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  • Writer's picturericdamico1

Ironman Cozumel

Cozumel, Mexico - November 27, 2011

1:12:47 Swim (1:53 / 100 M)

3:50 T1

5:49:40 (19.19 MPH)

2:44 T2

6:13:52 (14:11 min/Mi)

Total 13:22:53

178th in AG

1078th overall

My second Ironman !!!

What a beautiful place for a race. People were so nice, and came out in droves to support the athletes.

The swim was in 100% visibility. The ocean water was over 84 degrees, so no wetsuits were allowed. Beautiful setting for a swim. Dolphins, manatees and stingrays swam at the pier. Almost 2500 people started the race. People said that this was a fast swim, that we would have a favorable current during the long stretch, which would make it for fast times. I was excited and was hoping for a nice swim.

Once the gun went off, a frenzy began for positioning, and space. No more than a couple minutes after the start, I felt something hit my left arm. I looked at my wrist, and to my dismay, my Garmin was no longer there! I stopped and looked around, getting pummeled by several swimmers. Luckily, I saw it, slowly drifting down to the sea floor. We were in about 25 to 30 feet of water at that time. But without a thought, I took a deep breath, and dove after it. I got all the way to the bottom, grabbed it, and rushed back to the surface. Again, I got pummeled by several other people. I then tried to attached it back in my wrist, but realized that it had been broken off. Could not get it back on my wrist. I was really mad. But there was nothing I could do, so I tried to calm down, put the Garmin in my back pocket, and began swimming. After all, this was a race, and I had already lost at least 5-7 minutes.

It took me a while to get back into a good rhythm, but I finally did, and went on. The waves and current were definitely not easy to get used to, and I swallowed a lot of salt water. I was able to get into a groove and found some space, and so I went. Things bunched up at all turns, but otherwise, I was able to find some open space to swim.

In between the last two turns, they had a submarine. That was pretty neat. It was at one of these turns, where I felt a hard quick right in the middle of my right quad. It hurt a ton. And I knew that was going to come back to hurt me later on. But, I just shook it off and kept going. I got to the ladder, and out of the water, feeling good. I ran to T1, passing a few other people. Got my bag and went into the tent. I quickly got my helmet and glasses and went to get my bike. The bike area was huge and very confusing, like a maze. But I was able to quickly maneuver through, found my bike and went. I mounted the bike and went on. I got my shoes on after gaining some momentum, and began accelerating.

Thats when I noticed something wasnt right. As it turned out, my gears were off, and I was not able to engage the last 3 or 4 easier gears. I was shocked, as I rode my bike just before leaving it in transition, and there was nothing wrong with it. So, there I went on to my 112 mile bike ride, “blind” (with no Garmin), and with gear problems. I had absolutely no idea how fast or slow I was going. I could see the clock at T2 on each lap and that kind of gave me a rough idea of things, but it was awful. Note to self: make sure to have a secondary, safety bike computer in the future. The first lap went well, I felt good. The second lap also went well. I got some rain in that second lap, but it did not affect the ride. On the third lap however, the wind really picked up. Not only the cross winds on the east side of the island, but the head wind when heading east. It was awful. And, of course, it slowed me down. And since I didnt have a computer, I had no idea how much slower I was going, and if I should push it or ease up. So I took it easy, just in case.

My goal coming into this race was to try be under or around 12 hours. And to do so, I knew i had to get to T2 right around 2:00 pm (7:00 hrs of racing). That way, with a 5:00 hour marathon, I would attain the 12 hour goal.

As it turned out, I got to T2 at 7:06 hours, which made me very happy. At that moment I figured if I had a great run, a 4:50 marathon would still get me under 12 hours. So, even after all this adversity, I still had a shot at my goal. I was pleased. Would not be easy, without my Garmin, but I was excited to try. I got into T2, put my running shoes on, and rushed out. The run course was a 3 lap out and back loop. The first 4.35 miles went well, and things were as planned. As I made my turn to go back and finish the first lap, the skies opened up. It poured. It rained so much and for so long, that it completely flooded the island. The streets had puddles everywhere. One intersection was shin deep. The sewer got backed up, and a couple areas of town really smelled bad. You could see the dirty sewer water as you ran over it. My shoes stunk so bad afterwords...

With that rain, around mile 7 or 8, my feet started hurting, especially the left one. I kept running for another couple miles, as the pain got worse, and found the medical tent. I stopped at the tent, took my shoes off, and asked for help. My feet looked so weird... it was a severe case of “pruning”. My feet looked like a “coral reef”, or a “brain”. And it hurt so bad !!! The medic said that there was nothing much that they could do, that they could put some vaseline, and wrap it up. But it wouldnt stop hurting. The only thing I could do at that time was to stop running and let it rest and heal.

Since that was out of the question, I agreed to the vaseline and having it wrapped up. I then put my shoes back on and continued on my way. From that point on, the pain kept getting worse. The rain finally subsided, but we still had to deal with puddles and that intersection. So, again and again, my feet got soaked. As the miles kept slowly going by, the pain continued to grow. I can honestly say that I never felt so much pain as I did in this race. I would run a bit, until the pain would get to be unbearable, then I would stop, regroup, walk a bit, and try again. As it turned out, my running kept getting slower, and slower, then went onto a fast walk (which wasnt fast). The last lap was unbearable, specially the last 4.35 miles.

Finally, the mile 24 flag came and went, then the mile 25. At that moment, the emotions and adrenaline took over, and I ran till the finish line. Coincidentally, I crossed the line at just about the exact same time as IMTX. I beat IMTX time by just 37 seconds :)

I was disappointed that I wasnt able to give a real try at the 12 hours, but with all the adversity I had to deal with during this race, I was pleased with my effort, and glad that I did not give up, and fought through the pain till the end.

Cozumel was amazing. We ended up having quite a lot of people from Houston there, which made it a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the race and the island. I do plan to go back next year to try again for that elusive sub-12 hour Ironman !!!

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