I love Mexico! I Love chips and salsa.  I Love Corona.  I Love the Mexican Culture.  I Love All-Inclusive Resorts.  I Love basking in the sun.  And I Love baking in the heat.  Notice I DID NOT say, “I LOVE racing in the heat.”  I have never raced well in the heat.

HOT!

HOT!

2014 Ironman Los Cabos was going to be my warmest Ironman to date(85-95 Degrees) which would be an experiment in the creation of 2014’s new and improved LUBE 2.0.  As I have stated in my last two race recaps I am really focusing on periodizing my season correctly and patiently by building myself through knowledge and strength.  As in the Surf City Marathon(2nd Overall) and the Desert Triathlon(2nd Overall), I was going to go into Ironman Los Cabos with a few specific goals to focus on.  I wanted to focus on these goals in order to learn about my body, my mind, and my racing.  I realize it is only March and the season is VERY young.  I did not want to peak for this race.  I wanted to go into it with a strong foundation of base/strength and see how my body would respond.

My goals for Ironman Los Cabos were:

#1.  Keep focused on the swim.  I tend to let my mind wander while swimming.  Every time my mind wanted to wander I would refocus on a different aspect of my swim stroke to help reengage my mindset on the task at hand.

#2.  With the heat, undulating terrain, and wind the bike was going to be very challenging.  I knew I could fight through the bike but at what cost?  I told myself that I had to really reign it in and save a ton for the HOT marathon that would finish the day.  I was still going off of my Lactate Threshold being 310 watts, so I would be shooting for 250 watt average or 80% of my LT.

#3.  Ironman nutrition has been on and off for me but what I have realized through experimentation is that, I LOVE TO EAT!(As Megan will attest to, I don’t think I have stopped eating since I have met her).  Why would I change this on race day?  My body burns a lot of calories especially when racing.  I wanted to take in PowerGels, bars, bananas, water, etc. all day long with no restrictor.   I believe a constant flow of calories is necessary in order to perform my best and I wanted to test this by experimenting at the IM distance.

#4.  RUN!  I wanted to keep my pace around 6-6:30/mile for the first 13 miles and finish the last 13 with everything I had left, similar to the way I approached the Surf City Marathon.

So here’s how it all panned out.

The swim was wetsuit legal in salt water so we were buoyant.  I hung with a few guys at the start but it spread out pretty quick and I was alone.  I have been swimming 4-6K workouts 5 days a week with Gerry at Tower 26 so I was extremely fit but there’s definitely something different about swimming 4K straight in a race environment.  I was able to keep pushing the whole way through and my effort felt controlled.  I did start to wander off occasionally but I got right back “on it” by focusing on keeping my legs clamped together to help reduce drag.  I exited the water in 58 minutes feeling pretty good.

 

I stripped off my wetsuit revealing my new Champion System Elite Tri Suit,  jumped on my “hog” which had just been tuned up by the BEST mechanics in the biz over at Cynergy Cycles, and I took off onto the challenge that is the Ironman Los Cabos Bike Course.  Knowing it would be windy and hilly I chose to go with the Profile Design 78/TwentyFour Series wheels.  They were perfect for this course.  This first loop of the course was an eye-opener.  I did not realize exactly how hilly it was.  Non-stop hills for the entire course of the 37 mile loop.  Up/down/up/down.  It was more of a roller coaster than a bike course.  I quickly realized watts was going to be a tough gauge of my effort.  I was going to have to go off of perceived effort.  This course was going to crush a lot of people.  I did not want to be one of them.  I pulled back my effort and rode my race.  I was a little worried during the first loop.  I could not hold anything down.  I was puking it right back up.  This went on for the first 30 miles.  I figured it was the salt water I may have swallowed during the swim, but for those of you who have never puked while riding, you should practice it.  You never know when you’ll need it during a race.  Finally I came across an aid station in which a volunteer had a banana I could grab.  I quickly swallowed it and this quelled my stomach.

I kept a consistent effort the whole way through the bike.  I used my power meter to keep me from spiking too much on the climbs but other than that I did not pay attention to it.

Regarding  nutrition on the bike, I constantly kept it coming in.  Even when puking it out, I was trying to force it down.  If it came out, it came out.  This was the first race I had used the Profile Design Aero HC System which mounts on the aerobars.  It was so easy to drink from and refill.  For all of you Ironman racers out there, this product is a MUST HAVE.  It made it so easy to constantly consume my beverage.  To keep cool I was dumping water/gatorade all over my body at every aid station.  My bike looked more like a lollipop after the race because of all of the sugar I had doused myself in durning the bike.

I rolled into T2 in 5:12.  Quite a bit slower than a good majority of the professional field, but I was sticking to my plan and hoping my patience would pay off.

I trotted out of T2 feeling GREAT!  This is where I had to tell myself, “Stay calm and stick to your plan.”  I could have rattled off a few 5:30/miles but how long would that have lasted?  I kept it around 6-6:30/mile pace just as planned.  I was wearing my Skechers GoRun 3’s which felt super light yet with enough cushion that my body wasn’t getting wrecked from all of the impact.  Every aid station I would take water/Gatorade and every 2 miles I was consistent in taking a PowerGel.  It was now even HOTTER than on the bike and athletes were wilting all over.  I felt GREAT and my pace was consistent.  Through some heat training at TriFit in their sauna I had prepped a bit for the hot environment.  I hit mile 13 and I took the reigns off.  Even if my mile splits weren’t getting faster, I let my mind go.  I was giving it my all.

My bike pacing had paid off.  I was passing other pros who were suffering in the heat of the day.  Around mile 16 I started to slow.  DRASTICALLY!  I got worried.  I was pushing but my body wasn’t responding.  I was running through an aid station at mile 18 and my stomach dropped.  “Oh boy” I thought.  “Should I go to that out house right there(there was one directly next to me), or should I gamble and risk a messy situation?”  I gambled, and WON!  I made a few of the Mexican Teenage Boy Volunteers die with laughter because of the noise that came out of my body but this allowed me to get right back on my effort and resume my pace that had been lagging due to intestinal pressure build up(Polite way of saying it, right?).

I crossed the finish line in 11th place Overall.  My total time was 9:08 with a 2:54 marathon which would be the fastest by any athlete at Ironman Los Cabos for the day.  My “Novia Bonita” Megan was right there to greet me and make sure I had survived 9 hours in Mexico without a burrito.

After my usual 30 minute calming period I felt great.  And for any of you thinking about going to race IM Los Cabos next year, I will give you the very BEST reason to do it…..The Post Race Massage.  They took me in a tent and 4 sets of hands rubbed me down for 30 minutes.  Absolutely AMAZING!

So I am not happy with my day.  If I were happy I’d stop working towards being the best.  I am content that I executed my plan and that I took a step in the right direction.  I have a better grasp of the obstacles that are preventing me from being on the podium and now I can address those obstacles and keep building Lube 2.0 to the best version possible.  See you in New Orleans in 2 weeks!  RACE HARD!

1 comment

Comments:

  1. Great work!! When all the pieces come together it’s going to be pretty exciting!

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