Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Keep Calm and DO YOUR JOB


Following up on the last blog, where I left you with some food poisoning suspense... ;)

A few days before heading to Mexico for Los Cabos 70.3, I had a romantic dinner with Eric. Ironically enough, I might have been talking about my fear of food related sickness in Mexico as I devoured the California Burrito which ultimately got me sick.

As a result, I played an endless game of mental yoyo the days before taking off, but stuck by my decision to race no matter what. This turned out to be the right call, and thankfully I was symptom free on race morning!
Being smart is important but worrying has no point and is simply a waste of energy.
I turned on the TV 2 days before the race to find out Hurricane Patricia was aiming for the coast of Mexico. Thankfully, Baja was spared and we never felt any repercussions of the storm in Los Cabos. (Secretly I would have loved the wake up to huge surf on race morning but you can't have everything eh?)
It was a very good thing the storm stayed away, particularly if you consider that it had been only a year since Hurricane Odile. Damages from the storm were still very obvious and numerous hotels were still being re-built.
Since the symptoms of the food poisoning had died off in time for the race, you can consider me a case study about food safety at the Holiday Inn Los Cabos. I forgot about the food I had meticulously packed and drifted into doing like everybody else and eating at the buffet. I should thank Mel (McQuaid) and the Edmonton Canadians for having tested the safety of the food several days before ;)
Beach time with a Mexican Dachshund:
There was no bringing Alice to this race but I found Huela.
 Los Cabos Taxis:
At this point, Eric and I were still dreaming of acquiring an adventure van and....it turns out pretty much ALL the taxis in the hotel area had serious potential. I told Eric that I had found a VAN OASIS in Mexico!!
More beach time before the pre-race swim!
Race will air on ESPN international.
The E-118, racked and ready!
 I woke up feeling absolutely zero stress. This was a new experience, but I decided to roll with it. Maybe the rollercoaster of the last few days with that "damn burrito" had made everything feel like a bonus. I was just lucky to be there on the start line not feeling sick.
 I warmed up, then climbed up the beach to join the other ready faces. Staring at the semi-calm ocean, I still felt zero stress. I was just going to trust that when the gun went off, I would race, as I always do. It felt so simple.
The gun went off, everything started off smoothly, and I felt very present and calm. I did get excited when I first realized how close to the front I was on the swim. Amanda and Brianna (both excellent swimmers) were right in sight. The swim went wonderfully and I was thrilled when, upon exiting, I heard Michael Lovato yell that I was a mere 45 seconds from the leader of the race! (Maybe the relaxed feeling was working for me ;)
The mood of the day would be "Keep calm and do your job" and it turns out it was exactly what I needed to do. So without any of the epic-ness I usually crave, I hopped onto the bike and got out there.
The bike course was hard and I worked it nice and steady. I moved into the lead at about 5km and remained in that position during the ride. There was very little flat on that course and I love the hills. Here they kept me engaged at every moment. I also enjoyed the multiple turnaround points where I could see how the race was going. Since it was also an Ironman event, there was great support from the crowd in various areas as well.
This looks like I am right out of an Alien movie BUT the orange bottles, filled with Ice water, kept me cool at the end of the bike ride.  
Dismounting and heading onto the run, I just remember, again feeling very calm and focused. I just took things one step at a time and stayed in the moment. The California summer had got me prepared for the hot conditions, the course was flat and flowed well and most of all, it entertained me. Just like on the bike, I remember noticing positive things along the course. There were so many different sections and out and backs, people cheering. You even went just right by the finish while heading into the final loop. I felt pumped and I loved that last loop where I got to open up a bit and feel good rhythm.
The finish
Finally, I crossed the line to realize that common denominator there was between Monterrey 70.3 (my first race of the season) and Los Cabos 70.3. Both Mexican races had that festive atmosphere and in both races, the last few miles to the finish were a crescendo of cheering. Just like in Monterrey, we got a Champagne shower and they even played the national anthem, we were spoiled.

I certainly hope to return to Mexico next season to defend my titles!
The season came to an end with that last race and now and it's time for some off season fun. Thanks for having followed my friends and stay tuned for a season recap and an off season adventure report!

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