"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

For Whom the Bell Tolls..

..., it tolls for me.

And I guess, for thee as well, if you are a teacher or student.

le sigh

School has started.

Ok, quoting John Donne's fever induced epiphanies about illness and death is a bit dramatic, even for me, but summer has somewhat abruptly come to an end. Considering the amount of time I spent in hospitals, radiation centers, and doctors' offices this season, ol' Donne's most famous and bastardized quote seems somewhat apropos.

Hubby Update:

On Friday, hubby graduated from his 28 sessions and 5 and half weeks of radiation.


The Radiation center makes a big deal of it. At the end of the session they play Pomp and Circumstance, and they even give the 'graduate' a mortarboard and a diploma.

How ADORABLE is this?! He wanted to go all 'mug shot' for the photo since he is an alleged badass and all, but the receptionist and I made him giggle then the snapped this picture!

I have not written much about his radiation, because this summer was a tough road, but frankly, the radiation part was much easier than we expected. A lot of that was due to the Northern California Prostate Cancer Center where he got his radiation. No one wants to ever need a radiation oncologist, but these folks, make EVERY attempt to make this horrid experience easier on the patient and family.

Because we chose an aggressive treatment path it is hard to tell which of the treatments caused each of the bevy of side effects Mr. RBR has been experiencing. We suspect that the Hormone Deprivation Therapy (done with the Lupron injections) is responsible for most of the worst ones, and for exacerbating the others. I don't think we can blame the Lupron for a rather nasty radiation burn he got in a rather sensitive area.

Ahem. As much as I love the doctors, and staff and NCPCC, I did find reason to remind the good doctor that at the beginning of this shin dig, he promised to NOT fry the goods! They are currently a bit fried. Grrrr..

Anyhoo, he has to get one more 3 month shot of the Lupron on Sept. 13th, which will zap all testosterone production until December 13th. This makes a total of 9 months sans man juice. He is over it. I am over it. So what do I do?

Book a Hawaiian vacation. We leave December 20th. We are staying at the Ritz-Carlton in a deluxe oceanview room for 5 days. A bit overly extravagant for a teacher that lives in a 900 sq ft house and drives a 5 year old Honda, you say?

You bet your sweet bippy it is. And I do not care.

And if anyone feels the need to remind me that the human body is not a computer and just because the drug has a 3 month efficacy that does NOT mean that his testosterone gets flipped back on like a switch at 3 months and one day...

You can just shut it.

It is my fantasy and I am clinging to it.

Current score: Mr. RBR 3, Prostate Cancer 0

Other BIG News in the life of RBR (well, at least tangentially in the life of RBR):

I can't tell you yet.

But, I am SUPER excited.

Like SUPER DUPER excited.

But, like I said, I can't tell you yet.

But, rest assured it is the first news of 2010 that has not completely sucked ass.

But, I can't tell you yet.

So don't ask.

But you can bet your ass, when I can, I will.

More about the first week of school later... I have to go run. The exercise front has taken a hit as of late.... le sigh

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Tale of Two 10k's: Race Reports - Dirty Legs Quicksilver and Cinderella Trail

I am a little behind so here is a two-fer. Two race reports for the price of one, which is free, so quit yer bitchin' already.

Dirty Legs Quicksilver Trail 10k - August 8, 2010

I planned to run this with Katie A. and PunkRockRunner (Ron). It is the second in the South Valley Endurance Summer Trail Series. The first one was the Dirty Legs Trail Run at Nisene Marks that Katie A. and I ran last month. These are small, inexpensive, very well run, races. I am officially a fan.

When I drove up, the first thing I saw is Ms. Lilly! Ms. Lilly is Katie A.'s dog who is as adorable as a dog can be that is not already my dog Lucy (who, IMHO, is the most adorable dog in all the land).

Katie and Ms. Lilly after the race

Katie, Ron and I decided we would run our own races for this 10k (translation: they dropped me like a used condom about 20 yards into the race)

About 20 yards in to the race, do you see Ron and Katie? No? Neither do I.

The run started with brutal 1 mile/~600ft elevation gain climb, but after that the course was very runnable and since it was not hot, a really beautiful run. I met up with a gal, Jill, that was about my pace and we ran together, chatting it up and enjoying the scenery.

Elevation chart for the race

At about mile 5.5 we came a cross a runner that was down and clearly in pain. He was with one of the course photographers. We asked if they needed anything, but they said help was coming and they were fine.

About half a mile later we saw the "help" in the form of a very unhappy EMT hiking up the steep, single track carrying a 40 pound gear bag and a back board. She was gasping for air and could not even respond to us when we asked her if she needed help. She just immediately handed me the gear bag and Jill the back board, so we took that as a 'yes'. I gave her my water bottle and we started the trek back to the downed runner.

Jill carrying the back board. That sucker was heavy, like hiking with a goddamn surf board. The bag was no picnic either.

We got back to the runner, and after the EMT's evaluation, we got him strapped on the back board and started to haul him out. He was in a lot of pain. Shaking and shocky. After about half a mile he deemed it was way too painful to stay on the board. After more evaluation, the EMT said that his femur was most likely not broken (our best guess based on the pain level and the awkward look of his thigh is that he detached part of his quadricep muscle), so the photographer and the race director acted as crutches and helped him down the trail (Jill, the EMT, and I were WAY too short to do this).

At this point, Jill and I were not needed except to pack the gear bag to the aide station where the EMT's truck was waiting. After dropping off the bag we were able to run the 0.1 miles left to the finish. We actually had been on pace for about 1:25-1:30 prior to all of this, but ended up finishing about 2:30 and covering at total of 7.75 miles.

The other race director, Stacey, was at the finish and was very grateful and sweet. They even gave us medals and free entry to one of their races.

Jill and I, post race (thanks, Ron for the pictures)

Ron and Katie were sweet enough to wait for me even though they had finished long ago. They both won real medals for their age group awards.

The two age group winners and the pity award recipient

Cinderella Trail 10K - August 14, 2010

I had originally planned to do the half marathon at this race, but LA Run Buddy wanted to go with me so we decided to do the 10K. It was held at the Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland. I had run here before doing the Woodminster 9 miler and remember it as a tough course, but this was a different part of the park and was very runnable while being just as gorgeous.

Profile for the Cinderella Trail 10K

At mile 4, I felt a familiar pinch.

"FUCKING HELL!! Fucking yellowjacket!!"

Yes, I got stung AGAIN. This time right on my sizeable ass.

Sure, yellowjacket, you chicken shit, take the easy target.

About half a mile later I got stung again, this time by a bee, and frankly, meh. After a yellowjacket sting a bee sting is hardly worth mentioning, but it still ellicted another 'FUCKING HELL!' outburst on the trail.

Rosie, trail dog extraordinare. Too damn cute to not snap a photo of, but as you can tell she was not super thrilled about her photo op.

After that the run was pretty uneventful. I could tell my sting was starting to swell, and get hot. Since I have had quite a few yellowjacket stings at this point I react pretty strongly anymore, so I am back on the Benadryl which turns me into a semi-conscious drooling idiot for most of the day. And half of my ass looks like I was a very, very bad girl. (Leave it, G. Too easy, even for you)

The return loop was much more technical than the way out and LA Run Buddy who will never be mistaken for a nature girl, was a wee bit unhappy and made me promise we would go get pancakes after the run. Ouch, ouch, twist my arm. Ok, pancakes it is!

LA Run Buddy and I back at the car headed out for pancakes!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

To Half Dome and Beyooooooond!

My dad and I have been talking about going to Yosemite and hiking one of its most famous peaks, Half Dome, for years now. On Wednesday, it finally happened.

RBR and Dad de RBR, top of Half Dome. Pic taken with my cell phone and texted from there to my mom and hubby. Gotta love technology!

Now, to be clear, this is no 'let's take a walk in a beautiful national park, commune with nature, and collect some fucking wildflowers' type hike. This is 17 miles, round trip, of pure bad ass hiking (we did 21 miles, but we will get to that), where you not only climb 4800 vertical feet in the first 8.5 miles, but you are rewarded at the very end of that soul crushing ascent with a cable-assisted scramble up the face of a sheer granite rock, where one misstep can send you skittering down the rock face to sure death.

Oh, and there is a nice view.

Then you get to hike back down 4800 vertical feet.


The night before we stayed in a little town about 45 minutes outside of Yosemite called Oakhurst.

It is a very typical, nondescript, tiny, tourist dependent California town.These towns are characterized by one main road, which is always the highway to whatever large attraction they are sustained by, about 100 souvenir shops peddling assorted crap with the name of said attraction scrawled across it, a Subway sandwich shop, and a Starbucks.

They also usually have a collection of tiny, mediocre restaurants and an equally tiny, local population of tourist-dependent citizens that hate tourists. In this case, the term 'usually' applies, because I found that the people we met in Oakhurst were extremely friendly and this little joint...

L.O.V.E this logo! They were a seafood restaurant that also specialized in wedding cakes. Freaking awesome.

...had great service, and even greater food. I had crab cakes (duh!) and grilled lemon chicken with a mango salsa. Delish! It was a happy little surprise for someone that is rarely happily surprised by tacky tourist towns.

Morning of the hike

What you will first notice about the world famous Yosemite National Park at 4:30 am is that it is very, very dark.

I never realized, as a city girl, how heavily I rely on light pollution. The signage in the park is apparently designed to be viewed in the light of day and by people that already know exactly where everything is in the park, i.e. it is uber helpful.This lead to my father and I driving aimlessly throughout the park trying to figure out where the fuck to park.

Half Dome is arguably one of the biggest attractions of Yosemite. An image of it's peak is the park's logo for Christ's sake. So really? Not one fucking sign directing you to the trail head to Half Dome?


Anyway, we got parked and started the hike to the trail head. Two miles later we arrived at the trail head. Not a huge deal at 6 am. Significantly huger deal at 7:00 pm after hiking all fucking day. I am just saying...

The Ascent

For me, this hike started like almost every trail run I do. I was huffing and puffing, my legs burning, and I kept thinking "Holy shit. I am screwed. I can not do this. What am I doing out here?!" But after a couple of miles I found my stride and started to enjoy myself and my surroundings.

To say Yosemite is stunning is the understatement of the year.

Happy Isles. We needed a potty stop on our expedition just to get to the goddamn trail head, and no, this is not the trail head to Half Dome.

My dad was hardcore from the get go. He is 67, looks 57, and acts 47 (Tops. I may being generous there in the "acts" category, but I digress...) He powered up the trail like it is flat, embarrassing men half his age. He continued to do this throughout the day. Several people even asked him, "Do you mind if I ask how old you are?" Translation: "Just how old is this dude that is handing me my ass on this fucking trail?" I trotted along behind him like a puppy trying to not get dropped.

Vernal Falls

Trying to capture the beauty and grandeur of Yosemite with a $100, hot pink, point and shoot camera is like trying to fit my ass in size 6 skinny jeans. It is not possible and in the attempt you end up with something really unfortunate.

Therefore, my pictures will be mostly sucky and of things I liked and images to help me remember the trip. If you want to see breathtaking Yosemite pics, try Google images there are about 10 trillion.

Dad in cool rock formation along the Mist trail that ascends Vernal Falls. Like the cool "mist" effect on the lens? Mad skills.

Granite rock steps up Vernal Falls. You go up 0.5 miles and climb 600 granite steps. (No, I did not count them, even I am not that much of a nerd. I got that from the website)

You will note that there are a lot of pictures from this section. As you remember, picture taking is often used by me as an excuse to stop. This time it was also a great time to stuff my heart, that was now beating in my mouth, back down into my chest where it belonged.

A perspective shot from 'almost' the top of the falls. Those little dots along the edge of the rock are people coming up. (click picture to enlarge if you want or you can trust me) We are only about 1 mile from the trail head at this point. Yeah, we still have have over 7 more miles of climb and about 3800 more feet of vertical gain left to do.

I had to keep reminding myself that literally hundreds of people a day, do this hike so it was very unlikely I would get lost in the wilderness and left to become bear food. I had to keep reminding myself of this because there are many times on this trail, where it no longer looks like a trail. It looks like a pile of rocks, or a big flat sheet of granite, but a discernible trail? No.

Subsequently, the ONLY time I was leading the way, we got lost (yes, my trail navigating privileges were revoked immediately after my dad figured out where to go, but sadly, not before I led 4 other hikers astray with us. Oops. My bad.)

Cool picture of Nevada falls from the "Umm, I don't think this is the trail" trail.

Dad navigating back to the actual trail, thus ending my reign as Leader of the Lost.

Beautiful rock formations at the top of Nevada Falls. Again, ridiculous to try to capture the beauty of this with my camera, but, take my word for it, it was amazing.

Once at the top of Nevada Falls the scenery changes to a Redwood forest with soft, sandy redwood trails and decidedly less evil terrain.

Massive fallen redwood tree root ball, with embedded sandstone rock (possibly only cool to biology teachers and the great unwashed masses of the biology world, ecologists)

Stand of burned redwood trees These redwood forests are a fire dependent ecosystem and the majority of these fires are started by lightning strikes.

Well, at least it was less evil for a little while. You are still climbing and if you had not just suffered so terribly for the last 4 miles you would be calling it grueling, but comparatively it was much better.

Much better hiking until you get to the sub-dome.

Yes, the sub-dome, that NO ONE fucking talks about. I read about 10 day hike reports about Half Dome and no one even mentioned the goddamn sub-dome.

The sub-dome is, as the name suggests, the dome prior to the big dome that everyone does talk about in their day hike reports. It is steep, scary and does not have cables to help you up.

The TWO domes.

From about half way up the sub-dome. Uh, yeah, the sub -dome is fucking steep. Someone ought to mention that.

It was at this time I seriously started to doubt I would be brave enough to climb the cables to the top on the big dome. Hell, I was not sure I was willing to finish the stupid sub dome. I saw several people that did not. It was not that the climbing was all the physically hard on the sub dome, (although it would not ever be mistaken for easy) it was steep, narrow, uneven, slippery, and a fall would mean death or at the very least, life altering injury.

I am not sure if you are aware of this, but I am not a big fan of death or life altering injuries for me or my loved ones. I am kind of a puss that way.

The Cables

DISCLAIMER: I will preface this section with the fact that I am afraid of heights. It may come off as if I am advising against climbing the cables. I am just offering a different view of the climb than I have read previously. My Dad has done Half Dome three times now and LOVES it. He is not afraid of it at all and recommends it to anyone that it fit enough to do it.

However, if you do try to climb it and fall to your death you can not sue my Dad just because he is a badass and made the climb three times, while you went skittering off the mou
ntain to become a pile of goo on the valley floor.

End of disclaimer.

We finally made it to the top of the sub-dome and I talked Dad into taking a break to eat some lunch. There was a line for the cables and I was in NO hurry to do them.

The cables. All the little ant looking things are people. What, in the name of all that is holy, am I doing here?

Top of the sub-dome. Cool as a cucumber, Dad, is taking a break while RBR is gnawing off the tips of her fingers trying to figure out how to tell her dad that she has just hiked over 10 miles to get to the base of Half Dome and is now going to chicken out on the last 400 feet.

Well, you saw the lead in picture so you know that I did not chicken out (100% ego. It is probably the only reason I have accomplished anything in my life) and I made it to the top. It took us 45 minutes to get to the top because of all the people.

I will tell you that I almost cried once about two-thirds of the way up, but the all consuming fear that crying would distract me from holding on for dear life kept the tears from falling. I will also tell you I did not look around to "enjoy the view" while climbing, nor did I watch as the 3 water bottles that popped out of the packs of people above me skittered off the mountain. It was fucking terrifying.

There are many people that will tell you that the pictures of the cables are optical illusions and that it are not as steep as it appears and I will tell you that those people are FULL OF SHIT, and that the climb up those cables is just as steep as, if not steeper than, it fucking appears in the photographs.

At the top

Now, this is the point in the post where everyone gets misty eyed and says "Oh my God! It was sooooo worth it! I have never seen anything so beautiful in all my days! Who among us wouldn't climb those cables 1000 times over to see the majesty of the Yosemite Valley from the top of Half Dome?"

Umm... *raises hand* I wouldn't.

Frankly, it is just as beautiful from below the fucking sub dome. IMHO.

I am glad I did it, because it I have a sense of accomplishment at overcoming a fear (although, I think it is a completely rational fear and I would be hard pressed to climb them again and sure as shit would not let my kids, if I had any, climb it unless I did not like them for some reason. Again, IMHO)

RBR and Dear Old Dad on the piece of rock called the Devil's Diving Board. Note the seriously apprehensive body language I am sporting

Dad's picture of a super socialized marmot that works the tourists for Powerbars and Cheetos at the top of Half Dome (to be exact it is a Hoary marmot, Marmota caligata, but don't call him that, he just has low self esteem and is looking for love and acceptance. Stop being so judgey.)

Coming back down the cables was sheer terror. There were two by fours against the rock, suspended across the poles that held the cables to create "steps" to rest on. Going down I just stared at the rock in front to me and moved from board to board. I did not look around or talk to anyone. I just focused on getting to the next board and finally I was done.

Then I had to go down the sub dome, which I was equally thrilled by, but eventually I was over the "if you fuck up you will surely die" part of the hike and could relax a little.

Just 10 miles to go to get back to the car.


The descent

It is almost as hard coming back down 4800 vertical feet in 8.5 miles as it was climbing it. We took exactly ZERO pictures and talked sparingly. Also, because we gave water to fellow hikers, we ran out about 3 long, hard miles from the nearest water. (There is a life lesson, kiddos.)

This is the real endurance part of hiking Half Dome. It is technical, painful, exhausting, and let me say, rock formations, redwoods, and waterfalls lose their luster after 12 hours of hiking.

All in all, I had a great time. I am really lucky that my Dad is not just an amazing dad, he is a really fun, amazing person that I enjoy hanging out with.

I have not made it easy to be my Dad, but I am eternally grateful that he has looked past everything and is still willing to spend 12-13 hours being silly and laughing maniacally, while simultaneously being tortured, in a national park with me.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vineman Iron Distance Triathlon 2010: A Spectator Report

This weekend was the Vineman Iron Distance Triathlon. I was supposed to race this as Take 2 of my Iron attempt. More important things came up and I decided ironman training this year was not worth it, but one of my good friends, IronJane was going to do it and for that reason I would not have missed it.

Let me start with a bit of background on me and IronJane. She and I met for the first time in 2008 we she came out to run our first (and my only) 50k, the Skyline to the Sea, together. We met and then immediately ran 20 miles of a 31 mile race together. As you can tell we hit it off and a great friendship was born.

IronJane and RBR. First Ultra

Then we decided to do Ironman Coeur d' Alene together. She had already raced Ironman Arizona that year and opted to volunteer. She is a doctor, so when she told them she would work the med tent if they let her do T1 first, they said "Yes ma'am, Whatever you want!"

We hung out the day before and then when I straggled into T1, sick and broken, she got my shit together and got me on the bike. For that I, and my family, will be forever grateful.

DrIronJane to the rescue. For my part I did manage to not puke all over her.

This Saturday it was her day to race and I was honored to be there to cheer for her. I am not going to tell her story, because it is her story to tell, but I do want to give an athlete's (it makes me giggle to refer to myself as athlete, but I can not think of another term) view of being spectator.

From the other side of the start line


I showed up to the Vineman start a little before 6:00 am. Jane's wave was set to go off at 6:45. I parked in the same lot I have used the last two years as a competitor (another giggle, again no other term can be thought of) in Barb's Race Half Iron.

As I walked the 1/2 mile to the beach start I wondered how I would feel watching people start the race that I was supposed to be in. Standing on the rocky beach, in my warm fleece, drinking my coffee, NOT wearing a wetsuit, NOT having the sharp rocks cut into the soles of my feet, and NOT having to jump in the water with a couple hundred people that want to swim over me, I felt pretty damn good about it, truth be told.

I stood by the T1 exit with other spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of my racer before she took off.

: Everyone looks exactly the fucking same in a wetsuit and matching swim cap. Have a plan to meet up with your peeps if you want to see them pre-race. If you don't want to see then just tell them, "I will meet you by the start. I will be in a wetsuit and orange swim cap" that will make sure you get some alone time.

Of the five spectator families standing in my group only 2 found their racer. We congratulated the winning families, and lamented our own failures. Yes, spectating has a competitive side as well. You should have heard all the "my racer is more bad ass than your racer" stories. I have to say, I won quite a few of those battles. My racer is truly bad ass. *smug grin*

Women's Vineman Full Iron Wave Start. That is Jane waving to me in the back (not really, but I told someone it was. Don't judge me, the spectator competition was STEEP)

The swim

This was Jane's third full iron and I have tracked her at every one, so I knew about what her times should be for each event. That made finding her easier than it was for some families that had no idea how fast or slow their racer was. I spent a lot of times guesstimating times for families that had never done any type of event like this. It was a great way to kill time. One of my favorite of these conversations was this one:

RBR: How long do you think your racer will be in the water? (Common spectator to spectator question)

Non-athlete spectator: I figure about an hour.

RBR: Damn, that is really fast. Are they elite?

Non-athlete spectator looks at me:
Ummm... maybe I have that wrong. How long should it take?

RBR: Your typical age-grouper is anywhere from 1:20 if they are fast to 2:00 if they are slower swimmers depending on how fast they swim

Non-athlete spectator:
Oh, then I was right, she's fast. She'll be about an hour.

*Clearly, this guy does not get there is BIG difference between 1:00 and a 1:20 for 2.4 mile swim. For the record, my racer came out in 1:34, his racer was not out yet, but you have to love how proud he was of her and how much confidence he had in her.

Trying to catch racer coming out of the swim is almost as much fun as trying to find them at the swim start. They come out disoriented and looking no more identifiable to you than as when they went in until they pull their swim cap off, which is usually just as they pass you.

Case in point, here is a sliver of Jane's back as eclipsed by big lumbering dude coming out of the swim

T1: Swim to Bike

This can be a good time to see your racer since it is typically a longer transition.

NOTE TO SPECTATORS - AN ATHLETE'S PERSPECTIVE 1: Your racer is referred to as a racer, because they are racing. They cannot have an extended chat with you, they will not pose for pictures (unless they are me, then of course I will *attention whore grin*), nor can they do math calculations to figure out when you can see them next. Oh, and repeatedly yelling to them while they are in transition does not help them move faster. It just irritates them and those of us around you.

So freaking adorable!

Total bad ass status! I want to look even half this cool leaving transition.

The Bike

The bike is a long haul with no real options for catching your racer unless you risk their and other racers safety by cruising the course. In my opinion, this is dangerous and the fewer vehicles on the course the better, so I did not do this. (Although, I must admit last year at Barb's I saw a friend drive by that cheered and asked how I was and that was pretty cool, but I still won't do it)

IronJane biking up the steep ass hill out of transition

That means I had a little time to kill, so I went and had a little breaky and drove away from the course to see the beautiful area.

Shhhh, don't tell Jenny Craig, that bitch does not want me to have any fun.

California Coastline in Jenner, CA

Then around 1:30 pm I set about finding a parking space near the run course. I did not have to drive the full 2 hours back home to find parking, but I think I got within spittin' distance. Those idyllic visions of heading back to my car for extra supplies where quickly dashed as I trekked the 20+ minutes to the high school.

I packed my GoLite with a thermos of coffee, a diet coke, a bottle of water, and a package of PopTarts (these are to be thanked for keeping me from killing six 20-something year old spectators that were bugging the fuck out of me around 8 pm. Take home message: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts save lives.)

NOTE TO SPECTATORS - AN ATHLETE'S PERSPECTIVE 2: Your racer is not the only one in the race. I know you are there to support your racer, but please do not go ape shit for your racer and then immediately stop cheering, turn your back to the race, and start loudly talking and horsing around. It is disheartening to the athlete behind your runner that hears the crowd go silent as they run by and it endangers your life if there is a glucose deficient person spectating near you that is cheering for all of the racers and does not find you cool, amusing, or nearly as good looking as you all think you are.

NOTE TO ATHLETES - SPECTATING OBSERVATION 2: I have done that half smile, tiny wave when I was hurting in a race and always felt that I was being as asshole to the spectators by not saying thank you or being more enthusiastic. I now know that they understand and your acknowledgment, even if strained, is greatly appreciated by the crowd.

T2: Bike to Run

Catching your racer at this juncture can be a bit maddening. While they are easier to identify on their bike, they are moving significantly faster. Taking your eyes off the road for even a second to check your email on your phone could lead to you missing your racer.

You are afraid to move, to go pee, to even freaking blink, lest you miss them race by. And God help you, if you do you miss them you will get the dreaded, patronizing look of consolation from your fellow spectators, "Awww, you missed them?" *head tilt* "Well, I am sure they know you are here."

Trust me, you do not want to be that spectator.

So you stare, vigilantly at the road and soon EVERY rider looks like your rider. I know all the spectators were suffering the same fate, because I would hear "There she/he is! She/he is coming!" and then the "Oh, that is not her/him" about as many times I thought it.

[Here is where I would put a picture of Jane coming in from the bike, if I had one.]
NO! I did NOT miss her, but I did fail to turn on the camera before I took the picture.

The Run

Here is where the rubber meets the road in terms of Iron spectating. The Vineman run course has 3 loops. You dare not leave for fear of 1. losing your spot. or 2. missing your opportunities to cheer for your runner. I was out there for 9 hours. I did not leave, I did not pee, and the one time I checked my texts and answered a couple I almost missed my damn runner!
My hands were sore from clapping, my voice was getting hoarse from yelling the standard, "You are looking great", "Woo Hoo" and "You are awesome!"

I know she is awesome, but did I mention that she is also FABULOUS?

I know better than to say "You are almost done", "Looking strong" (which all of us back of the backers know is code for 'Dear God, You look like shit'), "Come on! You can do it. Keep it up" (anything that sounds like an order pisses suffering athletes off)

I met some amazing people yesterday. They were as amazing as the athletes they were cheering for and, barring a few idiot 20-somethings, everyone there was 100% focused on their family members or friends that were out there battling a tough course.

Everyone I talked to was awed by the work their racer had done in training all year, in the wee hours of the morning, through heat, cold, rain, and exhaustion to be able to do this race today.

NOTE TO ATHLETES - SPECTATING OBSERVATION 3: It really does not matter to your friends and family how your race day goes, whether your swim time is 10 min faster or 20 min slower, whether you drop your chain or PR your bike split, or whether you have to walk or you run every step, they are already so very amazed by and proud of you.

I know, because I heard them brag about you for 16 hours. The ones that PR'd, the ones that DNF'd, and everyone in between.

Great job Vineman and Barb's Race triathletes!

And to IronJane, I love you, man. Until we meet again at Rocky Raccoon. ;)