'Twas The Night Before Ironman

'Twas the night before Ironman, and all through the town,
no triathlete was sleeping, they were too tightly wound.
The tri-gear was hung on the doorknob with care,
Tomorrow is Ironman! Time for a prayer.

The Timex was set for a quarter 'til four,
plus another as backup, and even one more.
Deep breathing and Tums and some TV, perhaps,
Hoping to sleep, or at least to relax.

Tossing and turning for much of the night,
Dozing and dreaming of that first morning light,
Then just as the eyelids at last start to close,
Off go the alarms, scares you down to your toes!

You leap out of bed, and go check out the moon
The adrenaline's pumping, the senses attuned.
"So what if it's hot, and who cares about wind,
I feel like a million - bring it on! Count me in!"

With tire pump and needs bag and the rest of your gear,
It's time to get moving on down towards the pier.
From Melbourne, from Sydney, from Brisbane they come,
all down to Frankston, more than 1500 strong.

With a marker you're branded an Ironman here,
You better like your number, it won't wash off for a year.
You're finally here after training for months,
A long ago promise made good on, for once.

With Reilly and Ryder and Whit on the horn,
the excitement keeps building on this clear Melbourne morn.
The buzz in the air is electric and charged,
The athletes are ready to go, by and large.

As the pre-race counts down, the hearts start to pound,
You pray as you go, "Please, please, don't let me drown."
You tiptoe on down to the famed Frankston beach,
And wade into the waters so few ever reach.

Last minute adjustments, a splash and a stretch
Tummies all tumbling and wanting to retch.
The world's fittest humans all milling about,
and they enter the water when they hear Reilly shout,

"Let's go all you age-groupers, in the water with you,
and pros, on up front, c'mon - you know what to do!"
All nervous and hyper and itchin' to go
Triathletes a-twitter - here comes the show!

The spectators fill up the sea wall and pier,
they know that the cannon shot grows ever near.
Choppers a roaring, loudspeakers a-blare
"Get back to the buoy! . . now don't move from there!!"

And suddenly, BOOM! - and they're off, on their way.
The thrilling beginning of a great Ironman day.
The swim start is truly a sight to behold
a churning, white cauldron that's ABC gold.

The day will progress, through the swim, bike and run
And often beneath a big, blistering sun.
And once on the bike headed out to the tunnel
The winds start to blow and your gut starts to rumble.

White-knuckled you grind through the daunting Eastlink,
With the second lap done now you're close to the brink.
With temperatures soaring and gusts from all sides
It's never too soon to be done with this ride!

The worst now behind you, it's time for the run,
Compared to the bike this could almost be fun.
Unless the cloud cover moves out of the way
and the Australian sun decides to come out and play.

Now Caroline, now Meredith, now Craig and Cameron!
On Phillip, on Peter, on Anna and Kevin.
They've turned the last corner, this is no time to stall
Now push it hard, push it hard, push it hard all.

Some will be finished at three, four or five,
with daylight upon them, dead tired but alive.
But many won't get back to town until dark
Glad to be done, this is no walk in the park.

Up to seventeen hours, they swim, run and ride,
To finish is everything, they won't be denied,
Then out of the darkness, the finish is near,
You can hear the crowds cheering, you can taste the cold beer.

Rounding the corner on St Kilda you come,
The crowds lift you up and carry you home.
You've spent your last ounce, done all that you can
And Reilly just bellowed, "You're an Ironman!"

Every last runner is brought home by the crowd,
They're dancing and clapping and singing aloud.
Some leap for joy, others stagger across,
They can do what they want, tonight they're the boss!

The countdown to midnight, the race now is done,
It's all high fives and kisses, and sore feet and fun.
Priceless moments for athletes and spectators alike
There's no way in the world you'd trade in this night.

So as the triathletes limp off into the night,
Tired to the bone but their smiles beaming bright.
So what's left to say, though perhaps a bit trite,
Goodonya mates and to all a good night. 

Adapted from Kelly Mione, ironmanlive.com


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