Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ian's First Triathlon

Future Ironman?

A friend of mine from Beginner Triathlete turned me on to a triathlon taking place a town over from us on Memorial Day. I wasn't looking for another race, but I like to know what's going on in and around the 'hood. So I headed over to the website.

It turns out they are having a pee-wee race for 3-5 year olds. It's a 10 yard pool swim, a 300 yard bike, and a 100 yard run. The website says that parents help is OK on the swim. "Help" isn't described in any further detail, but I think it can be interpreted pretty liberally. It looks like it's going to be a pretty fun and mellow race. Instead of age groups the waves go out as "Family", "Leisure", and "Competitive". A local boy scout troop is hosting the event - what an amazing service project, huh?

Anyway, I asked Ian this morning if he wanted to give it a shot. As he paused between mouthfuls of Raisin Bran, he had three questions -

"Daddy, am I going to have to get my face wet?"

I told him that would probably happen, but I'd be in the pool with him making sure he was OK.

"Can I have a water bottle on my bike?"

I told him yes, of course.

"What shoes do I wear?"

I told him his Vans where just fine.

Then he said "OK, let's do it!!".

So we sat together at the computer and registered. He pushed "submit", and that was that. I doubt any adult contemplating their first triathlon asked themselves these 3 questions, and when satisfied with the answers, committed. There's something to be be said about being a kid.

When I picked him up from pre-school today, all the teachers asked me when Ian's race was. I guess he told everybody at school. Tonight, he asked me about 1o times "when 2 weeks away was?". He's excited.

My dad was not around when I was growing up. I'm not playing the sympathy card. I'm just saying I have no point of reference on how to enjoy sports with my son. And since I didn't play too many team sports when I was growing up, I've never been coached. So I really have no idea how to coach. I always ended up gravitating towards the more individual pursuits. But I'm not sure I want Ian solo climbing in a snowstorm. Not yet anyway. He'll have more than enough time to show bad judgment when he gets older. Plus all that stuff made me a bit weird.

Ian's still young enough where he hasn't gravitated towards any one sport. In any given week, he tells me he wants to play basketball, baseball, college football for Oregon (he's very specific about this), and be a monster truck driver.

He's never said he wants to be a triathlete. But I know he's interested. He loves coming to the races. He's always asking me how my rides or runs went and "how many miles did I go?". He likes to look at my training logs and ask questions. I tried to explain what a heart rate was yesterday. And we're going up to Big Bear for the finish of stage 6 of the Tour Of California this Friday. He's looking forward to it.

Of course, I would never force him into any activity. But I've got to tell you that a part of me was relieved when Ian said yes to this little race. Maybe he'll catch the bug, and we'll have something great to share together.

But ultimately I just want him to be healthy and happy. So whatever sport he chooses, it'll be fine with me. But if he get's into triathlon...let's just say that I might luck out and never have to explain what an illegal defense in basketball is. I barely understand it myself.

10 comments:

Matty O said...

Just started following your blog. Very good stuff man. I think as long as you spend time with your son and don't come down on him like a ton of bricks you are doing everything right.

My parents never supported me growing up and its tough. I don't have any basis on that either, we don't have kids yet but I often think of how I would handle situations like these.

Keep up the good work man!

Karen said...

Go Ian! As long as a guy has his water bottle and Vans, it's all good right? How fun... That will be one of those things you both will remember forever. Yay Ian!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

GO IAN!!! How exciting, I love to hear about this stuff, seems most kids are just into electronics, its good to hear about stories like this.

Caratunk Girl said...

What a cutie, GO IAN!

I LOVE this kind of stuff, I can't get my nieces and nephews away from their computer unless I unplug it. Take lots of pictures, I can't wait to hear about it!

skierz said...

It is so cool that at his age he gets a chance to tri out an event. when I was a kid, the baseball field was out in the schooll field and that was where I was expected to entertain myslef! He will have a blast, I am sure!

ameldamegos said...

Ian's got his Vans, you've got your Newtons, and maybe your VFFs. I know how you feel about the sports thing. Nico used to ask me about rules and strategy, but has realized I fall short in that area. He now double checks my answers with Dave. I feel like it is finals and I constantly have to cram! Tell Ian we love him and hope his race goes well. If it's on Saturday, I'll use my birthday wish that he gets comfortable with a wet face!

Barefoot AngieB said...

woohoo! Those questions he asked were classic! Love it :) Go Ian and definately post some photos when the big day comes!
Excellent job dad setting a great example for your boy!

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Not sure if you want him to have a nickname or not, but I'm leaning towards Ian "The Machine" Mahoney. Even though I support my son in any sport he wants to try, I also subtly sabotage any of the typical sports like football, baseball, etc., and really push triathlon. Why? Because he's 9 and will soon be a great training partner! :)

Barbie said...

You sound like you are an absolutely fantastic dad, one that your son will definately look up to as he grows up. I love the photo and his cute water bottle. What a star he is.

Glenn Jones said...

How cool is that? As a parent with a kid who got an athletic scholarship, and a dad who coaced youth sports, it's refreshing to hear your statement about your son and sports. I can't tell you how many parents live their lives by *making* their kid compete in *the parent's* favorite sport. It really gets kind of sad by High School years.....

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