Waiting on a Friend


Saturday morning’s long run and recovery swim wasn’t the same without my training partner Kristen. (Ryan, pictured here, graciously pitched in by swimming with me in the Bay.) Saturday night was teemed with suspense. At 10:00 p.m. Pacific time, the starting gun went off in Zurich for Ironman Switzerland's 3,000 participants.

It was Kristen’s first Ironman. She competed with her best friend, Chantel, from Canada. Ryan stopped by to see if we could find some good coverage. Ironman Live didn’t have any video coverage, but I’m sure we hit the Athlete Tracker button 22 times during her swim. There was supposed to be some “local coverage,” so we madly searched for any live Swiss feeds we could find. We discovered that the Swiss furniture commercials are just as cheesy (pardon the pun) as they are here. Oh, and we found some interesting synchronized swimming. But no Ironman coverage. No Kristen.

To cope with the disappointment, we downed some Steinlager beers and resorted to thoughtfully predicting her splits and placing a wager. Whoever came closest to her actual time had to buy all of us drinks to help her celebrate her finish. And if she beat our predicted times, then we agreed that SHE’D have to buy. Pretty creative, huh?

Kristen is an awesome swimmer and came out of the water in 1:03. Ryan left after we confirmed that she was safely on the bike. The weather in Zurich wasn’t good. It was raining. We could only imagine how treacherous that ride must’ve been.

When I woke up, I had two reasons to be excited. The Tour de France and Ironman Switzerland. I found out she was at least halfway through at 4;15 a.m. Funny thing about long training runs. You have to wake up in the middle of the night to replenish those calories. Yeah, I was that hungry. I had three breakfasts throughout the morning and reloaded Athlete Tracker compulsively to see how she was doing.

In the late morning, my vigil was over. Hooray!! She did it. Kristen YOU ARE AN IRONMAN. She crossed the line with Chantal. Not sure if they met up on the bike or the run, but how cool is that to travel all that way with a friend and cross the finish line together?

It got me thinking that this is what triathlon is really all about. The friendships you make along the way. Being there to support each other. Being there to witness each other’s triumphs after long weeks of training. Being the one, when it’s your turn, to inspire your buddies. Way to go Kristen. You did it. All of it.

Oh, and Ryan is buying ; -)

On another happy note, once Kristen’s race was done, I was waiting to see how 734’s dad did in the Rim Nordic mountain bike race. He rocked. He not only won his age group, but he also beat all the experts in the race. His was the seventh fastest time of the day.