Ironman Wisconsin is six days away, are you ready? Of course you are, and it can’t come soon enough.
I’m leaving Nashville Tuesday after work. I plan to drive about four or five hours and get a hotel so I can keep my sleep schedule on track. Then we’ll leave early in the morning and get to parent’s house around noon on Wednesday. I’ll go for a short 30 minute run around my childhood neighborhood, then kick back with mom and dad to plan their spectator day. (And yes, I’m open for suggestions from anyone who has great watching places).
I’m still not sure my family fully understand what’s going to happen on race day, but it’s impossible to know until you see it for yourself. It will be a very long day and while Ironman is a slow, drawn-out race, the story unfolds with amazing speed.
* There are some really cool shots from Ironman Wisconsin at this Flickr feed, including the two below: The energy before the swim will be off the charts. Friends and family will watch as 3,000 swimmers wade into Lake Monona and float for 15-20 minutes. Then, the cannon . . . followed by a mad rush of energy for racers and an anxiety ridden test of patience for those on shore. Then the emergence from the swim. What a moment. It’s hard to explain the excitement of watching someone you know rush out of the water then disappear into transition.
Fans will catch a brief glimpse as we spiral down the helix and leave for the hills. It will be another mystical moment, followed by a calm and re-group. They will walk to their cars as we begin our 112 mile journey.
The cars will park in Verona and the waiting game starts again. Then, out of nowhere, like a magic trick, we will fly by them on the bike. They will feel their hearts pulse, full of excitement and another bit of relief. IronTrac or My Athlete Live will keep them up to speed on our progress as they settle in with the party, which I expect to be rockin’.
We will manifest once more, then be gone. A rush, followed by relief, followed by calm and a long walk to the car and a trip back to Madison.
They will negotiate their spots and wait for us to return from this long, mysterious ride. They will be looking in our eyes for weakness, hoping it is nowhere to be seen. Several times they will project themselves into our shoes and be baffled by the idea of swinging our leg off the bike and deciding to run a full marathon.
We will dismount our bikes, gather our bearings, then slowly jog past them on the last leg of this monster. Parading our vulnerability in front of thousands on State Street and banking their encouragement to get us over the next hump, and the next . . . and the next.
I will tell them to bring chairs because, in a different way, walking and standing that long can be just as hard as doing an Ironman. Rest your legs while watching. We need you fresh.
I expect to hear and see people I know many times on the run course and believe me, it will be a huge boost. It all comes down to the run. I keep wondering what that second loop will feel like. When will I feel like “I’m on my way home?” Mile 14, mile 18, mile 22?
Either way, this run is very intriguing to me because after mile 14 it will all be uncharted territory. I will be an explorer who never knows what awaits around the next corner. The sheer fear and excitement are both why I came. The unknown is absolutely enchanting.
And so many people will be watching as the story unfolds. A long, slow drama that comes to a fascinating and unpredictable conclusion, for all of us.
6 Days Out Lesson – Neighbor James
I think I told you about day 6 before when we was both on our weed eaters out front. Day 6 is some shit cause you start thinkin’ bout runnin’ away and hidin’ in dumpsters or at ya Grandma’s crib. Ain’t gonna work. You gotta get ya head straight and start hearin’ the music right. They warmin’ up the symphony and your ears betta get used to them sour notes.