Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ironman Arizona

Sorry I haven't finished my race report yet! I've been super busy. Saturday I drove to Phoenix with Sierra - looong drive. Sunday my dad and I volunteered at Ironman Arizona and I didn't get to sleep until 2:30am which is about 5 hours after my bedtime! It was really interesting to volunteer 2 weeks after my own Ironman race. I volunteered at IMAZ last year too, but this year I recognized the looks on the runners faces. I could tell when they peered into the cups of pretzels and chips that we were offering that they were trying to decide if it sounded like something they could stomach. Anyone who is considering registering for an Ironman should definitely volunteer at one first. It's so helpful to see how things work. Last year I watched part of the swim, volunteered in the womens change tent for T1, setup the run aid station and volunteered there for the first few hours of runners (the pros have it tough - even when they look like hell, nobody wants to ask insult them by asking if they're okay), and then cheered for the last few hours of the race, hanging out at the finish for the last 20 or 30 minutes. I felt like after that experience I had such a better understanding of what to expect in Florida.  My dad and I helped with the gear bags yesterday. Wow it was insane. We needed way more volunteers. All in all, volunteering is a great experience. It's fun to help the athletes, and after doing a race I felt like I wanted to give back and play my role again as a volunteer. (Plus Ironman treats their volunteers really well, although I was unable to partake in all the free volunteer food so I also skipped the volunteer party last night.) If you still need a reason to volunteer, it's incredibly beneficial to your friends and family who come to your race because after a day of volunteering you will be really tired, so the next year when you're doing the race and your support team is volunteering or even just cheering all day, you won't hate them when they complain about how tired they are the day after the race. Yes, you just traveled 140.6 miles, but you trained for it. People don't train to run back and forth collecting gear bags or stand at a run aid station for 5 hours yelling "pretzels, chips, powerbars, gels." I had such a great time. I got to see a few people from my tri club, and I met an online training buddy when she ran past on her last loop, and I got to say hi to another athlete for a friend. I also got to see Rudy Garcia-Tolson go past our aid station twice, and I gave him pretzels once. I felt like I was touching a celebrity. If you don't know who he is, google him. I was sorry to miss watching him finish but so excited that he did. I made it over to the finish line about 20 minutes later, and I saw a 76 year old guy cross the line with about 10 minutes to spare. He won his age group and is going to Kona!

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