My First Half Iron

Bright eyed and Bushy tailed as the sun breaks over the horizon on the golden Cancun Beach of Punta Nizuc.

I awoke at 4:30 AM Sunday morning ready to take on the day. But this day would not be too kind to me.

In fact my training regimen for no other running competition or marathon comes close to the physical and mental demands of what I've gone through the last two months.

Yes, only two months because I really haven't trained hard or hardly at all.

Thanks to my wrist surgery in July at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. Thanks to my 2 week trip to Europe in August. Thanks to starting my Executive MBA at George Washington. Thanks to blogging, real estate, and everything else that's important in my life or perhaps not but tugs on it anyway.

And life goes on. As long as I make it. As long as I don't go down seriously hurt. As long as my bike makes it there and back in one piece. And as long as I finish -- that's what matters. After all, this being my first Half Iron, there was no goal to strive for but to just finish, but respectfully, of course.

So I awoke and took a bite, a bit of breakfast in my room, wondering if what I was stuffing down my throat was sufficient nutrition to take me 70.3 miles in this blistering heat and baking Mexican sun.

Waiting in line to use the potta potty -- but wait, there's a whole ocean ahead and a whole day to waste.

(Note to those participating next year: You don't have to wait in line -- go straight to Wet N Wild and use the restrooms there.)

Waiting patiently for the start of the buzzer. Notice that there is a red cap in our mix. Some racers apparently missed their group but started with us.

The Swim

Actually I felt just about everything I ate just 2 1/2 hours before almost immediately after I jumped into the warm 79 degree bath water.

The swim was a nice beach start in Punta Nizuc adjacent to Wet and Wild Park.

You can see the back of my head (center) as I plunge into the warm, crystal-clear Caribbean.

There was about 2-3 minutes time in between each wave. My wave started at 7:13.

I was in the back of the pack in my age group but on the outside edge.

As soon as the whistle sounded, I took my time to wade in the water, seaweed and scum in the bottom got all churned up and made the water muddy and ranky.

I pushed through and after about 40 feet of wading, it was finally deep enough for me to start swimming.

Once the water started clearing up, I could see bottom, but I could also see the several other swimmers all around me -- yes, my age group was one of the largest one in the competition, and the crowded start made me feel like I was actually back home in the Metro heading to the Navy Yard before a Nats game.

Before long, the pack started to thin out -- probably because of my slow swimming technique as the heat of the pack started to peel away.

That's when I felt it -- breakfast and everything -- a huge front of a cramp like a fast moving storm swept through completely and viciously.

By then I was at the first turn buoy.

I could see one guy clutching at the buoy and then for a fleeting moment the same thought crossed my mind. This is the perfect time for me to stop, take a breather and perhaps even wave my hands in the air for dear life.

I am quitting now. Soon this Ironman would be history and I would spend the rest of the time in Cancun just lying on the beach and dissolving all my pain and frustration.


  1. did you really quit? What happened? I was there! I'm from Annapolis check out my blog @ www.schwinnysworld.blogspot.com.

  2. Super. Man, You have a superb blog with action pics. I love your message, too.
    No, didn't quit -- that was just the cliff hanger.

  3. Oh good, I'm glad to hear you did't quit! The thought crossed my mind many times through out the race. Man that was tough! Thnaks for the encouragment on my blog as well. It's a work in process and I'm learning as I go. Keep in touch. I just put a ton of old pics from back in my mountain bike days. Enjoy!