Frolic and Detour: Sports,  Googly Eyes: Make Love Not War,  Triathlons

Finn Chases A Dream

Finn is almost as obsessed with triathlons as Bill is. He’s done several kids’ triathlons, and he’s participated in adult-distance races as part of a relay team. One of my friends’ daughters, Allie, does the swim, Finn bikes, and another boy handles the run.

Allie is a wildcat. She has big blue eyes and knows no fear. She got her braces off a couple of months ago.

Allie swims all year. Watching her in the water is surreal– when she climbs out you expect her to have a mermaid tail or at least webbed feet, but she doesn’t sport anything unusual except her name written in cursive on the butt of her swimsuit. She doesn’t even train for the biking and running segments of the races, but she’s such a fantastic athlete that she routinely places first in her age group and well ahead of most of the girls and boys anywhere near her age, including Finn.

He doesn’t seem to mind. When he finished a minute behind her at a race last weekend, a man asked him if she had started ahead of him.

“Yes sir, Allie starts ahead of me and stays ahead of me,” Finn said. “I look at that name on the back of her suit the whole race.”

There’s a popular race coming up next month that we’ve done the past several years. We go up with other racing families and one of my favorite parts of the weekend is that we stay in one of the teensy floating houseboats tethered to a dock near the race site. We call them “boatels” and I’m worried that this will be the last year our whole family can stay in just one, as we really had to cram the boys’ limbs into their allotted spaces last year to make sleeping space for everyone. It’s thrilling to sleep on the water, feeling the waves gently lift and drop, even if your brother’s toes are in your face.

While the twins and I are looking forward to the boatel, Bill and Finn are concentrating on the race. In fact, they’ve been focusing on it more than usual ever since Allie announced that she was going to do the entire triathlon by herself this year. That’s a 600 yard swim, 16 mile bike and a 3 mile run to finish it off.

The gauntlet was laid, and Finn held a press conference at dinner last week to throw his hat in the ring as well. Bill promptly abandoned his plan to run and signed up as Finn’s coach, drawing up a punishing schedule of swimming, biking, running, and weightlifting to get Finn ready for the event.

Much to my surprise, Finn’s been religious about following the schedule. At night I hear him panting in his room, followed by the THUDS of his new barbells falling to the floor after a particularly grueling set of reps. If I wander by at precisely the right moment, I might catch a glimpse of him admiring his biceps in the mirror.

He’s growing up.

Which raises the issue of his true motivation for the race. I can see he’s chasing a dream. I just don’t know whether it’s a goal or a girl.



  • Laura

    Both, I’d imagine. How amazingly proud (and bittersweet?) this must be for you. At least she’s a *nice* girl and the goal he’s pursuing isn’t monster truck driving or figure 8 trailer racing….

  • Marine Wife

    Hm, well he did say he was looking at her name on the back of her suit the whole race…
    But at least she sounds like a great girl. In any case, it sounds like he’s developing great exercise habits. And that’s something he can use for the rest of his life. Great job!

  • Karyn

    Holy crap.

    Goals vs Girls.

    And heaven help us, they can be the same thing. I will echo the above remarks and choose to focus on her nice wholesomeness and hope that when the day comes that my boys have a goal / girl thing going on, she will be as nice as Allie sounds and not some skeezy skanky ho in the making.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Sweet Jesus…do I have any ativan left?

  • Clearlykels

    Aww, Hey, there is nothing wrong with a little motivation to reach the goal, whatever it might be. Too cute. Also, just reading about the triathalon wore me out. I’m sticking to my little run/walk in the mornings.

  • Brooke

    Wow! I know you are both so proud of his hard work, even if he is chasing a girl to boot!

    Nice column in Portico this month as well!

  • KLee

    Yeah, this is about that time when the goals and the girls become dual, twin-plane existences. As was noted, though — she could be a worse choice. And, hey — maybe this will inspire smaller boys of the household to give up their lofty dreams of becoming drunken hoboes, and get them into girls, too!

  • MGM

    Denial. Denial. Denial. I’m in denial that my sweet little 18 month old, asleep in his crib right now, will ever ever grow up enough to start chasing girls. Denial. Denial. Denial!

  • PhxButterfly

    Well regardless of whether it’s the girl or the goal…he is growing up healthy! Can’t wait for your blog to let us know what the results of the relay are. Good luck to Finn and Allie!

  • Jodi

    Please tell me I’m never going to have to deal with this. What if they fall head over heels for the wrong girls — meaning ones who fail to revere me as shining example of womanhood that I am? Seriously…you’ve got me worried now.

  • Mamaluv

    Everyone here is freaking out a little. I just read this and say “awwwwww!”

    And I can say it because I have a girl and two boys and am terrified too. Still, “awwwwww!”

  • melody is slurping life

    Stop it! This girl talk…I have a 12.5 yo, and an almost 10 yo and a 9 yo…and somewhere out there is my 25 yo…stop it! I’m with the denial mom. We just moved into a neighborhood from the wilderness…the 12 & 10 are girl watching. }: No, can’t be.

    On a different note. Go, Finn, Go! Grab that girl…er…goal.

    I’ve been catching up a bit here after my move, loved everything I’ve read, including the recipe ala boobs and, of course, all the book reading boy photos.

  • Jeni

    Hi Anne, we found out last moth that we are having a boy, so your posts have become required reading for me! This is fabulous.