I have so many stories from this past weekend in Lake Placid. I mean, we camped with 8 kids in the pouring rain! We had tons of fun and in our minds we became "Ironspectators" :-) but the thing that keeps going through my brain is a mere 15 minutes I spent from 11:45-12:00 a.m. on Ironman day.
Mary, Mike and I were on our way to the "line." Actually, the line didn't exist yet but we were Super prepared and got there hours and hours early. More on that later... right Mar?
We were able to get to the finish line to watch the final 15 minutes of the race. It is unlike any other finish line. It's almost midnight, the sky was quiet after a full day of torrential downpours, and there were hundreds of loud enthusiastic spectators cheering on the day's toughest. It gave me chills.
We watched athletes roll in that had been on that course since 7:00 a.m. Unreal. Every Ironman finisher went the distance and they all deserve every bit of accolades they can get. It's an unfathomable accomplishment.....I say that as I signed my name for next year!
But these folks finishing just barely on time, or not, were otu there for the past several hours in the dark. The roads were quiet. They were out there with their own footsteps just continuing on with their dream.
I was completely inspired to watch the faces of these people explode with pride as they staggered by us to the final chute.
Sometimes they had family members with them and sometimes they were alone. However, they weren't really alone. Every single person in that crowd was 100% devoted to each finisher. The energy was palpible. This is why I want to do the Ironman. I want that moment. I want to run down that chute and feel what must be the most amazing pride after achieving an incredible physical and mental challenge. I want that so bad.
When there was 1 1/2 minutes left to the cutoff, there was a nervous quiet in the crowd. Mike Reilly was announcing the time and watching for more finishers. He ran down the chute and met the man who was trying to get there on time. Other people were in there with him too. Htey ran and ran but it wasn't to be. He missed it by 5-10 seconds. Heartbreaking. But as Mike Reilly said, he is an Ironman at Heart. Absolutely.
More stories to come..