I've always been in awe of the Husband's athletic prowess, but when he told me he wanted to do an Ironman triathlon, I can't say I was entirely thrilled. First of all, it seems so extreme. 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run? It's not natural, people. Maybe spread out over 10 years, but certainly not in one day, one after another, without a break. I'm pretty sure I would not survive doing any one leg of that, nor would I want to. Plus, I feared for his joint health and imagined having to wheel him around in a wheelchair after his hips and knees were replaced.
But, he was determined, and I know what happens when the Husband is determined. (Much like what happens when I am determined...ahem)
So, Saturday, I found myself driving straight from the hospital (Yes, working on Saturday - also against the order of what is good and normal) to the location of his Ironman to hopefully catch a good portion of the marathon. Note, he started the race before I left for work in the morning and continued on during my whole day + 2 hour drive there. Insane.
I arrived at the scene to find a familiar set-up to the multiple marathons he had run in the past: music blaring at the finish line, an arch with an electronic timer display ticking off the time since the beginning of the race...9 hours and something. Did I mention the insanity here? Spectactors had set up their fold-up chairs and coolers all around the finish line, which was also the site of a couple of loops of the run, conveniently. I suddenly was VERY GLAD I decided to bring my own chair with me and also VERY GLAD I sprayed myself with eau d' OFF before I left, despite smelling like a toxic discard from the Dow company plant. Ha you bugs!
I staked out a spot with a good long view to the runners coming up and watched...and waited....and watched...and waited. Dude. No Husband. Meanwhile, it was like 90 degrees and I was hot even without moving let alone those athletes who were exercising to the extreme. I feared the worst. Husband had passed out somewhere from severe heat exhaustion and/or hyponatremia and was lying, collapsed, with flies buzzing around him. To add to my fears, I saw at least 2 ambulances race by: I grew more concerned with each minute that passed, watching deflated runners limp by. Oh, man.
Pretty soon, I was pacing and scrutinizing each speck of a runner that appeared on the horizon for any signs of the Husband. I started to think that maybe that guy who kind of looked like him but was wearing something other than what I thought was the Husband's race gear and who looked 10 years younger...WAS actually him! Boy, would I feel stupid for not recognizing my own husband!
But, lo and behold, I saw a figure who looked like him...wearing a consistent outfit come closer...running like him...and It. Was. Him. JOY. Not dead. Not incapacitated. Still going.
We chatted and I walked with him while he got a drink and grabbed some more of their weird race nutrition (like pellets and gels and stuff) and off he went. JOY.
I was so glad, especially since I saw multiple other racers succumb to the the heat and exhaustion by just running to their families and lying down on their picnic blankets, never to get up to finish the race. People looked TIRED. And HOT. I mean, seriously, I'm still tired from just watching those people be so tired and hot.
But, Husband finished! His first Ironman (and first triathlon ever)! I was beaming with pride as I cheered him on as he crossed the finish line. His finish was strong, like he just started running, not like this was a marathon to cap off an insane day of all-out exertion.
I left with some serious respect for those Ironmen and absolutely no desire to ever do anything like that. Ever. Not that I could. Ever. Not in a million years. (Possibly if I was bionic and part robot, otherwise, no.)