It is still so unbelievable to say this, but my dad is an ironman! As many of you already know, a couple weeks ago, Matt and I made a trip down to Clermont, Florida to watch my dad compete in his first ironman competition. I remember him competing in a triathalon when I was much younger, but this race was on a whole different level of intensity. A standard ironman competition consists of three continuous and sequential stages - 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle, and a 26.2 mile run! Yes, 140.6 continuous miles in one race.
When he first mentioned training for this race, we were all a little reluctant. My dad is 54 years old and carries a pretty tight daily schedule. But, he consistently trained and we bought a plane ticket to Orlando.
We spent the entire morning on the edge of our seats wondering where he was in the race, where we could see him the best, and how to make sure he finished. We wrote two of his familiar quotes, "It is what it is" and "Finish Well" on the top of his bike and carried signs to each spectator spot. For me, the most thrilling part of the day was the swim. He looked pretty awesome in his wetsuit!
But, I think the whole family would agree that the most gut-wrenching section was the run. Having trained consistently for the swim and cycle portion, my dad planned to take the run as easy as he could. We knew that as the sun went down this section of the day was proving to be the hardest.
Whether it was watching the clock, keeping stats, or sitting in the stands; my dad has been at every one of our middle and high school games. He loves the competition, but he also loves to watch us stick with a task and complete it well. So, for the first time in our lives, we found ourselves on the sidelines cheering on our dad. Coming to the realization that it would be quite okay if he wasn't able to finish, we kept chanting his words, 'Finish well,' in our heads.
At 1:00am almost all athletes had crossed the finish line, the track cleared, and cheering fans packed up. But, at 2:16am - 18 hours and 46 minutes, 140.6 miles later - my dad finished. Video - Final Finisher of the 22nd Annual Great Floridian.His blog.
My dad is an ironman...