This past weekend Sara and I played spectator at the inaugural Ironman Muskoka. First off, check who I grabbed a picture with - none other than 6-time Hawaii Ironman champ Dave Scott. Dave came to Muskoka with a lady friend who decided to enter the race last minute. He said he rode most of the course, about 150k of it, and he said it was a legit and challenging course.
We watched our club mates from TCOB and other friends facing this epic course. For the bike we positioned ourselves near Dwight Beach road and Hwy 35. We saw everyone for both loops. We purposely chose this area for the proximity to our campground and to encourage the athletes in an area not covered by a lot of spectators. People were appreciative of the cheers and well wishes.
Once done with the bike it was onto town for the run. We decided to park ourselves in the exact spot we occupied for the 70.3 on Hwy 60. We chose this spot because it's on a stretch of road that tends to be long and rolling and hot when exposed to the sun. Our spot is also on the crest of a hill on both sides, the apex. With our big red beach umbrella, lawn chairs and cooler, we set up camp and began cheering.
Observing an Ironman for the first time, I got a new perspective of this event. There are as many stories as there are athletes, each one unique. For some the day turns out great, for others not so good. It could nutrition problems, overpacing mistakes, or the body just came up flat. At any rate, the amount of work put in in preparation does not always equate to Ironman success. Emotions can be raw. I was amazed by how many athletes thanked us for being out all day cheering. I witnessed a lot of people digging deep. My range of Ironman finishes is from 11:09 to 13:55 so I know that anything can happen and, while spectating, I witnessed this first hand. I will admit that, by day's end, we were exhausted! Not as exhausted as the athletes but pretty bagged nonetheless. I now have a new appreciation for Sara and the many races she's watched me compete in.
At the end of the day, Ironman is a race that we sign up for and attempt to conquer. If it doesn't turn out as expected so be it. There will be other races. The last two years while completing four Ironmans I would classify my races as unsuccessful in that I did not come close to meeting my expectations. At the same time I did 4 Ironmans in 2 years - not a lot of people can say that. Taking this year off of Ironman racing was the smartest thing I could have done. I feel more rested and rejuvenated. More importantly, I'm enjoying training again and feel more motivated to put in the work.
While my tri-season is over for 2015 I look forward to building a base and increasing strength. Next year I age up to the 50-54 age group and I'd like to put in a good year for the big 5-0!!