The race is over and the nausea passes and it really set in….I did it, I competed and finished in the Ironman World Champions hips! Tears are flowing and I soaked it all up. Found John soon thereafter, well he found me. See I had a GPS Track My Athlete pod in my jersey and he could find me online. So he navigated in the vicinity and started shouting my name. He found my shoveling chocolate ice cream down my throat and peacefully sitting in the grass.
He likes to hurry along and I am well a bit wiped out. So he is marching along with all my gear and keeps turning back looking at me, not saying come on damnit, but looking like he really wants to say it. Ironman is a long day for spectators too…he was up at 3 and all over the course and does not have the benefit of adrenaline surging through him to keep him going. He is tired and cranky. Just past the finish they had a garbage can filled with ice water and poured a pitcher over my head a few times so I was actually feeling mildly clean.
We found the car and then it was time to change and find Jen and Chuck who secured a table on a patio at a restaurant overlooking Alii. It was nuts, music blaring, people screaming and Mike Reilly welcoming so many across the finish line. I was so happy to be drinking a beer and eating the best tasking hamburger you can imagine. The plan was to stay until midnight and wait for the last athlete but well the food and beer took its toll and John’s patience was up so we headed home around 11.
Taking a shower seems like it will be so awesome…but frankly everything hurts and after 11 hours in the Kona sun I was burned so the shower was more of a process. We headed out to the Lanai and I had some time to reflect on the race….
My time was slow, certainly not what I had hoped for, but was not going to allow disappointment to squelch the feeling. Truly I wanted to finish respectably and I accomplished that. I was thinking about how many awesome people I have met since I did my first Ironman 3 years ago. That first IM I had my family and coach out there and I knew one other competitor. In Kona I saw and cheered on 30+ fellow athletes who are friends, training partners, Erin Baker Teammates, Facebook friends and more. And so many familiar faces on the sidelines….really is heartwarming to see how my triathlon “family” has grown. That is what makes this sport so incredibly wonderful!!!