IM Cozumel Race Report

Written by Jesse. Posted in Race Reports

Well, it turns out the course wasn’t as advertised (not fast at all)! Here’s the summary:

Swim (51:XX): Leading into race day this was the biggest area of uncertainty as the days before race day were unbelievably chopping and current filled. I thought race day could easily bring a 1:10 swim for me if the conditions were tough as they were all week. As it turns out, this was the nicest part of the day! With a shift in the wind direction, race brought calm conditions with current in our favor. I’d say the swim was about 8 minutes fast.

Prior to the swim start we were treated to a dolphin show (which was awesome). Once the gun went off it was the cleanest IM swim I have done to date, with almost no contact at all, crystal clear waters, and a current at your back for the 1.2+ mile leg of the rectangle (that was one long single leg!). When I came out in 51:XX, I thought, this is going to be one fast day!

Bike (5:14:XX): This course is flat, flat, flat! The days leading into the race had some windy conditions (12-20 mph) which definitely make this course challenging, however, the forecast for race day had 4-8 mph predicted so we thought it would be a super fast bike day…..boy were we wrong! I had thought, given the conditions, that a sub 5:00 day would be in the cards for me. This bike course has 4 distinct legs: from the start to the beach (typically a tail wind), along the beach (typically a stiff head wind), back to town (typically about neutral), and lastly through town (typically a tail wind). The first loop went as planned averaging 22.3mph, the second loop suddenly had shifted winds and when we came to the leg along the beach, was a 15+ mph head wind….just brutal to go 16-17mph for 1 hour plus for each loop. The only other place I have experienced that is Hawaii. By the third loop, the conditions were horrendous and the carnage on that bike course was more than I have ever witnessed. Overall, given the conditions, I was very happy with my ride.

Run (3:31:XX): This is a flat run course (notice I didn’t say fast). Some combinations of the windy bike course, concrete running surface, and heat, make this run course much, much tougher than it appears. Going into the race, I thoughts of a sub 3:05 marathon. I headed out the first few miles at 6:45 which felt pretty comfortable. I slowly drifted to the 7:00 range through 9 miles which was sustainable. Around 7 miles into the race though I began to feel a bit of knee pain….I thought would just pass. By mile 9 I knew I was in trouble….it was some serious IT band friction which just came out of the blue. I had a bit of trouble with this in February but really nothing at all since then so it wasn’t even on my radar of potential limiters for race day. By mile 12 it was the full IT band lock up….I knew I was in trouble. I began stopping every ½ mile to try and stretch it but it was no use. This slowed me down to the 8+ minute mile range pretty quickly given all of the stops. I finally got some Advil around mile 16 which helped a bit. Even given the knee pain and stops though, I’m not sure I’d have run much faster than 3:20 on this day. Scratching my head now trying to figure out where the IT stuff came from….I’m thinking the 5 hours in the aero bars combined with the concrete run surface, did the trick. No problems, Utah is around the corner for me to lay down a redeeming run!

Total (9:43:XX): Overall, this is a fantastic IM to do. The people were unbelievably nice down here, the race is well run, the spectators made lake placid’s look like a bowling match audience, and the island is beautiful. I’d come to do it again in a heartbeat, although I’m not sure I want subject myself to those brutal conditions again! I said it yesterday, but that race was easily as tough as the Hawaii on a stiff day.

Thanks as usual to all the QT2 athletes who inspire me on a daily basis, and my wife Chrissie who puts up with more than any spouse should have to. 🙂

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