Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ironman Cozumel…Day 4…Ironman Eve…

Another awesome sleep, about 10 hours, I feel like Rip Van Winkle.

Before bed I made sore I took the roller to my legs and did some Isometrics. This morning my legs felt stronger. The roller and isometrics help for sure, they keep the muscles working even though you are resting.

Up early again, same old routine. Down to the lobby, get online and connected to the world. Over the last couple days Alice and I have been communicating via chat. Something we haven’t done before. I kind of like it. I can stay more focused on the conversation.

Normally when we are having a conversation on the phone or even in person, shinny objects, or my thoughts easily distract me. I’m told I misunderstand or hear a conversation, not with Chat, it’s very clear. Moving forward I think I may use chat for everything, even if I’m in the same room with the family. I’ll communicate solely by chat. It allows me to multi-task without misunderstanding.

I was surprisingly very motivated to get in my pre-race bike and run. It’s normally been a chore. I never do a pre-race swim. It doesn’t help, I’m slower regardless, and I find it’s easier to just preserve the use of my upper body until race morning.

The interesting thing about swimming is it’s not worth the extra effort to increase your speed. You can speed 3 hours a week in the pool only to improve your Ironman swim time by 5 – 10 minutes over 1 hour a week. It’s not worth it in the scheme of an 11-hour plus day. Two quick transitions can save 2 – 5 minutes or a good run or bike can shave 30 – 60 minutes or more off your overall time.

Plus when you add drive time to the pool to and from it’s inefficient and easy follows the principals of the law of diminishing returns.

I tested out my new speedometer during the ride. I compared it to my Garmin. Before I could I had to figure out how to set the Garmin to biking mode. I only use it for running. I knew it could switch but it took me about 5 minutes of pushing all sorts of buttons until I figured it out.

Then I quickly found a problem, the speed on my Garmin was way off the time on the bike by about 5 km per hour. Damn. Not good.

Good news was I realized I didn’t have the Garmin set right. I had it monitoring average speed not current speed. But of course before I figured that out I started adjusting the wheel circumference on the bike speedometer. I tried to adjust it to match the average speed on the bike. DOH!!!

It took me only two more stops and more adjustments to the bike speedometer until I figured out I was comparing apples and oranges. When I reset the speedometer back to my original settings and adjusted the Garmin to track speed everything compared perfectly. Winning. Mentally I need a speedometer. I race against myself and keeping an average speed keeps me motivated to keep pushing. It’s a goal of sorts.

The run went well as well. I took it easy and the pace was good. My legs felt strong running same on the bike. I had some power. Power I haven’t felt in a while. The big test is going to see if I still have that power after an hour. If I can last an hour with power I find I can last 5 plus hours with it.

Part of the feeling great was I was wearing my DeSoto tri shorts. They are super high compression. I love them. Problem is sometimes they rub too much at the back where the tag is. I was really considering wearing them for the race then I thought about it and followed the first cardinal rule of Ironman…”Don’t do anything new in a race that you haven’t done in training”.  Therefore no DeSotos, going with the 2 XU’s which shouldn’t be a problem I did qualify for Kona wearing them so they can’t be that bad.

That bike and run was probably the most enjoyable I’ve had in a long, long time. It was effortless and relaxing.

It gets better. When I got home I had some rumbling in my stomach. Perfect. You don’t want to race backed up if you know what I mean. I was a proud papa on this one and took a few waves good by.  Enough said, maybe even too much already.

Race morning will include some Advil. Not only does it help with reducing inflammation it causes water retention and constipation. Just what you want when doing an Ironman by reducing any stomach issues.

Lunch was more pasta carbs. Not too much. Then as I walked back to the room I saw the transport bus to the bike check in waiting. Even though it was an hour before I was to be there, I got my bike and gear and caught it just before it left. Winning.

I was originally going to ride my bike down to the transition. I’m glad I didn’t. It wasn’t where I thought it was, it was about 20 km away. The bus ride was the right thing to do.  In the bus, one side the seats had bikes in them with seat belts. On the other side was the where the athletes sat.

For most every Ironman I’ve done I never read the race packet. Because of that I realize this race had two transition zones. It does. I had to drop off my bike, which was quite the line up. There was some mix up as the body marking area wasn’t clear and I had to do an extra walk and find a way back in after I got out. The security for the most part was pretty good. In fact they even took digital pictures of everyone with their bikes when before you entered the transition area. That was a first.

It then turned out that we had to take another bus to Transition Zone 2 to drop off the run gear. I’m glad I left an hour early, there was a lot of waiting.

On the bus ride to T1 I had a weird sensation, I was a little nervous. More nervous than I think I have been or a least that I can remember. This race is a big deal to me. I need to finish. I was scheduled to do Ironman New Zealand in March and had to drop out due to blood clots. Then I was scheduled for Ironman Mont Tremblant and couldn’t get up in time to make the 6-hour drive to Quebec before the registration cut off. I had just got back from our Sales Rally in Vegas the night before and there were residual effects.

So her I am, third time is hopefully a charm. I need to finish this race. I’d like to keep doing one a year at least. I also want to get this DNS (Did Not Show) of my back. I need to keep my Ironman card. Although Jevon O’Neil figures you do one Ironman you keep the card for life. Probably True.

I’m actually still nervous about showing up, at least on time. Things have been going too well. Frankly until I’m in the water I won’t believe I made it.

Often I’ve had dreams that I showed up late for the start of Ironman races or I don’t have my gear. I’ve had this dream a number of times. Basically in the dream I oversleep and rush to the race site only to find that everyone has left and I try to get started and make the cut offs. Or I get to the bike and I don’t have my shoes. It’s just one mishap after another.

In real life I almost had that happen in Kona. I just got into the body marketing with minutes to spare or they don’t let you race if you miss it. They are hard asses when it comes to that stuff.

Anyways, tomorrow will be the test. I’ll be setting at least 3 alarms to wake me up and calling for a wake up call. I don’t want to take any risks. I just want to get into that water and let the pre-race jitters and excitement begin.

On the bus to T-2 I met a guy from New Jersey, Scott. He’s my age and was a professional cyclist. In fact about 8 years ago he did the World Championships in Burlington / Hamilton Area. I know the course. Parts are not that easy. I asked him about Rattlesnake Point Hill and he definitely remembered it. He said it was tough. I told him that the course they rode is about 5 minutes of a bike ride from my house door. I’m totally blessed to live where I live, from a biking and many other perspectives.

We had a great chat. It’s his first Ironman. He just got into triathlons and did 12 this summer. That’s every weekend he raced. He hopes to do a 5:10 off the bike.

He’s also staying at the same hotel as me. He mentioned that one of the aid stations is right beside the hotel. It got me thinking about my buddy Jamie Grant who did an Ironman in New Zealand. His hotel is on the race course and he was feeling lousy on the run so he stopped at his hotel. Went into it. Had a shower, a nap and then a couple hours later got back on the course and finished. In a way I’m not happy about my hotel being on the race course, too much temptation.

After dropping off my run gear at T-2 I headed into the Mega Supermarket. It was right beside T-2. It was a blessing. They had Ensure and I only brought 3 from home, I was one short. Ensure to me is like spinage is to Popeye. It’s the best-kept secret. The perfect nutrition for an Ironman, I have one out of the swim, two on the bike and a fourth at the beginning of the run.

They also had multi-vitamins, it was the one thing I forgot to bring. With all the water and liquids I’ve been drinking I’ve been peeing a lot. Getting rid of lots of vitamins and minerals I’m sure. I was so glad when I saw they had them. Actually the place was pretty impressive. It rivaled any supermarket we have at home. It actually felt like home. I also picked up a loaf of bread and some peanut butter for the morning and some peanuts, pork grinds and popcorn for tonight. I like to eat a little of it for the high salt content. It’s a tradition.

Unfortunately, Bagels haven’t yet made it to Mexico from the looks of it. Nor has Powerbars.

Other than that I’m pretty much set nutritionally. I had my whey and Recoverite. The only thing that is a ritual that I’m not having this race is a couple of beers the night before. I swear it’s the best thing. It will be interesting to see if it hinders.

The rest of the evening is R & R. My legs are a little tired from the walking around to get everything set up. From the time I left until the time I got back to the hotel it was near 4 hours. It’s not a fast process getting everything set up.

Plan is for a light dinner and early to bed.

Tomorrow is the big day. All the preparation comes down making it happen and finishing that race. All that matters is finishing. Period. The time to finish means nothing to me. (wink, wink). Ok. Truth be told if there is a 12 hour anything, I’ll be happiest. But I’ll still be very happy with just a finisher medal.

Pre-race Run – 15 min
Pre-race Bike – 15 min

P.S. Race number is #1900. You can track the race at .

P.S.S. They just changed the swim, down to 3.1 km from 3.8. Port authority says the water is too rough. They are going to bus people to the Presidente Hotel and swim one way to the finish. Hopefully it's with the current,  may not be.

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