Saturday, June 7, 2014

Shark Attack Triathlon

What an amazing morning.

About a month ago, I caught wind of a "kid" triathlon out near Herriman.  I told the kids about it and they imediately wanted in.  The girls had been very envious of Ethan doing the novice one last month.  The age cut off for this one was to be seven  years old by December 31 of this year.  Lauren turns seven in September, so she made it!   My concern was that they would be off doing the race on their own.  I wasn't worried about Ethan, but it made me very nervous to send the girls off because they are busy streets that they race down.  The race os lined with police officers and volunteers, but it is still open to traffic and some drivers are just plain stupid.  I emailed the race director and asked if I would be able to bike and run with them, and she assured me that was okay.

I callled Courtnee to ask if her boys would be interested in doing the tri, and Carson was.  Our kids were so happy to have their cousin race with them!

This morning was a very early one for me, which was hard because last night was a late one for me.  Lots to do to get ready for these things and I am always up past midnight.  As I type this, I am about to fall asleep.


We got the kids checked in and body marked, then we headed over to the pool to let them warm up.  The adult sprint tri was ending, with the last racers coming through the finish line.  The water wasn't too cold for being in the morning of early June.  They lined up and listened to the directions from the officiator, then it was time to hit the water! 








Ethan's start

Carson's start
Hailey's start
Lauren's start
Hailey and Carson

Ethan

Lauren had a rough time in the water.  Although she is a very good and strong swimmer, nerves got the best of her and she "choked" right before her start.  It set of a chain reaction that she had a hard time over coming while swimming.  She panicked a couple of times and ended up in dead last.  But that was okay...she just needed to finish!!



When she touched the side, all of the officiators went nuts cheering.  Those 100 meters almost did her in!  But she busted out of that water and she and I hit the transition station at full speed.  Bike time!!  Ethan and Carson were already out of transition when we got there, and Hailey was getting her shoes on.  The three of us headed out to the road together.  Lauren was so happy to be done with the swim because she said "that was the hardest thing she had ever done."  Quite a feat for a tiny six year old!!  Because we were last, the Sweeper followed us out on the course.  The Sweeper is a volunteer who brings up the rear and signals to the officiators that the last racer has come out.  His name was Gene and he was such a nice old guy.  He would turn out to be very useful for me, because not even half a mile into the bike, this women officiator with a serious ax to grind started yelling at me that I couldn't be on the bike course with my child.  She was stark raving mad!  I was very confused because I had been told BY THE DIRECTOR that it was okay.  I had been told that weeks before!  But this woman would NOT bend and she made me go back.  Gene kept following Lauren and Hailey and I watched them until they were out of sight.  My heart was scared.  Lauren had no idea I had been turned away and I feared that when she realized I was gone, she would freak out.

When I got back near transition, Cody was waiting with the little boys and the cameras and I was almost in tears as I told him about the crazy Nazi officiator.  I went and put my bike and helmet back at camp, and then we waited there for our kids to come down the bike course.  Carson and Ethan came through very quickly, then Hailey a little while later.  It was Lauren that I was very worried about.  She was so tired and already emotional when she got done with the swim.







We waited.  And Waited.  And waited.  Still no Lauren, no Gene.  My heart was pounding and I was scared.  What if something had happened to her?  What if she fell off her bike?  Minuted had passed since the last biker came through, and there was no sign of Lauren.  I said "screw it" and I got my bike back out of transition and headed back out on the course.  Finally I spotted Lauren's bright pink shirt, and Gene's blue shirt close behind her.  "She has a flat tire!!"  Gene yelled.  Lauren had tears running down her face, but she was pedaling hard and focusing on the task at hand.  "Her tire popped two miles ago!"  He told me.  

Moments later I heard police sirens and looked behind and saw six police cars following us.  They were giving Lauren an escort!  I asked her if she wanted to get off her bike so we could walk out bikes the rest of the way.  "No way!"  She said as she cried.  "I am finishing it on my bike!"  Her poor back tire was completely flat.  No air in it at all.  Her little legs pushed and pushed and she was shaking.  She had ridden like that for two miles!


We got back to camp and I quickly hung our bikes on the rack and we started running to the race course.  Lauren was shaking so much that she stumbled and almost collapsed.  I picked her up and put her on my back and ran through transition with her like that as tears fell down her face.  The cheers from everyone around us was unreal.  Everyone heard that her tired had popped.  People had been wondering where the little tiny girl in the pink was, and here she was on her mama's back.  I ran with her on my back for about 1/8 a mile, then she said she needed to run on her own.  She ran, and walked, and ran, and walked.  She was so incredibly tired and weak.  When we hit the halfway point, we came to a water station and the officiator asked if she was the last one.  I apologized that we were so late, but I explained about the bike.  He was blown away that she had ridden on a flat tire for two miles.  He said "That is every triathlete's worst nightmare!  That, and getting hit by a car."  He went on to tell Lauren how amazing and inspirational she was. 

"Mom, I want to run the whole way to the finish line."  I think her adrenaline took over and she picked up the pace.  "Do you think anyone is still there, or do you think they all went home?"  I told her I didn't know, but we knew that our family would be there.

As we got closer to the finish line, we could again hear the music booming from the speakers and we could hear the MC talking into the microphone.  We rounded the last corner and I guess everyone spotted her pink shirt and the crowd went CRAZY.  I cried, and she just smiled.  So so so many people, adults from the sprint even, were hanging around just to see her finish.  "This is the absolute best part of the entire race!!"  The MC said into the mic.  She said I got the mom of the year award, but I don't know about that.  I was just so happy for Lauren, and for the other kids, that I didn't care about anything else. 







It was an unbelievable day.  I had to get a picture of Lauren with Gene, her savior on the bike course.  Lauren said he was like her guardian angel.  Oh man, I am crying again!  I love these events more than I can say and I am so proud and happy for these kids of mine.  We went to IHOP after we finally got everything loaded up, and I asked each of the kids what the hardest part of the race was.  Ethan, Hailey, and Carson said the swim was the hardest.  Lauren said she wanted to tell us what the best part was instead.  She said the best part was coming through the finish line and seeing the hundreds of people waiting there for her, all cheering and calling her name. 


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