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.