Let me start by explaining what Ultraman Florida is. An Ultraman race is a triathlon that takes place over the course of three days. On the first day, competitors swim 6.2 miles and then ride their bikes for 90 miles. On the second day they ride their bikes for 170 miles. On the third and final day they run a double marathon - 52 miles. Each of these events must be completed in 12 hours or less or the athlete will be disqualified. If you're thinking to yourself "that's crazy" then you are correct! I think you have to have a little crazy in you to do this race :) The athletic ability each of these racers have is unfathomable to me, yet I watched my father-in-law not only complete it but come in 14th place on Sunday night in Florida. I feel honored to have been asked to be on his crew, helping him get to the finish line.
In this post I'm sharing images from Day 1 and Day 2 of the race - the swim and bike stages.
One of the things that impacted me the most over these three days was watching the power and plain awesomeness of having amazing friends that love you and support you through anything. My father-in-law's best friend and his family drove 10 hours from North Carolina to surprise him and cheer him on throughout the race. That's just incredible!! I think everyone in the world wants a friend like that. Then the next day Bob's high school Spanish teacher and her husband came to the course with signs and hugs. While all of this was happening his friends and family back home were rallying behind him through prayer, Facebook comments, messages, and encouragement. No matter how big or little the gesture it was all heard and felt during the race.
What an inspiration coming from both ends. My father-in-law reminded me that I can do hard things - through God I can do what seems to be impossible. And from his amazing friends and family, I was inspired to love better. To drop everything to support a friend, to take those extra few minutes to write a message that encourages someone more than you may know. And that's really just the beginning of all of the emotions and thoughts I have after experiencing Ultraman Florida. Everyone kept telling me all week that the run was the most emotional event and it certainly was. I'll be posting my pictures and thoughts about the last day of the race tomorrow!
Come back tomorrow to see Part 2 - the famous double marathon!