Yesterday, I spent the better part of the day and night watching the Ironman World Championships. Even when I couldn’t get the feed, I was riveted by keeping tabs on the leader board and updates. What do I love about watching the unedited version of IM?
• Seeing the overhead shots of the swim start and the lifeguards on surfboards trying to hold the athletes back, knowing they’re all bursting at the seams with adrenaline.
• Getting a close-up view of the pros’ swim stroke from the back of a boat.
• Discovering which pros live up to their hype.
• Seeing the ones who didn’t have a good day, like Kate Major, finish anyway – showing their true character, sportsmanship, and grit.
• Watching the winners get an escort by Polynesian firewalker dancers and catching the music of drums beating rapidly.
• Seeing that nice guys/gals really do win.
• Hearing Mike Riley call out in his signature welcome “(insert name), you are an Ironman!” for each finisher.
• Hearing where each finisher is from – the country, state, and/or hometown. I was not-so-secretly thrilled if it was somewhere near where I live or used to live – or a world away.
• Watching the finishers cross the line. They smiled, screamed, praised their higher power, stumbled, crawled, kissed the finish line, kicked up their heels, and collapsed into the arms of their oh-so-relieved loved ones’ arms. Some did a log roll in honor of John Blais, Some danced. One guy even did the worm.
• Observing many of them cross the line with a variety of knee and leg braces, knowing they overcame injuries too.
• Listening to music I never think of adding to my ipod until now.
• Observing a 67-year old guy from Saskatchewan, Canada cross the finish line in under 12 hours. (How did he do that?) And a bunch of other seniors defy the aging process.
• Seeing the human spirit at its finest – courageous, happy, delighted, moved, inspired, connected.
• Realizing that anything is possible if you set your mind, heart, body and soul to it.
And if this post wasn’t schmaltzy enough for you, the ABC coverage of the event will take place on December 13th. Set your DVR.