SunRype Tri-Kids Triathlon 2013

Posted: August 27, 2013 in In Transition, Motivation
Tags: , , , ,

Now that my triathlon season has effectively come to an end, I’m refocusing a bit while I continue with my foot rehab to spending more time volunteering at events that have become near and dear to me, namely, the SunRype Tri Kids series.  This is my second year volunteering with this event series as working with kids and promoting kid’s triathlon has become a bit of a passion for me, particularly this year.

T1 for the 3-5 year-old's

T1 for the 3-5 year-old’s

Now, I have volunteered at adult events before but, well, let’s just say that being grunted at all day by exhausted athletes doesn’t exactly provide me with all those warm n’ fuzzies.  I realize it’s an important role come race day and its very appreciated despite the lack of direct ‘thank you’s’ from the competitor’s, but working with kids is just so, so…awesome.  I feel like my experience as a developing triathlete at this point is both welcome and appreciated at the bike mount line where I prefer to be positioned; reminding kids to breathe, smile, have fun, not to mention fixing any skipped chains, untied shoelaces, etc.  I genuinely love the absolutely shell-shocked expressions on their face and then reminding them – despite the pressures often being placed on them by their over-excited parents – that it’s okay to relax and just have fun.

I think they appreciate that.

Now, having said all that, if there is one thing that I have learned through this experience is that every parent likes to think that their child is special.  And while I agree, every child is special; some parents will take that to the absolute extreme.   I could go on and on about some of the crazy things I saw and heard parents do and say during the course of the day but, well, let’s just say it’s often crazy:  “Don’t drink unless you absolutely after to!”, “Ride hard!”, “Push! Push! Push!”, “Catch that kid in front of you!”, “Can’t you go faster?!” 

I only wish I was joking here.

Hey, whatever happened to “just have fun?”

Just sayin’…

T1 for 3-5 year-old's

T1 for 3-5 year-old’s

Anyway, the added bonus for me this year was that HRH  was also able to participate in this year’s event (being the idiot I am, I forgot to actually register her for it last year) and, as such, we’ve been preparing her both physically and mentally to do her best since April.  We’ve done a few run workouts on the track at the Fort Erie YMCA, and we’ve biked together along the Friendship Trail, and we’ve worked on her swim skills in the open water at the Welland International Flatwater Center.  Of course, these “workouts” were more like play but, hey, who’s keeping track?  I figured she didn’t have to necessary know that she was also participating in interval workouts just as long as she was having fun.  All she really cared about was getting a finisher’s medal – just as it should be.

So the evening before, we organized out last preparation “workout” to familiarize her with the transition process.  We laid out her clothes, towel, bike, helmet, etc. on our front lawn to mimic her transition set up and proceeded to make a game of getting dressed and one the bike, and then off the bike and running.  I had her get into her swim suit and after being spun around a few times (to simulate the feeling of getting out of the water), I had her get into her bike stuff and ride to the end of the street and back, before hopping off and running to the corner and back.  She absolutely loved it.  I figured she was as ready as she was ever going to be.

HRH's transition set up.

HRH’s transition set up.

Come the next morning (race day), she was more than excited to get going.  Once she and Kelly arrived (I was already on site and working at the bike mount line with the 3 year olds), she proceeded to get her body markings, got her clothes set up in transition the way we practiced (which, I must say, was nothing like we adults set our stuff up) and, before she knew it, she was lined up and getting ready to hit the pool.

From then on, she had a ball.  She swam the 75m well even if she didn’t kick a whole lot (a chip off the ‘ol block I guess), and by the time she got changed and ended up at my mount line she was all smiles and giggles…exactly how I had hoped she would be.  In fact, when I asked her if she was having fun, instead of the blank stare or unsure grunt I typically got from a lot of kids I asked the same question to, she responded with a very enthusiastic “YEAH!!”

Awesome.

So I sent her off with a gentle push and watched her ride out onto the bike course pedaling like a demon possessed; if only she pedaled like that when we ride.

When she dismounted a few moments later after a 3k lap around Ridley campus on her bike, she casually walked her bike into T2 and – low and behold – started running!  I mean, like, really running.  I was shocked.  I know she doesn’t really like running and I fully expected her to walk the run course (which is fine, of course), so when she actually started running I almost passed out from sheer amazement.  Clearly, she was really getting into the spirit of the thing.

T1 for the 3-5 year-old's

T1 for the 3-5 year-old’s

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see anything more after she had passed through T2 onto the 1.5k run course.  However, I heard that she walked some of it and ran some of it.  Not bad really.  A really funny I learned later is that each time she passed through the water aid station (which was conveniently manned by my coach) she both drank a cup of water as well as dousing herself with another.  Where she learned this little maneuver, I’m not sure but, yup, a chip off the ‘ol block for sure.  Whatever she was doing, she also remained true to her intention (as well as our track workouts) of finishing strong and saving a bit for that final sprint to the line to earn her coveted finisher’s medal.

Here’s the big moment captured for all posterity (complete with motivational music and everything:

In in all, HRH’s first triathlon went very well indeed.  You can read that as:  she had a lot of fun while maintaining a smile on her face the whole time, and that she is definitely looking forward to participating in the next one next year.  She now has a better idea of what it takes to not only complete a triathlon, but what it takes to prepare for one should she choose to go down that path in the future.

Did she have a finished time?  Sure.  But who cares?  Did she ‘place’ in her age group?  Probably…but, again, who cares?  I’m very proud of her regardless of what any numbers might tell me about her performance.  The most important thing is that she enjoyed herself and that definitely seemed to be the case, so I’m chalking this up as a total victory.

All we can say now is, “Bring on the 2014 season!”

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Comments
  1. Carolyn says:

    Super cute! Congrats HRH!

  2. It should also be noted with great interest that we received her race photos today via email from the on-site photographer and she is literally beaming from ear to ear in EVERY frickin’ photo…both running and on the bike. Who knew this child would be so photogenic during her FIRST triathlon. Hell, I’m practically a pro by now and had zillions of race shots taken and I can’t seem to do any better than looking like I’m having a full bore cardiac arrest in my race photos. Pisses…me…off. I mean, good for her but…geez! It’s like she’s rolling in a basket of puppies or something.

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