Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Arrival Day at IM Florida

As I said below I am going to take my time and go back and re count the 5 days I spent in Panama City BEach FL and my full experience at IMFL.

This first post is my arrival day on Wednesday.

Wednesday November 4, 2009.

Amanda is a little anxious and concerned about this weekend. She is concerned about me and the outcome of the weekend.

She reminds me that “2.4 miles swimming in the ocean might be difficult with the potential hurricane headed into the Gulf AND won’t it be really windy out on the bike course?”

I love her so much. I just look at her and my face says it all . . . It says, “how about we not talk about that right now”.

After a long day of driving we arrive into PCB FL and head directly to the IM check-in.

I wanted to take a second to talk about the sacrifice my beautiful wife Amanda has made for my selfish endeavor to become an Ironman. While I do believe that triathlon has helped save my life by pushing me to become more and more healthy . . . It can sure put stress on a family and mine is no different. I truly have a perfect wife FOR ME and therefore she is perfect period. Between my work, our band new baby girl (born in July) and my training for IMFL . . . My wife has been very lonely and had received very little QUALITY attention from me over the past 4 months.

Today is no different. We drove separate so she could go directly home after IMFL since I had to go to a class in Orlando. Now as I am about to experience the thrill of checking into Ironman – She sits in her car in the parking lot across the road – just waiting.

I love you Amanda. You are my best friend. You make everything I do worth it.

Back to the day . . .

As I turn on Thomas Drive where the race start is located I see a guy hitchhiking. He is not your average hitchhiker. He has a smooth pair of Oakley’s on and a bad to the bone tri bag over his shoulder. He is also only about 5’6” a d maybe 135lbs so I decide if I pick him up and he is a freak I could shove him out pretty easily.

Turns out he is Romain Guillaume a pro triathlete and a really cool dude. We talked for a while and I saw him a few times through the weekend. I think he finished 10th overall. A very nice dude.

There was no line Wednesday at 3:30pm to check in and I whizzed in and out. The only disappointing part of check-in was the weigh in. I put on my sheet I thought I was at about 245lbs. When I got on the scale I was 263lbs!!!!!

I think the main point here is – Arrive on Wednesday in the mid to latter afternoon to check in to your Ironman. I was speaking with Andy, a fellow BRtri club member from BR, and he had checked in Wed Morning and there was a long line. And As I will discuss on my Thursday recount – The line to check in was OUT THE EXPO INTO THE STREET when I went for my massage.

After walking through the check in tent I exited thanking all the volunteers – who without them – this whole thing would not be possible. The y are very supportive and excited to be a part of this crazy thing too it seems . . .

Next I go to confirm my massage . . . And there is where I saw one of my favorite people! Bridgett Flannigan . . . It is very bad that I don’t know her married name, sorry Scott. Bridgett played ball for NKU where I was a student coach during college and she was on the team that won the National Championships . . . As a matter of fact against St. Rose, she was THE impact player behind Jecca shutting down an Olympian with her D.

Bridgett’s husband Scott, is also racing and he was getting his massage at the time. We all say hello and catch up for a second and make plans to do dinner that night.

As I began to look around and take in the expo area I began to feel a little hint of nervousness kicking in and I didn’t like it . . . But what a magnificent place. I was happy to be there.

Knowing Amanda and baby were waiting for me I rushed out and we headed to check into my hotel.

We settled into my room and I stretched out on the couch for a bit before we had to get ready for dinner.

Since my daughter was born I have been experiencing these mortality issues. I have a fear of dying and leaving my wife and daughter to fend for themselves . . . The past few weeks these feelings have intensified and as I looked up at the ceiling I began to cry . . . Now not a blubbering uncontrolled cry, but this feeling that my daughter may never know me. I am working on those feelings, but the rush I was having at that moment overwhelmed me so I called Vanilla.

Charles (aka Vanilla – Think ice ice baby) and Scott in our tri club are IM Vets. They have done most (if not all) of the NA IM races. He is who I have been bouncing my thoughts off of when it comes to my race. He and others that I will mention later helped me by simply telling me their experiences and what they have done well and badly – or over came issues they might have had in previous IM distance races. After a 15 min conversation with Vanilla – My mind was back in the right place.

Shannon (Hotrod) Roddy drove all the way down from Cincinnati to support me in my first IM. Just me. She drove all the way down to Panama City Beach JUST TO SUPPORT ME! How special I feel. She is one of my most dear friends and I love her as I do my own sisters. Shannon also played ball at NKU and holds the record for 3-pointers made in one game at I think 8?

I was looking for a good, healthy, smart place to have dinner Wednesday night. I had many choices and I went with Five Guys Hamburgers!!!!!!!!

I know – I didn’t accomplish the good, healthy, or smart goal, but I did succeed in the “One hell of a good hamburger and fried” goal!!!!!

I figured it was Wednesday and if I ate a small amount of this deliciously bad for me burger, it wouldn’t hurt me in moderation . . . Right???

It was great having dinner with Bridgett, Roddy, Scott and his Rents, as well as my precious baby girl and Amanda. Bridgett held Melaina like a pro . . . hmmmmmm ? Roddy also took a real liking to Melaina (even though she swears off kids).

Dinner was good, company was better.

I wanted to try and make this blogger party that night, but after an eight hour drive and the fact that my condo was almost in Rosemary Beach I was too pooped to make it over there. I will plan better next year.

As I laid my head down to sleep I told my wife how much I loved her and that I wasn’t sure what was going to happen Saturday, but that no matter what I loved her and was going to give it my all . . . then I literally passed out she said!



I hope it was my blogger party you missed (wouldn't want to be second or third fiddle). We had Melissa Daly there, last year's Ford Everyday Hero. She too is weight challenged. Sorry to say, she DNFd a second time. 2011 she will be back.
What did you think of the "Girl Zone"??

amybee said...

Congrats to you!

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