After watching the run from a particular spot on State Street Jenny, Ally and I moved over to an area closer to the finish. We yelled and cheered and called out to the Ironmen to try to help keep them going. We had seen Greyhound go by and thought he was in for a sub 12 finish but then realized he still had to turn around and head back out. He was still in great shape and we figured he was looking at something under 15.
Finally the lure of the actual finish line beckoned and we wanted to be there to see our friends come in so off we went. People, you have no idea how LOUD it is there. The music is blaring and Mike Riley’s voice just BOOMs over the sound system and the people are screaming and cheering. LOUD! But it is so great so very great.
Jenny and I spotted TriMama and the Tribe across the way in the ‘run in with a finisher’ waiting area
The new rule is that only 1 person can cross the line with the Ironman finisher but since all the kids and TriMama were in red capes we didn’t know who the lucky person was. Finally, Soapinator ran out and we had our answer. Sadly, my camera ran out out battery right then -grrrr…. I did get these 2 little shots, though.
I know – totally frustrating. But onward!
After Tac came in we went around the back and tried to find people but it was tough. Jenny had a VIP pass so she was able to get a pic at the finish with Boomer. At that point Ally had had enough so we headed back to the car.
I must say that Ally was an angel. i think I said that before but that child deserves kudos for patience and perseverance. On those rare occasions when she would let out a little whine Jenny would gently remind her that she knew it would be a long day and she would just head off for the Burley and curl up and rest. I considered smuggling her home with me but I figured Jenny might get mad and I ♥ Jenny so I refrained.
In the morning the group staying at our hotel all met up for breakfast
It was so great to see Tac and Greyhound in their morning after glow. Then I headed to the awards breakfast with Laurie and met up with Bold, Michelle, Brent Buckner, his sister Wendy and some other folks (it’s getting fuzzy now). (Pardon the lack of links but I’m getting all linked out.)
It was a nasty, rainy morning and everyone realized how fortunate they had been to have such perfect weather the day before. After the breakfast I still had many hours to kill but Laurie was heading home and Bold needed a nap so I did what all Americans do when they have time to kill and it is raining – I went to Starbucks, drank coffee and read The Onion. Good times. My flight was supposed to leave at 6:07 but didn’t go until after 7:00 which meant I got to do my own IM sprint through O’Hare to catch my connecting flight.
The best part about being at the finish is that you see people who just an hour before were doing a death shuffle and looking like they hated the world transformed into some of the happiest people in the world. They are so triumphant with hands over head, fists pumping in the air, smiles as wide as Lake Monona. Getting on that plane in Chicago I saw a guy in a Finisher jacket and congratulated him. He asked if I had done the race and I said No. He asked me if I did triathlon and I told him I was really in my first year and just working on Olympic distance events. Beaming like he’d just crossed the line he said, “You should do an Ironman – when you finish you will feel so fantastic – better than you’ve ever felt in your life!”
And that’s what it is about. It’s about pushing yourself to go the distance through hours of training, through days of missed parties, through hours of early morning darkness, through muscle soreness and fatigue that makes you question your own motives, through fear and lack of confidence and on to cover 140.6 miles in one very long, very special day. And when you do that – you feel like the person you are – YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!
Several people have asked the question – “So what about you, Mom? Is there an Ironman in your future?” The answer is “Maybe”. In fact, I am considering one for next year but I’m not sure I want to invest the time. I’m not sure I don’t. Fortunately, I have at least until November to think about it.