Just Keep Swimming…Tackling a Triathlon as a Family

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My family spent a full week getting excited about doing a TRi KiDS™ triathlon scheduled for a Sunday this summer.  Our kids have participated in triathlons for as long as I can remember: 

For a big family – a triathlon day is hectic, but a lot of fun!

Enter the Friday night before the triathlon, when Daddy-o manages a bad run-in with a garage door. Without getting too graphic, I had to collect a little bit of him that was left behind in that door before driving him down to the ER. They put Humpty Dumpty back together again, but my “wing man” was officially out of commission.

How was I going to manage four kids participating in a triathlon on my own? I was grossly outnumbered. So how did I survive it?

1. The volunteers. 

Honestly, I can‘t say enough about how professional and organized the TRi KiDS organizers are. They had people everywhere – all of them wanting to help me. Every kid got one-on-one attention in the transition areas, where they were welcomed with huge cheers and high-fives. Check in was a snap, the course was clear for the participants and the thing ran ON TIME!

2. I was organized.

I have to admit – I’m a bit competitive, so while I like my kids “participating”, I also like them to try hard to do well. Heck, they wear those little timer things on their ankles for a reason, so you can bet I’ll be online checking times! Now, I’m not so competitive that they wear fancy triathlon outfits or ride expensive racing bikes, but I do have a few tricks to speed things up and simplify life in the transition area.

I have my kids wear two-piece bathing suits. That way I can pin the number bib directly on their swim top so they don’t have to bother putting on a t-shirt after their swim. Two-piece bathing suits make for practical toileting as well. Another quick time-saver is having them ride and run in their sandals. Make sure they are good running sandals with a closed toe. Sandals eliminate the need for socks and putting socks on wet feet can slow little triathletes down!

3. Sibling power.

I stayed with one kid during her race, and the two siblings who were racing later stayed with the child I couldn’t be with. Same happened with the older kids. The event location was safe and all the activities were close together, so there was no worry about anyone getting lost or run over.  I was actually able to put the 5- and 7-year-olds in charge of cheering on the 11-year-old!

So, another successful triathlon season, thanks to TRi KiDS. Next year, I will be sure to keep Daddy-o away from all moving objects just prior to race day!

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