I just came off of such and incredibly, inspiring, weekend. A weekend of nervous energy, loads of laughter (LOADS) tired muscles, roadtrippin’, group hugs, high fives, some tears, (from both nerves and happiness), tired aching muscles, a little anxiety, great friends, amazing girl time, new friendships (Hi Jenny and Tomek) Swedish Fish, a Twilight Zone McDonalds stop, toilet sleeping* and Ironman camaraderie.
Ironman Lake Stevens 70.3. (This is not a race report)
A few weeks ago I had made the decision to withdraw from racing LS. A decision that was hard, but I knew was in my best interest. A few days after that, the decision was made that I would still attend, with friends and my training group, as support & cheerleader! I had SUCH a great time!
From the fist 15 minutes of our car ride out of town, I knew this weekend would be amazing (hello Mini Vacation) The energy of a race has a way of oozing onto you, even if you aren’t racing. And of course a car of friends wrapped in laughter on a 4-hour road-trip is always Fab-ulous!!
We spent our first night in Issaquah, which is such a beautiful part of the Pacific NW (always so grateful that we get to LIVE here), at my friend’s sisters. They were great hosts (ummm, hot tub under the stars and a little vodka who can complain? Not this girl!) The next day we set out for a short drive into Lake Stevens, hit the expo, checked in and met other friends that were racing.
As the one not racing and just /observing it was funny to see my friends rituals of set up. Clothing, shoes, helmets, bags, changes of clothes. I observed, being sure to be very quiet as they worked. They talked to themselves, changed things around, walked around the hotel room…. all this, while I sat in silence. I felt like Sigourney Weaver in Gorillas in the Mist, watching…from afar. Taking it all in, but being careful not to “startle anyone!" They asked for advice on things, to which I carefully answered what I would do…but adding, “everyone is different.” A strange breed us Triathletes are. But then again…having something “off” can make or break a race. All joking aside, they were great....I just know how it is when I am in race prep, and let them carry on, not getting into their way.
After the packing ritual….we hit dinner with our whole group. Italian of course, and again the laughter and wine flowed easily. We toasted everyone, toasted our coach, toasted to the hard work and dedication of this group of athletes. Then…bed!
Watching and waiting for friends to finish a race, especially a 70.3 distance is a test of patience and sometimes frustration. Not knowing (on a huge course) where people are and trying to keep everyone tracked down is cRaZy! Especially when you know so many racing. Luckily, I had some great friends to keep me company throughout the day that had also made the drive over to support our BAM’s
For many of them, it was a first at the 70.3 distance. They all trained hard and well during the past few months. But as anyone knows on race morning…you forget all that you have put into training and your mind wanders to the “what if’s” and the “maybe I should’ve.” They have ALL trained, but of course 2 minutes before jumping into a lake with 1500 other athletes for a 1.2-mile swim, you forget that. So again, we spoke softly, but gave lots of hugs, smiles, "go get 'em's" slaps on the butt, quiet whispers (R.T.B.) and sent them on their way.
Click to Enlarge Photos
Watching friends from my training group cross the finish line at a race is amazing! It brings tears to my eyes, and a huge smile to my face. It makes my heart happy to see people accomplishing their goals! To see their families waiting in anticipation is priceless! Their hard work and dedication paid off. And as hard as they worked out there…the minute they cross that finish line it’s all worth it.
Great work BAM’s! You ALL finished! You ALL rocked! Congratulations on your Ironman 70.3 finishes, Fishes!! The big one’s next!!
PS: IM Lake Stevens put on a phenomenal race. It is a GORGEOUS venue to race at. Great support, great seeing the Pro's out (Congrats to Craig "Crowie" Alexander and Meredith Kessler on their wins) there, and perfect climate. This 70.3 is definitely on my future race list. No doubt!!
* I've discovered that this is what happens when you are so sleep deprived and you stop for a potty break. It allows you a 2-minute nap.