Ironmen and Ironkids

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We’ve been in Whistler since Tuesday, getting ready for the Husband’s big day tomorrow. If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, you’d be excused for thinking I was doing the Ironman tomorrow…forgive me if so. It’s just been really exciting watching the race come together. Ironman is a much bigger ‘event’ than other races we’ve been to – the branding is spectacular. As the week has gone on, the town has become fuller and fuller with sleek, muscly,honed bodies and their families. People flit about on uber-expensive tri-bikes with time-trial helmets. The running trails are full of hard-as-nails runners and the lakes are full of wet-suit clad swimmers.

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It’s also been fun watching the infrastructure team put the event together. We’ve watched tents go up on the Olympic Plaza. We’ve seen the two transition areas be put together – we even helped with T1. We’d gone to visit Alta Lake, the swim location, and found the crew desperately trying to get their lorry under a wooden archway into the car park. All passers-by were roped into standing on the flatbed and bouncing on it, until a forklift saved the day and the lorry passed through.

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There’s even a dog on there somewhere
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T2 – bike to run transition

We had great plans for our time in Whistler – they involved mountain hiking, zip lining etc – but the weather wasn’t good for the first few days, so any trips into the mountains had to be put on hold. We still haven’t been up, hoping to go up on Monday after the race. Instead we played mini golf, got the Dude a bike and walked the hiking trails.

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The Dude on his bike ‘Bearhunter’

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However there were IronThings to attend to. The Husband checked in on Thursday and got his backpack. The Dude signed up for the IronKids run and got HIS backpack. We met up with some Instagram people and met other people and went out for lunch.

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Got the backpacks…they have to do this now, I guess

We drove the 112 mile bike course in the pouring rain. It’s brutal. I love cycling but I have no desire to cycle this.

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One of the flatter sections

There was an official Welcoming Ceremony which we went to. It was deeply moving. First, the girl singing ‘Oh Canada’ got so choked up she stopped singing and the crowd carried on for her. (Tears). Then they showed some amazing motivational IronMan videos. (Tears). Then they got up a guy who has just fought off cancer and IronMan Canada has been his motivation to heal. (Tears). Then they brought on a 60 year old lady who qualified for Kona last year as an able bodied person despite having an amputated leg. They showed photos of her on the marathon course as the screws loosened on her prosthesis and her back went into spasms for 20 miles of the marathon and then showed photos of her at the end. (Big, juicy sobs). I was an emotional wreck at the end.

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Oh Canada

I did get some runs in. On Wednesday, it was Doubles Day in preparation for next week’s Colorado relay! I ran 7 miles round a moody Alta Lake in the morning and, as I ran along the road for a stretch, I saw a bear cross the road ahead of me and disappear into the undergrowth. That evening, I ran 6 miles round the beautiful, paved Valley Trail and once again saw a bear crossing the road ahead of me. This time the bear lingered a while (there were people around so it wasn’t scary) but the Dude had been fiddling with my phone that day and I couldn’t find the camera in time to get a photo. This is my best bear photo to date. I am hoping for a better one before I leave.

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Please note the furry black ears

Seeing bears is scary, exciting and not scary all at the same time. Scary because they’re wild animals who could kill me. Exciting because BEARS!!! And not scary because Whistler bears are very used to people and just ignore us. But it’s kind of cool.

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Alta Lake on a misty morning

Today, Saturday, was a big event for the Dude as it was the IronKid race. You got the choice of 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile or 1 mile for the older kids. In the end, we followed the kids in front and ran 0.7 miles. It was kind of crazy at the start line and hard to understand what was going on, so I ended up running with him. He paced himself well, dodged the littler kids at the start and ended up running the whole thing. The kids race finished by running down the finishing chute for the Ironman and under the arch – that was pretty cool. I tried to interview the Dude for a proper race report but his monosyllabic answers didn’t lend themselves to blogging. He was very proud of himself, and we were pretty proud too.

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The craziness of the start line
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Someone got to wear Mummy’s Garmin
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On the run
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Low-Fiving the volunteers
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Deep in the pain cave (Just kidding, but he flagged a little in the middle stretch)
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Finishing chute
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Pretty happy with his race. Cracking medal as well!

Later today, I went out for an 8 mile stroller run whilst the Husband racked his bike and left his bike bag at Alta Lake for T1 and left his run bag at T2. We ran part of the run course along to beautiful BEAUTIFUL Green Lake and watched a sea plane take off which was cool. Monday’s stroller run had been pretty effortless but today’s was a bit rough and was a total death march for the final three miles. Oh well.

Seaplane on Green Lake
Seaplane on Green Lake

The Husband is feeling ready. He’s much calmer than I would be (at least outwardly) and just wants to do this now!!

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Totally gratuitous family photo

And that’s it really. Probably when you read this, the Husband will be swimming. He’s hoping to finish the race in anything from 14 1/2 hours to 16 1/2 hours. Whilst he can estimate the swim and the bike, he can’t really estimate the run as he doesn’t know he’ll feel. His number is 1641 if you want to track him via the IronMan website’s live coverage. I’ll be tweeting during the race anyway. We’ve got our spectating plan, we’ve done our ‘motivational’ signs along with the Dude’s totally random illustrations – he drew a roof garden on a sign saying ‘Battle Mode’ for example. We’re all ready to do this.

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So many bags needed for an Ironman

Many of you have sent messages of support for him – we are so grateful. Thank you, lovely people, you are so kind. And good luck to all of you running the SF Marathon and Half-Marathons tomorrow/today too!!!

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My favourite sign around town

14 Comments Add yours

  1. dlubi says:

    Best of luck to your iron-family! Sounds like an amazing trip! Enjoy the adventure tomorrow & I’ll be sending many cheers your way all day!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thank you!!! I’ve been thinking of you and how big a deal this whole IronThing is. You’re all CRAZY and incredible as well.

  2. SusieM says:

    Very good luck to your IronHusband today! Hope the weather is kind. Look forward to reading about how he gets on. Your photos are making me want to visit Canada. Love the Dude’s expression in the family photo, is that his bear-scaring face?

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thank you for the good wishes. The weather is set to be fine – maybe a little hotter than he would like, but bearable. Canada is amazing – really beautiful! And yes, that’s his bear-scaring face. He’ll be delighted you understood it!

  3. Grace says:

    Good luck to the husband today!! The Dude’s IronKids run is super cute…how old is he now? Lots of local races are now doing an additional kids’ run, so the little ones can run before/ after Mum or Dad finishes. Which is chaos, but just about the cutest thing ever. I wish those had been around when I was a kid, and I hope it results in a new generation of runners!

    And if you think that’s a lot of drop bags for an Ironman, you ain’t seen ultrarunner drop bags… 🙂

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thank you for the good wishes for the Husband. He was super excited this morning! The Dude is 4 2/3 (to be precise). He’s done a couple of kids races but this was the biggest and longest, so he was pretty chuffed with himself. I do think that these races, along with junior parkrun type things, will encourage a new generation of runners.

      Yeah, I can only imagine the drop bags for an ultra!!

  4. Sherry says:

    Best of luck to your husband for his Ironman!
    And congratulations to your IronKid – well done Dude!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thank you on both counts! He’s just headed out into the darkness. Yeah, I cried 🙂

  5. Good luck to your hubby. Looks like he is trekking right along! Sounds like you all are having a blast. Enjoy. Congrats to the IronDude!

  6. Angela says:

    Gorgeous!! Love the IronKid pics — the facial expressions say it all.

    I am tracking away & so excited for you guys!!

  7. Cathryn says:

    Thank you! It is VERY exciting!! Congrats on your race today too x

  8. Jen says:

    Sorry to be so late to the party, but just wanted to say that I loved all of the photos, and especially the ones of the Dude racing. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thanks. They’re funny, aren’t they.

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