Ironman Los Cabos Race predictions

Ironman Los Cabos

Live athlete tracker Race #656  

12 hours until I take off  for my first Ironman.  World’s most challenging endurance race at 140.6 miles.  My bike is racked in transition and my bike gear and run gear are checked in. Today was an exciting and busy afternoon. I was surprised how long it took me to pack my 5 race bags.  I didn’t want to mess up and I still kind of wonder how well I packed them. Tomorrow at 4:30am I’ll bring my morning bag and bike/ run special needs bags. My practice this morning went much better than yesterday and even though it was choppy I seemed to be able to swim straight today and focus on the buoys. I feel much better today about making the swim cut off.

Ironman Los Cabos

Ironman gear bags

Ironman Los Cabos 2014

Ironman Los Cabos 2014

No matter what happens on race day, this is my race and this is about doing what I can do. But I’m not racing alone. Nobody reaches the start line of an Ironman alone. The majority of my training was solo but I could not be here without the support I’ve received from others. As I do my final preparations I want to thank those that have helped encourage and inspire me along the way. Some of you have asked about my training, shared stories from your Ironman experiences, and some of you have listened, read and encouraged me as I blogged race training. I appreciate all of it. Thank you so much.

So what are my chances of finishing?  I don’t actually know. Apparently last year the Ironman Los Cabos Do Not Finish rate was something like 40%.  Can that be right?  I focused a lot of my time and efforts on training the past five months although I did not complete the amount training I intended to.  I signed up for an early season Ironman and did not imagine it could be possible to snow the entire winter. I got very few outdoor long rides and runs in and training inside wasn’t easy.  But at this point I feel ready and excited to give it my all and see how far I go. If I had to guess I’d say I have a 30% chance of finishing which means it’s still possible so I’m prepared to give it my all.  Just like any of my goal I know to always focus on the possibilities.  Our biggest obstacles and biggest strengths are often our minds.  I know it’s important to stay calm when I encounter challenges and I need to remember to enjoy the day.  I’m still pretty calm and I look forward to getting out there. Anything is possible and no matter what happens I’m happy I am here for this experience.

If you’re curious to know where I am and how far I’ve gotten over the course of my day ahead you can track me on the Live athlete tracker  Race #656.  If the link doesn’t work head over to Ironman to locate the athlete race tracker.

Ironman Los Cabos

Race day predictions.   Estimated time of arrival 11:11pm.

3:30am  Wakeup. Get dressed.  Re-check bags.

4:30am Race Day Breakfast: 2.5 hours before race. 550 calories Salt Bagel with 2 TBSP natural peanut butter and banana. Drink 1 Spark, 1/2 cup coffee, 12 ounces water.  6:00am Pre-Race1 hour before race. 100 calories Cliff gel.

4:45am  Shuttle to transition.

7:00am Race start.

Swim:  2.4 miles 1:50:00

I’m giving myself an extra 20 minute since swim practice was choppy and I don’t know how the current will be. I also don’t use 100% of my energy on the swim or get out of the water disappointed with time. I’ll focus on swimming as smoothly and efficiently as I can.

Transition 1: Swim-to-bike:  14:00

Yep, I’m giving myself 14 minutes for transition 1.  I want to remember everything and feel good getting on the bike.  I don’t expect to be dizzy or disoriented coming out of the water although people say it happens.  I’ll take off my wet suit, change into my cycling gear, consume a gel, recheck that I have my bike gear, and head out on the bike.

Bike:  My biggest challenge is to meet the bike cut off.  I must be off my bike no later than 5:30pm.

Split time 8:100:00 Race time:  10:14:00

Split:  35.5 mi Distance: 35.3 mi  Split time:  2:15  Race time:  4:19:00

Split:  91.1 miles  Distance: 55.8 mi  Split time:  3:55:00 Race time:   8:14:00

Split:  112 mi Distance: 20.9 mi  Split time:  2:00   Race time:  10:14:00

Transition 2 BIKE-TO-RUN:  10:00

Time to run your first marathon, Keli.  That’s just ONE mile.  TWENTY-SIX times.  Pace yourself one mile at a time.  Ironman cut off is at midnight.


Split:  2 mi Distance: 2 mi  Split time:  24:00   Race time:   10:48:00

Split:  6.9 mi Distance: 4.9 mi  Split time:  1:00:00 Race time:  11:48:00

Split:  10.8 mi Distance: 3.9 mi  Split time:  52:00  Race time:  12:40:00

Split:  15.7 mi Distance: 4.8 mi  Split time:  1:08  Race time:  13:48:00

Split:  19,6 mi Distance: 3.9 mi  Split time: 55:00 Race time: 14:43:00

Split:  24.5 mi Distance: 4.9 mi  Split time: 1:03  Race time:  15:46:00

Split:  26.2 mi Distance: 1.7 mi  Split time:  25:00 Race time:  16:11:00

See you at 140.6



Ironman Los Cabos 2014 preparation days

Ironman Los Cabos 2014 race

The last two days went so quick.  I definitely recommend first timers arriving 4 days before the race.  It allows plenty of time to get everything together and done without rushing. I’ve felt calm and relaxed throughout all of this excitement.  I can’t believe the race is in 32 hours.  Here’s the athlete tracker and  live coverage  if you’re interested in tracking where I am throughout the race on Sunday.  Bibb #656.

Thursday.  Athlete check-in and packet pickup day.  I picked up my Ironman backpack, athlete wristband, race bibbs, timing chip, and 5 race bags.

Silver: morning clothes bag

Blue: bike gear bag

Green: bike special needs bag

Red: run gear bag

Yellow: run special needs bag

I was given a choice of English or Spanish at check-in. I figured since I’m here for a challenge why not go for Spanish? It seemed to make sense and following instructions in Spanish made things a little more exciting than they already were.  After browsing the expo, picking up CO2 cartridges and my race tattoos I went for a 60 minute run. I could tell I was already adapting to the temperature and it felt better than Wedesday. I was able to squeeze in a few hours of work at some point in the afternoon too and went for a manicure in the evening. I figured since I’ll be riding my bike for 7-8 hours it’s best my fingers look good.  My manicure at Mex Sun Spa turned into a manicure, pedicure and 30 minute massage which relaxed me even more than I already was. I caught up on a little more work after dinner then headed to bed fairly early.


ironman los cabos

Ironman Los Cabos swim course

Friday.  6:00am wakeup. Breakfast.  Bus to Playa Palmilla 8 pesos. Ocean swim practice.  Shit.  Ahhhh that was harder than I expected. Quite a bit harder actually.  The water is beautiful and warmer than everyone anticipated.  I think 72 degrees. I expected it to be harder than getting into the pool back home but it was easy. I wasn’t expecting an obstacles on the swim though.  Surprise. So the tricky stuff… The swells and currents.  Oh shit.  I only swam 0.5 miles this morning.  For starters, I could barely see the first buoy market.  We swam against the current and it was a challenge to swim straight. The current kept throwing me off while I tried to lift my head to sight on navigation buoys. I’m pretty good at sensing my pace but had no idea how much slower than usual I was swimming. I focused on my breathing and the things within my control and kept looking around at other people to see if I had drifted off course.  On race day there’s supposed to be more buoys and rescue kayaks which should help everyone stay on course.  That’s my biggest concern now for the swim along with swimming fast enough through the current to make the cut off time.  I didn’t even consider the swim cut off being a factor for my race until today’s practice. I’m adjusting my predicted swim time from 1:35 and giving myself up to a full TWO hours.  I don’t want to come out of the water disappointed. If I make it in less time, that’s great.  After practice I chatted up one of the swim officials who drew me a map of the course in the sand to help me better understand the course. He asked me how many Ironman’s I’ve done. When I told him this was my first Ironman and that I just did my first Olympic in September he said “Are you fucking crazy?” and asked me why I chose this Ironman over one of the lake swim courses or flatter bike courses.  I basically told him something like “Why not?  It’s something I want to do and at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter what happens, right?  If I complete it I’ve accomplished an amazing goal and if I fail I might cry, then laugh, then know what it’s like to experience an Ironman which to me is so exciting!  It’s not like I can’t ever try it again.”  He smiled, thanked me for a bright perspective, and told me it was motivating to hear someone think about Ironman this way.  I have to remember my own words should this turn out less than ideal.  I’m actually glad an obstacle came up before race day.  They say that everyone goes through multiple obstacles during the race so it’s better I start experiencing them before the big day. The biggest obstacles are often the barriers our minds create though so I know it’s important to stay calm, regroup/refocus when I encounter challenges, and just do my best.  Who knows, there’s always a chance I could surprise myself.

Ironman Los Cabos Swim course

When I returned from swim practice it was only 9:45am and the hotel breakfast was still going on.  Yay!  That worked out well because it felt like lunch time to me.  After my early lunch I picked up my bike from Tri Bike Transport then headed to the mandatory athlete meeting with Alex from Montreal. Alex sat next to me at breakfast number two and this is his 8th Ironman.  At the meeting he kept telling me how difficult this swim course is going to be (for the reasons I explained) and how hilly and hard the bike course is going to be.  He was helpful and had an answer to each of my questions.  ”It’ll be one tough course” he must have told me 10 times.  I met lots of people who said the same thing, a handful of people who DNFed their first Ironman and are back to go for it again, people who were injured or hospitalized in past races, and I also met a few first timers like me.  The majority of people here  though are multi-Ironmaners.  Multi-ironman…is that what it’s called?  I fit in a short bike ride in the late afternoon and discovered a small mechanical glitch.  Thanks to Alex at Tri Bike and one of the mechanics they we were able to fix it.  Alex was awesome.

I was lucky enough to eat dinner with Ironman event writter Shawn Skene tonight.  He talked me though practicalities, mental aspects of the race, breaking the race into small pieces, and the challenges he said everyone encounters at some point in the race.  I visualized myself racing while listening to him and I felt excited.  Such an inspiring and nice guy.  Thanks, Shawn.

So yikes, it’s time to get some sleep. I’ve decided to get up early tomorrow for the second day of swim practice. I hope it makes me just a bit more prepared for race day.  Tomorrow’s the final day before race day.  Hasta mañana.


Ironman Los Cabos arrival

Ironman Los Cabos

I started blogging tonight and realized I have little to say. I just arrived and think it’s important to blog each day up to the race so I can look back at it.  I’ll keep this blog post boring and somewhat short. I sat next to an Ironman on the plane who’s competed in like 10 Ironmans, including Kona. This is his first IMLC.  Just after takeoff I read Allison’s awesome card.  Love the quote on the magnet!   It was weird sitting there realizing I was flying to my first Ironman.

I left Philly around 3:30am and reached my hotel in San Jose del Cabo around 1:30pm.  I didn’t even sit down or check in with work before throwing my running shoes on. I actually impressed myself.  I took off for a one hour run and it must have been the hottest and hardest run ever. I’ve been training in 20 degree weather and it’s almost 90 degrees here. Race day forecast is 92 degrees.  A lot of competitors are using the heat as a reason to complain and create excuses but who signs up for an Ironman in Mexico and doesn’t expect heat?  Little problems like this usually aren’t actually problems at all.  The good news for me is that I’ll be at the back of the pack which means I don’t expect to get off my bike until 5pm.  Actually, that’s if I make the bike cut off.  By 6:30pm this evening it was comfortable and almost felt cool. I’m actually thinking about changing my marathon attire and running in pants.  So between my run, a few hours of work, and my Tostada ceviche de pescado that’s a wrap for today. I feel pretty good.  I’m calm, relaxed and happy to be here. Looking forward to athlete packet pickup tomorrow and whatever else is ahead.

Tacos in San Jose del Cabo


Ironman Race Gear List

Ironman race gear list

image ironmanloscabos

Just finished packing at 9pm. The majority of my race gear I put in my suitcase last week which was worth it.  I’m calm, relaxed and I’m thinking about staying this way until race day. So here’s how to pack for an Ironman Triathlon.  My race day gear fit in one suitcase and I’ve got a second piece of luggage for my race recovery yoga teacher vacation.  

tri suit
Goggles (two)
Swim Cap
Cliff gel (pre-swim)
Cycling shorts
Sports bra (white)
Cycling jersey
Cycling shoes
Bike pedals
Gear bag:  CO2 catridges, spare tube, bdg, ibuprofen, chap stick water bottles
Race bibb
Frame bag Nutrition: Bagel, peanut butter, banana, dry apricots, gels, spark, rehydrate, and salt tabs, gum
Run shorts
Run shirt
Sports bra (blue)
Red run shoes
Race bibb
Hydration belt
Small flashlight (?)
Nutrition, Gel, spark, rehydrate, salt tablets, ibuprofen, gum
Transition bag
Skin glide
Hair ties
Bike Special needs bag
Extra CO2 canisters
Extra nutrition with a treat to look forward to half way through the ride
Extra bottle of hydration
Disposable face wipes
Encouragement/inspiration notes from friends and family
Run special needs bag 
Extra pair of socks
Long sleeved tech t-shirt
Extra nutrition
Notes from family and friends
Hair brush, yup! (more chap stick too!)
Something I’ll cross the finish line with

Ironman Los Cabos 2014 Hospital?

Ironman special needs bag notes

Hospital?  It’s not actually what I thought Lisa meant.  This morning I opened this package from Lisa.  It made me laugh as I thought she implied that I may end up in the hospital while racing Ironman Los Cabos. It happens to plenty of people so it made sense to me!  After sharing this image she explained that she was actually referring to the birth I attended earlier this week in the hospital. Too funny. Good thing we cleared that up and she’s not rooting for me to end up hospitalized next weekend. (it’s next week?  weird) Somehow I’d like to save this chocolate bar, freeze it the night before the race, and put it in my bike special needs race bag. I wonder if it will still melt all over everything else in my bag.  We’ll see.  I know I’ll enjoy some of this chocolate and her note at the half way point on the bike at mile 57. Thanks, Lisa!


Aimee loses 222 pounds to become a triathlete

Aimee Smith triathlete


Aimee Smith lost 222 pounds to become a triathlete. She’s completed sprint triathlons, runs 10k and one day hopes to compete in the world’s most challenging endurance race to become an Ironman.  Has the long process of weight loss and crossing the finish line been easy for Aimee?  Of course not.

“It’s not always helpful to look at the big picture,” Aimee says. “Start small and if you can only do two steps at a time, do that and then do it again tomorrow.  Progressively build on what you can.”

What has Aimee gained by joining the athletic community?  “These are serious athletes who stand on the podium at the end of a race. I expected them to be snobs. But it’s been very eye-opening how compassionate they’ve been towards me. They love my determination and they go out of their way to let me know they’re proud of me for not quitting,” Smith says.  Congratulations and thanks for sharing your inspiring story with the world, Aimee!  abcnews


Smooch Snacks from UNFI

Smooch snacks

I was beginning to think these last 2 weeks would be a daily drag but tonight I proved myself wrong!  Maybe hearing “Hey champion” helped as I jumped into the pool and took off for my first lap. I looked over and my new swim bud was in the next lane. Lately he seems to be swimming every time I hit the pool no matter what time of day it is. What’s his name again?  Brad, I think.  Brad’s a hardcore swimmer and his presence motivated me today. I swam, I biked and ended with a very short run.

Two mystery packages were waiting for me when I came home starving. Funny neither of them had names on the return address. Thank you, David of Unfi, for the gigantic box of Smooch Snacks.  I met David just a few weeks ago at a member appreciation event at the gym.  So what’s a Smooch Snack?  They’re 100% Natural, contain only 6 ingredients and each flavor is a blend of three fruit purees. They also contain superfoods chia seeds and acerola. They’re gluten free, vegan, and loaded with vitaminC and omega3. Oh, and they’re delicious and perfect for pre-workout, mid-workout and post workout snacks.

Then I opened the next package which turned out to be homemade chocolate chip walnut cookies from my friend Shannon!  Cookies sort of happen to be an excellent post workout recovery food too!  Seriously, they were awesome and such a fun surprise. Thanks David and Shannon!

Out of the Darkness Overnight Philadelphia

out of the darkness overnight philadelphia

I just heard about the Out of the Darkness Walk last week on the radio and was quick to pickup the phone. I wanted to learn more and get involved.  Out of the Darkness Overnight is a 16-18 mile fundraising walk from dusk until dawn, where the community brings awareness to depression and suicide. This is the 12th year of the overnight organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a national not-for-profit organization, and walkers raise awareness and funds for research, advocacy, and prevention. Walkers range from teenagers to grandparents. Some are survivors of suicide loss, others battle with suicide, depression, and other mental illnesses and others are supporters of the cause.

Participating in the event as a crew member this year is important to me. Did you know that every 14 minutes someone in the U.S. loses a life to suicide?  I didn’t know this until I read this on their website. I hope that some of you will join The Overnight here in Philadelphia June 28-29, 2014 to bring the issues into the spotlight and support the work of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to help people and save lives. For those who are unable to join, you may also consider a donation.  Please feel free to contact me or The Overnight with questions.

Philadelphia Out of the Darkness Philadelphiaimage Susana Bates via Daily News


Setting new personal records

Ironman PR

YAY! 3862.43 meter / 2.4 mile swim PR= 1:27:00 

4:00pm  I totally don’t feel like stepping away from work to train today, so rather than bitch about it I’m gonna push to swim harder than ever. Maybe it’ll even be a PR day!

4:14pm Pool time. The hardest part is getting started. The thoughts in my head were noisy today. I kept reminding myself “You’re stuck in the pool until you reach 2.4 miles, Keli.”  Hahaha. I was only 0.2 miles (320 meters) into my swim and wishing myself good luck.

What do you do when you’re just not feeling like training one day?  It’s simply just a change in your mindset.  It’s really not as challenging as it may seem. Instead of complaining to myself about not wanting to swim I decided to turn things around, make things interesting, and push myself harder than ever. How about using this opportunity to even aim to PR tonight?  I reminded myself that finishing this task wasn’t impossible and how energizing it would be when I finished.  It wasn’t easy, but guess what?

5:51pm  I set a new personal record completing an Ironman distance swim (2.4 miles/ 3862.43 meter) in 1 hour and 27 minutes.  Yay!  So long as the ocean isn’t rough and I’m not kicked in the throat, ribs, or stomach I think I should be able to make the 2 hour and 20 minute swim cut off with time to spare. Sweet. Next comes the bike cut off (mark my words…if I DNF it will be on the bike) but I’ll save that for another day…

The reward of tonight’s swim was pineapple and sea salted peanuts in the hot tub.  Nice.  Back to work.


Ironman special needs bag notes

ironman special needs bag

So much fun opening the mail tonight!  Thank you to the person who not only sent an encouragement note for my special needs bag but also a letter to read before and after the race too!  I can’t tell you how excited I was to receive these. Thank you. Why is the post-race note a little heavier than the other two notes, lol?  It’s gonna be difficult to wait 26 more days to open these!   Really?  It’s just 26 more days until Ironman? That means I depart in 20 days.  I’m so not ready but doesn’t really matter because I’m excited anyways.

I just want to thank everyone who’s sent a letter of encouragement.  It’s been fun collecting these notes to put in my special needs bags which I’ll receive at the half way point of the bike and marathon.  When the going gets tough I will love reading these. I know that thinking of these people as I read their words when I need that extra push will make all the difference in my experience.

Many thanks, everyone.


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