Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ironman Louisville in Pictures (and a few words)

Sunrise on the drive

Driving into the venue—The Great Lawn in Louisville, KY

Swim in

Watching the swim

One of the pro women starting the bike (not sure who)

Breakfast of Wheaties Fuel; thank you for the free, tasty samples!

Transition 1—age groupers leaving

Age groupers leaving on the bike—actually out on the road

The final swim finisher

After working in transition, watching the runners on the 2nd Street bridge

11 The finish line on 4th Street

Media waiting for the first female finisher (Rebekah Keat)

Bree Wee finishes 3rd!

Bree in her media interview

I drove up this morning to watch and volunteer at Ironman Louisville. I had decided to go because Bree Wee, a very talented pro and an awesome person, was racing. I wanted to be able to cheer her on to a Kona slot, so I volunteered to help some of the other athletes while I was there, too. My job was in the women's changing tent beginning at 11:30, so all morning I watched the swimmers, watched T1, watched the bikers leave, watched the last official swimmer finish (he got out of the water with 20 seconds to spare on the 2:20 cut off, tripped on the timing mat, and pulled a muscle—I hope he was able to continue!), walked downtown to see the finish line before anyone got even close to finishing, and had some lunch. Then the fun really started.

It was at least half an hour before the first male came in, and he was at least 13 minutes ahead of the next one. It was almost 12:45 o'clock before the first woman came it, and she was around 10 minutes ahead of the others. There were a good 15 or 20 of us volunteers, and we couldn't all help each of them, so we just did whatever was needed or nothing. I did nothing until Bree came in, and then I helped her with whatever she needed. It was fun to see her come in within the top 5 off the bike (especially hearing that she'd had a flat)! She ran on her way, and I spend the rest of my shift directing athletes toward the run out, picking up trash, moving transition bags, and more. The only thing I didn't do was actually help people in the transition tent—the only other time I went back in was a 10-minute break to get out of the sun and drink some water.

From there, I changed and headed up to the finish line. Since the majority of the top women came in around 1, I figured it would be 4 at the earliest when they finished. By the time I made it to downtown, I'd missed the top 3 finishers (Paul Ambrose [8:29:59], Martin Jensen, and Max Longree), but I stayed long enough to watch through the top 21 (Evoe, Marques, Schloegel [AG], Beck [AG], Bless, Vondracek, Schrading [AG], Rebekah Keat [F 9:33:15], Killian [AG], Flanagan, Snow, MacFarlane [AG], Kovac, Kim Leofler [F], Garcia [AG], Sublett [AG], Monroe [AG], and Bree). I followed Bree from the sidelines while she did her media interviews and such and then walked over to her and talked to her. She's a great person—someone referred to her as "the people's athlete," and that seems to fit. The energy difference between her finish and the previous 2 women's finishes was evident. It was like when everyone realized that it was Bree who was finishing 3rd, they were all so excited for her and glad she'd done awesome and felt connected to her somehow. That's the kind of influence I want to have on people, and I want them to recognize the love of Jesus and hand of God on my life.

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