IronMan Week – Arizona Style

For most athletes November is the off season for triathlon, the beginning of run season, or time to step away from the day to day grind and enjoy our friends and families over the Holidays.  Days are shorter, mornings dark and cold, motivation sometimes lacking.  We spend time reflecting on our past season, planning and getting excited for the next year to come.

Then, there are those of us fortunate (this would be a slightly different sentence if posted in say July-September) to live in Arizona and enjoy cool crisp mornings, sunny afternoons and gorgeous 70 degree sunsets.

This also happens to be one of the most exciting weeks in our home town, Ironman Arizona.  Since making the change from April to November a few years back, the race has grown, bringing the best of the best to compete. And it sells out instantly.  With the exception of 2010 when we had a freak hail, wind and rain storm for the event, race day weather is about as perfect as one could dream of.

Race Day

A chilly morning swim start, sending you off on your bike with temperatures rising with the sun into the mid 70s.  A run course that has little shade, but with mild temperatures cooling down to the mid 50s and 60s into the dark.

The race is spectator friendly with cyclists coming back into town twice before heading out onto their third loop of the bike.  A run course that loops athletes around the swim venue and transition areas in a sort of figure 8, 3 times.  Athletes are basically never alone and spectators are entertained all day long!

Ironman Arizona updates are littering my Facebook feeds and I love it.  Twitter is exploding.  Invites to our local triathlon shop and bike shop sponsored events are almost overwhelming, yet so exciting!  Raffles, fundraisers, schwag, pro-clinics.  I love it all!  It’s exciting to see what a huge community of triathletes and supporters we have here in the Valley.

As a local I’ve spent every year heading down to Tempe cheering on friends and teammates.  I got to watch Chrissie Wellington smash the course record and “chick” several male pros.  This year I get to see things from a  new perspective.  I will be volunteering at the finish line and *hope* to have the honor of catching some very good friends as they achieve their goal.

Watching an Ironman finish is always an emotional and inspirational experience and I can’t wait to see it so up close and personal.  Several friends of mine signed up to volunteer at this station together so if you plan on finishing between 6-10pm, you will be finishing into a party!

And as if all this excitement wasn’t enough, I think the best part about the entire experience is that after years of saying I didn’t want to do this race, I’m officially committed to racing Ironman Arizona in 2013.  After the cancellation of Ironman Canada this year, the race directors gave all athletes the opportunity for early registration to a few select races, and Ironman AZ is one of them.  So, as of 10:30 this morning I am officially $700 more broke with a year to get ready and fired up to toe the line.

The fun begins Thursday with the arrival of friends from out of town, group lunches and the opening of Ironman Village.

I can’t WAIT!  I’m ready to be inspired, motivated and elated for all the finishers!