She is an Ironman!

Saturday in Louisville. Sunday in Louisville. Today in Louisville and then back in the car. But yesterday, let me tell you about yesterday.

A person doesn’t enter into endurance racing lightly. Well, sure, we were at an Italian restaurant several years ago and decided we’d try some triathlons. But there are different lengths. And you train differently for all of them. Some of them require more time. And you don’t enter into that kind of commitment lightly.

The Yankee ran under a banner last night that she’s been working for for over six months.

Along the way, there has been a marathon and a national championship in the Olympic distance and some smaller tuneup races and hours and hours and hours and hours of training. You don’t enter into these things lightly.

These events, these long, physically and mentally grueling events are achievable, but they take a person doing the work. And then doing some more. They take time to figure out. How will your body react in the heat? How will your guy feel with this fuel or that fuel? You have to learn about what your body is really telling you, how to listen to it and when to ignore it. You put some things on hold and you hit some benchmarks that you wouldn’t have previously considered. You keep doing that until some of those achievements almost become a matter of course. And then you wind down in preparation of the big day.

And on the big day you wake up very early. You’ve lugged all of your stuff down to the starting area, you wiggle into your swimsuit and put your cap on and you wait for your part of the race to start. And when that happens, you swim. At this distance that’s a 2.4-mile swim, this time in the Ohio River. You climb out of the river and run up the ramp and get peeled out of your swimsuit. You throw on your helmet, your bike shoes and set out on a 112-mile ride. There’s wind and rain and dogs and hills and you come in off that ride, which is no small thing on a bike, and then you take off your helmet and change shoes. And then you set out for a 26.2-mile run.

And you smile a lot.

That’s The Yankee’s experience. She had a great race. I saw her all of those times and jogged alongside her for a few moments. I caught up to her again halfway through the run and gave her a great big hug and a kiss. She was in great shape, so it was just down to wait at the finish line, for her and two of her friends.

And speaking of the finish line, this is what some people did when they got there:

Even if you aren’t interested in doing these yourself, you should go and watch the finish line sometime. The energy is palpable, and incredible. And you’ll see there a lot of friends and family looking like this:

None of them entered into this lightly, but many of them felt light on their feet when they finished. It was later, and today, and for the next several days, when they’ll feel the extent of such an impressive accomplishment.

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