July 21, 2008

Other Perspectives

I wasn't quite sure what today would bring so I didn't have a firm plan. I was exhausted beyond belief yesterday and knew today would be fairly light. I slept 9 hours and when I woke up, I had a massive migraine. It was the kind that made me want to stay in bed all day, but I knew it wouldn't get better so I got up, took some Excedrin Migraine and waited for it to kick in. I was shaky and nauseous for a couple hours before gradually feeling normal again. I think it was a combination of lingering dehydration, my metabolism being completely thrown off and lack of sleep over the past 48 hours.

I briefly considered swimming in the evening, but decided to work, catch up on some personal things and have a drink with a triathlete friend who also did the race. I will be in the mindset of wanting to talk about the race as much as possible for at least a week, so this impromptu get together fed into that need very nicely. We exchanged war stories, talked about how we felt, what we saw, looked at photos on the blackberry and planned our next races. It's nice to know my obsession is shared by at least a few others.

I have so many incredible race photos but need time to sort through and resize them before I can post a gallery, hopefully sometime this week. In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few that offer other points of view of the race. With so much happening simultaneously, it was impossible to take it all in, but the individual moments captured along the way told a different story for each of us experiencing them. First up, the infamous jellyfish that were the talk of the day for so many swimmers. Pretty nasty.

The swim leg of any triathlon is significant for a lot of athletes. It tends to be a weaker discipline for most of us so there is a strong sense of accomplishment when completing it. Here is a swimmer that took a great deal of time in the water. She had a guide with her and kayakers following closely. As she reached the swim exit you can see she is clapping her hands in joy and the kayakers around her were cheering. She got a tremendous amount of support from the crowd as they watched her push through and complete this challenge.

I've admitted that I keep the 2007 Ironman Championship on DVR and watch it whenever I feel the need for inspiration. The last time was Saturday night as I packed up my bag for the race. I love watching it and love the people profiled. So imagine how thrilled I was to hear that two of them, Charlie Plaskon and Scott Rigsby, were competing in NYC. Here is a great shot of Charlie and his guide during the swim. He's 65 years old, legally blind and has completed the Kona Ironman.

Scott Rigsby was the first double amputee to complete an Ironman. His story is incredibly inspiring and really makes you reconsider what is possible. Here he is just after the swim and again on the run course across 72nd Street. It was a thrill to see him competing.

There was a man in the race who pulled his handicapped son through the swim and bike, then pushed him through the run. I don't know his story, but it touched everyone who saw him. I was finished and packing up my transition when he was just entering the run course.

Lastly, I wanted to share a photo from transition that helps define the magnitude of the race. There were more than 3,000 athletes divided among two transition areas. You are given a very small space to rack your bike and put everything you need at the front tire. After the race there were items scattered everywhere, reflecting the rush of activity taking place during the previous few hours. It was somewhat sad for me to go back to transition after the race because it really signaled that it was over. It went by all too quickly. That may be another great reason to do an Ironman. I'm sure no one has complained about that going by too quickly.

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