I spent the afternoon at Ironman Arizona to watch a friend who happens to be a professional Ironman-distance triathlete. He is amazing.
The other thing that is amazing about triathlon is the environment surrounding the events. It is an incredibly supportive community, no matter whether it is a first-time athlete venturing into a sprint-distance race or a seasoned Ironman. However, as a recreational triathlete, I already knew that.
The thing that amazed me today as I looked around was the surprising dearth of Momzillas. I have a few theories.
(1) Ironman athletes are adults. While they have mothers, and many of them are undoubtedly Momzillas, they do not depend on their Momzillas for funding or transportation. (For heaven's sake - these people self-propel 140.6 miles in a single day - of course they don't need mom's wheels!) This largely removes Momzilla from the athletic equation, and may even serve to deflate her 'Zilladom and allow her to function more normally in society and even at athletic events.
(2) Many Ironman athletes have spouses, who may take over the role of the Momzilla to some extent. However, it is not socially acceptable to turn into a nutball over your spouse's athletic endeavors. Also, athlete-spouses may have children on whom to focus the majority of their Momzilla efforts, thus sparing the Ironman.
(3) Completing a triathlon of any flavor is an unarguable accomplishment. There really is no room for anything but pride when you are supporting your athlete, or watching any other person complete a tri. Okay - maybe there's room for a little bit of guilt and self-loathing over your own relative laziness. But that can easily be consumed by any good Momzilla's competitive drive and turned into an entry to an upcoming endurance event. And thus, the phenomenon that I own a road bike and and enjoy swimming in nasty urban lakes is finally explained.
Hmm...maybe it also begins to explain the unreasonable number of skating dresses in my closet...