I’ve struggled with this triathlon journey, I’ve made no secret of it, but on Sunday morning as I got the kids ready to 6am to go and try to find Daddy on the starting line, I felt little butterflies flitting in my belly.
We had had a terrible night’s sleep with the kids and we decided if I couldn’t make the start then there were other opportunities on the course to yell from the sidelines, but I felt a sudden urgency to be there.
It was a crazy feat to undertake, a massive achievement by anyone’s standards.
A 2km swim, followed by a gruelling hill course 90km bike ride, finished with a 21 km run as a little cherry on top.
It’s only a half Iron Man, he assures me, but the idea of someone willingly doing a full one if they didn’t have some kind of wild animal chasing them simply does not compute.
I would struggle to do just one of those elements, but all?
Only crazy people, and people made of iron, think that’s a fun way to pass time.
As we weaved our way through the competitors, they all looked the same. I couldn’t see Mister H.
1500 men and women were there, all dressed in wetsuits, looking like seals that suddenly all stood upright and put on little red caps.
My heart started to race.
There was only 5 minutes before it started, what if I missed him?
What if he didn’t know we were here, supporting him, loving him from the shore?
I stood on my tippy-toes and I saw my husband’s shoulders 15 meters ahead in the crowd, right up at the start line. I pushed the Titanic double pram through the throngs, excusing myself as I went but not caring if I took out people’s ankles, although with hindsight I realise that some poor dude had to do the whole event with a dinged Achilles.
I just had to let him know we were here.
His face lit up when he saw us. He exhaled as though perhaps he’d been holding his breath.
We only had time for a quick kiss before his race began and I had a tear in my eye as I saw him submerge.
Who’da thunk, after all these months of busting his chops about it, I’d be so emotional?
We estimated it would be only 5.5hrs until he was back with us, but somehow today that seemed an eternity. In the time it took for me to take the kids for breakfast and have a play, he would have achieved a massive goal, a dream.
I was amazed at the different kinds of people who were participating. Tall, short, fat, skinny, old and young.
Craziness does not discriminate, evidently.
Along the way we’d hang at a check point in hope of seeing him and calling encouragement and it was along this fence line that I met other people like me.
Wives who lamented the loss of their partners for such a gruelling training regime, loved ones who simply hoped their kin would finish in one piece, and veterans who had competed in many events and understood what the bug was all about.
I got a new understanding of how important it was to feel your family’s support.
I felt the thrum of anticipation of your loved one mastering their focus so as to ignore the pain racking their body and getting them over that line.
I remarked to someone how impressed I was with the many different walks of life competing. Some people powered through strong and tall whilst others limped through all tortured, but of 1500 who began, almost all finished.
She asked me if, seeing these old and fat and skinny and fit people achieve this, it made me feel as though I could do it too?
And I simply answered -
No fucking way.
A short poem to my husband, whom I have called my hero three times so far. Once at the birth of each of our babies, and on this day.
MY HALF IRON MAN
I’M SO PROUD OF YOU
STOP TAKING PROTEIN POWDER
photo credit – Running with water image, Barry Alsop – Eyes Wide Open Images.