Been home for eight hours from Panama City, a trip originally planned to take an extra day. Quality time with my wife (in spite of the previous week in Dubai) comes few & far between.
We talked about going to Ironman Florida as spectators. As most participants will tell you (once the DOMS fades) it's nothing like the telecasts on Versus or NBC...in many ways it's better, in my humble opinion. I'll have a couple of (phone camera) photos posted in the next day or so, fleeting glimpses of things I saw during the first six hours of the day. I did not take any shots of the run or the finishers because of my (poor) vantage point in the finishing chute, however.I volunteered to work a three-hour shift at the finish line, handing out bottles of water to finishers, but was placed a little further down the finish chute, to help hand out finisher shirts and hats. Let me tell you, the range of emotions displayed by nearly all of the finishers (not just first-timers) ran the gamut of shock & numbness to emotional overflow. Who would have thought a man would weep like a seven-year-old child at finishing under ten hours?
No, I truly enjoyed seeing & experiencing...& being a part of the experience...over two thousand brave souls test themselves against the Gulf of Mexico, the roads of Bay County, & the streets of Panama City Beach. Of course, there wasn't the heat, hills & winds of Kona, but for many, this was as good as it got.
And, as my wife knew, I was stoked to be there, & be a small part of the equation. I knew I had to become, somehow (as Faris Al-Sultan said), part of the family. Which, outside of the $500 entry fee, meant a year (technically a year & six days) of commitment to a goal.
Well, the decision was 90-percent made before I left the house on Friday afternoon, but I made certain Suzanne completely bought in to the ideal & the plan. I did have a 30-second moment of what am I thinking? the minute before I provided my information...& a 30-second moment the minute after.
My friend Steven stepped out of the tent about three minutes after I had my confirmation sheet. 'I guess there's no turning back now, is there?' I asked.
So, like watching a tropical storm on the radar screen you know is going to put you into the hurt locker soon enough...and soon enough for Steven, myself, & another 2,000 of us...is coming on November 7, 2009.
Bring it on. Well, maybe that's not such a wise statement, given the track record of it's previous speaker. :)