A few weeks ago I completed (won't say competed) the Kemah Olympic triathlon for the third year in a row. I was excited about my training and about the race. My run has come along a bit and I was not injured or sick.
Two weeks before my race my husband Ken was riding with our daughters Kerianne (9) and Avery (8) when Avery took a bad spill. She was showing signs of a concussion immediately and had some severe road rash so off to the hospital we went. Thankfully nothing was broken but the CT scan did show a serious concussion. We had to give her brain time to heal and not do too much too soon. No reading, exercise, school work, computer or TV for a week. This also meant no activities she would normally participate in while I am training. My A race became a B race but that was fine with me, Avery was going to fully recover.
The Kemah swim proved more difficult than the two previous years. The swells were big, I never got a break and felt like I was swimming in place, there were some terrifying moments. I met a great guy named Dennis when he let me hang on the end of his kayak for a couple of minutes in an effort to get my heart rate down almost a mile from shore. Finishing that swim was one of the hardest things I have done. I drank a lot of the gulf that morning which had an immediate intestinal effect but considering all factors I had a pretty good race.
Today was my first race after Kemah. I was going back to my very first triathlon because Kerianne begged me to do it with her. She did 4 triathlons last year but they were all pool swims. Avery wanted to race the duathlon but with her recent accident she wasn't ready. Kerianne and I talked about the race and open water many times. This past Friday we swam 300 yards in Towne Lake so she could get an idea of what it is like to swim in open/dirty water, she was awesome! I asked the race director about swimming together but the only way to do that was to swim in the beginner wave which is the largest group, I was worried there would be too much traffic and contact so we decided to race in our respective age group waves.
My group of women 40-49 was two waves ahead of Kerianne with the 19 and under and 50+ women. Once I started swimming and realized how choppy the water was I didn't want Kerianne to swim. I tried to swim faster so I could get to her before she got in the water. I came out of the water and couldn't find her, couldn't find Ken and thought she was already in. I went to transition where I waited, this was the plan. I went over to the corner closest to the swim exit waited and prayed. After a few minutes I saw Ken with the girls, Kerianne was crying, she got pulled from the water. My heart broke for her. I am glad she asked for help when she needed it but I was so sad she was ever that scared. I have been that scared and I was crushed I wasn't there for her when she needed somebody.
Children are great at giving us perspective just when we need it. Avery's accident was a lesson in slowing down and not doing much of anything other than reading aloud and playing board games for a week.
Today Kerianne's swim taught us all a lot. As a parent it is hard to let your kids do things that are scary. You need to do your best to honor their feelings while encouraging them. After the swim Kerianne told Ken she wanted to finish the race but she was still very emotional. I gave her two options "I can wrap you up in floppy towel and hold you or we can go get on our bikes and ride." She chose floppy towel which made me very happy. I wrapped her up and held her. We both cried. After a while I wondered if I should have encouraged her to finish so she would have the victory at the end but there will be plenty of victories, I won't always be able to wrap her up in a towel and hold her on my lap.