I imagine that there are just as many parents out there who enlist their children into their hobbies as those who can’t be bothered. We were noting candidly as we sat on the bleachers that the types of folks in attendance, the types of folks who sign their own kids up for a junior triathlon, are well within the fitness bell curve. The mom does tri, so the kid does tri, too.
I run. I’ve never done a tri. I’m a noob to this whole thing. But I thought it might catch her interest, y’know, fitness-dad style…
I didn’t force Claire to sign up. I told her about the event. I explained to her the effort she’d need to do. And she casually said “sure… I’ll try it.”
She did her first triathlon yesterday — 100m swim, 2km bike, and a 1km run — and she did it exactly like a kid who’s never competed in a triathlon before: she gave it 110% until she crashed, oh-so-hard, about half way into the run. And then she went home, crashed even oh-so-harder (complete with a low-grade fever and a self-induced mid-afternoon nap).
She was kinda-sorta proud. She showed her medal to her friend and then flopped it onto her dresser and that was that.
First tri: done. What’s next? What’s on Netflix?
I had this thought in my head that she’d push through it all, no matter the pain or whatever. I have. I do. At least I think I do.
She’s not a competitive kid, I often joke. But serious: she just doesn’t give a fig if she wins or –as became apparent late in the triathlon — even finishes. I don’t know how it looked from a spectator point of view, but I had to run out there, take her by the hand and pretty much drag her across the finish line.
She was (literally) going to walk off the course and give up with a hundred steps to the finish line.
I don’t get it.
It struck me as a bit of a disappointment at first, but as the day progressed, and we talked about it, and then I saw that she’d literally made herself ill competing in the first couple stages, I had to step back a bit and put a new spin on it all: (a) she gave it her all but (b) when she ran out of gas her motivation went with it. Completely.
It’s that disconnect between physical done-ness and mental done-ness: I don’t know how to bridge that for her. She ultimately needs to face that on her own.