Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ironman Cozumel…Day One...

Day was pretty uneventful. Got to the airport on time, through security easy and got on the plane.

A highlight was standing in line and I struck up a conversation with another guy who had an Ironman backpack. Actually the entire place was crawling with triathletes and Ironman M-Dot logos’.

The person I met was John Wragg. We chatted and I ended up asking him how many Ironman’s he’s done. When he said 165 I thought he was joking. He wasn’t. He actually had done 165 and did 20 this year alone. He’s 63 and did his first Ironman in 1988. A year after I started. I’ve done 10 and he’s done 165.

I told him I was honored to meet him and asked if I could shake his hand. It’s not everyday you get to meet someone that is a legend, or should be. I gave him my card, he comes out near my area to ride (it’s the reason I don’t move to San Francisco – the riding is so great) to give me a call and I’ll join him.

I had a great seat on the plane, I paid the extra $45 and got row 2 and no neighbors. The flight flew by, I wrote the entire time. My personal blog post and some work blog posts. I love writing, it’s fun and boy does it make time go fast, the 4-hour flight flew by. No pun intended.

I thought there were a lot of triathletes on the plane but I didn’t realize how many until I saw how many bikes were being unloaded. There was just bike after bike coming off the belt. Maybe 50 or more. Lots of fit looking people and in typical Ironman fashion everyone talks to everyone. Strangers are friends. It’s a brother and sisterhood, probably the most supportive group of each other on the planet.

I was surprised by the weather, it sucked. It was cooler and windy, really windy. Turns out there has been rain and storms. Once just passed and I’m told it should be better by Sunday. If not, this is going to be a tough windy race.

When I was talking to John Wragg in the Toronto airport line he mentioned he’s done this race 4 times and last year the current was so bad that what normally takes him 1 hour and 10 minutes to finish took him near 2 hours and 400 people didn’t make the swim cut off. Yikes!! I thought this was going to be a straightforward no surprise race, maybe not.

On the shuttle bus to the hotel I started talking with a couple of women from Denver, they came to cheer on the brother of one. They were so excited to relax, party and then cheer him on for the race. They were in their mid 50’s and I could tell they were coming to have fun.

The hotel is not bad, but I’m not looking at it like I’m on vacation so my standards aren’t too high. I’m here on a mission, a mission to start and finish this Ironman respectfully.

It dawned on me as I was in the shuttle van and yakking with the ladies that I was getting excited and actually looking forward to this race. I was surprised that mentally I’m already looking forward to it. I feel the sooner it could start the better.

I checked in and as I started walking to my room all I could think about was Ironman China in 2010. The resort is about the same size and looks eerily similar. That was not a good race for me, I came down with food poisoning 36 hours before the race and had to drop out on the run when my kidneys started to fail with only 13 miles left to go. It was devastating.

Now here I am, in another 3rd world country, at a hotel that is all-inclusive and I’m concerned about the food, actually it’s more like paranoia. You know this is true when the hotel still has hotel room keys, not swipe cards.

Although I don’t care about the hotel, I didn’t come her for the accommodations, I came her to finish Ironman Cozumel. I already had to bail from Ironman New Zealand earlier in the year do to blood clots, then I bailed from Ironman Mont Tremblant because I couldn’t get to the registration on time after a wild week in Vegas at our sales rally and my inability to get up in time to drive 6 hours to Quebec.

This race was my audible race. I want and need to do at least one Ironman a year. This is my last chance. I need to start and finish this one. It’s not about time, it’s about enjoying it and finishing. At least enjoying it as much as you can enjoy pain and suffering, especially at the end of the run.

Shortly after arriving I tested out the buffet. I cautiously examined all the food. I learnt an important lesson in China. Don’t eat any meat that you can’t tell what animal it came from. It was the pasta meat sauce that gave me and 30 other Ironman triathletes food poisoning in China, one was even Chris McCormick.

In a way I feel I’m playing Russian roulette. Vegetables were good, the chicken, fish, potatoes, buns, pasta and fish seemed like safe choices. But who knows. I will say the food is much, much better than the food we had at the Cuba and Dominican all inclusive resorts I’ve been to. It’s eatable. The only thing I didn’t like was the butter.

The room is okay. It’s a room. The TV has over 100 channels, which sounds good until I checked it out and there are only 2 channels I found that are in English. The Internet was super slow in my room, so I hung out in the lobby for a few hours working and messing around on social media. Thank goodness for social media. I’m definitely a social media whore, and I pronounce it gently, “whooerrrr”.

I finally packed in the social media and blogging once my computer ran out of power. I was also debating whether I should eat again. It was 9 pm and I wasn’t really hungry but I know I should. So I did. Again, with extreme caution. I was eating really slowly, like I was defusing wires from a bomb, like that is going to help.

One benefit of going for dinner was that I was able to steal a fork, spoon and cup to bring back to my room to use to mix up all my whey protein and stuff. I brought my Race Day Boost formula. I need all the help I can get.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better weather. I’m going to try and find a grocery store and get some food. Do a little of training, register and chill. I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot of time resting on my bed in compression tights and watching one of my two English TV channels.

I’m so hip, what a life I lead, 48 years old and acting like I’m some sort of Olympic athlete resting before the big race. Which reminds me I need to take my compression socks off, I've had them on for over 15 hours already now. 

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