Friday, November 19, 2010


Today with no workout planned Liz and I slept in and then headed to the Ironman expo and registration area so I could check in. There was a line of about 30 minutes but it was well organized and I had an opportunity to meet on of the featured athletes for this race, Craig Finkbeiner. Craig was diagnosed three years ago with a rare cancer that left him with a prognosis of certain death. He has been undergoing a steady treatment that has kept the cancer at bay. He is one of 25 test subjects for this study. He made the decision with the support of his doctors to suspend treatment so he could train for the dream and goal of completing an Ironman. It was so humbling and such an honor to meet Craig and to talk with him about his journey. Craig's number is 97. Please pray for him and check his times. it was a great moment to pass the time in line. Then it was off to body marking so I don't have to worry about it race day. This year they did the numbers the same way they do the pro athletes. With large styrofoam block numbers dipped in black ink, pressed on, blow dried and then powdered. While it may look cool to be numbered like a pro and for sure these numbers will not come off any time soon, it was a much slower process and I had to stand in line for an hour. I look like a cool Ironman, but standing in long lines two days before the race is a little disconcerting.

Next we went to Ironprayer, which is worship, testimonials, and message for Ironman athletes. We had a great time singing worship songs and listening to the testimonial of a man who, after going into cardiac arrest in an emergency room due to a drug overdose, came to Christ and found a new addiction: Ironman. He's now an 8-time Ironman finisher.

Then it was off to the Welcome Banquet, featuring the youngest (18) and oldest (80) female athletes at Ironman Arizona. After hearing other Ironman athletes speak, and eating lots of pasta and chicken breasts, we were given course instructions and rules for the race.

We also went to a pro athlete Q&A session. If you haven't heard, Ironman Arizona has an all-star professional field, second only to the Kona World Championship race. Chrissie Wellington, who is arguably the best female athlete of any type in the world, is here. So is Chris Lieto, who could probably place in the top 10 in a Tour de France time trial, and is the fastest triathlete on the bike in the world. It's awesome to think that I'll be on the course at the same time these athletes are on the course, only they'll be finishing their last lap on the bike while I'm doing my second lap.

Some people have said that you shouldn't go to all of the Ironman events because it takes too much strength out of you before the race. But if you're a first time Ironman participant, I recommend you go to everything and experience all that is Ironman! The camaraderie and easy friendships that develop during time at the expo is worth it all.

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