17 hours of standing in the sun

Triathlons are, with out doubt, one of the most spectator unfriendly sports in the world; distance tris an order of magnitude more so.

Buenos dias,

We haven’t met yet, my name is Quinn and I’m Liz’s race sherpa. Liz is currently busy sweating out on the bike course of the 2018 Cozumel Ironman, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to hijack her blog and give a spouse / significant other prospective of race day.

Congratulationson making it this far! You’ve dealt with your significant other’s insane and masochisticlifestyle for months, if not years. The training hours, the injuries, the stress,the diet, and the powders, oh my god the freaking powders.  Someday I’ll write a book on subject ofsurviving a relationship with a distance triathlete in constant training, thatwhole scene needs a warning label… But I digress. You woke up ungodly earlythis morning (well it used to be early before your athlete started alwaysgetting up at 4 AM), got your athlete dressed, fed, body marked, sun blocked,and out the door. You supported them as they navigated the transition area andgot in their group for the swim, then suddenly, finally, they are off!!!

So…

Now what??

Triathlons are, with out doubt, one of the most spectator unfriendly sports in the world; distance tris an order of magnitude more so. At this race the cut off time to finish is 17 hours.  If I were to go to every place I could on the course I could see my athlete a total of 7 times during the race.That is about once every two and a half hours of standing in the tropical sun.I’m sure There are many things I’d be happy to wait 2.5 hours for, but seeing my athlete sweating and in pain isn’t really one of them. After all I’ve been seeing that on a daily basis for the past 6 months of training. I’ll certainly be there at the swim finish (see below Liz is rocking it), that is easy, and at the end of the race, but between those times I have 12 to 15 hours to burn.

Liz getting out of the water this morning

If you havekids to entertain or are with a larger group you can probably fill that timefairly easily, but we don’t, and I never am. I volunteered during the firsttwo Ironmans Liz ran. First, I was a bike course race marshal in Australia. Myjob was to sit on the bike course at a junction and make sure all the athleteswent the correct way. This was not a problem as the wrong way was clearlymarked with steel gates. My most exciting times sitting there for 9 hours wasthe two times athletes were lacking attention and ran into said gates. That andthe flies, flies like only breeze-less Australia can produce, the stuff of nightmares. The next year back in Australia (we justcouldn’t help ourselves, and we had spare miles) I drove a SAG truck for therace, picking up broken bikes and disappointed athletes from the bike course.That was more exciting, especially with the 108 deg temps and the raging bushfire that closed part of the course and caused an aid station to need to beevacuated. Both of these volunteer jobs allowed me to meet some of the locals feellike I as more a part of the race community. They also were done after thebike, so I had to opportunity to hang out and cheer on my athlete during therun, which in the western Australia race takes 4 laps on the seafront bikepath, so you can see your athlete quite often, not to mention the cooling breezes.Unfortunately, me speaking Spanish is a lot like me preforming a back flip. Iunderstand how it should be done, I’m nervous trying, and when I do I get 25%of the way there and then crash painfully into the ground. So volunteering wasout for this one. Fortunately, the Cozumel small boat harbor reopened this morning,so I can go diving in the clear cool water for a couple of hours. Before comingback to the room, washing the salt off and going back out to find Liz stillracing, still sweating, still in pain, and still absolutely loving it!

What can I say? Triathletes are an odd bunch, and those of us who love them are too.