Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A weekend away and watching IMAZ

From the deck of our room at the Biltmore

"You should come and watch the race, it would totally be fun and cool." This is was stayed in my mind for the next 2 miles on a regular run with Sonja and Michelle in CC res. We had a good time talking and running slow and were about 30 days away from Ironman Arizona. We moved through several topics and as usual the run was over really fast and we all took off to finish the rest of the day.
I called Anne and asked if we could change our Arizona trip that was planned in February to November. She did not see a problem with it so I made all the arrangements and we were booked. We were going to give the kids to my brother Rob whom we kid exchange with and our dog to my other brother John who we dog exchange with.
The month rolled by fast and after a fast day we were headed to the airport. We did not end up flying together because we used miles and only had enough for 1 ticket with each of the airlines I fly. So I was on Frontier and Anne was on United. We stayed at the Arizona Biltmore for two nights and then moved down to the race site with the rest of the gang.
ARIZONA BILTMORE is one of the nicest hotels I have ever stayed in. It is a hi stoical hotel dating back to the early 1930's. It had 8 pools, restaurants, shopping and 2 golf courses. The rooms were great and we just sunk into the bed after getting checked in after 1am. We slept in and started to count the things that we were not able to do at home. Sleep in is high on the list. Second was a calm and relaxed breakfast.

We took a long run along the canal and ended up running for 2.25 hours, which was the longest run Anne had done by over 45 minutes. We talked and ran and laughed and had fun looking at the Arizona desert and making plans for the rest of our lives. I love running with my best friend and wow will this stage of life be fun.
We went to fancy dinners, lunch at the pool, hiked up Camelback mountain and went dancing.

Anne and I on the top of Camelback Mountain AZ

Me overlooking where the IMAZ race is the following day

We slept in again for the second day and as we left we felt that we made the most out of our time at the Biltmore
The best part of the Biltmore was sitting at night by the fire pits relaxing to the sounds of a fountain nearby and looking at a full moon. This was a place to remember and I did it with my best friend!
Travel to triathlon races are always fun for me and it was interesting being a spectator and not a racer this time. This was also much longer of a race than I normally do and so the preparation time was a bit longer than normal. After getting plans made and a group dinner by the pool we said our good nights to Sonja and Michelle as they made final arrangements and headed to bed. Anne and I headed to the hottub and was joined by Michael.
The rock start support crew

Calm before the start

The first 30 seconds of the swim start, can you see Michelle in the front?

The Swim:
Finding a spot on the bridge was tougher than I thought. I am not use to being the spectator and was off my game. We ended up taking a spot on the far end of the bridge and was able to see everything really well. The amount of families that were present to watch loved ones at this race was huge. Of the 2700 racers just under 1100 were first timers. The gun went off and the mostly calm water turned white and you could only see limbs and caps for the next 2 minutes. The talk about the brutal swim start is more true 5 stories above than ever and I was amazed to see the crazy efforts that were going on. We did not have much time and so we headed back to transition to were we could watch them come out of T1. We stood and waited on the fence line close to where Michelle and Sonja racked there bikes and after about 20 minutes they laid down the mount line right in front of us. We watched the pro's come by and shortly after the age groupers were next.

We almost wanted to give her a push to start but in the end she did not need it as she smashed the all time record

Watching the pro's and then finally seeing Michelle out of the water was awesome. She was in the top 20 of all age group swimmers (out of 2700) and was looking really good. We yelled as loud as we possible could as she grabbed her bike and headed for the bike exit.

Michelle kept this smile all day long!!!

Sonja getting out of T1

We had enough time to get Michelle of and then came Sonja. She looked good and it was again awesome to see a her exit the water faster than expected. We cheered her on loudly, maybe a little too loudly but we wanted to make sure she remembered it until the next time we saw her.
The bike course was fun since it was 3 loops, we settled on the course about a mile out and so we would be able to see the riders 6 times on the bike.
The run course was the same where the racers did 3 loops and we the spectators sat where we could see them 6 times. We spent most of the day with Michael and Charlot. Once we settled on the bike course we found Chris, Troy and Anne with Helen. Eric was out on the course most of the day.

The finish was spectacular and I was inspired to see the racers as they came through the finish line. We were impressed with Sonja taking a 1 place AG finish and Michelle taking a 3rd place finish. They both took their Kona slots and will be racing on the big island next year.
The whole weekend was great and as I had a few days to reflect, I am even more impressed with the commitment it takes to make it to the start line let alone the finish. If you hear the words coming down the finish line "you are an Ironman" it is something pretty spectacular not only for the racer but the ones that supported you all the way.

Great job girls,

Love the weekend with you Anne,


This is a picture of Anne looking at a finisher run in. Or could it possible be a sign of another finisher in the future running down the shoot?????