General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Leave it to Mom to write the best Ironman summary possible Rss Feed  
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2013-08-29 8:57 AM

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Subject: Leave it to Mom to write the best Ironman summary possible
My mom is an author & she just witnessed her first Ironman(my 2nd) this weekend in Louisville. Her thoughts on the day/event pretty much nail the experience in my (admittedly biased) opinion. Here it is:

Link to the original post on Facebook

Good morning! I am back from Louisville, where we watched our son's Ironman, and this very proud mom just needs to brag a little. For those of you who don't know, an Ironman is 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and then a full marathon of 26.2 miles, all in one day. Completing one is a test of both conditioning (it takes months to train) and even more, a test of inner fortitude--you can't listen to an iPod, you just have to grind it out on your own.

Our son had an asthma attack 5 miles into the run severe enough that the paramedics wanted to pull him. He refused to quit, but the delay severely impacted his ideal finish time, after he'd already performed way above his expectations on both the swim and the run. We couldn't know, of course, what had happened until we finally saw him at mile 13 (but we could tell from the tracking that something was wrong.) He looked beat when we saw him, and this mother's heart sank, knowing he had 13 more miles to go and aware of what a blow to him it would be if he couldn't finish.

If you've never been to a triathlon, you wouldn't have experienced the tremendous camaraderie between crowd and athletes--everyone cheers for everyone, and in an Ironman that's multiplied many times over because the supporters of each athlete know how brutal the IM is. It's not about winning against other athletes, it's about testing yourself, about pushing yourself to the limits and seeing what's inside you, both in the months of brutal training beforehand and the rigors of the race itself.

So the last block before the finish line is jammed with people cheering for every single soul who crosses, and watching those people I'd seen look so very discouraged 13 miles earlier making it to the end...they are exhausted and often on their last legs but thrilled and radiant, and as I spent the last couple of hours high-fiving and cheering strangers, my heart was with our son, knowing that where he was, still miles out, it was dark and hard, and desperately wanting him to know the triumph but so worried his body wouldn't let him, despite the excellent overall conditioning he'd trained himself to meet.

So you can maybe imagine what the first sight of him a block away did for us, his dad, his girlfriend and me--we were jumping up and down and screaming the entire time as he came to us. He lost some of his finish time by stopping to grab his dad in a huge hug, then to hug Karen and me...and he said later it was the hardest day of his life, but boy, was he radiant--and mugging for the finish line camera.

As parents we often wish for our children that life can be easy and smooth for them, but honestly? While I would never wish that brutal day on him, I actually think the way things worked out was a bigger triumph than if he'd gotten his ideal time--because he proved something more important to himself than a finish time. He tested his mental strength and his control of his emotions and showed what he's made of, that he could be faced with the hardest day of his life and dig deep for the guts to power through. And that he got to do that and impress the hell out of his Marine, Purple Heart dad--well, what son doesn't want to impress his father?

We were very, very proud of him before that race for who he is as a human being and the character he's already shown in how he conducts his life...but after watching him go through that and come out on top? This writer doesn't have words to express how full my heart is with love and pride, how impressed I am with the man that little boy has become. It was an extraordinary privilege to be there to witness.


2013-08-29 9:08 AM
in reply to: 3SpokeFan

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Subject: RE: Leave it to Mom to write the best Ironman summary possible

Dangit!  I don't know why I clicked on this one because I already knew what was written on FB... but nooooo, I had to go and do it all over again - and at work, no less!  At least I've got kleenex at my desk for the *allergies* that suddenly came over me.

We were glued to the athlete tracker all day for your updates - and then the live feed of the finish line when you crossed. 

I think your mom summed up the day perfectly. 

2013-08-29 9:23 AM
in reply to: blueyedbikergirl

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Subject: RE: Leave it to Mom to write the best Ironman summary possible
So sweet!!! I really don't think I ever so saw much pride in my parents eyes as the day I finished my first IM. I don't think any parent/family memeber/friend really "gets it" until they've seen it first hand. Congrats on over coming your obstacles and finishing!
2013-08-29 12:49 PM
in reply to: 3SpokeFan

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Subject: RE: Leave it to Mom to write the best Ironman summary possible
That is one proud mama and sums up the whole experience (very simple yet eloquent writing from her, btw). I'm not a crier, but this even got me a bit choked up, so that's saying something. Thanks for sharing.

My wife has lovingly spectated my 1/2 marathons, marathons and all distance tris, but when she witnessed my first IM earlier this year, she couldn't believe how much it affected her...not just because it was me, but because of all the participants. She actually described spectating it as being a blast. We've talked about going to volunteer next year...for me partly to pay it forward, for her to experience that energy again.

Congrats on your second IM!
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