Looking for a late season half to carry on my training as I plan to do Ironman South Africa next year April, I was faced with 2 options…PumpkinMan Half in Maine, or IronMan 70.3 in Cancun….need I say more…This was truly a great experience. We arrived in Cancun on Friday, and got my bike unpacked and setup on Friday night. I went for a quick cycle on Saturday morning to make sure everything was working and then headed off to registration. Registration was held at one of the hotels and was pretty seamless. Apparently IM Cancun is known for providing Fleece jackets as part of their goodie bag, and this year was no different. By far the best goodie bag that I have received. Bikes needed to be racked on Saturday, so I cycled down to the transition area (5 miles) which was set up at the Wet n Wild water park. Strange thing was that they body marked you the night before (which I am sure our hotel did not like very much as all the beautiful white sheets now had black permanent marker all over them by Sunday morning). On Sunday I was up around 4.30 in order to get a cab by 5.15 to get to transition. I was able to share a cab with a few athletes who were at our hotel, including an Elite female (Julianna Morley) who finished 4th overall woman for the day. When you get to transition and its 5.45 am and it is still dark, and the sweat is literally pouring off of you, you have an idea that it is going to be a very long day! The temperature for the day ranged from 86 to 94 with humidity between 90% and 100%...It was HOT! ( I think that I have been in Boston far too long and all the African in me has been lost). The swim is an ocean swim with no wetsuits…thankfully…with the water temperature being about 82 degrees. It was pretty uneventful but I just took it really slow (that’s my excuse) as I knew I would need everything for the bike and run. When you finish the swim, you have about a ½ km run along the beach and then through the water park to the transition area. The bike course is pretty flat, but very open so you are in the direct sun and wind for the entire bike course. The bike course goes out from transition for about 4 miles , until you get onto a highway, and then it’s pretty much do 2 * 24-mile loops and then head back. I must say that the roads were in really great shape. Going out on my first loop, watching the earlier starters coming back, I thought I was in the Tour De France. I have never seen so many pelotons in my life. It was kind of disappointing seeing this, and I can’t really blame the officials as they tried to penalize who they could, but it was crazy. The return leg of the loop is a little more of a downhill flat so I could get into a decent pace and rhythm. I was looking forward to that return stretch on the 2nd loop as I felt I could really push it…oh but I was so wrong, as the wind had picked up and was now a direct head wind all the way back. I made it into transition and was off onto the run. The run course is a 2-loop (mostly flat) course along the main hotel zone road. There were a lot of people walking this run straight out of the gate, and I was able to pass a lot of people who had passed me on the bike which was great. I walked through every water stop (both sides) and would grab a Gatorade to drink and 2 bottles of water to pour over myself. The first 3 miles were really tough but eventually I find my rhythm which seemed to help. About halfway through my run, we got a little downpour and all that this did was create a huge amount of steam to come off the hot road so that certainly did not help. One of the craziest things that I saw was that they had messed up the mile markers, There was no Mile 12 marker but instead it went form 11 to 13, so people who thought they were .1 miles from the finish had a rude awakening when the end was actually 1.1 miles away…not a very funny joke at the time. I eventually finished the race and decided to get the massage afterwards. I stood in line for about ½ an hour but eventually got my turn which was well worth it and highly recommended (Full body massage for about 15 minutes). I finished the race in 6h12 which was my worst time for the year…although I PR’d on the bike it was the run that just took everything out of everyone. I was still very happy with my performance and will definitely be planning my return trip next year! (Going to a place where it is highly encouraged to have Tequila in your body by 10am…you bet I’ll be back!).