Three years ago at IRONMAN Wisconsin amidst 2,400 athletes I saw one woman wearing a flower. It was red, and she was unstoppable. I chased her down the street in giddy excitement. We hugged, and I told her how special it was to see her on the course.
Yesterday, I saw dozens, worn by competitors, volunteers and spectators. I saw countless people – men and women – rocking their flowers, and it took my breath away. I hugged more strangers than I can count and celebrated defining moments for some of my dearest friends.
I was humbled, honored and proud that the message of Fellow Flowers served as inspiration for these amazing athletes.
As my friend Angie Krey and I realized amidst conversation (and weepy eyes and full hearts while watching our husbands yesterday) it is an absolute privilege to witness those you love and care about claim and celebrate their truest potential as a human being. Having a front row seat to that transformation is a happiness and joy on a whole other level. There is nothing like spectating on Ironman day – you see true grit, resolve and heart on full display and it captures you unlike anything I’ve ever felt.
The individuals in this collage all wore flowers yesterday. Nick Krey, husband of #ffcrew member Angie rocked /green/ because as he told her, ‘I know I was born to do this.’ (Sidenote: Dudes with flowers immediately become my heroes.) Our #ffcrew ladies Amy, Sarah and Janell all crossed the finish line with their hands up, smiling and SOAKING in the moment. AND they were cheered on by many of their fellow crew members, both spectating and volunteering. We had every spot on that course covered!!! We saw our longtime FF Karen rocking her red flower through to the finish… celebrating a journey long in the making.
And get this chance sighting: I ran into Julie in the parking lot, a woman I had never met before Friday! I spotted her orange flower as we were driving away and I stopped the car, jumped out and nearly tackled her with excitement. (I learned later 20 fiercely united souls had traveled there with her, all cheering her on… and ALL wearing orange flowers. I got to see her cartwheel to her finish like a BOSS too. #heartburst)
The IRONWORX MULTISPORT ladies – our amazing partner in the tri world – were also rocking flowers. Strength, hope, and self-belief got Amy, Kelly, Regan and Dee Dee through to the finish. (Um, and side note again: if you ever need a tri coach, Heidi at Ironworx is THE BEST and I can guarantee you would LOVE her. Every single one of her athletes finished #likeabossyesterday, including Jason…. just saying.)
We’ve gone from one flower to more than I can count. It wasn’t just my husband Jason… it was men, women and kids coming together to do something EPIC as a community. My heart swelled for many reasons yesterday… and I hope you’ll all join me in giving our FF community a HUGE ‘you are freaking amazing’ congratulations. Also, rumor has it we’re coordinating a Fellow Flowers cheer station next year… so if you’re thinking about participating (or spectating), we’d love to see you on the course next year!
p.s. If you were out there and we missed you, share your photos so we can celebrate your incredible 140.6 accomplishment!