Monday, September 9, 2013--7p.m.
MADISON--From his UW Hospital bed, Zachary Rotert reflected on his first Ironman attempt. "I was throwing up in the gutter, just leaning over it, laying on the ground just throwing up over and over and over," he said. "Every 6 to 7 minutes after that I puked for the rest of the night."
The Ironman is a herculean task for even the most super of humans, but Zachary has the added obstacle of Type 1 Diabetes.
He said during training, he needed to check his blood sugar up to 15 times a day. But yesterday he checked it so much "we ran out of test strips," he said.
He'd watched his dad, Dan finish the race four times. This year the two signed up and ran the course together. "It was a phenomenal adventure for me," said Dan. "There were times that I don't think Zach really shared that feeling."
The two admit to having butted heads a bit, but dad stayed by Zach's side as he gutted it out. "I was terrified," said Dan. "It's a fine line between helping him realize his dream and being a responsible father."
There's a cutoff of midnight to be an official Ironman finisher--and after battling all day, stopping for Zach to vomit--these two were racing the clock to make it.
"I remember hearing the guy who announces it say 'I don't even care, you're an Ironman'," said Zach.
They couldn't see the clock, but one family friend said it looked like they didn't make it. The results on the website even show them missing it by seconds. But then an announcement: saying the official clock was slower than the course clock--and they made it--together. "I asked the two people who caught me 'did I actually make it in time or are you just being nice?'," said Zach. "They said 'no you made it, you did it with two seconds left'."
Zach finished just ahead of his dad. The two also wore matching outfits to represent their charity, K9 4 T1, which helps pair diabetics with diabetic alert dogs. To learn more: https://www.facebook.com/K94T1