Sunday, September 7, 2008
Brent is an IRONMAN!!!
On August 2nd, Brent embarked on the most difficult physical task of his life! We got up before the sun to travel from our Santa Rosa hotel to the small, wooded town of Guernville, CA where thousands of triathletes were setting up transition stations, slicking their bodies with sunscreen and sport shield, downing Cliff Shots and Gatorade, and donning their first outfit of the day, a full body wetsuit. Brent was lucky to have an old friend and race buddy with whom to share the pre-race jitters while I eagerly filmed anything I could. (Video footage yet to come.) The start was announced and Brent hopped in the still waters of the damned Russian river along with his heat of men from 18-39. Brent was one of the youngest, as endurance sports seem to be an older man's domain. In spite of all the kicking and heavy breathing and splashing, the morning seemed so serene as I stood on the bank, watching the steam rise off of the warm water into the cool morning air. Brent was easy to spot, as he wore a green swim cap that stood out among the white caps that were mandated for his age group. Brent never really has let people tell him what to do. After an hour and sixteen minutes in the stroking his 2.4 miles, Brent stepped out of the water smiling and ran on to his transition into the bike. A lengthy 5 minute transition gave him time to change, throw on some more sunscreen, and find his center. His 112 mile, hilly bike trip took him through forests, towns, and the beautiful vineyards that characterize the area. I was able to see him at about mile 59, driving the car alongside him as he rode and ate a cherished sub sandwich---a nice relief from all the Clif Bars and Shots he'd been downing at every aid station. I offered him cheers and pumped music and wished him my love as he continued on. At the end of 6 hours and 25 minutes, I had gone shopping, read, eaten lunch, driven all over Windsor, CA and probably could have even squeezed in a pedicure. Meanwhile, Brent was more than ready to be off his bike, and it showed as he pedaled into the transition area. When compared to the hours that it takes to do an Ironman, I guess his nearly 11 minute transition wasn't too indulgent!!! He was so excited to be off the bike, that 26.2 miles on foot didn't seem so bad! The run course of the Vineman loops three times, so it gives the viewer plenty of opportunities to see their athlete. He always ran by, cheery and excited, and acting like more of a goofball that taking himself seriously like many of these hardcore triathletes. Brent's best marathon in the past brought him to the finish line in 3 hours and 19 minutes, but having done everything that he had before this marathon started in 80+ degree weather, he knew to pace himself at a much slower speed. I anxiously waited at the finish line with friends, hoping that he hadn't injured himself in fatigue on the last loop. Soon enough, Brent Fowler finished 4th place in his division after a 4 hour and 25 minute marathon, leaving him with a total time of 12 hours, 23 minutes and 46.5 seconds. He was weak and exhausted, but in good spirits and ready to eat some FOOD! The finish line was an emotional experience for us both. Shortly after, Brent said that he was done with Ironman triathlons, but I knew better than to believe him. When the post-race fatigue wore off the next morning, Brent was saying he couldn't wait to do another!!! Thank you all for your prayers and support during this immense experience! You can view the official race photos at http://orders.racephotonetwork.com/QPPlus/Proofs.aspx, type in Vineman and his bib number is 20.