I just returned from the IM Cozumel which was my first IM. This race has the most amazing community support of any race I have ever done. There were very few places that there wasn't someone cheering "Te se puede" or Vamos USA."
Now for the reality of the course. I did not plan or train for deteriorating course conditions or weather conditions. During the swim, the jet ski dudes that were filming for ESPN and photographing the different swim packs were circling the group and smoking us out with the fumes from the engine. I had to stop swimming and vomit like the exorcise from the fumes. That blew my amazing PR that was about to happen since 3/4 of the swim course is with a very strong current which rocked.
The bike course is absolutely beautiful, but 3/4 of the course is with a 20 to 25 mph headwind or crosswind. I was prepared for that - thank you Oklahoma. It was very difficult to not draft though. After the pros passed us not only drafting but motor pacing, the 2 germans, 2 swedes and hungarian dude and I started drafting with a huge teardrop behind us. We came up on another even larger draft pack on the turn back into town. Word to the wise for this race, work on your drafting skills. We were rained on three times. I don't mean a little rinse me off shower; I am talking raining babies on us. It then got really smoking steamy hot. Thanks to the Oklahoma summer, I was completely prepared and comfortable. Many others were not. A pro passed me going the opposite direction signaling that she had dropped out of the race.
When I came in from the bike, I was pulled off my bike, as in lifted from my armpits and my bike taken away to transition under the Mega market. I wasn't really prepared for that. I managed to break a bone in my foot during the last lap of the bike course, which is 3 laps, so when I got off the bike and went into the transition tent, I threw up, fortunately, in a clean trash can.
The marathon was a three loop course through town. It was exciting and fun with so much support. I was able to pace with some people and met people from all over the world - Yugoslavia, Japan, Spain, Brazil, ect. On the first loop, it started to rain babies again and the wind picked up now from the north. There was a low spot on the run course that about 2.5 feet of water had collected for about 300 feet. This meant running through it 6 times. There were not too many people that didn't have some form of trench foot after this race.
Now for the ugly, not enough porto potties. Be sure that you have a plan B, like being okay with the bushes, because the cans are DISGUSTING. Do not expect too many options of nutrition in the water tents - power bars, some GU, pretzels, spicy peanuts, water in a bag, Gatorade. Learn to say your number, water, yellow - for Gatorade, and anything that you need from the water station in Spanish. It is the local high school kids who help in the tents, and their english is as good as your Spanish. The IM bike support is useless. They can air up your tires, but that is it. Plan on doing it yourself or go with a company like Endurance Sports Travel or Team Z. They bring their own qualified support. I have a picture of the dude from IM for bike support because he looked like a dirty drunk dude under a tent with a air pump. Amazingly, I did get a roll down spot to Kona offered, but I turned it down. I have work to do before I try to take on another IM in less than a year. Maybe next year. Oh,, be sure that you have $750 US cash in hand at the slot allocation time. I did but still said, "no." Oh, the ATM machines in Mexico do not let you take out that much in cash, so be sure you come with that amount. Has to be cash, no credit or check.
A lot of people, like hundreds, have complained of being sick from the water. I had no problem. Others complained of a rash from the swim, didn't happen here either.
Lastly, over 800 people dropped out of this race during the race, so please be prepared for all the elements when taking on this race, so you are not one who drops out as well.
Would I do this race again? Yep. Now that I know what to expect, absolutely. Amazing crowd support, amazingly beautiful course, awesome international race! All that can minus out the horrors I experienced. Hey, this is the Ironman; no race is alike; no experience is the same.