Mike Paskin, you ARE an Ironman!November 24, 2009 by Bill Strong This weekend, we drove out to Tempe, Arizona to cheer on our friend, Mike Paskin, in the Ironman Arizona. We have no previous experience with the Ironman or triathlons or any competition of this sort, so this was all brand new to us. After this weekend, I can tell you one thing for sure -- this is one of those experiences where words and even pictures cannot possibly begin to describe the event, the emotion, the support, the enthusiasm, the motivation, and the pure inspiration, camaraderie, drive, respect, and determination of these extraordinary athletes. Quite simply, this weekend was an unbelievable experience and something that we will never, ever forget.
We are so proud of Mike and inspired by his dedication to training for, competing in, and finishing the Ironman. We are also humbled by his complete selflessness in turning his Ironman training into an SMA awareness and fundraising campaign for the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation through his TriathlonForACure.com. And, we are truly honored that we could be a part of it all. Mike Paskin, you ARE an Ironman!
The Ironman is one of the most, if not THE most, ambitious athletic tests in the world. It consists of a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, followed by a 26.2 mile run. Yes, you read that correctly. That's over 140 miles of swimming, biking, and running -- back-to-back-to-back-to-back! Think of this, between the time Mike started and finished the Ironman I had gone to Starbucks three times, had three meals, taken a nap, and enjoyed a glass of wine. Watching from the sidelines you could tell that it was a grueling test of endurance and I can tell you that Mike literally blew doors on this little test called the Ironman.
He's extremely modest and would never boast about it, but he finished in a total of 12 hours, 48 minutes, and 30 seconds and placed 153rd in his division -- way faster than any time estimate he ever mentioned to me. He finished the 2.4 mile swim in 1:29:06, the 112 mile bike in 6:24:09, and the 26.2 mile run in 4:31:56. Truly remarkable.
Mike, we are so proud of you and all that you have accomplished. Thank you for letting us be a part of it!
6:55am - 2,500+ athletes ready to go! You can literally feel the emotion in the crowd. I can't begin to imagine what it feels like to be an athlete treading water in the lake, reflecting on all that has gone into training for this one day, and waiting for that cannon to go off...
7:00am - BOOM! The cannon goes off and the 2,500+ athletes are off on the first portion of their Ironman, a 2.4 mile swim. Looks kind of like a washing machine
"Team Paskin" with signs in hand and cheers ready to catch Mike on one of his bike laps. We were able to see him a few times on the bike portion and he looked unbelievably calm and focused...
Case in point. Mike heading towards the transition from bike to the 26.2 mile run. Does this look like a guy who has just swam 2.4 miles and rode 112 miles on a bike?
The girls! Hanging out at the finish line, anxiously awaiting Mike's sprint to the end (literally)...
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