St. George For My Mom’s IRONMAN 70.3 World Champs!!

St George Ironman 70.3

My mom is a badass.

Last weekend I flew to Utah to watch her compete in the IRONMAN 70.3 world championships. I can still hardly believe I get to say those words about her, because I’m pretty sure most women ages 65-69 can’t even finish an IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon (I sure couldn’t, and I’m nowhere near 65!) and she’s the 18th fastest woman in the world in that age group. Inspired doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about my mom. 

It was a quick 48-hour trip because I’ve already been traveling so much, first to NYC and then to Boston and Portland. But the whole family was flying to Utah to cheer on my mom, and I didn’t want to miss it.  

St George Ironman 70.3

My parents picked up me and my little sister Kylee from the (teeny tiny!) St George airport. 

This was the day before the race, so my mom was stopping by the transition spots to get all of her stuff in order. There is sooo much stuff you need for a triathlon! Haha. I had no clue just how much gear it requires until I did that sprint triathlon earlier this year and was like, “am I doing this right? Why do I have so much crap?”

St George Ironman 70.3

It was so much fun seeing my mom in her element. She knew a ton of people there (from her triathlon club back in Dallas, as well as connections from doing these events for the past 15 years.) I love watching her thrive. 

St George Ironman 70.3

I don’t often get to see my mom as the center of attention. She’s the glue, the rock, the scheduler and the chef and the teacher and the comforter, and despite deserving the title every single day, she’s typically doesn’t act like she’s the star of the show. 

But this weekend, she WAS the star of the show. And she owned it! We were all there to cheer her on and watch her compete for something she has worked SO hard towards for so many years, and it was amazing to watch her step into the spotlight and embrace the attention. I loved seeing her absolutely shine. 

St George Ironman 70.3

An IRONMAN 70.3 is a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike, and a half marathon (13.1 mile) run. 

The world championships happen once a year, and the fastest few in each age group are selected to compete. 

My mom started doing triathlon when she turned 50. She and her sister would compete in a fun, casual, sprint-distance triathlon in Washington state every year. 

She loved it and started getting more competitive. She hired a coach and began doing olympic-distance triathlons, which eventually led to a few half IRONMAN tri races. She even did the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon in the San Francisco Bay last year!

She seems to be getting fitter and stronger and faster every single year, which isn’t a fluke or an easy thing. She really works for it. But she also enjoys it. She always says that her ultimate goal is to enjoy each race, and it’s fun to hear about the ways that she’s trained not only her body, but also her mind, to learn to enjoy these long and grueling distances.  

St George Ironman 70.3

Cheering squad! We woke up early on Friday morning and it was COLD in the Utah desert! Like 36 degrees! 

St George Ironman 70.3

We saw my mom’s wave of swimmers just before they took off and got to give her a high five and a smile. She looked so nervous/excited! 

St George Ironman 70.3

…and then this was so sweet: we watched her T1 (transition 1) from swim to bike, and as she was sprinting out of there ready to bike 56 miles, she leaned across the gate and yelled “happy birthday to Milo!” (it was his 3rd birthday on this day.) We caught it on video, texted it to Nate back in Austin, and he showed it to Milo. 

Who watched it 18 times in a row. 

Talk about superstar grandma status. I love that she remembered to yell that as she was running toward a grueling bike ride through the mountains!

St George Ironman 70.3

Lol to me waking up early and holding a sign upside down…

St George Ironman 70.3

That’s better! 

St George Ironman 70.3

As a spectator, St. George was beautiful! It was cold in the morning and then warmed up to the 60s in the afternoons.

For the athletes, it was apparently a pretty tough course. The desert was dry, it was freezing cold during the swim and then hot during the run, and the bike and run had some mad hills. Not to mention the altitude! 

St George Ironman 70.3

Four sisters here to cheer on our mama!! 

St George Ironman 70.3

Starting her 13.1 mile run. They spit the athletes right out on a giant HILL for the beginning of the half marathon. Can you even???

I mean, they literally just finished a 56-mile bike ride through the mountains and then they have to run uphill at the start of a 13-mile run? Pure grit, these triathletes. 

St George Ironman 70.3

^ A very random side note…

Have you tried these? They’re non-alcoholic beers, and they’re the best ones I’ve ever had! I drank them pretty regularly when I was pregnant, but I still drink them sometimes when I want to enjoy a bev but I don’t want to feel any sort of hangover/grogginess the next morning. 

They were giving away samples at the race, so I snagged this one. Nate and I had literally just seen an ad for their new LITE beer and we were both like, “nah, no way!” 

I mean, a non-alcoholic beer is already a step down…so also making it LITE?? 

But I’ve gotta say…it was actually pretty darn good. Only 25 calories so it felt refreshing/hydrating in a beer-ish sort of a way. It was fairly flavorful! I’d rather go for their hazy IPA (non-alcoholic) or if I want something with alcohol and I want a lite drink, I love the Alstadt Brewery lite lager brewed in Fredericksburg. 

St George Ironman 70.3

A fun fact about me: I cry at finish lines. 

I don’t often cry during movies, but put me at a finish line to watch athletes finish a race? I will cry. Every time. 

St George Ironman 70.3

^ Especially when one of those athletes is my own mom. 

I’ve phrased it every way I can think of, but my mom is SO strong.

And I know it’s impressive for a woman in her late 60s to be competing in these races, but there’s also all of the other stuff she deals with on a day-to-day basis that I’m not going to share here (her story to tell, not mine.) But she has overcome and conquered and fought and advocated and hustled in ways that I can hardly even believe. She’s a champion, in every sense of the word. 

St George Ironman 70.3

It’s a complete privilege to be your daughter, mom. Not sure how I got so lucky in this life. 

PS: my first stab at a triathlon, and another trip to Utah, back before I had any kids.  

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