Who goes to Hawaii for a long weekend? Oh! That would be me, thanks to my awesome parents. That’s right 4 days to see my brother compete in the World Championship Ironman. I wouldn’t recommend Hawaii for just a long weekend because of the severe jetlag I am experiencing right about now. Not that I have any regrets, totally worth it. But I would recommend going to watch the Ironman if you ever have the chance. Words really can’t describe the energy and emotions when you get some of the top athletes in the world on one island. It’s intense. Being in that atmosphere makes you feel like you can do anything as you see all these people pouring everything they have into this race. To think about all the things they did and did not do for months in advance to prepare is so inspiring. I know what my brother went through to get himself there. It’s amazing.
For those of you who are new to the whole Ironman scene the race consists of a 2.1 swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run. All in one day. Brent finished his race in 9 hours 49 min. This is not what his goal was but considering the extreme weather conditions and it being only his third Ironman he did amazing! Well, anyone who completes an Ironman is amazing in my book. He finished 250th out of 1800+ athletes and was in the top 50 Americans. Pretty awesome, huh?
It was a long, tiring (I feel guilty saying that considering) day for us spectators but at the same time it went by really fast. We would stake out our spot along the course and stand and wait and wait and wait. As the time grows closer to when you think he may be coming the anticipation grows. You just keep looking and looking for that one familiar face to buzz by you. Then every once in a while we just start yelling for him, as if that would bring him in any sooner. But it felt good to do! And then all of the sudden he’s there! And you scream your head off and yell and shout any sort of encouraging words that come to your mind in the 15 seconds that he is in earshot. Then he’s gone. And then you pack up and go to the next spot where you hope to see him. That’s most of what our day as spectators was like. In the midst of all that was a lot of praying, wondering, cheering for others and dancing. They had some great music at the finish line where we stood for 3 hours. We had so much fun in the midst of a really intense, emotional day. Very thankful it all turned out so good.
Beside watching Brent cross the finish line and seeing him after it was all over, my favorite part of the experience was right before the race. The energy and anticipation was so real. You could literally feel it in the air. I loved it. I am so thankful to have been apart of the whole experience. To be there with him and support my brother alongside my family meant a lot to me and I know it did to him too.
Outside of the whole Ironman experience some other highlights were
- running each day with the bright blue ocean right there! Come. On.
- getting to swim on the same course where the race was and doing a little fish watching while I was at it
- KONA COFFEE. Nough said.
- seeing and petting sea turtles
- swimming in the Queens Bath, a natural spring in some caves
- our last dinner out together overlooking the ocean where huge manta rays were swimming around
- Exclusive party Brent and his entourage (that would be the fam) were invited to by TYR, a swimming apparel company. We all got to make our own goggles and hang out with some pro triathletes. Not bad for a Sunday afternoon.