Tuesday, July 31, 2012

So as not to keep you, dear reader, in suspense, a short report on the Half Ironman I volunteered for a week ago.We had ten men in all that started and completed the race without any injuries other than sore muscles and lots of cramps, which is completely normal when you keep moving intensely for 7 hours or so. They are amazing, my heroes, and I got to see them at different points in the race.

We started first below in the pantano (water reservoir) called Canales. They warmed up. lined up the HONK, the horn sounded and they were off. Beautifully off. It was like a piece of art. As they swam, we walked up a STEEP hill (where last year I felt like I almost died and realized I was too fat and started training much more in earnest) and stopped to take various pictures. Then the guys finished the run and started to walk up. We took a few pictures. This one is Juli, our team trainer as he runs up in 5th place after completing the 2.5 km swim.

Below is a video of the whole race as they take off from the finish line.

Then we went up to watch them do the transition. There they put on their shoes and helmets, grabbed their bikes and went off to the do the 90 km cycle. There was an accident, quite serious along the way, but fortunately our guys completed the ride without a problem.

Liz and I went and watched the guys come up the Purche, a very steep hill, one of two that they had to do before making it up the other steep part to the village where they would transition again, taking off bikes and helmets and clipless shoes in exchange for running shoes and usually hats.

But before we could see the guys make it to the village, we dashed up the mountain in the ski lifts to the highest part of the race, about 2600 meters, or close to 9000 feet above sea level.

The four men, decided that together they would do the race. They waited for each other at key points, and encouraged each other. Several times they had to stop and get off the bikes and massage out cramps or stretch out the tired legs. Dani, Iker, Nacho and Jesus are my heroes.

Gerard finished strong, with a constant smile.

And Manu, finished 6th in the general rice, 1st in the bike. He is a machine.

Liz and I didn't see them finish, but we saw them at one of the worst points, after having run uphill almost 14 km. They could barely speak, but there we were, cheering loudly and handing out a cup of water.

I don't know if I'll do the volunteer thing again that that race, I missed seeing them finish. But isn't that life, sometimes all we can do is give a cup of cold water. Jesus talks about that, and how important it is, the small things. Since you all know I follow Jesus, I hope that through my life and writing, I can give you a cup of cold water. Sometimes, that's all we can do, and sometimes we miss the glorious finish, but we are supposed to be part of the encouragement along the way.

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