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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