Ironman Boulder – The Finisher’s Chute and post-race (pt 5 of 5)   4 comments


The finisher’s chute is the stuff of legends. It’s a completely fenced off chute, carpeted (I’m assuming because people fucking fall over at this point), branded with Everything Ironman, and LINED with people. People are hanging over the sides of the chute slapping high fives, and there is some kind of crazy force that draws you toward the finish line. I wish I could explain to you how beautiful it is to turn a corner and see the chute that leads up to the scaffolding that IS the finish line. I can’t seem to make up my mind on whether I want to go slow and high five people, or if I just want to get to the end and be DONE with this thing. I don’t even notice that my insides are still completely liquid. Pain is gone. Chafing doesn’t sting anymore. All I see is hands reaching out, so I slap them.highfive

I hear Jenny yelling something at me (I think it was something like “enjoy the chute!!!”) I’m higher than cloud 9, I am a fucking triathlon GODDESS. The lights are so bright that it’s blinding (of course, I have been running in the dark with only a small shaft of headlamp light to guide my way for a while). The crowd is so loud, and then I hear it: Mike Reilly (the man who calls your name as you cross the finish line) says,

“CC Rowe! You are an IRONMAN!!!”

(Truth: he said my name and 2 others, BUT I DON”T CARE! This is how I’m remembering it, dammit.)

And I crossed that finish line, and I threw my arms in the air and SCREAMED as loud as I could. I couldn’t believe it. I had completed my fucking Ironman! I am pretty sure that I started crying immediately.




My catcher (the person who meets you at the finish line and makes sure you don’t pass out or collapse or anything) was AMAZING. I walked a little ways down the little post-finish line area, and one of my buddies from the Athena Triathlete FB page runs up and says, “I’VE GOT YOUR MEDAL!!!!” So, I got to receive my medal from someone that I know (THANK YOU MEREDITH!!!) The tears started to flow; I was a bumbling mess.

I saw Bill and Tasha and yelled “HOLY SHIT LOOK AT THIS MEDAL” in the most excited and ungraceful manner that only 15 hours of racing could produce. I see Wanda and gave her a giant hug. She’s already taken my bike home, dropped off all of my gear, picked up my post race clothes. That, dear reader, is a great Sherpa. My life was 1000000 times easier, just knowing it was done and I didn’t have to fuck with my bike and gear.

I went and got my finisher’s photo (worst photo of me EVER). My catcher stood by me the whole time and made sure that I got my finisher’s shirt and cap. She led me by the elbow out of the finisher’s area and into the food tent. She said goodbye and went off to catch her next Ironman. I love this woman! She probably saved me from wandering around in a daze for an extra 30 minutes.


HAHAHAHA! My face is swollen, the chub rub under my arm is just PRECIOUS, and I’m all teeth. This photo is certainly not the best ever of me, but it is the BEST EVER!!!!!

Once I got into the food tent, I figured out that my insides were seriously still fucked. There was a plethora of food, including pizza (my favorite post-race meal), but there was absolutely no fucking way that I was going to be able to eat it. My insides were still really sloshy, and I pretty much felt like I was going to implode. I tried to take a bite of pizza and ended up chucking it. Yes, you read that right. I THREW AWAY a piece of PIZZA. That’s when you KNOW I feel like shit. I grabbed a bottle of water to mix my post-race protein powder thing that Wanda had handed me after the race. I’m thankful I had the foresight to ask her to bring that to me, because food was NOT going into this belly. Hell, liquid wasn’t going to go into this belly either. I head out of the finisher’s area a whole lot quicker than I had expected and immediately head to the massage tent. I think I was the last person to get my name on the list for a massage. I stood around trying to talk to Bill and Tasha while I waited for my massage (I had lost track of Wanda). I couldn’t really hold any kind of conversation, all I could do was stand there and kind of stare off into space. Finally Bill is like, “uh, we have to go.” So I give them both giant sweaty nasty hugs and wait around for my massage and keep looking out for Wanda. (Sequence of event might have been in a different order, but I really don’t know. My brain was just as sloshy as my insides. Which were still sloshy.)

My post race massage is marvelous. MARVELOUS. She shakes my legs out, stretches me out some, presses into my feet. Nothing really deep or anything, just gets the blood flowing into places where the blood had most certainly stopped flowing. Just as I’m finishing my fluff and buff massage, Wanda appears. We decide where to go to dinner and head off to eat, drink, and be merry.

And thus ends my Ironman experience. My insides were completely screwed up for about 24 hours. I was pretty sure that my gut was never going to be normal again, and that I would never have functioning insides after that race. I vowed up down left right and center that I will NEVER EVER EVER do an Ironman again. Wanda asked me at dinner when my next one was, and all I could think was, “I never EVER want to feel like this again. If an Ironman make me feel like this much shit, then HELL NO.” Midday Monday, my gut started to relent and relax, and I finally got some relief from that horrible pain I had been dealing with for way too long. Not shocking, immediately following that relief, I started thinking, “You know… If I were at a lower altitude, and if the bike portion wasn’t so hilly, I bet I would do a whole hell of a lot better than I did this last time.”

Famous last words. Will I do another one? Probably. Will I be doing another one any time soon? Very unlikely. I think Ironman is like having a baby: You forget really quickly how much it hurts and your brain tricks you into signing up to do it again.

Posted August 21, 2016 by CC in Uncategorized

4 responses to “Ironman Boulder – The Finisher’s Chute and post-race (pt 5 of 5)

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  1. Awesome read, my friend!

    I was an athlete catcher in the finishers’ chute at IMCdA last summer – when it was brutally hot. (I think the high that day was 103°F or 106°F, it had been hot all spring, and they started the race an hour early in hopes of alleviating some of the heat issues.) I understand why they put the athlete’s name on the bib: talking to your athlete, saying their name repeatedly, really helped them connect with us so they wouldn’t wander off. My favorite athlete was really emotional, and when I told him “You did this – your brain got you through this – all those doubts, all those fears – you beat them,” he nodded his head and started sobbing. I got him to the photo booth. It was the only time I let go of him until I handed him off to medical. I told him, “I can’t be in your picture, but I’ll be right here, right next to you.” He replied, “I think you should be in the picture.” Internally, I laughed. Really, dude? All the folks who’ve carried you through your training, all the people who’ve made this possible, and you think I’m the most important? It drove home how brain-wrecked most folks are when they cross that finish line, especially the folks that come in on the last shift (when I was there). And no, I didn’t get in his picture. I think he would have regretted it in the long run, because this really was his special moment, and what I did was just a tiny piece of the puzzle.

    IMCdA led me to the decision that I’ll NEVER do a full. I’m happy to report that your race report has done nothing to disturb that decision.

    YAY you! I’m so proud of what you’ve done. It isn’t just about finishing and getting that medal. It’s about the emotional roller coaster you’ve endured over the last year. That would have derailed a lesser athlete. You conquered.

    • WOW! I hadn’t thought about how many times she said my name, but you’re right. She talked to me and addressed me by name the whole time. I was wandering around in a TOTAL daze, and it wasn’t even that hot! One thing that makes me sad: my catcher told me her name 3 or 4 times. I don’t remember it. But she was amazing. And yeah, at that point, the catcher IS the most important person in your training. I will say that “the most important person in your training” fully depends on where in your training you are.

      Funny, I said for years that I’d never do a full. I don’t exactly know when the desire to tackle this distance fully set in, but I am pretty sure that you are the smarter of the two of us. Haha

  2. I just read everything and as always, you amaze me. Such a badass!

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