After Kelly finished we headed to the food tent then went to get our morning clothes as we were both soaking wet and cooling off quickly. We spent a bit more time around the finish area before heading back to the hotel to get cleaned up. Thankfully my parents were there to help us take our bikes and transitions bags back. It would have been another event in itself to carry all that stuff!
At Arizona in 2010 we had really wanted to go back to the finish line but were just too exhausted to drive back after we showered and ate. We knew that this time we had to go to cheer on the final finishers.
My parents came back with us and we stopped at a mini donut stand along the way. I was tortured all week walking by the amazing smells so rewarded myself with a bucket!
We cheered a bit and went for more food. I was pretty tired and my legs were toast. My parents had a super long day cheering so went back to the hotel and Kelly and I set up near the finish line. The grandstands were full so we headed a little further down where we could see people heading out to the turnaround and then again heading to the finish line. The crowd was rowdy and the participants were incredibly inspiring.
We could see people come in, know how far they had to go, and hope they could make it before the 17 hour/midnight cutoff. After the last vehicle came by, we all moved in to create a narrow path for the people to run through (Tour de France style).
(If you look closely, you can see the runner coming up on us!)
Everyone was cheering like crazy and I was completely emotional hoping that after all their efforts every person would make it. The looks on their faces were of pure determination. Kelly and I were yelling, as was everyone around us. We looked on with fear as one girl missed the midnight mark by 12 or 16 seconds. There were a few people coming in after that we stayed to cheer, but I was devastated for them. I was so proud they still pushed through to the finish even though their times would show DNF.
Twenty-six people finished within the last 10 minutes. The last official finisher came in at 16:59:55, with 5 seconds to spare! It was incredible!
Kelly and I were absolutely exhausted after that last rush of adrenaline so hobbled back to the hotel to crash. We woke a short four hours later to go for breakfast and then wait in line for the finishers gear. We stood for over two hours!
I got sorer as the day wore on, and on the drive home the next day I really stiffened up. However, by the Thursday I was feeling pretty good, walking normally, and taking all the stairs at work.
We took six days completely off before going for a short, shakeout run.
Since then we’ve been enjoying long hikes, I’ve gone on one bike ride (that I surprisingly loved), and a few runs. They’ve all been short, and only one was speedy. I also did an intense circuit yesterday that has left me ridiculously sore!
I hope to maintain my fitness without overdoing it for the next few months. We had such a great time and remembered how much we love big events…so we signed up for Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2013!
It’s on June 23, but I hope to take a relaxed approach again and just take training as it comes. Hopefully we’ll both be injury-free (hence the not overdoing it right now) and can prepare for the race in a few months time.
What’s your favourite post-race food? Have you signed up for any races next year?