Saturday there was a one-mile children's race that finished at the same place the Ironman would the following day. It didn't take any convincing at all when Dent asked Cooper if he'd like to participate. He was a little disappointed, however, when he realized he wouldn't be swimming and riding his bike as well.
Seeing as he is only five and the course was a full mile, an adult was allowed to accompany him on his run. Denten was saving all he had for his own event and I figured I could keep up with a 5-year-old for a mile.. I mean, how fast could he really be?
getting his number:
waiting to begin:
leaving his mother in the dust:
When we hit the starting banner, he took off. Seriously. A full sprint. I turned it up to catch him and explained that we had a long way to go and it was ok to slow down. There were older kids that had started earlier and he could see them on the other side of the course coming back toward the finish. He said, "mom, we have to catch them!" I told him we didn't have to catch them, "well, why not?!" as if I had just said something completely ridiculous. I told him they were in a different race and we didn't have to compete with them. Then he noticed the other younger children around us and said, "well, we have to get ahead of all these kids!" No we don't, we don't have to beat everyone. "mom, I want to come across first." He was dead serious.
I have never been known as particularly competitive. Denten has the streak in him, but it's a quiet one. During this year of racing and training, he hasn't talked about winning or beating anyone else. Cooper, however, has it thick in his blood. Denten says it's a good thing if we channel it the right way.
After about 10 seconds of walking to take a break, Coop was ready to run again. I told him to go ahead, I would be right behind him if he needed a break. I fully anticipated he would slow down again in a bit and I'd catch him. I was out of my mind. It was all I could do to weave through the crowd to keep him in my sights. I tried to call out to him as he flew past the aid station, he didn't even notice it. He was completely focused on passing anyone in front of him. As I knew we were nearing the final corner, I wanted to see him finish. I cut the course and raced across a field in order to find him. As I yelled out to him, he looked back to inform me to follow the arrows, we were almost there. I said, "do you need to walk for a minute?" no, I'm ok. and off he went. I was dying, I'll be honest. He has some serious endurance. I realized I was holding him back and sent him to the finish line. I plugged along trying to keep him in my sights. He was still sprinting and headed straight for the line. He turned and looked for me after finishing.
He seriously ran his little heart out the whole time. Except for when his mother was trying to get him to take it easy. And he's fast. While this little tale is embarassing, I want to remember his focus, his drive and the fact that he had a blast doing it.
And not to be left out, this little one took a spin on the tri bike on our way to turn it into the transition area. Perhaps I have a few little triathletes on my hands. It's a good thing I'm a great cheerleader. And that I have Beckham who mostly just likes to eat snacks.