On Sunday, October 11, His Lordship completed his third full Ironman in Louisville, Kentucky.
And I completed my third full day and night of Ironman spectating.
All of what she states still holds true—a lot of it is boring; rest when you can; don’t be a d*ck and say “you’re almost there!” as it’s not true in any part of the race until mile 139.
Even so, I still learned that there is still more to spectating this all day event. So here are some other tips to take into consideration. (That is, should you ever marry someone who likes doing these ungodly type of races.)
Claim your spot at the swim finish. My comrade and I made this mistake almost instantly, wanting to go take pretty pictures toward the transition area.
This ended up being a terrible idea as we stood on the balls of our feet trying to spot our men through the crowds, already a daunting task when everyone in the water looks the same. (Spoiler alert: male athletes have a green swim cap and females a pink one. All wet suits are black. It gets real neat real fast. Though our men were dubbed ‘all-world athletes’ and had black swim caps, it was still a difficult task.) An hour on our tip toes and our calves were burning. My anxiety rose so high that I desperately wished for a toilet. When a kind man at the front finally saw his athlete, he offered up his spot to us. (Thank you!) And all was well in all the land…besides the headache of trying to find your person in a sea of wetsuits.
Pack your charger and share the outlet love. In a day and age where everyone needs to charge their phone because they’re in constant use, this should be a no-brainer. But since you’ve already started tracking your athlete for at least 5 hours (it’s now lunchtime, after all), I cannot stress it enough. And because my phone isn’t enough for me during this sporting event, I bring out the big guns: my laptop. That, too, requires a charger. And yes, I lug all of this with me to the nearest sports bar for wine and football. (Spectating is SO HARD, you guys.) Lucky for us, there was an empty outlet next to our table for the taking. Unlucky for us, said outlet wasn’t working. My comrade took her phone to the hostess stand for a charge, and I waited until my laptop died before switching to my phone. It wasn’t until I was at 5% when a gentleman at the table next to us told us of a hidden outlet next to his table. Success! I passed along this info to a poor soul desperately seeking a place to charge her phone. She then took over my outlet space. OUTLET LOVE, PEOPLE. Share the wealth.
Get creative. Never have I ever seen more creative signage than at this particular race. One gentleman took the task of writing out a scoreboard containing every football game and would update it after every quarter—a BRILLIANT idea for anyone who is a football fan like myself. (Or a TERRIBLE idea if your team is losing and you’re on mile 18 of your marathon.)
If you’re able to, run with your athlete. Even if it’s for a block or two. Both of ours were particularly chipper when we ran alongside of them. (And it was for just a block or two.)
Go to the Midnight Finish. After two years of missing this, we finally were able to make it to the very end. And it was nothing short of inspirational. Do what you have to do to get there. Drink coffee like it’s going out of style. Take a nap and set your alarm at 11:30 p.m. Just get there. Go and scream and cheer as loud as you can. Because they’ve been on their feet for longer than you have, and they haven’t had nachos or wine or had a chance to sit down. They need all the support they can get. Give it to them.
I’m sure the next time I spectate (because there will be a next time), I’ll learn even more things.
Until then, let’s all rest our feet and get psyched for the next big dance.
And that’ll be here before we know it.
To Danika and Aunt Dee Dee, my awesome cheer squad comrades, thank you for banding together and watching all the snot and vomit and everything that comes with spectating an Ironman. And to His Lordship and Dougie Dee, congratulations on a great day at the races. We’re so happy to call you Ironmen.