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08 May 2011

Ironman = Motivation + Inspiration

Adri and I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer at the Ironman St. George during its 2nd time running.  I have never personally witnessed such an amazing event.  From the pro athletes who are there to win it and just blow your mind in their speed, to those that are there for the first time just overwhelmed to finish, and then on to those that are completing their 15+ Ironman.  It was such a motivating and inspiring event.  So much so that we are talking about completing one ourselves one of these days.  We looked at bikes, we talked about logistics of doing it and how we would train for it.  We would love to one day say that we are an Ironman and Ironwoman.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the Ironman triathlon, it consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run (marathon)... totaling 140.6 miles of pure determination.  All of which must be completed within 17 hours (2:20 for the swim, 8 for the bike and 6:40 for the run).

As volunteers we got to be at the start and finish without being questioned as to why we were so close to everything.  That just added an extra measure of amazing!

We watched as the pros entered the water and took off... all about 40 of them.  Their physical condition and mental toughness just astounds me.

Here we have the other almost 1900 people entering the water after to pros to being their quest to become an Ironman.

 As you can see, some people were overjoyed and just so excited to be there that they just couldn't contain their enthusiasm.  Others took time to collect themselves and seek an inner peace to get them through the event.

 As the racers swam we took a few pictures of us at the swim finish and then what we would be doing as wetsuit peelers (a.k.a. strippers).
 Here Adri and Margie a being cute while I actually try to do my job.  Basically we helped remove the wetsuits of the competitors as they came out of the water.  Some of them were delirious and overwhelmed that they didn't realize while we were there until it was almost too late.  Often we had to tell someone to just sit down and let us help them get out of the wetsuit.  We had one girl come through just screaming and crying for joy at what she was doing and how hapy she was to be competing.  It was quite an emotional experience.
 Here Adri is helping to remove the wetsuit booties that keep their feet warm, while Wendi and I just rip the whole wetsuit off.  Those things came off in about 5 seconds or less if you grabbed and pulled just right.
 This area is the swim to bike transition area.  There were so many bikes to look at and just wish I had... haha!
 After we finished our task for the day we headed home to take a quick nap before we had to be at the finish.
 At the finish we got to see the pros as they crossed the line at about 8 hours and 32 minutes for the men... which is averaging about 16.5 mph through the entire race.  He broke the course record by 8 minutes as well.

 Then we watched the female winner come across at 9 hours and 30 minutes.  She beat the next closest female by 36 minutes... incredible.

We went back at about 10:00 pm at night to watch more people come in.  Unfortunately I didn't have my camera at that point, but the emotion was incredible.  You could see the joy, the pain, the satisfaction and determination on every person's face as they crossed the finish line.  It just brings a tear to your eye of the pure happiness those people have as they accomplish such a feat.

All in all the event was awe-inspiring and just worth every moment.  We hope to volunteer again next year and continue to be a part of such a cool experience.  And, on top of that, we hope to compete in one ourselves here someday soon.  I guess that means we better start training...

We hope that anyone that can will be there to support us when we accomplish this goal of ours!

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