Ironman New Zealand

We woke before the sun was up, I kissed my Ironman & wished him good luck. Shortly after I walked to the swim start from our hotel; I prayed the whole way as I passed hundreds of people dotted along the lakeside. The dark clouds rolled over Lake Taupo as the winds were gusty and the white caps were crashing down. The canon went off at 7AM and Ironman New Zealand was underway. Team Dovey received VIP passes from Meredith Kessler; a wonderful perk and the best way to watch an Ironman. Thank you Meredith, we greatly appreciated everything! I ducked into the warm restaurant where it was VIP only (we felt very special) and watched the swim from the glass windows that overlooked the lake. I saw over 30 people getting pulled out of the water, a testimate of how hard this swim truly was. I prayed some more and was thankful in this moment that my husband was a strong swimmer.

As the female pros were getting out of the water, Team Dovey spread out along the swim shoot, to cheer on Jackson. I yelled for him as he ran past and even got a smile! I raced up a hill to catch him for a split second as he saddled up for his 112 mile trek on the  bike. Team Dovey (Jackson’s parents and myself) cozied up in a quaint cafe and sipped on the most amazing lattes. We did feel a little bit of guilt as we were sitting by the fire, warm and content, as Jackson was sitting on a tiny saddle for the next five hours.

It is no wonder Ironman New Zealand has consecutively been voted as the number one race from participants and spectators: the volunteers, community support and the amount of times you get to see your Ironman, is like no other race! If you haven’t spectated an Ironman race, I encourage you to do so. An Ironman race is one of the most: inspirational, motivating and positive atmospheres you will be apart of.

As the time got near Jackson’s 2nd loop of the bike, Team Dovey spread out again to get optimal cheering power, to pump him up on his final loop of the bike course. Team Dovey refueled for lunch and before we knew it Jackson epic bike quest would be coming to an end. After 5 hours, 1 minute and 21 seconds, Jackson was off the bike and we cheered as loud as we possibly could, as he set out to run a marathon….YES a marathon!

Jackson was in the top three amateur racers after the bike and we hoped he could make up some time to achieve his goal of not only winning his age group, but overall amateur as well; hey, dream big! In the past Ironman races Jackson’s running has not been his strong suit and understandably so, after swimming and biking for so long. This race he wanted to P.R. in his marathon run and we were yelling extra loud so he could achieve that feat. He smiled every time we saw him on the run course and I realized during this race I hadn’t been worried or anxious, but kept cheering my a$$ off and praying was in full force. As Jackson finished his last loop, which was averaging one hour per loop, we were feeling overwhelmed with pride and joy for our Ironman! The loops were nice as we got to see him multiple times, but we lost track of what place he was because of all of the people running both ways, the Ironman tracker had also been down most of the day. We loved all of your text messages and we felt all of the cheering from home!

As the one hour marker of his final loop was approaching, Jackson’s mom and I raced to the VIP finish line; we were so gitty as I chocked up and told his mom how proud of him I was! I’m truly the only one that sees Jackson’s dedication, day in a day out. Not only is he amazing at his job & his diligence in his training, but makes time for me and sometimes even gives up his training sessions to spend time with me; I feel like the luckiest wife and I’m beyond proud of him! Ok, enough of the gushy stuff and on to the most memorable part of the race…the FINISH! We saw Jackson coming down the long finish shoot, knowing he won his age group and was the second amateur overall. As we screamed at the top of our lungs, Jackson high fived the fans, waved up to us and even had energy to jump at the finish line. The VIP access let us see him right away, to give him a sweaty hug & wet kiss! We all knew what this victory meant, another vacation to…HAWAII!! He also P.R. his marathon time of 3:04:38; a race with many goals achieved and one to go down in the memory book!

We grabbed our Winner a beer and he chugged it down with the taste of sweet victory. Team Dovey was overwhelmed with excitement and pride, we were all on cloud 9. We all needed to freshen up after our 9+ hour day, so off to our hotels we went. We met up at Burger Fuel and scarfed down our grass fed, New Zealand burgers and drank celebratory drinks.

Team Dovey and our Ironman were all wiped out after such an exciting day, that we decided to end the night early and reconvene in the morning. As I looked back at this Ironman, it was the best one yet and the taste of victory for Jackson never felt better. Now onto traveling our way through New Zealand, a dream destination for both of us!

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Ironman Kona

Ironman Kona is the pinnacle of all triathlon races, equivalent in this sport is like the Super Bowl, the Wimbledon or the World Cup, the big Kahuna so to speak. You have to qualify by placing at the top of your age group at an Ironman race. It’s a challenge to just do an Ironman, but this race brings the best of the best in the sport. This was my husband’s second time competing in Kona and I was just along for the ride, as his biggest cheerleader!

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The second time at a race is always more enjoyable for everyone involved. We knew to have someone go early to get a spot on the pier, to go to ‘hot corner’ after the swim, what restaurant to go after seeing him take off on his quest of 112 miles on the bike and how to split up on his marathon run, to optimize our cheerleading squad. There were 14 #teamdovey supporters and we were in full force cheering our Ironman on! Even Jackson’s grandparents were there, second year in a row! #lifegoals

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Jackson’s mom rented a house in Kona, a few miles from the race. The house was a sanctuary for all to meet up to: relax, watch the sunset on the balcony and have family dinners. There is something about being with family that lets you be an authentic you and have belly laughs for days.

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The first night we got to Kona, Jackson and I planned a date night at the Four Seasons. We knew this was a must before family got there and Jackson’s Ironman obligations started. When we got to the Four Seasons we felt worlds away, their grounds are prestine and you immediately feel relaxed with the tropical decor and quietness of the grounds. We ate at ULU Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge and everything that touched our lips was a true mouth explosion! Jackson and I watched the sunset and while sipping on my pina colada, I slipped into vacation mode.

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The next day was the Underpants Run, a pre-race tradition. Jackson’s team all meet in their Everyman Jack speedos and no one was disappointed! I spectated the race, which was the best people watching ever; the costumes and lack their of was a sight to see.

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Friday was a day for Jackson to relax and check-in his bike with his team, so I left with my parents to the Four Seasons for lunch. After lunch we shopped around in Waikola. It was nice to getaway because the day before a race is never a fun day for the significant other of an Ironman and understandably so…tomorrow was a big day! Friday night we had everyone over to the house and Jackson bbqed his prerace meal for everyone. After dinner he made a speech to all of #teamdovey, it was a very touching moment. After the speech he passed out a hand written note to everyone…melt! We all got our Everyman Jack shirts, a lei, a whistle and Jackson’s mom gave the girls a beaded bracelet with his race number, so special! We laid our stuff out and got to bed early, I prayed for Jackson’s guardian angel and was actually really excited for the race (I’m usually a bit nervous and can’t sleep).

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We woke up early and Jackson’s parents took him to the race start. I followed soon after with my parents. Jackson’s mom declared a space on the pier as we anxiously awaited the canon to go off. The swim start is a spectical in and of itself, 1400 men swimming in the distance, the water looks like thousands of fish flopping at the surface of the ocean. Jackson said the swim is a real fight, with men punching and kicking trying to gain that front position. I’m just thankful my husband is a good swimmer and can handle his own.

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After the swim we quickly hopped off of the pier wall and raced to the ‘hot corner’ to see Jack race by on his bike. We saw him up-close at the start of the bike and then we raced to the other side to see him wize by us, then to the other side to see a better view as he was peddling his heart out to look his best amongst hundreds of people as he was going up a steep incline. This part reminded me of a small glimpse into the Tour de France with hundreds of people trying to get as close as they can to the cyclist they are cheering on. After we saw Jackson on his trek uphill, that was the last time we saw him for the next 4.5 hours.

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This is normally a nerve racking time for me because the bike is the only real danger during a triathlon. We walked to Daylight Mind Coffee Company, where all #teamdovey and a few Everyman Jack cheerleaders were. Meeting new people and being around family passed the time quickly and I wasn’t worried once, guilty yes…we ate breakfast while my husband was riding his bike through wind, intense heat and let’s not forget about the tiny seat he’s sitting on. From there, Team Dovey met outside the restaurant to see Jack on the run and it ended up being a perfect spot to cheer him on.

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His splits started to drop on the run and I was getting worried because I knew the pace he wanted to keep. I didn’t give up, I marched to a spot where I could catch him before the finish. Although I was exhausted and feeling bummed that he wasn’t reaching his ultimate goal, I pushed on and cheered my @$$ off and then sprinted down to the finish. The finish chute is magical, flags line the chute from every country, music blaring and Mike Reilly exclaiming “you are an Ironman,” to everyone that crosses the finish line it is an emotional and spectacular thing to to be a part of. Jackson raced down the chute and I got to witness my man crossing the finish line as tears streamed down my face, I was one of the most proud wives. My husband accomplished something most humans can’t fathom to even think about doing in a lifetime. Jackson found me amongst the sea of people and gave me a kiss; a kiss that meant the thank you for the endless hours of support, dedication to his training and finally excited about off season. He did it, another race under his belt, one to be proud of and he crossed the finish line with pride! This year he finished 9th in the US!! Team Dovey is so proud and now it’s time to party!

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