Ok I’m finally getting around to writing my race postmortem. Cozumel was my first Ironman and though I thought it would be my last, much like my first marathon (I’ve done 5 now 6 if you include Cozumel), it may not be my last. Going into Ironman Cozumel, I expected the worst and prepared for it. I knew it would be hot and humid from my 1/2 Ironman experience in the Cozumel in September. I prepared myself through heat acclimatizing and formulating a good hydration plan.
To heat acclimatized I did all my long bikes (up to 5hrs) and long runs (nearly 3hrs) inside. I know this sounds insane, but I think it worked and the theory says it does work.
I had a hydration and electrolyte plan that I practiced on my long indoor rides and runs. I formulated this plan by measuring how much I was sweating per hour by taking my weight before and after an indoor ride. I took my starting weight – my finish weight + added any fluid I drank to get how much I sweat per hour. I sweat about 1.5L per hour under hot humid conditions. I used my sweat rate to calculated how much salt I needed. You can do this easily if you know how much you sweat and assume the sodium content of your sweat, I used this good resource to figure out my concentration concentration. The next step is to total all the sodium you will take in an hour (including sports drinks, gels, bars, and salt pills) and match it to your sodium need per hour. To meet my sodium needs I drank 1.5 of Gatorade, ate 2 Cliff gels, and took 4 E-Load salt pills per hour on the bike. I cut the Gatorade down to about 1 litre per hour on the run.
The race went really well. The swim was really rough with a strong current from the north. I heard that hundreds of people didn’t make it out of the water. My time was slower than I wanted, but still good relatively speaking. I took the bike really easy, trying to never let my watts go much above 200. When I finally started the run everything felt really relaxed, no muscle tightness. I took the run easy trying to stay just under 5:00/km. The whole race I was thinking the race doesn’t start until the first half of the marathon is over (some good advice I got from a friend, Glen). I only focused on managing my pace and sticking to my nutrition and hydration plan. Before I knew it I was approaching the finish line. With about 200m left to go a feeling of euphoria came over me and I sprinted to the line. I really didn’t expect it and I’ve felt such intense happiness at the end of marathon before.
After some post race pizza and coke I went back to the hotel room for a nap. Then I went back to see the last finishers at 11pm and it was truly inspirational. If you ever have the chance to do this I highly recommend it whether you’ve participated in the race or not, but especially if you’ve participated.
I’m not sure if I’ll do another Ironman anytime soon, but I’m pretty sure I will do another one. If only I could somehow avoid the 5hr bike rides in training I might do it sooner rather than later.