Ironman Cozumel race morning started like any other race morning. I woke up early, around 4:30am. I had pre-mixed oatmeal at home (oats, hemp, raisins, walnuts, chia) and made it into overnight oats in our fridge. I added in my Sidder’s Syrup, I always bring maple syrup with me from home, its my “secret weapon”.
The lobby had a nice little buffet going for the athletes, I grabbed coffee and made myself a PB & J sandwich to munch on later.
After I was dressed, had all my bottles mixed, that took some planning as I couldn’t just use tap water (luckily the hotel staff had hooked us up with a dozen or so bottles of water) I got ready to catch the shuttle.
After some pre race selfies with the cousins I was about to head out when I realized I had forgotten my Special Needs Bags!! That would have been a disaster as they held my extra fuel. I quickly ran to my room, luckily it was really close to the lobby not at the other end of the resort.
After grabbing ALL my bags I jumped on the bus and made my way to T1. There I pumped up my tires and filled my bottles. I said see ya later to Stella and caught the next bus to the Swim start. I sat next to a young pro. I have to say thats one of the coolest parts of Ironman, we are all in the same boat. We all race the same course, ride the same busses, go through the same morning routines.
At the swim start I sat on the grass ate my peanut butter and jelly drank some water popped some Aleve (I always take a anti – inflammatories race day it just allows me to stay a tiny bit more comfortable). I listened to my music, looked around and marvelled at where I was and what I was about to undertake.
Around 7 am I stripped off my warm clothing and put on my swim skin, grabbed my swim cap and goggles, packed up my clothing and dropped my morning bag.
The swim start in Cozumel is much like a road run race. You just step into the corral with your predicted swim fishing time. I chose the 1:20-1:30 corral. I really had no idea how long it would take me to get through the swim, anything could happen, it was the ocean and a huge unknown for me.
The Guns went off the pro men started, then the pro women. Before I knew it we were moving forward. I chatted it up with a bunch of the guys around me. One guy was making fun of the music choices – “Highway to Hell” and “Another One Bites the Dust”, not his first choices. At least they didn’t play the theme song to “Jaws!!!”
The swim start is off a long dock, you simply walk out, I gave a volunteer a high five shouted – Holy Shit I am going an IRONMAN today pumped my fists into the air. Then I sat on the dock and made my way into the water. I had read that the coral below could cut your feet and I didnt want to take any chances.
As I put my head in the water I could hear Tim talking to me. I had my first open water dive in Cozumel in 2010 – I was afraid and he said “Jenn look down” I could see endless blue and coral alive with fish. I was instantly at ease, both back in 2010 and on race morning. I put my head down and head out towards the first buoy.
The race directors had said that the buoys would be 100m apart. all year I had trained counting down those buoys all 38 of them, But race day I was a little distressed when it taking so long to get through the buoys. It felt like I had been swimming forever, I was punched in the face, kicked in the stomach and was getting no where. I tried not to look at my watch I didn’t want to see my brutal pace. I just kept swimming – Thanks Dory I found her BTW 😉
The bottom of the ocean was teeming with sea life, I just tried to keep focused on the positive. At what I thought was about 400m I finally looked at my watch – I had swam over 1000m, the buoys weren’t 100m apart!!! I was over joyed by my progress and pushed a little harder.
I tried to find a clear path so as to not be continually hit by other swimmers. I was rocked around a bit by wave action, but overall it was a very easy swim.
Before I knew it I was at the Chankanab Water park and almost done.
I climbed out of the water at 1:04! I was shocked!!! I was so freaking happy I was smiling and jumping up and down on the dock waving to my cousins. I had bought myself 25 mins!!
Swim – 1:04:16
I jogged my way to T1 had a quick shower, grabbed my bag and went into the change tent.
I tried to change as quickly as possible, but rubbing sunscreen onto a wet body doesn’t go well. The volunteers were very helpful although the language barrier was rather tricky.
I always change in Ironman comfort on a 13 hour day is more important than saving 5 mins.
T1 – 12:30