It’s not like I haven’t been here before. In fact, I seem to have a knack for putting myself in exactly the right position to be used as an excellent example of what not to do when raising your children. Examples include the missing Tooth Fairy, the broken collar bone, and the broken arm.
Remembering that broken arm incident actually makes me feel a little better about this, so I’m glad I paused a moment to reflect. Still, this was pretty egregious. It started with the idea that a kids triathlon would be fun…
The kids have been swimming on the North Willow Swim Team for the last two years, including daily practices and two meets a week for the past month or so. They all have ridden their bikes to Bub’s for burgers and back, so I knew that putting a few miles behind them wouldn’t be a problem. (Of course, in the race, they wouldn’t be stopping in the middle to eat The Big Ugly and a milkshake, but still…) And the run, well… let’s just say it ain’t that far.
So they are all geared up and we head to Zionsville on Monday, July 4, for the big event. It should be pretty simple: 7-10 year olds will swim 100 meters, bike 1.8 miles and run .8 miles. All of them can do this pretty easily, so I’m not worried. And, honestly, neither are they. (Except Abby, who is uncontrollable terrified for some unknown reason. She cries for about an hour and refuses to take off her shoes. “They’ll only slow you down in the pool,” says I. She is unmoved.)
At check-in, I discover that the triathlon powers-that-be have designated that competitors will compete at the age they will be on December 31. For everyone but Lily, that’s their current age. Unfortunately for Lily, this puts her in the 11-12 year-old group and changes just about everything. The event she signed up for suddenly became a little horrific: the swim is now 200 meters, the bike ride is 4.5 miles, and the run is 1.8 miles. As far as I know, Lily hasn’t run over a mile at one time in her life. Additionally, when I think about the math, it’s clear to me that she could be competing head-to-head with girls who could be two years older.
To help keep her calm, I keep all of this information to myself.
In the end, they all raced like champions. After watching the older kids kick off the event, Abby set her fears (and her shoes) aside and joined the fray. She and Grace finished 3 & 4, respectively. Abby was just 1:02 from finishing first behind an 8-year-old. Jack finished in the middle of the field, 15th out of 26. There were only three minutes separating him from 5th. And Lily, to my everlasting joy, finished 17th out of 20, just a few minutes from the main pack.
When I asked them if they had fun and whether they were excited about the next one, Lily responded: “I’ll do my next one in 6th grade.” That went completely over my head until Charmaine explained that by then she’ll be 12.
If you’re interested, you can download the complete race results. And here are a few photos of race day: