Swim 11th 27:29
Bike 1st 2:20:27
Run 2nd 1:27:57
Cozumel is a beautiful little Island off mainland Mexico. Definitely a race to do and place to go. The swim is in the crystal clear ocean. 100% visibility - that's clearer than most swimming pools. The local Mexicans are all friendly and excited about all the commotion. The event itself is not quite the well-oiled, smooth-running Ironman production that rolls in and out of each host city in America, but what the Mexicans lack in polish, they make up for ten-fold with flair, excitement and genuine good intentions. The weather was warm but not crazy hot and there was some humidity in the air. Perfect for racing!
As the athletes line-up around the starting pier on race morning, the locals wake up the dolphins for a quick dolphin show to get the festivities started. What a way to get things started before the race hey! 15minutes before the scheduled pro start the organizers send off 1 lone competitor, he's got the tough task of completing the days 70.3 with his disabled daughter in tow. For swim leg, he's dragging a large green raft with his daughter in it. As we see him start out we get a little concerned that he's going to get trampled by the 2000 competitors starting soon behind...or that he'll maybe end up being a large road-block in the middle of the swim course.
I position myself on the start line sandwiched between the two fastest swimmers in the field, actually two of the fastest swimmers on the circuit. Maybe I can hold on for a few minutes... Ok, a few seconds! As we take off, almost immediately I lose sight of Liz and Jodie. But I find myself swimming in the pack. The water is amazing. We reach the first turn bouy at the far end and head for the second. As we approach I see the bright yellow turn bouy to the left and the big green raft of the man with his disabled daughter to the right. Ok, I think to myself, he's waiting for us to pass...safe...sensible. The pack, including myself head straight for the yellow buoy trying to find the shortest route. A few get through but then the gap begins to close. The green raft is getting closer to the yellow buoy and the opening is disappearing. By the time I get to it I see a rope linking the raft to the buoy. The man is pulling himself into the bouy. The girls ahead are madly rushing to climb over and under the rope before it completely closes. Most got through... I did not! I'm bashing at the raft but it wouldn't budge. I had no choice but to head far right and swim around the raft. I've completely lost contact with the pack. I put on a massive surge and luckily get back on. From there on I just sit and follow them back to the exit.
The four of us dismount together. We all throw our bikes towards the bike catchers and start yelling our race number. For those who don't know, when there are bike catchers 'usually' after you hand over your bike another volunteer will hand you your T2 bag (with your running shoes in it) then you will run to the change tent (separate male and female tents) before up ending it. Only when you are in the change tent can you begin to get changed. Several volunteers are standing there, some point straight ahead so Liz and I, first to dismount run straight ahead frantically looking for our bag. Meanwhile another volunteer points to his right so Emma-Kate and Jodie begin running to their right also frantically yelling out their race number. After what seems like minutes (probably only a few seconds) the four of us are doing a dance on the spot not sure where to go or what they want us to do! We didn't speak spanish and they didn't speak english. It would've made for some amusing footage if anyone got it. We all laughed about it after the race. After this little episode was all sorted I had to get a volunteer to help untangle my necklace from my helmet strap (probably due to the constant bouncing). Finally...I was all set for the run.
It's been a tough year with a lingering injury and although it healed midway through the US season it was difficult to build enough mileage in the short period leading into key races while still tapering where needed. I managed a second place in Cozumel and although I really wanted the win I need to keep reminding myself that I was lucky to even make it to so many start lines this year.