Road trips can be so much fun. Three weekends ago I drove up to Lake Placid with a friend to volunteer and support the Philadelphia Triathlon Clubat Ironman Lake Placid. It was my first time to attend a triathlon on the spectator side and it turns out that supporting and volunteering rocks just as much as racing an Ironman. Seriously, it really does but in a completely different way. Cheering is pretty awesome and the positive energy that Ironman attracts is inspiring and even a little emotional. So I guess this isn’t really a race report considering I didn’t race and it’s more like a 17 hour spectator and volunteer report.
The morning started off rough for athletes. Heavy rain, low visibility, lighting and thunder, and lots of shivers. If an Ironman was easy everyone would do it, right? We were soaked and freezing in the morning watching everyone come out of the water. I can’t imagine starting an Ironman in those conditions. It was awesome and inspiring to see people push through it. Plenty of people consider an Ironman a fairly ridiculous distance so just imagine getting out of the water and on your bike in a thunderstorm with piercing rain on top of 140.6 miles. I wonder how I would handle that. I’d probably be laughing and maybe even swearing a little in response to the absurdity. Unexpected challenges can hold you back or drive you. You pick. I’m not saying it would be fun to race in the rain. Not at all. But smiling and pushing through seems like the best option. Once the rain cleared away at 10:00am the weather was gorgeous, high 60s and sunny. I’m sure the morning weather made some great stories.
One of my favorite parts of the day was just how inspired I felt watching everyone. It’s one thing to have participated in just a few triathlons but to actually watch and learn from people made me think deeper about the entire thing. I love the dedication and feel so lucky to meet such motivated people who enjoy staying active. You know…in between the occasional bites of bar food and cocktails. It’s just really awesome to be loving it so much and to socialize with people who share the same interest. Following PTCers on the athlete tracker, running around the course and cheering (and screaming) over the 17 hour day to track them down and take pictures was another highlight. They all rocked it on the course. Seeing people come in from the bike and running along the sidewalk with a few people as they started the marathon were the most exciting spots besides the finish line. Volunteering was a blast. I was pretty lucky to get moved to the finish line tent in the evening so I had a great view of everyone finishing in the final hours. Jimmy proposing to Jill at the finish line was of course so incredibly awesome too!
I know this race report appears slim on actual race details but summarizing an Ironman is pretty difficult for me. I guess this triathlon and Ironman stuff has become pretty meaningful to me in just the past 11 months. It’s so much more than a race and the miles people put in to cross the finish line. As I watched finisher after finisher in the final three hours I started to envision what it would be to cross the finish line at IMLP. I realized in those moments that my upcoming Ironman Maryland race will not be second and last Ironman. So much was going on inside me in those final hours. I felt so inspired and knew I wanted to do my “third and last Ironman” in 2015. I’ve had a blast this year preparing for my first two Ironman races and next year I want to set new goals, continue learning, train harder and put a whole lot more into it. Volunteers at IMLP had the opportunity to enter IMLP 2015 the next day although I actually decided against it. When a new goal comes to mind though I usually just go for it so I am already signed up and committed to my 2015 Ironman. I’m just not quite ready to share the details yet.
I’m so grateful that I was able to be at Ironman Lake Placid 2014 and thankful for everyone who inspires me to move forward and continue growing through these experiences. Huge congrats to everyone who raced at Ironman Lake Placid! You all rock.
Thank you to the people who allowed me to use their images on my blog.