This past weekend my friend Victoria and I headed down to Wilmington, North Carolina to spectate the Beach2Battleship Ironman!
I was up at a very bright and early 5am to finish packing and was off to Vic’s house by 5:30. As planned we were on the road by 6ish- grabbed some gas and coffee and we were on our way. The ride was slated to be about 9 hours so we settled in for the long haul. We were super excited and chatty and kept the laughs going the whole way. We made a breakfast stop, some pee stops and a lunch stop and hit very little traffic 🙂 It was a smooth ride but we were super exhausted.
As soon as we got checked into the hotel we called Kate to see if she wanted to join us for dinner. We ended up at Carrabas and I won’t lie, my meal sucked. I am not the biggest fan of Carrabas in the first place and now I am even less of a fan. Erg. Hey, at least the company was good! 🙂 After dinner we headed back to the hotel and went straight to bed…at 8:30pm!
IRONMAN DAY- 🙂
Wake up call was a bright and early 6am so that we could be down to the race start by 7am. Victoria and I were almost jumping out of our skin with excitement. I am sure most spectators have fun but I think for people who participate in triathlon it is that much more exciting!
As soon as we got to the site we found a great spot along the run in from the swim. Spectators were not allowed at the swim start so T1 and the surrounding area was super crowded. Luckily, I am short and Victoria is tall so we could stand in one spot and she could look over me. Before we knew it, Kate was out of the water and running towards us. She actually saw us before we saw her- she was smiling ear to ear and Vic and I were cheering like mad! We ran next to her until she got into the T1 and then jetted over to the bike out to see her ride off. We both almost missed her again, but I was able to grab a few shots from behind her as she mounted the bike and took off for 112 miles.
Victoria and I decided not to go out to the bike course because we weren’t too familiar with the logistics. And we wanted breakfast 🙂 Plus, we both had our own training runs to get in and we wanted to make some signs for Kate while she was on the run. We grabbed a small bite from the hotel breakfast and then headed out on our runs. I had 9 miles and Victoria had 13. She is super speedy runner; we figured it would take approx the same time for us both to run our distances. We had mapped out our runs the night before and decided to use the mile markers for the race to help guide us. On my run out there weren’t any racers on the course yet but it was still cool to run through it- plus there were lots of people out there 🙂 I wish every training run had that many people along the way! On my way back in from the run, I saw the first and second runners coming through. It was really fun and exciting to be that close to them! My run went pretty well- the first two miles my legs took some time to warm up but after that I ran really well. If that is any indication of how Sunday will be, then I will be happy. After our run, we grabbed lunch and chilled out for a while. Before leaving to catch her on the run, we made our signs. We had bought all the materials beforehand but we were too tired to make them Friday night. Victoria and I are not very artistic but we were both very happy with our end results!
We had planned to see Kate on the run five times. First we took the bus over to T2 to watch her come in on the bike and come out for the run. Then we took the bus back over to where most of the run took place. The run was a loop so we would see her around mile 3, looped back around mile 7ish and then after dinner we would come back to see her at mile 23 and again at the finish. We did not take the signs with us on the bus so after we saw her come out of T2 we had to run back to the car to get the signs. Except neither of us paid any attention to where we parked! WTF! So we were scrambing up and down streets to find the car in time to get back down to see her come through the first 5k portion. Finally, we found the car…and not a moment too soon- as we were headed down the street, Vic spotted her. We went running like lunatics (Kate later said: “you two came out of no where running with your signs”) and ran next to her screaming, cheering and being complete tools- but everyone loved us! We were getting cheers from the runners 🙂 As soon as she was out of sight (and we kept up the yelling the entire time!) we headed into a cafe to grab some coffee and a snack. Then it was back outside to see her again around mile 7. This time we saw her coming and once again we jumped around like crazy girls screaming, hooting and hollering. Trust me, we did Jersey proud 🙂
As soon as mile 7 was over we headed back to the car to grab dinner and get ready to be back for the finish 🙂 Everytime we thought about her finishing we would get all giddy and excited. As soon as we realized there was a Panera near us, we had dinner figured out! And before we knew it, we were getting ready to head back down to the race. We stopped back to get changed (we changed four times in the day!) and then grabbed a coffee (there were numerous coffee stops throughout the weekend) and parked ourselves at mile 23. After a while had passed, I was getting antsy so I decided to walk back down to meet up with Kate- I ran into another girl looking for her sister and we got talking. A few minutes into the convo I discovered this girl was Kate’s sister!!! She was also looking for Kate. And even funnier…at mile 23, we were standing next to Kate’s parents! Small world! We walked until we saw Kate and then began to run with her. She was still so happy and smiley 🙂 It was great to find her in such great spirits. We had about a mile to go before getting back to the 23 marker and we pretty much just chatted while we ran…asking her how she was and how the race was…etc. At mile 23, I told Vic I was going to keep going with Kate and her sister and I would meet her across the bridge at Mile 25. (Note: Vic was not wearing her running shoes, so she carried the bags on the bus, over to mile 25. This was the same bus we took earlier in the day.) Kate, her sister and I continued to run and in no time we were at Mile 25…Vic joined us (bags and all) and we all took Kate to Mile 26. We left her to cross the finish line and met her as she came through.
KATE WAS OFFICIALLY AN IRONMAN FINISHER!!!!!
The whole day was amazing. As I write this (over the course of a day or so) I find myself struggling to articulate the days events. It was so busy and exciting and really…it is so hard to put into words. Victoria and I had an absolute blast- we kept all Kate’s friends updated, met so many fun and exciting people and I cannot even tell you what it was like to run with Kate. What an amazing opportunity to support my friend.
Post Race- we celebrated with mini-wine bottles and headed back to the car. Kate was cold and tired and honestly, we were tired too. He hit up an IHOP, ate some pancakes and headed back for some much needed sleep.
Sunday morning we met up with Kate for breakfast (IHOP again, 10 hours later 🙂 ) and then took off for the long drive home. And it was a looonnnnnnggggg drive!
Like I said, this report is not as detailed as I wish I could write it- I don’t think I could ever write out everything that went on, all the crazy fun we had. From the trip down jamming to old school rap, to our million pee stops, to talking about “boys and fashion and nails…yeah right”, to ardvarks and buffalo’s, to Walmart trips, to young waiters hitting on us, to meeting people, to running with cowbells, to wayyyyy too many coffee stops, to pumpkin obsession, to our messy hotel room, to everything…the whole trip was just awesome.
You didn’t think I’d leave you without photos, did you?!?!?
And these were our signs:
If you ever get the chance to spectate an IM, I highly recommend the experience.