Saturday, June 28, 2008

You are an Ironman!

So the finish. Just so you know, there will be many posts that I make regarding this whole experience. The people of this week are sorely missing from my posts - our bloggie peeps - our creepy internet friends - as well as photos and video that needs to be compiled. This is really just the down and dirty. The way Blink likes it.

The aid station with two miles to go was packed with a group of college kids drinking their brains out and yelling and screaming and high-fiving us through the aid station. I knew this would be the last aid station I would partake in, so I downed a "double" of coke, and stopped to walk only long enough to swallow. The mile to the next aid station was a long one. I could hear the finish line, but it was getting dark and lonely. I took advantage of a particularly long stretch to walk for a minute (I'd count to 60) and collect myself for the final push. No more walks. No more coke.

I doubt many folks were using the first/last aid station much any more - it was pretty well packed up for folks bringing it home. I ran through it and said thanks to the few remaining volunteers. Around the corner I knew the route separated for folks finishing and folks needing to do one more lap. Oh the secret pleasure I took in scootching over to the left side of the road - the finisher's side! This new ground snaked through the streets of Coeur d' Alene where volunteers informed me of an 8 block run to the finish line. Hanging a final left at the top of finishing street, I could see the two bright spotlights that shone the way to Ironman. They were now close.

Coeur d' Alene proper converged on these 8 blocks. Because of the spotlights in my eyes, it was difficult to see just how many folks there were, but I could feel them just the same. "Great job, Marc!" and "Keep it going - your only 3 blocks away!" filled my ears and hands outstretched for high-fives were laid out in front of me. These spectators filled the shadows of my peripheral vision, and that shadow bottle necked to the finisher's shoot. I thought it was loud running those last 8 blocks - the noise was nothing compared to the final 100 meters.

I was all alone entering the shoot, but as soon as I came into view, the stands went bonkers. These folks, with a few exceptions, didn't know me from Adam, yet they screamed for me like I was a family member. I couldn't hear the announcer calling my name, but like on the bike, I had some more High-fives to give. I caught sight of Di on the right side surrounded by "creepy Internet friends". I went left and slapped hands with folks I didn't know, then right again, then left. At last, the Ironman tape lay stretched out before me. I tried to lift it over my head, but one of the holders had more strength then me - still, I held it, and in that instant, became an Ironman. It felt awesome.

My insanely long run split of 6:14:33 doesn't even make me all that mad, even today. I've certainly got a goal now for my next run at Ironman, with my finishing time of 14:32:23, shoot, so many things were great about that day, it would be silly to be upset about 6 hrs of it. Very quickly after finishing, collecting my medal, t-shirt and hat, I spied Di and collected my finisher's kiss and hug. Mmmmmmmmwaaaah! Even though she could have, I'm glad she didn't have to hold me up.



29 comments:

Wendy said...

A freshly minted Ironman couldn't have a better Ironsherpa!

S. Baboo said...

Awesome job IRONMAN! It is about the greatest experience you will ever have and the cool thing is it never wears out, it never leaves you.

Iron "GeekGirl" Misty said...

Congratulations, IronMark! Isn't the finish line an awesome experience? I tell you, it's addictive. PS: You guys need to come live here, at 5500 feet, and then you'll be climbing mountains on your bike and kicking ass.

TriBoomer said...

Fab review of the finish, IronBigun. I just tried to watch the video and it wouldn't play. Something about it being "moved." I didn't make any modification so I don't know what's up. Maybe checking the settings? All seems to be OK on the YouTube side of things.

Again, congratulations!

Stay tuned...

Jumper 2.0 said...

It was cool seeing you cross the finish line without the crowd, the high 5's.

Congratulations.

JohnnyTri said...

ha! that's the aid station where I drank the Beer!! yes!

and great video of you finishing!!

this stuff is addicting!

rockon`

Kevin said...

Congrats IronMan. You did it.

J-Wim said...

Congrats Big Iron!
I watched it live and i was awesome. It would have been nice if the guy on the phone had backed out of the picture and cleared your shot..... :-)

TRI-ROB said...

I was kind of hoping to see the crying/blubbering Bigun come over the line! Damn you for collecting yourself! Bah ha HA!

Breathe..

Jill said...

What a great story. I want to hear more...and I cannot wait for the Podcast!! You are finally an Ironman. WAY TO GO.... Hope to be Cheerpa -ing with you in IM FL...for Lana.

Mark said...

A BIG congrats dude! That video is awesome!

Jenny Davidson said...

Yes!

CoachLiz said...

Coming into that Finisher's Chute is an AWESOME experience!!! So when do you get your tattoo????

The Tri Runner said...

Congrats! Great Job on the Race.

Yeti said...

Hey you did great. I proud of you. It was fun watching your progress via the internet feed. Nebraska was behind you all the way.

Ryan said...

Great job!

I even heard Mike say "Come on Big guy!"

He obviously meant Bigun.

He must have have been "Star Struck"

Welcome to the Ironman Club, we are exclusive, in an inviting sort of way!

Fe-lady said...

I was one of the creepy internet friends whose hand was lucky enough to be slapped by you as you went by! I was honored! You looked great! And so HAPPY!
Congratulations! (Sorry about the delay, we just got home from our trip...! San Fran was after CDA!)

tri-mama said...

a little tear in Trimama's eye-that was awesome! You did it big guy, and it was fantastic to see it in person. :-) Have a great recovery week or so- we already miss you guys.

1HappyAthlete said...

Love it

Congrads IronClyde

tri-mama said...

hi

The Clyde said...

A tad late, but none the less.


Congrats Iron Bigun!!!

Tea said...

I love the video! It's so cool that you were the only one finishing at that time.

Comm's said...

good job dude. love the report.

Steve Stenzel said...

Nice job! Great final thoughts on the day! Way to go!!

triguyjt said...

great stuff on each of the last three posts...
race stuff....
propping your bride was very nice..and most important.

congrats again on being an Ironman!!!

Cody the Clydesdale said...

Congrats big guy. I'm so happy for you. By the way,I'm so envious I can't see
straight;)

Dan Seifring said...

F-ing awesome Bigun.

IronTriTim said...

That finish line feeling, its one of the greatest feelings you can ever feel.

Lana said...

Congrats Bigun! I love you description of the final 2 miles...I can only imagine.