Wrapped in foil, baked, and well done…

The recent Ironman Mont Tremblant race brought up an issue we have rarely thought about after all these years:  the toll these races have on the body and soul of both the athlete and spectator.  My triathlete is hurting for the first time after 10 full-distance races and man, I hurt, too.

My feet, oh my pitiful feet.  I have learned over the years to wear my running shoes to races and I did this time, too; it didn’t help.  Two days later, my heels and the balls of my feet are still screaming.  Then there’s my back – the ache is strictly my own fault.  I should have left my backpack in one place, but didn’t.  See, I pack a full load – good camera, food, water, iPad, solar charger, sweatshirt, hubby’s running pants and sweatshirt, and my headlamp.  It gets heavy to say the least and I’m not a big person!

Most races I have time to sit, relax, have breakfast, lunch, and often get a little shopping in or even have a manicure (okay, only once).  But, not this race!  The issues were many.  I love watching the pros and they didn’t disappoint; this race had so many wonderful places to cheer my hubby on; and then there’s my husband had an off race – his first!  He PR’ed the swim and the bike was good, but he fell apart on the run.  Like a good wife/spectator, I got to the first agreed upon spot for the run (which was on cement) after I watched the pro men come in, and then I waited, and waited, until panic set in.  An hour later than expected I saw him, walking.  Ugh.

I walked, not on the course, but on the spectator side with him for a while.  Then I ran over to the 2nd viewing spot to make sure I saw him out for his second loop.  Then it was another waiting game and I asked myself if he could pull it together and run at least part of the race or was it 13 miles of walking.  With the Ironman site not updating, there was no way to tell.  So, after running back to the finish to watch the pro women come in, it was back to spot one to stand and wait, and wait, and wait.  His usual finish time came and went, so I decided to head back to the finish line.  Our usual spot was full, so we (a friend had joined me at this point) ran back up the hill, across a path and down the mountain around T1, until we got to a spot where we could see the finish and our athletes would see us.  An hour and 45 minutes past the expected time, in he came.  I saw his face and knew he hurt, as did my heart.

No one ever said spectating was easy on the feet, the back, or the heart.  It can either be a picture perfect day or a very stressful one for all.  You just never know how the day will unfold in this sport until it does.  I know my husband is disappointed, so I keep my emotions to myself and smile and support him, because I know he hurts more.