22 November 2016

Ironman Arizona 2016 Race Report Part 1 of 3 - THANK YOU

What a weekend it was! “My athletes” finishing, friends finishing, dozens of family and friends spectathleting/supporting all of us, and knowing that so many were cheering from afar - so memorable in so many ways.

There are so many people to recognize and acknowledge. I’ll save the best for… first. Linda once again was the “cruise director” for this “Taste of Ironman” with the Crazy Train/Get Sladed Nation. She lead a large group of family members, friends, sherpas, volunteers, and spectathletes, who were there to cheer the athletes to the finish line. With so many agendas and diverse needs of everyone, she did another incredible job helping people see who they wanted and do what they wanted. It is a VERY long day and in the end we think everyone got what they wanted out of the experience. 3 things made it slightly easier this time around: a good portion were veterans of IMAZ spectating, Genna (and others) helped direct and coordinate and answer questions, and the “Beacon” that most of the athletes carried made life easier because people knew where everyone was on the course. The device worked great (as long as the athlete remembers to turn it on and carry it on the bike and run!)

Linda’s support of everyone, especially me, is beyond belief. Besides Cruise Director, she coached our athletes (especially important when it came to the mental piece), she took control of certain details of the weekend so I could focus on my own race, and she supported (some would say enabled) me to do this crazy Ironman triathlon thing. Without her love and support I’m sure I would either not be able to do these OR I would be doing them but be an unhappy single man! She is the one who makes my training and racing possible. I am blessed beyond measure.

Mom/Jayne came out yet again to cheer and enthusiastically support my racing. She enjoys seeing the process and the striving for goals, the energy, the spectacle, and the fun that is all part of the Ironman weekend. It makes me so very happy when she is there. And Corey was once again a fantastic Sherpa, making sure I had what I needed, carrying my stuff, even working on the knots in my neck post-race. He took good care of his dad! Marc and Courtney flew out again for another long weekend of Ironman racing. The support that I feel can’t be explained. Their setting up of “base camp” made things fantastic for everyone. On top of that they created “the flag” for Slade Coaching. What a great and hilarious birthday gift!

So many friends came out to the race for this 2016 edition; too many to name. We athletes felt the love, support, enthusiasm, and excitement, all of which helped propel us to the finish! All of us, especially the first-timers, will be forever grateful that all of you were part of this journey. As an athlete I know that you can not discount the power of the TRIbe, the family, the supporters. And we feel it from the people who are looking on from near and far. All of you give us a boost, a motivation to be successful, a reason to keep going when we might not have wanted to if no one was watching.

Finally let me thank those who volunteered on the course. We athletes know that this event isn’t possible without all the people who give their time to make Ironman AZ a success and make our race the best it can be. They make the athletes’ day because of their help and enthusiasm for helping US. They make us feel so special and cared for.

At the end of the day, as is true in so many things, the race and the day are what they are because everyone makes it possible. Could we get by on our own? Probably we could ‘get by’. Would it be as fun or momentous or meaningful? Not a chance! So thank you, ALL OF YOU, for making our weekend one to always remember!

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