I was racing the adult event and Alasdair (7) was racing the youth. Avery (4) was really upset that she couldn't race due to the age requirement. Alasdair and I did some evening training sessions in our neighborhood in the weeks leading up to his first multi-sport race. Of course, we could not do any of these without Avery. She wanted to run, transition, bike, transition and run again just like her big brother. In fact, she gets really upset when he "beats" her to the finish line; the end of our driveway. She still has not accepted that a 7 year old boy should be faster than her, and consequently she pours every last bit of strength and effort she has into disproving the conventional wisdom. However, she still couldn't race.
We packed all of our gear and family into the truck and set out for the race at 7:00am. We did our check-in, transition setup and pre-race fueling. By this time, the weather had cleared and it was beautiful out. Maybe my curse was over!
It was go time for the youth race. Alasdair started the run like a bullet, something I have been working hard at correcting, but a 7 year old boy just doesn't understand the idea of pacing. Although he did slow his pace, he never stopped running for the entire 1/2 mile loop. His transition was perfect, just as we practiced and he set out on the 3 loop bike segment.
As soon as he set off on the bike, my heart sank. The son of a competitive triathlete was riding a bike that was WAY too small for him. I was planning on getting him a new bike this year, but thought we could wait. I was wrong. His little legs were spinning like Mark Cavendish in the final 100 meters of a road race while the other kids flew past him like he was going backwards. I could not have been more embarrassed for my lack of action in getting him a bike suitable for the race.
It was up to the kids (and spectating parents) to count their laps for the bike leg. When Alasdair was passing transition after his second lap, he wound up in the middle of a group of older kids, finishing their third. The race officials were flagging kids into transition and in the confusion, Alasdair dismounted and went into T2. I made it over to him just as he racked his bike and took off his helmet. I explained that he had only done 2 laps and he should have done 3. The race official in transition heard our conversation and said not to worry about it, he could just go out on the run. After a second or two of thought, he put his helmet back on, grabbed his bike and headed out to complete his third lap. At that moment, I was the proudest parent there.
After completing his third lap, Alasdair set off on the last 1/2 mile run. Again, he ran the entire way and finished the race in 19:49, 32nd out of 37. When we asked how it was, he said only one thing, "It was a lot longer than I expected."
We have since bought him a new bike, 2 sizes bigger and he is now tearing up the neighborhood getting ready for his next event.
I had set a goal for myself to break the one hour mark at this race. It was my first race of the year and it was a sprint distance (I have not done a short race in a few years), so I was not sure how I was going to do. I had faith in my training and fitness level, but race days are always a bit questionable.
Although I have improved greatly, I never considered myself a good runner. I usually seeded myself near the middle of the pack at a run start. This time, I decided to jump right into the front, about 3 people back from the start line. The gun went off and I started fast, but not an all out sprint. In about 10 seconds, there was a small group in the front and I was right with them. I thought to myself that this was nice being with the lead group, but I won't be able to stay with them. Well, I kept saying that over and over, minute after minute, but I never got dropped. I came into T1 in about 30th place overall.
There is nothing more encouraging than running into T1 and seeing bikes packed from wall to wall. This was my first time witnessing this little confidence and energy booster. I set out on the bike course, battled the crazy winds and finished with the 22nd fastest bike split.
I went into T2 about 7 seconds behind a group of 10. About a half mile into the second run, I was unable to close the gap on the group in front of me. I looked behind me on a straightaway and did not see anyone coming. At that point, my position was sealed, so I pulled up just a bit and cruised to the finish in 56:19, 1st in my age group and 21st overall.
My first podium finish. We spent the rest of the day celebrating Mother's Day with Tara and riding the high of our morning victories and successes. A perfect day and start to our season, sans the blown engine in my truck on the way home from the race!