Put all those together... swim... bike... run... and you have a triathlon. And still to my amazement, Benjamin and Catherine did one this past weekend. I have to say I've done my share of cheering them on at their different sporting events but never have I cheered so hard or been so proud of them. Let me start by saying that not once in my life have I done such a race and here at the mere ages of 6 and 9, they can both add such an event to their resume.
We got the form sent home in their folders from school inviting them to participate and much to my surprise... they were both begging to join in. Kind of puts me to shame being I'm not even consistent about walking a few days a week, let alone being excited about doing something like a triathlon. So we signed 'em up. Keep in mind this was only a week or so before the race so there wasn't a whole lot of time for training. And let me also remind you that my kids haven't been in a big pool sense August of last year, and I don't recall they've ever swam laps in an Olympic size pool. So sum our preparation up to going for a couple of 1 mile runs through our neighborhood.
Saturday morning, excitement running through our house, we loaded their bikes with all the other needed gear for the race and headed to the starting point. Benjamin and Catherine got registered and "numbered" on their arms and legs, we got their bikes ready and then headed down to the pool where the first leg of the race would take place. As we approached the pool and I took one good look at it, I began doubting either of them would even make it from one end to the other. Of course I never let them know I had an inkling of uncertainty but continued encouraging both of them.
Catherine was the first to swim... one length of the pool, followed by a 1 mile bike ride and a 1 mile run. She really surprised me. Her swimming wasn't perfect in form, but she kept herself moving until she made it to the other end. She pulled herself out of the pool and took off running to where her bike was stationed. I was allowed to assist her with getting her shoes and bike helmet on. As we were getting her settled to get on her bike, and I was telling her what an awesome job she did swimming, she looked up at me and said it was so hard, she didn't even feel like she could breathe. But she jumped up on her bike and off she went....
So I took off back to the pool to watch Benjamin finish up his swim, and when I got there, I was taken a little off guard. I finally put my eyes on him to realize he was the very last one in the pool, and he was struggling. Every ounce of my being wanted to jump in there and rescue him, but something deep inside me just believed in him and kept cheering for him. He had to swim 2 lengths of the pool, and it was clearly almost more than he could handle. But he made it. After a little help getting up out of the pool, he took off for his bike. When he ran by me, I gave him 5 and reminded him he could do it. The only response I got... "That was terrible!" in reference to his swim. As worn out as he was, he got himself ready for the bike ride which was 2 miles long... and he took off like a dart. He knew he needed to make up some time to stay in the race.
Soon after, we got to cheer for Catherine as she came in with her bike. She was walking it, but she didn't stop. She even had a little grin on her face. As soon as she parked her bike, she sprinted off for the last leg of her race, a 1 mile run. She looked so natural as she ran off from us. In fact, Brian looked at me and said, "She looks like a runner."
Next in was Benjamin, jogging his bike in for the last little bit. Brian and I were cheering like crazy, for him and all the other kids. He quickly put his bike aside then took off for his run, also 1 mile.
Catherine was the first to cross the finish line, as her swim and bike ride where shorter than Benjamin's. Her time for the whole race was 21.09 minutes. A few minutes later, Benjamin came in for his finish. He had slowed down on the last little leg until he realized another racer was coming up behind him, then he took off to get over the finish line first. His time for the whole race was 27.9 minutes. My heart still wells up with pride every time I think about their accomplishment... that they finished the race... didn't quit because it was tough and they weren't in the lead... but they finished because it was what they set out to do. I'm one proud Mama with a proud Daddy right beside me. Way to go Benjamin and Catherine! Y'all were AWESOME!!!