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Today I spent 4 hours cheering for the athletes competing in the first-ever Ironman triathlon held in my city. Despite some initial reluctance, I ended up having a great time.

Keeping me company for the afternoon was MJ @BklynRunner. Before we headed uptown to cheer, we fortified ourselves with a healthy lunch and had some good girl talk. While in the restaurant, who should wander in but one of my coworkers, with her boyfriend! Apparently they were all doing the exact same thing–grabbing a bite before going to cheer a family member who was racing today. Nice.

Next MJ and I took the A train up to 175th St, and wandered over to the base of the GWB, where the athletes would be coming over at around mile 17 of the run, the third and final part of the race. We arrived as the first dozen runners were coming through, and set up camp at 180th St. and Cabrini Blvd.

The crowds were pretty sparse, and no one had a sign, so I felt a little self-conscious about taking out the one I made. It was a little edgy, see:

But, after a few minutes I unfurled it in all its profane glory. The athletes started catching on, and I got a variety of great responses. I absolutely loved when they would look at me and say back, “Fuck yeah!” Lots of people gave thumbs up, or the rock and roll waggle. MJ started counting how many runners would point at me, I lost count around 25. No less that 5 other spectators took a picture of me with the sign, and so many athletes got a chuckle or a smile out of it. The sign was a hit, and I was glad I was able to give the runners a boost at such a tough part in the race.

MJ and I also bumped into MK @mpkann and EI @herroyaltallnes, who were volunteering as cheerers with the Hell Gate Harriers. It was fun to chat with them, too.

We could not stop marveling at the spirit and endurance of these athletes. They were coming down the hill towards us with smiles, totally pumped up. I was amazed at how they could be so perky after 8, 9, 10 or even more hours straight of strenuous, exercise. I can’t say I was necessarily inspired, because I know my distance limit is the marathon, but I was most certainly impressed. I also couldn’t stop thinking about my brother, who has competed successfully at the Half-Ironman distance. I know he wanted to do a full Ironman but has backburnered that plan due to his complicated and fragile digestive system. I hope one day he’s able to, if he still wishes to.

Because there are only 2500 competitors, and they are much more spread out on the course, it’s supereasy to spot your runner in an Ironman. MJ and I had no problem seeing CB @Lord_Baker go by, a dashing devil in his red tri suit. We also spotted SC @cutlarock, who after having crushed the swim and bike, hobbled through his run due to godawful plantar fasciitis (I feel his pain). He stopped and chatted with us for a bit. Finally, we saw NZ @experiri much earlier than we expected, which was so cool! He looked strong and happy, we were so proud. In fact he ran by just as I was trying to track his location on the Blackberry.

I think it’s the coolest thing to have such athletic friends! I like being around people who make fitness such a priority, and who challenge themselves be accomplishing such daring athletic goals. Also, it does not hurt that literally every single person who ran by MJ and I on that course was unbelievable gorgeous. I mean, these men were HOT. All kinds of faces, but let me tell you, those bodies were like from outer space, in a good way. I can imagine how hard they worked to be so fit, and they deserve all the admiration they get for their efforts and for their appearance.

All in all, it was a great day. I am wiped out! My arm’s sore from holding up my sign for four hours, and my plantar fasciitis is throbbing in both feet. My whining is ridiculous in the face of what the athletes accomplished today, which is exactly why I point it out: it’s good for a laugh.

Congratulations @Lord_Baker, @experiri and @cutlarock–YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

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