Ironman Arizona 2013 - From The Perspective Of Spectator

Ironman Arizona was the second of three Ironman races I did between May 2012 and May 2013.  The next Ironman race for me is not until September 2014 at Ironman Chattanooga but loving the sport as much as I do and having a handful of friends racing Ironman Arizona 2013 I decided I would head to the desert to spectate.  This idea was born last year when Susan Lacke said she was racing and we talked about me coming out to cheer for her.  As the year went on I didn't think I would be able to get out there, but as we got closer I realized that I had to go.  I owed the sport and my friends who have supported me throughout the past year.  Little did I know how much spectating would affect me.  The one problem with going to Tempe was that I was going alone as Karen could not make the trip. On Friday morning I flew to Tempe and had one of the most interesting flights ever.  I boarded the plane and sat and waited for everybody to get on.  Finally my row mate asked to get into the row as I was in the aisle.  From the moment he sat down he started shaking.  I texted my wife and a couple of friends to let them know that this guy was making me nervous.  He was checking his watch and shaking.  I thought that I would have to tackle him from trying to charge the pilots.  I normally fall asleep before the flight attendant has started talking about falling oxygen masks.  This time I was awake until about 30 minutes into the flight before I fell asleep.  I woke up and he was still shaking.  Fell asleep and woke up as we were landing and he was still shaking.  I could not fathom being that nervous but I was thankful we were on the ground and I could get away from him. I drove to Emily's house and the festivities began.  We got caught up and her family arrived and we all went out to eat dinner.  The next morning I was up early and down to Tempe Town Lake to get a run in and try to catch-up with as many people as I could.  I found a ton of people and chatted with them all.  Those that were racing looked ready.  Those that were spectating looked nervous.  The electricity was in the air, but not the way I would feel it on Sunday morning.  After catching up with everybody I went to breakfast with Susan and her family along with the Iron Leubs (Heidi and Brian).  Lots of laughs and lots of food.  My goal was to balloon up to 155 pounds during this weekend. (I failed and only reached 153.)  We departed company and I headed to Emily's before heading back to Scottsdale for dinner with the guys I have been training with for nearly two years.  I will allow the pictures from the weekend to tell the story now. [flagallery gid=25] I was overcome with emotion seeing the athletes struggle and then overcome those struggles.  None more so than Susan though.  I saw Susan around Mile 3.5 as seen in the photos above and she looked good but told me that her ribs were hurting from being kicked.  When she came back around at Mile 17 I could tell she was hurting but her legs were still moving.  I ran with her and talked with her and asked her if she needed me on the other side of the bridge and she told me no that she would be fine.  When I saw her last, around 200 yards from the finish, the look on her face said:  Is this ever going to end.  We ran together until the bright lights of the finish line showed on her face and the brightest smile I have ever seen came across her face.  I was so inspired and in awe of her accomplishment.  I later found out that she had a cracked rib from getting kicked during the swim.  That is one tough hombre.  Susan - I am proud to call you friend and impressed by your persistence. Watching my buddies Jeff, John, Julie and Judy march on during the run was also inspiring.  They did not let anything get in their way and kept pushing.  Our support crew was there for them every step of the way as well.  We cheered for them and ran with them.  Gave them encouragement and supported them on their way, but the real work was done by them.  They trained hard and long hours.  They jumped in Tempe Town Lake before the sun came up.  The rode their bikes 112 miles and then ran a marathon.  The memories of them throughout the day will stay forever and the passion for the distance was rekindled. September 2014 cannot get here fast enough but in the mean time I will go through these pictures and watch this video until then.  Remembering what I saw that day will not soon be forgotten.

Ironman Arizona 2013 - What A Terrific Day

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Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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