Friday, November 18, 2011

The Ironman Cozumel Goals Post

Well, this is it. It feels very strange to be writing my goals for this race. The race that I signed up for a year ago. The race that when other races this season went to shit I would say "My biggest goal is Cozumel in November". So without further ado, this is what I hope my sometime-less-than-17-hour (17 hours is the time cut off) day looks like.


Let me just say that my biggest goal for the day is to get my booty across that finish line come hell or high water. I have no time goals except for making the cut-off of 17 hours. I promise that no matter what situations may arise, and during such a long race I'm sure they will, I will keep moving forward. I will also take the time to look around me and say "wow...I'm doing a %$#^ Ironman" and smile. And just in case you had any doubts, I plan to cheese it up to the cameras as much as possible to keep my streak of awesome race photos going. I'm actually hoping for some pretty epic pictures...I have a few ideas in mind ;)

The Swim

Swimming- which I once thought was my weakest leg considering this time last year I couldn't cross the length of a pool without struggling, has pleasantly surprised me throughout the season. I have done 5 swims of 4500 meters in the past month which is longer than the Ironman swim. The last 2 or so of these swims felt close to effortless and that is what I hope for come race day.

The swim takes place in Chankanaab park. The water will be about 84 degrees, so no wetsuit! The water visibility will be 100% and the swim is a single loop with the longest stretch of the loop being with the current. Apparently it is one of the fastest Ironman swims out there. My plan is to position myself where I always do and swim strong and steady. And by that I mean swim easy, enjoy the fishies, and not get kicked in the face, Rumpus and Bumpas style. I estimate my swim time to be between 1:18 and 1:30.

There is also apparently a large, stone, statue of Jesus as you are making your way back to the dock. That might be a great time to say a little prayer for the rest of my day. It also may scare the crap out of me to see Jesus during an Ironman...

The Bike

The bike is a 3 loop course that loops around the island. I never realized how small Cozumel was until I saw this bike course. While at first I thought the idea of loops sucked, I have come to realize that it will be awesome. I get to pass my special needs bag 3 times, and me and Phil's awesome support crew 3 times. Downside? I also get to deal with the wind 3 times.

One of my friends and teammates who has done this race before and is a strong athlete warned us that the bike splits on this course get slower and slower each lap (so if you are tracking me, don't be surprised to see this!). He also warned us that many athletes blow up (thats tri talk for expending too much energy and then paying for it dearly) because they look down at their speedometer during the first stretch of the bike course and see a great speed (tailwind) and then when their speed drops due to crosswinds and headwinds they push and push and set themselves up for an awful run. Taking Damon's advice to heart and knowing that I would not be happy if I saw 8mph on my bike computer, I decided to ride without knowing my speed. Yup, thats right. My garmin will be displaying my heart rate zone, time of day, and distance traveled. This will allow me to solely focus on the effort I am expending so that I can set myself up to be able to jog the marathon. I don't want a repeat of Eagleman where I had to walk the whole entire run.

I also plan to take a salt pill once an hour, and 2 Powerbar gels an hour. I'll also have granola bars, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and other snacks to keep me fueled. I'll also be drinking water like it's going out of style. I plan to keep my effort easy, sing to myself, cheer for those who pass me, and enjoy the ocean view. I expect the bike will take me between 6:45 and 7:15 but that could be totally off depending on what the day brings.
The Pink Lady  is ready to rock and roll.

The Run

I am hoping that with an easy effort and focused nutrition on the bike, I set myself up for a good run. When I say good run please know that I do not mean fast. Nothing about next Sunday is going to be fast. I more so mean feeling ok, not sick to my stomach, and in good spirits.

From the very start of the marathon leg I plan to implement a run/walk strategy. I am going to walk the aid stations. I feel that taking walking breaks from the very beginning is a better idea than trying to run the first 12 or so miles and then be forced to walk the rest of the way due to stomach issues.

The run course is also 3 loops. Which is great because I will get to see my friends, teammates and the love of my life (who will be hours ahead of me, I assure you) on the course a few times. It also means I will have to see and hear the finish line 2 times before I am able to cross it. This is when I will have to be mentally tough, perhaps read some love notes you all have sent me and just keep pushing forward to the finish line. If all goes well, I expect the marathon to take me between 5:00 and 5:30. Again, these times are all estimates because you never know what the day will bring.

The Finish

Once I get my butt to the finish line chute, I have a very strict rule: NO WALKING. Music will be blaring, people will be lined up cheering, and the announcer will say "Lauren Riley, usted es un Ironman!". You can't walk for that! I'm sure my adrenaline will give me enough energy to pump my fists up and down and execute the perfect finish line dance. Yes, there is a finish line dance. I've thought long and hard about it. It will be the perfect way to end a long day of somewhere between 14 and 17 hours.

I think that about sums it up! My plan is to go slow, enjoy the day, stay mentally strong, and make constant forward progress towards the finish line. holy crap, I can't believe it's finally here!


  1. You have trained your butt off and are so ready. This sounds like such a good race plan! Also I just teared up reading: Lauren Riley, usted es un Ironman!". So I guess I will be a mess when I read your race report.

  2. Thanks for the shout-out! I think all of your plans and estimates sound exactly right, and it sounds like you're set up to have a great day. You won't miss knowing your speed one bit -- it's liberating.

  3. You are SO ready for this!! I love your approach and plans that are not pace based. You are going to have such a fun time doing this crazy little race :)

    GOOD LUCK!!!

  4. You're ready. You're SO ready. Can't wait to track you all day!

  5. I can't believe it's finally here. You've worked hard, you've earned that finish line dance, you're going to be an Ironman. I'll be tracking like crazy. GOOD LUCK!

  6. My Ironman is still 7 months away, but this sounds exactly like how I plan to attempt my first as well. I think it's a good plan! I wish you the best of luck! You seem prepared and I'm sure you will be crossing that finish line with a big smile on your face!

  7. This is a great plan! You are totally ready for this race and I am looking forward to tracking you! :)

  8. These goals are awesome! I can't wait to track you all day!

  9. get it girl!!! can't wait to stalk (track?) your and see you when you get home :)


  10. So exciting! Best of luck and can't wait to hear all about it!

  11. Now it is time to DO THIS!!!! You are going to be amazed at how your body is just gonna do what its gonna do and take over when the time comes.

    Hope to see you this weekend!

  12. I just got so excited reading this! I am SO EXCITED for you! You're going to rock it Lauren! GOOD LUCK GIRL!!!

  13. Good luck Lauren! I have been super impressded with your determination and commitment this year and I am sure you will do great.


  14. I'm so excited for you!!! You've worked so hard and you are so ready, physically and more importantly mentally! Great goals and plan! Can't wait to stalk, I mean track you!!

  15. Eeeek - this is so exciting Lauren! :) You are going to do great.

    Remember... keep smiling. Keep thinking of all the people sitting at home on their butts tracking you, not doing nearly what you are doing in one day. Keep thinking of how good that beer or margarita will taste with a finishers medal, hat and shirt! :)


  16. Good luck Lauren... Everything is gonna be alright...