Sunday, August 31, 2008

Go, Don!

Today is a momentous day for our family. My brother-in-law and everyone's favorite Uncle Don, is competing in the Iron Man race in Louisville, Kentucky. In case you are not impressed or intimidated by this, let me explain to you that an Iron Man is:
  • a 2.4 mile river swim followed by
  • a 112 mile bike ride (approximately 7 hours) followed by
  • running a marathon (26.2 miles).
IN ONE DAY! I drop out just thinking about it.

Don has been training for this for 9 months, but really his athleticism has been lifelong - with several marathons, triathalons and a half Iron Man as well as years of other races and cross country skiing competitions behind him, he is ready and thrilled to be in his first Iron Man. And we are thrilled for him (and glad it's not us!) But we are enthusiastic supporters and will be cheering him on and following his progress (bib #1996.)

Go, Don!


tona said...

Thanks for the post, Kari. It is really fascinating to be a spectator & support team person on race day. Our behind the scenes day is quite different from the athletes. I see so many creative T-shirts on families, great signs, and there are the airhorns and cowbells going strong. It's a long day for all of us, too. Out day started together at O-dark hundred - we got up at 4:30 am and were down dropping off the last of the gear bags at 5:30, while it is still quite dark. Swim went well, it's a time trial start - you start when you cross a mat at the end of the dock before jumping in - not a mass start, so there was a huge long line to get into the water. It took something like 49 minutes just for everyone to jump in the water, and by that time the sun was up and the elite pro athletes were out of the swim and onto the bike. Don ended up with only 50 or 60 people behind him in line so he was literally almost the last in the water out of close to 2000 athletes. You will be able to track his time as he makes it up, big-time, by passing people on the bike and the run.

I'm now headed out to the town of LaGrange (about 30 miles away) where they are having a festival to cheer on the cyclists as they pass through town twice, at mile 38 and mile 68.

Thanks for being part of our support team! We love you!

tona said...

I meant to say "our day started together." I got to see him coming out of the swim, and then again heading out of transition onto the road on his bike. So far, so good, and I am hoping I see him in LaGrange. Then I'll be back in the afternoon/evening to cheer out on the run course - I expect he'll finish somewhere around 9:30 pm and by then it will be dark again and they'll give the athletes glow necklaces to wear. The organization is phenomenal and the logistics of making this happen for one person are complicated enough, so imagine how the race organizers and thousands of volunteers are out here making it happen for 2000 of us!

Shells said...

We are watching his progress from here, GO DON! Enoch says he loves his Uncle Don and Hilde really wants him to know that she starts swim lessons next week. Dave and I both wish you all a great day and successful finish!

tona said...

Update, 2:45 pm. I'm back from LaGrange. I saw Don on both his rides through town, yay! I managed to find a parking spot that put me at the top of a hill leading out of town where the crowd was thinner and our cheers seemed to mean more to the riders. I stood next to a nice guy from KY who had coached his girlfriend for over a year and was looking forward already to doing his own Ironman Louisville in 2009. He had volunteered at the swim exit helping people up out of the water (the stairs are slippery). Don looked strong both times around. Race officials on fancy motorcycles are cruising the course along with the cyclists, to make sure no one is drafting (following close behind another cyclist to take advantage of their airflow). I have no idea what the good people of small town LaGrange think to see these almost machine-looking creatures whizzing by, many of them with long pointed "woodpecker" helmets and fancy disk wheels. I had corn fritters and a fried fish sandwich on 2 slices of white bread, from the blue Kiwanis school-bus-turned lunch wagon. Mm-hmm!

Disco Mom said...

Ton, the updates are great, keep them coming, thanks! I am watching his progress online but it's not quite the play-by-play roving reporter with social commentary that your updates are - can't wait to hear more!

tona said...

Last update: a strong finish - he timed his day at 12hrs, 24min. Feeling fine, sore - tired - very very tired - and grateful to be finished. I'll give more details later; now we're icing and resting. 10:39 pm.

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