Monday, 3 August 2009

The Catcher...

In the spirit of Dirt Diva, whose blog I love to read, I've decided to start adding some quotes to the beginning of my posts.

"If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded." ~ Maya Angelou

So. Do you wanna know how to have a blast at a triathlon, without actually participating??? Be a finish line catcher!

I have to say, the last few days have been exhausting. First was the long drive home from the gorgeous West Coast. I literally collapsed after the drive. Well, not right away I guess. I did stop in to see my 'nesan' Esther and have a wee snippet of good ol' Jack Daniels. Then I slept for a good ten hours. Not what I normally do.

When I woke up on Saturday I continued to feel the exhaustion pulsing through my veins. I guess I did too much while I was back home - working, training and seeing family and friends. I don't regret a moment of it, but boy was I paying for it now.

I tried to go for a 4.5 hour ride on Saturday, but only managed 2.5 hours. I got home, feeling rather defeted, and went to sleep again. When Julie arrived later on (she was staying with me and competing in the race) she took one look at me and said she could see it in my eyes how tired I was.

I replied that I just needed to make it through Sunday and I would then take a day of total rest.

Sunday arrived very early...4 am to be exact. I had a 2.5 hour run to get in that day and I knew myself well enough that there was no way in heck that I'd be doing it after volunteering at the race! So I chose to get up at 4 am and head out for part of the run. Which I did in the quiet peacefulness that can only happen at 4 am on the Sunday of a holiday weekend. Or another other day at 4 am I suppose...

Anyways, after that, I drove Julie to the start line of the inaugural Ironman Calgary 70.3, bid her adieu, drove home, and got in another hour of running.

Okay, so I didn't quite make the 2.5 hour mark, but I was running out of time. I had to shower, eat, then drive into the city for my duty as 'catcher' at the race finish line that would run from 9 am to about 3 pm. Phew!

I left an hour before my shift, because I knew it would take me a while to get into town and I wasn't sure how the drive would be as part of it was on the race course. I managed to get to my spot with five minutes to spare.

After I arrived, I was happy to see Leana was volunteering. It's always nice when you know one person there who might have an inkling as to what was going to transpire! Shortly after I also saw my friend Mo, whom I hadn't seen in forever. We were all excited to be there and that we'd get to see some pros and our friends in this great event.

I'm not sure how long we were there when the lead male came running by. The cool part about where the finish line was located was that we could see the runners go by 3 times. Well, we could before they started entering our area, then it was busy busy!

I was pretty excited to see who would win, although I didn't recognize most of the names. My apologies to the pros - I'm just a simple girl though who knows only a few of the big name players. Did I mention I got my picture with Faris Al-Sultan?? Sigh...

Oh, right, back to the present. Okay, so we saw the first few male pros go by. All I can say is WOW. It truly is a gift to see such talented athletes. Then the first gal, Mirinda Carfrae zoomed by. And I'm not exaggerating when I say 'zoom'. Holy hannah that girl can run!

Soon enough the first pro was coming into the chute. I did run over to see the fellow, Tim O'Donnell run to his victory. Not long after the other pros were starting to file in. Now I should state here that it was really cool that I was in the presence of professional athletes. The thing is though...they are just like any other human. Well. Sort of. I mean, they are really gifted athletes, but the rest of them is like us. So although they were really near by, what I was more interested in was my friends and how they were doing!

Not long after the first pros came in I spotted my friend Serge going past the fence. Then Greg N went by, then Greg B, and Jaimie and so on. I really wanted to scream and hoot and holler for them rather than be part of the masses around the pro's so that's what I did! From within my little fenced area I kept my eyes peeled for everyone I knew until the age groupers started to file into the chute.

It was a little slow to start, of course, but soon enough more and more people were filing in. I was doing double duty of catching and watching the runners go by and cheering for friends I knew. At one point Dan, whom I'd just met but who is also a fellow blogger and who spotted me by my braids, said with a smile, 'Do you know everyone in this race??'

Well now, not everyone, but I knew 20 competitors from Cochrane and a whole slew of others from Calgary, not to mention Crowsnest Pass and 'Toon town! So you could say I knew a heck of a lot of people!

I loved being there in the action of the day. I loved helping people that needed to be helped and guiding the others to where they could get their water and medals. It was truly a gift to be sharing the moment with all the amazing athletes that day!

Eventually more and more of my friends were crossing the finish line. I was so honoured to be there catching them! Some needed a bit more support than others, some needed a shoulder to cry on (which meant I was crying because what good Piscean girl wouldn't be crying with her friends) and some were just happy to be across that line. It turned out to be a super hot day and the run course was not an easy one to be sure!

It would take quite a bit to name everyone who finished that I knew...and I would be mortified if I missed someone's name. So instead I will just say Congratulations to all the athletes on finishing a tough course on a hot hot day. You were all inspiring to me and I thank you for sharing your finish with me!

Like I said above, if you aren't racing then the next best place to be is volunteering, especially at the finish line!

Peace out my friends.


  1. Cheering is hard work too hey??

  2. And what Susi graciously left out was how she was COVERED with all her friends' and strangers' sweat/pee/salt/etc. And she still kept hugging everyone!

    Susi is the finish line angel, I swear -- she chauffeured me around the finish and made sure I was fed and watered and had my finisher's T.

    SUSI IS THE FRIGGING BOMB!!!! :) :) :)

  3. I sure hope there young missy that you did NOTHING at all today that was more strenuous than typing up your blog, and lifting cutlery to your lips.

  4. hope you had a nice hot cleansing shower afterwards and immediately stripped off (in private) all your clothes and put on clean ones....just think of all the good stuff you touched sunday!! LOL

    See you in 27 days!!!!

  5. It was so much fun, wasn't it?! Such an amazing day. It was great to see you out there. I'll be looking for you at IMC!!!!

  6. A catcher IS the best job... a little stinky but the joy of it all. You're so right, Mirinda is the craziest fast runner I have ever seen. She just motors out there, I swear. Sounds like fun to me, oh, and Faris, mmmm,, we want pictures.

  7. I cannot believe you woke up at 4am to run b4 volunteering. That is dedication, my friend. I hope you're rested now. So fun you got to see Julie too. :)