Support from friends and family is essential for a successful Ironman season, but what happens when they won’t leave you alone? As an introverted triathlete, sometimes the company can be a little hard to handle.
My original plan for Ironman Florida 2017 was to enjoy the experience alone. My parents had come along for Ironman Chattanooga, just six weeks prior and their company became an added stressor. They wanted to stay busy and enjoy the sights and sounds of Tennessee, while my mind and body craved solitude and relaxation before the race. In addition, their knowledge of Ironman was limited and they were like fish out of water. I know what you’re thinking. How lucky am I to still have the support of loving and committed parents as an adult?!
It’s true; I’m one lucky girl, but you didn’t have to spend nine hours in a car with them…both ways. A few days after returning home from Chattanooga, my mom called to tell me that the hotel I was staying at in Florida still had rooms available! She was so excited! And, guess what?! They reserved a room with two beds and a bunk bed, so there would be plenty of room for all three of us and I could cancel my reservation. I knew the trip to Florida would be twice as long. And so it happened. My groupies came along for another adventure.
We only got lost twice en route to Florida because the GPS in the car was battling mom’s iPhone and dad decided to pay attention to both…at different times. My frustration steadily grew as the stress of Ironman settled. In an attempt to provide them with further understanding of what I was about to do, I asked them to attend the athlete briefing. They picked a seat directly behind the podium where the race director would be speaking from. Right in the spotlight. Right in the middle of everything. I was mortified.
Race day started around 4 am. I enjoyed my nutritious breakfast of lucky charms and pop tarts and headed into transition to get set up. This would be my first ever ocean swim and I knew that I could have done so much more to prepare. As I exited the water, I was frustrated and had swallowed almost the entire Gulf of Mexico. Needless to say, I was not smiling and my dad thought it was hilarious. I promise, one of the last things you want someone to do is laugh at you while you’re attempting an Ironman. I spent sixteen hours being hurt and angry, but when I crossed the finish line and they were both there to hug me and tell me how proud they were, suddenly the anger faded. I realized that all of the pre-race tension was worth forgetting. They were able to help me waddle back to the hotel room and had already picked up my bike and gear bags so that I didn’t have to worry about it. I had some pizza, drank a beer, and fell asleep proud and thankful.
If they tag along again, we will most definitely NOT be staying in the same hotel room…or driving together, but I will never tell them that they can’t be there because, at the end of the day, I will always love them and treasure their support.
Written by Jamie McGettigan, Siren Luminary
Follow Jamie on Instagram! @onefortypointsix