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Ian's First Triathlon

Posted May 18 2010 7:08pm
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 going for 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.
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