As most of you know, Christopher is officially an Ironman. And for those of you who don’t know what goes into the IM process, this means that he has completed a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, followed by a 26.2 mile marathon. Woof. What does one do while others are on their feet for 11 + hours?
Spectate, of course.
Alex and I dropped Chris off at the start at 5:30 am. We promptly got coffee and realized that we uh…had some time until the actual start time. Downtown Tempe was hoppin with Ironman fans, college students and volunteers. Which brings me to my next question:
Dear random fan, why do you have a poster at the start? Can your loved one see said poster while he or she is swimming? Whilst you’re on a bridge? That is above said loved one? Just a question. Carry on, Abbe Lew
It really isn’t unlike other races at the beginning. After all, New York City Marathon is a giant block party for most of the day. The guns went off signalling the start of IMAZ with a swim. From the bridge, it looked like a feeding frenzy. Literally. Like a bunch of sharks were attacking fish for 2.4 miles.
After the swim began, Alex and I made our way to the IM Village to pick up Christopher some souvenirs. For future racers/fans, this is my tip to you: Go to the Merchandise store during the swim for it’s completely empty and sans lines.
We then decided to wait by the bike chute to see Christopher come out of his first transition. The first pack of pros came out – five of them at the same time. These guys were insane – lean, fast, the normalcy of triathletes. We finally saw His Lordship come out of the water about 1:44 in (I say about, when in reality, he finished the swim in 1:44). He looked cold. DREADFULLY cold. As did all the other triathletes leaving the water. Christopher came through shivering and completely white. And I mean white white. Like someone had just slathered him in sunscreen. Oh. That’s because they did.
Alex and I then had to take hold of the rest of the day for we were Ironman spectators. Being a spectator for such an event takes much thought and planning. And for three reasons:
A. Instead of one sport it is three.
2. The bike course is particularly difficult to drive out to and watch as the athlete will be zooming by you at 18+ miles per hour, and we don’t know our we around the desert (not to be confused with dessert).
and D. ANYTHING can happen over a full day of intense activity.
So. Alex and I (and it was greatly advised by Coach S) grabbed breakfast, and relaxed while tracking His Lordship from the hotel room.
This brings me to my next topic: Bosa Donuts. A renovated what looks to be like an old Hardee’s, this doughnut shop was the cream of the crop, serving cake-style doughnuts, pastries, breakfast sandwiches, bagels, and sno-cones. You heard me. It’s a desert, after all (again, not to be confused with dessert). Completely laid back, Alex and I created the line ourselves (as the line was completely spread out sporadically throughout the front of the ‘restaurant’), and soon found that one box of doughnut holes cost a meer .99 cents. Stellar. His Lordship later told us that we could cure hunger with these magnificent holes. Might go against curing obesity, though…
Anywho, this was also followed by a leisurely run (which I felt so stupid running four miles while my boyfriend was on his six hour bike loop in the desert), and lunch at a local bar (which I felt guilty for imbibing delicious beverages during said bike loop). And let’s not forget that I was texting Claire for the entirety of the day.
Making our way back to the course to cheer for the marathon portion (aka Sector III), we parked ourselves near Mile 8 which was conveniently located next to an In-N-Out Burger, which we later picked up for Christopher to engulf after finishing. We saw the Pro Women running by,
and seeing as it was a loop, they were looping the amateurs who looked like they were hitting their wall, walking through the desert in full-on pain. I saw Chris shortly after Mile 4 (next to Mile 8—don’t ask me, I still don’t understand this run course), and ran beside him asking how he was. “I JUST ATE SOME RUFFLES!,” was his response, and I knew he was doing good as he explained he was right on course with Sonja’s wishes. We saw him again through Miles 8 and 16 (no, we didn’t move as it was a looped course that I still don’t understand), and got back in the car to drive to the finish.
The IM finish line is one of the most spectacular finishes I’ve ever seen. All of these triathletes I once saw running the marathon course were now running through the finish, like a bolt of lightning was surging through their veins. I stood next to a woman with two young girls, who were waiting for their father. Not long after, their dad came up, gave his wife a kiss and hugged his two little girls. I started to cry and gave the woman my congratulations. After they left, I was about to feel the same emotion as Chris would soon come through the finish. Knowing how long and hard he has worked, and what all he has gone through this year, is what makes him an Ironman. He finished in 11:13:56, and it was a spectacular sight. Many congratulations, my dear. All of the blood, sweat and tears truly paid off.
Many congratulations to all IMAZ finishers and a special shoutout to Coach Sonja who finished second in her age group at IM Cozumel, giving her a spot at the Kona Championships. And many thanks to the Runner Army back on the East Coast for helping me when my interwebs were shotty.
And if you’re ever out in the Tempe/Scottsdale area, look up Bosa Donuts. You will not be disappointed.