Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2010 IronGirl Columbia: The AUNT HOLLY Race Report

(Author's Note: You can read Heather's IronGirl Columbia Race Report HERE)


They're two they're four they're six they're eight
Shunting trucks and hauling freight
red and green and brown and blue
they're the really useful crew

All with different roles to play
Round Tidmouth sheds or far away,
Down the hills and round the bends
Thomas and friends..."

Our Race morning started with Thomas and Friends on DVD, as we sat in the darkness of the Scion in the field in Centennial Park - slowly waking up. I spent an hour monitoring sippy-cup levels and making an internal list of things to accompany our race day (cowbells, signs for Mommy, snacks, camera, cell phone, jog stroller) waiting for the light to come up and for my partners to decide they were ready for some adventure....

My partners in crime for this Triathlon Adventure? Newphew's Rowen (nearly-4) and Kain (nearly-2).

Rowen: 5:45am

Kain: 5:45am

My Role: Aunt Holly/ Triathlon Sherpa / Keeper of the Peace / Creator of all things Interesting & Fun / Navigator of the IRONMAN Double-Jog Stroller

Sleepy Aunt Holly (self-portrait)


Rowen was the first to speak-up and tell me that the time had come to "get our of the car..." and so I turned off the DVD (with the help of my nephew, who had to tell me "Just close the top Aunt Holly..." because I honestly couldn't figure it our myself) and went outside to set up the IRONMAN Double Jog-Stroller that would be our "race equipment" for the day.

With all the items on my list packed onboard, next came my nephews, and then the rain flap which Rowen (nearly-4) quickly dismissed saying "We don't mind sprinkles..." and taking him at his word, away we went, into the crowds of spectators and racers to find "Mommy" (my sister Heather).

We headed to directly to the Team FIGHT tent via the big hill, circumnavigating the crowds the first time around, the BIG STEEP HILL didn't feel so bad the first time over!

Once at the Team FIGHT tent we quickly realized that Mommy was not to be found - she was with Jessica Tanner, checking out the PRO swim start. So I took the boys on a walk, through the masses, to the docks so that we could watch the ducks and the swimmers for a little bit.


After about 20 minutes of watching the PRO swimmers and the ducks, I decided that we should try to find Mommy again, before her race day started. The boys and I worked our way though the masses again (people do not care to move or give you any room even if you have a double wide stroller with two children in it, for the record!) and headed back to the Team FIGHT tent where we were successful in locating MOMMY and in getting some tasty watermelon to enjoy as breakfast! We also were treated to the first of many unexpected rain showers that would continue throughout the rest of the morning.

Spirits were HIGH for everybody, in spite of the rain, Watermelon and Donut holes were involved!
Watermelon Rocks!
7:55AM: SWIM

Heather's wave was off and swimming so the boys and I headed back to the docks to watch the swimmers. We had a GRAND TIME! The boys really loved watching the mass of swimmers heading into the swim finish. We spent time looking at cap colors (pink, purple, blue and red) and the boys were keen to tell me when they started seeing RED caps, knowing that RED was Mommy's cap color!

I kept an eye on my watch, hoping that maybe we would be able to anticipate Heather's swim time and see her get out of the water but Rowen and Kain were having so much fun watching the swimmers and clapping and yelling "Yay Swimmers" that when I suggested we move to see if we could "See Mommy", I was vetoed 2-1 - so we stayed on the dock for an hour watching the swimmers come in and naming a row boat "Ancient Old Crumugeny" (because all old rusty row boats have names, ya know...)

8:55: T1

Our transition from SWIM to BIKE came with a short stop in the ladies room so that Rowen could take care of some morning business, followed by a walk to the transition zone to look at all the bikes while Aunt Holly determined that Mommy had indeed finished the swim and was on the bike...

9:00: BIKE

The BIKE portion of our event was split between "Playground Time" during which I was literally torn in two by the need to chase a screaming "nearly-2" Kain (screaming with joy, I might add!) and a enthusiastic "nearly-4" Rowen who was happy to "stay close by" but desperate to do his own thing. Sadly, my multi-tasking playground skillz are lacking and I cried "uncle" long before my Nephews were ready to stop playing.

Just about that time, the rain picked up again, prompting me to hustle my nephews back to the IRONMAN Jog-Stroller with promises of "fast bikes" and "cowbells" and a "Mommy sighting" and so we headed down to the BIKE IN to cheer on the triathletes as they finished the BIKE and headed back into transition.

We stood (they sat) in that spot for about 20 minutes, while the boys happily rang cowbells and I anxiously watched for Heather (aka Mommy) - eventually convinced that we must have just barely missed her - we headed "downhill" to check the Bike Rack to confirm that Mommy was off the bike and on the RUN...

9:50: T2

A walk down to the edge of transition confirmed that Heather was, in fact, off the Bike and onto the Run course, and so it was time to head over towards the FINISH LINE - in hopes that we could at least cheer her into the finish. Just as we were getting ready to leave the transition area, the skies opened again and the rain poured down, as I hustled my way to the jog stroller to pull down the rain flap as both Rowen and Kain giggle madly at the rain coming down and Rowen yelled "Aunt Holly, Aunt Holly, The Rain, The Rain..."


Anybody who tells you that the transition from BIKE to RUN is easy, has NEVER done a TRIATHLON! And anybody who tells you that pushing 50 pounds of IRONMAN Jog-Stroller with two 2o+ pounds nephews over a BIG STEEP HILL multiple times is not a workout - simply doesn't know of which they speak!

By the time we got to the Finish Line area and the end of the run course, I thought for sure the boys would be excited to ring their cowbells and finally see Mommy but I underestimated the excitement of the day - so by the time we got to a good "Cheering Spot", I looked down to find that both my newphews were OUT COLD! They were sleeping so deeply that not even the surrounding 100 spectators and the various cowbells (including my own) stirred them from their sleep.

So I stood, by their side, as they slept, and rang that cowbell and cheered on the triathletes as they passed. I saw many Team FIGHT athletes and friends pass by, big smiles as they finished strong. Then about 20 minutes into the boy's nap, over the hill came MOMMY! (HEATHER) with a big smile on her face - running strong and finishing her race! We "high-fived" and she laughed as she saw that her little boys were out cold in the midst of the commotion.

Then Heather came and stood with me and the boys as we waited for our friends Jessica and Ginny to finish their races and we cheered more Team FIGHT teammates on in their accomplishments. Eventually the boys woke up, and were happy to partake in some post-race snacks with Mommy and Aunt Holly before we headed for home - long morning complete with a successful race day for MOMMY and for AUNT HOLLY & Rowen and Kain, too!

Some will read this report and say "But I thought you were racing too?" and Yes, that was the original intent - for Sisters to race IronGirl - side by side. When plans changed for Heather and the boys, I stepped forward and offered to "transition" my own race plans to watch my nephews. So many times over the last 8 years, my sister Heather has stood by me, on my big race days, and traveled far and wide, to support me - that I was happy that this time, I could do the same for her, especially for a race that I knew she had been looking forward too for quite some time.

Besides, I got to SWIM, BIKE, and RUN with my nephews all day long! There isn't a medal in the world that is worth more than the memories we made on Sunday....Life is GOOD!

Go Team FIGHT!!

1 comment: said...

How AWESOME of you to step up and support your sister like that- how wonderful!! I was there too (not racing) & even went by the Team FIGHT tent--but didn't see either of you :/