Monday, December 5, 2011

Ironman Cozumel Race Report: Part Uno


The days leading up to the race were spent packing and repacking my bags to make sure I had everything I could have possibly needed for the race. My family and I left on Thanksgiving morning for Mexico. The flight from Dallas to Cozumel was packed with athletes. You could tell because everyone was either wearing compression socks, an Ironman jacket, a Garmin watch, or a combination of all of those things. I sat next to a woman who had already completed 8 Ironman races. When I told her this was my first one she said "Oh! You are so lucky! You only get one first Ironman- make sure you take the time to look around and really enjoy what you are doing. You've earned it." I smiled and told her that enjoying this experience and getting to the finish line was my goal.

When I arrived in Cozumel and checked into the hotel, Kate, Nick and myself went to pick up our packets. It all still felt surreal to me. In 2 days I would be taking my 140.6 mile journey.

 Ironman packet pickup is an experience. You can just feel the energy and excitement in the air. We also got some pretty sweet swag- a long sleeved zip up bike jersey!

After packet pickup we were supposed to go pick up our bikes but the Tri Sport Express guy sent an email saying the bikes would not be on the island until Friday morning due to some travel issues they were having.

Thursday concluded with finally being reunited with Phil. When I saw him I squealed like a 13 year old girl at a Justin Beiber concert. I ran up to him and hugged him. It was a great Thanksgiving!

Friday morning a bunch of teammates and I went to the swim start for the practice swim. They had half of the course open but I didn't want to swim that much so I cut it short and swam for about 15 minutes. Seeing the course before hand was really great. I was able to feel the current and knew where I would be swimming slower and where I would be flying. Feeling the jelly fish stings before hand was also good because I knew what to expect on race day. (they aren't bad)

After the practice swim we were supposed to go pick up our bikes but we got another email saying that the bike dude didn't get his passport stamped and was detained over night and that our bikes would be available for pick up on Saturday morning. ONE HOUR BEFORE HAVING TO RACK THEM. I slightly went into panic mode. When I say slightly I mean extremely. No bike meant no race. I told my mom that if I said the magic words she was to go and buy me a bike and the local Mega (like a Walmart) and I would attempt the Ironman on that.

In the mean time, I packed all of my gear bags while anxiously awaiting any news about Pink Lady. My mom made me blue sparkly bows for all of my gear bags so that I could spot them easily. Since you have to grab all of your own bags at this race, the blue bows really helped!

After a nightmare on Friday night about not getting my bike on time, I woke up frantic to check my email. Luckily, the bikes had arrived and were ready for pick up. We had time to get our bikes, ride them about about half an hour and bring them to bike check in. (No, I will never ever use the bike shipping service I used to Cozumel ever again. He cut it waaaay too close for comfort. My whole team would have been without bikes!)

I had a pretty sweet spot in the maze of a transition area. I dropped off Pink Lady and spent the rest of the day sitting in the shade with a bottle of water.

Race morning came quickly. Phil even woke up at 12:30 (we went to bed at like 8:30) ready to go and I had to tell him to try and go back to sleep for 3.5 more hours. We both popped out of bed anxious to get the show on the road. We met our families in the lobby of the hotel and patiently waited for the next bus to take us to the swim start.

Unfortunately that bus took forever and we arrived to the transition area with only 6 minutes to put our bottles on our bikes, apply sunscreen and drop off our special needs bag.

Phil and I rushed through the transition area and made it into the water with plenty of time to spare. He kissed me, told me he loved me and wished me well as he jumped off the dock into the water. I followed suit. Many people were treading water but I clung to one of the poles of the dock to conserve energy. When the announcer said "4 minutes till age group start" I looked behind me and realized there were at least 2,000 swimmers behind me.

I positioned myself way too far forward. Before I could move back, the horn blew and there were legs and arms flailing all around me. This was it. Do or die. I said a prayer and I began to swim in what would turn out to be a non stop wrestling match with a few jelly fish stings.

To be continued! 


  1. Oh my gosh I would have been so worried about my bike! I can't belive that it came so late. What an extra stress that you didn't need before race day!

    I love this: "This was it. Do or die"

    Can't wait to here about the race! Good job again, you are awesome!

  2. holy crap...and what did they charge you for shipping the bike? did they give you any of it back? I know that's not what really mattered, but some compensation for the stress would be nice. I love the suspense of the ending of this blog. Any rumors as to the next release date?

  3. I can't wait to read about the rest of this race! I had the Cozumel race on my list of 2013 potentials, but "jelly fish" may have knocked it off of the list. I would seriously come unglued if I were stung...looking forward to hearing how you handled it. ;^)

  4. You're killing me Lauren! I'm counting the seconds till your 2nd installment.

  5. Ooo...I'm on the edge of my seat!

  6. Ughhh!!! I've been waiting what seems like forever for these posts!! I need more!!! :)

  7. FINALLY. post part 2 now please OK THANKS.

  8. I love the image of Phil jumping off the dock. Can't wait for part 2!

  9. Tease!! Crazy about the bike though, I would have been hyperventilating all day. Can't wait for the next installment!

  10. I definitely would have been flipping out about the bike delivery delay. I'm glad you didn't have to buy a new one. :) Can't wait to hear about the race!

  11. I'm starting with the first post and reading them in order. :)

    I would have totally freaked out about the bike... but I'm glad it all worked out!

  12. OMG I would have freaked about the bike transport issues! They detained the guy? OMG!!!

    Glad you got it......FINALLY!

  13. Lauren: I saw a picture of a medal display "Lauren and Phil" when I googled Running medal display. May I ask where you found a place to custom order this kind of display?

    I look forward to hearing from you

    Wayne Gilmore
    Parsons, KS