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  • Writer's pictureKandy Thietten

Ironman

What a couple of weeks it's been! Thank you so much to Ray and Corrine, Abe's dad and step-mom. We stayed a few days at their cottage, enjoying a full size kitchen every morning, where we'd relax and drink our coffee, and taking daily showers. What a blessing daily showers are! A friend of the family loaned us his pickup for a few days so we could get around if needed, and Corrine's brother let us take his pontoon out for a day. What a blessing family and friends are!

After the cottage, Ray and Corrine hauled us and the dogs out to their house outside of Detroit and we spent a few days there, exploring the beautiful area where they live. The neighborhood is full of hundred year old houses, with a few newer ones built with the same style of architecture - a lovely area to walk around. After the house, we went back to the cottage for one night on the way to Frankfort.

Saturday we took a one mile trail to some sand dunes. I don't know who made the sign saying that it was one mile, but they lied. Abe, his cousin and uncle, and I hiked the one and a half to two miles through a forest to the dunes, then a bit further through the dunes to a big sandy beach on Lake Michigan where we caught up to the rest of the men and children who were all swimming. I was the only one who was mostly dry when we left. I stood in the water up to my knees to relieve some mosquito bites and the waves splashed my shorts a bit, but it wasn't hot enough for me to get all the way in the water. I have come to accept that I am a complete wimp when it comes to getting cold, and I'm okay with that.


Sunday was the big day, the reason we had to be in Michigan at this time, the Ironman that Abe's dad, brothers, and step-brother-in-law were competing in. Abe's family rented a large Air BNB up on a hill, next to a lake 10 miles outside of Frankfort. It needed to be large because it had to hold nine adults and four children. Abe and I parked at the bottom of the property. We tried to make it up the narrow, steep, winding driveway when we arrived, but halfway up Abe realized that wasn't going to work. Fortunately, a neighbor came by and let us know that the property went all the way down to the road, and there was a perfectly flat spot for us there. We didn't have electricity, but we were surrounded by trees and the weather was cool the whole time we were there, so we didn't need it. It's nice that the weather is cooling off so we don't have to worry about the dogs while we're gone.


The men competing in the Ironman were gone before we woke up. When we woke, we had our normal morning routine of breakfast and coffee. I do enjoy a slow start to my day. I like getting up first and making coffee, maybe reading the Bible, and having some quiet time to myself. Once we were ready for the day, we took lawn chairs outside, hung our flags next to the road, and set up the speaker. The cycling part of the Ironman went right past us, then eventually turned around and passed us again, so we turned on some 80's rock and cranked it up. The racers weren't able to have music playing for themselves, so we decided to provide it at least for a few seconds. Almost everyone seemed to appreciate it. They'd bob their heads, dance on their seats, wave, smile, or thank us as they rode by. It was a blast! Hopefully it helped having something to focus on besides being exhausted, at least for a little bit.


Once our four family members had all gone by the second time, we kicked ourselves in gear, making a mad dash to get our bike shoes on, putting the dogs up, taking the speaker in, and hopping on our bikes to rush the ten miles into town to see everyone finish their run. All of the cyclists had gone by the first time and the road was still closed to traffic, so we rode as hard as we could with the assist on the lowest level because Abe's battery wasn't charged so he was conserving it. We got cheered on by a couple confused spectators who didn't understand why we were on the wrong side of the road, until they realized we weren't racing, even though we were keeping pace with the racers. We made it to town with 45 minutes to spare before Abe's first brother came through the finish line and gave everyone the sweatiest hug I've ever had. After that, we had time to grab a quick bite to eat before going back to watch the other three as they came in one by one.


It was interesting watching people come in and cheering them on. Some looked bored, some were grimacing or limping and it was obvious that every step was torture, others looked ready to collapse from exhaustion, and the rest were either beaming with pride or overwhelmed with emotion at having finished such a huge feat. The ones in pain and exhausted were the most inspiring, but the ones that were beaming - smiling, yelling, or practically dancing - were fun, and as an onlooker I couldn't help but smile in return.


Now we're back at the repair shop that fixed our muffler because it's hanging low and loose. After we get it re-repaired, we're back to the cottage for a night, then back to my family for a night, then on our way to Kentucky to see the Ark Encounter. I hope it lives up to everything we've heard about it.

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