Saturday, August 21, 2010


South Bend Parks and Recreation puts together the most amazing Kids' Triathlon every year. The kids swim 25 meters, bike 1-1/2 miles, and run 1/2 mile. Last year, Olivia was eligible to participate, but being the cautious soul that she is, she was not excited about the prospect. However, since Mimi could join in this year, the two sisters were triathletes-in-training through June and most of July.
I was incredibly grateful that my brothers Mike and Pete and my sister-in-law Kelly could join us for the day of the big race because John was on call, and my 8-month pregnant self was almost incapable of getting three kids and two bicycles to the race site, to say nothing of helping the two girls transition between the separate parts of the race. With Pete assigned to help Mimi, and Mike on Olivia duty, we were set. All I had to do was document the event.(Unfortunately, I got so caught up in the "cheer like a Mom" part of spectatorship that the "take pictures and videos" part of my duties were somewhat neglected. Poor John didn't get much of an idea of the excitement from what I snapped. )
We arrived at Potowatomi Park at 6:15 a.m. And the rain was a-pourin' down. We were soaked after just putting the bikes in the racks and returning to the pavilion at the pool. SOAKED. As evidenced below.
But the weather cleared up just long enough for both of my girls to swim-bike-run without too much dripping on their little heads. (It started pouring again as we were heading back to our van to go home, so it was perfect timing for us. Not so perfect timing for the 13- and 14-year olds that were still competing at that time.)Mimi was in the first heat of swimmers. She's not very large, but there was an even tinier little girl in the same heat that ended up winning the 5-6 division.
The rules kept parents at one end of the pool while the kids lined up to swim. Mimi chatted with her guide. . .
. . . and slipped casually into the pool.
She was determined to be in the "no-lifejacket" category of participants, and I had some concerns about her making it the full length of the pool, but she (in typical Mimi style) was determined and trimphant. (At this point in the post, I need to disclaim that all these videos are terrible.  If you are not a grandma, you may not wish to subject yourself to the pain of watching them.  However, everything was moving so quickly that I didn't take both stills and movies, and so this is all the pictorial evidence I have of the triathlon.  Too bad.)

She made it, and Pete helped her get her helmet, shorts, and sneakers on quickly to start on the next leg of the race. (Which I videoed quite poorly.)

I ran to check on Liv, waiting for her heat to be called. As we were standing there, I saw five- and six-year olds finishing the bike portion, so I ran to cheer Mimi through the end of that part.

Then I ran (awkwardly--again, remember the 8-month pregnant part, and I was carrying Bella the whole time) back to the pool to watch Olivia swim. Olivia is really a good smooth swimmer, and I knew this would be the best leg of the race for her. However, again in my excitement, I took no still photographs, and only captured about 5 seconds of her swim. I didn't even get the moment when she won her heat, and was the first out of the pool. I nearly cried I was so proud.

Mike took Olivia to the bike transition area to get her started on the next portion, so I dashed over to watch Mimi (through the fence) finish up her run, with Uncle Pete at her side. This video is the only clip I caught perfectly.

Bella and I jogged up to watch Liv finish up her bike ride (again, documented so very poorly--this is almost funny).

Then we met up with Pete, Mimi, Kelly, and Baby Ruth and sauntered down to be in position to see Mike and Liv finish their run. Which they did with panache.

I learned a couple things:
1)There are some hard-core parents out there. I'm naturally quite competitive, but I didn't even rate on the scale of some of the crazies there. I vacillated rapidly between thinking, "They should really calm down and just enjoy this race," and "Should I be more intense? Should my kids have slip-on running shoes and triathlon number belts?"
2) On the flip side, however, I learned that my kids are capable of great things when they are given the opportunity. I was worried when we were practicing that they weren't going to be able to complete the race (Mimi would usually lay down in the middle of the high school track after one lap, complaining of utter exhaustion.), but they did a great job in the end. Maybe I need to give them more opportunities to stretch themselves.


Cynthia said...

That is awesome!! The video's were fun to watch because I felt I was apart of the cheering section. I love how they both were so happy running at the very end. What a big accomplishment!!

Mike and Kelly said...

I am so proud of them. I wish that We were the Mike and Kelly there to help you. Give the girls high fives from us!

Susanne said...

Oh I loved the pictures and the story. I am so glad that you put this on the blog. That was a very remarkable task for them. I sure am proud of those little girls.

adventure knitter said...

Okay...Tyler is going to be so jealous when I tell him about this! He's run a few triathlons himself and would think it was awesome to have our girls do one. But my girls don't know how to we'd have a problem there.

Kasey said...

If we ever have a family blog award ceremony (which we totally should) this would win "Makes me most excited for children." Seriously. Awesome.

Pilltar said...

Um, the account is fascinating, but do you think if we took up a collection you could get a disk that would allow you to take videos that last more than five seconds?

JK. I'll take whatever I can get and be happy.

Shanda said...

That is so awesome!! What a cool thing for your girls to participate in! It looked like such a fun day! Congrats Mimi & Olivia!