Miss Carol’s and me’s first visit ever to the island of Cozumel off the coast of Mexico began as a vacation sitting squarely in the shadows of an Ironman Triathlon. It loomed over all of us (even though Miss Carol and me weren’t competing) as something that had to be endured before the fun could really kick in. Kinda like going to pick up your date but having to meet her parents first.
Cozumel is beautiful- luscious green vegetation and swaying palm trees surrounding brilliant white coral beaches running down into the gin-clear Caribbean Sea hued in blues and turquoises both unbelievable and indescribable and we couldn’t wait throw ourselves into her arms.
Unfortunately, the Ironman towered, daunting and implacable, with its 2.4 mile swim, its 112 mile bike, and its full 26.2 mile marathon. Think grueling in paradise. This was Miss Carol’s little sister’s third Ironman and I knew she trained relentlessly for these things and I also knew that they were like, really hard? But.
Until you live one of these things live you have no idea.
The swim start was at 7am. After an hour in the water Miss Carol’s little sister transitioned to her bike where she spent the next 7 hours pedaling around the island. Think about that for a moment- 7 HOURS ON A BICYCLE. And because Cozumel is fairly small, they had to make three circuits around the island in order to rack up the requisite 112 miles. To give you some idea and provide perspective, in between cheering for her as she passed by on her laps around the island, Miss Carol and me napped by the pool, walked up the beach to a restaurant and had lunch, drank some beers and cocktails, took showers, read and watched TV- all while Miss Carol’s little sister raced around the island knowing she still had four hours of marathoning ahead of her.
Amazing. Who thinks up these things?
But she finished and became an Ironman for the third time twelve hours after she started her triathlon, finishing with a time of 12:16:12- 11th in her age group. I was surprised how moved and wowed I was by her performance and by the sheer scope and magnitude of her accomplishment. And, of course, Miss Carol was crying, she was so damn proud of her little sister.
WAY TO GO JULCOOL!!!!!!!! YOU ROCK!!!!!!
As for Miss Carol and me? Our elapsed time in Cozumel was 5 days and 4 nights of tacos and burritos and cervezas (that’s Mexican for beer, ya’ll) and cocktails and laughter and just plain fun. And ya know what? Looking back after a space of days I’ve come to realize that, far from being the buzzkill we thought it might be, the race actually became the defining moment, the very reason for our trip, and what we will remember long after everything else fades.
It was way cool and Miss Carol says we’re gonna do it again.