It was one year ago that my husband came home with the idea that he would like to participate in the Ironman Arizona 2009. I believe I raised my eyebrows and smiled. He works in Tempe at a building that over looks Tempe Beach Park and had spent the week observing the triathlon preparations out his window. He went and meandered among the athletes out for practice swims. He went and wandered through the expo. He watched out his window as they placed the buoys for the swim. He admired bikes and gear. He started dreaming and caught the fire.
As much as we enjoy watching such events, in my mind something of that caliber was a little out of our league. As the conversation continued, I realized he was serious. Really serious. I didn't ever doubt his ability to do it, rather questioned whether I wanted us to make such a major commitment, because it would be a major commitment. As he was wrestling with the decision to register or not (which was a decision that needed to be made quickly), I made one request: if we do this, we do this. If you register and commit, then you commit to being prepared, to work hard and to do it right. We don't register and then wait 6 months before you get in the pool. You don't go on a leisure Saturday ride and call it training. I'm no professional athlete, but I'm well aware that the quickest way to turn an athletic event into a disastrous and disappointing experience is to be unprepared. I recall committing my full support as long as he committed to work his pants off to be ready.
Don't get me wrong, Denten has never been a slacker. He works hard and does things right, but this was a big deal... he had never run a marathon before. He had never swam competitively before. He was considering doing both with a major bike ride sandwiched in between.
He had persuasive and strategic phone calls with Wade and I had concerned phone calls from Katelyn. "Do you know what we're getting into? Do you realize we will be single mothers this year? Do you think they're serious??" Then the phone call from Dent, "I'm in."
And he was. The registration alone was a significant financial commitment. Training schedules were outlined. A budget was created. I learned which activities I would have to either fore go or find sitters for or do alone with the kids. We learned that time with dad wasn't wasted, it was appreciated.
Yesterday at 7:55 p.m., he crossed the finish line of the Arizona Ironman triathlon with a smile on his face as the announcer called out over the loudspeaker, "Denten Robinson, from Phoenix, Arizona... YOU are an Ironman!" I might have cried a little. He did it. And he did it right. He did it with no regrets. He did it with many hours of preparation and training behind him and it was not disastrous or disappointing. It was inspiring and motivating and amazing.
It was hard and long, for both the participants and the spectators, but it was enjoyed by both as well. I believe that the pride seeping from both his mother and I at the finish line was felt by everyone around us. As we were anticipating his arrival around the final corner into the finish chute, I was whispering, "come on, babe." She was whispering, "where are you, bud?" Cooper was straining his little neck to see his dad in the final minutes of the event we've all been preparing for and anticipating for a year. He didn't disappoint. He finished strong and it was incredible.
Today was open registration for the Arizona Ironman 2010. They filled all spots and sold out in 24 minutes. Many of those registered for next year were finishers last night. Denten's name is not on the list for next year. We both have mixed feelings about that, but this year will hold different adventures for our family. Photos and details about the big day coming soon!