My First Triathlon . . at 43!

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I’ve have been active all my life. I got a bike when I was 3 and it was my mode of transportation before I could drive. I took swimming lessons forever and was a lifeguard throughout High School and University. I grew up in an active family and I’ve been running since I was 10. After the birth of all 3 of my babies, my husband and I ran a ½ marathon in a different city with baby in the jogging stroller when they were only 8 months old. It seems only natural that I would eventually do a triathlon . . . but I never had! Last spring my husband and I trained for and did our first sprint duathlon – run 2km, biking 20km and run another 5km . . .and now it was time to move up to a triathlon – a swim, then bike, then run.

My First Triathlon . . at 43!We trained the weekend before to practice the transitions. Running in your bathing suit is not always comfortable and there is a talent to setting out your towel, your socks, and shoes beside your bike. Then there is remembering that your shirt fits better if you put it on BEFORE your bike helmet. . . something that warrants mentioning! The swim was easy . . .we are naturals here. The bike was easy too, but remembering that this is a race and not a joy ride ups the pressure just a bit. Then the run. The legs feel funny! We carry on with minimal complaining, this is just too much fun to stop! After we are done we reviewed what was harder than we thought and what was the fun part . . .everyone agreed, it was a bit of a challenge!

The day before race day was orientation . . . always a good idea to know where you are going beforehand as race day can be a bit blurry with so many people around and cones all over the course. We studied the maps, we drove the bike course, we scoped out the pool and we reviewed the running route. We were ready!

With the training under our belt, we woke up early on the big day! The sun was shining and the first race was at 8:30am . . .bikes had to be in transition area by 8. We picked a prime position and got our numbers written on our arms & legs with MARKERS! How fun, we are never allowed to write on ourselves with markers!!

The excitement mounts as we run into friend after friend who is there to do their first triathlon too!! We can’t wait for the first wave to start!! And then it was time. Our 5 year old was up first. . . . yup, my first triathlon was actually for my kids!!

Helping them prepare, taking a zillion pictures, encouraging them from the sidelines and setting them up for a lifetime of loving individual sports . . . that was our role that day. It took me 43 years to get this close to a triathlon and I learned, that for my husband and I, it was an honour to be the parents on the sidelines rather than the athletes in the race this time.

All three kids were so excited. They didn’t know they were supposed to be nervous . . .this was all brand new to them but they approached it like pros. My 5 year old flew through the course with me by her side. Proud as punch she climbed out of the pool and sat on her bike with wet shorts and raced faster than I could keep up running beside her. Then took off for the run before we even saw where the volunteers had taken her bike!!

Our 7 and 9 year old daughters could barely contain themselves as they had to wait before their age group was up. They were eager to do their longer race on their own they said! The happiness and excitement in these three kids that day was contagious. The determination in the transition area to do up those shoe laces and buckle that helmet and the smiles as they raced by us on their bikes will forever be remembered. But what I cherish the most is the looks of pure joy on their faces as they emerged from the transition area for the run to the finish line.

At 43, I can finally say “I have done my first triathlon.” It’s not important that it was my kids that crossed the finish line. Our family did this one together.

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