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Last race report of 2009! Wongstar’s IM Cozumel. « Jocelyn Wong's Blog

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Last race report of 2009! Wongstar’s IM Cozumel.

Yikes, yes I realize it’s been nearly a month since the race and considered just bagging the race report for my 6th ironman of 2009.  Maybe nobody would notice… But somehow my blog posts get over 2,000 hits, I don’t know how, but I guess this means someone might notice.  I wouldn’t want to disappoint anybody.  Even my mom and dad and brother have all said something.  So I figure I might as well finish the half-written report I started on the airplane ride home and throw in the bazillion race photos I have.

I contemplated just putting the pictures in with random witty captions, as Coco has sometimes accused my blog of being a simple child’s picturebook.  ;)  But knowing me it will end up being a long story anyway…

This one is dedicated for you, the fans! Merry Christmas, I don’t have much money to buy you anything so you get one more race report for 2009, enjoy.

Im hiding in the back.  Maybe I should just start in the front so I wont get dropped so quick.

I'm hiding in the back. The one in the BlueSeventy speedsuit. And my white long sleeve Scody race kit. Maybe I should just start in the front so I can stay with the pack for a few more seconds.

So we were corralled onto the dock and weren’t allowed to get into the water until the race announcer declared each of our names…yes, one at a time…for over 60 pros! They called the men first which took forever and finally the women. Once we were in the water it was pretty amazing–the water was so clear! It was my first swim in the sea since I had come into Mexico so late (Friday night). I was actually able to stay with the pack for an entire 15 to 20 seconds…woohoo! A slight improvement on getting my butt dropped straightaway, but I know I still have a loooong way to go.

I just assumed the worst case scenario: that I would be swimming pretty much alone for the 2.4 miles, 1-loop swim.  Worst case scenario it was, but no surprises as I was expecting it, therefore I did NOT freak out or panic or anything stupid like that.  Damage control!

swimming

there are so many swim exit photos I am just going to intersperse them here during the swim story.

The First Mate had made me a big sign that said “SWIM LIKE A SHARK” and it really was like swimming in a big fish tank!  Just like being in the movie Finding Nemo.  I know I keep saying this, but it was really amazing!  You could see the sea floor, and even the scuba guys at the bottom were waving at us.

At first I pretended I was one of the sharks in Finding Nemo, but then I remembered they are vegetarian.  Screw that!  I’m a strong meat-eating girl who likes her steak a little bit bloody.  I decided I was the shark from Jaws instead.  So then I had the Jaws theme in my head…

swimming

here I come! JAWS!

I even saw STARfish on the ocean floor, midway through the swim.  They waved their little starfish arms at me and cheered “Swim like a superSTAR!  GO WongSTAR!”

I didn’t get caught by the age groupers until about 45 mins into the swim…which I thought was not too shabby.  We had a 15min head start, but once they came by, they flew by…  I couldn’t really tell if the swim was short or if the current was strong, I just didn’t worry about much except to keep swimming as hard as I could for as long as I could.  And if people say the swim course was short, well, swimming it all by yourself sure feels like a long time.

swimming

popping out at last!

I was happy to be out, as usual.  Finishing the swim is always my 2nd favorite part of the whole race.  My first favorite would be crossing the finish line!  :)

swimming

nice Avia logo eh!

It did seem to take a bit quicker than my last swim, that horrible 1:18 in Florida…

swimming

Land, ho!

In fact, you could say I was pretty excited when I looked at my watch…

swimming

what's the damage?

…and saw that it said “1:05″!  No way!

Ill take it!

I'll take it!

Yep I was pretty happy with that.  Can you tell?  1:05 is my PR from EmbrunMan and this swim was without a wetsuit.

transition #1

transition #1

My bike was pretty easy to spot in transition, per usual.  Someday this will change.  Off I went!

The bike course went 3 times around the island and was really gorgeous, although ridiculously windy on the other side.  We went right along the coast with absolutely no protection from the wind!  I was actually quite happy the swim wasn’t on this other side as the water looked extremely choppy.  My first lap I took it out pretty controlled as usual, holding back the effort so I could dial it up later.

biking

fastest training wheels on the pro rack!

I saw the First Mate yelling for me as she had run back from the swim start to T2/the finish line area.  Then I turned up the effort and felt great!  At halfway, I let it rip and caught 3 pro women between my 3rd and 4th hours.  I was definitely on pace to go under 5:20 which would be slower than the last 2 races, also flat courses, but were nowhere as windy as Cozumel.

biking

huff puff huff puff

On my 3rd lap I hit the wind and just felt like my legs ran out of juice.  I wasn’t sure why I couldn’t stomp out the last 60k really hard like I usually do; it is normally the fastest part of my bike split.  A great sherpa and cheerleader is always looking at her watch, and according to my First Mate, I lost over 10 minutes on that last lap!

biking

grinding away!

After future contemplation (yes it has been almost a month) with Coach about what happened, he pointed out that I didn’t exactly get any real bike training in for the last 6 weeks prior to this race.  Yup, this was the 3rd ironman-distance race in a 5-week span, which was not intentional at all.  I had Cozumel on my race calendar since I qualified for my pro card 6 months ago.  GreatMan was originally held mid-September, got cancelled, then postponed for late October.  In early October, the same week I committed to doing GreatMan, IM Florida finally got back to me and suddenly I had 3 ironmans in 5 weeks!

biking

whoa whoa crosswinds blowing me over

Coach was not worried about me racing that much and therefore I was not worried either.  In fact I did get quite excited and temporarily insane after Florida and asked, why not just throw in IM Arizona into the mix too?!

Coach was smart enough to draw the line there.  This is why we have coaches.  Because 3 ironmans in 5 weeks was perfectly acceptable, but 4 of them was clearly stupid.  Duh!

biking

Really gorgeous bike course, wouldn't you say??

Well the wind was just as relentless on the last lap and I was still pushing a big gear like normal.  This would come back and bite me in the butt later…  I rolled into transition and ducked in and out of the change tent with a 57-second T2!  My friend Amy Kloner was one of the race announcers and I heard her yell that I was in 8th place.  No way!

Well, another pro woman, Michaela, sprinted by me right out of T2, so my 8th was quickly down to 9th, and I let her go as the pace was too quick for me so early into the run.  It was extremely humid and pretty warm, so I did my share of splashing water onto myself and stuffing my sports bra with ice.  If men were smart, they too would wear sports bras for these hot races.  Man-bras don’t count, they don’t have the elastic at the bottom to hold the ice in.

biking

skipping along, lap #1

I knew Amy K from when I was in grad school in Atlanta (2004-2006), and another of the ATL girls, April Gellatly, was also racing.  The three of us were all amateurs back then and both of them would kick my ass.  April and I were in the same age group and she would always win it.  Well, now all 3 of us are racing in the pro ranks.  I was trying to give April a run for her money as she had spanked me out of the swim but was only a couple spots ahead of me on the run.

The crowd support was phenomenal and I really felt like a celebrity.  A lot of them would yell for me by name “GO JOCELYN!” and I would always think they actually knew who I was, since I am so famous and all that, before realizing that I had my name on my bib number.  The First Mate did however have her hot pink sign that said “GO WONGSTAR!”  I loved it!!

running

hurting a little but still moving!

The first out-and-back lap (of three) went by quickly enough, I didn’t feel all that fresh and peppy but the crowd really helped.  Around mile 10 my stomach was starting to feel a bit off, and I tried to just suck it up and keep going, but my pace slowed… and slowed…and all I wanted to do was take a few steps to let it settle down.  But as soon as I started walking, my low back really tightened up and I could barely even walk!

Oh dear.  I’m thinking this was partly due to pushing too big of a gear on the bike into the wind.  I walked a bit, shuffled a bit, stopped to stretch out my back several times, took in some Coke, walked some more, shuffled a bit, stopped and stretched, and in the meantime got passed by masses and masses of age groupers who were on their first laps.  Things looked bleak and I was afraid I would have to walk it in.  All I could think of was getting to the special needs station at mile 13, the halfway point of the marathon.  I decided that my stomach was just not happy with the Gatorade in my Camelbak, so I really wanted to switch to the Wongstar magic mix, my Starbucks formula.  Once I got my new Camelbak on, I forced myself to shuffle.  No more walking.  Just run really slow.

I was actually pretty surprised that none of the pro women behind me caught me during my 3 miles of walking and stopping to stretch.  It must’ve been a tough day for most of us out there.  Yes, 3 age group women did pass me and truthfully I am surprised that more of them didn’t.

I shuffled my way back to complete my 2nd loop, and my back muscles were starting to feel looser at that point.  The crowds were very encouraging: this buoyed my spirits and I was able to start picking up my pace again.  I actually passed back Michaela, who had sprinted by in the first 10 meters of the marathon, so back into 8th place I went.  It was good to see Bella out there kicking ass as usual.  My old roommate Bean was suffering as well, but we were at least able to encourage each other on the course.

It was getting dark by the end of my last lap, and I was disappointed I would be breaking my streak of 5 daylight finishes in a row this year.  Still, a finish is a finish, and the caffeine kicked in enough during my last few miles that I was fighting off an age group woman who was right behind me and closing in.  Yes, she started 15mins behind me, but for all I knew, I thought she was a pro, and I wasn’t about to let her catch me!

finishing

into the finish chute!

I am always happy to finish an Ironman.  No matter how many I end up doing in a single year, each finish is still special to me.  I will always feel a huge sense of accomplishment no matter what my finish time is, and I will always have deep respect for this distance.

finishing

magic running sticks!

It turns out that my finish time was a 10:37, which kind of cracks me up at this point because a year ago I never would have thought a 10:37 would be considered a bad race for me.  And now it is…  I still managed to go 3:58 in the marathon while walking for 3 miles, which is ridiculous considering I just broke 4 hours for the first time this year, and that was when I ran the whole thing!  I couldn’t even break 11 hours in my July ironman, 4 months ago.

finishing

I'm always happy to cross the finish line... Best part of the whole day!

So am I disappointed with the race?  Yes and no.  Obviously I would have loved to do better.  But in perspective (and there’s lots of time for perspective when you procrastinate on your race report) did I ever think a year ago I could do 3 ironmans in 5 weeks?  at 9:55, 9:54, and 10:37?

I think a year ago I would hardly believe I could do just one of those.  Yes, even the 10:37 would’ve been astounding to me.  To go 10:37 with a sub-par bike and walking a few miles on the run tells me that I have improved tremendously this year.  Besides, I kind of went from breaking 12 hours in April to breaking 10 hours in October.  I skipped the breaking 11 hours part, so I had to go back and do that.  ;)

finishing

not a daylight finish but still my 3rd fastest ironman of the year!

Yep, out of the 6 ironmans I did this year, this last one was still the 3rd fastest!  After so much racing, I was relieved to be done and ready to go have some mojitos.  And what did I learn?  2 Ironmans 2 weeks apart I can do pretty well at both, but a 3rd one 3 weeks later may just be one too many…

whew baby

whew baby

It’s been just an astounding 2009 for me, and I am incredibly thankful to Brett & Alex and teamTBB for making this the year all my dreams have come true.  I am still learning the ups and downs of being a professional triathlete but am excessively happy with how my rookie year has gone.

I want to thank my parents and family for all of their support, and also my wonderful teammates, friends, fans, blog readers, and last but not least, my lovely sponsors, for making it all possible.  Without you I am not a triathlon superstar!

Muchas gracias to the Bike Boutique, Cervelo, Avia, Mark Cathcart, Jeju Island, BlueSeventy, Oval Concepts, ISM Saddles, Scody, SLS3 and Yogavive apple chips!

Have a Merry Christmas or as they say in Cozumel, Feliz Navidad!

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