I Heart Indies

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Iron Son-in-Law

Last Sunday I watched my future son-in-law complete an Iron Man in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  An Iron Man, in case you didn't know, consists of a two-mile swim, a one-hundred fourteen mile bike ride, followed by a grueling twenty-six-mile marathon.  By law, anyone blogging about the Iron Man must use the adjective "grueling" at least once, and the authorities were watching anxiously to make sure I got it in.

You'd think with a sport like this, they'd have a hard time lining up suckers competitors, but actually there's loads of them.  They were lined up for what seems like a mile waiting their turn to jump in the river for the first leg of the race.  Glenn was with a couple of his buddies, Wade and David.  Prior to the swim, his friends stripped to their swim gear and were nervously - not pacing, exactly - you can't properly pace while standing in line - but they were pacing in place, if such a thing is possible.  There was a twitchiness to their movements, they seemed on the verge of slapping their chests.  But not Glenn.  He was admirably relaxed and didn't remove his sweat shirt and pants until the very last minute.  It was a cool outside, and there was no point being uncomfortable.

Glenn was on the swim team in high school and college, so the swim is his strong suit, not to mention, swimming in the river he was boosted by the speed of the current.  After he got in the river, we watched the other swimmers downstream a little while, their splashing in the distance looked like bait fish jumping, in the memorable simile of Glenn's dad, Brian.

Then we went to the transition area to see Glenn get out of the water and onto his bike.  We didn't see him again until the transition from his bike to the run.  Athletes left their bikes with volunteers and had to trot a fairish distance, wearing either socks or their click-in bike shoes.  Glenn was a longer time appearing than expected, and Spencer speculated that went the volunteer took his bike, Glenn had forgotten to remove his GPS watch, which he'd clipped on the handlebars.  Sure enough, Glenn told us as he came running by, this is exactly what happened, and he'd had to run back and get it.

Evidently, this is Glenn's race-day MO; at least one thing goes wrong.  Once, he forgot his swim goggles, and had to do the backstroke.  On one memorable occasion, he forgot to bring shoes.

This is not to ridicule Glenn, just the contrary.  In addition to being a test of physical stamina, the Iron Man is a serious time commitment and a not inconsiderable expense.  I won't even tell you how much the bicycles cost, but it would make you blanch.  But although Glenn is committed, he never takes himself or it seriously.  Some Iron Men participants are regular snoots, but not Glenn.  He's friendly and affable to everyone, and if something goes awry, he doesn't pout like a prima-donna.  "Okay, I don't have goggles.  I'll do the backstroke."  "I don't have shoes.  I'll buy some shoes."  "Left the watch on the bike.  Oops."

Here's a picture of Glenn mid-gruel of the marathon portion.  He'd been in strenuous activity for about nine and a half hours with two and a half hours left to go.  It had started raining, and by now his shoes were probably wet and beginning to feel like cinder blocks on the ends of his legs.  It had been dark when he'd started the race that morning, and it would be dark when he finished.

Look at him smile.

We love you, Glenn.  Welcome to the family.

No comments:

Post a Comment