We headed back to the hotel fairly quickly once I finished my race (swim and bike/run) since I felt gross. It was so nice to have my parents there to carry all my gear, load all our stuff, and drive us back!
Kelly called his parents who were anxiously waiting to talk to him after his amazing day! Luckily that meant I got to take a long shower. That’s when I realized a hot shower doesn’t feel good on a crimson back! Despite having sunscreen applied, my back took a serious licking by the sun.
We lazed around the hotel for a while trying to gather the energy to go out, and FaceTiming with my sister and brother-in-law.
We finally made it back to the race site. We stood around cheering for finishers and taking it all in! Then we needed food ASAP.
We went to Tito’s, an Italian restaurant that’s part of Coeur d’Alene Resort and placed perfectly on Sherman Ave., right along the finisher’s route.
We snagged an outdoor table and took in the energy from the spectators and Mike Reilly’s voice (voice of Ironman) welcoming finishing athletes while feasting! I was feeling much better, although stiffening up a lot, and was ready to hit the finish line!
We watched finishers for the last hour, leaning up against a fence, and cheering and high-fiving them. I was so emotional seeing the determination in their eyes and the pride in their smiles. It was also interesting to stand around people who were anxiously waiting for their athletes to come in. It made me nervous for them!
The part on my chest that hurt to run really hurt to yell loudly. And, I banged one of my big toes really hard on the gate. I must have still had adrenaline pumping, as it hurt but not too bad. (My big toe is now in the process of lifting to come off! Blech.)
The last hour is incredible to watch, but the last 15 minutes are really something else. There was Ironman staff cruising on a golf cart that would tell Mike Reilly about how far out people were. I think we heard them say quite a few wouldn’t make it.
A group of three or four volunteers ran part of the last stretch with a couple finishers, encouraging them to give it all they got. A videographer on a longboard rode in with a couple athletes, stopping before the finisher chute, to capture their emotion on camera.
There were some people who would veer to the sides to high five spectators, and others were so focused that their eyes were only on their finish line.
I can’t imagine being out there for 17 hours. These people endured! One of the absolute final finishers made quite a few spectators tear up. Her legs were no longer functioning, so volunteers pulled her partway. Then another Ironman staffer put his arms around her and literally dragged her. We couldn’t see the complete finish line, but I think Mike Reilly then took her. I can’t imagine the pain she was in and was so happy they took her across that finish line.
We were simply exhausted from the day’s exertion and emotion.We went to sleep around 1am and sadly were up by 3:30, as I forgot to turn off my alarm from the day before!
We lazed around, headed to breakfast, then waited in the rain for the finisher’s store to open.
We chatted with a lovely couple from Eastern Canada. He raced and qualified for the Ironman World Championships in the highly competitive 40-44 age group!
After spending even more money (finisher’s jackets!), we said goodbye to the lake and the beautiful town and headed home.
Twelve hours later we arrived to a smiling pup and a lot of laundry!
What is the most inspiring athletic event you’ve watched?