Friday, December 19, 2014

Janine Kaye, Reports on IMWA "Through the eyes of a Spectator"

Janine Kaye, Is probably the best spectator in the world. She could teach us all a thing or two on how to write an amazing blog as well. Have a read through Janine's blog about Ironman WA "Through the eyes of a spectator" You won't be disappointed. Girl got skills!! (To top it off she takes an amazing photo too)

If you want to read more of Janine's antic's, Check her out here: and


The journey towards his first Ironman for my hubby Brad has been relatively easy in someways. He hadn’t suffered any injuries and had been consistent & dedicated in his training.  He had the amazing wealth of knowledge and support of our coaches, Kate & Guy from GK Endurance, behind him and he seemed to be taking everything in his stride. I was beyond excited for him to give it a crack! And WOW! What a weekend we had in Busso!!

I wanted to document this through my eyes.. being a supporter and spectator is tough work and very emotionally and physically exhausting. Sounds ridiculous compared to the actual competitors suffering through it, but it is hard to explain. Watching someone you love “endure” and seeing the depth of their spirit and courage is quite amazing, a little terrifying and creates a whole lot of nervous energy. Strap yourself in for a big blog post..;)
Our “weekend” away (which was actually 4 days) started when we drove down to Busso on Friday lunchtime. We had 2 cars full to the brim with bikes, nutrition, club tent, kids, crap, crap and more crap! Our beautiful friend Amanda joined our adventure with her 2 gorgeous kids. We arrived in Busso at around 2pm and unpacked and then headed in to the rego tent and to explore the merchandise area! I think this was the first time the enormity of the station hit Brad.. the signage everywhere, lots of athletic people wandering around in ironman gear and the mammoth amount of barricades everywhere to mark the course out. The kids had a ball on the “red carpet” goofing around, although Lucy didn’t enjoy us trying out an aero helmet on her quite so much (note the death stare;))Rego time.. hoping Brad doesn’t CRASH & BURN!
Back to our accommodation to relax and get settled before an early night.
Saturday saw us up early to head in for the Ironkids rego and race. The kids had a ball..there were cows on the beach (odd but awesome). The kids scored all sorts of free stuff from the sponsors including a mammoth amount of free flavoured milk! They do the Ironkids event so well ! They get to run and ride on the course and they even change the signage over the finish line.  Pete Murray commentated.. getting them warmed up and calling their name over the line. My kids had an absolute blast… except for maybe the bazillion flies that were bugging us all! 
Brad caught up with our awesome coaches and GKE athletes for a gentle ride, run and ocean swim…. and I of course, had to capture some of it:)Last minute pep talk from the coach before heading home for lunch, rest and to get his gear and nutrition ready for tomorrow. We came back in around 3pm to drop of his bike and transition bags. This was weird and very unfamiliar and the nerves started to kick in then.. It was odd to pack everything into a bag and leave it there overnight, and even though we both looked at it a hundred times,  the fear of forgetting something was lingering. Racking his bike and seeing ALL off the racks almost full with bikes was quite spectacular! Gear dropped off, bike racked and tyres let down.. then home to carbo load and get his tattoos on:)Obligatory tattoo mug shots:Early to bed and surprisingly we both slept pretty well… even with the hill top hoods concert wafting across the darkness outside! 4am the alarm went off and we bounced out of bed and prepared ourselves for the day. Lucy decided to come with us to get Brad settled in transition and to be there while he waited.. and Jack was coming down later with Amanda to watch the swim start. The sunrise was beautiful … the sky filled with colour and light as people bustled around getting themselves into transition, nutrition on the bikes and tyres pumped up. Brad was pretty quick and came out and was quickly nabbed by a volunteer who started slathering him in sunscreen. The the special needs bag drops as well as his street gear bag before getting in his wetsuit and the walk down to the waters edge to watch the pro’s start and cheer on Kate & Guy. Lucy didn’t leave Brad’s side from that point. He was calm but very quiet. I could tell he was nervous but was fighting to stay relaxed. She just wanted to hold his hand and not let go.. And then they were called onto the beach.. We wished him luck and I watched him walked onto the sand and quickly got swallowed up by 1899 other competitors in a sea of colourful swim caps. At this point I was fighting tears and the nausea that was washing over me. I really wanted him to have a great day, and a good swim! First timers were asked to wave their hands and I searched for him with no luck,.. and then within moments the gun went off and they all took to the water in a mass of chaos, colour and splashing. Time to try to relax and get a coffee before heading around to the exit to watch the pros come in followed by the age groupers. It is really quite something to behold.. like the crest of a boat disrupting the water.. a wave of colourful caps and swinging arms, converging towards the shore along the side of the most spectacular jetty! Such an amazing thing to witness!We spent ages trying to spot Brad.. studying every yellow capped person that exited the water and suddenly it was him! Way quicker than we all expected. 1:07:39 swim!! WOOHOO!!
We bolted around the back of transition to try to beat him before he got to his bike. ( note to self : running in thongs with a heavy arse camera is challenging..;)) We saw him run up his aisle and grab his bike.. we were screaming and yelling at him (poor bloke) and he let out a massive yahoo that he had made it through the swim, a big grin and then he was on his bike and gone!  Back home to wait, have coffee and breakfast. Lucy and I tried to time our trip back in to see him between lap 1 and 2 but we missed him by 1 minute:(DOH! We hung around and watched the other age groupers and then finally the pros came in to start their run. It was HOT and the flies were RIDICULOUSLY relentlessly annoying… but we were having so much fun! The vibe was awesome! My phone was going flat fast from the over-checking I was doing of the tracker app I have. A little while after he hit the 151km mark, I wandered around to wait for him at the bike entrance. The wait wasn’t too long.. he was FLYING on the bike and it was great to see him smiling as he came off the bike and he looked strong as he made his way (via the loo) into the transition tent. Bike: 4:54:51 !!!! Brad’s folks had arrived and it was great that they were there to see him come out onto the run and cheer him on through the 4 laps of the course. It really is a sensational course for spectators as they loop past you 2 times each lap and I am sure it is good for the spirits of the competitors to have barricades lined with people cheering them on! I loved the energy of the people around me.. happy and positive mixed with weird nervous emotions. I must admit,waiting for Brad to return on the last 2 laps was tough.. wondering if he was slowing down because of pain or if he was still even moving forward. It was always such a relief to see his face and he was still grinning and looking strong, even though he was cramping up and struggling to hold his pace.  It was beginning to get quite HOT! There was a slight breeze picking up which bought a little relief from the flies but we were all fading a bit from standing and waiting for so long. I am super proud of my (and Amanda’s) kids.. they stood there and cheered and clapped everyone who passed by. A few quick dips in the beautiful blue water to cool themselves down but otherwise they stood and endured (in our cool team kaye t-shirts!)! When Brad  hit the last lap, we made our way around closer to the finish shoot. When he came into sight he gripped his arm and yelled out that he had 4 bands to us.. meaning he could head to the finish chute. We bolted across to the chute while he made his way around the back, and I dissolved into tears of pride and relief as I watched him run towards us and the finish line. As he ran past us, I tried to pull myself together and I must admit I giggled as I watched him jump up and high 5 the timing board. Run- 4:18:26.Total Time-10:27 !!!! OMG! So proud!
He was ushered off into the recovery tent and it seemed like forever until he exited (slowly) and gave us all massive hugs. His face was lit up with joy. I was completely in awe of him and my heart was bursting with pride!! He was hoping for around 11 hours, and he smashed it. His run wasn’t what he hoped.. the first 20km was great but after that he struggled with cramping. His bike was awesomely strong and his swim was so much better than he expected. He is thrilled with his result… as he should be. He did his first enticer triathlon in January 2013 and could barely swim, had just bought a bike and was a casual runner at best. And now he has completed his first Ironman with an amazing result! The medal is pretty awesome too.. After he hobbled to the car, we headed home for him to shower and get a well deserved beer! Our house was at the far end turn around point of the run course and we then sat on our balcony and cheered all the amazing competitors as they passed by, hoping to inspire them as much as they were inspiring us!As the sun set and the glow sticks came out, we kept on cheering anyone who came past.  I couldn’t help but reflect on what an amazing journey Ironman has been for our family and for Brad. Hours of training, juggling life, time, money, commitment, dedication and sacrifice.. but it was so worth it to see the sense of self fulfilment and pride on my husbands face. It is hard to explain the places that ironman takes you too.. highs and the lows.. It challenges your idea of what you might be capable of, what you can endure and what sort of “stuff” you are made of. Watching people bent over and hobbling but still moving forward towards the finish line was one of the most powerful things I have ever witnessed. Determination and self belief are challenged more than anything during this event and it is so inspiring to see people reach that finish line and celebrate their success over their mind and their bodies!
And just because CRAZY seems to run in the family, I took myself down the next morningand signed up for IMWA 2015! (Holy crap!!!!) So it’s my turn to see whether I can conquer my inner demons and get myself to that finish line. Strap yourselves in for what I expect to be a LONG , possibly emotional and totally awesome 2015!

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