So here is my Parent/Spectator Report for my blog friends who will get it.
First off - I am exhausted. Some of it is from not sleeping well the 3 nights I was there but I truly think some of it is from a very emotional day. I didn't have to work today and I did not bike or run although I had time. I just had a lazy me day. Poor Emily had to work as did my husband and son and the Rocketship! I feel guilty.
IMLP was a day full of ups and downs. Mostly ups but yes the downs were there. I am still teary at so many different things. I am sure I am going to skip all over the place as I write this. I'm going to try to separate out the start/swim/bike/run/finish and hope I put all I want to say. If you ever have a chance to go see someone in an Ironman DO IT! It was amazing.
Team Halnon is ready for the day!
Everyone was up early and we got to the race seamlessly by around 5:30. Emily got marked and then went to take care of her special needs bags. We saw her brother right away but it took awhile to find her dad. My phone chose this day to basically die but the cell service was lousy - even with lots of bars - and my husband doesn't text. But all worked out. We found each other and had time to do some team bonding before the start.
Look at that expression. Does this girl not
know what she is going to do today?
J sending out the first of many tweets
Almost time - still that same expression!
Our two great kids!
The SwimI had heard more about the swim start than anything else and you know what? I don't know where Emily started. There were many people up front near the flags. There were people way back near the shore. And there was a large group over on the side. From listening to Em talk with some of her friends earlier I think she may have been on the side.
Heading into the swim
Still excited! This is the first of many pictures
I took where Em is on the side. I decided
it was more important for Emily to hear and see
us cheering than for me to get good pictures.
Before the start
She was off and we had some time to wait. She estimated 35 - 40 minutes a loop. Jameson went and got in the water to take some pics as she crossed the dock and took off on her second loop. I had a great time talking to a couple women I was sitting near. One woman's boyfriend was doing this for his 11th time and was trying to qualify for Kona. The woman on my other side's husband was 57 was doing it for his first time. There was definitely a spirit of camaraderie all day amongst the spectators, not just the athletes. Em was out in 35 minutes and off for her second loop. We headed to find a spot to see her transition to the bike. Jameson stood on a bank to tell us when she was coming so we could yell and cheer for her and
get make a poor attempt to get pictures.
She's off to the far right. I think even with my lousy
photography you can see she is still smiling. She did an
awesome job on the swim. It was a long transition to get to
Being the awesome spectators we were being we now made it over the the bike transition. We did catch her coming down the hill out of transition but it was crowded there. I didn't think she saw/heard us but she did.
She is on the far left blue top. All day we kept thinking
about what she was wearing. Always thought the women
wearing hot pink would be her on the bike.
Now the support team had some serious wait time as Em headed off to ride her first loop. Estimate from 3:15 - 3:45.
First order of business - breakfast and coffee. I had had none of either! Talk about putting my children first! We hit a buffet, nothing special. Then wasted time, tried to nap - little or no success.
This is what one Iron Parent did during the first bike loop.
I drank more coffee and read. Then we headed back in plenty of time to see her go by. J was again up high trying to tell us when she would be coming. We saw lots of major eating as the bikers went by us here. We saw one woman drop her whole sandwich and hoped that didn't mess up her whole nutritional plan!
Here she comes, I think it took her around 3:30.
Then of course what to do during the second bike loop? Too wired to accomplish anything. Too tired to be productive. Spent some time drinking more coffee - iced as it was rather hot. Looked for a place to veg out with no success. Ate Ben and Jerry's ice cream with no discount for being a Vermonter. Then we headed back to our same spot but on the opposite side of the road. We scoped it out to make sure we could get to the transition to see her leave for the run. After the swim earlier we had to make a long walk - a very long walk -a very long hilly walk to get to the other side as there was no crossing the race course anywhere. We learned our lesson for the day. Plan ahead.
The second bike loop is when my worrying started. Many of you also follow Em and know she was very sick the week before last. This was in the back of my mind all day. She didn't come and didn't come and didn't come. The guys next to us who were cheering someone Em's age had their biker come 15 min. later than expected and it was hot. That relieved my worrying a little but not for long. But once Emily came we found out she had had a flat and that was what slowed her down. Her total bike time was 7:42 which was really in the ballpark.
Run transition looks great - yeah look again
in the picture corner. She had changed her clothes - surprised
Running is Emily's strongest area. We knew she might be tired but we thought we knew when she would be coming back. We took a break and had some water and found spots to just sit and veg. We regrouped after a bit, may have gotten something to eat. Things are beginning to run together. The run course was a loop so we started looking for Em after 1 hour and 30 minutes figuring we would be very safe. I think she had started on the run at 3:37. So 5:00 came and went. No worries yet or not too many. But another half hour went by. I am not sure how much longer went by but it seemed to be forever. Emily was running much slower than usual.
After a long wait Emily approaches us. At first
she looks fine but she isn't.
Finally finally we saw her coming but she told us she was having major GI issues and was obviously upset. She said she would finish if she had to walk the whole thing when the mother in me said she might not be able to. I didn't want her in the hospital hooked up to an IV bag or any of the many scenarios running though my head. She took off and then we all shared our distress over how she must be feeling. The guy next to us smiled at me very sympathetically also having seen Em's anguish. In what seemed like a surprisingly short time she was going back out for her second loop.
She looked better but said nothing as she
I COULD NOT IMAGINE THAT SHE WAS GOING TO BE ABLE TO RUN ANOTHER HALF MARATHON IN ANY MANNER.
So now we needed to wait again. My stomach was in knots but she had just looked good so I was hoping against hope that her problems were over. At this point we started really concentrating on cheering on the runners that were behind her, the ones just heading out for their second loop (although there were many runners still to come in from their first loop.) The names on bibs really helped when it came to cheering. Jameson was great at being a support to people who really needed it. By this time we were seeing a lot of the same people. We saw runners in slings that must have gotten hurt on the bike - do the whole marathon! We saw people walking oh so awkwardly and painfully - do the whole marathon! People are amazing with their grit and determination. The "I have a goal and I am going to meet it attitude." These athletes were Ironmen!
Again Emily doesn't come. I get to the point where I can't distract myself by cheering for others. Where is she? I walk down the road we are cheering on until I get to the corner and go around it. I stay there for a bit and do some more cheering but always looking down the road for my daughter. She's not coming. So I go down this road (a very steep hill everyone is struggling on - there are very few people running at all) to the next corner. No Emily. I decide I am walking this whole !@#$%^ course until I see my daughter and know she is okay. I desperately need to use the bathroom though. I am about to describe Emily to a volunteer so they can tell me if she goes by while I am in the Portalet when she comes - running - around the corner. I can't tell you how I felt. There is my girl, she is smiling and okay. I start screaming. I jump in beside her - need to pee completely forgotten - and run with her. She tells me to slow down - Emily telling me to slow down is a once in a lifetime experience believe me! I jabber away and then think maybe she is finding it annoying. I am just so happy to see her and be with her and know she is okay! She tells me it is fine and even talks with me. She informs me she is okay but is going to walk up the hill. Then she asks me if I am wearing my running shoes. Well, no but........who cares?
We continue and finally round that !@#$%% corner we had been staring at forever. I am sure the Rocketship, her brother and father are as thrilled to see her as I was. Her father runs down and joins us. When we reach the others I tell Em I am leaving her to go to the finish but her father continues with her.
The next part is the best of this entire long post! Imagine uplifting music here.
We get as close as we can to the finish. We know she wants to be under 14 hours and it is very possible she will be. But once again we are waiting and getting nervous. But the people presently coming in were ahead of her. I could have stood there all night cheering for all of them. I cannot imagine how they were feeling as I was feeling so darn excited for them. Their own individual feelings must have been unreal.
Then................there ............she ...................was.................in.................the ..................finish................chute!
Here she comes! We are going crazy!!
She had done it! She was under 14 hours. Mike Riley would soon be announcing:" Emily Halnon You are an Ironman!"
We still needed to get to her over at the finish and believe me we did!
There were so many other stories of the day. When I went back along the course to get Emily a pizza there was a guy barely moving surrounded by 10 of his friends encouraging him every step of the way. There were people still heading out for their second loop in the dark. No one was just saying they couldn't do it. I continued to be amazed and touched by all these athletes. If you ever get a chance to support a friend at an Ironman I highly recommend it. On so many levels yesterday was just a fantastic day.
Here is a section of an article. I am crying as I read these. It was so amazing. This says what I was feeling very well.
As she spoke, Trudy Mammina stood in the sunshine along the Ironman bike route on Parkside Drive watching for David, Nicole or Trudy's brother Joseph Bencivenga, who was also competing in his first Ironman.
That's how most Ironman spectators spend the day, hoping to catch a glimpse of their loved ones on the race course, the bike and marathon legs of which pass twice through the village. Spectators stand shoulder to shoulder along the barricades, ringing cow bells and holding up signs, eyeing each approaching cyclist or runner closely to see if it's their husband, wife, mom, dad or friend.
When that familiar face turns the corner, it's the beginning of a brief, exciting and emotional exchange between the competitor and his or her family and friends.
"It brings tears to my eyes, happy tears," said Sonja Paradise, of Huntington, Long Island, as she stood with her daughters in front of the Olympic Center, scanning the passing cyclists for her husband, four-time Ironman Michael Paradise. "You want to see them, make sure they're OK, and that they have a smile on their face. That's what's most important."
As each one ran or biked by, Therese Wells described it as "an exciting moment, but also a relief."
"We want to know that they're doing OK," she said.
Just up Main Street, about a dozen supporters of first-time Ironman Dan Fay of Shamong, N.J. had just seen him on the course for the second time. His father, Bob Fay, said it was worth the wait.
"We had ten seconds, if that," Fay said. "But it was exciting. We held our signs up. We cheered him on and he saw us. It doesn't get any better than that. It's phenomenal."
Many of you follow Emily at Sweats Once A Day and will see her report when she gets it up. It will be quite different from mine and I am anxious to read it myself as there is so much I don't know about the race. After the race she and the Rocketship headed back to DC and we headed to Vermont. I told her I would call her but I don't want to call too soon. She must be so exhausted and emotionally high and spent all at the same time. Everyone but me had to work today, I don't know how! She will have some great photos up too. I don't know when she will get her report up but I do know Emily is one amazing woman!