This might seem weird, but I’ve always taken pride in having a full Ironman in my home state (and only 4 hours away from me). Yesterday was the last full Ironman that will take place in St. George, UT.
This course was known as the hardest course in the nation. One day I wanted to be able to say that I completed the Ironman St. George (IMSG), but they are demoting it to a 1/2 Ironman. They couldn’t get enough participants to keep a full Ironman in Utah. So, next year, I hope to do the 1/2 Ironman.
I track the Ironman every year. My coach does IMSG every year and this year I had a couple of friends from Twitter that did it this year. I was on pins and needles last night tracking all the athletes.
I knew the weather conditions were rough when I checked my coach’s swim stat’s and it took him 58:38 to swim 2.4 miles. In previous years it has only taken him 50 minutes or so to swim. The dude can swim 100 yards in 1 min (now compare that to my 2 min 100 yds). After I saw his swim stats I got on Twitter and there were pictures of Sand Hollow Reservoir and buzz about how bad the conditions were in St. George. The water was white capped and at one point, Ironman had tweeted that 45 mph winds had knocked out their camera at transition 1, they would have it back up asap! HOLY SHIT!!! 45 mph winds? I can’t imagine swimming in that? I can only imagine how choppy the waters were. The news said that kayaks were capsizing and they were plucking people out of the water who couldn’t finish the swim. I was worried for my friends. I was glad to finally see Greg, Iain and Jeff come out of the water.
Off to the bike everyone went. I knew this would be difficult for them. I know there’s one crazy hairpin turn up Snow Canyon that they have to climb on their bike and it’s a two loop course. Most triathletes, if you can afford to do an Ironman, by now, you can afford to have disc wheels on your bike. If you’ve got disc wheels on your bike and there’s wind…oh boy!!! It’s just tough, you can be blown all over the place. I was worried. But at the same time I knew they could do it. If they could make it through the swim, I knew they could make it through the bike and run. They are TOUGH!!!! My coach finished cycling 112 miles in 5:59:28. Even with the wind, he had an average speed between 18 – 19 mph! I am impressed because Lord knows I wouldn’t. I’ll let Greg, Iain and Jeff recap and tell their times on their website’s. But I’m just as impressed with them as I was with my coach. But, I know the wind started to die down later in to the night, so that helped the athletes out on the course.
I was just looking at my coach’s running times and I honestly don’t know how he does it. He must have some super powers hidden in there or something. After swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, my coach ran 26.2 miles in 3:06:42! That’s a 7:07/mile!!! I’m sure it helps that he has legs as long as a giraffe (he’s 6’7″). I was looking at his stats and at one point, he ran 4 miles at a 4:45/mile pace! Good Lord!!! The closer my coach got to the finish, everybody was constantly checking his Facebook, and the Ironman website to see when he’d finish. The closer he got to the finish, he was 1st place in his division, so we were all anxiously waiting to hear how he did.
My coach finished in 10:09:23!!! He finished 14th overall and 1st place in his division! Once again, he is Kona bound!!!!
Even though my coach had finished the Ironman, I was still constantly checking the website for updates on Greg, Iain and Jeff. I was thrilled to see when they finished and even though they couldn’t see them, I was sending them tweets throughout the day giving them as much encouragement as I could.
Finally, around the midnight hour (the race starts at 7:00 a.m. and they give you 17 hours to finish it), my friend Chris tweeted that they had 1000 athletes come in, and there were approximately still 450 athletes out on the course. My heart broke.
I can’t imagine spending all of the money to register for the Ironman, the hotel stay, flight, etc. all the training you put in, and then because of weather conditions, you’re not able to finish. But honestly…to me, they are ALL still Ironman’s. I’m still proud of everyone of those athletes whether they were able to finish the race or not, they were out there giving it their best and putting 150% of their effort in to the race. I hope the ones that finished and the ones who didn’t are proud of themselves for getting out there! Congratulations athletes!!!
One day I hope to join the ranks of becoming an Ironman. But until then, I will have to be satisfied with hearing it on Twitter, reading the athletes race recaps and watching the Ironman National Championships for Kona, HI on television this fall.