Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Field Trip: Iron Man Arizona

What I'm reading: Fatal Judgment, by Irene Hannon.

First, a reminder that I'm giving away downloads of FINDING SARAH to anyone who asks for one. Email me at bookstore (at) terryodell (dot) com with Thanksgiving in the subject line. I'll give you either a Kindle gift or a Smashwords coupon. Be sure to tell me which you want. Expires Monday, so don't wait.

I know a lot of you read my post about my daughter's first Iron Man Triathlon, and know that we drove down to Arizona to watch her amazing effort. Here are some pictures of the event. For anyone who doesn't know what an Iron Man is, it's a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride, finished up with a 26.2 mile run. Nicole spent the year training and it paid off. She finished strong, with a smile on her face, and was very close to her projected time. You can read her race reports to see what it was like from her side at her blog, Banana Death.

These athletes are either nuts or way too dedicated--or both. We saw athletes who were running with prosthetic legs--one man even carried a spare. And a tandem bike, which was used by a blind competitor.

The first event was the swim, which began right around sunrise. Imagine over 2500 people in the water waiting for the start.

This was the leg of the race where it was virtually impossible to pick out individual competitors.

We found a spot near the point where the swimmers exited the water. Nicole had predicted about 1.5 hours for her to complete the swim, which is her weakest event. She was very close to that time.

And if you want to know what it's like to watch the swim portion of an Iron Man, I tried a short video with my cell phone.


Next came the bike ride.

There were a LOT of bikes!

The bike course was 3 circuits. We found a spot near the turnaround so we could see Nicole when she came down, then when she headed out again. She predicted 2 hours per circuit, and again, was very close to her time.

We had the "Swim, Bike, Run, Cake" sign which made her smile as she rode by.

After the bike, the athletes had to transition for the run. Here's Nicole after dismounting her bike, checking her time.

The transition area was huge to accommodate all the athletes.

Volunteers took care of the bikes, and more volunteers handed them their gear bags.

We found a spot on the run course so we could again cheer her on. Her prediction was about 1.5 hours per lap, and again, she was very much on target. (And if you're wondering what we did in between Nicole sightings, we cheered for everyone, especially those wearing the Team In Training purple.)

And she finished. Strong, happy, and with a huge smile on her face!

Some final observations: We were positioned at the start of the finish chute for the end of the race. We watched "Elvis" finish (although he didn't do the entire race in costume). One athlete stopped right before the finish to propose to his girlfriend. (She said yes). Another did cartwheels--guess the arms weren't as tired as the legs. And the athletes who got the biggest ovations were the ones who looked like they'd come this far but might not make the final yards to the finish line. The spectators were fantastic, encouraging them to hang in just a little longer.

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Jacqueline Seewald said...

Congrats on your daughter competing! When my sons were in school, they were both athletes and my husband and I went to support them. It means a great deal to parents.

Lynda Kaye Frazier said...

Your daughter is amazing. I have a hard time getting through a 5K. My son is doing a triatholon this weekend and I take my hat off to both of them.I know you are proud of her and it is great that you got to share it with her.

Lelo Carter said...

I am as proud of Nicole as you are, maybe even a bit more.

Terry Odell said...

Jacqueline, Lynda Kaye, Mom ... Yes, we're totally proud of what she did.

Nicole said...

Thanks all! It was great that the whole family was there to watch. Lynda, best of luck to your son! And thanks Oma! :)

Karen C said...

Congratulations to Nicole - an amazing accomplishment. As usual the pictures are terrific.

Thanks for sharing this with us, Terry - it was fun.

Sharon Ervin said...

What an amazing activity. Has Nicole checked her blood pressure? Wonder if she has one. What an athlete! So much healthier than spending those hours comatose in front of screens. Congratulations! Amazing.

Sharon Ervin

Catch me on Kindle at:

Louise Behiel said...

amazing accomplishment. good for her. I'm so envious. I agree that it's important for family to be supportive - that's why I went to watch my 4 yo granddaughter in her swim lessons tonight.

Terry Odell said...

Karen - thanks

Sharon - she's definitely in great shape.

Louise - yes ... even if it means putting about 1800 miles on the car.

GunDiva said...

I guess I shouldn't whine about walking/running four miles, should I?

That's incredible and the fact that she finished with a smile - Wow!

Congrats, Nicole!

Terry Odell said...

GunDiva - I'm not feeling guilty about my 30 minutes on a recumbent bike, or the easy Sunday hikes. What scares me is that Nicole wants to do it again. At least she's skipping 2012.

Nicole said...

Again, thanks everyone! Even though I do "long stuff" kudos to all who jo for walks, hikes, bike rides. Enjoy the outdoors and keep moving!
I still have some planning to do for 2012, but next up will be the LA marathon in March. I think Ironman St. George (Utah) in May 2013 will be the next Ironman. It's a much more challenging course than Arizona!

Maryann Miller said...

Thanks so much for sharing this, Terry. What fun to get all those little details of the race and the athletes. Loved the guy who paused to propose before crossing the finish. Your daughter is beautiful and her smile at the finish was spectacular.