Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ironman Cozumel…Day Two…

I love hotel window blinds, I swear they are made out of bullet proof Kevlar, when fully closed there is no light. The material reminds of the vest that the dentist puts on you when you get x-rays.

Needless to say, I had the blinds closed and I slept until I could sleep no more. Kind of, what did wake me up was the multiple bathroom trips throughout the night. The good news is I’m hydrated, the bad news is I always have to get up when I’m in a super great part of my dream, then as hard as I try I can never seem to get back. Although I’m proud to say, once in my life I was able to get back.

I got a good 8 hours of sleep. Near first thing I did when I woke up was put my bike together. I’m pretty fast at it now, I’ve done it enough times. I set the stopwatch on my iPhone and got it done from beginning to end in just over 16 minutes. I’ve had flat tires that almost have taken that long to change. 

After building the bike I made my way to the breakfast buffet area. I wanted coffee. I met a guy from Calgary in the buffet area, his first name Lochlin Mclellan, bib #283. He looked so familiar. I asked him if we had met, I couldn’t place him. I told him I came from Winnipeg, he said he lived Winnipeg for his high school years, attended Kelvin and gradated in 1983. He’s the exact same age as me and Kelvin wasn’t too far aways. Anyway, neither of us could place it.

He was telling me that last year’s swim was a freak of nature due to a weird storm. He was so believable as he described it. I was going to ask him if he was a meteorologist.

Looking at the waves and wind today, if it continues into Sunday this is not going to be an easy race. I was surprised to see a guy training in the water this morning, the waves were pretty bad, swells would come, and I’d see him, and then lose him.

I don’t want to over eat so I had a smaller breakfast. I also started the day pretty bloated. Yesterday’s dinner must have a lot of salt in it.  It is better to have too much salt in your system prior to the race than two little. Not enough salt in the system is number one reason that people start cramping.

Today was my last real training day. I had a bike and run on the schedule. There was a swim too, but I find swimming 3 or 4 days before a race does no good for me, in fact it makes me weaker. I find it’s better to let my arms fully recover as I’m not a fast swimmer and it’s the law of diminishing returns if I spend time swim training any longer.

I was a little nervous before my ride today. I didn’t know what to expect from the local drivers. I put on my new fluorescent yellow jersey Alice got me for my birthday and attached my flashing red light to the back of the jersey. It was all for not, the drivers were great and after the first 10 km I was onto the course and the part I went on was a dedicated bike lane and there was no cars. Lots of other triathletes getting in last minute bikes and runs, but no cars, in general the drivers are pretty good her.

I stopped a few times on the bike. A couple times to adjust my handlebars, they didn’t seem in alignment with my wheels, the other time was to try and adjust my back tire. The crank was squeaking and often it’s caused by poor tension in the chain. Although pulling back the chain didn’t seem to help, it’s still squeaking.

My speedometer also doesn’t work and my pedals are clicking. When I stopped the first time I put some lubricant on the chain and on the pedals. It seemed to help. I did find my old pedals and have them in the bike bag under my seat just in case.

People laugh at me for having so much gear on my bike because it adds weight and will make me go slower. My opinion is I don’t care. I’d rather go a little slower and have all the stuff I need if I have a mechanical failure on the course. I didn’t come her to race and not finish due to bike mechanical issues that could have been in my control if I had the right stuff on me. I currently have everything I need in the bags but a new chain. I could have got one but don’t know how to build attach them so it doesn’t make sense having them.

When I got back to the hotel I wasn’t feeling like going for a run but it doesn’t matter, it’s part of the plan, so I went for a run. I’m glad I did. My legs needed the bike and run. I was starting to feel them atrophy. Now they are feeling much more pumped and stronger. There is no greater feeling than finishing your training session when you didn’t feel like doing them. It’s a rewarding accomplishment.

On the bike I was feeling hungry. That is not normal for me, but it seems that in the last 6-weeks it’s happened near every time on my rides in Arizona. I’m not sure why? Perhaps the whey protein and supplements? Either way I’m aware of it and know I need to really make sure I’m eating 300 – 400 calories per hour on the bike.

My run was pretty cool. I went off the beaten path. I ran to the end of the paved road and then it turned into a trail. I had a choice, turnaround and play it safe and run in the known, or go for the adventure into the bush and risk twisting an ankle or being attacked by an animal or some wild kids or a guy with a shot gun who is going to chase me off his property. So I did the responsible thing and kept running into the bush. You only live once and what possibly could go wrong? Famous last words.

At first it was a challenging run, lots of big puddles on clay like ground. It was tough to get around some of them as they crossed the entire road and I had to near run into the bush, and then the wet clay was slippery. Like a potters clay.

As I ran I had no idea where the trail was going, at one point a group of kids in a dune buggy drove buy, then there was a parked truck near the side of the bush that pulled out just as I got closer. I didn’t see them inside, but waved anyway, just trying to be friendly.

I did manage to make it out unscathed.

After my training and before I could start stretching I had to eat something. Down to the buffet area. It hurts me to say that. I hate the buffet area, it’ brings back bad all inclusive vacation food memories. I had no choice I was hungry.

While in line I met another older guy from Texas and by older he was probably my age. He was a heavier guy, he saw my Ironman St George shirt and asked if I did it, I had, twice. He said his buddies did it and said it was the hardest Ironman every. It’s probably true. The no longer have it. I think it was too hard. The bike is hilly, yet extremely beautiful and the run was just up and down. I liked the race and yes it was tough, but when you like a race you don’t remember how tough it is. Unfortunately he couldn’t race, he broke his foot 6 months ago, he’s had 4 operations and it still not healed. He came to watch and cheer on friends. Bummer.

I finally got to my stretching and make sure it was good. Had my Whey protein, Recoverite and other supplements. It’s a major chore doing all that stuff. No joke. The stretching continued in the shower as I did my pre-race body shave. I only nicked myself a couple times and I’m sure I missed a lot. I don’t know how girls do it.

By this time it was 3 pm. I started my day at 8:30 am and it had been non-stop go, go, go. Still no rest for the wicked, I needed to catch a cab and get down to the registration area 4 miles away. I really wanted to get all the Ironman stuff out of the way today so I can do nothing but relax tomorrow.

My family is sick of watching Ironman races. They’ve been to enough to know that they are not fun. The first one or two are fun, they are meaningful, they are special moment and accomplishment you want to share and they want to support. As you do more, they aren’t so special to them or you anymore. My son Reid says that if I want to know what watching and Ironman is like, he’s going to videotape what they do for 12 hours and make me sit and watch it. I get it. It’s boring. I don’t blame them.

Being on my own is actually easier. I don’t have the added pressure to keep them entertained and more importantly I’m less on edge. When they are there, I’m usually pretty focused and grumpy is a nice word for it. An example is one Ironman Alyssa joined me and we climbed Angels Landing, one ofthe tougher hikes in Zion National Park. It was lots of climbing that took at least a few hours. Next day I had to race the Ironman. The hiking definitely made it a little tougher.

So tomorrow I’ll get to relax, and most of the day Saturday, other than bike check in.

The registration was pretty uneventful and surprisingly well organized. When I think Mexico I think slow and poorly training. Not the case. Everything went well. It was mostly young kids and they did a great job. Very good and very friendly.

I was surprised to see the race swag giveaway was not a hat or shirt, it was a jacket. Yes, a jacket. Nice one too.

I’m definitely an Ironman veteran. I’ve learned from my mistakes. After they give me the registration stuff, I check it. I make sure they have all my transition bags. I’ve had it happen to be before that they are not all there, then you have to go back and it’s a real hassle when all you want to do is rest. I also make sure to get the timing chip activated. I’ve not done that in the past either. I’ve also forgot to put on my timing chip, more than once, that’s a different story. Now I attach it to my swim goggles. You never forget your swim goggles.

The expo didn’t have much in the way of bike repair stuff. They were smaller booths. I made a list of what I needed....Powerbars, Compressed Air, Cateye Strata speedometer and Speedplay pedals. They only had compressed air, no Powerbars, no pedals and a brand I’ve never heard of speedometer, which I had no choice but to buy. The last thing I want is not to know my speed during the race. I need the motivation to stay at or exceed a specific pace. I couldn’t imagine racing blind. I’d probably think I was killing it and I’d be going slow. I don’t know what any of it cost me it was in pesos.

The Ironman tent was another story. I consider this my personal clothing store. Some people go to Armani or Hugo Boss stores, I go to the Ironman tent. My first look is for work shirts and by work shirts I mean anything with a collar and an Ironman logo. I found about 4 of them. Three of them were the same as what I have but in a smaller size. The other ones are mediums but fit loose, I now need small.

Getting smalls are not because I’m smaller than my old mediums, it’s that the manufactures are making sizes bigger. Maybe it’s an ego thing. Someone that was a large is now a medium and they think they are getting smaller, losing weight, gaining muscle. It’s a fun game the manufacturers are playing.

The lineup to pay was long. Everyone had a basket or two filled with Ironman M-dot gear, it’s just not me. My total came out to over 5000 pesos, however amount of money that is. I almost bought an Ironman wallet, but didn’t for two reasons. First was I didn’t like the inside pockets although that wasn’t the decider. I couldn’t replace the Pulp Fiction Wallet the kids got me that has imprinted on it “Bad Mother F#cker”. If it was on the Ironman Wallet I would have bought it regardless of the inside pocket layout.

By this point it was 5 pm and I was tired. Legs were tired and I wanted to get home to rest. I started walking to find a cab and got to see the town of Cozumel, it’s pretty cool, lots of shops and action. I went by Senor Frogs and it looked like a rocking party on the second floor. Music was blaring and people were dirty dancing. I must have stood and watched for about 5 minutes. I was so jealous. It brought back memories and it got me thinking how much fun must those people be having right now and how I’d love to join them. Then remembered I have an Ironman to do and I quit drinking. It took me a while to snap out of my trance and move on. I saw out of the corner of my eye one guy looking at me, I assumed he was wondering, “why’s that guy so still and mesmerized?”. It was like a movie flashback scene.

As I walked, I saw restaurants and made the decision to go to one. I couldn’t see myself eating from the buffet again today. I now know what prisoners or soldiers must feel like when they go to the mess hall.

I found a decent looking place and the first thing that jumped out at me on the menu was a 12-ounce Rib Eye steak. I’m a firm believer that your body tells you what you need. Sometimes I go to a restaurant and the last thing I want is steak, this time it was hands down steak and baked potatoes, no questions asked after I did the math of how many days until race day. Calculating entry and exit time and future room for carb up more time.

When I got back to the hotel I had a craving for sweets. Since getting back from Arizona I got into the sugar snacks a little bit. Again, I convinced myself that my body is craving it and got some M & M’s and deep chocolate. The deep chocolate with Cocoa I can explain as healthy, the M & M’s are just my favorite.

Now it gets worse. I walk up to my room and two doors down is a buffet hall that I didn’t know existed. As I walked by I looked in and saw two large beautiful looking turkeys being carved. At first I thought it looked so good that it must be an exclusive executive party, perhaps just for the pros.

I got to my room and couldn’t stop thinking about that room. I wondered if it was exclusive. Not that it mattered I’d just sneak in anyways. I made my way back to the room and scoped it out. It was open to all. It was a buffet. I didn’t know if it was a one-time thanksgiving buffet or regular. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

I went back to my room and still couldn’t stop thinking about those turkeys. I had to have some. So I headed back again and got some. Not a lot, but enough for a good taste and took it back to my room. It was my way of celebrating Thanksgiving. I knew if I didn’t do it I’d regret it as strange as that sounds. Post turkey I topped it off with my M & M’s and chocolate. Today is my last big eating day. From now until race day it will be smaller meals intentionally.

Tomorrow I plan on relaxing for the most part. I’m going to try to fix my existing speedometer and if it can’t be fixed I’ll put on the new one. I’m also considering taking my bike to the onsite hotel bike mechanic to check out the squeaking in the crank. I’m on the fence about that. I don’t want him to screw it up. Next decent ride will be race day and the number one rule is “don’t do anything in the race that you haven’t done in training”.

The good news is I have two full days of nothing to do before the race.

Now I can rest.  

Oh, last thing I almost forgot. If you need Viagara, Mexico is your destination. Not only is it in Pharmacies, I stopped to get some extra strength Advil, it’s also in my hotel gift shop. Simon Cross would be in heaven. 

Mod Bike – 1:45:21 / 51.32 km / 29.2 km avg
Mod Run – 33:22 / 5.96 km / 5:36 pkm pace

1 comment:

  1. I loved what Reid said about filming what they did for 12 hours and then making you watch - genius!

    Totally with you about doing Ironmans without the family, nothing better than to have them whatch you finish but all the other stuff is boring for them and stresfull for you and as you say you've got to keep them entertained. It's just better by yourself.

    Final point, I reckon a speedometer is a big mistake. I learnt very early on in my Ironman journey that speed is immaterial but heart rate and cadence is everything. I also use power now too but just to reinforce my numbers for heart rate and cadence. If you're not sick, rested and your cadence and heart rate are the same as training then the speed will look after itself. Who knows whether you're on a false flat, tail wind, head wind, poor road surface etc...speed doesn't matter I NEVER LOOK AT IT but heart rate and cadence are king in my mind.