Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Ironman is this Sunday! Jason has started his version of tapering, which really isn't tapering at all, but it isn't training either. During his final days up to an event, he still runs 10 or more miles each morning, and will bike and swim a little too, just to keep things loose.
So what is my role in all of this? Well, while he is training I try to keep him well fed (I calculated out what his caloric intake should be for 2+ hours of training a day and it is close to 5000 daily), well hydrated, and I even massage feet, calves, hamstrings, etc. as needed. (Yes, I totally rock as a wife and yes, that is my goal.) But I have very important responsibilities during the event itself too.
If you have ever participated in an endurance event you know what it means to see your peeps along the way. To hear your name called out, to see people who love you cheering for you, spurring you on... it really does help performance! For Jason's first Ironman we (me, his family and mine) were all new to this event and so I planned where I'd be when based on his finish time predictions and I wore my most comfortable running outfit because it was going to be hot and I was going to be on the move. I even made signs and stopped by a face-painting booth during the event to have the Ironman insignia painted on my arm. Even with all of that, however, I learned a lot that year like don't believe Jason when he says he will be slow, always show up an hour before he says he will, and real hardcore supporters should wear fun, supportive apparel.
So the next year I planned a little better. I got best case scenarios for each event within the Ironman so I'd always be at the transition area or someplace to see him well before he got there. (The first year I missed his running start and I hated that). I also knew I wanted a fun, bright shirt for Jason to see when he approached a spectator area. I looked at all kinds online and then decided I'd just make my own. I purchased a bright pink Underarmor shirt - the ones that feel like cotton but aren't - and I ironed on some letters and hearts.
After the event, Jason said it was easy to spot me in a crowd and it meant a lot to him to always be able to see me. I would gladly wear this shirt to every Ironman but this year...it would be more of a mid-drift. So, as any hardcore Ironwife would, I made another one.
Yes, I realize I am not the most creative or imaginative when it comes to making shirts (or anything crafty for that matter), but I did the best with what skill I had...and iron-on letters and hearts (compliments of Michael's). I bought a size large Underarmor shirt this time and unknowingly chose the Ironman color for this particular event. Green is one of mine and Jason's favorite colors and I wanted to once again be bright and easily spotted in a crowd.
I do not have to rely on my own green-shirted self, however. Since my parents are tagging along to keep me company as I cheer for Jason, they also are the beneficiaries of my craftiness (lucky them!).
Oh yes! My creativity knows no bounds! I found our three green Underarmor shirts at Dick's Sporting Goods (same place I bought my pink one last year), and because they are a lot like cotton, the iron-on letters work great, even after washing (which they will need after a day of Ironman spectating). I told Jason he can now search for a big green blob in the crowd and it will be US! The Fan Club!
But that's not all. My last effort for ultimate Ironwife support was to add a bit more green to my person by way of toenails.
And while I will be wearing tennis shoes and socks during the event, I will know my toes are green and Jason will know my toes are green and somehow that seems like it will help. I told him this very morning not to worry about the 55 degree water in which he will be swimming... my toenails are green and everything will be fine! (He isn't quite sure of my logic on this one, but you girls know it to be true.)
So there you have it! Now all that is left is to get ourselves there, make sure his bike is in working order (I have very little role in that part), get the camera battery fully charged and get our best cheering voices tuned up and ready. It is time for the Ironman!