Monday, May 31, 2010

My Son Ian Is Now A Triathlete!!

Ian, self-portrait in the car on the way to the race. I'd show you the other 53 pictures he managed to take during the 10 minute drive over, but I'm not sure how much disk space you get from Blogspot.

I'm proud to announce that my 4 1/2 year old son is now a triathlete. Because today he competed in the Fountain Valley Memorial Day Triathlon in the 3-5 year old "pee-wee" division.

I asked him if he wanted to do the race a few weeks ago. He said yes, but it was with the typical amount of commitment you'd expect from a 4 year old. But he then started asking about it every few days. We went out a few times to the park, measured out the course distances, and practiced. We went down to the Back Bay in Newport and played around in the water. And we talked a lot about how the race works in terms of basic strategy.

I'd also been picking up on subtle, but more telling things. Ian started asking me how my runs or rides where, or how cold the water was when I went swimming. He started asking about what I was doing when I plugged my Garmin into my laptop. He asked the difference between my bikes. He wanted to put some Body Glide on just for the fun of it. And he was very engaged by the Tour of California stage we went to. Something was going on in that little head of his.

This morning, I was the one who woke up nervous. Ian was fine, he just wanted to know when we had to leave for the race. I was the one who kept having to tell myself that no, I didn't have to make sure I used the bathroom, and no, I didn't need to compulsively check my tire pressure 10 times. So I made sure he went to the bathroom and checked his tires instead.

The race was organized by a local boy scout troop. Organization was cheerfully lacking, but it really didn't matter. The 3 waves - pee wee (3-5), kids (6-8), and big kids, (9-12) had their own transition areas. The bikes ranged from tricycles to pretty nice junior road bikes. I want to type "tricycle" again, because the idea of that is so frickin' awesome. One I saw came complete with handle bar streamers and a pinwheel. Amazing.


The swim warm up...

Ian's wave went off first. The swim was 10 yards across the pool. About 3/4th's of the kids where in the pool with a parent, and the balance where going solo aided by various floating devices or kick boards. Ian's still a little shy in the water, so I went in with him.

The deal I made with him was that as long as he was kicking his legs and flailing his arms I would pull him along. So when the horn went off, Ian started kicking and flailing. As we started across the pool, I began tracking the other parent's pulling speed relative to their kids effort, and....

You've heard of Little League parents and you've heard of Pop Warner football parents. Let me introduce you to triathlon parents. A couple of the kids where flying across the pool like Michael Phelps himself. Kids where climbing out of the pool as we where making our second step! Actually it wasn't that bad, but any concerns I had about being "that guy" and helping Ian too much where out the window. We did the first 3 yards in about 5 seconds and the last 7 yards in about 3. I lifted him out of the pool yelling "run to your bike!!" But he was already on his way.

Ian beat me to his bike and started putting on his helmet. I told him to sit down so I could help him with his sneakers. Apparently my wife is a triathlon parent as well because she was yelling at me demanding to know why it took me so long to get here from the pool. Great, no good deed goes unpunished. We got his shoes on, his bike off the rack and to the mount line, and off he went.

The bike course was an out-and-back of 300 yards on a cul de sac that ran along the side of the pool complex. We watched him ride down, but we couldn't see all the way down to the turn around. After a bit he came riding back. He told us later that he fell at the turn around but also assured us that he it didn't hurt and he didn't get an owie.


Coming in off the bike...

Once he got back to the dismount line he stopped on a dime, dismounted, took off his helmet, and started running, leaving the racking of his bike back in transition up to me. The run course was 100 yards. And I have to say that his run form was pretty good - head up, back straight, hips slightly forward, and a good mid-foot stride. It didn't take him too long at all to finish.


Sprinting towards the finish....

We don't know his what place he came in or his finish time. It wasn't that kind of race and to be honest it's probably for the best. As far as I could tell, every kid finished. And every kid got a medal. It was pretty awesome.


Ian with his finisher's medal...

In the end I think the vibe of the race was fantastic. The only complaint I have is that I wish they closed down the surrounding streets for the hour or so that the 3 races where going on. It didn't really affect the pee wee division being that the course was so short, but the older kids where riding and running around the neighborhood streets. They are not too busy, but still I think it would have been the prudent move, especially since I didn't see a whole lot of volunteers anywhere marshaling or directing traffic.

This afternoon, he wanted to go for another jog. We did about 1/2 a mile I guess.

Since I am going out of town for a few days, I laid with him for a little while after we put him to bed. He thanked me for taking him to the race. I told him that it was no problem at all, it was great fun for everyone, and that I was very, very proud of him. And with that, he fell asleep.


Ian with his Great Uncle Max...


Ian with Mary...


Ian with me...

17 comments:

Caratunk Girl said...

That is so awesome that there is that kind of event so close to you!!! Congrats to Ian!

Barbie said...

Congratulations Ian sweety pie. You are a machine. time for you to hang your medal up on your wall.

Matty O said...

:) Awesome post. Wish more people did this with their children and did not force the competitiveness.

Good job Ian!!!

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Great job Ian!!

Great job Patrick at not being "that guy"!

Very cool for the kids and a great way to introduce them to an active lifestyle in a positive format!

Christine Jensen said...

Congrats to your son! What a fun event. I love watching my children succeed. My 8 year old has discovered running through his elementary school 5K race and is raring to go run every 5K I will let him enter!

Bill G said...

Congrats and way to go Dad - that is awesome.

Unfortunately those parents are everywhere in life!

skierz said...

THta is so awesome! It is great that you got him out there and that he enjoyed it! A little triathlete in the making! I have volunteered for a kids event next mopnth, I am looking forward to seeing the little smiles like Ian's as they run cover the distance! Cheers

Julie said...

Congrats to Ian! Wow, that is so impressive:) He is following in his dads footsteps! I love all of the pictures...so cute! Fun post:)

Kovas Palubinskas said...

I want a skull + crossed swords triathlon top! :) Congratulations to Ian, for not drowning his dad, for not letting a bike crash stop him, and most of all, for not knowing when enough is enough!

misszippy said...

Awesome stuff! So glad he enjoyed the day and that you did too. My son has done two tris now (last two years) and has his third coming up in a few weeks. I know exactly what you mean when you say you are more nervous for them than they are!

DRog said...

What a SuperStar! this is great! he's a natural...

-D

Glenn Jones said...

How cool is that!!!!!! WTG Ian!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

CONGRATS IAN!!!!

now there are two people in your house that are in the most expensive sport ever. B Day list will now have gramins and carbon on it

Mel-2nd Chances said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! :) Congrats to your son on his tri, I wish I had started when I was 4 too! My son did his first one last fall, just two short weeks after his dad passed away. He almost didn't want to do it, but together we made a shirt with a picture of the two of them, and the words 'Tri-ing 4 dad'... now I think its become a way for him to heal. Bet it meant the world to Ian to hear you were proud :) Awesome.

lindsay said...

this is too cool! love that they have tri's for such young kids :) congrats to ian!!

ktoy said...

How fantastic :) Congratulations Ian! And kudos to you and Mary as well. I'm pretty sure Ian will really dig reading this many years from now as well :)

Shannon (IronTexasMommy) said...

This is so fantastic. You are setting such an amazing example for your son and as a parent, I'm so proud of you for everything that you've gone through to get to this point. His accomplishment is as much yours for being an inspiration to him by living a healthy and active lifestyle. Congrats dad! :)

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