Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ironman Cozumel - Here we go...

The next time I  see daylight, it will be race day.  The time I see it after that, I will have completed my 8th Ironman.

I just finished my last REAL meal of food.  Besides oatmeal in the morning, the next time I eat real food, I will have completed my 8th Ironman.

Bottles are filled, bags are packed, the next time I put my running shoes on I will be starting a 26.2 mile death march run.

We went to the swim start this morning in Chankanaab park and it was incredible.  I actually LIKE swimming when you have a view like this! There are also dolphins and other sea animals on your way to the start...

The saltwater is still an issue, but I feel like it's gotten a little bit better.  There are also tiny tiny invisible jellyfish in the water, and occasionally I felt little pricklies on my skin.  Nothing to worry about.

I had a GREAT massage today

We relaxed by the pool

We turned our bikes and bags in.  The swim and T1 are few miles south of T2 and the finish in downtown San Miguel, so you either have to ride or take a taxi.

more taxis than people on the island
Craziness!  T1 is sprawled out, there seem to be bikes around every turn!  I definitely had to do a "walk-through" to figure out just WHERE we exit the swim, WHERE we get our bags, HOW to get to my bike, and finally how to FIND the exit!  Pretty cool though!

Really long line for body-marking.  Weird.

Got back, watched the sun set, and took a relaxing shower.

After custom-ordering my dinner (salmon, brown rice, grilled veggies, bread, and some italian salad with mushrooms and sundried tomatoes that sounded good off their menu) I am ready.

The race starts at 7AM CST tomorrow morning and the weather looks fantastic (70 at the start, high of 79, 9mph winds) - track us live at  Dan is #2216, and I am #2217 !  We have never been racked next to each other before!  :)
KESTREL 4000 - Andy P
KESTREL 4000 - Dede G
KESTREL 4000 - Michael L
KESTREL 4000 - ME!!  :)
Thank you all SO much for your support- I'll check in with you all after the race :)

Ironman Cozumel - Can't get enough

I'm sitting here the day before the race, and it's settling in that the race is HERE.  Yes, I'm really going to go the distance for the 8th time tomorrow.  I have one more day to relax and let my body rest up as much as I can before attempting to "Conquer this Island"

Here's a peek at some of the shwag from the race:

Whew, let's forget about some of the race nervousness (I'll get back to it soon) and talk about some of the VACATION highlights from yesterday:
Tis the season...
Palace Resorts provided us free transportation to go see another one of their resorts, Palace Aventura.  This consisted of the 1 mile taxi ride to the ferry, the ferry ride over to Playa del Carmen, then the 15 minute taxi ride to Aventura.  We stopped at the Playacar Palace Resort in Playa del Carmen again, and I snapped more pics of the really cool decor:

The Aventura Palace resort is AMAZING - Dan and I stayed there about 4 years ago with my family, and we were very excited that his parents would be able to see it.  Like all Palace Resorts, it is all-inclusive, but this one has a section for adults-only (no screaming kids at the pool), has beautiful sprawling grounds, and has a "hydrotherapy" spa with a routine for guests to use as they please.

I've been lucky enough to stay at SIX different Palace Resorts, since my parents bought a Vacation package with them, and yesterday Dan's parents did the same!  So exciting - hopefully this means that Dan and I have many Mexican vacations ahead of us with our families  :)

I was able to do a 2 mile run at the resort to shake out my legs and see how my body is feeling:  It's feeling pretty good!  Calves are still tight, and I feel like they are going to be my limiter for the race.  They are just NOT TRAINED from not running for so long.  We'll see just how hard I can push them tomorrow without hurting myself :)  I have a massage in a few hours, hopefully that will help work them out so I can start fresh in the morning.

After nearly missing the ferry from Playa del Carmen (we had tickets for the wrong ferry company- oops! )  we got back at 6PM (when the Athlete Welcome Dinner started), took a taxi back to the hotel, rushed to change, hurried across the street to where the expo was...OOPS it wasn't there!  Should have checked the schedule!  We found out it was at Carlos N Charlies, a few blocks away.  When we got there it was 6:40PM, but luckily they started on "Mexican time" and people were just starting to get in line for the food!  :)
Ferry ride back to Cozumel... live entertainment on the Ferry!
Nice dinner, very motivating as usual.  They showed a video last year, and the downtown area that we ride and run through as part of the loops on the course looks SO FUN!  People were EVERYWHERE and having a great time!

When we got back we saw our friends from Bloomington, Dave and Joe, and they looked relaxed and ready to race!  They are also having a great time and enjoying their stay here - they even made friends with the Chef and ordered their pre-race dinner for tonight!  How awesome!

seriously, I LOVE the staff here:  Look what was left on our bed after room service came through yesterday:

They are so nice to us!  Oh yeah, and after we talked to Dave and Joe, I had another taste for banana ice cream.  So we went outside and I asked a different server for my dessert craving, but he didn't know what I was talking about, but then ALEJANDRO, the same guy from the night before, swooped in from behind us and said "No worries, I got it!"  My hero!!  I am pretty sure I'm known as the ice cream girl now.

OH, and one last thing to show you:  My mom emailed me this photo of our sweet little dog:

He looks SO PISSED!  Here's what I replied to my mom- " I have NEVER laughed this hard - tears are streaming down my face!  Lew thinks I'm drunk and I haven't drank anything!!"

From what I hear it's about 19 degrees at home, and our dog HATES the cold, AND being left alone for any period of time... Oh Winston.

I will write one last update for you tonight- it will be up before 9:30PM CST, and I plan to give you some last thoughts and info on how to track us!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ironman Cozumel - Warming up

It's getting close!!
enormous map
Yesterday after my early morning blogging, I caught up with Dan and his parents for breakfast then headed RIGHT ACROSS the street to catch the IMCOZ merchandise tent when it opened. Dan and I were lucky enough to get a peek at some early Christmas presents from Gale and Lew  :)

When we got back I went for another short swim with my other pair of goggles.  This time, leaking wasn't so much the issue, but fogging was - and of course I had forgotten to pack my SBR sports Foggles - DARN!  Ugggh  I will try Lew's goggles today, and if that doesn't work, I will try to buy some new ones at the expo  :(  The nose issue wasn't as bad as yesterday, but still irritating.  I really don't want to try a nose plug b/c I breathe out through my nose underwater (it might be a good idea though), but I may try the vaseline trick - thanks Cara and AJ for the suggestions!!

Swimming with the dolphins was about a block from our hotel, so we headed over in the afternoon.  We were supposed to arrive at noon, and the event would start at 12:20....we ended up WAITING until after 1pm.  I was a little frustrated (we wanted to ride an easy loop of the bike course before it got dark) but let it go because we are on VACATION and we are going to get to see dolphins!  :)

I don't have pictures to show you, since they didn't allow cameras when you were in the dolphin area and they had Kodak photographers taking your picture costing $29 US a pop - no thanks.  but here are some I took before.

It was pretty fun though!  Everyone in our group got to hug, kiss, dance, pet, and belly-ride with the dolphin.  At the end, all the dolphins did a fun little jump show for us!

Although it was fun and entertaining, the dolphin cove seemed very very tiny compared to the endless ocean that the dolphins could be playing in, and the trainers even told us that it was their job to keep the dolphins happy in captivity because they are prone to depression.  Really sad and I don't know I feel about that.

After a quick lunch at the hotel, Dan, Lew, and I went back across the street to the convention center with our bikes to pump our tires up and register (opened at 12 while we were at the dolphin cove).  Registration went pretty smoothly- it was different than other races because we had to show our passports and they photo-copied them!  We also got some pretty sweet jackets, and I really like the hand-bottle!
Cool artwork at the Expo
Dan forgot to pack his helmet, and Lew needed a new one, so they picked one at the expo that Lew would use after Dan raced with it this week.  Finally after that we took off (around 4PM).

No more than 5 minutes into our ride I got a flat on my back tire.  Awesome.  The tube was pinched because I wasn't very careful while pumping it up from a completely deflated state.  Although I am completely comfortable changing a flat tire with my wheels, I got frustrated and flustered because Dan was telling me what to do (trying to be helpful but I didn't want to hear it- I wanted to get the damn thing done myself), and there were people watching me.  Just getting the stupid back wheel on took me forever, which usually is not even an issue.  After TEN MINUTES (embarrassing), we finally got on our way.
View of bike course- southern tip about to head East
But guess what?  The roads are AWESOME here.  At least the 10 miles of it that we saw on the west side of the island.  We didn't get to the windy part, but from what I understand the roads are nice throughout.  My legs felt like CRAP for the first 10 minutes of the ride - heavy, working too hard for the effort I was putting out, like the thousands of riding miles I've put on my legs this year didn't mean anything.  But after about 10 minutes, I opened up and felt GREAT!!  I wanted to do 30-40 minutes at Ironman pace, so we split up for a bit.  My goal pace felt EASY going out and back (so it wasn't because of a tailwind), so I am definitely EXCITED for the bike.  It's going to be FUN!  The question is whether or not I change into bike shorts or not.  I am definitely comfortable in them, and I'm nervous that because I haven't been riding as often as I should that my "seat" won't be happy with Tri-shorts... I'll decide after short test ride on Saturday.
Thanks for making us feel at home!  And the Turkey loves my Kestrel and First Endurance!
Got showered and ready and headed 1 mile to "downtown" to eat at "The World's Smallest Hard Rock"... we had been here before when we stayed in Cancun with my parents and visited the island one day, and yup, it's still tiny!

Gale has the Hard-Rock All-Access card...gotta show it off!
love...and margaritas.
We enjoyed another margarita, and after dinner walked around the shops a little bit and headed back to the hotel.  I had SUCH a taste for that delicious banana ice cream, but couldn't find it I asked my new friend Alejandro if he could find some for me...and he did!!  MADE MY NIGHT!!  I devoured it with a side of the delicious resort coffee and went to sleep in yummy bliss  :)
Lucha libre!
The island is SO excited and accommodating!
Today we are going to Aventura Spa Palace on the mainland for the day then going to the Ironman dinner tonight- should be fun!!

I love all the comments and support - Thanks everyone!