>> Monday, September 14, 2009
I bet you all remember Mike and Jenny. Mike was the winner of the “Tales of a Virgin Athlete Contest” a few months ago on my blog. He had a great story of Jenny’s and his amazing weight loss - and their discovery of marathons and triathlons in the process.
Sunday, we were cheering for Mike and Jenny at their first Ironman. Here they are coming through the water stop where Pharmie and I were volunteering:
Just as Pharmie’s pulling away after a hug
Right as the race clock was hitting 17 hours - midnight - and the race was officially “over,” I went to go find Mike and Jenny. I didn’t know if they had made the cut-off at State Street at mile 19ish. I ran around the capital, through the closed-down aid-station where Pharmie and I had been working, and headed down State Street. After a block or 2 down State, a figure emerged into the middle of the road around a corner. It was Mike walking with a volunteer. My eyes welled up a little more. I ran up to him.
“Steve, hey man, it’s good to see you...” Mike said to me with a smile. I replied, “Well I wasn’t about to leave you out here...” as I smacked him on the back and started walking with him towards the capital. We chatted a bit. He knew the race was “over,” but he still was going to get in his 140.6 miles. That’s what I wanted to hear.
Mike was near another man also still trying to finish. A different volunteer with a walkie-talkie ran up to them both and told them they needed to start running: the people were sticking around the finish line, and they could only keep it going for another 7 minutes or so. Both Mike and the other guy obliged, and we were all running. Mike looked GOOD. I mean he still had some form, and he looked great while working towards the finish. I was shouting out any little generic bit of motivation that I could: “Looking good Mike!” “Keep it up!” “You’re gonna do this Mike!”
Here's Mike's take on hearing the news that they were keeping the finish line open for him:
...they will let us run down the chute and even though I will not be an offical finisher, we can cross the line. I thought that was cool and suddenly I could run the 4 blocks. I am not sure even now how I did it. When I got my chance to run down with the crowd freaking out, I felt no pain. It was very cool and Ironman and WTC did not have to do that for me. I didn't make it. Bottom line. I didn't make it. They gave me a medal, t shirt and hat too. Right now it doesn't feel right to have it and not have made it. But I went the distance. I finished.
Damn right you finished, Mike! It was the same 140.6 miles that everyone else covered! And I don't know if Mike knew it, but I was taking a few quick videos as he was running. The following video is made up of 3 short clips:
1. Mike just after he started running.
2. Mike running and joking with his sons (in a black shirt and a white shirt).
3. Mike rounding the last corner, throwing high-fives like a rockstar, and heading into the finisher’s chute.
Direct link on YouTube
Here are some photos that Pharmie took of Mike hitting the chute just after I stopped filming:
So it was a bad finish to Ironman Wisconsin because Mike and Jenny didn’t make the time cut-off. But it’s also a great finish to Ironman Wisconsin, because they both made it through the whole race and covered the distance. And their boys were there to cheer them home!! Mike and Jenny, you 2 are the f’ing strongest Iron Couple I know! Congrats!
(I’ll be back with a lot of fun pictures and videos from IMWI in the next few days. And race photos from the 20 Miler and 10K on Saturday. So check back...)