Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cozumel Ironman

December 3, 2014

Dear Followers:

Here’s the story, a little late, of the 2014 Cozumel Ironman.

November 29 - One Day to Go!

Here we are; it’s already Saturday.  Race day tomorrow, Jeff and Kari are kibitzing about  their prep for the final few hours before the starting gun goes off tomorrow morning - at 6:52am for Jeff in the “all men over 50” age group, and Kari’s at 6:55am for “all women over 50.”  I asked Jeff how he and Kari could swim together if he starts three minutes earlier.  “Maybe I’ll just tread water until she gets going in the swim.”  As I’ve shared before, the impetus for this adventure has always been “to do this together.”

Both Jeff and Kari are strong swimmers; however, they don’t consider themselves at the top of their respective categories, having a substantially energetic style with endurance to spare.  Their objective is to swim the 2.4-mile distance in somewhere around an hour and a half.  Each group “wave” will walk into the water and tread water / swim out about a hundred yards from the shore in anticipation of the starting gun.  Having done my share of open-water-swim competition, I know the start can be intimidating, with the crush of over-anxious athletes all vying for a great position without interference from other over-zealous swimmers.  [My parents were not swimmers, but were insistent and conscientious about making sure that my brother, Jim, and I had lots of swimming lessons very early in life; so, as parents, my husband and I were steadfast in teaching our three kids to be substantially water-safe - before they could walk!]

In a previous post I indicated that the swim course would be out-and-back; I’ve been told it won’t be - it’ll be a point-to-point swim along the coast for the 2 ½ miles.  The logistics are carefully planned to decrease bottle-necks as much as possible.  Our Chief Cheering Team (CCT: Alice, David, triplets, twins, and Mimi - that's me) has decided we may have to forego the swim start in order to be present for the swim exit and transition to the bike race.  I do know the bike race will be three loops around the circumference of the island, each lap over 37-miles.  The plan of the CCT is to maintain a position right in front of our condo complex, outside of the “all roads closed” center-of-town population crush.  We’ll see Jeff, Kari and our other five EPIC Tri athletes three times as the whiz past us, hopefully with a big high five, a smile and a strong continence.
All contestants have multiple IDs on arms, legs,
wrist bands and ankle bands.  This is Jeff, #572.  Kari
was #571
Jeff and Kari Saturday night
Ironman Sunday - November 30, 2014

All family adults got up this morning at about 4:30 to see Jeff and Kari off at 5am.  Although their start times weren’t until almost 7, they had to be driven to just south of downtown, where they had to walk to the beach and the swim starting location.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t watch the start, as it was exceedingly difficult to get there with road closures, etc.  But, we hiked into Chankanaab National Park, Cozumel (Link)  to see both exit the 2.4-mile swim, feeling great.  The transition from swim to bike is cumbersome and time-consuming; Kari was smart this time and wore her bike and running outfit for the swim so she didn’t have to take as long for the change-over. Jeff’s transition time was about 23 minutes, some of that was waiting for Kari to exit the water, as she was behind him.  Her transition time was 8 minutes.  We were not able to see them on their first lap on their bikes; we caught them both on the first half of their second loop around the island, at about mile 42 and again on their third lap at approximately mile 82.  Again, they felt great and were all smiles as they slowed down enough to say “Hi” and assure us they were “feeling good!”  Alice and the kids had made several posters to flash as they rode by and each said those signs really buoyed them up.  They looked good, but both declared that the ride along the eastern side of the island was very tough, with really severe head and easterly winds.  Kari said after the event that their speed on that portion of each loop showed from about 18-mph to 8-9-mph, a significantly difficult ride, for lots of miles.

Waiting for swimmers to exit the water.  I got so excited when I saw Jeff,
I forgot to snap a pic!
Bad shot of Kari exiting the swim

Family dinner while the race went on outside!
They completed the 112-mile bike ride in about 8-hours, certainly not as fast as they’ve done in other Ironman events that weren’t so affected by wind.  They’d also had a few sprinkles, but found that kind of a relief from the heat (mostly about 82F - 27.8C) over most of the day.

Again, we missed the transition from bike into running shoes, etc. to begin the run; however, the 26.2-mile marathon was conducted in three out-and-back-loops so we were able to check them out “in the flesh” in one location on the main street of town - as they returned from one loop, then again as they headed out for the next loop.  [There’s just something reassuring about seeing your kids “in person”]. They finished what turned out to be a sixteen-hour day crossing the finish line, hand-in-hand, to the announcer, “Jeff Sherman, you are an Ironman!,” and, “Kari Duane, you are an Ironman!”  An announcement was made for every single finisher - in his / her native tongue.  It’s goosebumps time!  

The final outcome was that there were 3,000+ contestants, from all over the world; I'm not sure what the number is for those who actually completed it.  The winner, for the second year in a row, was Michael Weiss from Austria.  His time this year was over 20-minutes slower than last because of the wind problem.  But, to give you an idea, He finished in a couple minutes over 8 hours; that's just about twice as fast as my kids!!!  (Cozumel Ironman Results).

As I’ve shared before, Jeff and Kari are both ‘seasoned' Ironmen (no, they’re not referred to as Ironwomen!), each competing for a fourth time.  It appears that every Ironman in the race reported that it was difficult in terms of the wind for the bike segment; otherwise, it was an enjoyable day, if you can empathize with that description - I’m not sure I can!
Tate, Kari, Avery, and Spencer

Jeff, Alice, Malia, and Samantha after race

Kari and David after race

One proud mama with her Ironmen

"Welcome Home" sign on condo door
We didn’t get back to the condo until about 1am and had to get up Monday morning to prepare for our trips home, or wherever.  I flew from Cozumel to Dallas and Dallas to Fort Lauderdale - where I’m enjoying a relaxing three-day stay before boarding Celebrity’s cruise ship Infinity for the 16-day jaunt through the Caribbean Sea, the Panama Canal, and along the coast of South America to the final destination, Valparaiso, Chile. 
I’ll write posts offline and publish them when in the various ports of call along the way.  I’m excited and hope I’ll have lots of stories and experiences to share with you.

Hasta Luego . . . and  . . . Hasta la vista, friends.


  1. Wow that's absolutely amazing!! Ironmen proud our American citizens are Ironmen. thank you for sharing this fabulous story and the pictures are gorgeous.

    1. Thanks Rita. Just getting ready to board the ship so I may be out of communication for a few days. I'll publish posts when I have Wifi access

  2. Now I see why her time was better than his time....because they stayed together after the water and he stated ahead of her by those 3+ minutes. Enjoy your cruise and South America...looking forward to seeing lots and lots of pictures! --Dave (

    1. I chose not to bring my camera, as I have a new iPhone 6+. It's not quite as good as the Sony Cyber Shot, but oh, so much more convenient. We'll see how the shots edit in Elements or iPhoto. Love you guys!

  3. Wow, congrats to the ironmen! Looking forward to your next adventure.

    1. Thanks Peter. I'll be in touch when I have Wifi

  4. What an amazing accomplishment congratulations to your two favorite ironmen.

  5. Now that was an amazing race!

    Say, I think you're on the same cruise as fellow bloggers Erin and Mui.

    1. Oh, I'll see if I can find them. Email their blog address and I'll look them up. Might need last name, etc. as there should be about 2K people on the boat!

  6. How very, very cool they are. Your Ironmen. You must be SO proud of them, I know I am. I'm glad it's over, though. You must have been so stressed out during the day.

    Have a wonderful cruise - that's my favorite kind of vacation! Haven't been on one in years, but I keep telling my ex-husband he still owes me one. For our third anniverary which we didn't make - only married 2.5 years. He just laughs and changes the subject - LOL. Guess I'll have to do it on my own? There's nothing like a cruise. :)

  7. Congratulations to the two of them, well done! You must be so very proud of them. Enjoy your cruise.

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