Congratulations to Drew on completing Ironman Cozumel! Drew is truly an Ironman veteran and proved that his years of experience can get him to the finish line even in the face of adversity, with injuries and Covid shutting down his restaurant for many months. We are so grateful to Drew for hosting our social at Finnigans in September. Here is his report:

Ironman Cozumel 2021 Race Report


4:30am the alarm went off and I looked out the window to see rain.  This is something I had not anticipated but not something I felt would warrant a change in my strategy for the day. The morning plan was 15 minutes for a light breakfast, 30 minutes to get dressed and get to the lobby with my special needs bags, 15 to travel to T1, 30 minutes to set up my bike and then at 6:15 get on a bus to the swim start.  I was able to keep to the timetable.  I did have to break out a sweatshirt and windbreaker to try to stay dryish and warm.  Everything went to plan until I had to check my morning clothes at about 7:00 am and stand in the swim corral until start time.  I was in the corral in a light rain for about an hour and I started to get cold and began to shiver.  The good news was the water was warm and I warmed up soon after the swim start. 


I had not spent much time in the pool over the past two years.  Sometimes pools were closed (Covid closures), I had a couple of minor procedures that kept me out of the water for a few weeks each time and primarily I am not a huge fan of swimming so motivation was an issue.  I decided to be realistic about my estimated swim time and self seeded in the 1:30 to 1:40 corral as my time in 2019 was 1:23.  Just before 8:00am I jumped in the water and immediately stopped shivering.  I had decided to swim smarter in order to compensate for my weak swim training so I looked for feet to draft off of.  I found some immediately but they were too slow so I passed them and looked for more feet.  After about a half dozen attempts, some were too slow and some were directionally challenged, I gave up and swam on my own.  All I could do was swim a steady pace and try to swim a straight line to avoid swimming any extra distance.  The last 250m were tough. It was choppy and we had to swim into the current.  In the end the water gods must have been looking out for us.  I had managed a current assisted 1:05 swim.  My thoughts ran from wow this is going to be a great day to my watch must be broken to I hope I will not suffer later from pushing too hard on the swim.  Transition was smooth.  Lots of Vaseline, body glide and 80 sunscreen.  No point chaffing and being uncomfortable for the next six and a half hours.  


I felt confident in the bike portion.  In 2019 I rode a 6:27 and I felt I could count on a 6:15 to 6:30 ride this year and still be in good shape for the run.  In the past I rode in a heart rate range.  This year I decided to ride within a watts range.  I aimed for 140 to 160 watts and promised myself not to go over 200 watts.  In the first two loops of the three loop course the winds were kind I felt they did pick up on the third loop though.  While the rain may have kept the heat in check it made portions of the ride challenging.  You had to be super attentive watching the road and other cyclists especially when the course passed through town.  Cycling glasses would fog up and I was soaked for much of the bike.  Large puddles on the road were not our friend.  In fact in one section you had to ride 200 meters in 8 - 10 inches of water in the rain.  This was not something I had tried before.  On the bike I had planned on one bottle of my own sports drink an hour topped up with water from the course, one gel every 45 minutes, one chew every 10 minutes and 2 salt tabs every 30 minutes.  I probably achieved 80% of this plan which I thought was still good enough for a good day.  In the end I rode a 5:43 bike split.  This was a lot faster than I planned but I felt ok, well tired but ok.  Transition was smooth. I had decided to take the time to change my top and socks and to apply more Vaseline, body glide and sunscreen.  Given the wet weather and all the road grit on me this ended up being a good call. 


I had planned to run a very slow steady pace as I struggle on the run every Ironman and have a pesky planters fasciatis issue.  If I am going to end up running 7 minute kilometres anyways why run 5:45 for the first half and then 10 minute kilometres for the last half?  So I tried the slow steady approach and it worked for the first of the three loops then once again the plan fell apart.  On the run the rain had stopped and the sun came out.  It got hot and humid.  They ran out of water on the second loop which did a number on me mentally.  They did get more water back on the course for my last loop.  My nutrition plan for the run was not rigid.  Alternate between water and Gatorade at aid stations, a gel every 45 minutes and 2 salt tabs every 30 minutes.  Gatorade was bothering my gut so I stuck to water and upped the gel to every 30 minutes to compensate for the missing calories.  This became and issue on the second loop when they ran out of water.  I drank some Pepsi and some Gatorade but not as much as I should have.  In the end I walk/ran the marathon in 5:18, about a half hour slower than I had hoped but still injury free.  The run course was littered with bottles, bags, cups and other items from the aid stations.  It was the worst I have ever seen in a race of any kind.  Race organizers should have clearly marked areas to discard items and penalize those that litter.  Participants should show some respect for the host community and the volunteers that have to clean it up and refrain from littering (end of littering rant).  

My final time was 12:23.  That was 1:09 faster than the same race in 2019. It was my 3rd fastest out of the 10 Ironman races I have finished in the past 20 years and my fastest in the last 9 years.  Overall I am very happy with the day.  I still need to fix the run for next time (Nice, France 2022).

Cozumel is a great venue for this race.  It’s safe, friendly and the weather is great.  The swim was fast and well marked (A). The bike course was a little too crowded due to the increased number of participants this year. The roads were smooth but covered in debris from the rain and there was some flooding of the roads once again due to the rain - not much they can do about a Mother Nature issue (A-).  The run is flat, lots of aid stations and spectator friendly.  But, a race should never run out of water (safety) and there should have been a contract to clean the porta potties during the race (they were unusable when I started the run) (B).  I will be back in 2022.  





Congratulations to this strong group of gals! Josee and Chantale completed their first Ironmans and for Helene this was number 7. Very impressive! Sounds like they had a blast! Here is their report...

"We all had a wonderful day, a wonderful fast swim as the current was in our favor. The distance was short though, we all had around 3400m on our Garmin. The bike was nice, no strong side wind like they usually have, sunny on one side of the island and torrential rain with thunder in the city. It’s not us but someone posted a picture of the most famous pothole. (see below) For the run, the rain was over so, the sun was beaming on us for the first 2 hours but we knew that the finish line was coming."


"Thanks Julia for all the great swim tips: I was alternating them in my head while swimming so relaxed. The swim felt like a huge swimming pool, water so clear, so calm and yes, I still used your sighting techniques that allowed me to see twice divers standing at the bottom of the sea at red buoys and we waved at each other, so cool! No jelly fish this time!" - From Helene



From the South back to the Great White North! In case you missed it on Facebook Darius was busy last weekend chasing real Polar Bears in Churchill, Manitoba at the Polar Bear Marathon! At one point a truck had to drive towards the polar bears to clear the road so he could continue running....zoiks!!! Congratulations Darius on your braving a marathon in the frigid cold and running with the bears. 

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