Race Report

IRONMAN Cozumel Race Report [November 27, 2016]

7 Dec , 2016  

My first time in Mexico was surely a memorable one! I will post a non-race report post later on, but for now, I want to get the race report out of the way. 


Getting to the race was very simple – I flew on Thanksgiving morning from NYC, took a little break in Miami where I met up with Jill, a fellow Team Chocolate Milk teammate. By 1-o-clock in the afternoon, we had landed in Cozumel and was on our way to the resort. After a quick bite, Jill, Tom and I went and picked up our bikes from TriBikeTransport over at Chankanaab (swim exit/ Transition 1). Because our hotel was hosting an American style Thanksgiving buffet, we stayed put and did not go in Centro Cozumel (downtown) until race check in.

teaming up with Tom to pump up Jill’s tires

first night in Cozumel, Thanksgiving

pre-race selfie w/ TCM teammate Jill

Swim: The swim course is a point to point 2.4-mile swim from the Marina Fontaur and exits at Chankanaab dolphin aquarium. Jill and I lined up in the 60 minute to 70 minute corral. Our plan was to swim together for as long as possible. We ended up swimming about 20 minutes together before the cross currents split us apart. Apparently, the swim currents had changed depending on which line you took – if you were closer to shore, it was ‘slower’, whereas if you swam further out away from shore, the current was more predictable. Hindsight is 20/20 and if I had the opportunity to do this again, I would have swam as far from shore. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the swim despite a very slow 1:17:07 split, nearly 6 minutes slower than my 1:11 swim at IRONMAN Kona just 6 weeks prior.

I exited the water in 36th place in my age group, giving myself plenty of work to do if I wanted to content for a podium spot.

Realizing how slow I swam…

Bike: One thing that I learned from Kona was that I needed better nutrition management in the heat. 6 weeks ago, I had depleted my sodium and potassium levels on the bike and I was not going to have a repeat here in Cozumel. So this time around, I decided to do a full change into cycling bibs and my ZOOT Kona cycling top. Having a cycling top gave me the sense of security that I would have all my nutrition for the ride – until I can find a better way to store and allocate my nutrition, I will take the time penalty from changing into cycling gear.

There really isn’t much to the bike course. It was 3 counterclockwise loops of the island. The west side of the island was a slight tailwind throughout the ride and the entirety of the east side of the island are all cross-winds. And yes, the winds became more intense with each loop of the island. 

The plan was to stay in aero position as much as I can, with occasional back stretches. It was important to stay tucked in and low, especially on the windy eastern portion of the island. My ride had a Normalized Power of 201 watts, my first time holding over 200 watts for the IRONMAN 112-mile ride. 

Being that the course was actually 113-miles long, I rolled into transition just over 5 hours at 5:01:35. This relatively strong ride dug me out of my 36th position after the swim and put me into 5th in my age group (which I later found out from Maggie out on the run course). 

5 hours of this position

Run:  I sure wasn’t going to run the 26.2-mile marathon in my cycling shorts and jersey, so I did another full change into my favorite running gear – my New Balance 3-inch split shorts and Team Chocolate Milk singlet. I also wore 2XU compression socks, which I found much more comfortable than not wearing any compression. 

After 5 hours on the bike and the sun beating down on my back and head, I felt very hot once I hit the pavement. My legs felt like bricks for the first few miles. In fact, I couldn’t find a ‘comfortable’ run stride until the first turnaround at mile 4. Did I mention that the run course is also 3 out-and-back loops? Essentially, each out and back was 7km out and 7km back. 

To take my mind off the fact that I had to run 3 identical loops, I decided to break down the 42.2km marathon into 4 repeats of 10km and one repeat of 2.2km. The 10km splits were 50:27, 53:17, 55:52 and 56:45, follwoed by 10:28 for the final 2.2km. Total marathon run time: 3:46:47

Finish Time: 10:16:40, 84th overall, 4th in Men’s 25-29

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3 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Congrats on the 4th place finish in your age group. Very strong finish! Great job!

  2. Jim Rosen says:

    Nice post. I am considering this race and came across your blog when doing some research. I would love to ask you some more about this race in a private message if possible. My wife is considering stepping up to doing a full IM. She is not speedy so I wanted to discuss how the course compares to other courses.

What do you think? Leave a comment!

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