My girls are now triathletes! Some people on our swim team did this triathlon last year, and I thought it sounded amazing, so I convinced the girls to sign up. They did an awesome job, despite some last minute problems with Abby’s bike.
(I ended up taking it to the repair shop the day before the race. They fixed it and did a tune up for a very reasonable price. Such a relief!)
Wayne had signed up to volunteer, so he left around 4:30 (that’s a.m.) to be there at 5. The athletes were supposed to be there between 6 and 7. The sun was just starting to come up as we got to the beach.
It was a bit chilly.
The girls got their ankle timers put on, and their numbers written on their arms. Wayne helped them put their bikes and other gear in the right places in the transition area. And then we just waited around until it was time to start!
There were 6 “waves” or starting times, set according to age. Abby was in wave 2. (#255)
This is how it looked once they were in the water.
No possible way to tell which kid is yours! I followed the other parents to the spot where they come out of the water. Abby’s swim distance was 150 yards.
In the meantime, I’d lost sight of Emma, and Wayne had to go help at the transition area. He pointed to a spot on the ground and said, “Stay Right Here.” I stayed for a few minutes and looked for Emma, but I couldn’t see her and I thought she might have gone up to the transition area anyway. I was frustrated to not see Abby go through the first transition. I ran on up there (correctly assuming Wayne didn’t intend for me to stay there forever) and found Emma, who reported that Abby had taken a slight spill when she first got on her bike. Oh no! We ran up the small hill to the road, where the bikers were off and racing. It was a down and back course (2 miles), so even though I didn’t see Abby take off, I knew I could stand there and watch for her to come back. I did see her, but my camera app kept closing and I didn’t get a picture of her. Happily, there were professional photographers there and they shared their pictures on Facebook for free! 🙂 So all the good ones you see here were done by actual photographers with real cameras. Anything blurry was taken on my phone.
Once Abby came by us, we quickly moved back to the transition area to cheer her on as she put her bike on the rack and threw on her shirt with her race number on it. The running course was also down and back (1 mile), but in the opposite direction of the bike course (with transition in the middle). So then we moved to the finish line to watch for her final return. It was really cool: all the parents cheered for all the kids. I kept getting a lump in my throat, because I cry at everything. But it was neat to hear people yelling encouragement and clapping for each kid that ran by. The atmosphere was so positive!
The person giving Abby the thumbs up in this picture is Emma. 🙂
Abby the triathlete with her medal!
The first 3 waves started just minutes apart. I was so glad that they waited to start the other 3 waves. Otherwise I would have had a hard time keeping track of both girls. Emma was wave 6, the last group, since she was with the youngest age group (7-8 year olds). Once everyone in the first 3 waves had completed the course, everyone headed back to the beach to watch the younger group begin their race.
By that time it had warmed up and turned into a beautiful day. I’d let Ben wear his swimming shorts in case he had a chance to get in the water, which worked out well. He splashed around while we waited for the next phase of the race to start. The water was amazingly clear and calm. (He’s covering his face on purpose – refused to be photographed just to be ornery.)
Emma lined up with wave 6…
They had even more volunteers in the water with this younger set, making sure everyone was safe and knew where to go (around the giant yellow buoys).
All of Emma’s distances were half of what Abby’s were.
I moved towards the end of the swim course to wait for Emma and to my shock, she was the first one out of the water! I was so late trying to get a photo that I only caught her little behind, hurrying away to transition!
Ha! I was glad the real photographers got a much better one. This cracks me up. My girl is on fire!
Wayne, who was working in transition, told me later that as soon as Emma got to the “mount here” sign, she slung her leg over the bike and started pedaling standing up. No time to waste! She was still standing up when the photographer got this picture. Miss Long Legs.
I loved seeing all the kids go by with great big smiles on their faces. And the ones who looked a little discouraged just got more applause and calls of encouragement from all the spectators.
I caught a little of the last transition – here she is about to put on her shirt with her race number and head out to run.
We moved back to the finish line to watch for her. In the meantime, Abby discovered that there were Subway sandwiches for all the participants and sat down to enjoy one. Ben’s face is hilarious!! He was not happy that she got a sandwich and he didn’t. Man, that kid loves food.
Emma the triathlete!
We got some food and waited while everyone moved their bikes to their vehicles and the transition area was taken down. Then it was time for the awards ceremony!
And Emma got second place in her age group! (Just the 7-8 year old girls.)
It was a great experience all around. I hope they’ll do it again next year. Can you imagine doing a triathlon at age 8, or even 10? How can anything athletic ever be intimidating when you’ve accomplished such a thing? I couldn’t be more proud.