Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ironman Arizona 2013 Spectator Report!

One of my most favorite parts of endurance sports are the relative nature of them all.  What is fast to some is slow to others and what is an amazing day for some is someone else's complete shit show.  Of course the man himself, Albert Einstein, probably said it best:
“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.”

Or, maybe it was Chris Rock?
Oprah is rich, Bill Gates is wealthy. If Bill Gates woke up tomorrow with Oprah's money, he'd jump out a f**king window and slit his throat on the way down saying, "I can't even put gas in my plane!"

As a man who has completed 20 marathons and spent a weekend a few weeks ago spectating Ironman Arizona for the 4th year in a row, I can tell you one thing is for certain: Ironmen are either amazing athletes or batshit crazy.... maybe both.  But, I am getting ahead of myself...

A few weeks ago, Michaela, Arvan, and Layla were all in town volunteering for Ironman Arizona with Michaela and Arvan planning on signing up next year.  I was NOT planning on signing up, so the weekend for me was going to mostly be spent creating a scene and supporting whatever it took to get Michaela and Arvan into the race.  Turns out, that meant basically not sleeping - AT ALL.


First thing on the agenda for the weekend was running. (Or, as triathletes know it: the sport where you actually touch the ground.)  Since I'm in the middle of a bonafide running comeback, I wanted to make sure to front-load the weekend with as many miles as possible since I knew that I was going to be punishing my liver body with loads of spectating.  Unfortunately, that only meant 3 miles because Layla's IT band was acting up. 

So, with the longest workout of the weekend in the books (Yeahhhhh, about that "front loading" business....), it was off to the liquor store! Where.....there were free samples!!! Like, a LOT of free samples.  6 I think? 12? I dunno.  All I know is that between the cinnamon whiskey and maple syrup whiskey, I might have proposed to one of the "drink girls" and accidentally lost my pants.

What? You don't drink hard liquor while taking selfies after a run? (Layla and I)

The only way to drink maple syrup flavored whiskey?
At 6am in the morning!!  Pinkies OUT!

Camera shy Arvan looking to karate chop my face at dinner
Like that would stop me from taking his picture!


Since the weekend was really getting the crew familiar with an Ironman race atmosphere, most of Saturday was spent milling around the transition area and going to the surprisingly small (outdoor) expo.  It is always surprising to me that, in spite of the massive spectacle, this is still a somewhat small race - 3000 people.  But, if you put 3000 bikes and 3000 transition bags all in one place, it is rather overwhelming.  Relativity with sports, I suppose - for triathlon, 3000 people is a fairly massive race.

Overlooking T1 and T2. Note the bagillion bikes

Since we knew that Sunday was going to be a really long day, we all hydrated well and went to bed early gave ourselves facials that we bought at Target and drank wine.  Isn't that what everyone does?

I wake up looking like a gargoyle, 
just think how bad I'd look if I didn't do this stuff

Just another Saturday night

We all rented a townhome on AirBnB.  If you haven't rented a place on AirBnB it is essentially people renting out their house to you for either the same, or in some cases, way way less than a hotel. I'm really not sure where the people go that normally live there.  Anyway, since it was sort of close to halloween, there was a coffee cup and donut costume just DYING to be tried on.  Well, a bottle or two of wine later and I had a massive donut around my head and I was singing showtunes.

Coffee and donut costume. I have no words

With that it was off to bed to get something stupid like 5 hrs of sleep.  We had an ironman to spectate!


After 4-5 hours of sleep, I mainlined some coffee and we were off to the start.  Arizona doesn't have a wave start, instead has an all or nothing free for all.  I can't describe to you how crazy it is.  2700 or so type A triathletes all punching and kicking their way towards the finish line.  Well, except for one guy.  He got up on the ledge on the right side near the red triangle and started to rock out.  Party on, triathlete, party on.

A video of the swim start - terrifying
Make sure to check the dude dancing on the side @ 20 seconds

As is usually the case when spectating a race, there was plenty of time to kill while everyone was splish splashing in the water. So, the four of us went and ate around 3000 calories in french toast and omelets. If you want to win, you have to fuel like a winner.....

In a totally random side note, when we were walking either to or from the restruant, I saw a very odd looking roadie box that had TURDS painted on the side.  So, I'm no expert, but I can't think of the situation where by you'd actually have to store turds - let alone transport them from race to race.  I can only assume that the fecal transport had to do something with the elite racers.  Is there anything they won't do for elite racers!?

Turn Under Release Da Shit?

No really, turds

With bellies full of maple syrup, we were off to the real business of the weekend - cross dressing!!  Wait, what? So, the "Theme" of the aid station that I volunteered at was "sports".  And seriously, what says sports like cheerleaders?  And what says cheerleaders like a COWBOYS cheerleader!??!!  That is right, nothing.

So, I took it upon myself to throw dignity to the wind and show my support for the racers.  The good news is that it was really hot, so the lack of clothing was kind of nice.  The bad news is that I really rocked the face off of the knee high white leather boots. :(  I'm not really sure what I should think about that.

The next time you watch a John Wayne movie, think of me.  KISSES!! XOXO

I think I should have flexed more... or wore longer pants.... or....everything. Just...everything.

With volunteering done, we spectated for a bit and headed back to the townhome to rest.  Well, everyone else rested and I wondered if my ass would look better in platforms or a more simple slingback heel.  I decided on the slingbacks, but do like the idea of being 2" taller.... hmmm.....

After doing some stuff the rest of the day (the lack of sleep and sunlight to my midsection were really taking their toll on my memory) we finally headed to the finish line to watch the last few finishers come in at midnight. This is something that I was really looking forward to doing as I had never done it before.  Let me tell you - if you are ever watching an ironman race, sacrifice the sleep to watch the last racers cross the finish line.  It is one of the most inspirational things I have seen.

9 minutes to go until the doors close!

So, have I mentioned I take a lot of selfies? Even the chick in the back was loving it!
(hanging at the finish near midnight)

If you don't think this is inspirational, you don't have a soul
This guy was essentially delusional after being on the road for 17 hrs

With the finish line euphoria still coursing through our veins, we headed back and went to bed...... for a solid 3 hours of sleep because we needed to be BACK at the starting line to get everyone else signed up. You see, it isn't enough that the race costs $700, takes 6 months to train for, and takes anywhere between 10-17 hours to finish.... you have to wait in line for 3 hours at 4am to sign up!!!  Oyyy, makes me tired just thinking about it.


So, this post took me a bit longer to write than I would like because it is hard to summarize my thoughts and put them to words. I had such a great time and will admit that I do have a bit of the ironman itch.  I'm not certain that it is something that I could fit into my life right now - but it is certainly a bucket list thing.

Rest assured that I'll be cheering on Arvan and Michaela in a year (as well as many others).  Costume TBD.


Sue's Ramblings said...

Can we hire you as the cheerleader for next year's Ironman in Langkawi???? Nope, not doing it but lots of friends are signed up and your post make me wanna head there to cheer them on.

Christina said...

Where did you get that costume?!

Redhead Running said...

The cheerleading costume is amazing. Thank you, thank you for that laugh today!

One Crazy Penguin said...

I'm dying to spectate and volunteer at an IronMan. I'm hoping maybe next year.

Also, those shoes make your legs look fabulous :p

Michaela said...

This is my favorite blog post ever -- one of the most memorable weekends. Can't wait to see what your costume for IMAZ 2014 will be like.

Layla said...

Only you could turn an Ironman blog post into a debate on slingback vs platform shoes. Well done; very well done.
BRB, off to watch a John Wayne movie.

TriMOEngr said...

I happened to be in AZ that weekend on vacation and drug my friend that I was staying with down for some serious spectating. It was very inspirational, but I couldn't convince her to stay out til midnight.

paullamb said...

Does that wine bottle have the Ironman logo on it?

John Striker said...

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