Sunday, August 19, 2007

Return The Favor

I finally volunteered at a race and LOVED it (well all except the waking up at 5am part)! I can't believe it's taken me so long to do it...embarrassing really. Volunteers have helped "push" me through many difficult moments during a race so nice to return the favor. If you haven't volunteered at a race, jes doo eeet!! One of these days, I'd like to volunteer at an ironman...I know several of you bloggers have done that (Steven / Courtney) and it sounds like a blast.

Today was definitely a day to volunteer vs. race- it was raining at the race start. While swimming / running isn't an issue in wet weather, there are several hills on the bike course that I wouldn't want to be "racing" in the rain- yikes!

I was swim support and was able to get into the kayak and manuever it into position without wacking any of the swimmers. *a small victory since I've never been in a kayak before!* I actually enjoyed kayaking and will definitely get out there again.

It was nice to get the kayak perspective on a triathlon swim wave.
My observations:
The racer leading the swim quickly put a gap on the field and extended it to around 50-75 yards? by the finish. He did this while, based on his stroke, looking as if he was in the middle of a recovery swim. His form was perfect and it didn't look like he was working hard at all yet he kept increasing his lead. Darn technique! It is so important in swimming and this guy was a poster-boy for perfect technique. I kept scanning his technique vs. the chase pack behind him and the difference was huge.

If you ever feel sorry for yourself during a triathlon, take a turn in a kayak and cover the very very back of the pack. The stragglers. Hats off to these racers and I have a newfound respect for them. THEY ARE WORKING HARD!! They ran the whole gamut from breaststroking, doing the sidestroke/head out of water thing, backstroke, and freestyle thrashing/hyperventilating and stopping every 15-20 yrds to catch a breath swimmers. The constant among this hardy bunch, regardless of how they went about moving forward, was that they kept going! Pretty darn inspiring when I'm sure it was a victory for some of them to even finish the swim.

As the last of the bunch was headed in, I spotted a gal having trouble about 30-40 yards from the finish. I stroked over to her and she was in tears...poor thing. I told her to grab the side of my kayak and catch her breath. She started rambling about being seasick and forgetting her dramamine....all the while, continuing to get sick / vomiting...she kept apologizing, "Please forgive me", which struck me as strange since she had nothing to be sorry about. Pretty soon she was on her way and it was cool to see her step up on the boat dock and jog to transition. I spoke to another kayaker who said the poor gal was pretty much stopping and getting sick around the whole 1.2mile loop. Positive vibes out to her...hope she had a good end to her race!

After the volunteer stint, I put on my suit and met two racers that are also doing IMC for a swim around the buoy line. We did a solid 53'ish minute swim. I followed that up with a 5 mile run when I got home. Training..check. Lunch..check. Hot cup of fresh coffee while relaxing...CHECK!! ;-)

Is this guy speaking the truth or what!? ;-)

Hope your weekend is going well...thanks for stopping by.



Blogger said...

As a back of the pack in all parts of my TRI, I appreciate your post! Ok, and a little worried they let anyone out there to save us drowning fools. :}
I have done much volunteering either - just can't find the time. Based on your post, I know I need to find the time.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

One week, buddy. One week.

Relax well, see you in a few days, and lets ROCK THAT COURSE at IMC.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Hey mate. I've been reading your blog for a while now from all the way on the other side of the world in Australia. Good luck with IMC and try to relax about the stomach issues. There's nothing that you change now or worrying will fix so just try to deal with it if it occurs on the day. And remember to enjoy it out there. If you get stressed just take a breath and look around and remember where you've come from.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Ben- thanks mate! You're right about relaxing- i'm definitely working on it!

9:57 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Way to volunteer! I did so as well this weekend and learned that it's hard work. Almost harder than training if not more so! Having the vantage point from the kayak must have been fun.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

I was thinking Amy's thougt too. You with no kayak experience on the swim course, seems to have worked out just fine. Volunteering is a good thing. It's cool that you siezed the opportunity.

The time is getting shorter. Go out and bring the IMC into submission.

11:59 PM  
Blogger Crash said...

Good luck to you Mike at IMC - crush it.

12:30 PM  
Blogger jgirl said...

Cheering you on Mike! ~j

2:28 PM  
Blogger Jessi said...

Good luck Mike!! We'll be keeping an eye out for you!

8:03 PM  
Blogger Cliff Tam said...

Boo..Ironmanlive is :(

3:00 PM  
Blogger Cliff Tam said...


Just saw your stats..just finsh the bike and on to the run.

Finish strong!

3:15 PM  
Blogger Cliff Tam said...


u are 4 places behind Steven. Did u guys planned it? :)

Good job.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Congrats Ironman! Really looking forward to reading the race report!

5:43 AM  
Blogger stronger said...

Awesome time! Must have been that helmet.

7:38 AM  
Blogger Mia said...

"You know what really sucks? Man boobs."

Ha. How do I send this clip to my boyfriend? LOL

I agree that cheering/supporting other racers can feel really good...amazingly, even the 'stragglers' can be inspirational for your own race.

*Sending good vibes*

7:13 AM  

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