Friday, January 31, 2014

Ironman Decisions. HELP.

So, look what (finally) came in the mail yesterday:

IMAG2628-1

Is it not the most gorgeous thing you’ve ever seen? Okay, maybe the Grand Canyon or your newborn baby was the most gorgeous thing you’ve ever seen, but this has to be a close second. This was a gift from X2 Performance after the race. I don’t usually buy these things, but am really glad to have it.

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About the same time this work of art came in the mail, so did this:

IMAG2636

You probably don’t know what that is. It’s a contract where I sign my life away.

Last year I was sponsored by X2 Performance (supplements to maximize energy, performance and recovery) to do IM Florida as part of their triathlon team. I’m thrilled to have been invited back again for 2014. Last year we had the choice to do Florida or Arizona. This year we can pick any (non-sold-out) race. That does not leave a ton of options, but I’m not complaining.

Maybe you can help me with this decision. While I am not an Ironman virgin anymore (that hymen got popped in November), I still am an IM newbie. I don’t want to kill myself climbing mountains, I don’t want to die of heatstroke and I would prefer to not freeze my titties off (mostly because I am not starting with much to begin with).

I REALLY wish Boulder was not sold out, but it is. So…

The choices:

Ironman Cozumel (November)

  • Pros: Great family destination, flat, margaritas on the course, I love the beach
  • Cons: Montezuma’s Revenge (I have a hard enough time not crapping my pants in the United States), wind, heat, falls at Thanksgiving

Ironman Canada (July)

  • Pros: Scenic, would be nice in the summer, I like Canadian bacon
  • Cons: Crap load of climbing (4,200 feet alone on the bike)

Ironman Louisville (August)

  • Pros: Might meet Honey Boo Boo, cool finish line, pretty rolling hills
  • Cons: Humidity. I try to stay out of the South in August. not much of a vacation destination.

Ironman Lake Tahoe (September)

  • Pros: Scenic, never been there before, swim looks nice
  • Cons: Freezing (snowed last year and was in the 30s at the start), lots of climbing

Ironman Coeur d’Alene (June)

  • Pros: Scenic, could drive there, nice course from what I’ve heard
  • Cons: I can’t pronounce it, cold swim, challenging bike, I don’t think I’ll be ready by June

Ironman Greek Islands (Joke)

  • Pros: Swim topless, baklava and Ouzo at the aid stations, Dean Karnazes might make a guest appearance
  • Cons: I might get distracted by all of the back hair, I’ll never come home.

So, you see my dilemma. Or, I could scrap the whole thing and lay on the couch.

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What would you do in my shoes? I was thinking Cozumel, but then I’d have to be gone on Thanksgiving. Leaning towards Louisville.

Do you have experience with any of these races? Of course not. That’s why I’m asking you.

Would you ever do an Ironman? I cannot believe I am about to sign up for another one. And I’m not even drunk.

SUAR

107 comments:

  1. I like the idea of Canada in the summer. Louisville in August can be hot I think. ugh.

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    1. Being from Tennessee, I can say that the south is hot until late Sept. to early Oct.

      I say go for Cozumel. And NO I would never do an Ironman. I'm going to be an observer to the first Ironman in Chattanooga, TN.

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  2. Excited you are going to go for another IM! My vote would be CDA (if you felt like you could get ready in six months), Canada or Cozumel. You have access to a lot of mountain riding so Canada would be a great fit and well Cozumel just sounds like an awesome trip. I did Louisville last year. It was hot as advertised. If you aren't training in the heat or just don't want to deal with it then it might not be a good choice for you. It is a pretty bike course - not flat but not mountainous either, the swim is not a mass start if that appeals to you but yes it is HOT. (and Honey Boo Boo was nowhere to be found...) :(

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  3. I think Ironman Coeur d’Alene :) how long did you have to train last year for IM florida?? if I remember it wasn't very long..
    Was a Lake tahoe last year to watch my sister finish her 1st IM.. that course is mad crazy!!

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  4. I have a few friends doing Canada, and I think it's a pretty rad race. I will say that Louisville is a pretty great city - gorgeous and there are quite a few things to do although a lot have to do with Bourbon. It would be a great way to see a part of the country that's not normally on your radar. I think, as you've pointed out, there's good and bad with each race. I vote Louisville because I'm guessing it's the underdog.

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  5. Would I do one? Nope. The only swimming I do is the leap from the boat to put on my waterski. But if I were you, I'd do Cozumel. Honey Boo Boo would be a deal breaker for me...

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  6. Keep in mind that Canada isn't the super fabulous course in Pentiction. If it was still that one I'd say do it, hands down, easy peasy decision. But it's set in Whistler now. Still very pretty, but can you say expensive? Whistler village is probably in the top 10 for expensive places to stay in Canada. That might be important. On the other hand, it would be easy for you to train for the climbs. I've got a buddy thats done Coz a bunch of times and she loves it. But it can get exciting at times. Lots of my buddies have done Couer d'Alene. Can you say say holy friggen cold water? The Greek Island one sounds awesome. Does it have to be in North America? There's one set in Norway where you jump into a Fjord, then pedal up. There is no down. The run is up, there is no down. You'd love that.

    And yes, that frame is the most gorgeous thing I've seen recently.

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    1. Yes if it was in Penticton...but I hear Whistler is really gorgeous also!

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    2. I totally agree Keith! I did the old course twice and loved, missed going up to P-town last summer...:( Now that it is gone do not know where my next IM will be. One note about Whistler is that it was way cheaper for hotels than Pentiction because the hotels had no idea how much they could get for rooms, and not 7 day minimum stay either. This year that may change but I heard good things about last year.
      Janine Fraser

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    3. There is still an Ironman race in Penticton on the usual course, but it's put on by Roth Challenge, not the World Triathlon Corporation.

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  7. Cozumel-no question. I want to do that one one day. I LOVE the ocean and I love Cozumel-plus, I'm sure the family would love a tropical Thanksgiving vacation!

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  8. My neighbor is an Ironman and did both Whistler and Coeur d'Alene last summer. I think both are beautiful courses so that's a great 'pro'. I'd say if you can handle the climbs, either is a great choice! I am from Seattle though, so I'm pretty biased. (PS. it's pronounced core da-lane)

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  9. You missed out in the best one...mont tremblant

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  10. Well, Cozumel is stunningly beautiful, but since Whistler is a short drive for me I'd vote for that. It's beautiful up there!! You'll LOVE it!!! :)

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  11. IM CDA!! Besides the chance of a slightly cold swim you won't be disappointed!

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  12. Coz gets my vote!

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  13. I'm offended by your "not much of a vacation destination" comment for Louisville...actually no I'm not. This would be a terrible place for a vacation. I vote Cozumel because why would you not want to go there?! But I like Louisville too, because, born and raised here and I have volunteered at IM the last 2 years. Maybe I can mark you up!

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  14. I have been to Cozumel 4 or 5 times (as a cruise ship tourist) over Thanksgiving-actually we dock there the day before the race. Beautiful destination-75-80 degrees with some humidity. But downside it is windy. This year was more than usual-our snorkel trip out to Planacar Reef was canceled due to choppy water. But food is great-safe for families and easy to navigate the island. I so wanted to check out the race expo this year but my 8 year old said if I wasn't running in the race, there was no "getting your name bib" lol!

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  15. Canada because July is my birthday month! ;) That's really all that matters ;)

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  16. Louisville IS hot and humid in the summer (checking in from Atlanta here). If that isn't your thing, I would seriously consider one of the others...

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  17. Coeur d'Alene - Idaho & June is a great combination! (local pronunciation is easy core-duh-lane)

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  18. I would think your best bet would be Canada out of all them and July would give you a little bit more time!

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  19. As a Canadian I'm voting for Canada!! The course the Whistler would be amazing.

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  20. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/american-samoa/travel-tips-and-articles/77583
    NUMBER ONE just sayin

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  21. Coeur d'Alene (core-duh-lane) is my vote. Only because I live 3 hrs away in MT. Ask Dimity from Run Like a Mother or Meredith from Swim-Bike-Mom how it was. They both did it this year.

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  22. CANADA!!! It was such a fun race. That was my first, and yes, there is climbing, but just get the right gears and you'll be fine. Whistler is a fun place, beautiful, plenty to do, not at all Disneyland-ish, dog friendly, everything is close, and so laid back.

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  23. I'm voting couch. It's comfortable, local, and inexpensive. You'll love it.

    Seriously, I'm only voting couch because it hasn't gotten a vote yet, and I don't believe there is any chance at all that you're not going to do another IM. Good luck. You're going to kill it...somewhere.

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  24. Lake Tahoe. Unspeakably beautiful. It did snow this year the day before the race but that is a rare occurrence in September. Lake-level altitude is 6,225 feet, so your Colorado training will give you a leg up on all the flatlanders competing. Plus, you can recover and celebrate in San Francisco after the race.

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  25. I vote for Lake Tahoe, it's so beautiful there. And snow in September is extremely rare (and we're in a serious drought right now so i think it'll be even more rare). It will also be a fabulous vacation for your family.

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    Replies
    1. My vote is Lake Tahoe too! There is virtually no snow this year due to drought. It is gorgeous and good time of year.

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  26. CDA - another blogger I follow did that as her first IM. Here's the recap: http://www.twentysixandthensome.com/2013/06/26/ironman-coeur-dalene-race-recap-the-swim/#.UuxgSvboItx

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  27. Replies
    1. Hi Laura! Thanks for telling me about SUAR way back in the earliest days of Beth's blog. You are so right about Tahoe. There is no place like it on earth. I have a 45-year-old friend who finished the Lake Tahoe IM this year in 10:49:26. He loved the course and qualified for the Kona IM World Championship on October 11.

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  28. My friend/coach has done several, I'd be happy to give you her contact info or blog link to ask her about her experiences.

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  29. Abby at Change of Pace has done that hard to pronounce one and Tahoe - she might be able to help a bit.

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  30. I'd assume Couer D'Alene (and yes, it's core da lane) is hilly, but it is beautiful there. And they have the largest theme park in the Pacific Northwest, so there's that.

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  31. Tahoe! Snow is really rare in September, it is more likely to be beautiful :)

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  32. Take into consideration which are wetsuit friendly and which are not, if that matters to you. NO to Tahoe, awful weather and have not heard great things about the bike course (but yes, it's beautiful). Coeur d'Alene because I live here (Spokane) and could cheer you on all day long! I have done the old Canada IM twice and LOVED it, but though I have not raced the new course, my friends say good things. Excited to follow your journey again! Janine Fraser

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    Replies
    1. In fact, September is one of the most beautiful and agreeable months of the year at Lake Tahoe.

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  33. Cozumel. Make it fun for the whole family.

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  34. I think I would go with Lake Tahoe. The cold will encourage you to keep moving fast! :)

    I've been to Cozumel twice in November and both times it was really warm (low to mid 80s). I'd rather be cold than hot when racing, but it's definitely a personal preference.

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  35. Technically (and historically) Kentucky is not the south...they were decidedly Union in their sympathies and fighting. That said Canukistan would be my choice even with the hills. You've done a flat race and its less likely to snow than Tahoe.

    Would I ever do an Ironman? No I enjoy riding a bike too much to ruin it by inflicting that kind of PAIN on myself . At present I am psyching myself up for my 1st half (trail) and contemplating a 24k that has been referred to as a short ultra (the climbing is insane) but the trails are awesome

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    1. Thanks for the clarification. I'm glad to have had the history lesson today.

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  36. I hope to do an Ironman someday!! I'm getting started this year with a sprint tri. Baby steps. I vote for Canada. The weather will be amazing at that time of year, no humidity and the scenery can't be beat. (I'm from Alberta)

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  37. I don't have a ton of advice for you as I am just starting to dabble in triathlons but one of my role models did Louisville this last year and says nothing but really great things about the entire experience. She even said she would do it again [and it was her first].

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  38. I vote Cozumel or Tahoe. Good luck, I love reading about your training!

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  39. Louisville. It isn't far, it's actually cute, and you can watch horse races and taste whiskey afterward - just enough to do without feeling exhausted after a big race. Plus, my brother and his wife live there with the world's most adorable niece, so you might accidentally bump into the cutest baby ever, just right there on the sidewalk.

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  40. That shadowbox is beautiful! What a great way to memorialize your IM.

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  41. Cozumel. No question. Great (best) course, holiday vacay for the family, and an awesome locale to recoup after the race. Other locations don't hold a candle.

    And you'll be on race-menu, probably with your own food that you've brought with you, up until the gun goes off, so any "revenge" issues won't occur until after you've crossed the finish line. Make this happen.

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  42. I was in Cozumel on the day of the Ironman this year. While I can't DO Ironman's (yet!), It's a really nice time of year there, warm and friendly and we had a great Thanksgiving Dinner at Rock N Java. Drink the bottled water (or hell, stick with margaritas) and you should be fine. If you go, also try to eat at The Old Mission - best food, seriously and fun Mariachi Band serenades you :) OH and cheap massages are available.

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  43. Tahoe, Idaho, or Canada would all be awesome, I think. Beautiful spots and easy to tack on some vacation time to them, too. Cozumel is a fast course, though, and not well attended--lots of people I know have gone there to snag a Kona slot…

    As I looked at your very nice IM race display, it really was crystal clear to me how different I am/was from the normal IM competitor. I've never had a desire to do another, don't know where my medal is, much less all the other stuff (bib?!). I enjoyed the experience, but one and one for me!

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    1. The shadow box was a gift from X2. Not sure I would have invested in it myself, but glad to have it. As for Cozumel - they say it sells out each year - so I do think it's gotten more popular.

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    2. yeah, but it rarely sells out before August. I've done it the last 3 years (it is a local race for me). They have made the swim course a float for this year (due, not doubt to the 300 DNFs 2012 and teh port closures last year). So if swim is weak for you, this might be a consideration. Bike will be super windy but amazing crowd support in town. Entire island shuts down for the event. Run will be wet.

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  44. I say lake tahoe..you already or a cold weather runner..so that shouldn't be that big of a deal..

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  45. I vote for Cozumel. Thanksgiving is the least of the holidays in my opinion. If it were Christmas or one of your beautiful children's birthdays, I would say no way but it's not so there you go. Second, runner up. You are a badass Colorado runner/biker so don't let those hills scare but June is pretty damn close. GO COZUMEL!!
    I do not have any experience with these races but Dimity McDowell did CDA, I think, and so did Swim Bike Mom (Meredith Atwood) so they could give you great pointers. I do have friends in CDA and they love it there.
    I had never, ever, ever considered IM until I spent 17 hours hitting refresh waiting for Dimity and Meredith to cross the finish line at CDA last June and now there's a teeny, tiny little voice that says maybe, just maybe someday we'll get it done.

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    1. Oops, second runner up is CDA :-)

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  46. Go to Greece! Who wouldn't want Dean Karnazes at the start or finish line???? I will never do an Ironman. I only swim with a floatie holding an umbrella drink. Plus my bike has a basket and a bell so I don't think it is Ironman ready. :) Good luck--I'm sure you will be great at any race you choose!

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  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I'm "racing" CDA in June and you'd be a face I could look for. I'm thinking that's a good enough reason :) I too can drive to it and have heard great things from my friends who have done it. I also love the idea of not having to train so hard in the summer when the kids are out of school. A half is so much better in summer. This will be my first one. Good luck deciding!

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  48. I've heard amazing things about CDA. Whistler is hilly but the views more than make up for it. Definitely a bucket list race for me. Louisville is too hot. Cozumel is an awesome vacation spot but you would be racing in the heat after training in the cold. I would not to Tahoe after last year's conditions

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    Replies
    1. Actually I would do a lot of heat training throughout the summer - CO gets very hot (90-100 degrees) - but it wouldn't be humidity.

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  49. um, how are we even having this conversation??? Someone else is paying, so GO TO GREECE!!! Black hair or not.

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    1. Greece was a joke, unfortunately...also, unfortunately travel costs are on me.

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    2. Travel costs are on YOU???? Okay, Beth, this changes EVERYTHING! Then, go for Louisville. Easy to get to, You'll already be acclimated to the summer heat. Hotels will be less expensive here, than any of the other cities listed and it doesn't interfere with the kids school year. Logistically, it probably makes the most sense...for me anyway! :-) Promise to stay away from Cozumel...with your stomach issues, this would not be setting you up for a good racing situation!
      Susan SRMS

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  50. Whistler! I'm doing it! Will be my first one! I live on Vancouver Island so I'm just a ferry ride away. Whistler is beautiful and laid back...and a bear may join you on the run! Kidding...haha...kind of;)

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  51. Boise is the week before CDA. You can always come to Boise - I think most diehards use Boise as a warm up for CDA. And I plan on volunteering on the Boise course with my Team Beef team.

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  52. Maybe I'm just a puss, (I'm certainly no Ironman!) but the thought of doing one in the heat/humidity of the south (Birmingham, AL resident here) in August makes me shudder. Just by location alone I would probably say Tahoe since you're already a bad ass at training/racing in the cold but I have no idea how to assess the climbing/course.

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  53. Oh my gosh, please please please choose IM Louisville! I'm doing it too, it's my hometown, and I've spectated enough over the years that I know it's an awesome race! I don't even mind the fact that you'll smoke me like a fine cigar on the course! Plus, a few other Atlanta triathlon club peeps are doing since most of the tri club signed up for inaugural Chattanooga and it sold out in -12 seconds. Louisville is an awesome town, and the ohio isn't too disgusting to swim in.

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  54. And the bourbon is to die for, as is our local restaurants. Louisville is one of the hippest up and coming cities in the US, and downtown is amazing, where the race ends. Oldham co where the bike portion is, is beautiful horse country. And maybe you'll love enough to join a bourbon chase relay team, it goes through the bourbon trail, best relay in the United States! In October!

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  55. Do CANADA! It's gorgeous, and you are going to be fine with the hills! You live in Colorado, for Pete's sake! I did Lake Placid last year, my first IM. I was worried about the hills too, and I live in Michigan, which is not flat, but nothing like the Adirondacks or CO. It was fine. I loved the race, and I would do it again.
    Lots of my friends have done Louisville, and it is miserable with the humidity and the heat. I would definitely choose Canada over Louisville.

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  56. Cozumel. Margaritas and beaches sound like the best Thanksgiving ever!

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  57. I've been to Mexico before during Thanksgiving and it was really cool. There is a Catholic holiday the same time period and they had the most amazing fireworks display show I have ever seen in the world. It was in Puerto Vallarta, but still Mexico. So my opinion is Cozumel.

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  58. Canada or Whistler - no question. Any way you roll, you're gonna kill it.

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  59. So Cozumel is very nice but check the airfares before you commit since it's a holiday weekend and getting the whole family there adds up. Try to fly all the way to Cozzy because the Ferry from Cancun eats up a ton of a day and in the end it's a Pita. It's a great island. But do be careful of the drinking water before the race (to the paranoid level no ice and no local fruits or veggies) as everyone I went with came home with a nasty stomach bug (2-years ago).

    I vote for CdA, Tahoe, or Whistler in that order. All great locations and races. I never suggest Tahoe to anyone but since you live in the mountains you've got a good head start.

    Whatever you choose I'm sure you'll have a blast and do well. I can't wait to read about it.

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    Replies
    1. 2 years ago Norovirus was all over Playa and Cozumel. believe me, even we locals got wicked sick.

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  60. Can you get on the wait list for Colorado?

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    Replies
    1. Is there a wait list? I didn't think they did that.

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  61. Do Couer D'Alene - I'm doing that one! And, I did Florida (we met briefly at the expo), so clearly I'm your lucky charm. :-)

    Also, the WTC doesn't do waiting lists. As they don't offer refunds there's no way to know exactly how many will show up on the day. Quite frankly the less that show the better from their perspective.

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  62. I vote CdA; it is beautiful up there! An "easier" Idaho option would be Boise… if it isn't sold out.

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  63. I would pick Whistler, for you. Beautiful scenery. Great vacation destination for the family, only about an hour from Vancouver. May even meet a bear on the bike route. You are used to hills!

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  64. Canada!! The bacon (and Canadian beer) are worth it!!

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  65. My husband did CdA this year as his first and loved the course. He didn't think the water temp was an issue at all. We took the family and made a nice weeklong vacation out of it. Beautiful place! Good luck in your decision.

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  66. Coeur d’Alene! Yes, it's June, but it's practically in my backyard (I'm in Washington, just a hop, skip and a jump away). Beautiful area, I'd love to see you there! :)

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  67. I just can't imagine doing anything in any sort of humidity so I vote : go North. Idaho, Canada.... You're used to the climbs and the colder water won't matter with a wetsuit.

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  68. As a Louisvillian I have to disagree, this is a great city to bring the family for vacation! But the weather usually sucks for Ironman. I would go to Lake Tahoe!

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  69. Being from Alabama I would certainly say no to Louisville. I don't run any races until late winter or spring, only because I don't want to train in the summer down here. Unbearably hot! August easy brings a heat index of 110 with a 99% humidity, no joke.

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  70. What better way to give thanks for a strong healthy body than to ironman (can I use it as a verb?) at thanksgiving. My vote goes to Cozumel.

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  71. I've heard Cozumel has a very nice course. Since it's in November you'll have plenty of time to plan your training and I've also heard the swim is fast -although you might get stings from the local jellyfish...And of course it would be a great family vacation destination!

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  72. C'mon Beth.....come and race in Canada....we would love to have you AND if it is Calgary...same time zone for you!

    Rick Boudreau - East Coast Canadian (Nova Scotia)

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  73. I have never even done a triathlon, yet I vote for Ironman Cozumel! I am new to following you, but I absolutely love your candor!

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  74. I have done IMCdA - It was really beautiful, the people were amazing but the swim was freezing to the point where people were getting pulled out. It's also early season so training in CO can be tricky. The bike wasn't that challenging compared to Tahoe. Loved this race would do again.

    I did Tahoe this year, while beautiful, and the swim amazing the bike was ridiculously hard. If you are an amazing climber this race is for you. I would not do this race again (but I am not an amazing climber).

    I haven't done any of the others but am racing Canada this year so of course you should do that one ;)

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  75. Cozumel sounds awesome minus the pooping. I've drove along some of the Tahoe route I think and yes, yes it's a climb. The Idaho one is like CORE DE LANE or that's how my co-worker says it and she's from there.

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  76. I vote Lake Tahoe. I would imagine that their September weather is just like Colorado's - it can snow occasionally, but also can be the best time of the year. Nice days, cool nights and it is beautiful there!

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  77. Definitely Canada, and not just because I'm biased. The west coast is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. If you can handle the elevation of Colorado, this should be fine. Everything more than makes up for it with the breath-taking scenery. It is amazing.

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  78. I have a friend that did Louisville and Coz this year. Liked Louisville, really liked Coz, but heat was a factor as well as being in Mexico lent to some language/communication difficulties. Gorgeous swim.

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  79. I'm doing IM cozumel and it will be my first. SO I guess I have to say you SHOULD pick that one. Even though you don't know me. Anyways.

    I guess I would also say IM CDA simply because I have heard amazing things about it.

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  80. I mentioned wanting to do IM Louisville to some people at IMFL last year and they were like NOOOOOO DON'T DO IT! I guess it's really hot and humid, so if you can't deal with that it'll be really tough.

    Also Cozumel looks really beautiful but I heard it is also really hot.

    My vote is for Lake Tahoe.

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  81. While Louisville is no Cozumel it is great race! I did it last year and wrote a little about it here:

    http://bit.ly/1jcT2D9

    I would take the heat of Louisville over the cold of Tahoe any day! The help of the river current is more help in the swim than a wetsuit gives in a lake. Just thinking of getting in a mountain (cold) lake in 30 degree air is enough to take it off my 2nd IM list!

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  82. Cozumel no question! It's only one Thanksgiving...and think of the story/memories you'd have for this one! We live overseas and spend every Thanksgiving traveling Europe now, due to the built-in long weekend, and I don't miss traditional Thanksgiving one bit...not when I am trading it for amazing European adventures.

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  83. I would do Tahoe in a heartbeat, but for me that weekend interferes with my husband's travel schedule. I am doing Louisville for the second time instead.

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