I have the best iron sherpa. I realize I am extremely lucky that hubby is so supportive of my training and racing and goals and ideas. From the beginning, he has loved to come to races. He has mastered the art of cheering and taking pictures at the same time. He’s mastered the art of getting me from hell-no-I-won’t-go to the start line a zillion times. He manages to drive my friends to remote locations on the bike so they can cheer as I go by and text my parents and sister when they call during races to find out how I am and when I’m going to finish even when I’m three time zones away. He knows how to outsmart MDOT trackers and land at just the right spot at the right time to see me go by. In Boulder this June, he even indulged in the IRONMAN VIP Experience. To my surprise, he even met me at the finish line to GIVE ME MY MEDAL!
And, I have some AMAZING IronSherpa friends! They go out of their way to make me feel like I can do anything. My sister came to my first sprint race in Charlotte and has been a part of every race I’ve done (whether she realizes it or not). I’ve had friends (three of them) travel cross-country to watch me race in Santa Rosa and one friend travel to Nice when I did Ironman France! They have chalked up miles of sidewalk. Created HILARIOUS signs of me dressed as Vanna White and made signs out of blow up rafts! Written pre-race notes, served up flowers and french fries at the finished, shouted by megaphone and sung at the tops of their lungs to inspire and motivate me.
I was recently a sherpa for my friend Sami as she competed in the Iceland Xtreme Triathlon in Olafsvik. That trip meant that I did the marathon part of the race with her. Up and down a mountain and back again! Carrying hydration, nutrition, a compass, extra clothes for 5000ft of climbing up a glacier and keeping her entertained and on track (that story coming soon!). It meant singing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, changing clothes in a rainstorm and finding our way through fog and sleet and a moonscape terrain.
Athletes may not believe it, but being an IRONSHERPA is harder than being the athlete. You can bet there is no training plan for triathlon spectators! The early wake-up, the standing, the waiting, fighting traffic and all the cheering means your squad might mean they need epsom salts, Thera-Guns or naps for days on end! And, you don’t need a VIP pass to have an amazing experience as a trifan.
I’ve created an IRONSHERPA guide epecially for IMNC 70.3 - but it applies to any race. It has my top tips for being the best triathlon fan + places to stay and places to eat while you’re in town. If you’d like a copy, fill out the form and I’ll send you yours. Plus, you’ll get updates when I post to my blog. Next week, I’ll share three of the most creative, motivational and inspirational Sherpa boosts I’ve seen! As an athlete, if you’ve had an extraordinary Sherpa experience, share them in the comments below!