We had a blast in Coeur d' Alene last weekend, just walking around the Ironman village was fun and entertaining to watch all of the athletes in their final prep for the big race. Kelly's parents joined us for most of the weekend, and my Aunt Michelle flew in on Sunday to cheer Kelly on. Georgie girl was a champ and although she was confused as to why her Daddy wasn't stopping to visit with her, just running by or riding by, she joined in and yelled "yay Dad!" complete with a fist pump in the air. Talk about melting our hearts!!!
We made camp on the main street/finish line and watched finisher after finisher run/walk or cry past us. If we weren't cheering loud enough, Georgiana would grab my hands to help me clap. She usually hits the sack about 7:00 pm, so by 8:30 pm she was a little delirious and her claps transformed into full on arm extension and were about the silliest cutest thing ever. Georgie also enjoyed her share of Mac & Cheese, although I fear she will never be able to eat Kraft or boxed. Her palate was exposed to some of the tastiest Macaroni & Cheese ever, I encourage you to order off of Tito's children's menu in Coeur D' Alene, either that or try some of the pizza, delish.
Of course, we were in Coeur d' Alene for more than eating and taking pics of Georgie. We were there for Kelly to complete the most insane triathlon of his life. And, complete it he did!!
How he enjoyed over 15 hours of hardcore exercise, I will never understand, but he did and all of us rooting him on could not have been more proud of him! The finish line felt much like the Mainstreet in Disneyland watching a parade, and I think to Kelly the finish line definitely felt like the happiest place on earth.
Kelly described the first ten minutes of the swim as the most intense 10 minutes of his life. Considering he can compare that with explosively breaching the front doors of bad guys, I can say with absolute certainty that I have zero desire to dive into the water with Ironmen. My heart was pumping just watching from the sideline. Seeing a pack of over 2,300 people enter the water at once is a site like no other. They all set their eyes on completing the 2.4 mile swim, and all but 4 reached that goal in under the allotted time of 2 hours and 20 minutes.
After the swim came the 112 mile bike ride. Kelly was excited about the scenic ride. He and the two friends he trained with drove the bike ride a couple of days before the race. Apparently hills appear much smaller from the car window than from a bike seat. Kelly is convinced he will never ride a bike again, I am convinced he will probably do a sprint tri by the end of summer...
Upon finishing the bike ride, it was time to run a marathon. Yep, a full on 26.2 mile run. During his transition, Kelly yelled "I feel great, my legs are fresh!" Followed of course by a gigantic smile and thumbs up.
Kelly hit the run hard, he past over 200 people on his first lap. Only problem was, he didn't realize that the run was two laps. When the volunteer said "1st lappers to the finish line this way and 2nd lappers this way..." He looked at her with total disbelief and said "What!?!" It was an oversight that he says completely took the wind out of his sails. Mentally he went from pumped and literally looking down to the finish line, to realizing he had a hair over 13 miles to go. He describes his physical reaction as his legs started catching up to his brain. Although he was thrown for a loop, he still managed to pass an additional 100 competitors on his second lap.
Kelly planned to complete the race in around 15 hours. It still amazes me how he knew his body well enough to come to that number. His training numbers individually would have pegged him at around 13 hours, but he did a great job of guessing how much his body would react to all three events on one day.
When he rounded the corner onto the main street/finish line, I knew something wasn't right. In an instant the plan of holding sleeping Georgie and cheering Kelly on from the sideline was out the window. I quickly handed Georgie to my aunt and found myself running in my flip flops to meet Kelly. His eyes looked glossy and he was moving so awkwardly, his legs were cramped and as I ran beside him I didn't want to slow him down, so I said "go ahead Babe, beat me!" He just looked at me blankly and I could feel myself take a deep breath to hold back the tears. Tears of complete joy that he had reached his goal, tears that this journey was almost over, and tears that no matter what I would be getting Kelly across that line with a smile on his face. His eyes were glossy not from tears, but from being completely physically, mentally and emotionally spent, just glazed over. His legs were cramped and he had dried sweat on him, so thick that he looked like he had been painted white. So, I ran with him. I channeled my one year of cheerleading experience and bounced and yelled with the best of them for the last 1/8 mile. The street was packed, people came out and gave Kelly high fives, yelled and woo hooed as I yelled
"Here comes an Ironman!!!"
"You did it!!!"
All of the outside restaurants were packed with onlookers who rallied behind Kelly with cheers and exclamations! It was an experience we will never forget. As we reached the grandstands, I yelled, "you did it, now go smile for your picture!" and then let him do his thing.
He ran through the grandstands, finished confidently and when I met him on the other side he gave me the sweatiest kiss ever. Pda's not really my thing, and I'm definitely not a sweaty pda girl, but I tell you, in that moment it just made me smile as big as him.
I'm "borrowing" these pictures from the asi website, we placed a pre-order during registration and I'm hoping we get the hard copy soon!