Friday, June 14, 2013

A Family Affair

Five years ago on Father’s Day I competed in my first triathlon. At the time I didn’t have a tri suit, a bike, bike shoes or a swim or bike training base. I did the triathlon because it was something my dad suggested we do together on Father’s Day. It was the South Carroll Tri to Win Sprint triathlon benefitting the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation and there were awards for the fastest father-daughter duo.

The swim portion of the race took place in a 400 meter pool, followed by a 14 mile bike and concluding with a 5k run. I pinned my number to my shirt before the race basically doing a full wardrobe change in T1 by putting on my shirt, shorts, socks and running shoes before getting on the bike. The time spent in T1 was well worth the benefits coming into T2, where all I had to do was get off my bike and start running. My dad and I ended up winning the father-daughter competition in both of our first triathlons.

My dad has been trying to get me to do Columbia Triathlon for a couple years now, and I never committed until this year. Going into the race we had a lot riding on us. Though there was no specific father-daughter competition according to the race organizers, my dad’s co-workers tended to think differently. The challenge…for us to have a combined time of under 5 hours. The reward…my dad gets a tasty treat (why I did not benefit from this bet I do not know).

For me the race went well not great. The swim was alright, I was separated from the main pack and came out behind them. In the bike I learned a few more triathlon lessons in that when the road is slick and you’re making a turn be sure to come out of the aero position or you will skid across asphalt with your body protecting your bike.

 And, figure out how to do hills on a TT bike before going up hills: once you come out of the aero position there’s no easy way to shift to an easier gear. The run I was really happy with! I had the second fastest run behind the winner Nicky Samuels and I felt really strong. I finished the race in seventh which wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, but I was content. More importantly my time was 2:09.36.

My dad, however had the race of the day! When we did our first triathlon at South Carroll I remember I was actually scared for his life in the pool. Yes the pool was only 5 feet at its deepest and he is at least 6’2’’ but there were times during the race where I just wanted him to put his feet down and stand up. However, like I’ve seen my dad do many times in my life he remained tough, struggled through the swim and finished that triathlon. Whenever presented with a challenge my dad will rise to the occasion to make sure that he accomplishes his goals. This race was no different. He had never completed the Columbia Triathlon in under 3 hours, and this year he crushed it! Finishing time: 2:49:24!

We had reached our goal of under 5 hours!

My dad is the one who first got me into triathlons, though often I don’t let him take the credit for it. He has been there for me every step of the way sharing in both my successes and failures as a triathlete. No matter the outcome he is a constant for me with unwavering support. Cheering me on throughout the entire race, being the first to text or call me to wish me good luck and always ready at the finish line for congratulatory celebrations or a comforting hug. He is the one who drove 24 hours with me to deliver me to Colorado Springs so I wouldn’t have to drive alone. The one who is always helping to make sure I have what I need equipment wise and that I am ready to go. He knows when I need time to myself before a race, but is ready to help in whatever way necessary when asked. For all these reasons and many more, this is why I am happy that I got to be at the Columbia Triathlon to see my dad achieving his goals. For once, I got to be the one supporting him and congratulating him on a great race where he got to see all his hard efforts pay off. I am so proud of my dad and am so proud, thankful and blessed to be his daughter. Happy Father’s Day Dad!