|Matching Medals |
commemorate our special day
|At last year's race|
|Packet Pick-Up on Friday|
Before we knew it, it was race week. We flew into Orlando late Wednesday night and promptly went to sleep. Our biggest concern was if the bike would arrive intact, so we didn't make any plans for Thursday or Friday in case putting it back together took longer or if he had to make alternate arrangements for the race. Thankfully the box arrived unharmed as did the bike. He spent Thursday putting it together and fine tuning it, then we headed to Clermont Friday to pick up packets and rack his bike. Now the concerns turned to the water temperature of the lake and if the swim would be wetsuit legal. Signs were not good as the temps were in the low 80s, but by some miracle strong winds cooled down the lake for a 76º reading on race morning.
We woke up way too early at 4 am, ate breakfast and were on the road by 5 am. There wasn't too much for him to setup, but we wanted a good parking spot so I could easily go back and forth to the car throughout the day. He got body marked, set up transition, then we heard the good news about the water temp and he got downright giddy. I knew I'd have plenty of time to watch him finish the swim and then get ready for my race, so I just focused on easing his nerves and capturing the moment.
|After Swim Lap 1|
While I waited for him to finish the 2nd lap, Chris showed up. We got caught up on running group and he shared his recent ironman spectating experience. It was nice having someone who had been through this keeping me company. Before long, Jason was out of the water and I was screaming like a crazy groupie, leaping off the pier and sprinting to try to catch a shot of the strippers getting off his wetsuit and him running in his tiny speedo. I failed miserably, but the race photographers delivered! While he was in the changing tent, Chris reminded me that I still had many more hours of spectating and my own race to run so I should take it easy on the sprinting lol
The Bike / My 15K
I saw him head out on the bike and then was able to focus a bit on my own race. As I was told later, I was really scattered. Knowing that I was going to miss him finishing the first lap of the bike because I would just be starting my 15K, I kept telling everyone who was there to spectate (Shannon, Stephanie's boyfriend Steve and his parents) that they could watch me start but then rush over to the bike special needs area because he would be coming in shortly after. I sounded like a broken record as I kept saying it to anyone who would listen. I really wanted to make sure he had someone there to cheer him on and capture the moment when I couldn't. I am so grateful so many were there.
|Sole Mates Galloway Group|
|All smiles after lap 2 from our cheers|
|Some of our signs|
The run is 3 loops with 2 out and backs, so we got to see him 6 times. I love that because I could see him perk up and quicken his step just a little bit every time he saw us and our ridiculous signs. Sometime during the first lap, we are guessing around mile 3, he texted: "Ugh I got nothing. I'm doing 1 and 2s right now" Again, I texted back words of support and encouragement and then rallied Facebook to start posting funny motivational comments to keep his mind off the pain. And boy did they deliver! Thanks so much to everyone who contributed. It kept us entertained too!
I had some time to catch up with Laura between laps, and Sean was great at tracking where he was and how long we had before we'd see him again so we could time our trips to the car, go find food and use the restroom. Sometime during the 2nd loop, Jason texted again about his calves cramping up and he said "This sucks." I told him, "Yeah well it's an ironman. No one said it would be fun :)" That seemed to make him laugh and help him dig deep. Sean and I were worried about him, so we walked a little further to see him sooner, but when he came through he was running with someone else and looking much better, so we just let him be.
|Finish Line - Look at the smile!|
After the Race
I met him behind the finishing shoot after he got his medal and gave him a hug and kiss. He was limping, but wasn't really hurt. He was just done, but still smiling. God how I love that smile :) The rest is a bit of a blur, but I'll do my best. We kept offering him a seat, but he wasn't sure that was a good idea. We joked that he could lay down on the ground, so he did and pretended he had passed out.
I never thought this day would come, but it was absolutely perfect and worth the wait. It felt so organic. I am really glad I did the 15K so we have these matching medals as our engagement bling, and because I was able to experience a little bit of the pain he suffered during those grueling 14 hours. I am so touched that he chose to share the spotlight of his greatest achievement with me by proposing. I was absolutely perfect. He is the most selfless person I know, and I am the luckiest girl for having him.
When he finished the race, he said he never wanted to do that again and that it would be a while before he swam, biked or ran again. We all knew he was lying. He was fine and walking normal within 2 days. He biked to work yesterday and is already considering the next one. It's not a matter of if, but when because the training is a big commitment and he wants to enjoying exercise without giving up his life, but I know it's only a matter of time before he gives it another try. So stay tuned! :)
PS - I am sure there are many questions about the engagement/wedding, and I'll try to post more about that later. For now, let's celebrate Jason's incredible accomplishment.