Sunday, August 19, 2007

Emily and her first TRI, Iron Kids.

Emily and her first TRI, Iron Kids:
(Picture to come)
Wow, My Daughter Emily 8yrs competes in her first TRI.
August 19, 2007 was a great day, full of trepidation, smiles and esteem building that will last a lifetime.
I am so happy for her, because today she learned she can do anything, and that’s a life lesson that she will use over and over again.

Emily has been watching me train and race and said to me more than once that she would like to race. I thought how cool is that, my Daughter wants to race, and then I started to think to myself, why. Does she really want to race or does she want to please me. I really didn’t want her to race for the wrong reasons, she should race for herself and not for anyone else.
I found, Sara Lee sponsors 6 kids’ triathlons a season and it just so happens one of the races is just 20 minutes from the house. I talked to the family about it and Emily said she wanted to do it.

Emily’s Training:
Over the summer Emily has been taking swimming lessons at our local YMCA and she has been doing fine. We also have a 25 meter pool in out neighborhood so she is no stranger to water. Now that does not mean she can swim 100 meters freestyle easily, she mostly mixes it up swimming underwater, backstroke, and anything else that would get her to the end. We practices a few time in the pool, very low key, I did not want to put her in the position of having to please me. After a few times swimming 100 meters, I knew she could make the distance, so that was it.
Her bike was fine, we rode a few times and I knew the distance wasn’t an issue.
Emily’s running is good, we have done a few kids races so I knew she could do it.

Emily’s Race:
The day started like most race mornings, got to Transition and got set up. Iron Kids really did a great job on this, on the bike rack they placed a duplicate race number (bib) on the rack so you knew exactly where your bike went. We set up and I went over with her how to lay it out and in what order she needed to get things done in. You could see that many of the kids racing had parents that raced, chalk marks in the pavement at the end of the bike racks, tidy gear, it was cool. Ok T is set up off to the pool, this was the hard part. The pool was 6 lanes and the kid were to start 2 per lane, but for some reason they were starting them on per. First went the older kids (Seniors) ages 11-14, they had to swim 200 meters. This took a long time, and on top of that every so often they would take a break to let the racers on the cycle leg finish so the bike leg would be safer, and I am all for it. The swim started at 08:00 starting with the older kids and going down to the younger kids. Emily didn’t get into the pool until 10:45, but at this point the kids were swimming 2 per lane so it was going faster. It was hard for the kids to wait so long, and for the younger siblings to wait, it was getting hot. The swim was fine, on her last lap I ran out of the pool area and got into position just outside the transition area and waited. Here she comes! Some of the older kids that had already finished lined up on either side of the path to the transition and joined hands to make a human tunnel and when a racer came down the screamed and yelled to “Good job!”, “Go!”, “You can do it!” and it was just awesome. I cried when I saw my Emily run threw the tunnel of well wishers, I might be making more of it than it was, but it was true sport, and it was good hearted kids showing true sportsmanship.
So, into T1, this is where Iron Kids was real good, transition was laid out with number on the bike racks and they had staff that would see the kid’s number marking and lead the kids to their bike. Emily hit T1 fast, got out in the bike in about 2-3 minutes, not bad for a newbie kid. She road her three laps quickly and by the look on her face she was having fun. Back to transition for T2, and she was lead to her rack, she racked her bike and out the other end for the run. Now this was cool, the run mat was at the end of the transition and they had a water stop next to the mat. Emily blasted out of T2 grabs a water, drinks half and pours the other half over her head chucks the cup all while running, I though to myself wow she looks like a pro. I ran around to catch up with her on the run, and she was past the halfway point and running up a long grade and I could see that she had a side stitch. This is where I could see the lack of real training and heat where taking a toll on her, but this is part of triathlon, getting past the pain and pushing yourself. I though to myself this is what she needed, she need to fight through something hard and see that she can do it. She saw me as I stood their cheering her on, and I could see a smile take the place of the pain, and I could see that walk turn to a run. It was a downhill run to the finish, and finish she did, she is my hero.

This is my opinion, so take it or leave it, but I believe triathlon builds kids both physically and mentally.
It worth the effort to expose your kids to as many things as you can, and let them decide if they like it or not.
Please do not mandate that your child do anything but get good grades and eat their vegetables.
Let them decide if they want to race or not.
And if nothing else, let then know you love them.

A proud dad,

P.s.: I can not believe I forgot to add that we got to see the awesome Sara Mclarty.
Sara helped run the Iron Kids Atlanta/Dacula Georgia and did a great job. I heard many kids say that they wanted to be Sara including mine.
Sara is going on a world tour to train and race for an Olympic spot, and we wish her the best of luck!
Please check out Sara's blog at
Go Sara!


Sara McLarty said...

Hi Brian and Emily!
I'm so glad to hear and read that you both had a great time at IronKids last weekend! Keep having fun...that is the most important thing...and good luck in both of your next races! Please send me some photos from the Dacula race...I would love to post them on my blog:)

Big Peach Runner said...

Congratulations Emily!!