He’s finally something his big brother is not – a triathlete!

Posted on October 4, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |



My younger son first crossed a finish line with me in 2011 when he was 2.5 years old.  I was competing in the Strathmore Women’s Sprint Triathlon and kids were allowed to run the last few yards with their moms and celebrate crossing that finish line with them.  This was my first triathlon and both my boys were there to celebrate and cross the line with me.  It was a very joyous occasion full of smiles and tears of happiness.  I did the same race the following year and once again my little one crossed the line with me.  He was ahead of me and totally thought he won and wanted to know why he didn’t get the medal. The racing bug had taken hold and wasn’t going to let go.  He competed in a few kids’ foot races over the next few years and all that did was whet his appetite.  At the age of four, he asked me if I would teach him “how to do one of those races where you swim, ride your bike, and then run really fast”.  I was so excited that he was wanting to jump into this world with me.

Rock the park triThe search for a kids’ triathlon got put on the back burner because we were facing an international move.  Once we got settled in our new place, I started my search again for kids’ tris that went as young as 5.  Found one!  I signed him up for the Rock the Park Kids’ Tri in Keller, Texas (September 27, 2014). For his age group it would be a 25m swim, 1 mile bike, and a 1/3 mile run.  I told him about it expecting a lot of excited shouting and dancing around.  What I got was more along the lines of “Oh, why did you do that?  Cancel my registration and get your money back.  I don’t want to do it.”  I tried not to let my disappointment show as I calmly said that I couldn’t cancel his registration and he needed to at least try.

To help him get ready for the tri and learn what all happens during transition, we staged a mini-tri at the house.  I don’t even know what the distances were.  He swam two lengths of the pool and then we went around to the front to his transition area. We went over the rules and went through the motions.  He was soon on his bike and gone.  After a few laps around the cul-de-sac, he was back at transition getting ready for the run.  Off he went at “maximum cheetah speed!”  When he got done, he was all smiles and laughs saying that he wanted to do it again (except not the swim because that was cold).  So he did multiple bike/run bricks and loved every second of it.

Batman’s T1

In the days approaching his first tri, the excitement level depended on what minute of the day it was.   He would be so excited, and then not want to go.  His dad and I stayed positive and didn’t make a huge deal out of the race.  On race morning we got up at 5-something in the morning and hit the road to Keller.  We got there with no problems and had plenty of spots to choose from in transition.  I was amazed at the size of transition.  He basically had a parking spot to himself.  After getting his body marked, we traced the steps that he would take – from the pool to his transition spot to the mount line and then which direction to go for the run.

He was in the younger group so they got to go before the bigger kids.  As he waited for his heat to start the swim, my husband expressed concern about the lack of a life jacket.  He only had to go 25m in the water, but that pool was quite a bit bigger than the one at our house.  I had brought his life jacket incase he would be more comfortable with it on, but he was adamant about not wearing it.  So my husband and I waited, not knowing what to expect.  For the younger kids, there is only one child/lane and there is a volunteer that swims with them should something go awry.  His heat is called.  He gets ready. He goes!  His swim stroke is the ever efficient doggy paddle, but he was across the pool in no time and second out of the water.  My husband was waiting for him on deck and off they went to transition.

One parent is allowed in transition to help and this time it was my husband.  I was on photography duty.  T1 went smooth and he quickly walked his bike to the mount line. I witnessed several kids that wiped out or would stop and needed help getting started again. The only help my kiddo required was to hold him steady while he started on the bike. His dad had planned on running along the bike course so that he could help if needed.  I don’t think he expected to get left in the dust.  The kid was gone.  Next thing I know he’s coming back and is stopped at the dismount line.  Back into transition to leave the helmet and the bike and he’s off on the run.

Once again, my husband intended to run this part of the race with my son.  Once again, my husband got left in the dust.  I watched my little one fly past people as he raced down the path.  He was around the bend and out of sight long before his dad arrived.  When I finally saw him again, I couldn’t believe it. He was still running!  I fully expected him to have pooped out by now.  He kept going until he crossed the finish line and got his finisher’s trophy.  Not quite understanding the concept of a “finisher award”, he excitedly told me he won first place and proudly showed me his trophy.

I asked him what he thought and he responded with a huge grin, big thumbs up, and an “I loved it!”.  I am over the moon and on Cloud 9!  I knew he would enjoy it once he got going.  My husband and I are both amazed at how well he did.  He was fast on the swim, super fast on the bike, and “maximum cheetah speed” fast on the run.  It was like he was able to just spread his wings and fly at this race.  While walking to the car, I told him that he is finally something his teenage brother is not.  “What’s that?”  “A triathlete, kiddo.  You are now a triathlete, and your brother cannot say the same.”  His eyes got wide as this information was processed in his brain.  At last, here was an occasion where he beat his brother.  When he showed his brother the body markings and trophy while telling his race story, there was a definite hint of smugness.

His second tri is coming up and we are back to the minute-by-minute fickleness.  I know that once he gets there he’s gonna love it.  Once again he’ll go “maximum cheetah speed” fast.  And once again, he will finish the race with a smile splashed across his face as his love for the sport grows a little more.  Oh, and the teenage brother still will not be able to call himself a “triathlete”.

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