I went to Samoa in the weekend to support the Hot Man in his first ever Half-Ironman – as his watergirl. I got there late Friday night and couldn’t sleep because I was so nervous about his event. Major freaking out as I ruminated over the 101 things that could possibly go wrong as my forty-three year old husband attempted to swim 2km (in an open harbour where Jaw’s second cousin likes to hang out), bike 90km up curving mountainous pot-holed roads with no sidewalks or markings, and then run 21km through the center of Apia township in the blistering 30+ degree heat. The swim was particularly terrifying because he only just started swimming 5 months ago – I mean, the man would swim one lap and stop to puke because he felt so sick doing it…how in heck was he going to swim for an hour without dying? More importantly (because as usual, everything is about ME), how was I going to stand it watching him swim for an hour as I imagined all the mutant colossal squid creatures that were waiting to devour him?
So yeah, by the time we loaded the car with all his gear at 4.30am, I was an emotional wreck because I’d already envisioned him: drowning, getting eaten by sharks, crashing his bike in a gully, getting hit by a nutso Samoan bus, collapsing in a heat stroked puddle, dying by brain aneurysm or heart attack. And yet I was supposed to be the motivating, positive supporter… Ha.
It’s exhausting being a watergirl. Emotionally AND physically. Especially if you’re coming from the depths of NZ winter and get the (dumb) idea to use your waiting watergirling time to get lots of sun so “I can be nice and tanned!” The Hot Man took five hours and fifty-one minutes to do the course. In that time I prayed…cheered…muttered curse words under my breath when I had to run from one end of town to the other with ice because the roads were blocked off…chatted with nice volunteers and spectators…AND made every effort to stand in the blazing sun the entire time. (I may also have gone to McDonalds for breakfast but that’s because an athlete has nothing nice to eat at their house and I needed sustenance that wasn’t a protein shake, energy bar or electrolyte gel…yuck, yuck, yuck.) Which meant that by the time the Hot Man crossed the finish line brandishing the Samoan flag because he was the very first Samoan to finish – I was sunburnt – AND dizzy, dehydrated, vaguely delirious and wanted to vomit.
In other words, I wasn’t a very good watergirl.
That afternoon, the Hot Man was cruising on an endorphin high – while I was hallucinating, standing in a cold shower and drinking heaps of water. I didn’t even go with him to the prizegiving because I was lying down in front of the fan. It took me 24 hrs to recover and by then it was time for me to get on a plane and fly back to Auckland winter.
But, heat exhaustion aside, I’m very grateful I got to be there when the Hot Man unleashed his ‘inner Ironman warrior.’ I’m in awe of his sheer will, endurance and fortitude. (And his man-warriorness in that triathlete skin suit aint half bad either…)