What the hell is Ditch the Tiara?

Redefining the word beautiful...one dirty, sweaty, bruised up mile at a time, with a few downward dogs along the way...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Iron Tiara: Spectator Extraordinaire - The Other Side - Published on 303triathlon.com

My latest post on 303triathlon.com!

Spectator Extraordinaire - The Other Side
By Kristina Jensen, The Iron Tiara
This past Sunday, I had the extreme pleasure of spectating one of my favorite races, the Boulder 70.3. Back in the day, it was called the “Long Course”, and it was my very first triathlon, having learned how to swim just weeks prior. I live and breathe the expression, “Go big or go home.” I have only competed in that distance five times, with four of them being on that course…which I absolutely LOVE.

A few weeks ago, I read over the bib list and I knew immediately that there was no way I was going to miss being out there. I imagine I knew somewhere in the ballpark of 75-100 people participating, and in my typical mind’s fashion, I had already started planning out my, er…um…*sparkly spectating attire* and signage. I often refer to myself as an attention “courtesan,” and I am fairly confident that I achieved my goal of being just that.

I have spectated exactly five triathlons in the entire time I have been involved in the sport – Ironman Coeur d’Alene, Ironman Texas, Escape from Alcatraz, Rattlesnake and the Superbowl of our sport, the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. Any other time I have been at a triathlon, I myself was racing. However, in the past, I never took it upon myself to go all out and be someone that would stand out to the athletes.

Well, I wanted this time to be different. I know for myself, when I am out on the course, feeling tired, hot and hungry, trying to find my support crew is so draining. When choosing my wardrobe, I wanted to be certain that when my friends were struggling, both mentally and physically, they could simply come out of their daze for a split second and immediately know I was there on the sidelines rootin’ them on. I’d say my mission was accomplished.

It’s true when you hear that spectating is a tough sport, especially in those longer distances. Geeeeeez! You feel a certain responsibility to have your own game face on the entire day so that you A)never miss the opportunity to see your loved one(s) out on the course and B)be fully armed with encouraging words for every level of “emotion” you’re going to see them experiencing as the day goes on. Your enthusiasm has to be on full volume the entire day, because if they see you draggin’ ass, it won’t bode well on their mental state of being.

I did my research and found some of the best (and funniest) spectating signs. Ever. I was up well past midnight on Saturday making them, as they had to be perfect! And when set out on the run course, anyone who knew me would know that I was the one who made them. I also hit up the Party Store and raided the section that would best represent the look I was trying to achieve. My alarm went off at 4:15am on Sunday morning so that I could be at the rez before the pros went off, and wish all of my friends good luck. Again, this spectating thing is tiring too. My respect for all of you that do this on a regular basis has grown exponentially after this past weekend!

To say I had an absolute blast being on the *other side* of the start line would be a grave understatement to my true emotions. I am so grateful to have been such a positive impact at such a fantastic event. From the moment the National Anthem was sung, to seeing my last friend make her way out onto her second run lap, I felt that I was a member of the most paramount “family” in the world. The triathlon community itself is amazing, but to be a part of it in the most beautiful state in the country (to be clear, this is MY opinion, not Forbes Magazine), is beyond words. I am blessed, truly blessed. And I’ve decided that if my current job doesn’t work out, that I may have found a new one in spectating. I could seriously do that full time!


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