Friday, December 4, 2009

IMAZ Spectator Report, part 6

I didn't sleep well, afraid I would sleep through my alarm, miss the race, and not be able to sign up for next year. Wow, the race day worries start before I've even signed up! The alarm went off at 4 am, and I was out the door by 4:15 on Jamis. I met up with the other T3 bodymarkers right when I got to the race site, and we wandered around a bit before finding where we were supposed to be. The head volunteer had apparently never bodymarked anyone, or done a triathlon, as she was giving out bad instructions. But we got it figured out and picked up our enormous sharpies and waited for transition to open at 5am.

The main problem was it was cold, probably about 50 degrees. I was pretty comfortable, but the athletes had to take off their warm jackets and pants so that we could write on them. The race numbers went on both biceps, and their age (or a P for professional) went on their left calf. They were all goosebumped and shivering, but I wrote quickly. I think it's really important to have good handwriting when you are a bodymarker, but it is really hard to write, especially when guys have large triceps and it's not an even surface. I told a couple of them that. I also wanted to write my phone number on a couple of them, but I figured they would be a little too busy to call. I also tried to be encouraging, asking if they were pros to most of the guys, and chatting about if this was their first race or where they were from. A lot of first timers out there, and a lot of nervous people. I did mark two pros, one a German woman who was racing her first Ironman and really nervous, and one a French man- Rene Goehler, and he wound up finishing in 8th place.

I did get a picture with Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman. He was up there at 5:30 doing the race morning announcing- what the time was, where stuff was, did anyone have an extra pair of goggles or running shorts. Really, someone had forgotten to pack their running shorts. Another athlete had an extra pair, but imagine running a marathon in borrowed shorts! He's pretty amazing, as he is there announcing the finishers at midnight too. He must take a nap from 7 am to 3 pm when the pros finish. And he does have an assistant, but still, he's pretty amazing. He doesn't know it yet, but we have a date for November 21, 2010 at 11:30 pm.

About 6:45, we finished up with the bodymarking and moved to the bridge over the swim start to watch them go off. There are two bridges, one for northbound traffic, the other for southbound, though there were so many people, cars were not able to move. There was a helicopter, and then the cannon went off for the pros. 10 minutes later, the cannon went off again for the main field, right as the sun was rising. It was amazing.

The next part of the day: spectating...