So Canada Day was a very special day in our family this year, as it marked Sebastian's debut into the Kids of Steel triathlon program and was the first triathlon he did entirely on his own (a couple weeks earlier he was the runner on our relay team at the Canmore Try a Tri). Needless to say, as parents, we had been going back and forth on whether or not to register him for the Turner Valley Kids of Steel event. Sebastian sees us training (specifically Jeremy training for Ironman Canada) and doing work for triathlon, and has naturally expressed an interest. As well, given how sports in general can be challenging for a child who has delays in gross and fine motor, it was nice to see he had an interest. But, we didn't want to set him up for failure, and wanted to make sure at the very least, that he would succeed in his attempt. We have taken him swimming numerous times, and he's been in swimming lessons, but he is still not that good in the water. I knew he could get across, it just wasn't going to be that quickly!! And I also knew life jackets were optional, so swim, check. Now biking. Again, he is not a super strong kid, so biking has been challenging. However this year, he has grown a lot and biking has become something he is enjoying now. He has biked at the park with his friends and is getting much better with handling directions, braking, steering etc. Plus, training wheels were an option, so biking, check. And well, running, we knew that wasn't going to be even a challenge for him, so running, check. So we signed him up, still not entirely sure how it would go, but after seeing his reaction and desire about biking after the Ride To Conquer Cancer, we wanted to fuel that energy!!
So, last week, we took him swimming again, and he did fine. We took him biking, and he did fine. And then we practiced transitions. And he LOVED this. He had so much fun, transitioning from swim to bike, and then from bike to run. He pretended he was doing the Ride to Conquer Cancer. I tried to tell him, that the cancer ride was just a bike ride, and he said, "mom, I'm just pretending." It was cute. And he pretended his runners were clip shoes. And his pedals were Speedplay (those are the pedals Jeremy got for his birthday). But the part he was most proud of, was having his very own cycling jersey. And I believe, even last night, he had his cycling jersey in his bed with him, so it was close to him. Yes, kids are cute.
Bring on Race Day. It was an early morning, as Jeremy was also competing, just not in the kids of steel, hahaha. We cheered him on, ran into a couple people we know, and saw him leave on the bike and come back on the bike, and then saw him finish the run. With all sorts of bathroom breaks in between for a certain someone I won't name that drinks water and juice like it's going out of style!! The boys had fun cheering the bikers on, and playing in the grass and in the gazebo while dad raced. After Jeremy finished (and was happy with the entire race, renewed confidence, yay), we hung out for a bit, and soon it was time for the kids to get ready.
Brief Intermission for ODE TO SULLIVAN:
Sully, you are my little guy
Pretty much the apple of my eye
You were a trooper all day
For that I say yay
Soon enough it will be your turn to tri!!
Back to our regularly scheduled program:
So, Sebastian racked his bike, set up his transition mat, layed out his clip pedals (runners), helmet, gloves, glasses (can't swim in those!!), cycling jersey and number. He was ready. We changed him into his bathing suit and bathing shirt. He got body marked, (Sebastian trying to show off his body marking) complete with a happy face on the back of his leg!! He put on the life jacket, and the waiting began. The big kids started, and each age group from there, until FINALLY, the seven and under category. They had to swim 50m.
When it was Sebastian's turn, he got the second lane, he crossed the timing mat, and his race began. Poor kid has not an ounce of fat on him, so getting into the outdoor pool was COLD. Then, he didn't appreciate getting splashed very much.
But, he went across, kicking his little feet, and attempting to scoop water with his arms. It was slow, but he finished. Then, had to go to the bathroom, so quick trip, only to get partially lost and then finally, he was on his way to transition.
At transition, he was just shivering. Poor kid!! He got all ready, towelled off, put on his bike jersey (and got a few compliments for it), shoes, number, glasses, bike gloves, and helmet. Once the chin strap was done up, he could grab his bike and walk it over to the mount/dismount line. He told the volunteer in transition he had speed play pedals for his clip shoes, it was so cute. Away he went on his 1km ride. He rode the whole thing, no problems at all.
Back at transition again, he took off his helmet and gloves, moved his number around, and off he went, this time with his dad for his 500m run. He totally rocked the run!! He is an amazing runner!! And he crossed the finish line and was so proud of himself. He did all three!! He shouted "mom, I did a triathlon!!".
It was awesome. He got his medal and grabbed a snack. Couldn't have been prouder. And we were so super proud of him too. For a little guy that weighed less than 2 pounds when he was born, that we didn't even no would make it, and if he did, had no idea what the consequences of his early and rocky start must be, it was amazing to see him finish this race. I definitely had tears in my eyes watching him!!
And, he's already talking about his NEXT triathlon... love it!!