Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Swim. Bike. Run. — Three Verbs b/c It Is Just That Cool!

on April 8, 2013

About two weeks ago, Felix announced that he would like to do a mini-triathlon.

Sure. Sounds like fun. Wait. What? Really?

Then just last week, he said he had found one that was ‘calling’ to him. In Smithfield. Because it is flat and it has a 10 a.m. start time. Felix has always claimed to have low blood pressure in the mornings and can’t exercise too early!

300 meter swim. 10 mile bike ride. 3.2 mile run. To the finish line.

Ummmmm. You do realize that you haven’t been in a pool since last August, right?  And you haven’t been on your bike for a significant amount of time in quite a while, remember? And the longest you have ever run, once, was a 5K, yes?

None of that seemed to phase him in the slightest. He was determined. He registered for the race. He didn’t join a team or even follow a training program.  He just decided. He decided he was up for the challenge. He believed he could swim, bike and run. And go the distances.

Well then. You know what I always say… Go. Do that!

Game was on. I tried to make weekend plans for the kiddos and was successful with one of them. The boy-child would have to be in tow for the adventure, whatever may come.

With less than 4 days of preparation time, we headed out on the 5 hour drive, trying to make the orientation meeting for novice triathletes on Friday evening. However, we underestimated the traffic complications and arrived at the meeting just as it was ending. We were able to pick up his race packet though and find out his swim time.

And in his packet…his very first RACE T-SHIRT!!  I was way more excited about the race t-shirt than Felix was, but then, everyone knows that …  I run for t-shirts!   He just couldn’t get excited about the skittles yellow hue and especially didn’t care for the two pink pigs running on the front. HelllloooooOOOooo. It is Smithfield…fueled by bacon, that place is.

We checked into our hotel and then grabbed dinner at our favorite local seafood joint, Harpoon Larry’s. A little pre-race carb-and protein-loading of hush puppies, salad, crab legs and shrimp.  (Yes, I loaded on shrimp and crab legs, because it is yummy, I mean, I was supporting his efforts!)

photo (10)

Yes. I’m proud to say both X and Y are well versed at peeling their own shrimp and cracking their own crab legs! I call that a parenting success.

The next morning, I helped Felix get organized, snagged some snacks for the rest of the day from the hotel breakfast (Thank you, Hampton Inn, you saved us!)  Then made the boy-child get moving and we arrived at 8:30 to set up his transition area as best we knew how, with his bike, helmet, towels, clothes, etc.  We watched others to know what to do. He was body marked and received his timing chip for his ankle. When we were planning, it seemed like a lot to do and organize, but once we were there, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. I’ve always wondered how transition areas work…now I know!

And then we waited. And waited. And waited. There were 5oo people at this race. Each person had to start with the snake swim, up and back in a single lane times 6 lanes. So, do the math…a person must start swimming every 15 seconds. Felix was number 446. The race began at 10 a.m.  Felix didn’t hit the pool until…12:13:15. Yep. Over three hours of waiting. Just waiting. With a five year old. Good times.  The first finishers were crossing the line an hour before Felix was even ready to get in line to start the swim.

photo (12)

This is what bored looks like.

Finally, it was his turn and the boy-child and I were watching from outside. Well, I was watching, the boy-child was complaining a little using words like, “boring” and “not fair that Daddy gets to swim and I don’t!”   I chose to ignore the little person and focused on the action in the pool. I  marveled at his long, confident strokes and it was clear he was a lifeguard back in the day. We knew this would be his strength. I immediately recognized and said out loud to no one in particular, “He so underestimated his time for this” and then watched as he passed 3 people in the pool. 12 laps. 300 meters. Check.

I quickly discovered that my role was all about anticipating and capturing the seconds of time that he would cross our path.  When he turned for his last 50 meters in the pool, I dragged the boy-child to the corner of the transition area so we could throw Felix a towel and capture the moments of Felix leaving the pool, running toward his transition spot.

This is where I will confess to being a “WhooHoo-er!” Yes. I “WhooHoo” with the best of them. And I have to say, I think everyone who is competing in a triathlon needs their own personal “WhooHoo-er”. As a matter of fact, I “WhooHoo-ed” for anyone who didn’t seem to have a “WhooHoo-er” of their own.  It’s an accomplishment, just to do this craziness and everyone deserves at least a good “WhooHoo!” I will say, it makes my videos of Felix incredibly hard to watch with the audio. Apparently, my “WhooHoo”s are loud and a bit high-pitched!  And annoying once you have watched them several times.

I quickly figured out where X and I needed to stand in order to see Felix leave on his mountain bike, yes, mountain bike…(that is how we roll, people!) so I ran/dragged X across a muddy field ignoring his protests  of “Owwww, you are going to fast…my arms….my legs! Owwww!” We made it to the corner and magic happened as I managed to get my phone both ON and turned ON to VIDEO just in time to capture this … just when this happened… a wheelie!:

wheelie pic

Ok, I do have video with the annoying “WooHoo”s embedded. Truth is, the video is sideways and I cannot figure out how to rotate and insert it…so you are all spared my “WooHoo-ing” and you just get a still shot instead. Enjoy and Insert your own “WooHoo!”

Felix had estimated about 25 minutes or so for this 10 mile bike ride, so I knew I had time to drag, I mean, walk the boy-child to the car for a few minutes. In a brilliant move, I convinced him that he should ride his bike, so we put on his Spiderman helmet and got out his Avengers bike along with some money for some homemade mac n’ cheese being sold by the local barbeque joint. Brilliant move indeed, because now I could tow X across muddy fields on wheels instead of his little short 5 year old legs. And he got a ton of attention, being the only kiddo riding (well, being pulled through the mud by his Momma holding on to the handlebars) his bike around the triathlon.

  photo (11)     photo (7)

I set up a picnic lunch for the boy-child and I started getting ready to capture Felix’s return. However, when about 40 minutes had gone by, I started to worry a little that the mountain bike hadn’t cooperated as it should. People on fancy road bikes with higher numbers than Felix were coming back to the dismount area. Finally, Felix came down the straight stretch and I “WooHoo-ed” him and started toward the run start area, with the boy on his bike, literally in tow.

Later Felix said that he pedaled the entire 10 miles, never coasting and couldn’t catch or pass a single person. Yeah. He’s now searching for a road bike to rent or buy. 🙂

We waved and yes, “WhooHoo-ed” him as he left on foot at the beginning of his 5K run. A silly, young, crazy fast athlete in a banana suit was right behind him, so ‘BananaMan’ will always be a part of our story. Felix waved to us and put one foot in front of the other on his way to the finish line.

photo (1)

Felix and the Banana Man

I towed the boy child toward the finish line and set up camp to wait for the return of Felix. X started making his case for why he should get to swim after Daddy was finished and I broke the news to him. No, there isn’t time for swimming, because … Guess What?! We get to get back in the car and drive those 5 hours we drove yesterday back home. What would you like to do instead of swimming?

Pause. Ummmm…. SWIMMING!  he answered. Or how about …. SWIMMING!?  Yes, he’s a funny kid. 🙂  He makes me laugh everyday.

We can’t go swimming, so what is another treat you might like instead?

Bacon. Yes, Bacon was his answer, without hesitation. 🙂 At that point, I figured that the boy-child had been a trooper and had been dragged across the state twice in less than 24 hours to do absolutely nothing that was actually fun for him with minimal 5 year old complaining… so … Bacon it is, kid. 🙂

Soon, we saw Felix heading toward the finish line. Proud is not a big enough word. He finished strong and received his very first running (bling) medal! It is an amazing accomplishment and if you have never participated in a race or a 5K or anything like this, there is a vibe of adrenaline that is pumped out in the air around these events.  There is something in the music or the announcement of names and cities as people cross finish lines. There is something about people wearing their accomplishments as literal medals around their necks. There is something about the proud looks, relieved smiles, and sweaty shirts on all of the participants. It is a new club that was just formed.

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Running Bling is the best.

And it looks so cool, it makes you want to be a part of it. Seriously, it does!

So, yesterday we started looking for the next triathlon we can do together. We went to the aquatic center so I could see if I could swim just a few laps (because no, I wasn’t a life guard back in the day.)

But this one was his. This was Felix’s Finish Line.

We’ll cross the next one together.

photo (8)   photo (9)   photo (13)


15 responses to “Swim. Bike. Run. — Three Verbs b/c It Is Just That Cool!

  1. That’s awesome!!! Maybe X & Y will want to do a kids tri so that all four of you have a finish line to cross?? My son did hist first at age 8, and is doing two this year! So much fun!!

    • MommyVerbs says:

      That is so cool! We did see a couple of kiddos participating last weekend…so impressive! We are looking at a venue that is coming up with a Kids’ Tri for all different ages on Saturday and then the grown up one on Sunday. I will certainly let you know if we make it happen. What a great accomplishment for my lil’ fam that would be! Thanks for the encouragement and for sharing in our excitement!

  2. Lead Our Lives says:

    Awesome! Here’s to the success of spontaneity! Whoo-hoo! This was so much fun to read! Thanks for sharing the journey!

    • MommyVerbs says:

      The Success of Spontaneity—that may be the title of your next amazing book you will write! 🙂 Just always love how you string together words of encouragement that make me smile. You have a unique way of making the world so. much. brighter. Thank you for being you!

  3. wow thats amazing!!!!! xxxxxxxxxxxx

  4. Chris says:

    PROUD! We are so proud of Felix! I also KNOW what it is like to be the “supporter”, a little exhilaration, a lot boring 🙂

    • MommyVerbs says:

      Well, I’m sure if you go to LOTS of these over the years, it could turn into a lot of boring. I have to say this first one was pretty exciting…we are actually looking at doing one together at the end of the month. They also have events for the kiddos at the same venue. Might be a family affair! 🙂 Thanks for the comment and for the ‘support’ too! Your triathlete was helpful to talk with and his response to Felix’s plan to run to the locker room was just classic! 🙂

  5. That’s great! Congratulations to Felix for doing the race and you for keeping boy child happy. An accomplishment for all!

    For your next triathlon, check out this tips from Triathlon champion, Claudia Spooner:


  6. […] They motivate. They encourage. They make you recognize your accomplishments. There is whooping and “WhooHooing” and it feels like you are doing this as a team.  Thirty individuals on their own bikes, yet riding […]

  7. […] way as if, ‘Yeah. That’s me. I do this. This triathlon thing.’ I might have even ‘WhooHooed’ a little […]

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