I recently received a request from a fellow Ironman who competed at St. George in 2011. He commented on my post and offered to purchase the backpack we got as swag (see photo on: The 8 hour Car Ride.) this year. I didn't have another way of contacting him, so hopefully he might see this reply.
After giving it some thought, I am going to decline. I purchased several souveniers in St. George, including a bike kit. After I failed to finish, I contemplated returning them. But ultimately I decided that no matter what the outcome was, the 75 miles that I did complete were challenging enough. And every time I put my kit on to ride, I remember the challenges that I faced that day, the decision I made to quit, and above all, I remember how I felt afterwards and how I never ever want to feel that way again. I may have quit once, but I am not a quitter. It spurs me on to fight through wind, pain, fatigue or whatever I may be dealing with in training. The next time I toe the line, and I face challenges, I'll look back and think, "I've been through worse." I know, I'm probably breaking all kinds of etiquette rules or whatnot, wearing gear of a race I didn't finish. But oh well. After 7 Ironman events, I'll wear whatever the heck I want.
Plus, I am (secretly) a bag collector. I cannot tell you how many back packs, duffels, and various other shoulder/ sling/ handbags fill my closet and line the floor under my bed. I love luggage. I can't help it. Some girls like shoes. I like bags. Not purses. Pretty sure I don't own one of those. Functional bags. With space. And hidden compartments. And material that can stand up to my trail running shoes. And this bag has *amazing* capabilities. Tons of hidden spots and bottle holders and even a separate area for wet swim gear. Love it!
As a final note on the subject, I don't think the backpacks were exclusive to St. George. I'm pretty sure in the coverage of IM Texas two weeks later I saw a similar bag. A nice upgrade from the prior slingbags, maybe? I can't guarantee it, but I'll find out in a couple of months at IMAZ. So for the bargain price of $650, 6 months of training, and roughly 12 hours of competition... the Ironman backpack can be yours.
And I'll throw this out there (I know the last comment was supposed to be the final one, but this time I promise. Final one.) ... roughly 29% of the field didn't finish IM St. George. If there's anyone out there who wants to sell their backpack, leave me a response with your asking price and I'll try to put you in touch with the buyer. There's gotta be someone out there who doesn't want to look at that bag every day...