Here he is just catching sight of four women screaming his name.
Here's the smile he mustered for the camera. Good thing I caught it, even if I did almost chop his head off. You try shooting a moving target with a Nikon Coolpix.
The smile went away quickly. He's tired, poor guy. He's just gone 114.4 miles. He's entitled to be tired.
The volunteers had smeared George with sunscreen, and as he ran away from me (up the dang hill!), I noticed he had lots of salt on his black tri-suited butt. I hope he heard me yell "Take SALT!"
A few amusing observations:
1. After a small group of runners passed out of T2 and couldn't hear me, I muttered, "You all still have a marathon to run. You guys are CRAZY!" A woman passing by on the sidewalk replied, "Amen, sister!"
2. If you can't find someone to talk to among IM spectators, you're seriously introverted. Everyone wants to talk, meet and greet, share information on their racer. On Friday, I met Rose, who teaches children with autism and sings professionally. Mary and I ran into her today and spent a few hours waiting for the guys out of T2, along with Rose's friend Kaarina. Put four women together with ripped dudes in sports gear running past, and you've got a recipe for a good time. All we needed was pina coladas, 'cause it was hot. Here's a pic of Rose and Kaarina:
Don't they look friendly? I tell you, I'm just lovin' everyone in Madison today.
3. It's hot. Africa hot. (Name that movie....) Okay, so it's not exactly Africa hot, but it's 82 and sunny. You try doing 140.6 miles in this heat. Just spectating is hot and sweaty work. Ten days ago, NOAA was predicting a high of 64 degrees. They lie. They lie like a bad rug. Oh, for a 64-degree race day!
4. I'll say it again. Ironman athletes are crazy. Insane. Mad. Loony. Nuts. And I love them all. Kaarina's boyfriend, Rich, had just passed through T2 to start his marathon a few minutes before the winner of the whole dang race finished. It's gonna be a long marathon for some folks.
5. This observation is not so amusing. Guys are already DNF-ing. We saw a racer whose race was over around 1:30. Ouch. Another racer came out of the medical tent as we passed who'd clearly been in a bad bike wreck: broken arm and hand, horrible road rash. George has DNF'ed twice and no two ways about it: it sucks. Men and women train hard for the better part of a year, spend gobs of money on gear and travel and registration fees, and sometimes, the outcome isn't what they hoped. Pray for them, please.
More when the race is done!
PS Several people have asked questions about the race. I'll try to answer them all in another post. In case you hadn't noticed, I am hugely impressed by these crazy athletes, and it's more than a little amazing that so many finish this grueling race. I'll share George's training schedule and other Ironman trivia soon. Stay posted!