It all began very early on a picturesque Sunday morning. . .
2,060 brave athletes from all over the world gathered along the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene.
The athletes took a plunge into the 50-ish degree lake at 7:00am to begin the annual Ironman competition. The competition involves a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run -- which must take place between the hours of 7am and midnight. Of the 2,060 who began this year's race, only 1,290 athletes crossed the finish line (at least during the time allotted).
Many people go downtown at 7am to watch the start of the swim. It is quite impressive watching so many people plunge into the (very cold) lake. Most of the crowd gathers on the beach. I watched with my friends Mary and Devin from the top of the CdA Resort parking structure. It was a good view! The only reason I look so awake and chipper is because I had just had hot chocolate. :-)
Many of the swimmers finish the swim in an hour or so. . .and then they are on to the bike leg of the race. One-third down, two-thirds to go!
One of the highlights of the day for me was seeing my friend, Erin, compete. This was Erin's third attempt, but her first time to finish, and it was fun to cheer her on during the bike portion of the race. That's her biking in the picture on the left.
Watching the athletes cross the finish line is quite exciting. It takes many of the athletes over 10 hours to complete the race, and it is so exciting to see the excitement on their faces when the announcer tells them that they are an Ironman.
Some are so exhausted they have to literally be led to the massage station. And others? They look like they could keep going and do the whole thing over again.
The athletes who completed the race certainly fought the good fight and finished the race!