I had a great weekend chock full of things - I took a beginning spin class which I need to tell you all about but even more important...my husband is an Ironman
. It has been a year of some ridiculous training, with deliverance coming yesterday - Ironman Wisconsin
. I am only sad I did not have a cowbell - we needed "more cowbell
The day started at 4am, with us arriving at the Mononoa Terrace at 5:30 so that Bill could get marked up with numbers. He was cautiously excited. This was the big show. The 2.4 mile swim started at about 7am, with him coming out of the water approximately 1:45 minutes later. He was looking good, my own anxiety subtly assuaged. Prior to the race we had overheard a child ask his mother "what if Daddy dies? What if he drowns?" We giggled at the time, the innocent truth from a child, but I can tell you now that I had already thought of that, and it was not funny. Somehow Bill's assurances that his life insurance premiums were up to date did not offer much consolation. em.
So onto the bike - again looking good. The guy works at Trek - he has the best bike ever
and this was going to be his strongest event - he was laughing in the face of the 112 mile ride. Til his frame cracked and other crazy technical things went haywire - he could not stop pedaling during coasting - which was a crap "set-up" for the upcoming marathon. At one point the officials considered taking him off of the course because his bike wasn't safe - hell no - he went forth. I think my brother-in-law would have carried a new bike on his back to him if he could have, THE LOVE! His bike snafu probably blew his time by 1.5 hours, but he rolled in for the transition to run at about 4:30.
Then the run. He did not focus his training efforts on running, so again, I was nervous. Thankfuly he had a GPS unit on which afforded me constant updates on his locale. Between that and his brother, my sister-in-law, my sister and her husband and some other family friends, I was constantly in touch with how he was doing - I've never texted so much in my life. I was on child duty through the middle of the day so I needed to rely on others, and they were awesome
I met my "crew" at the Great Dane for a drink and to wait for the finish line shuffle at about 9:30 - after I loaded up his bike and gear. (I dumped the entire contents of his bike bottle in my cargo bag - orange gatorade - comic relief after a tense day!)
We were at the finish line in plenty of time to see many competitors finish - that last ounce of energy. It truly brought tears to my eyes to see the determination and pride in these elite (a.k.a. insane) athletes. I cried several times. And then there he was - 16:24 his final time. He came in strong. He was his chatty self - I was so elated. He got finish pictures, his medal, a bottle of water...we said our goodbyes to our personal support team - and then he got squirrely.
My Ironman was going to eat and then decided at he last minute, hmm, not so much. He wandered out of the food tent towards me and I could tell, some thing was up. He said he was dizzy, I ran for a chair - he directed me the wrong way to a medical tent, we ended up two blocks from the medical people - please note he was cognizant enough to hand me his medal and finisher hat with an adamant "I don't want to puke on this..." And then he staggered to the lawn of the City County Building, laid out like you know who on the cross...my mind was racing now - I called my sister-in-law - who is a doctor, then ran in the direction of the medical tent - eventually some medical guy ran with me - we managed to get him vertical and to the tent (and they would not let me come in, can you believe that??! Okay, so I took pictures...) Anyways, a sub sandwich, the "best grapes ever" and some water later he was better. He was probably so light on "fuel" he went kind of vertigo.
Aside from our dramatic end, the day was a total success. I admit I have complained about his ridiculous training schedule all year - we have little kids, I was tired of holding the bag maybe - but yesterday I promised God I would not complain again if He would just bring him safely to the finish. Thankfully, my Ironman is in no hurry for a second event...but it was pure joy yesterday to be part of something so incredible. The Ironman, and so many of the events I have spectated (which my crew and I have decided is really quite hard work, em) brings such a sense of community. The volunteers are fabulous, strangers ask for your partner's number and share their own stories and my family and Bill's family really showed how much they love us with all of their help and kindness (like brunch at the Come Back In thank-you-very-much.) Pretty amazing, indeed. For at least two seconds on event day I think "I want to do this". And then I come to my senses.
ETA: you can read about this Ironman's firsthand experience here