Just a quick recap of exactly what an Ironman entails;
2.4 mile swim - 112 mile cycle - and just a quick marathon (26.2 mile) to polish off their gruelling competition! These athletes are A-MA-ZING!
|(L) The calm before the storm....the athletes packing out the beach waiting for the starting horn.
(R) Looking out over a serene Lake Okanagan
Huge areas of Penticton were shut to traffic so we parked up and walked down to the beach where the athletes would be starting their first event - the swim in the somewhat 'fresh' waters of Lake Okanagan. The pros set off with a 15 minute head start and the main event started at 7am after the National anthem. The water came alive! If you've never seen an open water swim - especially the start it is just crazy - like a school of piranhas is on a feeding frenzy! They swim so far out you loose sight of them and from a spectator point of view it gave us some downtime whilst we waited until they headed back to shore. They were expecting the pros somewhere around the 50 minute mark so we slowly wandered along Lakeshore Drive towards the transition area.
|Aaahhhh! It's alive!! with 2800 swimmers!
At this point I must just mention our little princess. We took Meli with us. Beforehand I seriously questioned my sanity about this decision but I think it was a great move. She was perfect! Obviously there were lots of crowds and lots of noise, but as we're reminded we should be exposing our pup to as many different experiences as possible whilst she's young. She certainly was a star, and was in danger of drawing attention away from the REAL stars of the day - the 2800 athletes out there competing!! Everyone loved her, and she made so many friends. We had people come up to us asking to pet her and we met lots of other Vizsla owners from all over the continent - those who'd had to leave their dogs at home to travel to the event. It was great for us to be able to chat to other Vizsla owners too! She took it all in her stride. If they were excited (and many were!) she was excited, but on the whole she just sat down and accepted the petting! Such a good girl! She walked to heel really well and basically gave us huge confidence and hopefully an insight into what a great behaved dog she's going to be! (She also LOVES the car so any excuse for her to snooze out for a 1.5 hour drive each way and her day is complete!)
|Is someone a little tired after the 5am start this morning?!
The pros started coming in just over 50 minutes, and the first of the age-groupers was not far behind (pretty amazing job since they started 15 mins behind!) It's incredible to me that these athletes were running through transition - but of course it's a race for them!! (I'd be like, oh where's the toilet?, slap on some sunscreen, eat a bit of breakfast, tie my hair up la-dee-dah - ok maybe I'll hop on my bike!!). We watched for the next 1.5 hours as the bikes came pouring out of transition and up main street. The swim course closes at 9.20am (2 hours, 20 minutes after the start) so we watched right through till the last atheletes were heading out on the course for their bike event. I think in many ways it was those athletes at the back of pack that inspired me the most - their determination and commitment to something that is obviously incredible tough for them. And a never-give-up attitude - loved it!
|Cyclists setting off down main street, and at the transition area - starting the 112 mile ride
Being a spectator is so humbling. These people are truly incredible (and for sure a big bit crazy!!). As I ran my longest training run on Monday morning I reflected on what they do. My legs were horrible and heavy and I struggled to get in my distance - but when I stopped at 21 miles they'd have had another 5 miles to go, and that's after having done the swim and bike and quite likely been competing for 10-12 hours already!
Major respect!! And so happy to have seen the last Ironman Canada, as they announced just last week that the event held in Penticton will no longer be part of the Ironman series.
I'm linking up with Jill's Fitness Friday blog hop;