Tuesday, August 28, 2007


When I signed up to volunteer for IM Louisville, my expectations were to just go and enjoy the experience. I never felt the I could do one. I was told many times that once you are at the finish you will want to do it. That did not happen but alot of other feelings and emotions did.

I was so inspired and impressed by every athlete who was out there. The hours of training that had to have been put in is amazing. While working in T1 , the determination and concentration of each person to get out on the bike was repeated over and over. I did see Mary Sunshine and GeekGirl come out of the swim both smiling. Iron Snoopy in transition seemed very relaxed.
I missed most of the bike but knew that the hills would be challenging. The morning wind had calmed down alot but the sun came out and the temperature went up quickly.

Outside of my hotel was mile 3 of the marathon. I sat near a water stop and watched everyone head out for the 2 loop course. I knew it would be hours before they came back in. Iron Snoopy cam by and I walked with her for a few minutes. The bike challenged her to the max. Mechanical problems and hills were here issue.

The finish line was in an awesome place - Fourth Street Live. I went to TGI Fridays ordered a burger and watched many finish. All the emotions in that one place were overwhelming.

Then it was 7pm. My time to check in to work the finish. My job was to give the finishers a towel and the Ironman medal. What an honor that was. I witnessed a marriage proposal. I saw those whose spouses finished. The celebration of moms and dads who had there children cross the line with them. The desperation of those who had nothing left and barely knew who they were. The gamut was unbelievable. I don't know the reason each athlete did it but everytime the announcer said--"YOU ARE AN IRONMAN" , I had chills and tears.

It was 11:15 PM and I was still looking for Iron Snoopy. Her husband Moose had joined me at the finish. He had just completed his first Ironman and was waiting for her. As they were telling how much time was left, the worried look in his eyes increased. Not long after -there she was. He ran to the line and asked if he could give here the medal. He waited , put it around her neck, and they embraced with such emotion all the spectators felt it. "You are an Ironman Iron Snoopy!!"

I was exhausted when I returned to the hotel but unable to sleep. There was no desire to do an Ironman. But there was a yearning for a goal and a challenge.

Today , I answered that yearning and signed up for beginners swim class. My first class is next Tuesday. I am so excited!!!!!!!!!

Congratulation to all the Ironman in Louisville- you truely are my heroes.

Waddling with a purpose................


Vickie said...

Great pics! Mine didn't turn out very well, the few I thought to take. You did awesome helping out for so long. Its an exhausting job standing at the finish line for so long, but the time goes by quickly when you are experiencing all that is happening. And what an awesome finish line! Glad I got to see you at least. Have you thought about that duathlon next month? Oh, two of my friends were there at the finish when you were. You might have met them: Libby and Deb? Libby is a multi time IM finisher (I've lost track!), but she is just as enthusiastic as a volunteer.

Duane said...

Karen, I am so happy you are going for the swim challenge! Yay!

21stCenturyMom said...

Yay!!! It is mere months until your first sprint - mark my words!

Thanks for the great pics. I spent HOURS glued to IronmanLive and now I am going to Wisconsin again - yay!

Mary Sunshine said...

Dear Waddler,

I'm sorry I was so focused on jumping through so many hoops Sat and Sun that I didn't get to spend more time with you...but I do recall your smile there from time to time when I really needed to see it and it helped me make it to the finish.

I'm so happy to hear about your new swim adventure. It will be nice to swim in the winter when the roads are dangerous.

I hope you find a good teacher/coach! I hope to get to one of your races soon to cheer and give you the gift that I wanted to give you in Louisville.



Joe said...

Boy, I got goose bumps just reading this!! So very, very cool you got to give all those medals. What an honor!!!

And you are learnign to swim!!! Go get 'em!!

Irene said...

You did a wonderful recap. So emotional! How wonderful to place the medals around the finishers necks!

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

It is so cool that you got to hand out medals.

I watched a lot of the finishers from the comfort of my home via ironman live and many of them made tears well up from here. I'd have been a mess if I had seen them in person!!

Spandex King said...

To late now. Your hooked!! There really is nothing like it. Good luck.

Dori said...

Nice post, Waddler. That would be a great volunteer job, to put the finishers medals around the racer's necks. Good luck with your swimming--looking forward to reading about it. :-)