We got into position in the starting line, a little behind the very first row. While I did want Shark Boy to run fast, I know I have a little trouble coaxing him to really let loose when the distractions of other kids racing are around, plus I didn’t want him to get winded too soon like during the 5 Peaks race. I ran ahead of him and coaxed him to follow me, and I think he did a great job of pacing himself and staying pretty focused. The first run leg was 50 meters, and we completed the loop, rounded the corner into transition and found the bike. Before the race I tried to show him where we had parked it, looking from the angle of the transition area entrance. He almost got on the bike right away, but not only did I catch him as he was throwing his leg over the bike, but so did a volunteer! We jogged the bike toward the mount line, but he still got on a few feet too early. Oh well.
Once he started pedalling, I was very glad I wore running shoes and track pants, because I needed to run full-tilt to keep up with him. He blazed by every kid we saw for the first half of the course which felt good in two ways: one, I was proud of him, two, it was nice seeing the other side of the coin on the bike course – normally I’m the one getting passed.
At the top of the biggest downhill on the course (not much of a hill, but enough for kids to pick up a lot of speed) I could see a little girl had fallen near the bottom which also was a turn to the left. Shark Boy judiciously applied the brake and handled the bike beautifully to avoid any further accident. Unfortunately, this put him neck-and-neck with another girl and for a few seconds there, I feared a Ben-Hur chariot race type scenario, with the two kids potentially side-swiping each other. I coaxed a little more ‘oomph’ from him on the pedals, and we pulled ahead. There was an uphill climb just before transition and I’m proud to say he went up it without getting off the bike… he just pushed those pedals and up he went!
He dismounted and jogged his bike back to its spot. I asked him if he wanted to keep the helmet on.
“UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM…” The clock was still ticking so I took it off and we started the run. He’d been looking forward to hearing cheers (especially ‘WOOO’) all morning, so I’m betting this was his favourite part. The final leg was a loop of 100 m. I kept him motivated not only by cheering but reminding him that snacks awaited. I tried to run far enough ahead to snap a picture of him crossing the finish line, but I wasn’t fast enough. Luckily my wife was able to grab the shots you see with her phone – as for the blurriness, Blame It On the Rain.
Normally I wouldn’t let my kids drink Gatorade, but I was so proud I had to make an exception. We all snacked on cookies and crackers (some from the race, some that we had packed) and decided to head home – the rain wasn’t making us any more comfortable. We were pretty sure that Shark Boy wouldn’t get an award (make the top 3 podium), so we were happy getting the finisher’s medal, certificate and most importantly to him, lollipop (in the race kit). When we looked up the results online, we found he got 8th in kids 3-5 (5th place Boys).
I’m super proud of my eldest son, and for next year, I’m hoping we can get him in a full Triathlon (with swimming) while the Lightning Kid tackles this event or one like it if he can manage a glider bike by then.