Thursday, 13 August 2009

IMLP (part two)

Being the true athlete that I am, I'm sitting out on my deck with a glass of red wine in fantabulous 80+ degree heat, (bring it on baby) when it dawned on me I haven't even begun to tell the race day happenings!!!

Race day, Sunday started at 3am. Luckily Karen had set the hotel alarm clock because I am such a dork that when I set my cell phone alarm clock I didn't realise it defaulted to PM....YIKES!

We were up and gone....it was dark and sort of misty and it was a very eerie drive into Placid, luckily for us we were able to follow other vehicles into town. Those in the cars a head were obviously competing due to all the bags and bikes in and on the vehicles.

Luckily we found a place to park (which was to be cordoned off until after 6pm that night) and we headed off to meet up with the other body markers.

Unfortunately I do not have photo's of the bodymarking experience, but we took over the street right in front of the bike transition area. The athletes came to the zone so quickly it would have been impossible to take photo's, body mark, have the opportunity to chat with them and of course you guys know me....give them a hug and wish them GOOD LUCK, HAVE FUN!

Some were relaxed, some were joking, some were competing with their mother, some were uptight, some were having their birthday (they got an extra BIG hug), some were older (73) some were young (21) and one was experiencing an Ironman after a life altering accident....Please see and read Matt Long's story.

There were so many bodymarker's, so many athlete's and so many of their entourage it was mind blowing. I thought I would never get to see Anne nor Dean, but I heard my name being called out and there they were! Karen had already marked Anne, but she came to me to have my signature "smiley face" put on her calf...it was awesome to get to see her before she started her incredible journey to Iron. We gave each other a HUGE HUG and I told her to "get lost" because I was going to cry.....

Once they announced the elite were having to line up, the numbers dwindled down in the marking zone because everyone wanted to see them start. I chatted for a little while with a photographer that was there, he had asked permission to take my photo, while we chatted I asked him for his business card, can you believe he was from Canada and lived not very far from where I work!!

The world just keeps getting smaller.

We headed over to Mirror Lake where everyone was or had already suited up and were getting into position. Just as they were finished with the Anthem and prayer, the skies opened to a deluge of rain (luckily no lighting), the cannon went off and it had begun!!

Lake Placid Ironman was on its way to cheers, cowbell's, clapping, laughter and tears of excitement (that of course would be me).

We totally lost track of Anne in the mayhem of swimmers, however, we did stay to watch the very last swimmer come out of the water. He was a gentleman who had suffered a stroke last year and vowed to make himself fit enough to compete in IMLP.

He swam courageously right to the shore, just missing the cut off time which would have allowed him to continue on. He was stoic, he only has the use of one arm!!! The number of people who staid to watch him emerge from the lake was staggering. Everyone was cheering and chanting his name. He came out of the water as if he was still going to continue, he looked strong and he was so emotional, the wetsuit remover guys were waiting for him, they proceeded to help him out of his wetsuit and they lifted him up onto their shoulder's....they walked up to where his wife and daughter were waiting for him. People were still cheering and ringing their cowbells.

He took his wife and daughter's hands and walked up the long slope to the bike transition area.....he to me IS AN IRONMAN!

to be continued......

Life's fun if you don't weaken,

Lily

14 comments:

Groover said...

Did you just do that? Did you just make me well up? Only your posts ever do this to me ... can't wait to read on ... so finish your glass of red and get back here ... please! :-)

Marci said...

Well that totally has me in tears... what a great post! Can't wait for part III

Marci said...

Well that totally has me in tears... what a great post! Can't wait for part III

Judi said...

i keep getting all choked up!

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

oh wow. how awesome about that last swimmer. very very very cool

Marlene said...

I have MAJOR goosebumps reading this. What an experience...

Wes said...

This is why we love our volunteers :-)

B.o.B. said...

I just got goosebumps. Courageous man and what a great story!

Nat said...

Matt Long's story was a real inspiration last time I was a not-so good run.

More please?

X-Country2 said...

IM race reports are always my fav!

joyRuN said...

How awesome & inspirational!

I'm all teary reading about the last swimmer...

bluecolnago said...

great post. it's the "human" things that happen within the "big" race that make competing or watching and ringing the cowbell so great! nice job of capturing that, lily. thanks for sharing.

Viv said...

the time cut offs are so disheartning sometimes. I saw on tv when they pulled away this older ladies bike. They still get the respect they deserve for even attempting such a mission.

Runner Leana said...

Wow, Laurel...what a story! I would have been in tears...