By Mauricio Segura
Where do I even start?
I woke up, took a shower, and went for hotel early breakfast at the Park Royal Cozumel where we stayed. Then I started walking out to Chankanaab Reef with my best friend Ricardo (also partaking in the Ironman) where the swim start was to take place.
At the front of the hotel, we wondered if we could get a cab at 5:30am but Jesus was there (Jesus is the actual name of the cab driver) and off to Chankanaab Park he drove us, some five kilometers away.
At Chankanaab Park, my bike was right where I’d left it, in space 187. I walked past all the elite racer bikes – mmm… more like spaceship-like bikes (they all had their own individual racks!).
The Swim (4 Kilometers) – My Time: 01:26:10
The elite athletes went off at 6:40am, and as soon as they did, dolphins started flying above our heads.
The park where the race starts is actually a nature preserve, so they have dolphins and they do shows. So sure enough, as we made our way into the water, there were the flying dolphins.
As we make it into the water, we swam out towards the start, each of us all trying to find our individual sweet spot. Then they started to play Start Wars theme on the loudspeakers just a few minutes before the starting horn.
Then the horn and 2,100 pairs of legs and arms started madly turning this beautiful calm nature preserve into the world’s largest washing machine.
It was real!
The water was truly beautiful – You could see clear to the bottom the entire time. Even small schools of fish and man-made submerged statues; there were even scuba divers below us, looking up and watching the swimmers. So cool!
I swam the whole leg with Ricardo; we exited the swim together – as we run to the first transition we saw our support team for the first time, and it totally made me smile. I don’t think I realized how much having them there would help until the actual day of the race. I saw them a total of ten times all over the course of almost 14 hours, and each time, they gave me strength to continue. Plus, they acted as photographers, and cheerleaders.
The Bike (180 Kilometers) – My Time: 06:49:25
Ricardo then readied himself for the bike in the wink of an eye, and left.
The bike course is totally beautiful. It runs through 2/3rds of the outside of the island of Cozumel. The entire back-side of the island is open ocean. This means you’re riding into a headwind almost the entire time. And yes, that is beyond brutal.
The Run (42 Kilometers) – My Time: 05:29:43
Making my way out of the transition tent, I started the run, where people of all walks of life lined the streets. There was such a festive air, people singing, dancing, high-fiving and what have you.
The run was smooth,(3 loops, 8.4 miles a piece) and I felt really good.
Before I knew it, I was approaching the bright lights of the city for the last time.
And then, fourteen hours, one minute, and forty seven seconds after my first stroke in the water, one year after starting my training, I was about to hear those words I wanted to hear for years.
“Mauricio Segura: YOU! ARE! AN! IRONMAN!!”
And it happened, just like I thought it would, and hey I never, thought I could be as happy as I was when I crossed that finish line.
A few final thoughts
The people of Cozumel cheered for me like I was Michael Phelps in the water, Lance Armstrong on the bike, and Paula Radcliffe on the run. No matter how far behind I was, it was like I was the leader and the first person they saw. Thank you to every single resident of Cozumel who came out and cheered me on.
Support teams are so important, both in racing and in life. Thank you, Carlos, for being there for me, both on race day, and every day of my life. DDC family, thanks for being here, for Facebook-posting, for the encouraging words and the wonderful comments. Thanks for caring.
I hope I can continue to do the same for many, many years to come.
What’s up next for me?
My plans for future include IRONMAN BRASIL, in May 2012 and other local half-ironman distance TRI’s during 2011, as well as a couple of marathons.
mmmm Yes - Brasil!!! You heard it right, wanna come? Let’s keep in touch and go together! Whether as a fellow participant or as a spectator, Ironman Florianopolis will be awesome!!