I’ve been thinking about, preparing for, and dreaming of this race for over a year, and now, poof, it’s over. I took home a bronze medal in my age group, the most competitive of them I might add. While everything– and there are a whole lot of things in triathlon– didn’t go exactly according to plan, I’m proud of the result.
The SWIM: The Caribbean ocean is a crystal clear blue off the coast of Cozumel– you can see rainbow-colored fish, coral reefs, and even your competitors little toes! This body of water also had quite the current on race morning. The race director even decided to shorten the course slightly for safety reasons because it was so powerful. I was unaccustomed to these rough ocean conditions and this did not play to my advantage. While I felt like I was swimming strong (I’ve made a lot of progress on my swim in recent months), I was evidently moving nowhere against that current, as I emerged from the water in 26th place and with a 7+minute deficit. As Erik shouted me these stats from the sideline, I grimaced (pictured above) but tried to keep positive thoughts that this was not too great a deficit to over come.
Zoom, zoom. Thanks Mavic wheels.
The BIKE: Now it was time to motor and take some names. I quickly got over my disappointing swim and went to work. I love to ride my bike and the Cozumel coast is a flat, fast, even shaded course with beautiful views of the Caribbean ocean and coast. Not that there was much time for site-seeing as I was cruising at 26mph, for the fastest women’s bike split of the day– 40k in 57m40s. This was faster than I thought I could go. If you keep an open mind, you can surprise yourself!
Thank goodness the NYC summer prepared me for this baking hot, run course.
The RUN: Another update from my right hand man on the sidelines (whom we can thank for these great photos!) as I entered T2: I was in 3rd place, about 3min back… Better news this time, but that is still quite a gap to bridge if there were hopes of a win. Not to mention before the first kilometer was run, I was baking in the hot sun reflected off the tarmac. It was boiling. ~95F and 100% humidity, under that strong equatorial sun. There were aid stations every kilometer, and boy was that barely enough. At each, I took a little water balloon that I burst over my head, a cup of ice to pour down my back and a cup of water to pour over my face/into my mouth. Others were faring worse than I, however, as I witnessed the winner of my race crouched on the side of the road in heat exhaustion. I mustered all the mental toughness I could, head down and checked off the kilometers one by one. It was impossible to tell my position, but regardless I left it all out there, and that turned out to be good enough for third.
Erik at our post race canopy bed hang out
POST-RACE: After a quick stop at the massage table, our destination was beach/ pool hang out for the afternoon, followed by some of the best mexican food (tacos al pastor and gaucamole) we’ve ever had. Then we headed to the awards ceremony in the town square for some traditional mexican entertainment and podium time.
My fellow team USA member, Todd Buckingham, shared my podium spot in the men’s race
Apparently it’s a tradition to trade country team gear with other nations, so I scored a bright green mexican polo shirt and a team GB warm up jacket (pictured below).
Nice British lady who offered a trade with me