By Claire Brown
When I slipped into the murky, cold water to start my first triathlon, I heard fierce yelling from the dark figures along the shore and all the faces around me were grimacing. I couldn’t tell where to go and I felt lost before I even started. I took a deep-breath and ….woke up from this scary dream the night before my first triathlon.
Other than this bad dream, I had no idea what to expect for my first triathlon, the Kid’s Bec Tri at Nottingham Park in Avon, Colorado. What I found on the day of the race really surprised me. It was nothing like my scary dream. The weather was sunny and clear and the people were really nice and encouraging. There were so many volunteers there was no way to get lost. I really liked the way that the race organizers gathered all the kids before the race and had a meeting about how the race would go. The course was a 100 yard swim in Nottingham Lake, 2 laps of biking, and 1 of running. The race organizer who led the meeting was really encouraging and cheerful. He said, “Are you ready?!” and we all cheered.
The swim was the hardest part of the race. The ramp into the water was slippery and added to my nervousness. The mass start of the swim made me feel crowded and being in the open water made me think about how deep the water under me might be. I just thought about keeping up with the person in front of me. Getting to the transition area meant running over rough concrete that was hard on my bare feet. I felt exhausted.
The bike ride really cheered me up. There were kids from the duathlon on the course and I was passing other kids. I really loved my bike at those moments! My mind focused on the last part of the race – the run.
The run was hard, but knowing I was almost finished really motivated me. I wasn’t wearing a tri suit like the other kids and I got distracted by my shorts, which had begun to sag. Still, I ran as hard as I could, telling myself, don’t think about the cramps, don’t think about your shorts falling down. My mind got focused when I heard one of the spectators, a little girl, say to her parents, “She looks like she is struggling.” About me! I am proud that I had the fastest time on the run of any of the tri-kids, by 30 seconds. I have that little girl to thank, because hearing her say that about me gave me a boost of energy.
I felt strong and powerful after the race. The park was beautiful and the people were welcoming and friendly. It was a great first tri experience. I will definitely “tri” again!