Friday, April 4, 2014

Ironman Cabo - Lucky Number 7

Despite all that was going on in my little world (as described in the back story), I woke up on race morning really excited (and nervous!) to race.  And to race an IRONMAN of all things!  I have never raced an IM so early.  Not even close!  The year I did IMCdA, I thought that was VERY early and that is 2.5+ months later than Cabo.  Other than CdA, I've started the IM season in September or October.  HA!  It is definitely a different ballgame in March.  But regardless, I was super happy to be starting the season off with a bang.  If there is one thing I can count on, it's my true and very deep love of racing.  It really is my passion.

And before I knew it, we really were off with a bang (actually a siren of sorts) for the swim!  Cabo is a beach start but the water gets deep relatively quickly so there wasn't a lot of dolphin diving.  There WAS a lot of swimming really, really hard at the start though, so that I could get on some feet and not have to sight straight into the sun!  When the dust settled, I landed on Saleta Castro's feet and there I would stay for the next 2.4 miles.  It was pretty awesome.  I did very little sighting.  I tried desperately not to hit her feet with every stroke.  And I sang this song over and over again in my head (pretty fitting since I really was swimming in an ocean, trying to keep my eyes above the waves).

When we exited the water and I saw the time on the clock, I chuckled a little.  My official time was 55:53.  HA!  I have never swam under 1:01 so I instantly assumed that the swim was short because who swims a 5+ minute PR?  Regardless of the legit-ness (see that, I just made up a word!) of the course, I do feel that I swam better than usual because at Wisconsin, Saleta out swam me by several minutes and this time I was on her feet.  ALSO, super swimmers Haley and Katy did NOT out swim me by 10+ minutes which is usually the case.  This time I kept the gap to a (still sizeable but a bit less) 8 minutes.  Progress, people.  I'll take it!  (and little did I know how important that extra 2 minutes would be at the end of the race)

Race morning with my teammates and roomies Matt and Doug.  NOTICE how I'm lubing up with Body Glide!  Yet...
...this still happens to my neck!  ARGH!  My wetsuit hates me!

Onward to the bike!

This was a challenging course.  Hilly in that it was constantly rolling but never any super hard-wow-this-hurts-so-bad type of climbs.  And it was hot.  I might mention that a few more times in this race report because darn it folks, Mexico is hot!  I felt good on the bike.  Watts were good.  HR was good.  I drank more Gatorade than you could ever imagine.  I peed 4 times.  I passed four girls but got passed by another (Lisa Ribes, who I came into transition with).  It was a good time.

Patiently awaiting my arrival from the swim (actually, this is the day before the race).

Bright, sunny sky and big smiles on the bike!
 And then there was just one sport left to do.  The marathon!  I came out of transition with Lisa and Katy.  For one hot second I thought I was going to run with Lisa.  Then I wised up.  She was running way faster than I was supposed to be running those early miles and indeed, she would go onto run the fastest pro women's marathon by 10+ minutes.  So instead, I settled into my own pace.  And this felt good, for about 5 miles.  Then it didn't feel good.  In fact it felt, real, real bad.  Uh-oh!

Must have been early on because I'm still smiling!  Or actually laughing at the guy who took the picture - Mike - race support extraordinaire!
Now I'm certainly used to the last 10 miles of an IM marathon feeling like death.  But the last 21 miles?  I panicked for a bit wondering if I had done something really, really bad.  But then I remembered Kim telling me about her IM Texas race last year (in similar 90++ degree heat) and how she felt bad very early on in the marathon too.  But she just kept ticking away the miles, knowing that everyone else was also suffering in the heat.  Don't look at the splits.  Don't worry about pace.  Just keep moving forward.

I passed Haley around mile 10 to move into 4th.  From there it was looking a little bleak because the other 3 girls were pretty far up the road.  I kept telling myself that anything could happen.  People blow up in the heat!  But mostly I just focused inward.  I poured GALLONS of cold water over my head.  I picked out AGer after AGer to try and catch in front of me.  And I kept putting one foot in front of the other.

In the middle miles, I had put a bit of time into Haley but with about 3 or 4 miles to go I saw her charging hard behind me on one of the out and backs.  @#$F$#$R!!!  I DID NOT want this to come down to some kind of sprint finish so I told myself to get my act together and GET IT GOING!  Haley is super tough and she had me running scared.  Those were the longest miles I think I've ever ran!  I gritted my teeth and dug very, very deep into the well.  And luckily, it was just enough.  I crossed the line in 4th in 9:32 and fell into a big heap on the ground.  It was a long, tough day and I was really thankful to have gotten through it.  After doing two cool/moderate temperature IMs last year, I think I had forgotten the challenge of doing a really hot one (in March, no less!)!  Yowzas!!

This picture and the one above are both from and neither (obviously) are me.  HOWEVER, it should be noted that upon crossing the finish line, I was in a very similar position.  It felt very good to lay down.
And with that, Ironman #7 of my career was complete!

I got into the cold ice bath/pool, took a tour of the post race food tent, got the best post race massage ever (!) and then got carted off to drug testing where I proceeded to throw up all that post race food I attempted to eat.  Oops!  I felt really bad for the drug testers who had to watch me do this (you can't be out of their sight) but they were very kind and understanding.  Not sure why you would want that job - ha!

So how did I feel about the outcome?  I won't lie, initially I was a bit disappointed with the race.  Why, I'm not sure.  But after quite a bit of thought, I really feel like I gave it the best I had on that day and in the end, that's all we can ask of ourselves.  And I'm so, so thankful to have gotten the opportunity to race again such amazing women.  They really pull out the best in me and that's the very best part of racing!  I certainly didn't like her at the time, but I appreciate the fact that Haley made me run faster than I thought possible in those closing miles!  :)  I'm walking away with a ton of new knowledge (most especially about racing in the heat) and for that I'm also very thankful. next two races will also likely be sweltering - St. Croix 70.3 followed up with IM Texas!  Woohoo!  I've already started a countdown!!

A big thank you for all the cheers and encouragement, texts, calls and messages.  Every one of them means so, so much to me.  Triathlon is a truly wonderful community of people!  And with that, I leave you some more pictures!

My mom and I and yes, we most definitely have matching shirts!  Couldn't do this without her!

Some fellow QTers in San Lucas the day after the race...

Doug and I doing a little pre-race swim.  As we were pulling those wetsuits on, some guy walks up to us and asks us if we know how warm the water is.  Yep, we know!

And finally, Matt in all his sombrero glory!!


  1. your neck! OMG!!!! great race!!!

  2. Always a pleasure racing with you Beth!! Thanks for being my rabbit those last couple miles and congrats on a great swim! (and bike, and run, and finish!!)

  3. AWESOME race, again, Beth! Love it.
    But, you need a new wetsuit - that is overly aggressive.

  4. D*m girl! Every time I see a new blog post you look more fit, as in seriously bad ass. I am SO happy for you and all you have accomplished thus far, as predicted by me you DID run a lot of people down. :-) Get used to it - it's yours for the taking! Can't wait to see what happens next in IM TX!!!