23 August, 2012

Dwight Schuh, Irondad and how I failed to become a runner

Harvest Classic, c. 1992
I've participated in a quite a few fun runs and race walks in my time. As a sophomore in high school, I even joined my sister on the cross country team for part of a season. It was, however, an ill-fated stint, and I was compelled to rid myself of that evil before it caused permanent damage. Suffice it to say that I was not an asset to the team.

Christmas run, 2009
Beijing Marathon, 2009
My most recent events have been the 2009 Beijing Marathon 4.2k 'mini marathon', and a 2009 Boise Christmas fun run in which I walked with my nephew and pushed my niece in a stroller. It was just a whole ball of fun.

Since then, I have been very content to leave the running to my husband and family and put my efforts into the part of sport I enjoy: spectating.

This summer, I had the opportunity to ultra-spectate at Bighorn, and then for the first time I got to Iron-spectate for my dad at Coeur d'Alene Ironman.

It was not dad's first Ironman, but I had previously only spectated at one of his sprint triathlons, and this was a completely different animal. Honestly, the sprint tri seemed almost pathetic when compared with the vast scale and difficulty of Ironman (I say this knowing that I myself could not complete a sprint tri). It was overwhelming just to be there, let alone compete.

As it turns out, we almost weren't there. Dad had been in 'let's wait and see' mode for more than six months and had only just made the decision. On Tuesday he was ready to scrap the whole thing and take the loss. On Wednesday he went to chemo and came away feeling great. On Friday morning we were driving to Coeur d'Alene.

There are so many stories at an Ironman--stories of extreme weight loss, triumph, perseverance--my dad himself has a story. It's impossible not to feel inspired by these everyday people who show up to take on the infamous swim, bike, run. But it comes down to this: Are you tough enough? Can you dig deep enough? Are you an Ironman? My dad is a grumpy, stubborn old dude who didn't want to waste his money and who wanted a finisher shirt, but evidently he was also tough enough, and he finished that race like the Ironman that he is. With twenty minutes to spare.

Panic attack 
One lap down, one to go
Nose to the grindstone
Around mile 70 
Only 13 more miles!
'From Nampa, Idaho, 67 years old, Dwight Schuh, you are an Ironman!'

Shortly after Ironman, dad's middle brother and family came to visit. I hadn't seen them in years, so it was great that I happened to be around. We celebrated several birthdays and the 4th of July. 
Dad and his brother. 'Why didn't you tell
me to smooth out my shirt?' Dad said.
My Aunt's awesome apple pie
It's not summer in the US without the Corvair
I finished my time in the US with a camping trip in McCall with my sister and the kiddos. Of course it wasn't just camping. Things with my family aren't ever just one thing. It was camping 'and by the way, we're manning an aid station for the McCall Trail Running Classic'. But never mind, I picked up a cowbell and did my part for ultra running. We also sneaked in a hike and a canoe ride on the reservoir.

Next: Borneo, possibly? I think it's about time.