As mentioned before, I was a total American. I paid for a package deal and everything was included. Down to CO2 cartridges for the bikes! With the exception of the plane ticket, all transportation and transfers (more on that later!!) were included. Room, food, and drinks. Well, post race drinks at Carlos and Charlies were not included.
On to the transportation issues. Cozumel being and Island, there are only a couple of ways to get there, and once there only a few modes of transportation…rented scooters, ATV rides as part of a packages, rental cars, tour buses, and cabs. I would learn that cabs have a special place on the Island. And, much like how the MOB used to control various cities in the US…the cab drivers may control a certain Island off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula. We were set to leave the resort in the aforementioned pre-paid transportation. Mind you, not everyone in the resort was using the package deal…so a good number of them were using the taxi drivers for their trips. I didn’t know what was happening, but we were running close on time for those athletes who were in for picking up their Kona slots or receiving a roll down spot. Suddenly, we were off…our driver yelled ‘move the right cone and tell those guys to move cause I’m going up the sidewalk’. He punched it, we ran up on the sidewalk and only then did I notice two large taxi vans blocking the resort exit. I said I could wait as I only needed to be there for awards. So, some of the kona qualifier folks ran to the van with a taxi van in hot pursuit. We traded places and I waited and watched while our driver sped away with a taxi van in chase. It was like a scene from a movie with one car trying to dodge the other. I made it into town…via taxi…and discovered one of the vans had been impounded. Seems that the taxi drivers were more than a little upset that some of us were using pre arranged transportation as the grouup had done in the previous years of the race. A story to tell that was for sure!!
The other story of note is just an interesting one. It was the evening before I was to leave. Pro triathletes are usually pretty good at packing. I had a bike bag and large suitcase…mostly with nutritionals and a few things that would be throw aways…more than I would usually take to a race. Everyone loved it years ago when Faris showed up for IM Hawaii with nothing but a carboard box with his bike and gear in it. After traveling the better part of the last 2 season, I came to realize that this was kind of norm for pros…less packing as opposed to more. It was especially the norm for non-US athletes. That’s not a slight against the US folks, but just a bit of an observational fact. This story takes minimalistic packing to another level. I was hoping to go into town to get Amy a belated Bday gift. I was waiting with the staff of the travel group on one triathlete who was to catch the last ferry of the day to the mainland…time was short. He showed up just in time. He rode an old softride bike. It was packed in a makeshift cardboard box with the softride beam sticking out of the box. The box was about to fall apart…the solution…more duct tape!! I didn’t see any wheels. He ran back to get them…they were sandwiched together between two sheets of cardboard taped together around the edges. Other than those to suspect boxes, he had nothing else but a small backpack. We were ready to go, and he said, wait I forgot my other bag. He jumped out of the van and grabbed a black plastic garbage bag with the rest of his clothes!! On the way to the ferry, he ‘showered’ in the van…using Axe or some other body spray. He was catching a 630AM flight the next morning…had no idea where in Cancun he was going to stay the night!
That’s about it. Doubtful there will be many more stories for the year. It’s already almost mid-December. That’s pretty much a wrap on my off-season. I spent a few days walking around in the woods wearing camo, driving a 4-wheeler (Quad as some call them), and carrying a 270. You could take the boy out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the boy. We’d planned a trip to Colorado, but the weather went south, and I didn’t want Amy’s first trip to Colorado to be super cold and snowy. So, that’s it. Planning for 2012 has already started. Looks like the season kick off may be 70.3 Panama. I did an ITU race down there in 2006, and told Amy that we’d have to go if there was ever a reason to race. Now there is!]]>
8:45:43. 7th Place. Mission accopmplished. Not a PR in terms of times. Not a PR in terms of placings, as I was 5th at IMUK in 2010. But, this field was a pretty solid and very international field. So, in those terms it was good. Definitely a good day to close out 2011. That’s the short version, and if you don’t want to read this novela, you can just stop here.
I decided to do IM Cozumel after I came down with something before Rev3 Cedar Point that persisted for 3 weeks. My start and subsequent DNF at Rev3 Cedar Point had me wanting to get in at least 1 Irondistance race in 2011. I still couldn’t believe that Cozumel would be my first full distance race after completing 5 of them in 2010!! That was a little over the top. So, with the race being around the Thanksgiving Holiday in the US and flight being through the roof expensive from Dallas…I booked my flight on a budget airline that I’d never heard of leaving Dallas on Thanksgiving day flying to Cancun. I was missing Thanksgiving with my family, but more importantly, I was missing Thank-for-giving Amy Day…aka Amy’s B-day. My discount airline did exist and was full of a bunch of Americans basically screaming about “going to Cancun to drink for 4 days” and my non-existent plane worries were put to rest. Amy used Ken Glah’s Endurance Sports Travel for IMBrazil, and wanting the same stress free experience I did the same for Cozumel. That and the budget flight made my trip reasonable for the week that I would be there. So, I was being a total American headed to Cancun/Cozumel and staying at an all-inclusive resort that I didn’t have to leave the whole time I was there outside of the race…but I did at least go to downtown Cozumel. I think that I had less than $100 US out of pocket expenses while there! Bonus!
The most consistent sport of the three for me this year has been the swimming. Maybe because I have been a swimmer for a while. Never a great one, but a good enough one. This swim was no exception. The swim in Cozumel has a ‘current’ of sorts in that there is a general flow of the water. In the past years, it has been my understanding that the current is generally about favorable for 1-200 or so meters more than it is unfavorable. And, if you make a couple of wiser choices during the more unfavorable legs of the swim, you can mitigate the effects of swimming against the current. That was my plan at the start and again at the finish. At the start it worked as I was able to arrive at the first buoy comfortably at the front of the swim without having any real contact or without really having to hit the gas. The stretch with the current turned out to be a change of pace from most swims. It was relatively easy to sit in the pack, and I drifted to the back of our group and stayed there until the return trip. We had one swimmer out front, but as we rounded the last turn and headed home, I again chose a different line that was about 10-20 meters away from the rest of the front pack. This time, by the time we reached the last buoy and things came together I found myself leading our small group without really increasing my effort much at all. Turns out we were keeping the buoys to our left, but neither the single swimmer out front nor our group realized that we were to go around with the last buoy on our right before going to shore. The lead swimmer had to come back and round the buoy while we might a slight course change to hit it. A couple of guys got the jump on me as we were redirected by a jet ski. Out of the water 3rd in a fast sub-46 minute swim. Yep, there’s a current.
On the bike I knew that I would have to be conservative to hit my main goal which was to have a good race. I had a fueling plan that I stuck to. As hard as it was to ‘not’ race when I hit the bike, I played it safe. I had a feeling that this race was going to be Kona-like in the sense that if you went to hard on the bike you would, without a doubt, pay for it on the run. To fast forward a bit, this was indeed the case. The bike was three loops, and there were really only about 8-10 miles of each loop that were truly favorable. And for everyone who says a flat course is easy, I say that it is the sameness of sitting in one position for 112 miles that can kill you…and the sameness of having to be on the gas for 112 miles with no breaks. I was passed, passed a few, and ended up riding not quite what I wanted to ride, but to have a plan on paper is one thing. What happens on race day can be another thing all together. Lap #1 was down and in good time. Lap #2 was almost down, but when coming through town Ian Mickelson, with whom I had been playing cat and mouse, was lying the street surrounded by people. He and Chris “BigSexy” Mcdonald had both crashed on the same turn though they were separate incidents. As I started lap #3, my earlier ambitious riding began to catch up to me. Again, you can’t fake fitness and with only a couple of true IM prep rides in my build up, I could feel it in my legs. I could also feel it in my stomach, and it told me that I needed to ease up a bit so that things would continue to move in the right direction and not decide to reverse themselves. Patrick Evoe, from Austin caught me about the time that we hit the last tailwind stretch. Normally I would try to back half the ride, but given my situation, I felt that ‘cruising’ in was the right decision. Off the bike and onto the run in somewhere around 10th place or so.
The run, as always, is the challenge. Mainly because it is after you have already swam 2.4 miles and ridden 112 miles. My run mileage, with the exception of post-70.3 Miami has simply not been there. I started the run with the goal of keeping all miles on the South side of 7 minutes each. It would be a stretch, but would keep my run under 3:05, and history shows that in Cozumel that is an ‘OK’ run. I was on pace for more than ½ the run. I knew about ½ way into the run that the last 8-10 miles were going to be a challenge. My quads were pretty well shot by mile 18. This was something that I have not really experienced in an Ironman before. My last IM was over 1 year ago, and I knew that I would have to force the last lap of the run and limit the losses. I was holding onto a pretty solid 5th at this time. Those in front of me that had over-rode the bike did pay, and many of them paid dearly. I soldiered on as I like to say. The stinker of the race was in the last 7k…apologies to my American readers…but the course was billed as 3x14k. I was passed once right after the turn home by a Russian who seemed to shamelessly take the advantage of sitting behind whoever he could for 112 miles of cycling…but hey that’s racing. From 5th to 6th. Top-5 always sounds good. The last pass came with probably less than 2 miles to go and that one hurt the most as it was within 12 minutes of finishing. But, it was a decisive pass, and I just could not go with him.
I would finish 7th…like at 70.3 European Champs. Congrats to fellow Americans Michael Lovato, Patrick Evoe, and Zach Ruble who finished 1st, 2nd, and 4th to put 3 Americans in the top-5 and at least one more with me in the top-10.
So, that’s a virtual wrap on 2011. In hindsight 2010 was a bit of a lackluster year. Too much IM racing, cramming 5 into the year with 3 of them being in the span of 6 weeks. I hope that I am my own worst critic. 2011 was, as I mentioned, an up and down year with it mostly being down. I thought I had some bad luck in 2010, but 2011 proved to throw more my way. My first injury that prevented me from training…at all. Getting sick a few times that required 3 rounds of antibiotics. 2011 was also a lackluster year at best. Of course there were positives as well, but from a results standpoint, it lacked substance. Good riddance. And as always, the goal for 2012 will be to improve on 2011. That seems a bit too easy, so I’ll have to rethink that one so that I’m not setting my sights too low!]]>
So, while you read this, I will be hanging out South of the Border in Cozumel, Mexico. This is my first trip south of the border to do a race longer than an Olympic distance race. I left Austin on Amy’s Birthday. AND, I am missing what she likes to call Thanks-for-Giving-Amy Day since she was a Thanksgiving Baby. All of that to say, that it had better be a good day!!
As mentioned on the race preview, the field is a good one with several of the top-10 from last year as well as several other additions. As is customary, we won’t know until race morning as to who will actually be starting. My goal is simple…have a good race. This year has been very up and down with some things pointing to great races and others that have just not gone well. Back at the end of June at Buffalo Springs on 4 weeks of training, when I finished I honestly felt I could just double that for an Ironman. I was sidelined before Rev3 Cedar Point even started so that one was a bit of a disappointment as was the race in Miami. 70.3 Europeans, Alpe D’Huez, and Anderson SC were all good indicators. So, the goal is to not look back like I just did. The goal is to control the controllables and race my race. When I do that, I’ll have a good race and will be able to finish the season on a high note whether it’s a win or 10th.
Stay tuned for MO.]]>
Why do I write this? Because more and more we find out that everyone of us knows someone who has been directly affected by cancer. Could also easily be written that we know someone who has been directly effected by cancer. So, here I am again on 17 November trying to get a little bit of awareness to cancer and the month of MOvember, and yes, I am still way short of my $1,000 goal.
I don’t know who you might donate to or for or in remembrance of. The statistics again that jump out at me are that 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer every 2.2 minutes, and 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Kind of makes me think a bit more as I type it instead of just copy and paste it. Off the top of my head are at least three people, and I am sure if I thought just a tad bit more it would be at least a dozen or more.
Last night Amy and I went to a bike build for ‘Bikes for Kids’ here in Austin. We built bikes for kids who will receive them as gifts for the holiday season. I’m sporting my ‘MO’ as you can see and will be until the end of MOvember…yes all the way through IM Cozumel. I’ve put a couple of pictures below. The ‘event’ is sponsored by a local MIX radio station and the Mellow Johnny’s bike shop. I only put that blurb in there so I can make the tie in for my MO. Because we built MObikes for MOkids last night. I’m hoping that the kids aren’t old enough to be sporting their own MO.
So, get off your bum and go to http://mobro.co/BMoMarshTX and donate!!
More importantly, it is now Movember, the month previously known as November. I could cut and paste the verbiage about Movember, but instead, I will just cut and paste the statistics. I am raising money to bring awareness to men’s health, prostate cancer in particular…
- 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
- A man is diagnosed with prostate cancer every 2.2 minutes
- 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime
- 24% of men are less likely to go the doctor compared to women
- 95% of cancers are thought to be environmental.
So there you have it, some sobering statistics. I have joined a ‘team’ this year…made mostly of triathletes. If you would like to donate to the team, you can. Of course, I would prefer that you donate to me. My goal is to raise $1,000. Why $1,000? Because that is the minimum amount of prize money paid out at Ironman Cozumel at the end of the month. And, it’s a nice round number. I have to get started on this. My ‘mospace’ is here…http://mobro.co/BMoMarshTX. Just click the big button that says ‘Donate to me’.
Now, for your viewing enjoyment a few pictures…
So, I’ll be sporting my Movember mutstache at Ironman Cozumel. According to John Cobb, there really isn’t an aero penalty for a mustache or beard. If I could pull it off, Amy would really like the following style, but clearly I do NOT have it…]]>
After Anderson, Scott and I headed to Austin. We trained here for a few days in the Big City. Scott’s a Jersey-boy, but Austin is way bigger than his city at home and quite busy. He’s certainly not impressed with the riding here, and rightfully so. It can be a tough place to just get on your bike and ride if you don’t want to deal with lights and cars.
We stayed in Austin and then went to see John Cobb of Cobb Cycling…I was pretty sure that Scott needed some tweaks to his fit…and boy did he get them. But, we put in 4-5 good solid days of training there around Cobb’s place, and then headed back to Austin. I’m sure Scott will blog about his TX experience, complete with dancing, big hair, and fake boobs. It was good to actually spend some time with one of our sponsors outside of a race or camp so that we could really get a handle on what else Cobb Cycling was about, meet the staff, and just learn a bit more about what is expected of a pro athlete who is also a sponsored athlete. And, for your viewing enjoyment, what would a BrandonMarsh blog be without a video of sorts. This one is a bit old, but it is an intro to John Cobb of Cobb Cycling.
Click here to view the embedded video.
So, next up for me is 70.3 Miami on Sunday. From what I heard it was a debacle last year, and IM was bound and determined to fix their issues for the race. I’m sure it’ll be a decent field as well. I will say though since it is post-Kona there will likely be 50 guys on the start list and only about 30 will actually show up. It’s a hole in the system that needs to be fixed more like the ITU system. It’ll be really good prep for IM Cozumel in a bit over a month.]]>
Since being in Austin it took a good week or two to actually get back to feeling normal and having some good workouts. I find myself on the upwards trajectory again. We’ll see how it goes!!
So, tomorrow morning it is off to South Carolina for the Half-Rev they call it. The timing of this race is good since I have had a late start to the season. The field is a big one…seems those pros who are NOT in Kona are going to head to Anderson. So, it will be a big pro field. Scott and I will be there wearing the TeamTBB USA colors.
I tried to find some good youtube videos for the blog. My buddy Jeff4 has pretty much been spamming my TBB forum with youtube videos, but I have not yet had the chance to watch them all. So, being a musical fan, I also searched for South Carolina music. Seems the most popular band to come out of S.C. is Hootie and the Blowfish…and now that Darius has gone on to the country charts, Hootie is no longer a blowfish. But, The Marshall Tucker Band is from Spartanburg, S.C.. So, for your musical enjoyment…The Marshall Tucker Band…
Click here to view the embedded video.
And to further your musical enjoyment…a remake featuring Kid Rock and the Zach Brown Band…not to be confused with Charlie Brown…
Click here to view the embedded video.]]>
Enter Thursday 29 October, 2011. There was a crazy accident in South Austin…not far from our local bike as well as a couple of other popular bike shops. Continue to Friday 30 October, 2011 when a co-worker of our neighbor stopped by to ask if we had seen her. Then a couple of cop cars pulled up to her house. Then another neighbor brought by a clipping from the local newspaper about the bizzarre story that was on the news Thursday night. I caught small parts of it but I was on my to bed when the news was on, so I didn’t hear the full story. Turns out, what usually ‘only’ happens in the movies happened in real life.
Our neighbor, who kept an eye on our house while we were out, and generally knew what was going on on our street…was in one of those movie kind of accidents. She didn’t know what was going on in the street in a nosey kind of way, it was more of a neighborhood watch kind of way. I’d known her since I moved in. Kind of the perfect neighbor if you will. I didn’t know much of her personal life, she seemed to just come and go to work…she worked for the State. We talked off an on, sent her post cards from a few of our trips. I knew she had been married at one time and had a son that she didn’t really have a relationship with…that was about it.
The short story as we have heard. On Thursday evening, she met her son in a neutral location. He beat her while she was in her car. He had done this at least once before and had been in and out of jail. Beat her enough so that the police and paramedics had to be called. As the paramedics and police were loading her into the ambulance, her son ran into the stretcher killing her. We found out yesterday. It was really tragic, kind of surreal. This isn’t really TBB blog material, but I guess you could say that it was part of a professional triathletes’ every day life.
Is there a lesson learned? I don’t know, I’m just kind of writing here after a swim practice that tore my arms off. I told the news that people should get to know their neighbors, their community. Don’t pry, but find out what’s going on around you. Be observant. The neighbors to the other side of her kind of said the same thing. She had been kind of a grandmother figure to their two kids. She’ll definitely be missed. It’s easy to just be in your own little world. Especially in this day and age of social networking and ‘virtual’ friendships…you know the type…your best friends online, but can’t stand each other in real life. Put the phone down, turn off the computer, get outside. Be more of a real and not virtual person. It’s kind of a morbid story, especially to write and put on a blog. But, in some respects it kind of puts things in perspective. We never ‘really’ knew what was going on in her life. Seemed like a pretty fine life, but inside there was likely a lot of turmoil.]]>
Or maybe get back in the saddle as we might say in Texas…
Click here to view the embedded video.
Because the train keeps a rollin’…and waits for no one…
Click here to view the embedded video.
It’s back to the racing. I’ve got 4-5 on the horizon. I’ll go back to another Revolution3 race with their race in Anderson, S.C. It is a 70.3 distance event. After that, it’s probably sleep in my own bed and do the 70.3 event in Austin, TX. It is a low point and ‘low’ money race, but it’s hometown and will likely be the next one.
After that I’ll do a later season Ironman in Florida or Cozumel. I’ve raced Florida before and Cozumel seems like a really good venue and gets good reviews.]]>
I will preface the remainder of this blog with a clip from a movie that I have seen in it’s entirety only one time. It is a great movie. You’ll know it…
Click here to view the embedded video.
So, ‘it’ happens in a variety of ways depending on the scenario. Tuesday I did my mostly normal race week routine. I say mostly normal because shortly after I finished my first workout and ate, I got home and was welcomed with a splitting headache and stomach tied in knots. I debated and debated my second workout, even to the point of going to the pool with Amy, only to have her drive me back home because I felt so bad. Tuesday night ‘it’ began and continued pretty much through midday on Friday. Probably, like Amy the days before Wiesbaden, I should have just made the decision to stay home. I didn’t…it’s hard to when you are headed to a key race to make the decision to not travel. It has happened to very high profile pros (remember Kona last year) as well as friends and athletes that I have coached. Rather, I figured I’d go and it would be a 24 and not 72ish hour bug.
It is one thing to feel ok walking around on the Saturday before a race and to feel ‘ok’ in pre-race workouts. It is another thing all together to be able to line up at the start of an Ironman fully confident that you will not only finish, but have the race you are capable of having with the lead in that I had. So…after a mediocre swim where I was about 1.5 minutes off the front 2 guys, a decent but not stellar first 30 miles that saw me gradually slow down and get thirstier and thirstier despite sticking to my normal nutrition and hydration +extra plan, a 4.5 mile detour that probably all but a few of the pros took on the bike, I packed it in at 56 miles on the bike after continuing to die a rather rapid death on the bike that saw me pushing gears and speeds that my 6 year old niece could push and ride!
To add insult to injury, after I got a ride back to the run course about 5 miles from the hotel, my bike had a flat that I had to change. After my shower as I went downstairs to get something to eat at the hotel, all of the restaurants were closed. Good times!
Watch for the next blog post…So, What’s Next!?]]>