George Raihala (#1464) finished in 12:36:46, beating his time last year by five minutes. He was a bit disappointed as he wanted to do a sub-12-hour race, but a personal record is a personal record.
Kris Armstrong (#1742), the husband of my Ironmate friend Rose, finished in 13:57:13, which was a good bit slower than he expected. I suspect sunny and warm race-day conditions made times slower. I was hot, and all I did was watch.
Daryl Petsch (#1908), a nice guy George and I met in line to register for next year's race, did not finish. He had an awesome swim, coming out of the water in just over 1:14 (faster than George), but something happened on the bike ride. I sure hope he's okay.
Mary Boyce (#2552), sister of Albert Boyce (whose coffee I'll be reviewing next week), finished in 12:55:35. She probably won't remember, but I spotted her at the start of the marathon and yelled, "Way to go, Mary!" She was looking good, too.
Keith Grimes (#986), George's boss and first-time Ironman racer, didn't finish. On the bike, he popped a salt pill, which landed too far back in his throat and caused him to throw up. That set up a bad cycle of drinking, throwing up, drinking, throwing up, cramping, walking, throwing up, drinking, and so on. His wife rescued him around mile nine of the marathon. Such a disappointment.
Steve Simmerman (#416), the husband of Elizabeth (one of my kind readers), had a great race and finished in 11:49:06.
So many of you really got into this race, and I appreciate every comment you left here or on Facebook or in an email. Here are two I want to acknowledge in particular.
To reader Robin, whose husband Brent was hit by a truck on a bike-ride to work: I hope Brent is cleared to ride soon and recovers fully from his injuries. Keep us posted, please!
To reader Shannon, whose husband was recently laid off from his work: cyber-hugs to you both. May something even better come along very, very soon.
Now, on to my favorite pictures that highlight our trip to Madison.
George programs his Polar heart-rate monitor to countdown to his Ironman races.
Madison's capitol building is very photogenic, especially against beautiful blue sky.
Mary and Keith Grimes were great fun.
The calm before the storm...this was taken around 5:00 on race morning from the bridge over the parking lot at Minona Terrace.
George and Keith about to head out on the morning of the race.
This spiral ramp on the parking garage is a great place to view the start...assuming you stake out your spot early. The racers have to run up the helix to get to the bike transition area. Harsh.
Athletes getting in the water to start the swim.
Sunrise over the water, slowly filling with 2,400 athletes.
The mass start. It's like watching salmon spawn.
Drew's fist raised, cheering on the swimmers. Drew was just a nice guy Mary and I met while watching the start. He's finished three Ironman races and was having fun taking pictures of this one.
George, after just completing the 112-mile bike ride, starting his marathon. Looks happy, doesn't he?
Mary and I wrote messages for our husbands on State Street. George's call sign in the Air Force was Spot. I don't know who Tina P. is, but I hope she had a great race!
These volunteers are in a snaking line to "catch" athletes as they cross the finish line and give them their t-shirts, medals, and hats. Some finishers promptly collapse, so these volunteers are vitally important for safety and judging who needs to go straight to the medical tent.
Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman. He's amazing. He starts before the swim and goes until midnight. In addition to general announcing and rousing the crowd, he calls the name of each finisher, says where they are from and if they're a repeat Ironman, and then says, "You are an Ironman!" He's as enthusiastic announcing the winner as he is announcing the last finisher about 7.5 hours later. This year, over 2,100 people finished. It's amazing he can even squeak by midnight.
These girls were part of a big team for a racer and graciously allowed me to photograph them. Their shirts say what all us families and friends of Ironmen are thinking.
This is the shot of George's approach to the finish line. You try shooting a target that just wants to cross a line a few yards ahead. In the dark.
The happy finisher.
361 days to next year's IM Moo. Already counting down.