Race Week in Cozumel
Jeremy and I arrived in Cozumel on Wednesday after a very long, tiresome trip. I was a bit nervous when the ferry dropped us off on the island because it was reallllly windy. So windy that the cab driver made a point of it to tell us how strong the current was going to be, and how much worse the wind was going to be on the backside of the island for our bike ride. When I asked him if it’s always this windy, he said no, it had just started today…but that it should be gone by Sunday. Senor, I hope you’re right!
We ate dinner and called it an early night so we could catch up on sleep.
A Triathlete’s Thanksgiving
Alarm clock goes off. Wakeup. Eat breakfast. Athlete check-in and bike pickup at Ironman expo. Eat lunch. Quick nap. Swim. Bike. Run. Shower. Thanksgiving buffet dinner. Quick nap. Refill water bottles at the bar. Mini Internet session. Bed.
Mexico is probably one of the best locations for an Ironman. The locals are friendly and everything about Cozumel Island just says “relax.” I don’t mind if I do! I feel a lot less stressed out here pre-race than I did pre-race in Coeur d’Alene. Jeremy and I get to spend quality time together in Mexico at an all inclusive resort on the beach. How could this not be relaxing?? Thanksgiving Day was less windy and nearly perfect weather. The temperature was in the high 70s/low 80s with not too much humidity. I loved my first swim in the ocean which Jeremy and I did just outside our hotel. There was 100% visibility, so I swam over corral and little fishies. I even saw a stingray. The water was quite salty, so I didn’t even miss my wetsuit. I noticed the current, but it wasn’t too bad. I didn’t get stung by any jellyfish.
The bike was encouraging too. The roads are in good condition, and on the side of the island that I practiced on, the wind wasn’t much of a factor. There’s actually a path around some parts of the island just next to the main road that is only for motorbikes and bicycles, so I didn’t have to worry about cars! Why can’t San Diego have something like that? Jeremy and I agreed that we’d ride much more in San Diego if we had a dedicated bike path. I spent a very short time at the expo as it was all business for me. I didn’t even look at the merchandise for sale.
I got one good piece of advice from someone who did Cozumel last year. She told me to eat as much as possible before the backside of the island because the cross winds can be very strong, and I might not feel comfortable taking my hands off the bike to eat. Good call!
Swim Course Practice
Friday morning there was an official swim practice at the Ironman swim start in Chankanaab National Park. Normally this area is not open to the public, so triathletes can only practice the swim Friday and Saturday morning from 7-9am. There were already buoys out on the short side of the course, so I practiced my sighting. I wore an extra pair of tri shorts and sports bra I brought with me to mimic my race day outfit and immediately noticed major drag in the water. So that’s why people buy those expensive speed suits! Tomorrow I think I’ll practice in my actual race day gear because if I feel the same drag, I might have to change up my plan and wear a one piece swimsuit instead.
Once I jumped in, I was happy to be in the warm 84 degree water with the pretty blue fish. Such a contrast from a freezing cold lake with no visibility! No matter how deep it got, I could always see the bottom. You start the swim against the current, so I got to experience what swimming in slow motion feels like. (I wasn’t supposed to swim hard today anyway.) I didn’t mind the current too much, and just as I was starting to settle in, I was stung by a jellyfish. It didn’t hurt much and just reminded me of the prick of a needle when you get a shot at the doctor’s office. I kept swimming, not bothered, when I got stung by another jelly fish on the top of my foot. I yelped underwater because this one hurt much worse than the first! The swim went on like this. I would swim for a few minutes, and then yelp because I would get another jellyfish sting. The worst was the one on my cheek. These jellyfish are so tiny that you can’t even see them, much less avoid them, so you have no choice but to just keep swimming. (“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”) About 15 minutes into my practice swim, I cut across the path of the buoys into the deeper water so I could practice my return swim which is with the current. It wasn’t as nice as I expected because there were some pretty big rollers coming in towards shore. The current and the rollers push you partly the way you want to go, partly the way you don’t want to go – into the shore. Hopefully it’s not that bad on race day. Someone told me that the lifeguard said those were from the cruise ships and they won’t be there Sunday. Jeremy said he noticed the conditions change when the clouds came overhead. Regardless, I just hope the conditions are a bit calmer on race day! If they’re not, I’ll still get through it, jellyfish stings and all.
In a few minutes I’m off to the mandatory pre-race meeting, followed by the welcome pasta dinner. Tomorrow is the bike and gear check, and my parents arrive! Sunday is race day!!!!!!!!! Ahhh!!! I better go finish packing my transition bags now.
Nos vemos! (See you later!)
P.S. As I expected, the food here isn’t vegan friendly, so I’ve been eating vegetarian on this trip. So far, so good. (Meaning, no stomach issues). 🙂