Friday 18 May 2012

Live from Texas (Part 1)

I am sitting in row 26, seat F, on an Air Canada flight destined for Texas, in support of a fellow athlete – a woman who I just met a few months ago, at the start of her Ironman journey.  Tomorrow, I will watch as my new friend begins the longest race of her life. How will the day unfold for her? Will she survive the 4K lake swim in her new (untried) wetsuit? How will she feel after her first ever 180K-bike ride? Will her bike behave mechanically? How will she handle the heat in the unbearably hard 42K run?

Only a stubborn and determined woman would embark on a mission to compete in her first Ironman with only 5 month training. Julie, however, who was introduced to me this past January by our coach Al, is a natural athlete. A strong swimmer and marathon runner, her only weakness is that she is new to cycling.  We trained many times side by side, sharing stories and laughs during the long, dark winter months.

Last month, while in a spinning class, Julie casually remarked that her friends who were planning to come and support her in Texas had backed out. I searched her face for any sign of fear or disappointment and found none. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “she really is an Ironman in the making”.

As I drove home that night I kept thinking about Julie and her race. Who will be there for her as she crossed the finish line? Who will be there to pat her on the back, hold her up, to make sure she is okay? Most importantly, who will crack open and share a celebratory bottle of champagne? Then I made a decision: me, that’s who. I would be there to look her in the eyes and say: “I know what you just did, and it was incredible”.  Who better, I suppose, than someone who is on the same journey.

So I sit on this plane, writing, getting excited for Julie, and hoping that maybe, as a side-benefit,  I will learn a few things of my own that will help me with my Iron that is only14 weeks away.

Stay tuned….


  1. What an awesome gal pal you are. We crave more pics. mwa

  2. Carmen really is the ULTIMATE gal pal a girl could have. It was sooo great to have you here to share in the experience with me. You are going to ROCK louisville!