Today was a big day. Today was the day that I officially started my journey to Ironman and specifically Ironman Florida (IMFL) which will be 1 November 2014. That’s a long ways off but its a huge, fairly intimidating mountain that I have ahead of me. Fortunately, I won’t be climbing this mountain alone. I’ll be going with two other people (at a minimum) who I have become friends with through my triathlon training and racing. Hugo and Amanda are two of the (many) awesome people I’ve met up with the past few months and if they weren’t doing this I don’t think I’d have even considered doing this yet. I certainly wouldn’t be registered because I wouldn’t have understood what I even needed to do to guarantee myself a slot.
This little adventure started back in July though when I ran a pair of local sprint tris. It was a dawn to dusk challenge where I ran a tri in the morning and then one again at night. It was, humorously, a race series that within about 5 minutes I went from saying that I didn’t want to do to having signed up. A sign of things to come. That night, another of our group, Teresa, came over to me and told me that she’d heard I was running IMFL with Hugo. I laughed and said that was news to me. I was cajoled a bit that evening before and after the race but I just laughed it off.
The next day, I went to the IMFL site to look over the course. Its fast and flat and really about perfect for a race like this. I knew both Hugo and Amanda would do it and really how often do you get to run a race like this with someone you know, let alone two other people. I sent Hugo a note letting him know I was in. I soon found out that the race sells out in about a minute when registration opened. That’s an actual minute. So there was only one solution if we wanted to guarantee ourselves an entry into IMFL 2014 together and that was to go volunteer at IMFL 2013 together.
I will say that the entire experience of volunteer was amazing. The entire weekend deserves a write up unto itself because I was able to experience so many things this weekend. I spectated a race for the first time. I volunteered a run station. I helped one of my friends who was competing by just walking with him to the end since he was hurting. At the end of the day, a whole crew of people I have been training with this year all got to hear themselves declared Ironman.
Next year I’ll join them. Its going to be tough, for sure. But that’s going to make it worth it!