This day was overall a fabulous day, and I highly recommend the Vulcan tinman as a good first race!
The start of the day
I got up bright and early after a surprisingly good sleep. Despite my anxiety in the days leading up the race, I had it mostly together the morning of the race. Got the rest of my stuff packed up, my son's stuff packed up and food for the drive and the day. We waited until shortly before it was time to leave before waking up the kids. Then we just had to get them dressed, pottied and out the door. We let them eat breakfast during the drive.
The drive from Cochrane to Vulcan was about 2 hours. My husband drove and I "navigated". Unfortunately, I thought the little red numbers by roads were the numbers of the roads; turned out they were just distances. Fortunately, this mistake was made when there was another turn coming up that was almost as good. I think my husband might have lost his trust in my navigation skills...
When we arrived in Vulcan, we headed to registration and got body marked. It was my first time getting marked, and I still haven't washed it off. (I'm not avoiding washing it, just not going to any effort to scrub it off). I think it's cool. :) Spud was thrilled with his number. He got 56 and I got 248.
Then we set up our bikes in the transition areas. This is a very beginner race, but even so, I was surprised to see how much space some people used in transition. One person actually had their bike sideways against the racks and had an extraordinary amount of stuff beside it. Having said that, I've made a resolution not to stress about things that don't effect me. I had no trouble finding a spot for myself and set up my spot. I was also pretty pleased with my minimalist use of space. When I was at home, I kept looking at my stuff and going "that's all I need?" Yep. It was.
Then it was time to wait until the tinbit's (kid's) race. The weather was pretty dreary and cold in the morning, even though the forecast was good for later in the day. The kids played on the playground; we took various potty breaks; we hung out. Finally it was time to get going with the tinbits.
The tinbit race was for 8 and under and they did waves in age groups. Spud is only 4, so he was in the last group to go. It was good though, because I think it helped him to watch the older kids swimming. It gave him a clear idea of how it worked. The one thing about the setup is I was reminded of how tall he is. Standing next to the other 4 year olds, he looked like a little giant, a head taller then most of them.
I kept him wrapped up in a towel until right before his turn came. When it was time to jump in, he didn't even hesitate. I was concerned he would be cold, but at this point he was okay. He had a life jacket on, as did most of the kids in this age group. It was so fun watching them swim across. I cheered for him as he went. Since he isn't quite using "proper" swim form yet (of course) so he swam with his head above water and could still hear me.
He kept looking at the boy next to him, and I thought he was having a conversation or making a friend. After getting out of the pool though, he told me "I beat the red boy!" (The other boy had a red swimsuit.) Oy. A bit young to be so competitive...
The next part was the tough part. He was cold. It was less the 10c (50f) at this point, so tough to go do a bike ride while still kind of wet. It's easy to tell adults to htfu, but not something you can expect from a 4 year old. We took our time in transition. I dried him off really well and put his jacket on. In hindsight, I wish I had put pants on him, rather then just leaving him in his swimsuit. In fact, it would be better to get him a jammer type of suit. There's a reason male triathletes don't wear board shorts...
He also got nervous on the bike. He rides lots, and I usually jog, or go at a slow run to keep up, but he was shivering and unsure, so I was walking beside him. I think riding on the road threw him off, as he's used to riding on sidewalks or paths. I helped him get through it by telling him how good he was doing and that when he was done the bike, he got to run. He loves running, so that seemed to give him a bit of a jolt.
Then we got back to transition. This one was quick. All we had to do was rack his bike and take off his helmet, then he took off. And when I say took off, I'm not kidding. He ran FAST - a pace that I would not have been able to go at a year ago. As we turned the corner, he slowed just a tiny bit and said "whew, that's hard work," I pointed out the finish line, and he surged forward again. The kid may not have the pacing for long runs down yet, but he's quite the sprinter!
Then he crossed the finish line and got his medal and a yogurt tube. Turned out he didn't like the flavour of yogurt much, but the medal was pretty darn exciting and he wore it on and off the rest of the day.
After the fact, he says he LOVED every part of it. We went to a restaurant for dinner that night, and since he had his medal, a man asked him about it. He recounted how he swam and then rode his bike and then ran "really fast".
My 4 year old triathlete. :)
(Stay tuned. I'll get my report up tomorrow!)