August 27, 2017
Written by J.L. Haler
This weekend we went down to Ironman CDA. Now, I know Ironman can be a hot topic for many. Some people love it, some hate it. There are those that don’t really have an opinion either way but those are not the ones you hear speaking up. I always considered it like other events in town. I know it’s going to happen and on what days, so I just plan my driving and errands for those days around it. No big deal.
Those who know me know I love being outdoors, but I prefer the forest to the crowded cities. However, as this was the last full Ironman in CDA and we knew a couple of people participating in it we wanted to watch it happen. We observed something amazing: one of those things that is difficult to describe unless you witness it. But I will make an attempt to give you a glimpse, an inkling of what we experienced.
On the sidelines: community volunteers cheering, encouraging, and offering aid when needed. Spectators applauding for those they knew and didn’t know. It didn’t matter the age, gender, or race. Shouts were yelled, bells were rung, and signs were waved. Some signs personalized; others more general and made to make you laugh. We watched spouses checking in on loved ones and we watched kids running alongside their parents for short distances. It was a family event. One beautiful moment that made us smile was a couple of kids whose mother and father were in the race. They ran beside the dad, then when the mom came a bit later ran with her and encouraged her to pass their dad.
During the day we saw people pushing for a goal, striving even though it was tough, hot, and they felt sick. We heard talk of stomach aches and vomiting. Not complaints, just talk of it. It didn’t matter that they felt like crap, they were persevering despite this. We saw athletes with taped up body parts to alleviate aches and pains, we saw them adjusting clothing to cool down from the 90+ degree day. We watched people walk when they couldn’t run any more but continue to take step after step getting a bit closer to their goal. We saw athletes in the zone, tuned out to everything around them, and we saw athletes smile in joy at those on the sidelines cheering them on. We saw athletes pulled from the race because, while their minds continued, their bodies couldn’t do it anymore. Others finished and then limped away, or went to medical tents. And I saw a man who wouldn’t cross the finish line until he paused on the sidelines to give his daughter, wife, and family a hug and kiss for their support.
We were thanked by finished athletes for being there, for cheering them on, and told what an inspiration it is and how much it makes a difference.
What we saw was something I love to see in this world. We saw the fight to continue despite difficulties. The drive to do something you love, to strive for and complete a goal. We saw love, compassion, and encouragement to all involved. We saw nothing but positivity, joy/happiness, and a community working together.
You may be happy to see Ironman CDA go, you may be sad, or you may not have an opinion. All I will say is farewell, Ironman CDA, thanks for the great day and thanks for showing me the wonderfulness that can happen in this world when you pursue a goal with passion and when people put differences aside to pull together in support of others. It was an inspiration.
I love spending time with my family doing all the wonderful activities in the Inland Northwest.