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  • Writer's picturericdamico1

Ironman Cozumel

Cozumel, Mexico - December 1, 2013

45:50 Swim (1.94 Mi Swim) - 68th out of 402 out of water

5:02 T1

5:22:25 (21 MPH) - 48th out of 402 after bike - PR

5:54 T2

5:41:32 (13:02 min/Mi)

Total 12:00:43

132nd of 402 in AG

782nd of 2487 Overall

Redemption !!!

The weather was not very nice the days leading to the race, very windy and with fast currents. At dinner, the night before, we were informed of the decision to change and shorten the swim course. They changed it to a point to point 1.94 mile swim, all with the current. I was not happy at all.

In the morning, we still went to T1. Only difference is that they bused us to the new starting place, a couple miles down. The new start was in waist deep water. I tried to position myself towards the front of the group. When the gun went off, all 2500 people started the most amazing site of any Ironman, the feeding frenzy. The start was very bunched up. I happened to find myself around two other swimmers of about the same speed, and I stayed within their hip/legs for a good portion of the first half of the race. Towards the middle of the race, things finally started to clear up a bit and I found myself swimming towards the outer part of the bunch, near to the shore. I stayed out there until it was time to go around the pier to get to the exit ladder. At that time, things started bunching up again. The exit was awful. So many people, so little real estate.

T1 was fine. Got my Speed Suit off, got my helmet and glasses, and went to my bike. This year my bike was in a great spot, a few feet away from the pro’s, and near the exit.

I felt great as the bike started. Got settled and started working on keeping my wattage around 200 to 220 watts. I was going quite fast (23 to 25 MPH at times) but didn't really pay attention to the speed, just to the wattage. The first lap was pretty crowded and there was several spots where people were drafting quite a bit, although impossible to get away. As we got to the Eastern side of the island (where we get the head wind), the wind didn't seem very bad at all. I was averaging around 20 MPH on that area. As we turned back towards town, the speeds picked up again and I was able to get up to a quicker avg once again.

Around mile 50 i checked and my average speed was 23 MPH. I was very surprised and excited. Then the head winds came for a second time. It was worse than the first time. I could definitely feel the wind and gusts this time. My speed started to come down. Around that time, we had our first rain. It was around the Eastern side of the island. It came down hard, but not very long.

My nutrition was working great. I had my one bottle of Infinit concentrate (5:30 hrs). I was drinking sips of that with water, which i was getting every other aid station. I also got a couple of gatorades during the race, just for the taste. I was able to drink the entire bottle this time (first time ever), without any problems, always downing it with water. At around mile 70, i noticed some tightness on my right calf muscle, as if I was about get pull the muscle. But it wasn't a big deal while on the bike. I was a bit worried about it for the run, but nothing I could do at that time. At this time, we had our second rain fall. Not as bad or as long as the first.

At mile 80, i again checked my average speed, and it was 22 MPH. I was still very happy about it. The last lap was easily the worst one. It was easy to tell, even before we got to the East side of the island. The head winds were incredibly tough. At times, pushing 240-250 watts only netted 15-16 MPH. At times, groups of people drafting would go by. I did catch a little break every now and then when that happened. Yes, it is not right, but everyone was doing it. It was crazy. And there was really no way to get away from it at times. There were too many people on the road. Finally that part was over, and we were heading back to town for the last time. I ended up with 21 MPH for the whole thing, way better than I was expecting. I guess this in a way validated my improvement on my lactate test. I am also 100% sure that the power meter had a huge part in this PR. I cant emphasize how important of a tool it is.

T2 turned out to be a game changer. I got off the bike, got my bag and found a chair. I had a container of Eucerin in my bag. I used a lot of it on each foot. I also put some under my arms. I got my socks and shoes on (i went with the Hoka’s), and out I went. About a quarter of a mile down the road, i realized i had forgotten my Fuel Belt (with my Infinit nutrition) in the chair at T2. At that point,i couldn't go back. I thought i would try and see if i could get it after lap 1. As it was, from that moment on, I was running without any nutrition whatsoever. The weather was very hot, the sun was beaming down on us. Most of the run had very little shade, and I could feel the sun burning my shoulders.

I started the run feeling pretty good. The calf was feeling very tight. It felt that it could go bad at any time, with a quick twitch type move. I stayed within my short, slow steps, and even though it was a bit sore, it seemed to be ok. The first half of the first leg was pretty good. I was stopping at just about every station, getting water, gatorade, and sometimes a little Pepsi. Since I didn't have my nutrition, and i wanted to make sure not to get dehydrated, i was drinking a lot of fluids. The sun was starting to have its effect on my, and the return leg was tougher.

I could tell i was drinking a lot, as i had to pee already. i stopped at an aid station and went, with no line or delay. A bit later, the skies opened up again. This time, another very hard and longer rain, cooling things off (which was nice) but also flooding parts of the island. It was very reminiscent of 3 years ago. The cooler temperature definitely helped my running. By the time i got around my first loop, I was tired, but not exhausted.

As I went around the first lap, I saw Jenna and asked her to go into T1 and try to find my nutrition belt. I thought, if nothing else, i would be able to get some nutrition by lap 3. Unfortunately she did not understand me, and thought i was talking about my number belt. So she didn't find my belt.

As I got close to half way, rain started once again. More flooding happened. Some of the volunteers disappeared from the aid stations. Some aid stations became completely deserted and shut down. Pretty crazy. I could tell I was getting tired, and getting drained. The rain also caused my cold to come back. I started coughing, and couldn't take a deep breath with coughing. That made things tough. As i made the 13.1 turn, i realized that all i had to do was run the last 13.1 in 3 hrs to get under 12 hrs. And if i did another 2:45 min, it could be 11:45 hrs!

I realized that i was drinking way too much. My stomach was very full of liquid, and that didn't feel so good. I started to skip aid stations. When i did get a drink, i would take only a sip or two.

Again, i had to pee. I stopped at the next aid station, but both port-a-potties were full, so i went on the side of the road (didnt really care - wasn't going to sit around and waist time).

I got to the third loop and saw Jenna again. Thats when she told me they didn't find my belt. Oh well, one last lap without nutrition. Lets get it done. I was very tired by then, my legs sore, my shoes completely wet, blisters forming, etc… but still smiling. Within about 6 miles to go, i realized i had pretty much exhausted everything in my tank. I was not only hurting and tired, but I also started to not feel very good. For a little, i felt kinda dizzy, and as if i wanted to puke. Thank God those feelings went away quickly. For a while already, i was running then walking, then running, then walking. Each time, running slower and shorter distances. by 6 miles to go, i realized it was really going to be tough getting the 12 hrs i was hoping for.

As i turned around for my last 4.35 miles, i was beyond done. i could easily have crawled in a corner right there and passed out. As i checked my watch, there was no way i would be able to get to the 12 hrs., as for that, i would have had to run under 12:00 min/Mi for the whole thing. When i was running, i was barely running at 12-13 min/Mi. And there was no way to go 4 plus miles non-stop. So at that point, i gave up.

Funny thing… a couple seconds later, i was running again. something inside me wanted to fight and keep trying. if i wasn't going to make the 12 hrs, i would get there as close as possible. So i kept trying. I ran some, walked some, then ran again. Each min it got tougher. When i reached mile 24, i once again checked my watch. At that point i realized there was actually still a possibility to reach that 12 hrs. So i kept going. Little at a time, I ran and walked and so on. Then there was a mile left. It was going to be extremely close. I was totally exhausted. I had nothing left. I truly could not muster any more consistent effort. The runs were getting extremely slow and short. Nothing i could do. But I kept trying. With less than 0.5 mile to go, i still couldn't run it all. My legs weren't there anymore. My tank was completely drained. I walked for a little bit a couple times before reaching the finish line. It was so close, but i didn't think i would make it. As i got into the shoot, the adrenaline took over. Once i made the run, and saw the clock, it had just turned to 12:00. So i didn't get there before 12, but i would be damned if i let the clock change to 12:01. I finally crossed, and the time was still 12:00. I was completely surprised and excited that i was able to battle and still get in at the 12 hrs.

As i crossed the line, i realized i could not take another step. I immediately had to sit down. I could not drink, eat. They wouldn't take me into the medical tent again. I asked for an IV and they said no. I asked for chicken broth and they said they didn't have it. After a few minutes, they asked me to move down to the finisher tent. I told them i needed to lay down. As i stood up, i got dizzy. I couldn't walk on my own. A nice girl from Brazil, who caught me, walked me to the other tent, and laid me down. I laid there for 30 min. Still no food or drink. As i tried to walk again, again i got dizzy. I called a medic again, and they finally offered me chicken soup - so no broth, but they had soup !!! I guess they didn't know what broth was (note for the future). I drank the broth, and in a few minutes, i felt fine again. I got up and walked out.

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