IMAZ 2013 Race Report

I dropped out of IMAZ earlier this week. A few of my friends were still doing it. My role today was to support them and cheer them on. I went through a myriad of emotions during the day. This blog entry is going to be difficult to write, but here goes…

4:30AM: I woke up to find Andrew and Christine eating in the kitchen. We indulged in small talk. I couldn’t help thinking that I should be the one eating breakfast and full of nerves today. Instead, all I felt was pain in my back as I sat on the kitchen counter talking to them. At around 5AM, they left.

5:45AM: It was just a bit chilly outside, but it was going to be a nice day. A slight chill in the morning wakes you up nicely. I showered, got the dogs ready and Binita and I left for the race. As we drove down, some of the streets were closed and the parking lots were full. The professional men started at 6:45AM and the women started at 6:50AM. The 3,000 or so other athletes started promptly at 7:00AM.

IMAZ 2013 Race Start

7:00AM: Binita and I were on the Mill Ave bridge with Missy and Simi. They were more interested in other dogs than the triathlon. We saw a ton of people treading water a few meters from the race start. Some were agitated, some were relaxed, some were holding on to kayaks, some were floating on their backs. As soon as the gun sounded, away they went; some fast and some slowly towards the same destination. IMAZ was underway!! I wanted to be on the starting line, in the action, competing with the other 3,000 people. I felt a pang of envy and let out a sigh. It hurt to breathe deeply!

7:35AM: The first of the pro athletes were coming out of the water. I heard Andrew Russell’s name being announced. He was in the top 5. I saw him running towards the transition bags and into the changing tents. He was in and out like a flash and on his bike. In no time, he had started his bike leg. Soon after, the female pros and the age group athletes started exiting the water. I checked for times. Mike and Will were all out just a bit after 8:00AM. Jerry was a bit slower on the swim.

8:30AM: After watching a few hundred athletes exiting the water and starting their bike legs, we decided to call it a morning and drove back home. My emotions were mixed. I was happy for Andrew and Christine who were both in or near the lead packs. I was rooting for Will to break 10 hours. After I got home, I couldn’t help thinking with each hour where I would be on the bike course. It was self-pity, and I fell asleep on the sofa watching IMAZ results on my iPhone.

1:00PM: The pros were off the bikes and were already running the marathon. Some of the age groupers were also off the bikes. I got ready and started to head back to the race. I would see Will, Mike and Jerry on the course and meet up with a bunch of my friends. They would need to dig deep and I would be there to cheer them on!

2:30PM: As I was walking towards the lake just east of the Mill Avenue bridge, Will’s parents recognized me and we hung out for a while. Will had already started his marathon and was about 45 minutes into it. He was cruising. Barring a bonk, he was looking good to break the 10-minute barrier.

3:00PM: Kristen and I txt’d each other and eventually saw each other by the lake. Her cousin Cassie was in town from Flagstaff. We were rooting for Mike, Jerry and few of their other friends. It was festive, it was energetic, it was fun. I wanted to run. I had my bright orange Zoot shoes on. I was coughing. I was on pain medications. I was on antibiotics. I was hurting!

4:00PM: The real race begins with the marathon. At T2, people get sucked in to chairs and sit for a while. The idea is to get up and start walking, start jogging, start running. You need a strong mind and a strong body. Will has both. He was less than an hour away from the finish line. Jerry and Mike were fading a bit on the run, but keeping up a 13-minute pace.

Mike changes his shoes for the second lap

4:57PM: Will crossed the finish line with 3 minutes to spare. I wasn’t there to watch but I tracked him on the Ironman app. Kristi showed up soon after. She was going to stay late into the night.

5:30PM: The sun set. The moon rose over the lake. It made for a beautiful picture. Spirits were lifted. Runners found bounce in their steps as the temperature dropped. Spectators yelled louder. The party was on!

6:15PM: I started to make my way towards the exit with mixed emotions. It was bitter sweet. I always enjoy going to triathlon races. This one though hurt. I was to be an Ironman tonight. It was not meant to be.

Andrew finished 20th in the men’s PRO division and Christine finished 15th in the women’s PRO division. They both had so-so races.

There will be other races. For now, I will concentrate on getting better. I have an Ironman in mind (Cabo, March 30, 2013) but it is only 30 days after a marathon that I have already signed up for. Is it wise to do an Ironman so close after an all-out marathon? I’m not sure…

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