If you have ever done a big race you understand the importance of having a “Sherpa” with you to assist you. You need help with a variety of things including drop offs, pick ups, photo taking, social media updates, etc… After my Ironman, my Sherpa had to help me get in to the shower because I couldn’t get my kit off! I have been lucky to have people in my life Sherpa for me over the years so I was thrilled to Sherpa for someone special who was doing their first Ironman.
We got out to Tempe Arizona a couple days before the race and were busy doing last minute testing of equipment, checking out the course again, and making sure we had all necessary items for race day. My necessary items were a little different than his; while he needed nutrition and chamois cream I need poster board and my WonderWoman costume…
I had the best day EVAH!!!! It was one of the most inspiring things to be a part of. If you have never watched an Ironman from start to finish in person, you really should. It might just change your life! So below are some words of advice for the super important Sherpa.
- Eat frequently. You never know where your next meal may come from. Make sure you have cash and enjoy the junk food that is available. You are earning it! (yes, I had a snow cone the size of my head during the day; but I did stay away from the cheesecake on a stick)
- Know the course. I became very familiar with the course prior to the race and that, coupled with my iPhone, helped me navigate my way around very effectively. I easily saw my athlete 13 times throughout the day.
- Make people smile. I did everything I could to make the athletes smile while they were racing. I made funny signs, “Smile if you peed your pants” was a big hit; and I wore a WonderWoman costume, people enjoyed that!
- Cheer cheer cheer!!! I made it a point to read people’s names off their bibs and they all really seemed to like it. I know I helps get me through a race when someone calls out my name. I also gave people who I saw a bunch nicknames, “LA Tri”, “Purple matchey matchey”, Pink Socks”, anything that stood out worked.
- Chalk the course. I ran around during the swim and left messages on the course with sidewalk chalk. Some were funny, some were motivational, and many were inside jokes that only my athlete would get. I took pictures of many of them and it was fun to ask if he had seen them on the course.
- Take lots of pictures. It does get in the way of cheering but the pictures become treasured after the race and then everyone else can see what the experience was like.
- Update social media. We are both very active on Twitter and a few other sites so I updated all of them all day long. When the race was over, he was able to see my “journaling” of the day as well as all the people that were cheering him on online thorough the day.
- If you have a Garmin or sport tracking watch use it for the day. I think I walked close to 10 miles that day!
- And if you are at an Ironman, you have to go back for the last 30 minutes of the race. That is the most amazing time of the race. If you don’t cry in the chute during that time you have no soul!
Click here for Quadrathon’s race report.