Our boys participated in this years Houston Kids Triathlon. The race was the Sunday before the Boston Marathon. As a Mom, a fellow athlete and blogger there didn’t seem to be a good time to write about the race with so many mixed emotions.
Yesterday during after school pick up a mother stopped me to say how inspired she and her son were by our little T-Rex. He had brought his medal to school that Monday after the race just like Coach Robert told him to! This seemed like a good sign to me that now was a good time to tell you their story.
Once again our good friends from E.A. Smith YMCA the Rigbys asked if our oldest aka boy genius was going to participate this year. Our son declined but the little guy piped up and said, “I want to do it!” Honestly, I was shocked and didn’t see that one coming. There was no denying it, he was inspired from watching his big brother in last year’s race.
- He is too young.
- He is still riding on a bike with training wheels.
- He’s not a great swimmer.
- He has asthma which can be induced by being outdoors and sometimes exercise, like running!
The first thing to check was the minimum age. The requirement is six years old so that concern was crossed off the list. Next, take the training wheels off the bike. In order to participate you can’t use training wheels for safety reasons.
He was ready to try bike riding without training wheels and much to my surprise he took off! We had to get him a new bike helmet too. I was not expecting him to take off like he did. Our older son took a bit longer to adjust to riding a bike without training wheels. He just removed another concern of mine off the check list. There was no reason to officially sign him up until he learned to master his bike without training wheels. Now to work on the swimming part of the race. What we learned last year is that training in deep water is more helpful to the training process. In the YMCA pool where they practice the kids can touch the bottom of the pool if they need to. At the University of Houston the pool it is too deep to touch the bottom. They can hang on the rope, catch their breath if they need to and there are volunteer life guards in the pool during the race. The triathlon training camp lasts for about nine weeks. During the last two weeks coach had the kids run through the entire race to practice transitions. He taught them how to put their socks in their shoes for a faster transition. He showed them how to pass each other on their bikes and to make sure to call out, “on the left!” Coach has a lot of great stories since he has been racing for a while. One of the key tips he gave for the finish was to be sure to keep running through the finish line. He didn’t want them slowing down once they saw the finish line but to continue right through! Our little guy took one of the turns on his bike a little too fast and fell. He cried but then shook it off and got back on his bike and finished. After the run he wanted to whine to coach but Mr. Key turned it around and told him how cool it was to have “triathlon battle wounds!” As you can see from the photo below that made him smile. Once they began the race we were really cheering him on during those four laps. I was in there holding my breath and coach was on hand to cheer all the kids on. Our little guy made it right through that swim and off to the bike transition.
One of the safety issues at the race is this particular part of the course. It is a crossing to get back and forth. As you can see from this clip (clip removed) it can be dangerous for the children coming in because they have to slow down and get off their bikes to walk them in. Even though the volunteer would ask people to stop crossing, many people continued to cross any way.
We got caught further up trying to cross back over to watch him finish his run. We missed it. We didn’t know we missed him crossing the finish line. Fortunately his brother had been following him so at least he was there to cheer him on and the race photographers caught the finish line photos! When we went to find him in the finish box he wasn’t there. He’s not suppose to be released to anyone who is not wearing a matching band. We thought maybe he had not finished the race yet. My husband and I were looking for him up and down the race course. We couldn’t find him. We were texting back and forth but there was no sign. Finally our older son found us and told us that they had been sitting out on our blanket. The volunteers in the finish box had released our son to his brother. He did really well for his first triathlon. He had fun and he was happy about his medal. His finish time was 47: 26. Next up was the senior division. We kept up with him a lot easier because it was double the distance which gave us time to get places. This year he shaved off ten minutes from last year’s time! He was really happy with his results and so were we. He finished in 47:58 and his race photos turned out great too. My Mother and Grandmother got to witness both of the boys racing! They were so proud of them.
My followers on Vine, Facebook and Twitter were having a great time cheering the kids on! It was fantastic to share this day with everyone. I’m one proud mama! Will we be back next year? I’m not sure. Let me give you a quick run down.
Pros: Fantastic Coach! Excellent training program by the YMCA. Everyone is so supportive of all the kids racing. It’s a family event. The bike drop off and packet pick up went well. The break down of the transition was quick. Cold treats for the racers were free. The kids had fun and felt accomplished.
Cons: The location of the portable bathrooms was right next to the course and with so many people going in different directions you could easily get to close for comfort with those bathrooms. We missed our son finishing the race because we were caught waiting to cross over. They should have released our younger son to a parent. Adding the XClass made the races run late and longer. Having the music loud under the main tent made it difficult to hear anything that was being announced. The volunteer shirts should be a lighter color to easily identify helpers. More signs would be great. Not enough volunteers for 1,700 participants. It’s too long of a day for little ones who come to watch. You must be prepared to just relax and go with the flow.
I’m not sure if we will be back or not but one thing is for sure these boys did great! I believe there are other triathlons for kids that are less crowded. They both finished and they were happy with their results and we were all happy for them. A special thank you to Coach Robert Key for volunteering his time and the YMCA for organizing the training program. Thank you for reading and I hope that you are motivated and inspired to keep or start your family on the road to healthy choices and fitness. These guys have inspired me! What about you? Would you have your kids participate in a triathlon? More articles –