IM 70.3 Cozumel: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (Part2)


…So, I woke up at 4 am to fix my own breakfast of oatmeal & raisins – HAD TO HAVE MY COFFEE – I also had a piece of fruit, croissant w/peanut butter and proceed to wait for my morning constitutional.


I am always like clockwork – breakfast, coffee, constitutional.  ALWAYS. And before every single race (run, duathlon, triathlon – EVEN long training sessions) I am regular & right on time. NOT THAT MORNING. NOTHING. NADA.


Time to get on the bus to get to T1. I packed some wipes figuring that I would have to brave the porta potties, grabbed my Silver Post Swim bag (you had to put EVERYTHING in the silver bag after the swim or you would not get your stuff back at end of race…NOTHING was to be left on ground or it was theirs) and headed to the buses with my Spectathlete Support Team (QueenMum & Princess Erin).


We were told that the busses all filled up and there were no more so we had to take a cab to T1. Okay. Found out later that we were scammed…cabbies wanted to make money. Whatever, I wanted to get to the Swim Start, set up my bike nutrition and get in line for the potties.



Here I am about to walk into T1. I’m thinking…OMG…this is it, KEEP SMILING. I get everything all set up and get in the rather short potties line. I stood there until 15 min before I had to get in my corral – NOTHING. I shrugged thinking –well, there is a first time for everything – and left to line up on the dock.


It was SOOOO COOL how they got all the swimmers out to the entrance point. They had a parade of caps and walked us all, lead by someone with a flag the same color as our caps, past all the spectators across the dock and around out to the platform. The cheering and screaming was unbelievable. People were yelling “GO TRIUNIFY” or “VAMANOS VERDE” (Let’s go green), shaking bottles filled with rocks or something. Some people had conch shells that made the loudest horn sound ever. AWESOME!!!



While we waited for our wave to get in the water, we were entertained by the resident dolphins. Much fun. Then it was time to get ‘er done.



The swim was pretty much like the morning before. warm & beautiful with awesome visibility, except there were a gazillion people in the water with you with only 2 min between you and the next wave. As usual, since I am a slow but steady swimmer, I was over taken again, and again, and again. However, this time, I could see you approaching (or your bubbles)  and it was pretty easy to adjust and stay out/get out of the way. I felt pretty damn good right up until we got to the first turn (the course was shaped like a square) and the current was unbelievable. You basically had to swim away (30 degrees left of buoy) and just drift back towards the buoy and next turn. The was also pandemonium at the second turn as the race officials were trying to keep the buoy in place – it was drifting bad and swimmers were literally fighting each other to get around the buoy, hang onto the buoy or the surfboard/kayak. I definitely lost some time navigating that madness but once I made the turn, I was swimming with the current and cruising in. The goal was under 60 min and I got out in 58 min. WOO HOO!

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T1 – 7 min

Longer than I had planned. I tinkled (Oh man, You made me ink – Finding Nemo), rinsed, and stood there for a minute thinking “is this gonna be a 30 min transition?  Do I have to GO or is it something else?’ I just stood there, feeling bloated and uncomfortable and then someone yelled at me to “VAMANOS!” and I figured I’d be okay once I got going.


I look at these pictures now and I can see it on my face. I’m worried that something is wrong but I gotta get moving. Grin & bear it. Suck it up. Execute.


BIKE – 46 of 56 miles

I was doing great for the first 12 miles and then it fell apart. I kept telling myself to smile, you can do it. Breath through the cramping, it will pass. I was avg 15 miles/hour (slower that I wanted but I would finish before the cutoff). Then I had to stop at the aid station and no matter how fast you think you can get off your bike, try and just hurl or poo or just die and ride as a zombie – it takes forever and do that at every aid station and try and make up the time in speed (particularly in the wind tunnel side of the island) and you WILL NOT get ‘er done.


At mile 46 after ignoring the race official motorcycles & medic van – No hablo EspaƱola – a van and two police cycles cut me off and I was gently yet firmly removed from my bike whereby I collapsed into a heaping ball of sobbing snot.


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I can do it! I can finish. You can’t do this to me! You have to let me go! GET OFF ME! LET ME GO!


*iCan’t…my eyes start welling up. I start crying and sobbing all over again writing this*


“Senorita, it is for your safety that we do this. You live to race another day.”



I went through the probably all the steps of grief and disappointment. I sobbed through feelings of humiliation & embarrassment on a apocalyptic level (FUGGGGG – EVERYONE IS GOSH DAMN WATCHING) ---AND not to be outdone – I FAILED! EPICALLY and in front of my friends, family, coach, training buddy. PUBLICALLY & GRANDLY.


As I sobbed, wailed & sent a two line text (Pulled of Course.Humiliated. FML) to my Spectathuletes & the FireMarshall, another competitor was in the van and he just laid his hand on my shoulder and kept saying it’s okay, it’s okay – we will come back. Stuff happens and we just gotta step back up to the line. "*Sniff, Sniff*


Of course, TheFireMarshall rallied the troops from thousands of miles away and organized an attitude adjustment intervention…and via FB and texting – even a phone call from Prince Jordan..I was able to pull my ish together, turn off the fountain head of tears and self-pity, beat that byotch of wrongly imposed humiliation/embarrassment & kick to the curb the notion that I failed. I smiled and started looking for a registration desk to get back on starting line.


I picked myself back up, dusted myself off, squared my shoulders, lifted my head up --



I even made it onto the hotel electronic bulletin board competitor wall of fame.

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We spent the rest of our time in Cozumel chilling in the hot tub and topping it off with a wonderful dinner out with my race buddies. I arrived home to a surprise dinner with cake, balloons and libations.




IM70.3 Cozumel: Pre-Race Report (Part 1)


It was everything I imagined it would be (the best of times) and it was FUBAR – CLUSTER FU*K I hoped it wouldn’t be (the worst of times).


Friday morning, bright and early – cause the FireMarshall was transporting us to the airport and well, ya know traffic/international travel/TSA required we leave at O-Dark-30 – we hauled my gigantic bike box, gear and luggage to the airport for our journey to Cozumel.  I thought it was going to be smooth sailing. BWAAAHAAAHAAAHAA!! We checked the luggage & bike box without so much as one glitch. Boarded the plane, soared to 30,000 ft, got the Wi-Fi going and waited on the beverage cart to slide down the center isle.

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Bloody Mary’s and “ONLY DIET COKE” (yeah, right) for breakfast! Happy Happy Joy Joy. We landed in Cancun, gathered our stuff, chartered our van (we had 6 passengers, 4 bike boxes and luggage) for our journey to Playa del Carmen to catch the ferry over to Cozumel.


And then all those well laid travel plans went to hell in a hand basket. We missed the 3pm ferry (although the damn thing was sitting there till 4pm) by 5 min – per the ticket handler. They would only let us buy tickets for the 5pm ferry. Okay. We did and went to Senor Frogs for food, libations & shenanigans.

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Thirty minutes before the ferry was to depart, we got in the line to board…and watched as the ferry just pull out – WITHOUT ABOUT A GAZILLION PEOPLE – most of us with bike boxes. In other words, they were having a race on an island and you don’t have enough ferries? SA WHAT. Thank GOD we had Francie with us who spoke Spanish and was able to find out that – OH WELL, that was the last ferry (with that particular company for the day) and we would have to trade in our current tickets for tickets on another companies ferry and beat it back in the line to board. 30 min later we had new tickets but those of us with bike boxes had to get out of the line and gather on the dock as they would let us board first. That was only decided AFTER they realized that they were about to have a riot on their hands if all the race participants didn’t get to the island TONIGHT!


When boarding began…CHAOS ensued. They checked our luggage but each of us had to lift our own bike box onto the ferry – up the plank, up the stairs – PURE MADNESS. By time we all got settled on the ship we all looked like we had been traveling for days in a torrential downpour from the sweating, huffing & puffing that was going on. The 6pm ferry didn’t leave until 7ish and didn’t arrive at Cozumel until 8ish. Then we had to wait in line with a gazillion other people for a taxi van to get us to the resort. We arrived at the resort around 9:30pm. A little over 12 hours of traveling.


JESUS be some air conditioning.


We didn’t really get to see it till the next morning, but this was the view from our room. Erin made me put my bike back together so I wouldn’t have to worry about it that night, we ordered some room service drinks, showered and I made plan with my fellow TriDiva’s to get up for the practice swim, mandatory race meeting & packet pickup/expo.


Saturday morning – another O-DARK-30 wake up as we all traipse down to the swim start for a morning frolic in the water. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!


While we were waiting on the dock to jump in and get our swim on, the TriDiva’s were talking and trying to figure out what was going on. All of a sudden this man turns on us and says “OMG! You speak English!”. We met “Philly Joe” who was staying at our resort as well and we were fast friends from that moment on. Joe was always surrounded by his Tri-Harem of women and he was an absolute blast to be around the entire time. FUN-TAY!!! We all decided to swim about 600-700 m of the course. That was the most spectacular open water swim – EVER!! You could actually see all the way to the bottom. Visibility had to be over 100m. I was so busy looking a Dory, Nemo and his turtle buddies that I didn’t realize how far I was swimming. You almost didn’t even have to look up to sigh as you could see the sandbag anchors holding down the buoys. MAGNIFICIENT. Only draw back was the salt water taste in your mouth, made you feel constantly thirsty, but they had these “pouches” of water waiting for you when we got out.

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After the swim and a jaunt back to the hotel to change, we were off to the WASTE MY TIME CAUSE YOU DON’T THINK WE CAN READ MANDATORY ATHLETE MEETING.  All the woman did was read out of the athletes guide, contradicting herself again and again. When we started to ask her questions she kept having  to ask the race director and translate back  & forth. Talk about CONFUSING. Yep, that meeting right there wasted an hour of my life and cleared everything up about as clear as mud. HUMPH.


We walked from the meeting about a half mile to the expo where we picked up our packets, got our number tatoo (next time – just let them do the marker) our goodies and headed back to the hotel…


WHICH TOOK PRACTICALLY ALL DAY! And then we had to rack our bikes…

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Back to the hotel to get our bikes and blue run bag (you had to pack all of your run gear in advance and bring with you to T1 for them to transport to T2) and catch bus (which you brought your bike onto) down to T1.

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It was very intimidating and awesome all at the same time and as I racked my bike and perused all of the bikes around me – I NEED A NEW REAL ROAD BIKE! STAT. My bike, in comparison, looked like I had bought it from toys-r-us (close though), but, hell, I’ve raced with it for 2 years – nothing I can do right this minute so, lets get to racking.


That van made my day. After a long day of pre-race preparation, Erin, the QueenMum, PhillyJoe & his wife went for a little shopping in downtown Cozumel and then headed back to the hotel for dinner in the “fancy” restaurant at the resort. Hind sight being 20 20, I wish I had picked at the buffet instead. My soup tasted off so I only had two spoons and left it. The filet was alive still when they brought it to me and I think they were confused as to what mashed potatoes were so I left that and got some lasagna which tasted like hamburger helper lasagna. Hmmmm… I really wish I had just went to the buffet and watched the chef make me some plain pasta at the pasta bar and been done with it. I felt fine and slept fine but just felt off.


But that’s a tale I’ll have to tell you about in Part2 of IM70.3 Cozumel – Race Report: The Good, The Bad & the UGLY…


Stay tuned.


IM70.3 Cozumel: Bike Packing–RET TA GO!


SOOoooo…The Bike Box exchange was made from another member of MidMaryland Tri and it was time to pack up the bike for Cozumel.


I GOOOO.GLED my box, downloaded the basic instruction and tonight I got busy putting my bike in the box – tucking Dominique Diva Dawes and nice & neat into her flight suit for our trip to Cozumel.


Mmmmm….Hmmm…It took me almost 2 hours to get Double D all snug as a bug. WHY you ask? ‘Cause I want her to arrive in the same mint condition (more or less) that I put her into the box.


Here we go…

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I quickly got the wheels off of the Diva and then I used the Velcro ties to secure the chain (chain stays?).

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Once the wheels were off, chain stay’s secured, I place the Diva in the box. There is a skewer inside the box to clip the front of the bike to and the frame rests on a Styrofoam block. I was ecstatic that I didn’t have to take off the pedals or the seat. Two less things I had to worry about.  There are “hooks” on the bottom of the box to secure your bike to and make sure it doesn’t move. I secured the pedals to the frame with more Velcro strips and then stared down the handlebars to figure that out. After looking at it for a while and finding the right hex key to fit, I was able to lift off the handle bars with minimal fuss & muss. I turned them on the side, secured them to the frame and WHA LA! I was ready to put the wheels, bike pump and some bubble wrap in for final measure.

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Wheels in. Pump in. Some other bubble wrapped gear in the bottom. I put a layer of bubble wrap around around the tires and over the bike, top on, secure and I’m RET TA GO!!!


COZUMEL HERE I COME…best not forget that passport. Hmmm…let me go pull that sucker out NOW.


IM70.3 Cozumel Training: The Head Game


The date approaches. 6 Days, 9 hours, 19, 18, 17…minutes to race day. The Athlete Guide was FINALLY published and the angst, anxiety and gnashing of teeth set in full force.


2 Transition Areas, 3 bags, a “green” transition area – meaning if you don’t put your stuff back into a bag then it will be thrown out, mandatory meetings, 3 penalty cards & you are DQ’d, failure to report to 1st aid station & get your pic taken after issuance of a penalty – DQ’d. Drop 1 piece of trash, bottle in wrong location – penalty. Closer than 4 bike lengths – penalty. Don’t pass fast enough – penalty. The pdf file athlete guide is 27 pages. I got so sick of scrolling up down & all around that I finally sent the friggin thing to the printer so I could more easily read it.


I was a total wreak after trying to get through the guide a few times. That damn guide had stole my joy, my peace of mind. THEN, I went to see my Chiropractic doc cause I was having some lower back pain with it radiating down my right leg (sciatica flaring up again) and some mild hip joint pain after running and was told that, of course, I was back out of alignment. I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS. I need to get my chi back …and then I thought about a song that has been stuck in my head recently: Titanium.


That guide SHOT ME DOWN – got all up in my head and started doing the happy dance all over my goals & visions of fun in the sun – BUT I GOT UP – fugg that. I got this. I going to get in at least 5 sessions of Bikram Yoga and straighten myself out while getting my Namaste on. I spent the weekend doing a little planning, laid my stuff out and decided that all of that – that guide – was the white noise of doubt & fear; which is not of God. I can do this. I will do this.


Fear, doubt, anxiety…DISMISSED. BYE BYE. How?


I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won't fall
I am titanium


6 days, 8 hours, 45 min…so, in the words from the song “The Fighter” – WHAT YA GONNA DO?…I’m gonna go down there and…


Give em hell, turn their heads
Gonna live life 'til [I’m] dead.
Give me scars, give me pain
Then they'll say to me…

There goes the fighter…Here comes the fighter
That's what they'll say to me


IM70.3 Cozumel Training–A Flat Tire Attitude Adjustment


Sunday morning looked glorious for a 60 mile ride. I even checked in from the BWI Overlook – “This is the day the Lord is made…a glorious day for a 60 mile ride.”


And it was. I was cruising along…having a (what I considered) great ride and then at EXACTLY the 40 mile mark…my back tire went flat.


GTFOOHWTBS! Damn, Damn, Damn, Damn, Damn, Damn, Damn. Sigh. Ok. Here we go. Let’s see if any of those (well, that one) workshop and U.tu.be University video’s pay off.

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Now, while I was fussing and grumbling…there were signs that life was still grand – that I was going to be okay – that all was still right with the world. I got my flat right next to a gas station, across the street from a drug store chain & from the B&A Trail (where there were NUMEROUS cyclists passing by and offering assistance). Yet, I was still huffing & puffing, whining and talking about the “epic failure” of my ride.


I walked my bike into the gas station lot, Shifted into the low gears, released the brake, flipped my bike over (hey, Diva Dawes is easier to work with when you can use both hands), and proceed to remove the tire. I got the tire off pretty easily and then I just stared at the tire for a while – now what?


Oh! I have a repair kit! Let’s pull it out. I used the “tool” to get the tire off and as I was going around I found this giant construction staple jammed into the tire. Yeah, that will give you a flat straight away. I got the tire off the rim, and pulled the tube out. Seriously, I took about 2 min thinking I could find the hole and patch it. HELL WIT DAT! Just put a new tube in. That was even uneventful. I got the new tube in, put the tire back on the rim and got my cartridge & nozzle out to inflate the tire – got 20 more to go ya know.


HUMPH. Not so fast, my novice tire changing padawan. The nozzle got stuck on the stem and simply would NOT come off. I keep pulling and twisting, pulling & twisting and it WOULD NOT COME OFF…OR INFLATE THE TIRE. Here came those words again…



                flat_stuck nozzle  flat_stuck nozzle2

After about 20 min fiddling with this thing and trying to get it off, I gave up and called The FireMarshall – come get me please. He started making his way to me. While I sat there to wait for him, I decided I would keep trying to remove the nozzle thingy and after about 15 min of that, I dropped the tire on the ground and the frigging thing just popped off. I just stared at it like FORE-EVER!!! You have GOT to be kidding me.


I put the nozzle & cartridge back together and testing it on the flat tube – it worked. SON OF A BEEEOTCH. I try it again on the new tire/tube and WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM the tire inflates. I call The FireMarshall to tell him that he doesn’t have to come and he was like, OH HELL NO!, I’m almost there and you would have another 20 to do and we ARE going to that BBQ we got invited to. Just get in the car when I get there. HUMPH.




I spent the next 15 or so trying to get the tire back on and it is not as simple as it looks. That whole chain thing – REALLY!!?? – SIGH. I finally get it on, put my kit back on the bike and then to add insult to injury, the motivation tag that MsPattey gave me was all hanging askew…Mocking me.


I did not need to be mocked at that moment. I took it as a sign (in addition to the flat) as a premonition of what my race might be like and I started getting all negative nelly. Snivel, whine, snivel, bitch, snivel, complain.


The FireMarshall rolls up into the gas station and takes charge. I’m sniveling and started talking about my anxiety about the race based on this “epic failure”. He gave me the classic FireMarshall hard stare over the top of his glasses and simply (and FIRMLY) stated, “Watch your words.” Being snarky, I said “what do you mean by that?” His reply was “Is this your 1st flat? Did you get it changed? BY YOURSELF!? Did you still get in 40 hard miles? YOU are NOT a failure. Your equipment FAILED you and you dealt with it. Watch your words. Cara is watching & listening. Now get in the car.”


flatsloganWell, DAMN! Attitude Check! He was right and I left that funky attitude right there at the BP gas station.


I CAN do this. I WILL do this.




Strive2Tri Splash & Dash


Today, Princess Cara participated in her first race – the Strive2Tri Inaugural Youth Splash & Dash…and she did an AWESOME JOB! All the kids were just fabulous.




It was so wonderful to see all of the young people, even the little bits (6 & under – who did the fun run), getting their fitness on…especially in the water. It was a sight to behold.


This…watching Cara enjoy herself at fitness/triathlon…keeps me motivated to keep going.


I’m so proud of Princess Cara and all the athletes that competed today. They are all champions!


Enjoy the video from today.