Wow. What an amazing experience. Now I totally get it.
Those TriGirls did such a fantastic job--all 9 of my friends finished, some in under 14 hours which I think is incredible for a first time Ironman.
I volunteered in body marking, so it was an early morning for me too--up at 4am, and we didn't get home until after 1am. Man was I tired, and I hadn't even biked or run. I did, however, do umpteen squats. In the morning at body-marking, I was positioned in the 43-44 year old men's section, which wasn't such a hardship! What legs those guys have, and thank goodness most of them shaved.
I also worked from 1-5:30 pm in the women's changing tent, helping all the age-groupers get ready for their marathon. The job entailed becoming many things: head cheerleader, medical screener, coach, friend, and general sherpa. "What do you need?" or "How can I help?" were always my first questions to each woman. All were very grateful for my help, which I felt so good about. I also got to take care of all 10 TriGirls and gave them all big hugs on their way out the door. Carmen made it in with 10 minutes to spare before the bike cut-off. She seemed ready to throw in the towel, but I hustled her out of there before she could think twice about quitting. I did tell several women, who weren't looking forward to the run, that it would hurt more in the long run to quit than to see it through. They all agreed!
I was glad for that unique view (as a non-ironman) to see what it's like for them as they face a whole marathon after just having biked 112 miles. Seeing every last one of those women get out on the run course, whether they finished it or not, helped me realize that if they could do it, so could I. So, of course I signed up for next year! I'm not sure my husband is totally ecstatic about the idea, but I think he's become resigned to it. Whenever I talked to him over the weekend, I would gush on an on about how amazing it was to watch. I'll finish up school, and put off serious job searches until the following year to give me flexibility and time to train.
Now, on to the marathon. I think I should be able to punch out a short little marathon, after what those girls showed me what they could do! Ha!