ironman mont tremblant
LESSONSLEARNED

When spectating a race takes on a new meaning…

When I went with Carl to the Ironman 70.3 WC in Mont Tremblant, I was going to work this time – for the first time.  I have always just gone to have a vacation and of course, to be his trisupporter.  In the beginning, I spent many races by myself, but once he got into the sport, we met many friends and so now, I’m more often with friends or family at a race.  When this happens, you tend to be a little isolated and stick together.

Since I was working this time, however, I really paid attention to the race, the racers, and the spectators.  For the most part on race day, I was left on my own, not totally by choice (another story), so I had plenty of time to be a spectator of a different sorts.  I watched my fellow spectators, paying particular attention to who they were with or if they were alone and how they acted – were they happy, bored, anxious.  By doing so, I came away with some lessons learned and would love to share them with you.

TALK TO PEOPLE

I’m not really an extrovert and to go up to strangers and to ask friends for favors really stretches my comfort level.  But, to build this blog, I have to talk to people about it and find out what they’d like to have us write about.  I did this a few times and realized, hey, it’s not so bad.  I even conducted a bunch of informal surveys by striking up conversations with both supporters and triathletes.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, was very receptive and nice and once you gave them a topic, had no shortage of words.

I met so many new friends and reconnected with old friends on a new level.  I feel really bad for myself and all the opportunities I have missed in life by not striking up a conversation with that person sitting or standing next to me.  Take it from me and reach out to that person – it could be your new best friend, a work contact, or you will simply bring joy to someone who is all alone…All they can do is ignore you or walk away – their loss!

TRISUPPORTERS NEED EACH OTHER

We have a lot to share with each other and need to vent.  Unless your friends either do the sport themselves or are fellow triwives/tripartners, it’s hard to comprehend this lifestyle or quite frankly, care.  I know we like to think they really do…I found when I asked you questions, oh boy, the flood gates opened and I soon came to realize you needed to share!  I’ve held a lot of the specifics I heard in confidence, because I felt I was more of a sounding board then you wanted me to share.  But, even without getting into specifics, I can say with confidence that we all have issues with being the partner of a triathlete and some conversations need to be going on at home…In the meantime, feel free to voice any issues to us, including in confidence via email.

SPECTATING ALONE IS NOT FUN

Boy, I found this one out during this race.  My triathlete’s wave was dead last and not until 9:08!!!  But since he still had to get up early – so did I –  and besides, I wanted to see the start of the race.  This meant that I had a lot of hanging around time, especially since he was the only one of our friends in this wave.  Luckily, I found him in the crowd and tried to calm any pre-race jitters and then took tons of pics I used in our Why Trisupporters Rock – A Pictorial.  By the time his wave went off, everyone but the families of these triathletes were pretty much gone.  So, it was very quiet when they went off, with little fanfare as compared to the first few groups.

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Crowds have thinned – my triathlete’s the one in the middle…

During the bike, I literally ended up being THE ONLY SPECTATOR along this stretch of road.  When your triathlete sees this and tells you he felt so bad for you, you know this is not as it should be.  I had the choice of staying to see Carl go by on his bike and yell my “Go, Carl, Go” which he truly loves to hear or go to where the action was.  I could hear the screaming, the applause, and the cowbells not too far away –  behind me  – beyond the trees – calling me to come join them – so close, but oh so far.   I knew others were having fun and there was something exciting going on, but I stayed put and was rewarded with seeing him for that fleeting 2 seconds – just enough for him to feel sorry for ME…

The run was again spent on my own, but at least I was now with my people (you other trisupporters).  I made it to where all the fun was happening beyond the trees –  and struck up conversations and stood by some of you like I was part of your group,

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My peeps on the run. Thanks for letting me act like I was with you…

before making it to the finish line where I found my triumphant triathlete…

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Both of us smiling at the finish line…

The moral of the story is that there are many like me at these races and that’s a shame.  So, back to my first lesson learned.  Strike up that conversation with other people and if you are with others and see someone standing alone, ask if they want to join you.  Come on be a trisupporter supporter!!!!

 – SHERRY

DO YOU HAVE ANY LESSONS LEARNED FROM BEING AT A TRIATHLON?