was a bit of a challenge.
I got out of the water and my heart rate was only 129 bpm. It’s primarily because I’m a lazy swimmer. I don’t go to hard. I do more of a relaxing swim.
Next was change tent. First thing I do is find a seat as close as possible to the exit. That way you don’t have to run through the tent in your cycling shoes. I can just get dressed and in steps I’m out of the tent.
I felt strong running too and from the tent. Got on the bike. Felt strong and I was off and it was a FAST pace. I felt so good that for the first 20 km I was averaging over 40 kph / close to 25 miles per hour. My heart rate was around 145 bpm. Too high but the allure of having such a fast bike kept me going, even though I knew it could be at my peril if you go hard on the bike, blow up and can’t run the run and have to walk it. I’ve been there, it hurts physically and mentally to walk a marathon.
My bike was in rough shape from the beginning it was squeaking and didn’t sound healthy. People heard me coming. I passed a lot of cyclists. I was Pac manning them. It felt like old times but faster. Who averages 40 kph during an Ironman? Only pros. My heart rate was too high at times, hitting 150 bpm. I knew I could be on a disaster course. Probably was I didn’t set a game plan. I was on the “lets sell how you feel and make the game plan up as you go along” plan.
The bike started off with no or very little wind and then it picked up big time. On the backside of the Island it was a fierce headwind. Speeds slowed up considerably and the drafting was insane. There were big groups and no one was hiding it, myself included. The difference is I got busted by the officials, was given a red card, which means I need to stop at the next penalty tent. My penalty is a 4-minute wait.
In a way it was a blessing in disguise. It got me away from the fast group I was hanging with and got me back on track to ride conservatively so I don’t blow up. I was actually concerned if it wasn’t too late already, my legs were somewhat sore. In the box I was accompanied with a women from Argentina and a guy from U.K. Needless to say for the rest of the ride I did everything I could not to draft and get another penalty.
The penalty hurt. It showed me that the time I gained I lost and the energy I expended could come back to haunt me if I end up blowing up because of it. I tried to make the best of the penalty box and drink my Ensure and have a banana and Gatorade.
It then went from Windy with an added measure of rain. It rained pretty good. Enough that my socks were soaked. Problem was I didn’t have a dry pair in my run bag and running with wet feet is the worst. That’s what causes blisters and stuff. It was really bothering me I didn’t have dry socks. I realized that I could solve this by taking them off when the rain stopped and put them on my aero bar handles and let them air dry. Which I ended up doing. That cost me a little time.
For about 3.5 hours I rode with two socks on my aerobar stems. On girls saw it and started laughing as she rode up beside me saying, “you must love your socks”, I said, “nope, I just like dry feet on the run”.
Then I had my second mishap. I got a flat on the second loop. It was a slow leak and happened when I sat up to drink another ensure. I drank and ate a lot on the bike. I didn’t want to come close to bonking. When I sat up I wasn’t looking at the road closely and it put more weight on the back tire and it picked up something.
I stopped to fix it. I was going to change it and then realized I have “pit stop”, a product that is foam that is compressed and you put into the tire. It’s supposed to repair the hole from the inside out.
I tried it and all I saw was foam coming out of the hole in the tire. I figured it wasn’t working and a scam. I’ve tried it before and it never worked for me, either operator error or the type of leak was too large for Pit Stop.
I was just getting out my tools and started emptying the tire of air when I noticed the tire was fixed. But because I was letting air out, it was low of air. DOH. I managed to get some more air from the can in and it was about ¾ full. I was going to try and top it with compressed air and decided against it. Normally I’m a risk taker. I only had one tire left, I used to have two but decided to take only one after all the Facebook buddy ribbing I’ve been taking for putting so much stuff on my bike.
I figure the flat caused me 3 – 4 minutes, the taking off the socks 1 min and the penalty box 4 minutes. It was a bummer because I was riding strong.
The second lap I started getting weaker, then the third lap I was even weaker. I think it had to do with going out so hard on the first lap. The wind on the backside of the Island got worse and even though it’s a flat course it’s still challenging with the wind and the fact that you’re constantly pushing your pedals. There is no downhill rest.
I passed a lot of people when riding into the wind. I’ve learned to like the wind and my power riding style works well in winds, and horrible on hills, other than rolling hills.
Thank goodness for the penalty and flat. It brought me back to reality and I settled into a much slower pace and my legs thanked me for it. As I was riding there was a LOT of guys fixing flat tires. With the rain it brings up a lot of sharp debris and causes punctures. I bet it was every one to two miles I saw guys. Seeing them makes you feel lucky it’s not you and lets you know your race could be worse.
As I was nearing the end, about 40 km to the bike finish, my bike was making weird noises, one’s I’ve never heard before. It was loud, others could hear them. There is nothing worse than riding your bike for 6 hours or so with a grinding noise.
I was counting down every kilometer and visualizing how long it would take me to walk / run my bike to the bike finish if it broke. Lucky it head up.
Although I did have a couple scares going around corners. With the tire not fully inflated it was soft and I like taking corners sharp and fast. I did the first one and could feel the back tire sliding. It happened so fast I couldn’t even get scared. I just realized, slow down and turn wide on corners. Good think there wasn’t many on the course.
As I was approaching the bike finish area I was wondering how well I’d run. Did I go too hard and exhaust my legs. You can’t predict until you start running. Sometimes you feel strong and go, other times you can’t go at all and it becomes your worst nightmare. A walk and run marathon.
I changed and took my time in the transition 2. Even took a pee in the porta potties. I did the same thing coming out of the water into T1. I flubbed up my watch and had to turn it off so as I was running my GPS wasn’t working until I restarted it and reset it, which was touch because with my contacts in I can’t see up close.
I missed about 500 meters of my run on my GPS until I got it working. Good news was I was running solid and fast. I felt great. There is no greater feeling than coming off the bike and running fast and passing lots and lots of people who may have passed you on the bike. The run is the equalizer. Going an extra 5 or 10 minutes to fast on the bike can cost you over an hour on the run. It’s a balancing game of risk versus reward on your bike effort to you run reality.
One girl looked over at me and saw I had three watches on. Most people have one. I have one for every purpose and I find not one watch does it for all. The GPS watches I find do a poor job on monitoring heart rate. In Kona a young guy who worked for Timex came up to me after he saw the Captains had and told me that he recognized me from my finish line photo’s at other races. What? Turns out that Timex was developing and marketing and all in one watch and was checking out the competition from the photos and when they saw mine they went “WOW, look at this guy, three watches”. It’s my trademark.
I started running at a 4:30 pace and was low 5:00 per km pace until the 7 km mark. My heart rate was too high, around 150 bpm. It took about 8 miles but I settled down to a slower pace and kept it around 135 bpm for 2/3 of the run.
I passed a lot of people on the run. There is no greater feeling. Also, lots of people were walking or lying on the grass in pain. One guy wiped out on his bike and looks like he separated his shoulder. It was strapped to his body with nothing but bandages. He was walking. As I run by these people I feel badly for them but am happy for me that I’m not them. It keeps you motivated.
My run was as strong as I could do it. It wasn’t my fastest run but it was the exact same time I was used to in training, same on the bike. My training in Arizona was consistent times with my race times.
What I’m most proud of is I didn’t stop running other than to stop very briefly at aid stations to drink something. I didn’t walk one aid station. Even though it was painful I wasn’t mentally or physically shutting down and forcing myself to walk. That told me I was perfectly trained for this race. I wasn’t fast, but I was trained well enough that I didn’t have to walk. I could run it all.
My goal on the run is to get to the 13-mile marker as quickly as possible. In my mind the Ironman doesn’t begin until the run and if I can get to 13-mile marker running, then I know I’m going to finish even if I have to walk the rest. Walking the entire 26-miles is hell. Walking only 13 is only hell on earth.
As I ran I told myself to keep going for as long as I could and not to overthink it. Surprisingly I was feeling good. My legs were sore and exhausted, that’s a given, but I was able to keep running through it.
The strange thing on this race is I had NO “come to Jesus” talk. I was expecting the self-talk that would tell me I’m crazy to do this and tell me I should never do another one. Just think of this pain again and don’t do another one”.
I was wondering why I didn’t have this talk with myself as I ran? Best I could come up with is that I was mentally ready for this race. That I wasn’t over trained and mentally fatigued and just wanting to get this race out of the way. My current mindset was to enjoy this race. I also figured maybe Jesus gave up and was busy helping others.
As I ran I passed on guy who was sobbing. I don’t know why. Ironman races can do that to people, I’ve been there. They can be very emotion. My biggest was when I finished my first. I was in tears of joy. I was 19-years old and it was the first time in my life I set a goal and achieved it without quitting. It was a turning point for sure. It was an awesome feeling that’s hard to describe.
On the run I had my normal Captain cheers. I did hear some new ones…”Go Admiral. Go Captain Hook”, then the normal…”Go Captain. Go Captain Stubing. Go Captain my Captain”. Seems like there is no Spanish world for Captain except “Captain” in a Spanish accent.
The run was a mix of weather. It started off extremely hot for the first 13 miles. At times unbearable and I was drinking lots of water and putting lots of ice on my hat. The sun was so hot that I got some severe sun lines. It’s way stronger than the Arizona Sun.
I’m always careful putting water and sponges with water on my head or letting someone spray me with the garden hose. It gets your shoes and socks wet and makes for an uncomfortable run. I try not to let that happen until the last half of the run to minimize the discomfort.
In this case it really didn’t mater. At the 13-mile mark it started raining and didn’t stop. I came at a great time and was nice and cooling. The downside was I was soaked and not just soaked but SOAKED. It rained so much that at spots the road was covered with water to above the ankle deep. It was cooling and it made it feel like your shoes were 10 lbs heavier.
At one point it was raining so hard it was amazing. I don’t know the Spanish word for it but I can tell you the English word is Torrential rains.
My plan on the run is to drink water as long as I can. I think many people make the mistake of drinking Gatorade and Coke way to early. The minute you start drinking Coke especially your body craves it and nothing else helps. You need to have Coke at every mile or you will start to bonk. That’s been my experience.
I started taking the Coke at around mile 18, maybe a little too early. But it tasted so good. Every station from then until the end I had to have some. Near the end I was starting to feel a mini bonk until I got some in me.
About 1/3 of the way into the run I was feeling discomfort in my pelvis again. Nothing major. I just relaxed and trying to take my mind off it and kept telling myself “YOU need to start doing some core work, especially at your age!”
The last 3 miles seemed really long, more like 6 miles. For the last two miles I decided to think about all the good things in my life and what I should be thankful for, I called it “Two miles of Gratitude”. The plan was to take my mind off the pain and suffering and also recognized that I’m alive and living life.
It was an amazing feeling thinking all the great things as the rain poured. I thought that if I had health issues like I was paralyzed or had Cancer I would die to be in the position I’m in now….living life to the fullest. It made me appreciate even more the situation I put myself in.
The finish line eventually came. There was no way I was going to have any sprint to the finish with anybody. I had told myself that about 5 miles earlier. Instead I did my customary high-fives to the crowd going from one side of the grandstand to the other. A guy behind me wanted to race it. I let him go. Why waste this moment to thank the crowd. When he realized I wasn’t going, he started to high five the crowd to, them finished ahead of me by a second. That was all cool by me.
I felt surprisingly good crossing the finish line. They have the volunteers to catch you. Many people cross utterly exhausted. The people who catch you are awesome. They are even over cautious and caring. They want to make sure you are okay. I felt great, told them so, they still look at you like “he’s he serious or lying”.
I was able to avoid one catcher and then another one found me. She was great. Older and lives 2 hours from my house in Canada and bought a place in Cozumel for the winter. She loves it in Cozumel and said it’s a great community of ex-pats. She was really nice.
My next test was not to bonk. I thought about this on the run. It’s easy to bonk post race if you don’t eat carbs soon after. My first stop was to the Pizza line. I got a couple pieces then sat down. The sitting down on the chairs was the hard part, especially when you are about 6 inches from the chair and have to let yourself go to touch the chair. Oh, that hurts. I met a guy from New York beside me, last name Stephenson. I was his first Ironman and he did a great job coming in 11 hours something. Amazing.
I was really happy with my race. It wasn’t that I had a good and very respectful time. Anything in the 11 hours is very good. It was because I had a solid race. I went as hard as I could from start to finish and even though I had adversity I rolled with it from experience and kept going as hard as I could. The run said it all. I didn’t walk once, not even an aid station.
I didn’t tell anyone this but my real goal was to finish before 12:22, that is the best time I set at 19 years old. I did 3 Ironman’s by the time I was 23 years old that the 12 hour 22 minute was my best. After 16 years I got back into triathlons and have since done 8 Ironman’s and ALL of them, including this one now, have been faster than the fastest time I set at 19 years old.
As long as I can I’d like to beat that time. At 48 years old, 27 years older than my former self, I’ve beaten that time again. I can say I’m in better shape at 48 than I was at 19. Not many people can say that. It’s something I’m proud of. Mentally I’m still a mature 17 year old. My 19-year-old self and me are tied on that one.
Essentially I came physically and mentally well prepared. Although I didn’t train as much as others or what my coach feels is acceptable, it worked for me in this circumstance. I think I’m an 8-week Ironman trainer at best if I start from a strong base.
Ironman Cozumel, the race itself is amazing. I think it’s one of the best-kept secrets in the Ironman world. The City is great, the people are great, and they shut down the entire highway both ways. They shut down the main street road and the locals come out to cheer big time.
The kids make there own noise makers by taking empty plastic Coke bottles and adding stones and shake them as you ride or run by. They are like homemade cowbells.
I also like the international flavor. The town is Spanish with pretty much all the Western conveniences. Many don’t know English. The fans were cheering in Spanish. Many of the Athletes were Spanish or other. It was really cool. It adds to the event.
Most of the athlete volunteer support is kids and they do a great job. Very organized. Very committed. Very caring. Very mature and they take their jobs seriously. It’s impressive. I’ll be back to race again one day I’m sure.
After the race I realized I must have done okay. I saw most of the bikes had not yet been picked up. It looked like 75% of the bikes remained. I was lucky enough to be one of the first out and catch a cab. The cab drivers in Cozumel are great too, very friendly and honest. I’ve taken 4 different cabs and they have all been consistent on pricing.
This was a big race for me. I had to get this number 11 Ironman off my back after missing two earlier this year. It’s also the first Ironman that I didn’t have beers afterward. I quit drinking mid-August. In a way I found having the beers after a race sabotaged the physical gains I made during the race.
Instead it was back to the room. I shoot my customary Training Payne race report video from the bathroom. It would be uploaded by now but the hotel Internet is too slow, it’s 1 GB.
The hotel restaurants were closed so it was good I bought that bread and peanut butter. I still had half that was not eaten from this morning. Then it was shower, talk with Alice and do the Facebook thing and catch up on the well wishes.
It’s very cool how others seemed to be into my race as much as I was. There’s no doubt I used that as motivation as I raced. I didn’t want to stop on the run because I knew that people were cheering for me to see me get a good time. Or they wanted me to self-destruct and I didn’t want to give them that joy.
Next stop is Ironman Malaysia next September and visit and stay with Simon Cross. I promised Alice I wouldn’t sign up until I finished this one.
I’m thinking I might train 6 weeks this year and teach “Simple Simon” a lesson. I should be interesting I can hardly wait to hear the ailments he’s going to have race day and still persevere. I figure it will be black plague or a rare form of polio that’s making a comeback or something like that.
In the end…it looks like I’ll keep my Ironman card for another year. And I’m really looking forward to building on this race from a health and fitness perspective. I don’t want to sabotage all the hard work up to this point.
By me just writing that I’m wondering, “what happened to the real Bryan?”
Finish Time – 11:18:22
Posted by Bryan Payne at 11:59 AM