Longtime readers know my -- um -- distinctive way of displaying all my marathon medals: around the neck of a teddy bear. Not just any old bear will do, it has to be an appropriate bear. It could be a Maui medal bear with a surfboard, the New York bear dressed as the Statue of Liberty, an Irish dancer bear for the Shamrock Marathon medal, etc. Sometimes it's been as simple as a cute bear wearing a shirt representing the locale. In a very few instances I've substituted another animal; the Flying Pig medal is on a flying pig, Disney on Mickey, Leading Ladies on a black footed ferret. When I was training for the triathlon this summer I had decided that bears are for marathon medals only, not for tri medals. I had to draw the line somewhere.
When I finished the tri so well, after so much hard work, I decided that indeed, I needed a bear to proudly display that medal. The day after the tri I scoured Pacific Grove and Monterey for a bear. It seemed that bear stuffies weren't allowed on the Monterey Peninsula; otters abounded. There were big otters, little otters, mommy with baby otters, otters otters otters. Not a bear to be found. I couldn't even find a tiny Pacific Grove tee shirt to stick on a bear. So I ended up buying a little otter instead.
Over time I really got to dislike that otter. It looked like a big fuzzy rat with a medal. So I started shopping for a triathlon bear. Of course I first visited the website of my favorite bear merchant, the Vermont Teddy Bear Company. Imagine my surprise when they not only didn't have a triathlon bear (go figure!) (they don't have a knitting bear either), they didn't even have a cycling bear or a competitive swimming bear. They have 26 bears under the sport category and a couple of hidden bears for a couple of specific marathons; no basic running bear, no triathlon bear. So I started looking elsewhere. Sorry VTB, I'm a loyal shopper but I have needs!
I looked everywhere for a bear that could fit as my Triathlon at Pacific Grove medal holder, with no luck. I decided I'd just have to make my own. No, not knit or sew or stuff my own. I mean dress my own. I had a very distinct vision of what this bear should look like to incorporate all three sports of a triathlon. At a different bear shop I discovered a tiny bicycle helmet. Good start! I bought a pair of baby's swim goggles. I found a pair of black teddy tights that I could cut off the feet and they'd look just like spandex tri shorts. With those in hand I headed back to VTB and ordered a Classic Bear, and added running shoes, a white tee shirt and some embroidery. Finally everything arrived, and it worked! Check out her paws ... Throw in the TnT purple TEAM bracelet and a bear-sized water bottle with hand holder, and I've got the perfect Tri Teddy!