Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thoughts on my upcoming first race of the season!!

Happy to leave this...

and this... head to this..

I have been in Panama for 2 days and I am really looking forward to racing soon! It's time to see my progress in training since Phuket and to see what I need to work on in the next 8 weeks for Ironman South Africa! Yes! I will be returning to one of my favorite races and my other home in April. But I will save that for another blog.

I want to share a bit about my experience in Panama so far.

After many days spent riding in freezing temps or doing hot rides on the trainer to get used to the heat here, I finally arrived to the 100% humidity 95 degree hazy South American ,not good for my hair, tropical weather....and its been nothing but an adventure!!!
The first thing I want to say, is that the people I have met down here have been amazing...

Panama is a city that seems to be developing at a speed it can't keep up with...which is both great and trying for anyone driving a car. New high rises are sprouting up everywhere that over look the Pacific ocean and the entrance to one of the Modern Wonders of the World...the Panama Canal.
My first experience Wednesday morning was heading out on my bike for a quick ride up to the bike shop...a mere 20 blocks away....Now how bad could it be? It was the longest 20 blocks of my life!!! Add to the fact that I had no brakes...not good!
I may have prayed a few times but I made it there and thankfully met the nicest group of guys and girls at Tri Store Panama.

When I told owner Gaetano that I intended on biking the course the following day he immediatly stepped in to offer to bike with me and bring a sag car. After making sure my bike was in perfect shape I left on another frightfully scary ride back to the hotel. Note to anyone coming to do this race...Don't ride your bike in the city!!! Way to dangerous!

All smiles on my Kestrel!

Once back at the hotel I was thrilled as friend Dede had called to say she was at my hotel. As we were negotiating a yellow cab to the pool we met a very nice group of athletes who offered to take us to the 50 m pool about 20 minutes out of town. It felt so good to swim outdoors that not even the kids hanging on the lane line or randomly sprinting next to me in my lane bothered me.

My run post swim was just another adventure! Nothing like a wrong turn at dusk to get your adrenaline going. I made a turn to soon landing up on a dark road then having a brief panic attack as I thought I might be lost in the middle of Panama. My run turned to track pace speed until I got back safely!

Today was a 5.30am wake up call. We were picked up by the guys from Tri Store Panama and taken to the Amador Causeway for
our bike. Dede and I were welcomed by a small group and rode the run course out and back loop with the group before heading onto the very busy Bridge of Americas. A long climg that takes you over to a hillier out and back loop.

Thankfully although hard these hills had nothing on Phuket's 22% grade hills. The roads were hairy at times with trucks and buses of people anxious to get to work.
I was thankful not to understand Spanish as we got a few angry yells, a few little honks which was just annoyance at us for blocking the road....a few Hola's and whistles from those who obviously don't see two blondes riding bikes everyday....but generally I was amazed that people were pretty tolerant of us!~ By the end of the ride I was quite used to weaving in and out of traffic and snapped a few pics of the journey... I was happy to get back to the car safely and headed out for a quick transition run.

Bike tech/Traffic controller/photographer and overall good guy!

The run course is on the Amador Causeway. Located at the southern entrance of the Panama Canal and stretching nearly three kilometers into the Pacific Ocean, it is flat with a beautiful view of Panama city ocean and the wind really blows there. It will be hot run race day, fast one way and very windy and slower,the other way but thankfully cooler!

I can't wait to race this course. But for now we will see what adventure tomorrow brings!


Bre said...

YESSSSSS!!! Oh, you so know I'm cheering for you this weekend-gGive em hell out there, you are amazing!
Panama looks incredible and beautifully sunny :) Love all the pics and adventures. Thanks for sharing and enjoy racing this weekend!

Jacqui said...

Thanks Bre!!! Hope your training is going well!!! Winter will be over before you knowit!

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Bre said...

lol only 4 more weeks of winter today for me then two full weeks in South Carolina!! not that I'm counting or anything ;) annd thanks to some convincing and a 'small' loan from the parents...I'll be arriving in Kona for an EPIC smashfest in 14 weeks! ;) have I said thank-you for connecting me to T?? you are the BEST!