wednesday november 25
J and I woke up early to pack the car and get to BWI. dark, rainy, and cold in Bawlmor, hon.
We had the bike case, my giant red suitcase [weighed in at 67 lbs] and J's tiny suitcase. We were wheels up at 4:40. Got to the airport without a problem, parked in the long term lot, and headed to the terminal. $100 to check my bike? $50 more for an overweight bag? Last time I fly U.S. Airways. Yikes. We got to Charlotte without a problem and then boarded for our flight to Cancun.Landed in Cancun [to rain - boo!] and took a 35 minute drive to Playa del Carmen to catch the ferry. Then: a 30 minute ferry ride and we're finally in Cozumel.
next time? we fly directly to Cozumel.
a short taxi ride later and we're at our beautiful hotel. here is the view from our swim up pool to our patio/ room: [this is living!]
thursday november 26
The following morning J and I met Saltz for breakfast. Mmmmm... breakfast. I had french toast, yogurt with coconut shreds, pancakes, bacon. And then more. Hey, a girls gotta get her fuel to race, right? After that feast, Saltz and I headed over for the pre-race swim at chankanaab park.
The current was crazy ! I couldn't even make it to the first buoy for the turn around. Yikes. I turned to head back to the pier, and could not believe that it took me 30 minutes to get out ... and 5 minutes to get back. Should be interesting on race day, I thought.
next stop: packet pickup / expo. it was held at the convention center and to my dissapointment it was not the thrill of an IM expo I had heard of.... hell, it wasn't anything close to the expo at Providence 70.3. There wasn't a lot of IMCOZ merchandise, and almost none plain IM merchandise. Oh well. Here I am getting my race stuff. Oh, except "we don't have the gear bags, you have to come back tomorrow at 4:00 for them." ugh, pita.
later on Cathy and Debbie got into town and I saw them at the hotel. well, I saw Debbie's race shirt from Diamondman and thought, hey, I've done that race! and then noticed it was Debbie. yeah.
My parents and sister + BIL got in that day, so James and I met them at dinner. They surprised me with GO TRICIA! tshirts.so awesome ! everyone had one, except for my dad, who doesn't do tshirts, so his was a polo with my race number in the upper left hand corner and the graphic on the back.
look, a good luck ladybug on my arm !
friday november 27
woke up early to go to the second pre race swim, only to be told on the way down to the lobby that it was cancelled due to high winds and big waves. I started to panic - what if they cancelled the swim?? I didn't want to do the bike and the run and not be called an Ironman.
I paid a bike mechanic at the hotel to put Bella back together and me, Saltz, and Debbie rode to the park [3 mi from the hotel]. Headwinds were crazy and we were avg 12 mi/hr ! yikes ! still, the strong headwind meant a strong tailwind, and we easily hit low 20s on the way back.
after the ride debbie and saltz went for a swim in the ocean, and I took a nap. I couldn't get in enough naps ! later on we met to go to the expo for the bus tour of the bike course, the rest of packet pick up, and the athlete meeting. after waiting around the front of the convention center for a while, I asked someone about the bus course. "Oh, it was cancelled." Gee, thanks for letting us know. I really hope the logistical/ communication issues stem from this being an innaugural race. Ironman is a big brand and they should know how to put on a flawless race. Then we had about an hour to kill, so we wandered around town and got some food.
Had dinner with my family and fell asleep pretty early. Oh, I should mention that my parents, sister, brother in law, and husband were very much enjoying the booze part of the all inclusive part of the resort. Drink orders for dinner: wine ! mojito ! cervasa ! dirty martini ! dos cervasas ! ... water.
saturday, november 28
to quote saltz: "we need to find something that eats up a lot of time but doesn't use any energy." I honestly don't remember what I did on Saturday, except for back my gear bags:
you need a lot of STUFF for an IM... especially if you did full changes, like I did:
oh, and then we had to drop off our bikes, bike gear, and run gear bags at the park. [location of the swim and T1]. fitting the bikes on shuttles was kind of hilarious. it made me kind of [okay very] nervous that we wouldn't have access to our gear bags on race morning. I was terrified I'd forgotten something major, like running shoes or my bike jersey.
the park was abuzz with activity. we first had to get checked in. then they took our photos [to ID the body later?] then it was to transition to rack our bikes. saltz and I had amazing spots! they were right outside of the change tents ! I kissed Bella and told her to get ready for the 112 miles tomorrow. then I got body marked by people with possibly the Best Handwriting Ever. I mean, it was calligraphy with a permanant marker on my legs and shoulder.We dropped off our run gear bags [to be transported downtown, where we would finish our bike] and hung our bike gear bags on racks:
cool sign at the park:
we headed back to the hotel and I got my Infinit ready... bottled water only !
SUNDAY 29 - RACE DAY !
morning + swim [2.4 miles]
We headed to the hotel lobby and got on the 5 am shuttle to the park. It was totally pitch dark outside... dawn didn't look to be breaking anytime soon. We got to transition at, oh, 5:10, and waited around until 5:30 when transition opened. There was a lot of nervous, excited energy in the air !
Oddly, I wasn't nervous. At all. I was just excited and so ready to start the day.
When transition opened we all swarmed inside. James went to get a good spot at the swim exit, and Saltz and I headed to transition to pump up are tires [and oil our chains.. performance. it's the name of the game].
James and I took our pre-race photo:
me, debbie, and cathy:
Thumbs up and let's go !
it's like a giant school of fish !
I kept glancing at my watch and was shocked to see it say 1:10 ish when I was so close to the exit. I finished strong and ran up the steps to T1. 1:14 and I was out of the water. awesome start !
It took me a minute to find my gear bag [I have no idea why - they were in numerical order!] and stumbled into the women's changing tent. I heard "Trish! Trish" It was Saltzy! She, of the "I will be ecstatic if I get out of the water in 1h 30m" was out in 1:13. My volunteer helped me change into my bike clothes and sprayed me with sunblock. I headed out of the tent and then panicked - where are my sunglasses?! .. and then the volunteer found them under the rest of my stuff. I headed back out, grabbed Bella, heard some cheers of "GO TERPS!", saw my family, and headed out on the bike course for a little 112 mile ride.
as soon as I got on my bike I knew something was off. I felt like my aerobars were too high when the bike mechanic put them back on, so I lowered them. and then apparently thought it was a good idea to not RIDE it with the newly lowered bars. smart. it started bugging me and I thought "if you don't fix this now, it's going to irritate you for the next 7 hours." I hopped off of my bike, got my park tool, and raised the aerobars. it took 6 minutes. whatevs.
the bike course was three loops (well, 2 and 3/4) around the island. I started out pushing a nice comfortable pace of 20 mi/hr. Then we turned... then my speedometer: 18, 16, 15, 13, 12... yikes. Headwinds and crosswinds were really slowing me down, but I was okay with it. My main goal was to enjoy the day. The east side of the island is almost totally undeveloped - it has no electricity. And it was absolutely stunning [photos later in the rr]. Huge waves crashed into sandy beaches for miles and miles. Breathtaking.I finished the first loop and came into town - amidst cheers of Vamanos! Vamanos! and a lot of other things in Spanish. I was having a fantastic time! I was Hola-ing! and Muchas Gracias-ing ! all over the town. People had moraccos and all sorts of noisemakers. The whole city was out .. it was fantastic. I was smiling and cheering.
By this time some of the fasties were finishing their bike, and I was heading out to do my third loop. Boo. By this time I just really, really wanted to be off of my bike. my feet were throbbing. the last stretch along the water felt like forever. I kept thinking I saw the turn off ... and then: more water, and more headwinds.
Finally - finally! - we came in to town. I was so happy to dismount my bike. So happy. I was surprised to see James take my bike, and I think I said "no, no, you can't touch it - that's outside assistance." James laughed and said "I'm volunteering now." He, my mom, and my sister ended up as bike catchers !
distance> 112 mi
pace> 15.28 mph
rank> 1107/ 1928
div.pos> 31/ 55
The runcourse was three out and backs - each lap 8.7 miles, each "out" 4.35ish miles.
I opened one note every so often.. they were silly, touching, heartfelt notes from my parents, my sister, my BIL, and J. Some that stick out: "you'll never meet a judge as hard as this course!" [from dad] ; "don't worry about your hair!" [my mom, reference to me as a little one in an open top jeep, yelling about my hair getting messed up] ; "the longer you're out, the drunker we're getting" [james] ; "do it for the cats" ... they were so, so appreciated.
at the end of the second loop, I yelled to my family "see you at the finish line!!" and headed out for my very last loop. the third loop was definitely the easiest, mentally -- I knew that there would be no turn around .. just the glorious finish line. At mile 19ish I started chatting with this girl. We were telling stories about our days. I asked her for her name, and she said Janelle.. I said "RUNNERGIRL?!" .. she said "TRISHIE?!" It was my bt.com friend! we had been exchanging inspires and chatting for several months, and to meet her on the run was a gift from the tri gods. we kept each other moving -- mostly running and only walking through the aid stations. When we got into town we started cheering and getting the crowd riled up.
distance> 26.2 mi.
rank> 956/ 1928
the finish - 140.6 miles
then: the finish line. the lights and the music and the screaming and cheering and yelling. I saw my family and James got this shot:
I was soaking it all in, enjoying the craziness and the thrill of the end of a 140.6 mile race.. although, really, it's the end of years of training, the culmination of 6am swims, of 100 mile bike rides on the eastern shore and 18 mile runs in the city, of countless orders of Infinit and packages from trisports.com, of exhuastion and 3 hour trainer rides and a little dream, the whisper that said I can do this.
PATRICIA CECIL ! YOU ! ARE ! AN ! IRONMAN !
RANK 956/ 1928
DIV.POS. 23/ 55
and here is my family - my ironsherpa, ironmom, irondad, ironsister, and ironbrotherinlaw.