Nov 3, 2015

Ironman Los Cabos 2015

After finishing Ironman Canada earlier in the year I felt like my season was not over and after looking at a number of option decided to sign up for Ironman Los Cabos and talked Kyle and Rosanne into do the 70.3 on the same day as the full.. It gave me almost exactly 12 weeks to recover and rebuild up which seemed very doable. Overall I felt like my training was ok coming into the race. I had the base from IMC and got in some good solid build weeks of training. I never felt amazing but I felt solid. Could have done without my calf/foot getting tight a couple weeks out, that caused me to skip a week + of run training.
I also started doing pilates once a week. Have not had any of the core muscle issues I had  during IMC and was having on and off for the last year. Super glad I took my wetsuit to long beach for some open water swims as a good check in to see how I was doing. Totally surprised myself with such a fast time for me. So swim training has obviously been helping.

Race week was good. I kept things loose and kept my workouts short with just a little intensity. I was loose and got a massage before we left town, had my foot taped up. I focused on getting extra sleep that week so that I was rested.

We packed the bikes a bit early but was good to get it done and I took wed off work so I could pack and not stress. Mixed information about water temp was frustrating so packed both wetsuit and speedsuit. We flew into town on Thursday.
There was not a ton of good places to ride or run near the race hotel(at least from what we could tell). Felt kind of sketchy with cars and no shoulders ect. So did not ride as much as I would have liked but it was fine.
Went to both “practice swim” times to get used to the water. It was 80F+ and because of the hurricane hitting further south the swells were HUGE especially on Saturday. But it was good to get in and used to the water.. Good thing I brought a swim skin as well since the race would not confirm or deny if it would be wetsuit legal till Friday, even though once we swam it was pretty obviously to hot.

Bike and gear check on Saturday was kind  of entertaining, they had shuttles/busses which you took your bike with you inside. It was kind of a mess but all worked out.

I never sleep much the night before a race. Overall I didn’t stress about it. And slept fairly well. I set my alarm for 3a and had a banana next to my bed so I could just eat and go back to sleep for a bit longer. Should have had some more food. So at 4a or so I realized I needed more food so I went down and at least the hotel had some muffins and stuff I snacked on. sipped on some fluids.

Headed down to the shuttle with all my stuff. Lucky enough we got on one of the first shuttles. Dropped special needs bags off on the way down to the start.

At T1 I got my bike set up with fluids ect. Used the porta poty before the lines got long (they had NO TOILET PAPER in any of the porta potties) so I took an Imodium just in case. T1 was a bit crazy with all the 70.3 people getting ready to start at 6:30a. so sort of just hung out with Kyle and Rosanne since I had a ton of time.

Watched them start and the pros even finish before I had to even get ready. Was good to see other people mess both of those up with the swells. People were getting tossed everywhere on both the start and finish of the swim….

I found 1 porta potty near the changing tents that they had bought emergency tp for it…. Then got in my speedsuit, used some foggle on my goggles and ate a gu before heading to the staging area. 
As I lined up for the swim I got to see Kyle & Rosanne come out of the swim and head out of T1.

Swim (1:15:05; 1:59/100 yds; 9th in ag)
My estimate for the swim was 1:15-1:20 based on what I swam in IMC and no wetsuit in big swells and rather rough water.

They did a rolling start so I put myself in 1:15 area. The swells were pretty big at the start so I had to kind of wait for it to go out to be able to get in the water and not get tossed around.

The course is a long rectangle that goes mostly parallel to the shore, 3 left turns. By the time I got to the 1st turn bouy it had blown of course or something and they were dragging it back in place. Everyone was just stopped it was stupid. So I just swam though them and kept going.

Stayed in close to teh rest of the buoys and just stayed focused on putting in some effort and staying focused. I started chafting in my right under arm almost right away and it stung the entire time. Then my zipper started to come undone and it started rubbing all over my neck. The salt water made it so painful. I also think I got a tiny jelly fish sting. And the rocking from the waves and swells I had to lift my head crazy high to see the buoys and breath.. so not normal at all.

The half way point was someplace after the second turn and noticed It was a pretty standard time for me. So I decided I should work a bit harder since it was just the swim and I had done all those speed intervals at the end of long workouts and did not die.. the waves and swells rocked you around a lot..

The second half of the course was kind of strange with it being more across the swells but not totally since you had to angle so had to sight a bit more that I was before..

Once I saw the swim finish it made it easier to sight though the waves kept trying to push you into some rocks vs the clean path to the beach.

Finally got close had a couple waves and tried my best to ride them in and not get tossed around. I wound up getting sort fo knocked down but a life guard guy helped me to my feet and I ran in the sand to get my bag.

As I hit lap on my watch I was in complete shock at the time.

Transition 1 (4:39)
Out of the water ran a long way in the sand. They had the bags hanging so found mine, grabbed it and headed into the tent.

Went smoothly. A volunteer was there offered water so I used it to wash my feet off since ther was some carpet… Everything else went as normal. Shoes, stuff in my pockets, then helmet and glasses.

Ran out to my bike, grabbed it and went. My shoes filled with sand again on the way out of t2 ugh…
Bike was in a lowest gear since it is immediately uphill and had no issues.

Bike (6:33:10; 27.47 km/h; 6th in ag)

T1 to San Lucas –
As I headed out of t1 I was so excited about my swim time and crazy annoyed with all the sand in my shoes. Saw Rosanne almost immediately going the other direction. Mostly settled in to a find a good rhythm and started eating and drinking. Took 2 salts pills at :30, and gu at :50 . Went though my 1st bottle of skratch pretty quick. The aid stations had ice water and random flavors of Gatorade. 


We had driven parts of the course and it had not seemed to bad but really it was constant up or down, so lots of shifting gears. Sometimes there was wind as well. I passed 1 or 2 girls on this first stretch but it was mostly guys.

San Lucas to San Jose –
Turned around and headed back.. I noted it took about :50 minutes from t1 to the turn around. The course was kind of crowded with some of the slower 70.3 people still on the bike course and a lot of guys. The rollers did not seem to really spreed people out that much yet. I just focused on staying smooth and keeping after it and drinking. Finished my second bottle of skratch and had to start grabbing Gatorade off the course. The aid stations were kind of short so had time to grab ice water or Gatorade but not both. Which seemed to work ok, so I would alternate. I saw 1 girl who passed me then slowed, so I passed her which pissed her off I guess so she started sprinting after starring at me lol, so weird...

San Jose up to airport & back –
You come in to town and there is a short out and back then as you go back you turn up the hill to go to the airport. So you go from the most crowded part of the bike course to completely empty and all up hill in the sun. A few section got super hot, because there was no breeze at all. But it was all seeted climbing, then two larger rollers and you eventually get to the turn around. I went back and forth with a couple guys – I would pass on the ups and they passed on the downs. Luckily the decents were all pretty smooth with the exception of some road turtle things you had to avoid. It was also nice they had the whole road closed off.

Was one of the climbs on the way back was actually kind of steep, which sucked.

I stayed right on track with my gu, 1 an hour, a salt and at least a bottle or two of Gatorade and hour. My stomach felt a little bloated but not bad. Every once and a while I would dump water on my back or something but it never lasted long enough to make a difference and I figured it was more important to drink it.

San Jose to San Lucas & back –
Headed back out along the coast and all the never ending rollers for lap 2. It was getting pretty warm, and I noticed the pavement kind of sucked, you never really got any free speed, there was drag on the downs so had to keep after it. And lots of cracks and bumps, a few sections with road turtles across the whole thing. No idea how people with tale bottles kept anything on their bikes.

People had spread out a lot more now, so was mostly on my own.

At the half way mark grabbed my special needs bag, which had a bottle of coke, which was almost boiling hot yuck.. and some cliff banana mango things which did not go down well, so I ate a cliff fruit stick which was good. But was bummed not to get the calorie bump from the coke ect.

The rest was kind of just more of the same. I stayed after it pretty good and still felt pretty good. I was thankful for a random blue Gatorade to change up from the orange flavor that gets so old so fast. That helped keep me drinking more.

San Jose up to airport & back –
Was so happy to be on my last lap and heading up the last hill. BUT wow it was a bit more of a slog up the hill this time. My quads burned a bit and just was not as fast. It also felt way hotter. There was once or twice a cloud came over for a second and I was so thankful for the tiny bit of shade. At this point everyone was dragging a bit and super spaced out even on the climbs. I forced myself to drink Gatorade to try and find any bit of energy I could.

The two rollers after the long climb were equaly as hard, I tried to recover as much as I could on the down hills but they seemed so short and the climbs so long.

I ate my last gu on the way up and wish I had grabbed another one. Sucked that none of the aid stations had much to grab on course as back up.

After the turn around there were two climbs and then the long down hill. I was watching time tick by and just tried my best to stay focused. But of course when I got to the long down hill and there was a headwind it just sucked… I was just ready to be into t2 already and the headwind took extra energy to get though..

To T2 –
Was super happy to be heading to T2, always nice to be able to go straight vs turning to make another loop (there were still a lot of people turning). The road was kind of crap and there were a couple of rather un marked speed bumps. Lost the front bottle at one..

Transition 2 (4:58)
I dropped my bike off, ran to were my bag was hanging, grabbed my bag and jogged into the tent.. a few volunteers, they offered water so I used it to wash the sand off my feet before I put my socks on. Grabbed Vaseline for the cafting in my arms pits form the swim. Also had them put some sun block on my shoulders.

Ran out and realized I needed to pee but there was only one for “hombres” and the volunteer was useless so I just started the run. Honestly never saw the line when I left transition and started the run…. So just started running and lapped my watch.

Run (4:55:59; 7th in age group)

T2 to lap 1 hotel way–
Rosanne ran with me for a couple minutes as I started and told me how Kyle had not finished but he was ok. And that she had won her age group. I mostly just felt grimimy and so freaking hot. They had aid stations pretty close together on this section so I grabbed ice water and dumped it on my head and face. I grabbed a bag of “heilo” or ice and either held it in my hand or put it against my face. It was so hot out. As I kept running it just kind of beat down on you. They had no sponges… My legs seemed ok, a bit heavy but not bad. I was shocked because my calf seemed fine. This part of the course was nice because there were tons of people and I just kept moving. Ran out then back.

Lap 1 marina –
You head back toward where T2 was and then take a right turn and head over a bridge, the pavement went to total crap, I could feel I was even kicking up sand or something as I went and it was a kind of steep little up hill then you ran across the bridge and just cooked. Since we had not really figured out the run rout this part of the course was a total mystery. I knew the first loop was 9 miles total. You ran across the bridge then around a round about, though some dirt road with an uphill, next to the marina.. then an out and back. It was so hot. I started to really feel it and kind of cooked a bit. I just kept grabbing ice and water, and Gatorade from time to time.

The volunteers were almost kind of pushy at times but they had a ton of them. I drank some pepsi.. my stomach was so so. And kept dumping water on me. I wasn’t running that fast.. but I tried to just keep moving forward. At some point I did stop to pee, of course they had no toilet paper at all.. The aid stations seemed more spread out as well. My hand was starting to go numb from holding bags of ice so switched to a cup of ice which I am more used to and had some bit of insulation… My face was burning up so I kept putting ice on it to. .

You come back across the bridge (where you just cook) and then there is another longer out and back that is kind of lonely. Everyone is spread out and it was so hot.
The worst part is they run you almost right up to the finish to turn around and run back for another loop. Just brutal mentally.

Lap 2 hotel way –
I was glad to run back into town. The sun was still super hot but it helped having people cheering and around more. I mostly just focused on running as much as I could, would walk the aid stations and grab something to drink or ice. I remember seeing Kyle and Rosanne and asking them why I was doing this… they all laughed and had no answer. I just kept my slow run going. There started being more people running on the course as well, but super hard to tell what lap everyone was on.
I kept going back and forth with 2 girls that I couldn’t really tell which age group they were in..

Lap 2 marina –
I was not looking forward to this section. The bridge just cooked me the 1st lap and the aid stations are weirdly spaced out and it is lonely. And it I was really getting tired. I started day dreaming about laying down on anything that looked reasonably soft or cool. The sunset as I shuffled over the bridge was beautiful with the moon and all the colors but it was still really warm.

I kind of lost focus a bit on this lap around the marina.. I walked up the dirt hill and kind of just kept walking instead of running again. I did manage to grab some pepsi at the next aid station which seemed like forever. I think I wound up walking a mile or so overall. I let the 2 girls go a bit.. but they never got that far away since I saw them at a lot of the turn arounds.

At some point I realized I needed to be running just so I could get done. I did not want to be out here forever.. so run… by this time it had started getting dark and when I went though the turn around they gave me a light thing.. I was kind of bummed I was having to take one.

Lap 3 hotel way –
On the way out I just focused on finding a rythem and holding to it. I saw Kyle and crew and I said I had walked to much and they said everyone was walking… I reminded myself this was the last lap a lot. “Just run”. And luckily I was down to numbers I could do the math in my head for how much time I was wasting and needed to move faster. I took more pepsi. And just dug deep to go.

Lap 3 marina –
Last time over the bridge it was now very dark… I just kept shuffling as much as I could and started skipping aid stations even though the volunteers were actually getting more pushy. I just wanted to be done. I ran a bit with a guy who I had passed on the bike a bit. Which was nice I think it helped me pick up the pace some. He started cramping so I just kept running. I passed one of the girls I had let go on the 2nd lap.Ran the rest of the way into the finish. It was kin dod just a blur and i was just happy I was finishing. At least this time I was able to smile as I crossed the line and just ran it in. (I really need to work on a better finish line pose lol )

Post-Race (12:53:51, 7th ag, 39 in gender, 226 overall)
After I crossed the finish line I just wanted to lay down.. I had some weird coughing stuff right at the finish and for about 5 minutes after. But all in all I was fine.

Overall thoughts... Super happy with my swim especially considering it was rough, non-wetsuit and I still managed a 5 min pr.

The bike was hard, all the rollers and a big climb in the heat. I should have ate more maybe… I was tired on the last climb.. but I was still dropping people so at least that is good.

The run I’m the most bummed about. I let it go and actually never really got up to speed. It was hot but I let it get to me to much. My body was fine, no cramping, only minor stomach stuff. I feel like I need some work on my run endurance, I was able to run faster at the end but I need to be able to do that in the middle and maintain. It might be more mental but still it needs work.

The good thing is though I’m ready for the “off season” and I don’t feel burned out. I'm mostly just ready to do some more cross training like mtbiking, hopefully skiing this year and get in the gym and build some strength up and that sort of thing for a couple months. 
I still feel the urge that I want to focus on being able to go faster especially at the full distance. I feel like I have made a lot of progress this year and want to build on it.

Thanks to all my friends and family for the support and cheers though out training and race day. I knew you were all cheering for me and it meant the world to me and kept me going to the next timing mat.

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