The kids have sat on the sidelines for a lot of my races and had fun wearing my finisher medals. Finally, they got their turn at the Tri-Smore.
For several months I have been training for the Chinook Triathlon, and I started finding lots of other triathlon-types all around me, especially at church. One guy named Josh turned out to be a great swim partner/coach and also told me about a fun triathlon for families held in Strathmore. There are various lengths for all different age groups, including a short one for kids 8 and under. I asked Scott and Katie if they would be interested and both responded with a resounding YES.
While I would be doing the Full-Smore Sprint Triathlon (500m swim, 20km bike, 5km run), the kids would be doing the 2-Bite Smore, which was a 25m swim, 800m bike and 250m run. One night when we were out for a family bike ride, Scott decided he was going to start his training in earnest. We measured the length of the pathway behind our house and figured out that he needed to cycle for 5 lengths of the path and run for 2 lengths. Even though it was time for bed, he immediately went to work, pedaling back and forth and then dropping his bike to finish his run.
Clearly, Scott likes to jump into things right away with both feet. R says that this is very similar to his father. Scott even recruited his cousin Hayden to try out the distance when he was over for a play-date. Katie likes to ride her bike back and forth too, although she stops along the way to look at plants and say hello to people.
As a final part of our preparation, we went to the Cochrane pool and the kids tried swimming a full 25m length in the swim lanes. We borrowed some swim-assist vests that were quite helpful, and each of them ended up swimming 3-4 lengths.
The actual race day was cold and windy and a bit confusing. Rather than spending the day outside cheering each other on, we often retreated to the civic centre to warm up. As a result, we didn't have all the transitions set up quite how we might have liked. Plus, I forgot to bring the charged battery for the good camera, so all the pictures and video were taken with our phones.
Still, the kids were super-excited to get their new race shirts and get their bib numbers written on their arms and legs with a marker, just like Dad.
It is no secret that I am a terrible swimmer, but I am pretty sure I was sabotaged and swam 4 extra lengths. I was supposed to do 20 lengths of the pool to cover 500m. I counted off 10 lengths and felt good about being half done. I did 2 more and the girl who was counting lengths for my lane (and chatting with a boy next to her and texting) called out to me "half-way done!". I lose track of how many lengths I do all the time, so I figured she might be right, but it still took the wind out of my sails a bit.
A few minutes and 6 lengths later she held up four fingers for me as I touched the wall. I figured that meant 4 more lengths, which made sense based on my reckoning. I swam 4 more lengths and climbed out of the pool. She said, "you have 2 more to go!" I said, "Are you serious? Are you sure?" And then I jumped back in the pool and swam 2 more lengths. After a total of 13min : 43sec, I finally finished my swim, being 69th out of a field of 108 adults. Even though I swam a steady front crawl in straight lines without veering all around the pool, it would appear that my average lap pace of 41 seconds/25m was no better than the previous week, when I floundered around in Lake Midnapore with no apparent sense of direction for 3 times the distance, often resorting to the backstroke. Final comment on this -- R filmed a short video of me swimming 1.5 lengths, and I clocked one full length at 27 seconds, which is nowhere near 41 seconds/lap. If you assume that I actually swam the extra 4 lengths, then my pace would be a more respectable 34 seconds/25m, including time spent climbing in and out of the pool near the end.
The point here is that I always have an excuse for underperformance.
It was super windy on the bike, but I managed to climb from 69th place to 11th place by the end of the bike segment. Then I ran a 21-minute 5km to move up to 9th place overall by the finish. I think that says more about the relaxed nature of this race than it does about my abilities. I have to say that I am a bit shocked that my strongest relative performances seem to come in the run, segments since I would not have considered myself to be much of a runner before.
It was great to have the kids waving at me during the transitions and at the finish line. Once I was done, then we turned our attention to the 2-Bite Smore. Being one of the oldest in his category, Scott got to hit the pool before Katie.
There was a moment there when he was getting lined up and he got pulled one way and then sent back to the line and you could tell he was a bit rattled, but in the end he got his chance at the starting line.
Several of the kids were very strong swimmers without any swimming aids, but one boy brought a pool noodle with him. Scott was quite pleased that he beat 1-2 other kids across the pool, including the noodle-boy.
The transitions were a bit crazy because we were novices. I was so busy with my race that we hadn't really had a good chance to lay everything out for the kids, and then suddenly we were rushed to the starting line for Scott's race a bit unprepared. I don't think anyone predicted how cold it was going to be. Scott ended up wearing his jacket over his shirt and race bib because he was freezing. Good thing he had his number scrawled down his calf.
Scott came out of the run pretty much sprinting, and he had to dial it back a bit when we finally figured out that he had quite a ways to go (seemed closer to 400m than the advertised 250m). I trotted along next to him, having mostly recovered from my race.
When it came to her turn to race, Katie started to get a bit nervous. She was starting to have second thoughts. However, to her credit, she still went through with it, even though the little boy in the neighbouring lane panicked and climbed right out of the pool. Once the race was underway, the smile never left her face, and it was clear that she was having a wonderful time.
As we left the pool to do the first transition, Katie told me, "Did you see that kid and that dad in there? I was faster than them at swimming. I was like a rocket, dad."
Just like Scott, we ended up bundling Katie up in pants and a hoodie because of the cold. Even still, her swimming suit soaked through the seat of her pants, which was adorable. Her Disney Princess shoes were key to her elite performance, obviously.
While she was the on the bike Katie provided a fabulous commentary on the proceedings, which I happened to capture on video while I walked beside her. Scott was a bit too fast for me to make a ride-along video, but Katie's balance bike was just right.
After she crossed the finish line and got her medal I picked up Katie to give her a hug. She said, "I'm so happy that I finished my very first race!"
We ended up wearing our matching shirts everywhere for the next day and a half. The kids were SO PROUD of their races, and Scott asked me every 10 or 20 minutes when he could do another one. Sounds like the Tri-Smore is going to be a family tradition.