So, what's the most obvious choice of something you should do after spending three days at Outdoor Camp .... three days of hiking and walking and fishing and canoeing and physical activity after physical activity after physical activity ... followed by late night clandestine underwear-up-the-flagpole activities, and early mornings, and did we mention the sheer exhaustion that followed? (Oh, wait. Maybe the exhaustion was only the grownups.)
The most obvious thing to do?
Get up the next morning at 5:30 am to compete in a triathlon, of course!
After watching his cousins take part in a triathlon earlier this summer, Kellen immediately announced he wanted to compete in one as well. When I expressed concern about his swimming abilities(or lack thereof) (hey, 125 yards is a long way if you're not Michael Phelps) Kellen tried to squash my doubts with the bold proclamation, "Mom, we went swimming almost every day this summer!" He didn't seem to understand that "sliding down water tubes" and "floating the lazy river" and "bouncing in an inner tube in the wave pool" don't *quiiiiiiiite* count as true aquatic training.
But I decided to let him try, knowing full well that if things got too rough, the lifeguards could throw him a floatie.
I watched as his cousin handled the swim without any real duress:
Then as his younger cousin managed fine as well (although, ok, maybe there *was* a little bit of kickboard action involved, but after one lap he tossed it back up to the official as if to say, "Pfffft, don't waste my time!"):
And overall, Kellen manged the swim without too much trouble. I do think he was a little shocked at how far five laps of the pool can be, when "noodle races" is as competitive and fast as you've ever gone beforehand ....
Then, as he got out of the pool, I noticed how red his face was. I also noticed that it appears as though we don't feed the boy.
And then I quit worrying about his skinny arms and legs and took a good hard look at his face. I mean, seriously. I was worried he was going to have a stroke, right there at the side of the pool.
Then, thank goodness, the swim was over. Time to move on to the bike, the part of the competition that Kellen predicted he would enjoy much more. By then, I was just glad that drowning was no longer a possibility. And you can see his grandma cheering him on in the background. Who says triathlons aren't a family sport???
Because of the staggered starts, you have no idea how the boys (and girls) are actually doing. I was trying to get photos of everyone, Kellen, his two cousins, and the two friends who had joined us, but at one point we had kids on the bike path, already running, and still in the pool. Things got a little hectic, to say the least, and I spent quite a bit of time running (code for huffing and puffing) back and forth).
I was very impressed to see my nephew running, and managing to hydrate himself, at the same time. Obviously, he doesn't get his coordination from *my* side of the family, or he would have fallen down at that point. Twice during the race, as I ran from pool to transition area to finish line, I stepped in potholes and almost fell down myself. (Sadly, I am not exaggerating.)
My other nephew, despite swimming for 125 yards, biking for over three miles, and running for just over a mile, *still* managed to turn it on in the last hundred yards and give the guy ahead of him a good little footrace. You can tell by the look on that poor kid's face he has no idea my nephew is about to blow by him and finish the race in front. On a side, note, where on earth do these kids get this kind of energy??? Are they all on speed and I just don't know it??? You can also see my oldest nephew running alongside, giving encouragement. Bare-footed. My gosh, orphans, all of them.
And here, a photo of what might have been the first-ever spontaneous display of brotherly love and congratulations ..... I'm just glad I got a picture of it, since it might never happen again:
Kellen had the same weird, freaky, burst-of-energy at the end and finished his run in a sprint. Don't these kids know to slow down and smile at the camera at this point??? At least we know the mile and a half he runs every night at soccer practice is paying off. I was exhausted just trying to keep up with all of them with my camera ....
And in the end, they all agreed it was worth it, and they can't wait to do the next one, as well. Especially the younger cousin, who won 1st place in his age division, proudly wore his winners medal to school the next day, and is fairly confident the Olympic committee will be calling soon. And, just think how good they all could have done, if any of them actually knew the proper way to swim and breathe at the same time! Thankfully, this youth triathlon season is over, so it won't be until May before the next one is held. Thank goodness, too ... I think I'll need that time to recover.