October 2, 2013

Pilgrimage to Ironman Florida

Okay - this adventure is not ALL about how to become a yachtie. That part just took over the beginning of Florida for us. But luckily, we had family force us into an impromptu road trip because....

My brother-in-law Ryan is a pro Ironman triathlete. 

What?! Yeah, I know. He’s crazy. And until now, we’ve never had the opportunity to see him race in person. So when we found out that he was competing in Ironman Florida - a mere 12 hour drive around the gulf.... what were we to do?

We haven’t been on a road trip since our little jaunt around the Pacific North West when we sold our house. We were due for another.

And - in a scene straight out of Friday Night Lights (Clear Eyes, Full Hearts!) we came across a High School Football game. Guys, there were lights. There were cheerleaders. There was a f*cking MARCHING BAND!!! I was clearly overexcited about the prospect of sitting down for the remainder of the game and soaking in the Cross City Super Bowl.

But with an early race start looming and many hours left to drive, Juliano’s logic won out over my pee-my-pants-intense excitement. Damn him.

Ironman spectating should be a sport in itself. Seriously, it’s hectic. My sister-in-law Lauren is the race-watching guru. Ryan raced for 8hrs 45mins, and we saw him 6 times. Running into the water, out of the water, transitioning, running past, transitioning, biking past, finishing. 

You can read Ryan’s account of the race here; he talks jibberish about electrolytes and bike wattage. He came in 15th overall which is pretty badass of him.

As a person who’s neither athletic, nor competitive - I find competition at this level hard to relate to. This dedication to pushing and training to shave minutes off your time and beat just one more person through the gates is admirable. But for those of us that think walking across a parking lot is a hardship - doing anything for nine hours is insanity. 

Ironman has a cutoff time of 17hours. SEVENTEEN HOURS! You can deliver a baby in less time than that. It’s probably more pleasant. Knowing it was our first Ironman experience, Ryan and Lauren brought us back to the race for the end of the line finishers. The people who complete the race in the last hour have no business running an Ironman. They are not elite athletes, they don’t have top of the line gear or sponsors. But holy shit do they have some spirit. 

If you pass the finish line the announcers shout out ‘YourName, you are an Ironman!’. It’s a cool moment and a very clear goal for many of these end finishers. It was heart warming to watch people brutalize their bodies and overcome their physical boundaries to achieve these immense goals. I’m in awe of what people can do when they put their minds to it. 

Congrats Ryan on a great race - and thank you for letting us into your world!

Side note: Ryan is cooler than I give him credit for. If you want to check him out here’s his Blog, Facebook and Twitter. 


  1. Wow I have goosebumps! What an incredible accomplishment!

  2. Replies
    1. Ha ha... thanks for the encouragement - but alas... we'll never know.

  3. Hahahah cannot stop laughing at Ryan's day vs. Juliano's day!!

  4. Ryan rocks! But I do prefer Juliano's day! Love, Mama


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