THE IRONMAN FINISH LINE
Here’s a bit of what you can expect at the Ironman finish line.
In case you didn’t know, the people waiting just on the other side of the Ironman finish line when you arrive are called “catchers.” That’s exactly what they do. They catch you and make sure everything is okay. They will be your best new friend.
After the finish line several things will happen. First of all and most importantly you can finally stop running, or even moving for that matter. What happens after you come in under the clock depends your condition when you reach the finish line.
This can vary from being on a tremendous high and feeling great or on the other end of the scale–being taken immediately to the medical tent. Whatever the case, there is always someone there to help each and every triathlete as they arrive. This person will help you through the routine of the finishing area.
First of all they will take you to your finishers t-shirt and medal. Guard these with your life no matter how bad you feel.
If you really don’t feel well, you will be taken to the medical tent for observation. As it turns out, most athletes are dehydrated and if this is the case, will be given an I.V.
Depending on how you feel after the first I.V., you may be given a second one. I believe the Ironman record is SIX I.V.’s. A doctor decides how many you need.
All medical aid is covered by the insurance you purchase with your entry. Be kind to the doctors and nurses. Most of them are volunteering their time for you. If you feel o.k. at the finish line, have the person helping you point the way to the massage tent. You may have to sign in if its quite busy. It all depends on your finish time and luck. Normally the wait isn’t too long and the massage is amazing and well worth the wait.
Most finish line areas will have hot tubs. Personally I have never used one but that’s a personal choice. For me the 2.4 mile swim is enough water for one day. There is plenty to eat and drink and I would highly recommend finding a replacement drink as soon as possible. Do this before you eat and when you do eat, take it real easy. Your system will be out of sync for a while.
When you feel like you’d like to leave the finish area ask any volunteer where the transition bags are. All your bags from race-day will be together. Trust me, this is not the easiest part of the day. You have lots of wet gear and different bags to deal with. This is where you will be glad if you listened to what I said in my book Ironstruck…the Ironman Triathlon Journey and put an empty backpack in your dry strip bag. (the one you tossed on the pile that contains the clothes you wore race morning).
Stuffing a few of your transition bags into the backpack will really make things more manageable for you. Hopefully you followed my advice as well concerning a bike pump. Don’t take one race morning! There will be pumps there. You don’t want to have to carry one around as you leave transition.
Don’t forget! You have your bike to take out as well. The finish line area is secure and nobody can come in to help you. However, if you can somehow arrange to have them meet you as you exit, they can help you with your gear. It all depends on them seeing you arrive at the finish line and also when you decide to leave transition. Most times its not something you can really rush.
It can be a difficult thing to co-ordinate having help after the race. Usually, you will be on your own for some time with all your gear. Personally, I enjoyed the Ironman finish line experience. There are a lot of really happy people there. They may be sore, but at the same time, it will be slowly sinking in that they have accomplished something really special.
Take it all in and enjoy your time there even if you do feel a bit disorientated and weak. Its a really special time for you if you have just completed your first ironman triathlon.
Are you embarking on your first Ironman soon and are beginning to doubt that you belong at that start line? Perhaps you should read first Ironman doubts and find out why you do belong at that start line.