Viva La Mexico

“Life Isn’t About Waiting for the Storm to Pass, It’s About Learning to Dance in The Rain” ~Anonymous

Bottom line, I didn’t have my best day down in Los Cabos last Sunday. That is not to say that it was a disappointment by any means. In fact, last Sunday was probably my proudest moment in the sport. In terms of the race, I did a lot of things REALLY well. In fact from a purely non-physical perspective, I nailed the race. Unfortunately it takes many aspects to all come together on one single day for it to be deemed successful.

“CLOCK DON’T LIE”

The week leading into the race started out exceedingly well as I had a whole row of seats to myself on the plane ride from Newark, NJ to Los Cabos, Mexico. I stretched out, took a nap, read a book and in no time I was South of the Border. I waited for a little while in this area –> IMG_0807

Yep, those are fake ATV’s and a fake set of golf clubs on a fake Golf Cart. What appeared to be an arcade for children was really just the sitting area for American Tourists awaiting their pre-packaged, all-inclusive vacation to begin. Eventually after sitting in the golf cart for about 30 minutes, I was informed that there was another terminal at the airport and that was most likely where my friends were who were coming in at the same time. Turns out the nice Mexican gentlemen (who asked for a Tip for that nugget of wisdom) was right and I finally met up with Beth (Schutt) and her mom. Beth is a QT2 athlete and fellow PRO as well.  We got into our rental van and began our Mexican Odyssey.

Beth did a pretty great job of summarizing our lead up to the race. Check out her blog post here –> http://thetrialofmilesmilesoftrials.blogspot.com/2014/04/ironman-cabo-back-story.html

So if you checked out her blog you’d see that Beth, Doug and myself had ourselves quite an interesting week. I even began to make a list on my phone of all the things that went on (this was during the point where we were locked out of our condo). From flat tubulars, to GI Distresses, to Mexican Emergency Rooms, to Rental Car Insurance Claims due to getting sideswiped by a local in the parking garage…it was one hell of a trip!

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If you didn’t follow my advice and didn’t check out Beth’s blog, I’ll give you the cliff notes of why there is a picture of me on a hospital bed. I was heading out for a run on Wednesday morning last week and fell through a Mexican booby trap. As I crossed a dirt path to a sidewalk that led to the beach, where I was going to run because I thought it would be safer than the busy roads (not such a bright idea), a metal door fell out from beneath me and my left leg slammed against the side of whatever it was covering. I didn’t do to much investigating because after I looked at my leg I knew that it wasn’t just a little bruise or cut. Instead what appeared on my leg grossed me out and told me that I needed to get to a hospital. Going to the hospital any day isn’t the greatest, going to the hospital on race week is even less great and going to a hospital on race week in Mexico is downright bad. In any case Doug and Beth were troopers and took me to the nearest one. As I was drifting in and out of consciousness (no, JUST KIDDING, I was completely fine). It took us a little while to make it to the hospital, but in the end we found it and it turned out to be a really great place. I was in the door and had 7 stitches in my leg within 45 minutes. I can now say after having them removed today, that Dr. Musi of Amerimed in Los Cabos, Mexico knows his stuff.  In any case, that’s what went down in Mexico. I can’t thank Beth and Doug for getting me to the hospital and making sure everything was all right. Beth even hung out while I got the stitches…she looked at them being put in and everything too. I was impressed, there was no way I was looking at that!

So with that episode behind me, I pretty much learned that anything can happen at anytime. There’s no true plan, the only plan is to just accept what’s going on in the NOW and make the best of it. So, I did everything humanly possible to take care of myself and ensure that I could get myself to the start line. I was all the way in Mexico for the race, and darn it I wanted my medal and t-shirt! Luckily, the injury to my leg in no way hindered me from racing and did NOT hold me up. I wish I could blame it on the leg, but that’s just not the case.

Race week went on, our rental van got hit in a parking garage and added 3 extra hours of hassles and stresses as we sorted out that matter (it ended up fine and no expenses paid by us), tires went flatter and stomach’s were upset. But in the end Beth, Doug and I were present and accounted for in the Elite Corral as TJ Tollakson pounded a Red Bull 10 minutes before race start and the Mexican Drumline performed a 15 minute version of their National Anthem.

We all had unique days on the course. (See Beth’s Blog http://thetrialofmilesmilesoftrials.blogspot.com/2014/04/ironman-cabo-back-story.html and Doug’s http://dmactri.com for their take)

A quick word of Congratulations to Beth who was the 4th fastest Professional Female. She really hung tough all day and her hard work and perseverance really paid off. Well done!

As for me, I felt pretty flat from the opening siren (yes, they started the race with a crazy police siren thing). Nothing seemed to be firing on all cylinders. It would have been pretty easy to feel real sorry for myself, but I’m proud to say that I learned a lot about myself and a lot about racing, I mean truly racing out there in Cabo. After a sub-par swim, the bike began no better. But damn it, I stuck with it and each loop of the three loop bike course I went faster. I had 112 miles to cover and I wanted to do it as quickly as my body was going to let me on that day. With the bike ending on a high note I started the run very optimistic about the run. I wasn’t going to light the course up, but I felt I was going to manage well enough. Through 15-16 miles it was alright. However, shortly after my legs called it quits making a 10:15 mile very, very HARD. I made peace with this; my day wasn’t going as fast as hoped for anyways, so whats the point in going into a very bad mental place. The only option is to make the best of the situation…and for me that was to enjoy the fact that I was able to race an Ironman, and like I said before I wanted my medal and t-shirt! So I encouraged people who were having better days than me, encouraged those who were having worse. I got to see Linsey head into the finishing chute and gave Beth and earful of good vibes when she passed me. I learned that when your not 100% that dialing it back to 85% is the best chance at salvaging the day. Some days you’ll bounce back and finish strong and other days you’ll just not have it. But in any case there is no Quit in me. I had my first and hopefully only DNF last year at a race, and my vow from that day on forward is to never willfully not finish a race.

So there you have it, IM Los Cabos 2014 was interesting. The race itself took me longer than I wanted but I had a great time and am truly proud of my effort. But race aside, Doug, Beth, her Mom and I had a blast. We all shared some pretty cool experiences and made some great stories. Wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.

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I’ll be getting back in the saddle real soon in preparation for Ironman Texas which is in 6 weeks. It will be PRO race #2 and another shot to pit myself against the best in the sport. I can’t wait!

Sidenote: On the bright side, while Doug’s GI System went haywire from the Mexican water, mine seemed to straighten up and began working like never before. Maybe those Mexicans know something we don’t. (Plus the whole bottled water thing HAS to be a scam. Right?)

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4 Comments on “Viva La Mexico

  1. Granted, I’ve been in the sport longer and been a pro a few more years than you, but I definitely learned a ton watching you in action this past week! You’ve got that head screwed on right, Matt!! And I TRULY appreciated the encouragement you offered up out on the course. I needed it. Badly!!

    But seriously, what we SHOULD have done is bottled up some of that Mexican water for you to take back with you! It has magical powers!!

  2. Pingback: “The Process” | Doug MacLean, Pro Triathlete

  3. Awesome. New to the sport of triathlon and stumbled across your website. Whether you’re first or not in the elite field isn’t what impresses me the most. Your attitude towards racing and accepting what life throws your way is admirable. Huge kudos to you and thanks for the example you are setting for other aspiring athletes!!

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