Iron Season – Part 2/9: PR x 3
Having warmed up with the Beach to Battleship Iron race, on Dec. 1st I raced Ironman Cozumel, and on Dec 8th the California International Marathon. Three personal records in one week: 10:44 Ironman, 1:26 Half Marathon, and 3:10Marathon. The targeted ultra-endurance training paid off, including RAAM with Jay in June. Cozumel is a beautiful island IM venue, and I can recommend it for a beach&beer vacation also. The swim was over a coral reef teeming with fish (salt water+current=very fast swim); the bike was three loops around the whole island, punctuated by 85 F 15 mph headwinds on the south coast, but this is standard training territory in Wild Card country! The Marathon started out hot and slow in high humidity; but then it rained and cooled down, and I sped up considerably while getting chafed on my ankles from the soaking socks.
That worried me a little with another Marathon coming up in a week. The CIM is in Sacramento. My flight was canceled due to ice in Dallas, so I finally drove to Chicago, flew to Portland, and from there to Sacramento. I taped up my feet and greased them in a thick layer of petroleum jelly, and that worked: no complaints from my feet during or after the race. I was on a 6:35 pace for the Half Marathon, running with my former grad student Greg Scott who is a 14:25 5k runner. Naturally, that did not work out forever, and I settled down to a more comfortable 7:15-7:45 range for the second half. Still good enough for another PR. The lesson for me: if I want to go sub-3, probably an Ironman the week before is not the best taper strategy!